I wonder where you are. And I wonder what you do.

Those are the lyrics to an old Lionel Richie song and also words spoken by your customers—or at least someone who could potentially be your customer. That age-old challenge of getting customers to notice you, find you, see who you are and what you do, and then (drum roll…) buy from you, is alive and well and being solved by some savvy companies right where it matters the most. Google.

Google has recently surpassed Wal-Mart as the Big Mama of all brands. If you aren’t using Google to promote your organization then I can only ask, why for-the-love-of-revenue not? Are you unsure how to go about it? Do you feel like you don’t have the time? Do you feel like it will cost too much? These feelings are understandable; but let me share some things you can do to get over that hurdle.

  1. Call us so we can help you integrate search optimization into your marketing strategy. We are here to help you and can take this load off your back.

Want to go it alone? Okay, then here are some basic steps to get your toes in the Google pool.

  1. Create an account with Google.
  2. Go to the campaign tab and click on the button that says create a campaign. Fill in the appropriate information on that page and follow the directions to enable the campaign. While you’re there, set your budget for as much or as little as you want. This is a great tool for keeping automatic track of what you spend.
  3. Create your ad. In the spaces provided, write an eye-catching header, a few words of text and enter the URLs to your Web site. Here’s an example. Giraffe Conference Sale
    Register today and save $100 on the Petite Lap Giraffes conference. www.petitelapgiraffe.com
  4.  The next step is key. (Sorry for the pun but it is very important.) Choose keywords that you think your customers will use to find you. You can put in as many as you want but make sure they are relevant. You don’t want to put in the word giraffe if you are promoting monster truck equipment and supplies. Use your acronyms and the name of your organization but also think about the language and phrases potential customers will use when they search. Remember — they don’t live in your world of insider speak. You can get help selecting some keywords using Google’s keyword tool.
  5. Fill out your billing information and activate the account.

Once you get comfortable using Google Ad Words you can get more advanced and create even better ads.

Wait — there’s more! You’ll get free listings if you act now!

Don’t you love those commercials where you can get 600 Ginsu knives, an aluminum can crusher, and a hat for the low price of $19.95? Well, with Google you can get thousands of impressions and new customers just by optimizing your site a bit. This is how you can get started.

Google has little spiders (don’t ask) that go out into cyberspace and read all the sites on the Internet. They then put these sites into a massive complex algorithm that posts the listings relevant to the search terms that were entered. So the million-dollar question is, how do you get to the top of the first page of results? Lots of ways.

  1. Make sure you have good, relevant content on your site and use terminology that people use to search. For example, the airlines used to use to say they offered “affordable airplane tickets.” The smart airlines promoted “cheap flights.” Why? Because that’s what we, Jane Public, were using to search for, well, cheap airline tickets.
  2. Fill in your metadata (description and some keywords) and tag your photos.
  3. Register your site on the Google directory. It’s free and a good start.
  4. Link to other sites and have your affiliates, chapters, friends, and relevant partners link to you.
  5. Blog. Spiders like blogs. And videos. Spiders and people like videos.

That’s a start in a nutshell. Make sure you are using search optimization (and paid placements) in your marketing strategy. Now that you know “just what to say” and you know “just what to do,” we’ll see you at the top of the, ahem, charts!

Lionel Richie poses with CSG Creative team members
Lionel Richie poses with CSG Creative team members: (L-R) Tyler Morell, Katie O’Brien, Lionel Richie, Lacey Olivares, Stephanie Wallis, and Megan Hall