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You’re a business owner who wants your company to be found online. When you call an online marketing company and start asking them about how to improve your web presence, one of the first questions you (understandably) have is probably, “How can I get marketing results fast?”
It’s All About PPC
If you want website visits and leads yesterday, consider pay-per-click (PPC).
What Is PPC & How Does It Work?
Let me start with a quick overview. Google AdWords is a platform run by Google that allows companies to advertise their website in search results when a user searches for a specific keyword. Advertisers “pay per click” on their advertisement. These ads show up at the bottom of the search results page and often at the top as well.
When it comes to PPC, you set the rules. Choose:
- A daily budget
- The maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click on your advertisement
- The keywords you want your ad to show for
Your budget and maximum bid decide where on the page you show and how often you show each day.
Perhaps you’re worried nobody will click on your ads (since consumers avoid ads like the plague, right?), but this isn’t the case. People do click on paid ads (from Google’s earning report, we can see people click on ads and are doing so more and more each year).
Why Is Pay-Per-Click Effective for Fast Results?
A lot of business owners, like you, want results today. And a lot of business owners think they can get fast results from search engine optimization (SEO). This isn’t the case. SEO is more of a long-term strategy, while PPC is better for faster results. Think of it in terms of buying a house vs. renting an apartment. Investing in SEO is like buying a house. While there is an upfront cost with little initial return, you are building equity that will drive strong long-term results and gains. Investing in PPC is more like renting an apartment. You are paying a premium for an ideal location with immediate results during the timeframe the ads are running.
Don’t necessarily dismiss the idea of SEO, but if you want immediate results, the best course of action is to invest in PPC. You can get on the first page of Google basically as soon as you set up your campaign.
Why PPC Isn’t a DIY Task
“Why can’t I do PPC on my own?” is a question we’ve heard before from business owners. Here’s why it isn’t a DIY task, directly from Spencer, officially known as the Paid Search Team Lead (unofficially known as the PPC badass):
Pay-per-click is a very nuanced and complex form of advertising. As some say, there are lots of levers and buttons to pull and push, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could some make some very costly mistakes. You have to understand not just the basics of how it works, but also how the various settings and targeting interact, including many that are only clear after spending a lot of time working with campaigns. Unless you are willing to make the time commitment to fully learn AdWords and other platforms, you are likely to make errors or overlook things that can end up wasting a lot of money.
A good PPC manger also doesn’t operate in a vacuum. They need to be familiar with not only AdWords but also analytics and tracking, conversion-optimized web design, copywriting, etc. in order to run the best campaigns. PPC is not a “set it and forget it” type of advertising—regular management is needed to:
- Adjust targeting
- Keep up with competitors
- Test strategies
- Stay up to date with the new features and changes that Google releases on a frequent basis
Sound overwhelming? It definitely can be a lot to manage, and as a business owner, you’re busy enough! It’s more practical (and cost-effective) to bring in the pros.
PPC Case Study: We Provided a Company with Over 10,000% Return on Ad Spend
Action Restoration—a privately-owned restoration and catastrophe response company serving the Gulf Coast region—used to primarily rely on phone books as their main source of advertising, but wanted to attract more business from the Internet. While the company had recently invested in a new website design, they had no website content—making it impossible for them to rank in the search engine results.
Within only a month of signing on with Blue Corona, Action Restoration experienced a larger than 10,000% return on ad spend after booking two large commercial jobs in September 2012 from their Hurricane Isaac PPC campaign. They were able to attribute the leads to the PPC campaign through Blue Corona’s call tracking service.
These are case study-like results—and it is, indeed, a case study! Download it for free here »
The PPC & SEO Sweet Spot
If you are new to the inbound marketing game and want to ramp up your efforts quickly, PPC is a great way to do it. Your paid ads can be developed and launched with minimal lead time, which means you get in front of your target market fast (if you set up a pay-per-click account on Google AdWords, you can see your ads in a matter of hours).
A better long-term strategy is a combination of PPC and SEO. PPC maximizes your ranking power by giving you more real estate on the search engine results page (SERP). A paid ad, targeted to a specific search term and appearing alongside your organic result, boosts your SERP visibility.
This, in turn, accelerates your results, allowing you to see a bump in traffic while your SEO campaign gains momentum (remember—it’s a long term strategy). In addition, the user data you gain from your PPC campaign results—what keywords and search terms work best with your targeted demographic—can add fuel to your SEO strategy to help it perform better.
For fully-charged inbound marketing results, you want a hybrid engine with the power of SEO and PPC (love this analogy from the one and only Lexie Bond).
Ready to get started with a pay-per-click campaign?
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About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
View more blogs by Alanna Potosky