||Now I haven't tried it personally, but I have three accounts to draw on.
Three years ago I emailed an American Transformer Company using the Adwords and asked them what they thought of them. I heard back from the MD. He said that previously they would have paid $1,500 for a quarter page advert in a trade magazine and traditionally they would expect to get 150 leads from each advert.
But they then tried the Google Adwords, and paid a little under $1,500 over 8 months or so, and that had generated in excess of 1,000 leads. He thought it was well worth it.
One of my clients, offering mobile discos for weddings tried it. No idea how much or for how long, but his impression was that they weren't getting any enquiries generated from these Adwords.
However, he did pay ?500 for a top listing, sponsored advert, with rotating banner across two high-ranking wedding directories. He said he is getting 4-5 enquiries a day directly from these adverts.
I read an article from a company who decided to run a test.
They set a budget of $500 on Google Adwords, using only highly selected key phrases, they tried to ensure that people clicking would only be the most relevant.
Meanwhile with a budget of $500 they had a number small promotional leaflets printed, they had a member of the office staff sit down with the yellow pages and hand write on the envelopes, the names and addresses of highly targeted companies who might be interested. They used stamps rather than a franking machine and they posted them off.
In summary, from the Google Adwords, they had around 2,000 visitors to the website, but they noted only having just over 50 actual enquiries.
From the posted leaflets, they did mention that it took a day and a bit rather than minutes, but from the 500 they sent out they had a little over 100 enquiries. And still had a fair number of leaflets left over.
I did once have a heated debate with a chap who worked for a big marketing company who said; give me a budget of ?4,000 a month and I can get you 1,000 visitors a month with Overture - I countered with Home Pine paid me considerably less to make the site and gets 2-3,000 visitors a month anyway.
But I think some strong relevant directories can be worth the money.