Should you use paid ads or SEO to boost your business’s revenue? Even professional marketers find it difficult to choose. A 2020 survey of 1,000 marketers found that 90% favored SEM while 87% considered SEO to be effective. Find out how to put these strategies into place. Let’s take a closer look at how search engine marketing (SEM), local SEO and content marketing can bring you more customers.
How do search engines like Google boost your revenue?
If you could knock on a customer’s door at the exact moment they thought “I need a plumber,” you would have a very high chance of earning a sale. When you use SEO, you have the ability to appear when customers have a need for your service. For example, if your website is well optimized for a keyword such as “Atlanta plumber,” you could get a steady stream of hot leads coming to your small business from organic search results.
That’s good news! Unfortunately, there is also some bad news. Many other companies know the value of SEO, paid ads and local searches. They have invested in creating great websites and have an ad campaign in place. As a result, it is not easy to attract new customers from search engines. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can use to get better results.
What are the benefits of pay-per-click ads in mobile search results?
If you need more customers this week, local SEO is not the right strategy. Instead, you should use a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. Whether you use Google Ads or Bing Ads, the process is the same. You only pay when somebody clicks on your ads. Search ads are useful because they only appear when somebody enters a relevant search. For instance, you can place ads for “landscaping service” and only appear in front of people who are within 20 miles of your business. Your customer might be looking at his lawn right now and want a quote from a landscaper. By having a PPC ad, you can get a call from that lead right away.
The best part about search ads on Google and Bing Ads is that you can be up and running in less than 24 hours. The trade-off is that you can end up spending a lot of money while you learn the ropes. If you do not have the time to develop these skills, you may decide to outsource search ads and PPC advertising to specialized consultants and agencies.
Tip: Once you start running PPC ads, you might get a lot of calls. If you don’t manage those calls effectively, you will miss sales. Use a phone system with extensions (e.g. dial 1 to request a quote, dial 2 for customer service) to make sure you never miss a sales opportunity.
Use landing pages to make life easier for your customers
To get more leads, create landing pages that make it easy for customers to take the next action. A landing page is the webpage you see after clicking a link or an ad. For the best results, your landing page should match your ad. When an ad offers a coupon for $10 off, that coupon code should be featured on the landing page. If you want people to call you, put your phone number front and center in an easy-to-read font. If you need them to fill in a contact form, make that form easy to read and ask for minimal information (e.g. name, phone and email address).
Content marketing: the best way to get long-term traffic to your website
Relying exclusively on search ads is not a wise strategy. After all, you may need to pause your campaigns if you run out of advertising budget. When you pause those campaigns, your ads will stop appearing. With local SEO, you can run a campaign this year and continue to receive leads for years into the future. To achieve those long term results, we recommend using content marketing.
Content marketing is the practice of creating content that answers questions. For example, if you run a car dealership, you might create a video or article that explains how to rotate tires quickly. If you create high-quality content, you could be rewarded with traffic to your website when people search for tips in a search engine.
SEM vs. PPC: Each has a role to play in your digital marketing
You can bring more traffic to your website with great content and optimizing your landing pages. However, that is just scratching the surface. For better results, you need an SEM strategy. SEM (i.e. search engine marketing) is a way to organize all of your digital marketing tactics into a coherent strategy.
Let’s walk through a simple example. You run a dental office and focus on cosmetic procedures to help your patients look great. Your goal: attract more cosmetic dental patients because they are the most profitable. You put yourself in the shoes of a potential dental patient. What are their questions and concerns about your small business? They may be worried about cost, pain and whether you have a convenient schedule for their needs. Now that you have defined your goal and who you want to attract, create your search ads and local SEO.
Start your search ads campaign: Start your SEM campaign
Using Google Ads, you decide to create ads based on keywords like “cosmetic dentist” and “cosmetic dentist New York.” In your ads, you mention that you offer procedures on Saturday and Sunday. That’s a great way to appeal to patients who have a full schedule.
From an SEO perspective, you decide to start small by answering the top 10 most common questions new patients ask you. In each article, you make sure to use a few relevant keywords. For example, a yoga studio in Chicago might focus on the following keywords: yoga classes Chicago, yoga Chicago and hot yoga Chicago. Once these articles are published, ask your friends to link to your company. If your business sponsors local charities and clubs, ask those companies to link to your website. That is an easy win to get more traffic to your website.
Get started today by choosing one strategy
When you join the ranks of digital marketers, it is tough to get started. There are so many different tools and strategies you can use. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, we recommend choosing either local SEO or search ads as your first focus. After you work on that focus for two to three months, you can evaluate your results and decide whether you want to expand to other strategies.