6 Online marketing tips: from Google challenge semi-finalist

MEST, Monday September 26th 2011

About the Google online marketing challenge

[caption id="attachment_940" align="alignleft" width="298"] Image Credit: Business Marketing Blog[/caption]
The Google online marketing challenge is an annual competition organised by Google with the focus of providing participating teams a hands on opportunity to acquire skills in online marketing through a Google sponsored online marketing campaign for businesses or non-governmental organisation chosen by participants over a 3week period. This year, more than 3000 teams from 95 countries participated this year, where my team’s work made it to the semi-finals (647-067-7737 MEA, Ghana)

My team from MEST (Annette Tettey, Panyin Sersah, Daniel Abakah, Eric Ted-Cofie, and myself), with $200 free AdWords credit provided by Google, participated in the 2011 competition providing an AdWords campaign for Ghana Home Loans (GHL), a mortgage company based in Ghana.

How we got started and some results

The goal we set for the campaign for GHL was to increase their brand awareness and drive traffic to their ‘property finder’ website.

To begin with, we started by drafting a pre-campaign strategy, analysing the company, industry and their current marketing efforts. We also set targets on how to utilise the $200 budget for the three-week period as follows: an average cost per click of $1.00 and a click through rate of 1-2%. At the end of the three-week campaign, we exceeded most of our targets. Key among them were 867 clicks, click-through rate of 2.83% and an average cost per click of $0.23.

6 online marketing tips for you
Some tips we can share from our experience for individuals and companies who want run an effective online marketing campaign include:

  1. Plan: The first thing we set out to do as mentioned earlier was to plan our advertising campaign setting out what we wanted to achieve and what we needed to do in order to achieve them through a pre-campaign strategy report.

  2. Use relevant keywords: We created ads with the target audience in mind, and since our campaign was targeted at people looking for houses or mortgage loans in Ghana, for example, we chose keywords such as Ghana, housing in Ghana, accommodation in Ghana etc to trigger our ads in searches.

  3. Add ‘call to action’ items to your ads: A 'callFrom research, we learned that your target audience is likely to respond to your ads when there is a ‘call to action’ such as “Apply now!”, “Contact us now!”, “Support us” etc. These calls have the potential get you ‘clicks’ from potential customers.

  4. Use relevant landing pages for ads:  Be sure the landing page for your ad corresponds to what you are advertising. For example, an ad for ‘house listings’ should land users on the house listings page and not the home page of the company.

  5. Monitor performance of campaign continually: The AdWords dashboard offered analytics helping us monitor ad performance, and as a result enabling us make appropriate changes as and when needed.

  6. Make use of the ‘opportunities feature’ in your AdWords account: This feature provided us with an automated list of suggested keywords based on our keywords list. This helped to increase the number of times our ads were shown and ultimately translated into an increase in the number of clicks.

In summary, a very effective online marketing campaign can be executed by setting objectives for your campaign, having your audience in mind, choosing appropriate keywords, providing relevant landing pages for your ads and continually monitoring the performance of your ads.

I hope you found some useful tips and it’d be a lot more exciting to read your thoughts and experiences as well ;)