Is Paid Advertising Right for Your Business?
September 25th, 2014

Is Paid Advertising Right for Your Business?

by Ashley Bullin

Among the variety of digital marketing tactics is the relatively low-hanging fruit of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. It’s a sure-fire way to get to the top of search engine results pages if you have the right budget. And while it may seem like an easy tactic to implement, PPC should not be taken lightly. Successful paid advertising campaigns require both analytical and creative thinking, as it’s necessary to get into the mindset of your target audience, how they search and how to capture their attention. Not to mention it requires a niche skillset and past experience to set up and maintain campaigns successfully! Just one slip of a decimal point could cost your business hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars if you’re not careful.

So, how do you know if paid advertising is something your business could benefit from? There are several questions you can ask yourself:

How is my site performing organically?

If your website is killing it on organic search results, it may not be necessary to invest in paid advertising. Perhaps you’ve spent lots of time creating great content. Your meta data, including title tags and descriptions, are on-point. You’ve included the right number of characters, keywords and internal links on each page of your site. Your content is so great that other companies are creating backlinks to your site. In this case, when a user searches for a term that closely relates to your business—you’re probably showing up at the top of search results pages. But what about those brands that haven’t had the time or expertise needed to execute such a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, or hire a digital marketing agency like Sage Island to do it for them? These are the types of businesses that could benefit from a PPC campaign.

What action, if any, can users perform on my website?

If your business is an ecommerce site, then paid advertising is definitely a worthwhile marketing tactic you should explore further. Especially with options like Google Shopping Campaigns available! But PPC is also helpful for a variety of other businesses—you don’t just have to sell products online to benefit from it. Perhaps your company is interested in capturing new leads, and you see the biggest ROI when users fill out a contact form on your site. This is another example of a business that should weigh the pros and cons of implementing a PPC campaign. If your site simply doesn’t provide any action for users to take, then paid advertising is probably not for you. Not unless you want to reevaluate your site’s overall purpose and give it the facelift it may need to start performing to your benefit.

What keywords are right for my business?

Hopefully you know what keywords pertain to your business, and you’ve included them within your site’s meta data. But let’s say you’re a little behind and need a refresher—keywords are just terms that relate to your business. If you’re a women’s fashion boutique, for example, some of your keywords may include “ladies dresses,” “women’s hats” and “fashion accessories.” The more specific you get, the more targeted your audience becomes in the PPC world. Once you’ve determined what product categories or brands you’d like to focus on, you can refine your keywords accordingly. At this point, it’s time to see how many users are searching for terms that match these keywords, and how much they would cost you—which brings us to our next question you should consider:

Who are my competitors, and how much are they spending?

Search engines like Google have tools readily available for advertisers looking for this type of information. A keyword planner tool can be used to estimate traffic (how many people are searching for terms that match your keyword selection) and the cost of bids (the amount competitors are paying per click for these keywords). Sure, the tool can’t tell you WHO your competitors are, but a quick search can give you a good idea. It’s best to type your keywords into Google search and find out who is bidding on them. If you’re a small business, it will most likely be difficult to compete with a nationally recognized brand. If that giant brand is bidding on all of your applicable keywords, then they’re ALWAYS going to beat you. We’re not saying it’s not worth it to ride out positions like two or three, so don’t call it quits right away if this is the case—just pay attention to what it costs you.

How much can I afford to spend?

At Sage Island, we don’t hide the truth from prospective PPC clients—if your budget isn’t substantial enough to deliver quality results, we won’t recommend this tactic. Our marketing specialists use tools such as Google’s keyword planner to determine what budget is necessary to accomplish a client’s goals. And if the client’s budget isn’t higher (hey, we have to get paid too) than the amount needed to run a successful campaign, PPC is not worth running. Setting up and maintaining campaigns is a serious time commitment, and it’s a waste of our time (as an agency) and yours (as a business) to spend money on a service that’s simply not going to yield a ROI.

To put it in perspective, PPC is really just an alternative (or perhaps an additional tactic) for SEO. For brands that have the time or budget to invest in an SEO strategy, we highly suggest doing so. But if you’re looking for fast results, PPC is a relatively easy way to get your business in front of your target audience right away. But keep in mind it’s not as easy as it sounds. If you’re contemplating beginning or expanding on a paid advertising campaign, contact Sage Island today. Our staff includes certified Google AdWords specialists that can increase traffic to your website, capture new leads, convert more customers and increase your marketing ROI.