What General Motors Doesn’t Understand—Visibility Counts

By the number of flyers stuck to my front door, sticking out of my mailbox, and tucked under the wiper blade of my car… I think I’m safe in saying that my local restaurants, cleaning ladies, roofers, grocery stores, dry cleaners, window washers, painters, etc, etc, etc are desperate for ways to stay in front of potential customers.

There is a way to stay in front of potential customers online that likely costs less than paying people spam houses and cars in the neighborhood. Two well known companies give you the tools to put your ads in front of targeted audiences at very low prices: Facebook and Google.

Facebook – Targeted Advertising on the Cheap

Facebook allows you to choose the people you want to target very carefully. You can select gender, age, location, and even get into what they like and don’t like. If you know your target market’s demographics, using Facebook’s simple system, you simply focus in on those people, create a very simple ad that even has an image in it, and your ads begin appearing in the right-hand column of the targeted people’s Facebook pages.

Yes, you do have to pay for these ads, but like most online ads these days, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. And, part of the reason Facebook’s stock has slid nearly 20% in two days is because people know that the only 5 in 10,000 people click on those ads. That’s potentially 9,995 people seeing your ad without you paying a dime!

Bonus Info: People burn out on Facebook ads very quickly—they literally stop noticing them because they see the same ad dozens of times a day. To prevent ad burn out, rotate your ads. Facebook ads are easy to make, so make several and rotate them regularly.

Google’s Remarketing – Visibility for Pennies

Google has a great AdWords product that allows you to put a cookie on the browser of anyone who visits your site. This is referred to as putting these visitors into your remarketing audience. When these visitors go to another site that has advertising delivered by Google—there are over 1 million websites and hundreds of millions of pages that have ads delivered by the online advertising giant—Google can see they’re in your audience and will display your ads to them.

What could be better than staying in front of people who have been to your site—they are in some way interested in your products and services. The vast majority of people do not become a customer on their first visit—stay in front of them and encourage them to come back.

Like Facebook, Google gives you some great tools to make very powerful ads. And like Facebook, they only charge you if/when someone clicks on the ad. Maybe one of the reasons Google’s stock is doing better than Facebook’s is because on average ads on Google’s display advertising system are clicked on 40 out of every 10,000 views.

Bonus Info: Your ads only begin showing up after 500 people are in your audience, so get the code on your website ASAP to begin building that audience. Don’t let creating the perfect ad hold you back. Make a really simple ad to begin with—you can build the real ads later.

Visibility Still Matters

Any kid who moves her lemonade stand to the corner of two busy streets can tell the GM geniuses, you need to be visible to sell.

The high-paid marketers at GM don’t seem to understand that staying in front of potential customers is important. Last week they very publicly announced that they were going to stop advertising on Facebook because it wasn’t selling cars.

Internet marketers tend to focus on the aspects of online marketing that are quantifiable.  It’s what they love about Internet marketing—everything can be measured. This measurability tends to blind Internet marketers to the fact that visibility and branding still have an important role to play, even it can’t be measured to tenths of percents.

Thanks to Todd Bates for sharing the sandwich board photo and Geoff Sowery for sharing the lemonade stand photo via the Creative Commons license.


Rod Holmes is a partner at Chicago Style SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm. You can read more of his thoughts at or on Twitter: @chicagostyleseo

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One Comment

Stop blending in with the rest of the crowd and start leaving your mark on the web