Paid advertisements have long been a staple of the marketing industry. Advancements in technology showed us how to organize content so that potential customers could more easily find our offerings on the world wide web. This began the great debate of whether it was better to attract customers by educating and enlightening them or by splashing attention-grabbing ads where they couldn’t miss them.
In my career as a digital marketer, I’ve learned the pros and cons of search engine optimization and pay-per-click through experience. Marketers can use both for any type business if they master one important concept — understanding why they need to put more effort and resources into one rather than the other.
Going Back To The Basics
SEO and PPC can complement each other nicely. Are you marketing a product or a service? How well-established is your business? I’ve found that answering these questions are good places to start when making decisions about which marketing approach is likely to be more effective, or whether you need to use some combination of both.
This is when it helps to go back to Marketing 101. Are you clear about who your target market is? Where will your potential customers be looking to find the products or services that you’re offering? What words would you type into the internet search box if you were looking for the same product or service?
PPC As A Marketing Strategy
PPC tends to work well for companies that are offering products. Paid ads also work nicely when you have a new angle or new use for an existing product or service. When paid ads are designed well, PPC helps attract new customers quickly.
PPC puts your brand front and center right at the top of your webpage. Google will typically show four paid ads on a desktop. Mobile apps leave room for three paid ads topping the page. Paid ads give you a lot for your money because they give you room for a brief written description and a few “sitelinks.” Sitelinks are subsections of your ad that will take your customers directly to a page on your website for locations, specials, blogs, news or your about page. PPC ads also allow you to select your target audience by day, time, location, language, previous visits and other important parameters.
You need to keep a tight handle on your budget when using PPC. Many clicks are bound to bring you new business, but they can also waste your budget. I’ve found that it’s important to set a realistic budget for paid ads and monitor them often.
Another nice thing about PPC is that analytics make it easy to see whether your PPC ads are effective in real time. Getting quick feedback helps me make decisions about pulling ineffective ads. It also gives me an opportunity to increase my budget for ads that provide a strong return on investment.
SEO As My Go-To Marketing Strategy
I tend to use SEO as my primary marketing tool. That’s because I’ve found that SEO works extremely well for our business, a senior home care company, as well as companies that are primarily service oriented.
Over time, I’ve worked diligently to build a strong brand within my company. My current goal is to keep the brand in front of our target market. I want to establish Caring People as the authority on home health care and continue to build trust and credibility in our brand. Organic searches deliver greater volume to our website than paid ads. SEO is the most cost-effective strategy for us at this time because content is working great for us.
Using PPC To Enhance A Strong SEO Marketing Strategy
I believe that SEO offers a better value for the home-care industry because we offer personal services. Our customers want to know more about our company before they’re willing to invest their money in our staff. Articles, reviews and positive testimonials are the key to getting clients to make that first call asking for more information.
Despite the fact that SEO takes center stage in my marketing plan, I still regularly manage a medium PPC campaign. I’ve found that adding PPC ads to my marketing strategy adds enough spice to our efforts to draw in some new clientele. I use PPC at various times to highlight certain campaigns or to tie our services into current events. For example, this year we had a huge marketing campaign for National Grandparents Day. In using SEO and PPC together, we get more clicks overall. Greater numbers of clicks lead to conversions.
As a rule, PPC tends to work better for e-commerce companies. SEO tends to work better for services businesses that want to keep their brand visible while getting new clients. PPC can strengthen your SEO efforts nicely and vice versa. Of course, there are always a few exceptions to the rule. After SEO and PPC, monitoring and analytics are your next BFFs.