AdWords for Small Business and Professionals

The problem of scaling expert and professional AdWords services to smaller ad buys is ripe. Up until now most real AdWords thinkers have turned their back on the problem as “unprofitable”.

Fractured Focus on Main Street

The need has exploded as Mom and Pop Internet Cottage Industries, Oscar the Online Shopkeeper, Mac the Mechanic, Rita the Realtor, Pat the Alternative Health Practitioner, and Francis the Family Lawyer to name a few face ever fracturing technology and marketing options. They are bombarded by good “must do” ideas when it use to be all they had to worry about was what size phone book ad they wanted to buy once a year.

Like me, they have their own expertise to maintain and their own business to run. Every time they put on a new hat their focus gets that much more fractured.

Problems without Solutions = Opportunity for Scams

The growing need for simple AdWords solutions for small ad buys was first filled by what I consider questionable offers. Usually marketed through cold-call boiler rooms. The pitch was concise – “We make AdWords simple” – so you do not have to worry your poor overtaxed brain. Usually some “special relationship” with Google was inferred if not outright claimed. Which was a stretch if not an out and out deception.

The primary problem with the “simple” solution was lack of transparency, which led to reported usury management fees, where little of the money paid was actually going to the ad buy – most was going into the simplifiers pocket. One of the many scams that can give AdWords and Search Marketing a black eye. One of the reasons the scams are still out there is because the need has gotten even more intense while the industry chases Madison Avenue and Fortune 500 budgets.

My Authority

I have come to realize that I am an Authentic Authority on this subject. Both because of my years of experience in working with smaller ad buys but also because I am myself a “boutique” Professional. I understand AdWords and I understand trying to grow a small business/practice while a fire hose of information is constantly blasting me in the face.

So in spite of the conventional wisdom that working the small market is not “profitable”, I am going to quit fighting it and start embracing it.

A Big Problem:Scaling Communication to Small Ad Buys

Because I think much of the problem lies in education and communication with really busy people, I am going to start with short videos as a way of scaling expertise to small buys. These videos will be more about particular situations, problems, and case studies pertaining to small ad buys than “how to” use the AdWords interface, to begin with anyway. The exact nature of the videos will have as much to do with the participants as anything.

More to come on the “Will Barter My AdWords Expertise for Your Marketing Transparency” nature of the video project.

Big Problem Leaves Room for Multiple Solutions

The problem is vast, and I think a number of legitimate models will and are coming into focus. I would love to be part of an ongoing discussion about how to service the AdWords needs of Small Business and the Professional class. Which includes Artists, Artisans, Entrepreneurs and many Non-Profits.

Two On The Radar

Kim Clinkunbroomer is a fellow expert at AdWords Help Experts (and current spark). She has a practice similar to mine in scope and type of client. She is also Queen of the AdWords Help Forum, in my humble opinion. Like me she lives the problem of adapting years of expertise to smaller ad buys. She is also moving forward with some models that are very interesting.

One of those models is AdWords P.I., an account review and report service. Another is AdWords Hour, training through a Q & A Webinar.

-I had a brief discussion with Cory Huff of NetBiz.com and The Abundant Artist at SEMpdx SearchFest recently. Instant connect in recognizing the problem, and Cory dove right in with this blog post about the issue. Cory and I also seem to share interest and roots in web marketing for artists. In fact, I am learning he has and is already covering a lot of ground with tutorials and courses on web marketing for the arts. A man after my own heart. The Portland music scene is what set me on the web marketing path.

Both of these folks live the problem and have a passion for addressing it as I do, which is totally different from recognizing the problem as an opportunity to exploit.

Are You a Voice?

There are more voices out there on my radar that I would love to have in the conversation, and some I am not familiar with yet. Are you one of them?

Our approach at solving this problem
The AdWords Video Project for Small Business and Professionals

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  1. Hi Cory,
    Yes, boiler room is loaded language, maybe from my insurance days 😉

    There is NOTHING WRONG with call centers and flat fees in themselves, as long as the integrity and transparency is there.

    The cold call model though is fighting a very uphill battle seems to me.

    1 – Since that is the favorite model of scammers, there is some “quack like a duck” that has to be dealt with.

    2 – My own personal experience from my days in financial service is that it is brutal on the callers, and it is the most ineffective form of broadcasting. Because not only is the targeting loose, but the nuisance factor adds a very negative dynamic.

    3 – When I get a Search Marketing cold call, the caller is in for a bad experience – even though I know they may be well intended and just trying to make a buck in a tough economy. I give them some career advice.

    My subjective take.


  2. Tom, what a great way to put this. You know, I think boiler rooms have a bit of a bad rap. Sure, they’re intense, and often noisy, but they’re often staffed with people who have the right heart.

    NetBiz.com is a company that uses a large sales staff, and we have clients that range from the very small mom & pop to companies with ad budgets well into six figures. The issue of how to best help small business is on our minds constantly.

    I really like the video idea and think it bears further exploration and detailing. Adwords PI is also a great idea. It looks like there is finally a lot of innovation around small business Adwords usage.

  3. Hey Tom,

    I’m not sure if I’m barking up the right tree here or not, or even whether I’ve had enough time to digest all you’ve said to be able to have a more intelligent comment, but that said I’ll take a stab here:

    If your intent is to capitalize on the Main Street business person’s desire for AdWords help instead of going after the Fortune 500 crowed, I can’t help but wonder if you should go ahead and speak to local organizations and associations that consist of business owners, in addition to continuing with building up your video series.

    In that way, they could feed each other: you could tell groups to go view your videos and invite video viewers to bring you in to speak inside of their organization.

    For better or for worse, it’s the sizzle and not the steak that gets attention, so it would seem that some “hype” is in line just to grab attention in this Twitter-fied, A.D.D., been-there-done-that-seen-it-all culture we’re immersed in, but once you’ve got their attention, you can lead that where you want it to go.

    You could then educate them, embed a video or two in your PowerPoint, and with your level of expertise it’ll be quickly apparent that you’re indeed an expert in your field.

    My brain is stuck in lead generation and lead conversion mode, so I also think of Education Marketing as generating and converting leads, since standing ovations and pats on the back don’t pay the rent.

    If I’ve gone complete off course here, feel free to steer me back in the right direction!


  4. Your points are on topic and well taken David.

    Here are some comments on comments.

    -Speaking: Absolutely would be a logical next step, but “Time Management” is a theme here, for me and the target market. So as a priority I am putting website content (video) ahead of speaking. If I can do both fine, but too many good ideas, not enough time, is another facet of the problem faced by me and other small business and professionals.

    -Hype: Too much hype, not enough specific solutions to particular situations is another facet of the “fractured focus” problem. It may go against traditional marketing sensibilities, but less “hype” can be “unique sizzle”. Another way to put it is that if everyone else is shouting to the masses, then try whispering to individuals.

    -Ovations do not pay rent: Not directly, but monetization tends to become clear these days if you indeed have a properly priced solution to a problem. Build the better mousetrap first, then monetize around that solution. Kind of like Google 😉


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