Guest post written by Brad Shorr.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow a business rapidly, PPC (pay per click) advertising on Google is a terrific option, capable of producing sales leads and/or online revenue quickly.
First a quick side note about SEO. Our agency, Straight North, manages SEO and PPC campaigns, and we’ve seen how well PPC and SEO work together. Ideally, if your marketing budget supports both types of campaigns, go for it. SEO, though it takes time to take hold and boost organic rankings, generates a lot of relevant traffic and new business when properly executed — and, if you intend to sell your business somewhere down the line, high organic visibility on Google is a valuable company asset. That said, PPC has several important advantages over SEO and many other types of online marketing. These are the most significant.
PPC Gives You Immediate Top Positioning on Google
As just mentioned, SEO takes months — or sometimes years — to produce high rankings. With PPC, your ad appears prominently on Google SERPs (search engine results pages) when your bid is successful. If you have selected the right keywords to bid on (i.e., keywords that are relevant, popular, affordable and have a high probability of converting), you will start seeing click-throughs and conversions potentially from the day your campaign launches.
PPC Is Incredibly Flexible
SEO requires continual emphasis on a set of strategic keywords. If your business is evolving, adding products/services, expanding into new geographic markets, pursuing new customer segments, etc., then PPC is a much better option. With PPC, you can change keyword emphasis immediately, change the geographic areas of your bids immediately, change ad copy and landing page copy immediately, and so forth. The execution tip here is to make sure your PPC campaign manager is fully aware of your strategic direction, and understands your marketing and sales objectives and priorities, today and six months from today.
PPC Should Improve Rapidly
PPC lends itself to rapid improvement because campaign performance is very quantifiable. The campaign manager can tell which keywords are generating leads/revenue, which offers are the highest converting, and how effective every other campaign variable is, down to the time of day that brings in the most conversions. To rapidly improve campaigns, you must split-test variables continually, following industry best practices for testing and analysis. It’s also crucial to prioritize variables to test, paying the most attention to the most important ones — usually the offer in your ad and the copy/design of your landing page.
PPC Can Be Stopped Immediately
Do you feel as though the PPC campaign is not working? Do you have unexpected expenses pressuring your marketing spend? You can stop PPC immediately and incur no further expense, no harm done. Other online marketing activities are not so easily halted. For instance, abruptly stopping an email campaign can cause customers to question your stability and commitment, and exiting SEO could mean completely wasting six months worth of investment.
PPC Ads Don’t Look Like Ads
One historical objection to PPC is that Google search engine users don’t like to click on ads, that organic results have more credibility. Whether this is the case has been a topic of great debate, and a lot depends on the nature of your products/services and customer preferences. Nevertheless, Google is making PPC ads look more and more like organic results, to the point where the average user can barely distinguish them. Look at the SERP section below and see if you can spot the PPC ads: