With so many consumers flocking to the Internet to find information, read reviews and to ultimately buy something, it is more important than ever that your business is easy to find online. Poor exposure, or worse, no exposure can make your business become obsolete very quickly. You could have the most amazing product or service available, but if people cannot find it easily online, then you can be sure that you will not be able to move your product off the shelf.
Fortunately, there are many fantastic ways to assure that your business is getting the exposure and branding it needs to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace. One of the most effective and essential online marketing strategies that every business should take advantage of is Paid Search Marketing.
How Does Paid Search Marketing Work?
Paid Search Marketing (also known as Pay Per Click marketing, PPC marketing, Cost Per Click marketing, or Sponsored Advertising) is one of the best ways to help a business get consistent traffic from relevant search results and other websites. Here’s how it works:
1) Consumer goes to Google.com and types in a search for “best 12 megapixel digital cameras under $1000”
2) Google will yield two main types of search results: (1) organic results = left hand side and (2) sponsored results = right hand side (also on the top left sometimes in a yellow shaded box)
3) Consumer will click on the most relevant ad for what they searched for (in this case, one of the sponsored results).
FACT: People are more likely to click on the organic results than the sponsored results. However, for highly transactional purchases or items like electronics, shoes, clothing, etc. people seem to find more use out of the sponsored results as they are usually more targeted to specific product search queries.
4) By clicking on a sponsored advertisement, the consumer is either taken to a landing page or the homepage of the advertiser’s website to find specific information about the exact thing they searched for.
TIP: Do not send traffic to your homepage as it is usually not the most specific, targeted page on your website for each individual product or service you are selling and advertising.
5) On the advertiser’s end, when a consumer clicks on one of their advertisements, the advertiser will be charged for that one click. Click prices vary depending on the key phrases used to trigger the advertisements.
TIP: To get an approximation of what a specific key phrase might cost you per click on Google, check out Google’s Traffic Estimator Tool.
And, that’s it. Pretty simple right? Well, almost. There are many other factors that go into these campaigns, but the basic model is this:
1) Advertiser picks key phrases that they want their ads to show up for
2) Consumer performs search, sees advertiser’s ad, likes it and then clicks on it
3) Advertiser is charged for that one click
4) If advertiser decides to stop paying for key phrases then the advertiser’s ads come offline. Or, if the advertiser decides that they want their ads to show up higher or more frequently then they increase their bids on their selected key phrases and also increase their daily ad spend budgets to allow for more clicks.
RECOMMENDATION: Hire a PPC Professional to setup and manage your Paid Search Marketing campaign for you. You will save time and money. You will also prevent yourself from having a bad experience with paid search marketing and thus, shunning it forever, which is a big mistake.
If you need a reference or recommendation for a reputable PPC Professional, please do not hesitate to ask as we have worked with and are familiar with all of the best ones. Simply leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].
10 Reasons to Market a Website with Paid Search
We are very strong advocates of paid search marketing as it has so many benefits to advertisers representing just about every type of product or service. The sponsored advertising system that Google has set as the gold standard is the main contributing factor to Google’s multi-billion dollar revenue stream. Put it this way, if it didn’t work advertisers would not be contributing to Google’s enormous bank roll each year.
Without further ado, here are our Top 10 reasons why every advertiser needs to incorporate Paid Search Marketing into their marketing arsenal:
REASON #1: First Page Exposure in the Top 3 Search Engines
As we have said many times, your business MUST be seen in the top 5 results in Google, Yahoo and Bing. People very rarely look beyond these results or click to ancillary pages of search results. Pay Per Click Marketing is the fastest way to get an advertisement for your business to show in the top 5 results (in the sponsored advertisements) on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
REASON #2: Immediate Traffic
An advertiser can realistically setup a PPC campaign on Google, Yahoo or Bing (Microsoft adCenter) in less than 30 minutes if they know their way around the platform. This translates into advertisers being able to get advertisements for their website on the first page of the main search engines within an hour of campaign setup and activation (again, given they know what they’re doing). This is great for brand new websites that have little to no exposure in the search engines already.
REASON #3: Consistent Traffic
As a marketer, it is crucial to be able to drive as many people to your website as consistently as possible. Huge lulls in traffic or huge unexpected spikes in traffic can kill a website. With paid search marketing, traffic amounts can be controlled as they are tied directly to how much the advertiser is willing to pay per click, per day and per month.
REASON #4: Targeted Ads
The natural results are the most coveted for marketers and advertisers because people still click on them more than the sponsored ads. However, the ability to change, test and optimize the natural results at will does not exist as a web page needs to be optimized in order for its natural results to reflect new changes. With paid search, the ads that are displayed in the sponsored results can be changed, edited, tested, optimized and tracked for maximum effectiveness. This ability allows marketers to know which exact combination of ad text and key phrases work the best.
REASON #5: Testing
One of the most overlooked advantages of paid search marketing is the ability to test online marketing campaigns through the vast amount of features and data that the available platforms provide to marketers. For example, if you wanted to know whether a specific product campaign you are launching is received well with a new marketing campaign and ad creative that you have put together you can setup a campaign in AdWords, run the ads for at least 30 days, and then analyze the data to see if it they were successful. As a matter of fact, many professional SEO firms actually use or recommend paid search marketing as a primary step in determining the best key phrases for conversions and return on investment.
REASON #6: Reach
Besides Google being the #1 search engine with a market share of over 65%-70% over other search engines, Google has also done an amazing job of amassing a network of publishers (other websites) to display Google’s sponsored ads for them. Next time you are reading the New York Times notice the ads displayed throughout the site – those are Google’s sponsored ads and they provide advertisers with yet another way to reach their prospects on other relevant places on the web. This reach is second to none and every advertiser is encouraged to at least look into how it might work for their marketing.
REASON #7: Relevance
Search results are all about relevance, or at least they should be. When someone does a search, they should only get the most relevant results for what they searched for. Google, having the most advanced algorithms to detect relevancy, do a fantastic job of delivering relevant results to users. Google’s sponsored ads, like the natural results, are weighted very heavily on relevancy – from the key phrase to the ad text to the landing page. This creates the best user experience for the end user and also allows advertisers to target and receive very refined, qualified traffic.
REASON #8: Geo-Targeting and Ad Scheduling
A couple great features that the top paid search marketing platforms provide advertisers with are geo-targeting and ad scheduling. Geo-targeting allows advertisers to select only specified locations all over the world to display their ads to. For example, if you had a local pizza place and only wanted to show ads on the search engines to cities that you could deliver your pizza to, then you could select these areas and your ads would only show for those specified locations. This allows your ad budget to go further as it is only targeted relevant locations.
Ad scheduling allows advertisers to select specific days and times of the day to run their ads. This is extremely helpful for marketers who are very familiar with when they get the best response from consumers or when they are able to respond in a timely manner. For example, if you have a Live Chat feature as the main component of your website then it might be more beneficial to run your ads during the hours that your Live Chat is online.
REASON #9: Tracking
It still amazes us that so many companies spend thousands of dollars each month on traditional marketing methods that have absolutely no tracking whatsoever. Take newspaper advertising for example, full page can be relatively expensive compared to online marketing and worst of all, there is no accurate way to track how successful these expensive ads actually are. With paid search marketing, every ad, every keyword, and best of all, every dollar spent can be tracked down to the cent. This allows for very accurate ROI and ROAS tracking and makes paid search marketing that much more essential for any business.
REASON #10: Branding
Paid search marketing has many advantages such as those described above. However, one of the best uses of paid search marketing from a marketing perspective is branding. Effective branding is extremely important for every business as people remember brands, not companies. If your brand is memorable and associated with something memorable then your marketing will be that much more effective. Paid search marketing, through all of the reasons mentioned above, allows for very cost effective branding of your business/ product/ service and company name.
Other Forms of Paid Search Advertising
The main example (Google AdWords) used in most of the reasons above is the most popular form of paid search marketing; however, it is just one way that paid search marketing works. There are actually other ways and methods to get sponsored advertising for your website in front of your consumers. Here are some of the top ones that are most definitely worth mentioning:
Ever notice the contextual ads discreetly placed on sites like New York Times, MySpace, and even Gmail? Those ads are powered by Google’s ad network that allows publishers (website owners) to display Google AdWords ads from advertisers. Google AdSense allows publishers to collect passive income on successful ads they display on their website(s) while at the same time allowing advertisers to reach visitors of websites that get frequented often.
Interested? Get more information on Google AdSense.
Although still relatively new, Facebook ads have become a staple marketing campaign for many businesses. Facebook ads are somewhat of a hybrid of Google AdWords and Google AdSense in terms of how it works. Basically, Facebook allows advertisers to target very specific demographics of Facebook users. So, for example, if you sell homes to first time home buyers that are usually single professionals or young families, then you can select these demographics on Facebook to only have your ads show for them.
Interested? Get more information on Facebook Advertising.
Go to just about any major website and you are likely to see banner and skyscraper ads throughout these sites that attempt to entice you to click on them with flashy graphics or attention grabbing calls to action. Display advertising can be extremely effective when done right, like any other form of paid search marketing. There are many different platforms to run display ads from, but a recent announcement from Google now allows Google AdWords advertisers to setup and manage display ads right from their AdWords interface.
Interested? Get more information on Google Display Ads
Very similar to Google contextual ads via Google AdWords, advertisers have the ability to strategically place advertisements into videos provided by willing video publishers. Next time you are checking out a video on YouTube you might notice the ads that come up during the video you are watching. Another form of video advertising is click to play video ads, which allow advertisers to create video ads that can be placed on publishers’ websites for even more branding, exposure and marketing.
Interested? Get more information on Video Advertising
Paid Search Advertising Gets Results
We have been involved in countless paid search marketing campaigns and are very familiar with online marketing agencies that specialize in paid search alone. The bottom line is that paid search marketing works extremely well for just about every type of business — when done right.
We highly recommend that you at least speak with a PPC professional before you spend $1 on paid search marketing as a poorly setup and neglected campaign can be very costly.
If you need recommendations or references on reputable companies please let us know.
If you are ambitious and driven to learn the ins and outs of paid search yourself and want to get started then we highly recommend that you start with Google AdWords by studying their Learning Center resources. You will find just about everything you need to put together a successful campaign.