Say you’ve already created a mobile-friendly website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. You’ve seen the increased traffic that comes into your restaurant from online marketing and you’re ready to try something else. You may want to turn to Google AdWords.
What’s that, you say? If you are a user of the Google search engine (the most popular search engine, with a 67% market share), you’ve seen the ads that pop up when you search almost any term. Well, companies are paying for those ad placements. Each time you click on one, they are charged some amount of money (it all depends on the bidding system) and you are taken to their web page.
This can be a great tool for restaurants, but it’s also one you need to keep an eye on.
Why it’s good
You are one of many food trucks/pizzerias/delis/etc. in your area. When people search “food trucks Seattle”, you want your website to be at the top of the list. Instead, you’re not even on the first page. But you can buy your way onto the first page with an ad.
Why it’s not so nice sometimes
It’s easy to spend money on AdWords, but harder to know whether it’s money well spent. You can set a maximum daily budget for your campaign to rein in spending, and you will only be charged for clicks on your ad, but make sure you also track business to make sure you are getting value from these ads.
How to get started
There are two options when using AdWords: Google AdWords Express or Google AdWords. We have never used AdWords Express, but Google is marketing it as an easier product for small businesses who want to advertise in their local markets. It has a few downsides over the standard product (you have less control of the details, the reporting isn’t as thorough, and the results may not be quite as good), but it takes significantly less time to manage. On the other hand, the standard Google AdWords product is complicated, but it gives you thorough reports and complete control over your keywords and bids.
Not sure which option is right for you? Here is a good article comparing the two services.
If you decide to go with the standard product, once you set up your account, visit the Keyword Planner and search for terms you might be interested in bidding on. The key is to think about what potential customers will be typing into the search tool—terms like “best food truck Seattle” or “food carts Seattle”. You can narrow your campaign by location so you’re not targeting the entire country. For beginners, we recommend setting a maximum daily budget for the campaign and letting Google do the bidding for you (set default max CPC—or cost per click—to auto).
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