Everybody has been tossing around the term “Inbound Marketing” lately. But what Inbound Marketing actually means depends on who you ask. Is paid search really a part of the inbound movement? Is it more of an outbound activity? Or better yet…does anyone ever even click on the paid links anymore? In 2014, 89.5% of Google’s revenue ($59.06 B) came from paid advertising. What this tells me is that paid search isn’t going anywhere and, yes, people still click on the ads. In fact, more people are clicking on them than they ever were before.
So while you ponder $59.06 BILLION being generated by Google through Adwords, let’s consider how you can get into this game and how it could benefit your Inbound Marketing strategy in general.
What does paid search do exactly?
Compliments your SEO efforts
Paid search can help you drive traffic immediately, especially if your SEO efforts aren’t where you want them to be. Keep in mind, paid search touches on a variety of factors that go into “ranking” well, including things like Cost Per Click (CPC), Ad Rank, Quality Score, Budget, etc., so don’t just assume paid search can completely replace ranking well organically. However, having search results show in both organic and paid listings shows searchers that you are more relevant.
Allows you to quickly test your message
With other forms of Inbound Marketing, it can take weeks or months to know what’s working, but that is not the case with paid search. As mentioned above, paid search allows you to rank immediately and gives you the chance to A/B test different messages. This is especially important if you plan on using the winning message on other pieces of marketing material that may not be quite as easy to test. (That message could potentially even be used on some of your outbound efforts.)
Allows you to test/choose your audience quickly
Will your audience be receptive to your new offer? Paid search allows you the opportunity to test that offer before promoting it through other means where you might spend a lot of money that you’ll never see again. This is also a great opportunity to test multiple offers and see what your audience is interested in. This can really help dictate how your other marketing campaigns are structured moving forward and can especially help you decide what type of content you need to create more of in the future.
Allows you to test new landing pages, keywords, and variations
Since you can get paid search campaigns up and running quickly, it allows you to fail fast and test new and different landing pages and keywords. In general, marketing is a profession of testing—and lots of it. Paid search is no different. It’s a game of trying new things continuously and finding what works for you and your audience. There are all kinds of variations you can create with your landing pages and paid search is the perfect way to bust them out. Get creative…get crazy…you never know what your audience will be receptive to.
Same idea with keywords. There are many variations of keywords you can use and many different ways to target them. Test the best way to do this. Test broad match vs. phrase match vs. exact match, etc. Test negative keywords and try to think up all the different ways that your audience might be searching for exactly what you have to offer.
Choose what you want to promote and when
One of the biggest advantages to paid search is that you can promote whatever you want, whenever you want (within the rules of course). With pure SEO, you can go ahead and create some awesome content, but where people find you is completely up to the search algorithm and how they decide to rank you on that day, at that moment. With paid search, as long as you are bidding on keywords that are relevant to what you are promoting (as well as other ranking factors like budget and quality score), you will most likely rank fairly high within the sponsored ad area. Where your blog about the same topic might not rank well organically (yet), your paid sponsorship could be ranking well immediately and start generating results for you right away.
If you aren’t using paid search with your Inbound Marketing efforts, let us know why. If your current partner isn’t using paid search as a part of your strategy, ask them why. If they don’t have a good answer, then they probably don’t have the expertise on staff to help. In that case….give us call or email us today! We will be glad to discuss your options with you.