Using search engine marketing (SEM) methods such as pay-per-click (PPC) or paid inclusion can be very effective in terms of increasing traffic to your website and widening your customer base. But you have to be aware of the best times to employ these strategies, and if you are considering going down this route it may be a good idea to hire a search engine marketing company to advise you on the latest methods – otherwise you may be spending money with very little reward. So when should you use SEM, and what should you avoid?
On the plus side, paid search marketing is a highly targeted method with corresponding low wastage. Because the traffic driven to your website will be those with the right match types in terms of keywords or Google Adwords, your ads only appear when potential customers are searching for products in your particular area, and therefore have a high purchase intent. Logically, then, if your website has a very specific or niche product to sell, pay-per-click may be the right marketing option for you. Traffic volumes with PPC are also more predictable and easier to manage than with search engine optimisation methods (SEO).
Pay-per-click listings can also give you the advantage of speed, since they can appear within a few hours. Contrast this with SEO, which has a much longer lead time. If you are selling a product within a particular time-frame (perhaps for Halloween, for example), then you will want to make the most of the time you have so in this case PPC could be appropriate in terms of overall cost benefits. On the other hand, if your product is more of a slow-burner then SEO may work just as well, if not better, in building up your brand. Basically, you need to decide which approach will be best for the product or service you have.
One of the major disadvantages of pay-per-click marketing is actually born from its strengths. Because it is such an efficient way for companies to achieve high rankings and drive customers to their websites, there is a correspondingly high level of competition. Pay-per-click is based on competitive bids and for some sectors this can lead to alarming levels of inflation. Basically, this can be a prohibitively expensive business if you don’t know when to employ it effectively, or when the placement costs will begin to outweigh the benefits. If you are at all unsure about this, consult a search marketing company who will be able to give you a realistic idea of your potential return on investment, and whether PPC is right for your company.
Because of the potential for inflated PPC prices, sadly this method can often favour larger brands which have a bigger budget and more effective infrastructure in place for managing competition or bigger campaigns, for example. If you are a start-up, it may be a good idea to build up your brand first before embarking on paid search marketing.
Pay-per-click marketing can be a very effective way of driving traffic to your website and improving your search engine rankings. However, it can also be costly and there is a great deal of competition in certain sectors so you need to think carefully about the right time for your company to employ this approach.