So now your business has a website.
Great! And you know there is a market out there for your products. So what’s next?
Is it your mission to get potential customers to line up in front of your business? Or is your mission to put your business website in front of the queue that’s already there?
A good marketer does both. You want to bring buyers to your products, and you want to bring your products to the market. But now you’re fighting a battle on two fronts. Intuition may tell you this means twice the work and twice the budget. And opportunistic marketers trying to sell you services will tell you the same thing; just see our Facebook post about these guys.
A comprehensive, long-term, multi-channel strategy means uniting “demand generation” (SEO and content/social) and paid search (Pay-Per-Click advertising, or PPC, usually Google AdWords). I think of this is a three-legged stool—much more reliable than the one-legged or two-legged variety. And no, it doesn’t mean doubling your investment of time or money.
Let’s step back and see what this means in practice.
Whether you have an ecommerce site (meaning you sell products online) or a lead-generation website (meaning you use your site to encourage customers to email, call or visit in person), you need qualified traffic to accomplish your goals. A beautiful website with no curious customers visiting is like a beautiful restaurant with no hungry people ordering meals. It’s worthless.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing (and its cousin, social media marketing) can be effective ways to bring those hungry customers to your website. You’ve already spent money building your site, so it’s tempting to let content and SEO bear the burden of driving traffic. You might choose to ignore PPC completely and put all your efforts into your blogging, posting articles to LinkedIn and collecting emails for a newsletter. After all, PPC campaigns cost money, and content (aside from the time it takes) doesn’t cost any.
This actually isn’t a terrible approach—if you don’t mind waiting a long time to see the results you want. It might work well for you in the end, but can you afford to wait while word gets out about the value your products bring to your market.
Adding PPC to your marketing mix now will give your business a robust, more complete digital marketing roadmap. And it will give you immediate, qualified traffic almost immediately. Here are some key benefits paid search advertising can bring a business website, especially when added to an existing marketing program:
SEO and content marketing are different, but they have a lot in common. The blog, for instance, is generally a vehicle for both channels. But because search engines tweak their algorithms constantly, a content-driven tactic that drives traffic one month may not work as well the next month.
Your PPC listings, however, aren’t subject to these tweaks. You’ll get the exposure you pay for.
A foot in the door
Trust counts to Google and Bing. This means a trustworthy company’s organic listings are likely to rank higher than an unknown company. Search engines measure “trust” by how often users click on your listings and by how they interact with your site once they’re there. If your marketing is based solely on content and SEO, you can see how this is a catch-22. To apply for the job, you need experience; to get experience, you need the job.
A good paid search campaign can increase user engagement with your site, which in turn helps your SEO and content efforts.
PPC gets your brand to the top of the search engine results page. Even if no one clicks on your ad, repeated exposure elevates awareness and trust among potential customers. It may even be a good idea to shoot for high-impression campaigns with low click-through-rates. After all, you don’t pay unless someone clicks through. Just make sure you use branded terms (your company name or the name of a proprietary product) for these campaigns.
PPC campaigns give you access to keyword data that can inform your other content and SEO marketing efforts. For example, Google’s Keyword Planner can show product groupings that you may not have considered. These groupings can give your website designer a map to improve your site’s hierarchy by making it easier for people who buy one thing to find the other things they’re likely to buy.
Your PPC campaigns will also give you insight into people’s search habits, and you can use these insights to turbo-boost your content and SEO. If your PPC efforts tell you that people who are searching for “oilfield tools” end up clicking your “contact us” form three times more often than people who are searching for “oil and gas tools,” yet your website and blog say “oil and gas tools” over and over but never say “oilfield tools,” you know some content updates are in order.
Your PPC ads also give you a chance to test messaging and get nearly immediate insight into what customers respond to. Do you want to be funny, serious, friendly, or professional? With paid search, can quickly see which tone and what phrases your audience responds to. The brand “voice” that works for your PPC ads will also work for your blog, your email newsletter, your white papers, and your website itself.
Bizzuka’s internet consultants bring organic search marketing and PPC management together for customized, comprehensive programs that grow our clients’ businesses online and offline. Contact us for an assessment.