For any small business looking at getting into online marketing, they often are faced with an immediate choice: SEO or PPC? Often times small business owners will choose SEO over PPC because of the misconception that “SEO is free”. Not only is this false, but the decision is being made for entirely the wrong reasons. The real question that small businesses (or any other business) should be asking is “What channel will produce the best ROI for me?”. At the end of the day, PPC will often have a better ROI, especially in the short term for a small business.
Getting More Bang For Your Buck From PPC
Why Choose PPC Over SEO?
PPC has a few distinct advantages over SEO, the largest of which is its speed of immediate return on investment. When done right, PPC can yield positive results quickly or tell you right away if your online market is large enough to keep pursuing.
- Speed of testing – PPC allows you to immediately test if traffic will lead to conversions or sales.
- Protection from the algorithm – SEO can be a topsy-turvy road as Google rolls out continuous updates that constantly change the game. With PPC you’ll never have to worry about traffic disappearing overnight unless you cut spending.
How to Get More From PPC
Now, while many will try PPC because of the advantages above, many often complain they aren’t getting enough ROI from their PPC. The truth is, some people just don’t know the key to get the most from their PPC. With this in mind, here’s a few vital tips that anyone looking to get more from their PPC needs to do.
- Choosing the right keywords – One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen in my experience is choosing keywords that will not lead to results. Many small business owners will use Google’s keyword tool and see large traffic numbers and immediately begin to salivate. This thinking will lead to poor results – the focus needs to be on the most targeted, detailed keywords possible. For example, if you sell guitars, you may use the keyword tool from Google and find that there are about 27,000 searches per month for the keyword “guitars”. Targeting this keyword right off the bat would be a very poor decision because its just way too broad. People searching for a term like this can be very different, from beginners looking for their first guitar up to professionals looking for the highest end guitars. NOTE: The advice above would be for someone advertising nationally, if you’re a local business looking only to advertise in your small metro area, broader keywords like this can work.
- Focusing on clicks instead of conversions – Another problem many make is trying to get traffic to their site by focusing on getting higher click-through rates. This can be a kiss of death for your PPC campaign. Remember that all that click means is that you’re going to be paying Google or Bing. Any campaign needs to be focused on conversions, leads or sales. While this seems very straight forward, many people simply don’t track what is impacting the bottom line. I won’t get into the technical details, but for anyone that has conversions occur on their site, here is more info on how the track them. If your business has actions that occur mostly or exclusively offline, like generating calls, there are ways to track at this level. With calls, you could use a different number for each of your landing pages or even keywords so that you can show the flow of clicks to calls to sales. This type of tracking is vital because, at the end of the day, you need to be advertising based on ROI. Without tracking, your essentially throwing darts in the dark.
- Stop being a duckling – Anyone who’s ever seen tiny ducklings knows how they follow their mother’s every action. Way too many people do this in their online marketing. While it is a good idea to see what your competitors are doing, copying them isn’t a strategy. First, while it may work for them, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you! They’re business approach may be completely different than yours. For example, they could be focused on getting as many first time customers as possible by bidding very high and/or offering discounts for people who find them via PPC. If you did the same thing, it could cost you more than the sales you get. You don’t know if, perhaps, they are using products as a loss leader as a way to start relationships with people, and then have a very strategic plan to make them loyal, repeat customers. If you don’t have this marketing system setup as well, copying them could be very, very bad for you. Beyond this, if you’re copying their strategy, you aren’t differentiating yourself from them. The message potential customers get is that you’re a “Me Too” company and thus can devalue your offerings. What’s better is to find an area in your niche that is unfulfilled and then completely satisfy those customers.
Incorporating these simple steps can dramatically improve the ROI you get from PPC and often be the difference between success and failure.
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