Guest post by Megan Perez
One of the reasons Google has been such a popular search engine is due to its largely uncluttered home page. Sure, you sometimes see the whimsical Google Doodle, but the page itself is free from ads. Earlier this week, this changed when Google posted a simple, yet rare ad on its page. The product? It was its own Nexus 7 tablet.
This was the first time that Google had any ad on its home page. The ad was subtle, so many people may not have noticed, but it opened the minds of many Internet marketers. What would you do if you could have an ad on the most powerful piece of Internet real estate? Since the ad would be on Google’s homepage, keyword research would be unnecessary. So how else could you ensure that it was effective?
Create an Incentive to Click
Even if the ad is on such a powerful page, it needs to invite the reader to click. A simple image may not be enough. A link for important information like “pricing” or “locations” can improve your click-through rate. You may also provide links for special deals or discounts. While you would want to stick with Google’s uncluttered appearance, you also want to ensure the viewer has a reason to click your add.
Be Prepared for a Surge
If you could put your ad on Google’s home page, you would need to be prepared for a surge in traffic on your site and increased sign ups with your email marketing efforts. It's inevitable that the world’s most powerful web page and a good ad pointing readers to your site would turn into increased traffic. So, how would you handle this?
First, you would need to make sure that your web site is ready to handle an increase in traffic without crashing. Then, you would need the help of a strong email-marketing client to handle the increased traffic and the number of email newsletters you would be sending. Finally, you would need to be certain the page the ad directs people to is one that converts into new newsletter signups, group members or product sales — depending on your goal.
Go Big or Go Home
The understated Nexus 7 tablet ad was big. It was not big enough to be obtrusive, but it was big enough to grab attention. Your ad would need to be big. Consider the Yellow Pages for a minute. What ads does your eye gravitate toward when you open the phone book? The large ones, right? Similarly, your ad on Google’s page would need to be large enough to grab the attention of people coming to the page to search.
Focus on Good Content
Once the ad is ready, you need to make sure your site has the content that will turn clicks into customers or generate repeat visitors. Your content needs to be original, thoughtful and well-written. If you can focus on breaking news in the market, you will do well. Always include a call to action as well, because this is where clicks become customers.
Chances are that Google will not soon repeat its home-page advertising. After all, it has grown into one of the most successful Internet giants without home-page ads, so why change what is already working? Still, it's fun to dream about what it would be like to own some space on the most important piece of the Internet.Megan Perez is a business communications major who is working on her M.B.A. She bought her first car with cash and wants to be the next Suze Orman.