Musings of a twenty-something entrepreneur.

There are many reasons it can be difficult to get in contact with someone you might like to work for, get advice from, or ask for investment. Such people are likely to get hundreds of emails per day, and making yours stick out might not happen even with the best copywriting. Try calling, and you’ll run into a heirarchy of receptionists, assistants, and voicemail messages, and you’ve also got to hope that you’re contacting them at a time when they’re not busy.

What’s an entrepreneur to do? Take out a Google Ad in their name, that’s what.

Thanks to Media Life  Magazine for pointing out the story of Alec Brownstein, who took out Google Ads in the names of the creative directors at some top ad agencies. The short story: he got interviews with four of the five people he targeted, and job offers from two. Read an interview with Alec here for the full story.

Why does this work? For one, from time to time everyone googles themselves. But we also google our friends, and in fact that is the most likely way your ad will be effective: someone who knows the target will tell them about it. Depending on who the person is, you may get bonus points for demonstrating your media savvy, and well, brilliance.

It also works because there are very few ads targeted for people’s names. Not even Britney Spears or Bill Gates have any Google Ads targeted to their names, so you can be pretty sure that whomever you’re targeting doesn’t either. This has two major implications: 1) it will be cheap, since ads are priced by auction and you’re the only bidder, and 2) being the only sponsored result means your ad will stick out.

In Alec’s example, he set a maximum pay per click of $.15 with a $1 daily budget. Considering how effective this can be, its affordable to say the least.

Assuming you know or can figure out how to create a Google Ad at , the main issue is what the content of your ad should be. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ad Title: Alec used “Hey, [name].” That strikes a pleasant tone, but another more excitable title might read “Attn: [name]”
  2. Ad Body: You’ve only got 95 characters to work with, so make it short and sweet. It really depends on what exactly you’re looking to get this person to do. Alec was looking for a job, so the body of his ad read “Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is too.” Suppose there’s a particular VC whom you’d like to make a pitch. Your ad’s content could read “Attn: Fred Wilson. Would love five minutes to discuss a new product you’ll love!”. Just make sure you get your point across and don’t look sketchy.
  3. Ad External Link: Next you need the ad to point somewhere. Alec was looking for a job so he posted a link to his portfolio. Another idea is to point to your Twitter page and have left a recent tweet with instructions for contacting you. The best link, however, will be to a webpage you’ve set up just for this one ad (e.g.[name of person]. That demonstrates that you were truly targeting that person, and also shows that you put some thought and effort into getting them to contact you. Your ad and that page will be public, so best to just provide a short overview of what exactly you want and provide contact instructions.

The next time I launch a product, the key people I want to publicize it will definitely have Google Ads targeted to their names. Will let you know how it goes.

Do you have any tips for how to implement this well? If so, leave ’em in the comments.

(Thanks to Danny Warshay who pointed this out!)

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13 Responses to “Brilliant Way to Get Someone’s Attention”

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  3. London says:

    The was one of the more interesting articles I read for a while. I think the key is innovative thinking, because I bet everyone is going to be doing this now – but its not longer a new concept – since everyone else is doing it.

    P.S: You need to fix your footer 😉

  4. jesse says:

    Agreed re: Innovative thinking.

    Even if its not new, and even if everyone is doing it, they probably won’t be doing it for the same person you would be. And while you and I may know about it, I think it’ll take some time before this tactic becomes familiar to the vast majority of people.

    Thanks re: footer. Still setting up the blog, but got anxious to start shipping! Still need to tidy up quite a few things. Thanks for checking it out!

  5. After hearing about Alec’s case, I started a LinkedIn Poll – “Do you regularly Google your own name?” I would like more responses for a better sample, but so far the results are interesting. I invite you to check it out at

  6. Good job, keep it up.

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