Is Paid Search A Good Fit For My Business?

By: J. Arthur Co

While there are still some remnants of the Wild West spirit evident in online marketing, it’s important to be realistic about what can be achieved in a given timeframe, especially when you’re considering entering competitive markets or competing with established brands.

Unfortunately, many businesses neglect to consider whether or not their organizations are prepared to support a paid search program before jumping in and spending a lot of money. Paid search campaigns can deliver strong results, in fact PPC has an average of 200% return on investment (ROI)

However, it’s important to understand when and why it may not be right for every business or every situation. Let’s take a look at several factors that help to determine whether a paid search campaign is worthwhile for your business.

Is Paid Search a Good Fit For My Business

When Is Paid Search a Good Fit?

You Have A Brand New Website and Want Immediate Traffic

Paid Search campaigns typically don’t take too long to set up (the planning necessary to run a solid campaign often takes more time than the actual setup.) Essentially, you can have an ad up for your website on the first page of the main search engines within an hour of campaign set up and activation. This is a great option for brand new websites that have little to no exposure in the search engines. The immediate nature of PPC is also beneficial for seasonal businesses.

“PPC ads boost a business brand awareness on average by 80%.” (HubSpot)

If You Want to Compliment Your Organic SEO Efforts

Organic SEO campaigns can take some time to produce results, as you train Google to view your site as an authority in your industry. This doesn’t mean that you should sit around with your feet kicked back, waiting for the organic results to kick in.

With a paid search campaign, you can gain top visibility almost immediately. When it’s setup properly, you can draw in instant leads, sales and revenue for your business (as long as you have the budget to compete). Then, when your organic visibility improves due to the search engine optimization work, you will have a strong standing in both areas.

Consider this: when a searcher sees a business in both the organic and paid real estate on Google, it offers the impression that the business is relevant.

Here’s an interesting Moz article, which discusses how Google Adwords does and doesn’t affect organic results. 

You’re Seeking Valuable Data to Refine Your Keyword Strategy

Google Adwords allows users to target specific keywords and search terms. From there, you can analyze your data and work to identify the keywords that produce the highest conversion rates. This information is helpful for informing your SEO efforts as well: if a specific keyword is producing strong results through paid search then it would be beneficial to attempt to rank your website for the term organically as well.

Beyond this, you can also take the data from your Adwords campaign and Google Analytics account to analyze the conversion path your traffic takes. This undoubtedly helps to improve your funnel and identify areas that can be improved to increase your overall conversion rates.

When You Need to Capture the Attention of Your Audience at Precisely the Right Time

When you search for a product or service online— let’s say an auto mechanic in your area, for example— you generally know what to type into the search engine to receive the results you’re looking for. You know what you need, and your audience does too.

So, what does this mean for paid search ads? If consumers already know what they want, and your ads and keywords align with their search, they’re likely to read and click on your ads to learn more about your products, services, or promotions.

This is effective, considering that it avoids resorting to high-pressure sales tactics, cold calls or “selling” the customer on what you have to offer. Rather, it offers the consumer the ability to make an informed decision.

When Is Paid Search a Bad Fit?

When You Don’t  Have a Prospect Follow-Up Process

If your business depends on lead generation and doesn’t have a back-end nurturing and closing funnel in place, then a paid search campaign may not be a good fit. Businesses that delve into paid search without solidifying their sales funnel are much more likely to fail. Having a tried-and-true process for working and closing leads will ultimately deliver more successful outcomes in terms of revenue and profit.

You Think Analytics And Metrics are for Nerds

If you have an existing Paid Search account but have no idea what you want to accomplish, you’re not setting your business up for success. You’re facing an uphill battle if you expect your account to succeed without clearly defined goals and objectives. If you’re spending money on advertising, someone better have a clear answer of what the goals are and should be able to show the metrics that prove whether or not you’re on track to meet those goals.

If it’s unlikely that you will find interest in discussing your paid search goals, supporting metrics, and KPIs, paid search isn’t a good fit, as it requires clear established goals and a solid system to measure whether those goals are being achieved. 

“72% of companies haven’t looked at their ad campaigns in over a month.” (Webfx)

Paid Search without measurement is a fruitless endeavor.

You Aren’t Willing to Collaborate

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just hire a college student to plug in data and monitor the account. A successful paid search campaign demands skill, an informed strategy, a thorough understanding of the advertising platforms, a nuanced understanding of rules and guidelines, and a little creativity. If you aren’t willing to seek out professional help, your chances for success are limited.

On the other hand, it’s not helpful to hand over all of your efforts to a Paid Search professional and never look back. True successful paid search strategy comes with collaboration. Think of it this way: you are the expert spokesperson for your business and your Paid Search account manager is an expert in their field. Together you can collaborate and forge great strategies and ways to execute on any goals you may have for your business, products and services. Two heads are better than one.

Let’s Review

 So, when would a Paid Search campaign be worthwhile for your business? You should test a Paid search campaign out for your business if:

  • You have a new product or service to offer to your customers— while you wait for your organic SEO work to kick in, invest in some paid search to draw in immediate traffic
  • You want to target a specific local region— geo-targeting allows you to spend resources in the markets that will be most effective for you to advertise in
  • You are looking for a leg-up in a highly competitive market and going after high organic rankings may take time, money and resources that you don’t have at the moment.
  • You are seeking to run a time sensitive special or promotion where the results of organic SEO would take place after the deadline
  • You simply haven’t tried it before— start with small budget to see if you can capture a positive ROI

“PPC traffic converts 50% better than organic site visitors.” (Webfx)

J. Arthur | Paid Search Management 

Ultimately, placing one tactic above the other with the use of grand statements is ridiculous and often detrimental to your efforts. We manage both paid and organic search optimization, allowing us to freely tout the benefits of both and talk realistically about the challenges and concerns in equal measure. It’s important to stay open-minded, think critically, and work to understand the nuances of both paid and organic search.