And here we are again. With all the Google changes, small businesses are scrambling to avoid being relegated to the Internet’s junk bin. Let’s stay on top of it. Whether it’s Google search, social media or what to do with Google+, you’ll find answers to the most challenging questions, in both a “Go Deep” and “Quick Bites” format. Questions submitted by shop owners at www.ShopOwnerMag.com will be answered by Uwe Kleinschmidt, CEO of AutoVitals, a leading supplier of web-based marketing and service advisor productivity tools.
Q: What is the difference between AdWords and AdWords Express?
A: Google is perfecting its tool suite to post ads almost every month. What goes along with that is the complexity of hundreds of settings, and most small business owners struggle to find the correct configuration for their needs. Google has introduced AdWords Express to make it easier to set up AdWords campaigns. Here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of both types of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
Setup – AdWords
With a long and complex list of settings, AdWords experts make sure that every thinkable aspect of your ad campaign is set correctly. A fully thought-out campaign can take an hour or two to set up, and that’s if you know exactly what you want and all the tests for effectiveness have already been done.
AdWords’ biggest advantage is the ability to configure key words of your campaign.
Setup – AdWords Express
With AdWords Express, you select the category you want to promote (for example, brake repair), type in a description of your business, set your budget and off you go. You can be set up within 10 minutes.
One downside to AdWords Express is you can’t pick your own key words; Google does this for us, based on its research of what groups of key words best represent the category. So don’t be surprised if “car service” gets you hits for “limo service,” as Google thinks they are synonyms.
Appearance – AdWords
There is a significant variety of ways to configure your ad’s appearance on Search and on Google Maps, for example, phone number, location, etc. AdWords, however, has no ability to let Google reviews shine.
Appearance – AdWords Express
The biggest benefit of AdWords Express is the way ads appear, especially after Google turned the 5-star rating of Google reviews into a score. The human eye immediately detects the 5-star rating and checks it out. The score seems hidden and complicated by comparison.
Q: Why do reviews disappear on Google?
A: Google does regular housekeeping campaigns and cleans out suspicious reviews. Suspicious because one Gmail account created too many reviews, suspicious because one IP address logged into too many Gmail accounts, etc. Unfortunately, more often than not, genuine reviews get deleted, while some reappear and some don’t. There is nothing you can do about it, other than be genuine and do not game the system.
Q: What is Reverse Proxy?
A: Many small business owners like to track the phone traffic to their shop or store. Since Google punishes tracking phone numbers on websites by giving them a low ranking, only PPC campaigns can be used to add a tracking phone number on a website different from the one found by the Google crawler. In order to avoid duplicate content, which is another reason for a Google ranking decrease, but still be able to add another phone number, a technique called Reverse Proxy is used. All hits from the PPC campaign still go to the original site and the Google crawler is told to ignore the shadowed copy. Copyright issues still arise and need to be discussed with your web designer, since technically it is a 100% copy of the original website.
Q: I want to place a video on the home page of my website. How long should the video be?
A: Our research indicates that placing videos of any length on the homepage is not ideal. Think about it: visitors typically take 15 seconds to get a first impression of your business on the home page before they decide to explore the site further. The time available to watch the video is simply too short, and our research indicates that click rates are less than 2% for videos on the home page and, thus, waste precious real-estate.
Q: Mobile applications are highly advertised by many suppliers to the auto repair industry. Why are they important? I have more than 50 apps on my iPhone. Why would anybody remember an auto repair app and tap it three months after installation?
A: Good point. App providers want to be on as many phones as possible, but to make a difference, the content needs to be interesting and have repeat value. A good way to remind the motorist about your app is via push notifications (the pop up boxes on your iPhone) about promotions, service reminders and the like. Check out our mobile app blog.autovitals.com/going-mobile-are-you-in/ to see what I mean.
Q: My service advisor is not collecting enough e-mail addresses. Isn’t buying e-mail addresses that match my customer database the best way to build up e-mail addresses?
A: At first sight, buying e-mail addresses is a convenient way of building up your list. The question is, how much are those worth? Every one of us hates to see e-mails flooding our inbox, especially those that are unexpected or that make us wonder, how the heck did the sender get their hands on my e-mail address?
In other words, buying e-mail addresses violates the ground rule of permission-based marketing, which is — getting the permission. In our own tests with buying e-mail addresses and looking at e-mail stats from clients who converted from other vendors that offered e-mail buying services, the verdict is clear: Bounce rates (invalid e-mail addresses) sky rocket and opening rates (does the recipient care about your message?) plummet.
Look at it this way: you are a local business providing local services to local customers. This is sustainable only by maintaining a trusted relationship. Buying e-mail addresses is like trying to buy a trusted relationship. You be the judge on whether that is possible.
Uwe Kleinschmidt is the CEO and founder of AutoVitals in Santa Barbara, CA. The company’s Web-based services focus on the independent automotive repair industry. AutoVitals’ products facilitate highly effective Concierge Auto Repair services, covering all aspects of the service advisor’s interaction with prospective and existing customers. Highly effective and optimized websites, workflow support in the shop, as well as customer retention and social media services are just a few ingredients. He can be reached by visiting blog.AutoVitals.com or calling 1-866-949-2848.