I get asked about pay per click (PPC) marketing quite frequently by my full-service SEO and B2B SEO consulting clients. They want to know how much of an impact PPC is really going to have on their online brand and business and if it’s worth the investment. Depending how much competition there is for your top keywords, your company could be shelling out a few grand (or more!) each month in order to run a successful PPC campaign. So if your SEO is doing great, do you really need to invest in PPC? The answer is based on a few factors:
One of the first and most important things to consider: Have you gotten your feet wet with PPC before?
YES I have used PPC in the past.
If you tested a PPC campaign in the past, why did you give up on it? There are a couple reasons a B2B PPC campaign could fail.
- Strong SEO absence – Were you relying entirely on PPC and didn’t have a strong SEO foundation in place? In my experience, PPC is a great add-on for SEO; especially when you target branded keywords. If someone is looking for your brand by name, chances are they want to do business with you. This is a lot more effective at driving conversion than having someone click on your PPC ad that is just beginning their B2B buying cycle.
- Bad Messaging – A PPC campaign could also fail because of bad messaging. If your ads are compelling enough to convince someone to click over, it doesn’t matter how much you spend. If someone does click on one of your ads, what kind of landing page will they see? Believe it or not, the landing page is an incredibly important component of a PPC campaign. Did you try to tweak/change your landing pages and figure out what kind of messaging strategy works best for your audience, or did you call it quits too soon?
- Analysis – I’ve even talked with some site owners who thought their PPC campaign failed because they didn’t see a certain number, when in reality their PPC campaign was doing great! If you don’t know what kind of success you should be looking for it’s very easy to assume it’s not working.
NO my company has never tried PPC
If you have never invested in PPC and want to know if it’s worth your time/budget, one of the first things to look at is how much your competitors are spending. Large brands could be shelling out tens of thousands of dollars a month regardless of click cost because they can afford to take the hit. Can your business do the same? What keywords are your competitors fighting for? Are there any keyword variations that you could eventually dominate even with a smaller budget?
- Cost and Return – Most of us don’t have a limitless budge to throw at PPC, especially since it is so inconsistent. The cost and return of PPC can violently change in the blink of an eye. For instance, 10 years ago even the most general keywords would only cost you a couple cents a click. You could launch a B2B PPC campaign and see an incredible return practically overnight. Now those same keywords could easily cost $7 or $8 and the return is a lot less. Searchers are smarter than they were ten years ago and they can tell the difference between a paid ad and an organic listing. SEO tends to create a stronger trust factor because you have to earn a good rank in Google, not just buy one.
- Other Campaigns – Before you rush into a B2B PPC campaign, it’s important to do a full business assessment. Are all of your other online marketing tactics up to speed and performing well? Too often website owners are looking for the “quick fix” to their online marketing problems and assume that if they just throw money into PPC all their prayers will be answered—unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
So is a PPC campaign right for you? If your B2B SEO campaign is in great shape and you have the rest of your marketing eggs in a row then why not add PPC to the mix? Just don’t spend money just for the sake of spending it. Focus on a list of keywords that really have a chance of doing well.
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Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO services agency. With nearly 13 years of Internet marketing experience, Nick shares his knowledge by contributing to the Brick Marketing Blog, publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter and hosting SEO workshops for professionals in the Boston Area.