By Dave Tyler.

Considering the sweltering summer we’ve just come through, you could be forgiven for thinking water coolers are an easy sell. It’s not as easy as it sounds, with hundreds of similar companies looking to increase market share and gain the upper hand. Dave Tyler looks at one business which turned to the web to get the upper hand.

For water cooler company, AquAid, visibility in the marketplace is one of their key routes to business success. In such a saturated marketplace, its traditional phone directory ads were beginning to look tired and expensive.
They began to investigate what the internet could offer them in terms of increased visibility.
The company moved to pay-per-click advertising on the popular search engine websites.
Businesses choose to be associated with a particular search term, which shows links to the business’s website — usually at the top of the search result list.
It’s a fast-growing advertising medium — last year businesses invested more than $14bn (£7.4bn) in pay-per-click advertising, and is predicted to grow by some 40 per cent per year.
AquAid’s Group Manager, Uffe Hamsen explains: “In our business, a lot of our sales are as a result of proactive approaches from us to clients. This is a very efficient way for us to bring customers to us, and forms a large proportion of our sales.
“Reactive sales — where customers call us — are still fairly significant, and are
traditionally the result of ads in Yellow Pages. These seem to work well until you start to assess the cost per sale.”
The effectiveness of advertising is difficult to measure, but Uffe was convinced the cost per sale of Yellow Pages advertising was too high.
“Using pay-per-click advertising it’s been so much easier to measure and monitor exactly where our sales leads come from,” said Uffe. “Our cost online is about a fifth of something like Yellow Pages and, in the three months since we started we’ve seen a growth in sales of some five per cent.”
Justine Watkins is Sales and Marketing Director for Propellernet, and advised AquAid on its online campaign. She believes the benefits of an auditable advertising
strategy are clear: “Allowing such a low-cost entry level for business’ pay-per-click
actively targets motivated purchasers, offering two way communication with your brand and business while allowing you to be in complete control.
“Your campaign is measurable; every lead/sale is tracked to a specific keyword, allowing each cost to be benchmarked for improved ROI.”