New Tool Seeks to Simplify Online Marketing

By Lauren Simonds | Posted August 09, 2006

In an industry crowded with oddly named products, TrafficZug fits in with a memorable moniker that shrouds its actual purpose. However, business owners who want to take advantage of Internet advertising, but aren't quite sure how it works, are the customers Affinity Internet had in mind when it created this paid search engine marketing tool, now available in a betarelease.

Paid search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of online advertising where you bid on popular search terms and phrases so that when shoppers use them in Google or Yahoo search engines, your ad will pop up. If you bid $2.25 for the term "beaded earrings," for example, you pay that amount every time someone clicks on your ad — a process known as "pay-per-click."

While that sounds simple enough, it's more of an art than a science, and learning how to choose the right keywords and manage multiple ad campaigns without blowing your budget can be a bit tricky for the uninitiated.

I'd Like to Buy a Vowel
TrafficZug is designed to make online advertising accessible — i.e., easy and affordable — to curious, and possibly skeptical, small business owners. John Enright, the company's vice president of marketing, says the product lets business owners enter the online advertising arena without spending a lot of money.

"Traditional forms of advertising, such as radio, television, print and direct mail often require a significant upfront investment — before you even know if it's effective," he says. Enright points out that TrafficZug tools show you the number of impressions (times the ad appears on a search engine) and the click-through rate (number of times someone clicks on an ad). "The feedback tells you right away if the keywords you've chosen are effective," he says.

TrafficZug costs $20 a month plus whatever you spend on buying keywords. According to Enright, the product also estimates the number of visitors you can expect based on the amount of money you spend on keywords. The program is in beta release for the next two months, during which time, TrafficZug will waive the monthly fee.

"If you enter at the $50 level, you won't get all that many clicks," he says. "Maybe five or 10 — or only one if the keyword is expensive. If you get five clicks and it costs you $50, you can then assume you'll get 10 clicks for $100. You can decide if it's worth your money."

TrafficZug offers the following features, according to the company:

  • Let's you create, manage and monitor multiple paid search campaigns
  • Let's you advertise globally, nationally or locally by region, state or municipality
  • Suggests keywords and placements to provide the most clicks within your budget
  • Calculates number of clicks expected at different budget levels
  • Lets you update bids on individual keywords
  • Integrates with ValueWeb's eCommerce platform
  • Provides daily updates on each campaign's performance

I'd Like to Buy a Ghostwriter
TrafficZug also provides help in the form of online marketing professionals who can assist you in choosing the right keywords for your ad campaigns. They can also write your text ads for you. Enright says each customer gets 30 minutes of free guidance when they go through the initial setup. After that, you can buy more assistance for $100 an hour.

Enright contends that TrafficZug removes the barriers that keep small business owners from trying their hand at online advertising. "What stops them is their lack of knowledge, their inexperience and the fact that it seems intimidating," he says. "But TrafficZug opens online advertising to a broader base of businesses — and these businesses stand to gain the most from it."

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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