As with digital analytics, before starting my role at Tourism Ireland I was not at all familiar with search engine optimisation or the marketing that goes along with it. The basics were covered in our Digital Marketing class, so I had some sort of idea of what it was, but it wasn’t until a few months into my job that I really understood what search engine marketing was and how it worked.
There are three sections to the Google Adwords Education site and online marketing courses, as seen below.
There are also three videos that correspond to the three steps, though as with the digital analytics course I found the written tutorials to be overall more attention grabbing and interesting.
The three-part course starts with a quiz to determine how effective a companies current website is. It does this with a mix of infographics and targeted questions. Already from this you are learning the basics of what makes a good, functional working website and what needs improvement.
The quiz includes questions such as
- Does your website have a clear, eye-catching headline?
- Does your website clearly list the benefits your customer will get if they purchase your product or use your service?
- Does your website feature images or video?
- Is there a clear call-to-action on your site?
Is it easy to locate your business’ contact information on your website
Does your business have an online presence beyond your website, such as a free Google My Business listing or social media site?
I found these questions very interesting to keep in mind when thinking of the Tourism Ireland german website. If we look at the webpage some things are definitely covered, such as eye-catching headlines, use of video and images, and online presence are all easy to spot. However I am not sure if there is a clear call to action, or if the benefits for customers are clearly listed. This could be because we are promoting an intangible good (tourism) but nevertheless these are things that should be kept in mind.
After covering the basics the tutorial goes into more detail on how to create a successful ad campaign and how to reach more customers. There are five steps involved in this:
- Choosing the right campaign settings
- Creating effective ads
- Selecting the right keywords
- Making sure that your ads show
- Finding out how your ad is doing
Each section has between four and two smaller steps, helping break up the process.Again Google makes this simple and interactive with a questions and infographics to lead you through the search engine marketing process.
Looking within choosing the right campaign setting I feel that for Tourism Ireland the goals and the campaign type steps are the most important. This is because each office is already geographically limited in the sense that they are responsible for the market/location that they in and their budget is often determined centrally, so not something that individual markets have much sway in. As Tourism Ireland is not selling something in the traditional sense, I feel that defining the marketing goals is one of the most important steps. They have to know precisely what the campaign goals and aims are before starting it, otherwise they will just be aimlessly spending money hoping for some sort of results.
When you move through the steps, you are given the option to set up an actual Google AdWords account, meaning that you can learn and then implement your learnings in real-time. Throughout the whole process Google provides useful helps and tips, making the whole thing very simple. Below we can see how Google prompts you to set up your own account and start using AdWords.
I feel that steps like this, and the overall control you have over your account makes AdWords particularly useful for small businesses. As there is no minimum spend smaller companies can still utilise search engine marketing, while working within their budgetary parameters. They keep full control over how much to spend in a given time frame, along with maintaining the flexibility to adjust their spending whenever they want. As companies only pay-per-click rather than per impression they can avoid having to make large financial commitments to an advertising campaign. Data on each campaign is collected which means companies can review, and if its required, adjust their ads. This feed back loop allows for continual improvement of ad campaigns. Companies that lack technical expertise, or a dedicated marketing team can garner experience and knowledge of what works for them before committing more of their recourses to another digital marketing campaign.
This is largely what the last section, Tracking and improving results, covers. Here you learn about conversion statistics to help measure your campaigns success, and get your overall return on investment. You can also sort by keywords to see which bring the most conversions, along with getting a search report to see what people are searching for when they find your ad. As I don’t have an AdWords account, I couldn’t actively participate with all the sections, but overall these tutorials are very well thought out and informative. It has certainly opened my eyes to see how much information is computed just for one simple Google search – and somehow has made me appreciate the process even more!