eCommerce Insiders

How PPC Propels Small Retailers To The Front Of The Line

Does your marketing team worry that for all of their blogging and social media campaigns, they’re not realizing the type of reach or revenue benchmarks that are necessary for stability and expansion of your company?

There’s a way to bring your brand to the front of the line, or rather, to the top of Google’s search engine results – it’s paid search, commonly referred to as pay-per-click (PPC).

PPC has been used as a marketing strategy for some time, and it’s going to continue to be a major advertising play in the digital marketing arena. It’s absolutely leveled the playing field for small and geo-local retailers who might never experience recognition in a reasonable amount of time if they simply counted on organic search tactics.

Wordstream states that while PPC levels the playing field for smaller retailers, it’s so powerful as a marketing medium, even the big players have come to rely upon it:

And, if there’s ever any doubt that big brands need to have a presence in paid search, too, look no further than these tops luxury brands and their paid ad spend, as well as these top health insurance advertisers vying for visibility in the search results.

We can see the results of paid search spend in reports like this one on the 2014 holiday shopping season revenue, and this one (PDF) from the Interactive Advertising Bureau that highlights advertising revenue in the first half of 2014.

In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report, search ads accounted for $9.1 billion, or 39 percent, of the total Internet advertising revenue for the first half of 2014. When including mobile-related search revenue, search ads totaled $11.8 billion in revenue.

For your convenience, Search Engine Land quoted their five reasons why they teach business students to start relying upon paid search, along with my own comments on their findings:

1. You don’t pay a cent unless a prospective lead is interested.

One of the reasons PPC is so straightforward is because you know exactly where your dollars are going, and you only pay when an interested party clicks on the ad. This is different than traditional advertising offline, where you spend X amount of dollars and hope your target market actually engages with the ad, but you never really know.

Before paid search, marketers had no choice but to set aside a projected budget for print and broadcast media, hoping that they’ve saved enough money to fund an effective campaign. Untold amounts of money and resources were wasted in the process.

Paid search puts an end to wasted funds. You won’t pay for the advertising unless your high-qualified lead clicks on your link. And guess what? The leads are qualified because your ad is exactly what they were looking for!

2. Finally, you’re in control of your marketing budget!

Speaking of budgets, with pay-per-click, you set the budget to your needs. You can put a cap on what you spend daily, and it’s flexible for you to change at any time. That doesn’t mean you can expect to see huge results with a limited budget, of course; it all depends on how competitive the keyword and industry are.

Again, if you’re not a fan of wasting money in hopes that your advertising campaign might work, the paid search is just the type of advertising medium you’ve been looking for.

3. The right ad renders a laser-beam focus on your desired targets.

Want to target a person in a specific place at a specific time of day with a specific ad? No problem. With PPC’s location targeting and delivery options along with device-specific preferences (like mobile), you can deliver very specific messages to your target consumer at prime time when they are close by.

Who would have ever thought it would be possible to engage in intuitive advertising? The future is now, and you can take advantage of it when you use PPC to screen out the type of marketing targets who are more than likely going to convert into a revenue generation stream.

4. PPC renders ROI results, quickly.

We all know how important organic search traffic is for long-term website marketing; however, it has a longer cycle to prove ROI. PPC can show results fast. You can start a PPC campaign on Monday and literally start seeing results in terms of traffic and conversions the next day (depending on a variety of factors, obviously).

When you’re trying to prove ROI on your advertising investment, you don’t have months to wait! You want to know as soon as possible that your investment was put to good use, and you want to realize plenty of return on your investment as soon as possible!

5. PPC can drive your organic search.

Does your search engine optimization (SEO) team want to know if a particular keyword or set of keywords is converting well? PPC can tell them. You can also test the waters with new products or offerings using PPC in order to gauge demand and get an early look at its reception.

You can even use PPC to promote oddball events or things that wouldn’t be appropriate for other forms of advertising. This article by Jim Yu also gives good information on how PPC can inform SEO in other ways.

No one is saying that organic search is obsolete-it simply takes longer to render results than PPC does! Having said this, both forms of search engine marketing play very well together, and you should use both to leverage deeper results.

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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