Wednesday, September 12, 2007

SEO: There's no such thing as an original idea

The other day, I was talking to a client about doing some Google Ad Words, and the general topic of driving traffic to our site came up.

The company in question has B2B software as service in a not particularly scintillating business area. The application is good, it solves a real problem, but it's not all that exciting. And the market for it is just getting made, so a lot of folks don't even know they need it yet.

"I know," I told my client, "Let's put some stuff out there that associates us with what people are really searching for on the web. It may not drive business, but it will sure drive traffic."

We sat there for a couple of minutes coming up with our traffic-driving headlines:

"Alberto Gonzales may join Acme Software."

"Lindsay Lohan enters rehab; Acme announces new product."

"Is Jessica Simpson endorsing Acme Software?"

"Kevin Federline refuses custody of Acme Software release."

Well, a week or so ago, along with every other politically minded person in the country with a few idle minutes and an interest in what's new, I googled "Larry Craig."

And I thought I was being so original...

Off to the right, didn't one of the little ad word ads pop up with the name "Larry Craig" and some security software.

Can there really be something there?

So I clicked through.

I refuse to give them the benefit of the clickthrough by passing on their name and number, but there was indeed a real company with a real product offer behind the ad. Nothing to do with Larry Craig, of course, but I'll be curious to see what other "names in the news" these guys use.

Will they get any business out of this tactic?

I'm guessing that they will.

If only a fraction of the gazillion folks who searched for Larry Craig last week check them out, and only a fraction of them make a purchase, well...that ad word more than paid for itself.

My client will not, of course, be doing this. It really does make the company doing it look more than a little stupid.

But I am thinking of how we could tie current events in our market space - and there do tend to be some - to an ad word campaign. It just won't be current events of the Hollywood or D.C. variety.


Mark Cahill said...

I never considered doing that...and I too have an Adwords campaign that needs a broader reach than just those that would search for the actual business term.

How do you feel about targeting the search terms that would identify a demographic group that the product sells to?

John Whiteside said...

Done properly, it's a really good technique. It's especially good when your product is something that people might know by name, but could use. For example, you have a killer app that replaces MS OFfice and eliminates training costs. You might sponsor "Office training courses" to find people feeling pain around MS Office. (Oh, wait, that's everyone who uses it [g].)

I do think you've got to have an excellent offer than you can explain in the AdWords text. There's a distraction element here; someone is searching for one thing and you're trying to say "Hey! What about this?" So using those three lines well is especially important.

Mary said...

...unless of course, your target market is the "stupid people." ;-)

The kicker is those three lines, isn't it? But, then, gee marketing is so easy, anybody can do it! Right?

Maureen Rogers said...

Darn! I wish I had copied down how they used the "Larry Craig". It was in their first line and somehow tied it to their security product. (When I googled again the next day, the ad was gone.)

It was just so weird seeing it, given that I'd just been joking with a client about it. (I actually don't know any client who'd actually go ahead and do it - real danger of cheapening the brand, unless there's a direct tie to your product - or at least a semi-direct tie.