Article

The Box Is Dead: Get Creative With Your Seach Engine Marketing

October 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Tim Madel - Also by this author

I’m done thinking outside of the box. Specifically because that phrase, “thinking outside the box,” is now the box. Somehow that slogan became the substitute for “being creative.” And as a creative person, I don’t understand why most Search Engine Ads are the same: inventory, financing, great deals, price quotes and local. Go do a Google search… I can wait. Every ad is the same. Google Ads is an amazing tool; we can write virtually anything and target any geographical dot in the world to make sure only people on a specific city block see our ad. Yet, I see the same ad in Nashville that I could see in Portland, Oregon or Bangor, Maine.

In Cost-per-Click (CPC) campaigns, you only pay for clicks on the ad, not every time it appears. Every click is potentially a new customer. So, why not make creative ads that really appeal to potential buyers, and make you stand out from your competition?

Background Story

When I first started doing Search Engine Marketing (SEM), my parents were confused. They (like many others) still haven’t grasped what makes the Internet work. Explaining the business to my parents was very interesting.

“What is it exactly that you do, so I can tell people when they ask?” my mom said.

I replied, “Are you near your computer? Go do a Google search… No, I can wait. All right, you see those ads on the right side of your screen? That’s part of what I do.”

“All those ads just look the same. Isn’t that kind of boring?” she said.

“Boring? Not the way I do it.” I responded.

Before doing SEM, I never really noticed those Google ads. My mom is right; they do all look the same. However, I have a competitive streak. There is no way I would let my advertisement look like all the other ads. Case in point, I recently created an ad for a dealer whose last name was obvious fodder for schoolyard taunts. I turned to my colleague and shared my idea; both of us laughed at the imagery. “Find yourself in a Grody Ford.” I submitted it, and a week later it’s one of the strongest campaigns. Their Web site traffic has increased tremendously with potential buyers.

Get Creative and Get More Leads

This isn’t about silliness or ridicule. It’s about standing out among the competition. It’s about making sure potential customers notice your ad, regardless of its placement, when they do a Web search for your product.

The Internet is constantly changing and making life much faster and much bigger than a box. The marketing potential on the Internet is tremendous as long as there are search engines on the Internet and Google isn’t going anywhere soon. You just have to give buyers a reason to choose you over your competition.

“So, are you shifting paradigms, being proactive, and thinking outside the box?” asked my joking mom.

“No, Mom I’m not. Because there is no substitute for creativity…and there is no box,” I replied. She may still not grasp what SEM really is, but if you own a business that pays for the service, understanding is necessary to get the most out of the service. It is about standing out enough for buyers to choose you.

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