By Colby Horton
Shop Site of the Month
Sallas Auto Repair - Kansas City and Overland Park, Kan.
This site offers an abundance of information in an organized and appealing manner. The unique navigation scheme appears on the right side of the page instead of the traditional left side. Testimonials are published on every page of the site, giving the shop increased credibility. An online appointment scheduler and "Ask-an-Expert" feature provide convenience to the visitor. A list of "Cool Web Sites" is enhanced by descriptions and logos. Text throughout is concise and well-written.
Tips on Creating a Pay-per-click Ad: Part 1
Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the easiest ways of driving targeted traffic to your shop's Web site. PPC was first discussed in June's Net Worth column. Since then, I've received numerous phone calls and e-mails asking how to successfully create a PPC campaign that brings consistent traffic and prospective motorists to a shop's Web site without breaking the bank. Here's Part 1 in a series of tips that should help you create a successful PPC campaign.
When you're first venturing into the PPC arena, keep it simple. There are a lot of search engines out there that allow PPC advertising. But focus on two: Google and Yahoo. Those two search engines account for almost 75 percent of searches on the Internet today. Keep your initial budget simple as well. Start with a small budget, allotting finances evenly to both search engines to see where your target audience may be. To create a PPC campaign in Google, go to http://adwords.google.com. Yahoo's search engine marketing information can be found at http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/marketing.
The keyword selection process is probably the most important part of creating a PPC campaign. You have to select key words that are specific to your shop. "Automotive repair" is much too general. Focus on key words that define the core of your business. Try something extremely specialized like "Toyota repair in Dallas" or "automotive air conditioning repair." Remember that in creating a PPC campaign, you'll have to bid on key words. The higher you bid, the higher your placement in search engines. You only pay if someone clicks your listing in the search engine. So if you select key words that are extremely popular, it may deplete your PPC funds sooner than expected.
When selecting your key words, ask yourself what words you would use when searching for a shop like yours on the Internet. Using your answer or answers, you can start building your keyword list.
You may also want to use the Overture search suggestion tool. Visit http://inventory.overture. com/d/searchinventory/suggestion. With this tool, you can type in a set of keywords and it will list similar keywords, including the number of times that keyword was searched on Yahoo in the last month. For example, type in the key words "repair shop" in the Overture tool and it will produce results saying that term was searched on Yahoo almost 50,000 times in September 2006. But the tool will help you come up with specialized key words for your shop.
Next month, I'll discuss how to attract visitors to your PPC ad and even how to reduce your "click through" rate.
YouTube (www.youtube.com), a consumer media company for people to watch and share original videos worldwide, has been purchased by Google for $1.65 billion.
ASA Web Ways
Need Quick Answers?
Keeping up with the demands of electronic communication efforts, ASA has implemented instant messaging technology throughout its Web site (www.ASAshop.org) to better serve its members' needs. Members can chat with a representative from ASA's membership department Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Central time, with no additional software needed. Look for the "Instant Chat" buttons throughout the site, including the Members Only area, and be connected immediately.