By: Marcus Trachier, Digital Marketer at OnTarget Partners
For OnTarget Partners, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising has acted as a foray into the expanding realm of Digital Marketing. Digital Marketing has truly changed OnTarget’s business for the better, and we love to share the experience we have gained with others. Through managing online advertising for clients, and managing our own campaigns, we have developed a keen understanding of the potential benefits of a PPC campaign to a business.
In our opinion, the benefit of a PPC campaign is three-fold.
Firstly, your company can gain exposure alongside top competition in your industry.
Because of Google and other Search Engine's dedication to quality search results and ads, a strategically planned Adwords or other PPC campaign can rapidly get your company's name near the top of the Ads results. In some cases, in 1 week or less, you will begin seeing your company's name alongside the top names in your industry for popular keyword searches. This leads to greater Brand Awareness and Name Recognition, and therefore a greater potential for future business.
Secondly, your company can acquire inbound leads.
In a short-term strategy, converting keyword searches into clicks, and converting those clicks into leads is the lifeblood of a PPC ad campaign. For some businesses, a short-term strategy can produce excellent ROI – we have seen this first hand. For this to work, there are several key elements that must be in place; you must have a strategically built campaign (including landing pages, contact forms), you must have a dedicated sales/marketing team to answer phone calls and follow up on leads (OnTarget offers lead qualification services to the B2B marketplace), and there must be a tangible demand for your product/service. But, unfortunately, these elements are not in place for every business and they are unable to achieve the short-term ROI that they were expecting. Other factors can come into play, such as limited budget or a highly competitive market, which can also prevent certain businesses from seeing short-term ROI. But, that does not mean that there is no place for PPC advertising for these businesses.
Thirdly, and (in our opinion) most importantly, a PPC campaign allows you to acquire data to help develop a full SEO strategy.
The key problem for most businesses when they want to begin an online advertising campaign is that they fail to recognize the potential for growth beyond paid advertisements. They want to believe that if they give a few bucks to Google, that they can acquire meaningful business, and help their business grow. If the ads work, they may continue. If the ads fail, they either try again, or regret the whole idea and wonder why they threw money at it in the first place. What all of these businesses are lacking is an actual SEO strategy—and PPC can actually be a great starting point to do so.
The beauty of PPC advertising with Google or another search engine, is that you are able to get a glimpse of what the search engine likes about your site, and what it doesn’t like. This does not mean that once you start PPC ads, your site will miraculously rank higher, but it does allow you to get some insight as to how you should enhance your website. Google specifically allows you to view the exact keyword searches that led to clicks through to your website. This means that you can identify the keywords that are already working for your website, and attempt to optimize your website to organically appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for these keywords. Either that, or you can determine that these keywords are not fitting for your business, and you can reposition your website for other keywords. This takes time, and yes, money, but the more effort and resources put into these strategies, the more potential your business has for online growth. If you are interested in learning more on SEO strategy and how PPC plays a role, check out this post from Moz.
The key takeaway from all of this must be that utilizing PPC advertising to acquire leads in the short term is great, but, if a business is realistic, this cannot be the end goal. Strategically building a campaign takes time and effort, trial and error, and lots of tweaking–especially for those in more complicated industries. So it makes sense for all businesses to treat PPC ad campaigns as only one part of an overall Online/SEO strategy–utilize it for Brand Awareness as well as a cost-effective manner to acquire search data from Google. Expecting to see huge short-term ROI and lead flow is unrealistic – your business must be willing to develop a strategy for the long term.