by Steve Buck
If you are a business that has a website (which is just about everyone), then chances are you have been targeted by Internet marketing companies who are telling you they can guarantee your website will be on the first page of Google. Most “cold-calling” solicitors often make promises of top Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To most of us however, their promises will not come together and we will be left looking for a new solution soon.
A well-known Internet marketing firm, called HubSpot, is one of the world’s foremost resources for search engine optimization. HubSpot published an eBook on how to spot bad SEO services; #1 on their list was “making promises that are too good to be true.” Dishonest or deceitful companies claiming to be experts have left a bad taste in the mouth of countless owners and managers who are trying to grow their business utilizing the Internet.
Hopefully, a few bad seeds haven’t discouraged your team from taking advantage of an incredible advertising medium. Search engine optimization should be a strong focus for any online marketing strategy; however it is a long-term strategy that can take months or years to have a significant effect for highly competitive search terms.
Poor SEO? Here’s What to Do
For most businesses, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as Google AdWords, can have an immediate impact on a company’s sales. When an AdWords campaign is created and managed properly it provides instantaneous results. Furthermore, we know SEO strategies can’t promise a top spot on a search engines, because Google, Bing and others are constantly tweaking their algorithms that shuffle around the page rank for most websites. With paid search programs however, a #1 ranking IS possible, even on broad or competitive search terms.
Three Advantages of Pay-Per-Click Advertising
First and most significantly is the visibility paid search campaigns provide. Both Google and Bing place paid advertisements above organic or “natural” links, making then highly visible. They also highlight them with colored backgrounds and allow the businesses to determine what content gets displayed – a huge advantage over natural links where the content displayed cannot be chosen. When businesses control content, marketers are provided with the opportunity to include pricing, special offers and call-to-actions – all of which are unique to PPC advertising versus SEO strategies. Call-to-actions are wildly important because they get people’s attention and direct them to what is the next step of buying from you.
2. You Only Pay When It Works
Second, businesses only pay for advertising that works. Imagine if you had a billboard that you only paid for when a potential customer walked into your store or called you. That’s what PPC does. A potential customer is looking for a product or service that your business provides and then sees your advertisement. If they don’t click on the ad, it was free. What other advertising medium does that? An additional argument to support moving some of your marketing budget to online advertising is the sheer volume of data to make better decisions. This data gives campaign managers incredible insights to where adjustments should be made that will further increase the campaign’s performance, driving down costs and increasing sales.
3. Data Driven Decisions
The third benefit of PPC is advertising directly to pre-qualified customers. Google AdWords and BingAds contain functionalities that allow you to create and adjust settings for structuring advertisements that will only be visible to people searching the Internet who have met conditions built into the campaign – criteria like geographic targeting, scheduling day of the week or time of day, even what device they are using. Now, you are advertising with a laser beam. Not only are ads triggered by keywords for the thing you sell, but also these customers are close enough to actually buy it! The icing on the cake is that you’re open when they see the ad. Throw in details like flexible budgets or real-time changes and small businesses now have tools to compete head-to-head with any national brand.
Creating a Google AdWords account is free; however, I recommend seeking out a trusted and proven Internet marketing firm because learning the ins and outs of PPC advertising can be overwhelming. Search Google for a Google Certified Partner in your area.
Steve Buck is the president and co-founder of Viera-based Black Tie Digital Marketing, which specializes in Internet marketing strategies. Learn more at www.blacktiedigital.com