'Lunch With Google' In GR

January 14, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Michal Lorenc, online sales and operations manager for Internet search engine and advertising giant Google, will be in Grand Rapids on Jan. 23 to talk about "Google’s increasing suite of Business Tools, and then dive deep into (an) AdWords Workshop," according to an announcement from aimWest.org.

Lorenc will speak at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.

AimWest — formerly glimaWest, for Great Lakes Interactive Marketing Association of West Michigan — is one of the sponsors of the event.

Rob Huisingh, a member of aimWest and one of the owners of local Internet technology consultant Foxbright.com, said Lorenc is one of the top executives at Google. Previously he was employed by Time Warner Inc. in sales management at the AOL subsidiary.

The event is billed as an opportunity to "learn directly from the Web search engine experts," who can offer "insights that will help you promote your organization, product, or cause online."

Search engine optimization is practically an industry of its own and involves strategic use of key words and phrases that will bring up Web site links in a search of the Internet.

"Internet search is becoming an extremely important facet of business," said Huisingh. "How do you go about making sure that your individual product or service or organization is found" by people searching the Internet?

To increase the odds of selling a product or service via the Internet, many now buy online advertising. That's what made the creators of Google rich, along with Yahoo, MSN and others.

AdWords is Google's "sponsored link" advertising that appears at the top or side of the screen when Google is used to search the Internet. Much of the AdWords process can be "do-it-yourself," although using key words and phrases effectively is not as easy as it may seem — which is why Lorenc is coming to town to talk about it.

In doing a Google search for "advertising Grand Rapids," a number of sponsored links show up on the top and side of the screen. At the top one day recently was Cull Group, advertised as an "award-winning advertising agency based right here in Grand Rapids."

Internet search engine advertising is the “Holy Grail” of advertising, said Jeff Seaver, vice president of Cull Group, a small advertising firm that has been in business in Grand Rapids for 33 years.

Unlike traditional advertising via print publications, television or radio, the advertiser on the Internet can get electronic feedback that quickly reveals what combination of key words or phrases works best. The advertiser can also precisely control the expense of Internet advertising.

"This is really direct marketing taken to the next level," said Seaver.

Google AdWords charges a fee based on how many times someone clicks on a sponsored link, but that fee-per-click depends on what the advertiser is willing to pay. Pay less and it may mean a lower "rank" on the page — below competitors' sponsored links. An advertiser can also limit the number of clicks they will pay for in a given time frame. When the limit is reached, the sponsored link does not appear.

Sometimes companies competing in business-to-business sales want to use the same key word or phrase, and they will bid up the price-per-click, because a single click could ultimately yield a sale worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seaver said he has seen a price-per-click as high as $25.

Seaver said Cull Group spends "thousands per year" on its Google advertising, and has been using it for several years.

"I think we were one of the first agencies in Grand Rapids to become specialists in keyword advertising campaigns," he said. He said a major keyword advertising campaign "will include hundreds, sometimes thousands, of different key word combinations."

Another firm that showed up in a sponsored link in a Google search for "advertising Grand Rapids," was Brainwash Design of Jenison. Alex White, founder of Brainwash, said his small creative shop has been using Google AdWords for about a year and only spends about $200 a year on it, using a very limited number of key words.

He said the company landed a client through their Internet advertising shortly after it started using it, and that company is still doing business with Brainwash Design.

"It's really nice, if people are just starting out" in business, he said.

“Lunch with Google” costs $15 for members of aimWest, $25 for nonmembers, and includes lunch. Registration is required by Jan. 16 and can be done online at aimWest.org.

Besides aimWest, sponsors of the event are Seidman College of Business at GVSU, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Center.

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