I first arrived in Auckland in August, 1986. I remember taking the bus from the airport into town and noticing the green fields of pasture along the way. Fresh from a 3 month tour of a very urban America this was a refreshing change. It reminded me of my home back in a very green part of Sussex in South East England.

I came full of hope but severely lacking in hard cash. Long story short – after touring both Islands I landed a job driving around the city selling engineering wares. My job had me leaving the office at 9.00am, crisscrossing around the city and returning later that evening after seeing a half dozen or so clients. Back then, day time Auckland traffic was a breeze.

Then things got busy.

auckland traffic

All Aucklanders have their own personal traffic horror story. Last week I added a new one to mine when I tried to get to the Airport from Grey Lynn for a 11.00am flight to Wellington. I left the office at 7.30am and only just made it in time to check in. These days there is no way I could leave the office in the morning hoping to see six people across various parts of Auckland and hope to be home by 5pm. Things have changed.

The same can be said of Google’s AdWords system and the amount of people now using it or planning to use it in New Zealand. Strategies that used to work two years ago would flounder now. The competition for attention around those search results is so much greater.

Fueling some of this demand is the mainstream promotion of paid search advertising. For instance I noticed running across the sidelines of the last All Black test at Eden Park advertising for Search Engine Marketing services. Then a few weeks later I pull out an eight page insert to the New Zealand Herald trumpeting the benefits of Google’s advertising. All great marketing – all targeted at middle New Zealand companies keen to grow their business and looking for the next space to do it.

So what does this all mean for you – the long term user of Google AdWords?

Firstly – when it comes to your costs per click you are either a “price maker” or a “price taker”. Those “making” the bid prices are the ones bidding up the costs per clicks as they are driven to grab as much traffic as they can. These advertisers know their numbers.

They see costs per clicks as costs per leads which naturally trickle down into costs per successful sale. When the system is performing well – transforming clicks directly to profitable sales – then pushing more money into clicks makes perfect commercial sense.

This is frequently the opposite approach for those who are price “takers”. These marketers usually run a system bereft of any analysis. Here they take the click cost they are given by Google and “hope” it translates into sustainable marketing.

Secondly – now’s the time to stand out when all around you are your competitors. A few years ago you could select a few keywords, kick off your campaign and appear with very few – if any – competitors around you. You may well have been the only option in paid search for that keyword– what a luxury.

Move forward three years and you are one among many listed in the 10 paid search places on page one of Google. So what is going to make your 25 character headline and two lines of 35 characters of description stand out from the rest? Already know what to say? Great – any strong unique selling proposition can be distilled down into three lines of text.

Stuck? Well now’s the time to let your AdWords activities help you locate exactly what makes you different from the rest AND attracts the right prospects to click your ads.

And finally – your ongoing success online may well be dependent on what happens AFTER your clicks become leads. We spoke about this point during our conference call last month. Consider these two scenarios to move the concept further ahead.

Let’s say suppliers A and B are from the same industry. Both buy 500 clicks off Google for the same price of $1000. Each have their website tuned to deliver 20 sales leads from this traffic. However supplier A has a sales process that is unreliable, weak and very ineffective. So staff don’t follow leads up – conversations are hurried and have no structure – and very poor questions are asked. All this results in only 5 sales worth $750 are made producing a total of $3750 revenue. Remove just the advertising cost and we have $2750 remaining.

This compared to supplier B who has a super sales process that is crafted to make the most of each contact. People are called back – the conversations that ensue are well thought out and the right questions are asked. Due to this they close 10 sizable sales worth $1250 each which produces a grand total of $12500. Again remove the advertising and we are left with a sizable $11500.

So who’s in a better place to manage a tripling of the click cost taking the monthly advertising cost to $3000 for the same amount of leads?

Gone are the days of buying AdWords clicks and looking like the only game in town in paid search. Now expect the space around you to get “chocka block” with every person and their advertising pet. Whether you remain there in 12 month’s time will depend on the strategies you deliver both on and off your website. The three strategies outlined above should get you going in the right direction.