Anybody with AdWords experience as a freelancer?
Thread poster: Artem Vakhitov

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
Jun 4, 2013

Has anybody here tried advertising using Google AdWords as a freelancer? How much time and money did you spend? Did you have to use paid expert services? Was your investment worth it? Share your experience.

 

Daniel Morgan (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:47
French to English
+ ...
It's not a bad option to consider Jun 5, 2013

Hi Artem,

[Edit: Apologies for the length. I started writing and got carried away.]

I use Adwords for a few sites, including for my translation site. In brief, it is a good option as it allows you an opportunity to advertise to potential clients who would not necessarily go somewhere like ProZ. Bing also has a variant too. The whole premise isn't a complex one, though there is a lot of information and customisability that can make it seem so.

I'm still in the process of trying to understand the principal type of client you will attract through Adwords. My feeling is that it's mostly individuals looking for one-off translations and/or a machine translation service.

You can put as much or as little time into it as you wish. To set up an account, create a campaign, create a text ad, choose some keywords, and release it into the wild doesn't take that long at all. The first time you do it you will naturally want to go slow and read everything, so maybe an hour at a guess. I created a new campaign & generic ad yesterday and it took maybe 15 minutes as I knew what I wanted, so the core steps once you have an account are not onerous. I have to admit though that I don't recall if there is a prolonged process when adding a billing account for the first time.

What I am referring to throughout is a text advertisement, rather than an image-based ad or any other variant that you can choose. Text ads are the simplest, quickest, and cheapest option. While I have some experience in creating image ads, it hasn't been involved using Adwords.

I say you can spend as much or as little time as you want because you can start up an ad and let it run. You can choose to either pre-pay for your ads, or have money paid automatically from a credit card. Google however, to their credit, provides a good deal of data and opportunity to create different campaigns, and different ads for each campaign, and to play with the keywords - adding, pausing, deleting, changing individual keyword bid amounts and global daily spend limits. They do also send out email updates and opportunities to learn more. It's big - huge - business these days, both for Google itself and 3rd parties who manage accounts for site owners. Google has a vested interest in you doing well; the more clicks you get on your ads the more money for them.

As for how this helps you as a business, it's not a black and white area. It will help get people to your website; most are window-shoppers, some though are genuinely potential clients. The window shoppers will take the bulk of your budget. Where you will spend the extra time is mitigating that as much as possible. At this point I'll stress the importance of having a Google Analytics account as you'll use it here in conjunction with the Adwords data. Paying attention to what brought a visitor to your site (Adwords - keywords used), you can make (somewhat) educated decisions about their purpose (Analytics - pages visited, time on page). You can make judgement calls, restricting or expanding keywords, geographic locations covered by your ads, the times of day shown, keyword and campaign $ limits, whether you want someone to only see your ad one time a day, what platforms your ad is shown on, and so on. If you are promoting a specialisation over general translations you will have some extra work to do. If you have total control over your site you can even add Google Webmaster Tools, and use that to help optimise your site. Google is a beast more powerful and pervasive than you imagine at first.

Essentially, Google Adwords, Bing's version, and any other similar product will help get the right visitors to your site. And many that aren't. It's the experience of the right visitors once there that will help get you get paid work. I don't wish to swing the topic to website design and/or content but it is a crucial piece of the puzzle so please keep it in mind. It may be that you would link the ad to your ProZ profile instead of a full site, if so the same rule applies: you've got them there, now it's up to the content. I'm still brand new to the translation game, and therefore still new to hosting a personal translator's site, so I'm still learning what makes an effective site. I've gone with a simple approach and will see how that works.

I get a number of enquiries from certain areas but no real bites. To be completely honest with my own situation, I have university training in translation behind me, but no professional association and no body of work behind me. I say this so you can consider your own and use what you have to promote yourself, especially in the ads themselves. You have quite a small amount of space for text and need to use it wisely. The advantage of running as many ads as you want means you don't have to try and say everything in one.

As for budget, it's up to you. You can set the total daily spend, and set a maximum for each click it you wish. There are so many variables that it makes it hard to say what you'll pay for a click. The new campaign I set up overnight was set to worldwide, no restrictions, maybe a dozen generic keywords for French-English translations, and it cost on average $0.12 a click. Again, there are so many variables at play it's impossible to give a quote, but taking that as an example: If you just wanted Adwords to be a passive form of advertising that worked in addition to your main avenues of advertisement, you could set a daily budget of $1 or $2 and just let it run in the background. You could pause it at will, so during times when your schedule was full you would save money.


 

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow, that's a lot of detail Jun 5, 2013

Thank you Daniel for your very detailed answer! So far I see that this thing is definitely worth trying but not that straightforward for a beginner and may not give immediate results.

 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:47
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
ProZ article Jun 5, 2013

Daniel Morgan wrote:

Apologies for the length. I started writing and got carried away.


Daniel, your post is really informative. Why don't you submit it for publication as a ProZ article so that it will be more readily available to ProZ users?
http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/


 

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea about an article Jun 5, 2013

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
Daniel, your post is really informative. Why don't you submit it for publication as a ProZ article so that it will be more readily available to ProZ users?
http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/


Good suggestion, Emma! I second that.


 

Daniel Morgan (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:47
French to English
+ ...
Thanks guys Jun 5, 2013

Thanks very much Emma and Artem, I'll have a look into the article feature.

Artem: there can be a lot to it, but it boils down to a small number of required steps. The rest can be seen as an optional, but helpful, extra. Your summation is a good one though.

It's definitely worth having Adwords (or similar) in the arsenal for when you want to expand your opportunities for work, but the results aren't guaranteed.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:47
English to Polish
+ ...
Good advice from Daniel Jul 21, 2013

Essentially, you need:

1. To choose the right keywords to attract your desired (ideal) client demographic (think what they are, and think how they think);
2. To turn visits into conversions. You don't need millions of visits, you need to capitalise on the visits you already do get, and make the maximum use of them.

I'd encourage you to visit Marta Stelmaszak's website, Facebook page, YouTube channel and more, to see a translation-specific application of the Blue Ocean strategy and Simon Sinek's Golden Circle strategy.

Since your AdWords add is by necessity bound to be short, you want to read an article or two (or five) about elevator speeches. Your ad will be of about the same length or even shorter (a dozen-odd seconds to read). I've recently posted an article on the subject here at Proz.com myself, though it's currently under moderation pending some slight corrections I've made.


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:47
Danish to English
+ ...
Experience from an agency perspective Jul 22, 2013

Hi Artem

I hope you will bear with me for answering from a slightly different perspective, although I think my experience with Adwords is of relevance:

I used to work in-house for a translation agency, and we gave Adwords a try as an alternative to other marketing strategies. The result was quite simply this:

We had a very high rate of clicks, i.e. our budget was eaten up very quickly.
We had zero business resulting from those clicks.
We had a continual stream of new clients resulting from a simple snail mail campaign aimed at selected client groups.

In other words, I agree with what Daniel says, that getting people to look at your website is easy enough, but what matters is whether your website appeals to the clients you want to attract.

My experience from back then is sufficient to prevent me from wasting money on Adwords now that I work as an independent translator. In my view, it is like throwing money into the wind and hoping that the odd client or two will take any notice at all.

All the best with your marketing strategy, though

Gitte icon_smile.gif


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:47
English to Polish
+ ...
Snail is hard to ignore or resist ;) Jul 22, 2013

Gitte Hovedskov, MCIL wrote:

We had a very high rate of clicks, i.e. our budget was eaten up very quickly.
We had zero business resulting from those clicks.
We had a continual stream of new clients resulting from a simple snail mail campaign aimed at selected client groups.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A previous thread Jul 22, 2013

Artem Vakhitov wrote:
Has anybody here tried advertising using Google AdWords as a freelancer?


Also discussed here:
http://www.proz.com/forum/marketing_for_translators/174347-have_you_ever_used_google_ads_for_your_own_marketing_purposes_how_effective_is_it.html


 


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