Promoting Your Invention Project With Adwords

If you're selling your invention directly yourself or running a crowd funding project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you need to find cost effective ways to get prospective buyers and backers to check it out. With a great story and the right circle of friends you can do a lot for free on social media and via press releases and outreach. After you've done that and especially if you don't have social media resources to draw upon, paid advertising should be a part of your promotion plan.

With a budget of millions you could advertise on network TV and millions of random people will learn that the invention exists. But even if you could afford it, how many will take action to learn more and how many of those people will take the full step of actually paying you money? The simple answer is, not nearly enough. That's even the case if your product is destined to be a blockbuster As Seen on TV hit. The most effective ads, the ones that do the best job of converting prospects into buyers, are those that reach people who will be interested in what the product does; this process is known as targeting. Ads can be targeted in all kinds of ways. One of the most effective is by tracking what a user has been searching for online and only paying if the user actually clicks on the ad. This kind of advertising is called pay-per-click (PPC) and is available through a Google service called Adwords (Bing offers an equivalent service called BingAds).

Adwords is pay-per-click advertising where your ad shows up only when users searching on Google type in the specific key words you choose (Adwords gives you suggestions too). If the user clicks on your ad you pay, otherwise you don't. If you choose, Adwords ads may also appear on topically related websites. A website devoted to DIY home repair projects might run Adwords and your ad for a new hammer could automatically appear on that site. Using Adwords you don't have to search out appropriate websites to advertise on, your ads can appear automatically on both topic related websites and Google itself with a single sign-up. Google also monitors user behavior and a user who's searched for hammers, might see your ad even when they move on to read news or search for a car.

What's great about Adwords is that you can buy an interested audience quickly. However, you need to be smart about how you go about it to avoid losing a lot of money. Clicks can cost upwards of $1 and your conversion rate (the percentage of people who click and end up buying/backing your project) could be as low as 1% or even worse. At a 1% conversion rate and a cost of $1 per click you'll be paying $100 to get one backer. To not lose money, the profit on your hammer would need to be at least $100 ($100 on top of the cost of your product and fulfillment). Some people might pay $125 for a cool hammer ($100 ad cost + $15 product cost + $10 "profit") but not many.

One way to keep conversion costs down is to limit the amount you pay per click. Adwords allows you to select this number yourself, in addition to a daily budget. So, you could choose to pay as little as $0.25 per click and $5 a day. The downside is that the less you pay, the worse your placement and the fewer clicks you get. Pay more per click and your ad will get better placement and more clicks. At $0.25 per day, you might get few clicks and not even reach a $5 daily budget.

A way to pay more per click and raise the conversion rate is to be specific in your ad to the point of turning some people off. For example, setting the cost for your hammer at a more plausible $65, your ad might be:

Ergonomic Hammer
Prevents Carpal Tunnel
$65 now on Kickstarter

There's nothing sexy about that ad. It will appeal to people who need a hammer, care about carpal tunnel syndrome, are prepared to pay $65 and like Kickstarter. That's not a lot of people. But those who DO click are EXACTLY the people you want. The conversion rate will be high.

Compare to this ad:

Fantastic New Hammer
Feels Like Magic
Check it out now!

In this case, anyone interested in hammers might click. That's a lot more people, but when they get to your landing page (it could be your website or Kickstarter project) most will click away as soon as they see the price and what makes the hammer special. The conversion rate will be low.

A literal book could be written about how to implement Adwords to best effect. If you don't want to make a career of it, my advice is to just sign up, keep your daily budget low and experiment for a while to get a feel for what works. Sign up is easy and feedback is fast. In a few days you should be able to gain a basic level of understanding and competence.

Learn more about Adwords.

- Mike

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