five bucks

Five bucks. That’s all you need to start an AdWords account. It’s so easy anyone can do it. Anyone can run their own AdWords campaign, yes?

Five bucks is all you need – unless you happen to work in a competitive industry like real estate, finance, insurance, or … plumbing?

Yesterday I had a great discussion with Tom Hale about the need to help very small businesses break the barrier to entry for AdWords. These small businesses are at a disadvantage in search marketing for a couple of reasons:

  • They’re late to the game: AdWords started years ago. There are still small businesses that don’t know they can advertise on Google, and there are still businesses who don’t have websites yet (yikes!).
  • They don’t have time: Mom & Pop shops often have barely enough time to run the basics of their business. How are they going to find time to set up an AdWords account and manage it?
  • Limited knowledge resources: AdWords professionals will often make AdWords sound like it’s really easy, and for them, it is. Most people don’t live and breathe marketing though. AdWords is a mythical beast that they don’t know how to slay.
  • Limited financial resources: Many of the AdWords experts have learned their skills through expensive trial and error. Small businesses don’t have the extra cash. The ones that do allocate money to marketing often need to know exactly how much it’s going to cost each month so they can project budgets for the future.

I paint a dire picture here, but the truth is that even with these hurdles, the small shops still have a huge opportunity with AdWords and other PPC media. They don’t need a huge slice of the AdWords pie; because they are so small, they can get by with just a small piece of the overall market.

At, we’ve been helping very small businesses be successful with AdWords for seven years. Our entry-level pricing for AdWords is a flat rate. There are a lot of SEM marketing companies who rail against the flatrate model, saying that it’s not transparent enough, that it’s not flexible, or that it’s otherwise inferior.

Without getting into all the back and forth, I’ll make these two points:

  • The client who pays $75 per month for a highly targeted term like “Poughkeepsie Luxury Homes” doesn’t care about the cost when she gets featured in a national magazine article because of her advertising (This is purely an example – we didn’t actually charge that price for that term – but we did get a client into a national magazine for a ridiculously low amount of money).
  • Google recognizes the need for some sort of predictable pricing model.
    Ad Age did a story on Google making a limited offer on flatrate ads in San Diego and other test markets.

So, the question remains. How can we, as advertisers, help small businesses solve the barrier to entry problem in a way that is transparent and helpful, while still making money?

Nik Dahlberg

Dedicated Father, enthusiastic marketer. Let's connect.

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