In the Trenches: Why I'm Not Using Google AdWords

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on March 30, 2011
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For every online business, few things hold more allure than the promise of advertising keywords delivered via Google. After all, you only pay for those customers who come to your site, so how could anything go wrong?

Well, it can and it does. I’ve tried this on several occasions and it’s never resulted in anything but money out the window. Either I’m not doing it right, or it just doesn’t work for every business.

Initially, I tried broader keywords to get people into the concierge business, but those fell flat. People did click through to my site, but I didn’t get a single sign-up from it. I’m sure it was more curiosity than anything else since an air travel concierge business isn’t something most people know about or immediately understand. But I ran through my allotted budget quickly and then realized I needed to try something else. Wish I had figured that out earlier.

So I got more specific. I thought I was being pretty clever, actually. When the pilots at Spirit Airlines went on strike, I bought a bunch of keywords around Spirit, canceled flight, delays, stranded, etc. There were some clicks, but once again, not a single client came through the process to sign up that way. I tried it again when Mexicana closed up shop for good. Same results. It just wasn’t resonating with customers.

So do potential concierge clients simply not want to buy service that way? I doubt it. I’m sure much of the blame lies with us. Since the business concept is relatively new to a lot of people, we need to bring them to a page which more clearly and quickly spells out what they get. We also need to have a better flow for when people actually do want to sign up. Right now, there might be too many steps or it may just be too confusing.

I’ve come to realize that the website we have needs some help. I’ve already started to make some subtle changes but a larger redesign is going to have to follow soon enough to really make it as easy as possible to get signed up so we don’t lose people along the way.

Sounds like a lot of work. Maybe I’ll just blame Google instead.

BrettSnyder

Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.

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