by Dustin Rohrer
Paid search. Some businesses consider it a controversial marketing medium, the success of which is hard to measure. Many of those companies have avoided paid search altogether, while others have tried running paid search in-house, and have watched their marketing budget get eaten by “clicks” with no way to evaluate their contribution to revenue or growth (for more on this topic, see our post on 5 Ways to Improve Paid Search Results).
But let’s get back to those businesses that are shying away from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in the first place. Should they reconsider? We think so. Let us give you a few reasons.
#1: Low-Cost Brand Protection
Every business has a brand image to uphold. Paid search is a low-cost way of harnessing the existing brand presence of a business and reinforcing the importance of that brand to the consumer who is searching for it on the Internet. Though businesses can bid on any keywords they choose, paid search platforms like Google AdWords decide to show relevant ads over expensive ones. This means that even small businesses with shoestring budgets can afford to run ads on their brand keywords (Google sees those words as extremely “relevant”), protecting the image and reputation that they’ve worked so hard to cultivate.
#2: Finding Customers on the “Long Tail”
The “Long Tail” refers to keywords that are less frequently searched, or less popular. These are often product- or brand-specific keywords. No matter how niche or popular your business is, paid search can bring customers to your website that are searching for a specific product that you sell. These long tail searches often indicate that a customer is further down the buying funnel, meaning they could be a click or two away from making a purchase.
#3: Your Competitors are Doing It
Though this may sound like the corporate equivalent of peer pressure, anyone in marketing knows the importance of competing in the same spaces as your rivals. If a competitor is running ads online, this is typically a good indicator that there is online business to be gained from doing the same. Many companies have realized that even with great organic search rankings, their business can be additionally helped by running PPC ads.
#4: Sitelinks as Helpful Hints
Sitelinks are the highlighted words that appear underneath your ad, but only if it’s ranking in the top 3 on a search results page. They are an easy way to quickly direct shoppers to what they want. Example: Shopper wants a Samsung TV, but types in “best buy” with the intent of hunting and pecking. A sitelink like “flat screen TVs” will help them find what they’re looking for.
Just kidding… Dustin already left for grad school, so we posted what he had. Sure hope his professors don’t let him get away with 4/5th’s completed papers.
But as he said before he left, “4 is the new 5.” We assume that’s something he learned during orientation week.
As a final thought, the market research firm Gartner did a study of marketing practices and found that, “on average, marketers outsource one-half of their search marketing—the highest proportion of any marketing activity.” They added, “As a rule, outsourcing your digital marketing activities is a smart tactic when you don't have in-house resources to stay on top of quickly changing technologies and techniques, or need specialized talent.”