5 Lessons from Google Advertising

Google Newspaper Advertising

Google newspaper advertising targeting business

Google Advertises in the Local Newspaper

Recently my jaw dropped as I was reviewing my local area newspaper.  Why?  Well, I saw a full-page print ad in my newspaper from Google!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Google advertising in a local area newspaper. 

What is so unusual about the Big Boy of the Internet advertising in a medium sized metro newspaper?  To begin, one doesn’t often see Google advertising outside of its own self-created world of the Internet.  When they do, it is a surprise and to use a popular, yet, overused phrase, a teachable moment.  In this case, 5 teachable moments can be gleaned for small business, frequent newspaper advertisers. How so?

Lesson 1 – Simple and clean ad design

Rather than covering every millimeter of space with black ink  the ad copy is spare, uses a large type face with lots of white space  making the ad very readable.

Another design feature of the ad that helps grab the reader’s attention is in the layout of the ad.  It is off center, a subtle suggestion that it might be a piece of paper thrown onto one’s desk.  These design features and the addition of the red paper clip makes this ad jump off the page and to immediately grab the reader’s eyeballs by standing out  from all of the newspaper stories and other advertising occupying the same page.

Lesson 2- Spare, targeted copy

The headline and copy blocks do not waste the reader’s time.  it gets directly to the point, or rather to the benefit – you only pay for results, if you pay me at all. What business owner would love that?   The copy also immediately targets the desired audience – business owners of any size that may be looking to hire Google to market their products and services.  The ad uses as few words as are possible while reinforcing the stated benefit.  No need for long, boring copy.  No need for confusing or fussy graphics.  Get straight to the point and make it resonate with the target audience.

Lesson 3 – Spare copy and the business communication are design as a unit

What do I mean by that?  So often an advertising message is shoehorned into a graphic template that does nothing to reinforce the message.  Google’s ad is a clear business message targeting business people and the design, a  business-like communique, reinforces that message.

Lesson 4 – A clear call to action

Rather than waxing on and on about all of the services Google has to offer small business, Google engages and slightly teases  business owners to visit the web site (www.google.com/hiregoogle).  In so doing,  Google is telling the audience what action they should take…Hire Google.

Lesson 5 – Ad Measurement

There is little doubt that the link was track-able through Google Analytics so they will know the effectiveness of this ad to generate reader action.  Google won’t be guessing.  They will know exactly how well this ad pulled and will know if it makes sense to repeat their efforts and the associated expense.

To often small business turns over the design and copy responsibilities of their newspaper advertising to the newspaper staff.  Yes, these services are free or at a significant discount when compared to trained advertising professionals the Big Boys like Google hire.  But is this a case of being penny wise and pound foolish?

Why bother to advertise if there no one is going to pay attention to the what the ad says or the image it coveys?  If the ad doesn’t perform, what has been gained? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is very little  for you, the small business advertiser.

The newspaper filled some space to the tune of $1,000, $2,000 or more of your hard earned dollars.  Readers skimmed over your ad, didn’t see it or bother to read it.  They certainly didn’t take any action because the ad didn’t ask them to and the worst part, is that you, the small business owner, don’t have a clue if the ad worked.

Get smarter about your advertising

Take the lessons from Google’s advertising and apply them to your own business.  Dare to stand out from the crowd and the competitive clutter.  Go ahead and make an impression. I dare you.

One marketing tool that may help you get smarter about your advertising is TMB’s Communications Strategy Selection Outline or SSO.  You can find it under the Marketing Tools tab.  This tool will help you work through the various options you have when it comes to the target audience, your competition and your unique advertising message.  It’s what the Big Boys use and you can use it too.  All I ask is that you let me know how it works for you.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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