Search Engine Advertising
A couple of months back, a TriAd colleague prepared a Case Study about internet marketing for a start-up summer camp. He tracked all the marketing tools used in the campaign and concluded that, along with starting a blog, paid search advertising via Google Adwords was the most effective method of generating inquiries and sales. This piqued my interest, so felt it was time to take a closer look at search marketing. Since a summer camp start-up campaign is a very specific marketing situation, I opened the lens a bit to consider paid search advertising in a broader context.
The operative words for successful search engine marketing are “knowledge” and “intent”. Paid search campaigns can be highly effective for reaching people who a) “know” what they’re looking for and b) are “intent” on finding it. After all, they have cranked up a search engine to answer a question or fulfill a need. And when the “intent” is present, those hyperlinks plus two lines of clever text that comprise Google search ads are very powerful indeed. They can target the need and send consumers right through the pipeline to your website, landing page, video or whatever. They are also relatively inexpensive.
Despite its hefty benefits, paid search simply isn’t the answer for everything. More often than not, it should be part of a broader plan. Consider a few examples:
E-Mail can rock!
When you already have a customer – or even a database of qualified prospects – e-mail is a much better tool for building a relationship. It offers 1-to-1 communication opportunities and can be content-rich with text, graphics and photos.
Make sure your website sings!
All those search ads, e-mails or online display ads ultimately bring folks to your website. It’s imperative that your visitors have a great experience. Every visit to your site or a landing page is an opportunity to engage. If the search ads do their job but visits to your website are a drag, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
Then there is branding!
When you are trying to build a brand image that is uniquely your own, marketing messages absolutely must resonate with people on an emotional level. Words play a part of course, but pictures, graphics and video have a much larger role. You can incorporate all of these in a well-planned website or on social media channels like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. And lest we forget, the traditional media such as magazines, television and direct mail still do a fine job building brands!
The take-away point – paid search advertising is a delightful chauffer that will deliver potential customers to your open door. But it is one part of a larger marketing program that continually engages your customer from first introductions through dinner and dessert!
Along with the TriAd Case Study, a recent Media Post article, “Search Is but One Tool in Your Marketing Toolbox”, kick-started my thinking on this subject. Check it out.