Getting started in online advertising can be a bit intimidating for a small business owner – there is just so much information out there and so many choices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. However, starting small and taking your time can still have a big payoff.
When lifelong peanut farmer Danielle Baker of Baker’s Peanuts decided to expand the business five years ago, she was faced with a whole new market segment to reach. Her family-run operation grew from strictly wholesale to include consumer sales of peanut goodies and gift baskets. Baker initially began advertising through offline channels including print ads in magazines and newspapers, radio ads and exhibiting at food shows. Although they had good results through these avenues, it took a significant budget and time to see the sales roll in.
For the 2007 holiday season Baker decided to give online pay-per-click advertising a try with Google AdWords. I asked her why she chose to start with Google. “It’s what I already use all the time when I’m looking for something. It was very easy to understand and get started with just the help section.” Although self-described as “not that computer literate”, Baker has become an expert on her best keywords, and now builds a campaign around some holiday or event each month. So far this year she’s done something for the Superbowl, basketball season, Administrative Professionals’ Day, and baseball season in addition to their regular baseline ads.
In 2008 approximately 30% of the company’s sales have come through the internet, with half of those directly via AdWords. (The other half is customers finding the site through organic search engine results, not ads.)
With only a handful of full time employees, finding the time to learn about marketing and actually doing it has been Baker’s biggest challenge. “I wear so many hats. The information is there and it works if you can study it, but you need the time!”
Laura Leites, Assistant Editor, Smallbiztechnology.com