I recently completed my AdWords certification exams which means this month I’m celebrating five years in business, and five years as a Google Partner.
What does it mean to be a Google Partner?
Basically it means that Google trusts us, and so can you!
Google Partners need to regularly pass exams, achieve Best Practices for Performance and Customer Care and meet minimum client spend requirements. Once you become a Partner, Google provides resources and promotions to help win new clients, a fast track to skilled advice, support for maximising results for clients and cool stuff, like the World Cup kit pictured.
The Google Partner program recently rolled out these certificates that Partners can use to verify their qualifications. Qualified businesses also have an online business profile and individual profile.
What have a I learned in 5 years?
Google moves fast
So fast that sometimes I feel like Google years are like dog years, and I actually do 7 years worth of stuff for every year that I’m in the game!
But hey, that’s one of the things I like the most. Google is constantly innovating and adding new features to the AdWords platform, which keeps me on my toes as my role as an AdWords Manager includes helping clients make the most of features that will be most beneficial to their Campaigns.
In five years I’ve seen:
- Multiple changes to the AdWords interface with new features added regularly to make managing Ad Campaigns more efficient
- The introduction of Remarketing
- The bigger introduction of Enhanced Campaigns, which allow ads to be customised based on the device (computer, tablet or mobile) that the searcher is using
- An evolving and increasingly more supportive Partner Program, including three different logos relevant to businesses like mine.
Technology moves fast
The evolution of social media into what it is now is due to smartphone technology and the availability of mobile phone plans that include affordable internet access. Without either we wouldn’t be able to sit and swoosh and catch up on social media via our phones whenever we feel like it. It’s hard to imagine that the first generation iPhone was only released in 2007. Then again, I can remember dial up internet that meant you couldn’t be on the phone and the internet at the same time!
Take a walk down memory lane in 25 Years Since the Internet Began.
Business is about people
Online marketing and social media are wonderful ways to connect with new people but will never replace the value of building relationships and meeting people face-to-face. I do a lot of networking in the Australian business community and find that it’s a great place to be for business owners because other business owners are so supportive, willing to help and willing to refer new business.
Always be listening and learning
Like most business owners, I’ve had my fare share of ups and downs, especially in the early years when there is so much to learn about running a business, like finding the right clients, selling your services, setting your prices, invoicing, cash flow and juggling all your priorities while still meeting client expectations. Two things keep me going:
1. People. Clients, prospects and business partners are endlessly supportive in sharing wisdom, advice and laughs.
2. Challenges are an Opportunity. Unexpected things happen every day in business and every unexpected thing is an opportunity to learn and become a better business person.
Never stop marketing
Clearly I’m biased because marketing is my field but lack of clients or products sales is a key reason businesses struggle. Both issues can be solved with marketing, whether it be making sure there is a market for the product or service, pricing, copywriting, lead generation, brand awareness and design or other another area that needs attention.
Marketing takes time, and when you’re busy with work it can be tempting to cut back, but it’s too late to start marketing again if you wait until your work slows up.
Continually make improvements to your website
No matter how good your website is, there are always ways that you can update and improve it. Add content regularly, keep your design fresh, evaluate your web traffic performance and set small goals each month for new ways to get better results.
I’ve had four different websites in my first five business years and I totally understand how mentally strenuous and time consuming updating your site can be. But it’s such a pivotal part of most businesses marketing and branding, that when you see the end result, it’s well worth it. I started with a Vistaprint design and moved on to Magic Dust. Then for version three I couldn’t live without WordPress magic any longer. Version four was a modified version of WordPress, with new graphics, a wider page and other tweaks. And watch out for version five. It’s a breath of fresh air – totally mobile responsive and custom designed.
Advice for businesses running AdWords
Unfortunately I still see AdWords campaigns all the time that can be drastically improved. I first wrote this article on 5 Common and Costly AdWords Mistakes and How to Avoid Them years ago, but recently refreshed it because unfortunately I’m still seeing the same mistakes regularly.
Here are my best tips:
- If you’re outsourcing management, always always always make sure you work with a Google Partner. Don’t agree to let your web developer, friend or designer run your ads just because they offered.
- If you’re managing your own ads, don’t ever just “set and forget”. Do AdWords training and make updates regularly to improve your results.
- Never never never let telemarketers convince you that your ads are badly managed, or that Google passed on your account details (they would never do that). Seek advice from a Google Partner instead.
- AdWords management is not one-size-fits-all. There are different sized agencies with different skills and experience. Whoever you work with and before you run any campaign, always always always figure out how you will track the results. And make sure you receive a regular report (at least monthly) and updates from your agency.
The Google+ wave will come to Australia soon
If you’ve spoken to me recently you’ll have heard my Google+ spiel! I love Google+ so my mission, as well as continuing with Google AdWords and Analytics services, is to roll out Google+ training and coaching programs in the next few months.
Remember what Facebook was like in 2008? People kept sending you invites but you didn’t get why you should spend time there, or what it was all about? A few years later Facebook was massive. People in other countries are already fully tapped in to the potential of Google+ and the wave will get bigger in Australia soon. This means that now is your chance to get active there, before you competitors do. If you’re an Australian Business owner, find out about the Free Google+ Training sessions I’m offering on 30 June.
Thanks to my clients, partners, family and friends for helping me get this far. Onwards to year six!
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.