So PPC, SEO and Social Media. Not sure where to start? Let’s see if we can help!
If you’re a new start-up or a company that has always relied on traditional marketing channels for business, then deciding where to start with the world of online marketing can be very daunting, especially if you are working from a limited budget. There are so many digital marketing channels to choose from. From paid search to email marketing, from content marketing to SEO, it is hard to know where to invest. If you have done some research into online marketing then you will probably have come across the three most well-known terms PPC, SEO and Social Media Marketing.
- PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimisation for organic traffic.
- Social Media Marketing – A social media campaign through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc…
So where do you invest your budget for digital marketing?
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all for every business and each strategy depends on the business, the customer base, the product or service and the goals of the project. However, what we can do is offer you some simple guidance as to what channel to use for what kind of project and how the main digital advertising channels of PPC, SEO & Social Media compare.
Let’s start by briefly going into what each channel is and does, as well as its pro’s and cons. This will make it easier for you to understand how it can or cannot benefit your business and how to implement your digital marketing strategy.
What is PPC?
Simply put Pay Per Click lets you create and manage highly targeted advertising campaigns where you can choose who you appear to, under what context and when. You can then monitor the performances of the campaigns with in-depth data reporting.
Pay Per Click marketing covers not only traditional search marketing (typing a search in a search engine), but also display advertising, shopping, remarketing and more.
Some of the Benefits of PPC
- You can have complete control over what you appear for and how.
- You can get instant visibility on page one of the search engines for terms relating to your services or products.
- PPC ads get a prominent position on Google Search Results (SERPS).
- You only pay for a click on to your website or a call to your company.
- You set and control the budgets.
- You have transparency of performance and data.
- Changes can be actioned in real-time.
- You can start as large or as small as you wish.
- You can turn it on or off quickly.
Some of the potential issues with PPC
- You pay for every click on your website. So this can be expensive depending on the industry.
- There is no guarantee those clicks will turn into customers.
- There are so many different options within PPC that it would be incredibly difficult for a non-PPC professional to understand and leverage them all.
- Optimising a PPC campaign is a specialist skill. Professionals have to prove their proficiency and gain certifications in each area of the Ads platform.
- There is the potential to waste a lot of money on things that are irrelevant to you if you do not manage your campaigns correctly.
- Managing a PPC account is labour intensive. It requires time spent in analysis and optimisation.
What is SEO?
SEO is the practice of improving your online visibility and authority with a view to driving more qualified traffic to your website. In simple terms, it’s about improving the volume of free clicks/free traffic to your website.
There are so many ways to do this that it would take up an entire blog of its own. So we’ll narrow it down to just ‘improving your website, improving your content, improving your authority online by getting more people referencing and talking about you online.
Some of the benefits of SEO
- The traffic you get is free!
- Organic traffic outweighs pay per click traffic. More people use organic results than paid as part of their decision-making process.
- Those who achieve high positions organically in search engine results are seen by both search engine users and the search engines as authorities on that particular search, which leads to trust.
- Can be used for all manner of activity from direct sales to brand awareness to PR.
- Did I mention it’s free traffic?
Some of the potential issues with SEO
- While you can control most aspects of SEO, ultimately your position in the search results pages of search engines like Google is decided by their algorithms. Therefore you cannot guarantee what you do will work, or work how you imagine it to.
- Once you have started down a long term SEO strategy it is then difficult to quickly change it if you realise it is the wrong strategy.
- Algorithms change overnight. Therefore positions can fluctuate as the months and years go by. This means SEO can be an unpredictable marketing channel.
- Returns are not instant. It requires an investment of both time and potentially money before positive returns are made.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is the actions and processes used to gain relevant traffic, customers, engagement, brand awareness and more, through social media platforms. Social Media marketing can include both paid social media advertising and natural (organic) social media advertising. This channel of marketing shares a lot of similarities and a lot of cross-over with PPC and SEO marketing.
Here are some of the social media platforms most commonly associated with social media marketing (in order of most commonly used for marketing):
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube
Some of the benefits of social advertising.
- The market place is huge! Facebook has over a billion users on its own!
- You can interact with your customers and audience in real-time.
- You can use text, images & videos to engage with people in many different ways.
- Social Media Paid Advertising offers many in-depth targeting options to get to your ideal audience.
- With engaging content, you can generate organic traffic to your website through regular posting (although this is becoming more difficult).
Some of the potential issues with social advertising
- Social Media is primarily used for engaging with your potential customers, and showing an ad to a user on Facebook does not have the same intent as someone searching directly in a search engine.
- Building a social presence takes a lot of time. That is unless you deliver an excellent viral social campaign, however, the ability to start a follower campaign on some platforms can help with this.
- As Social Media is effectively a forum for any voice, months of good work can be affected by a few bad social comments.
- Traffic to your website from Social Media can be a fraction of what you receive from SEO or PPC (Although paid traffic will be significantly higher than organic).
- Social Paid traffic can be expensive without results if targeted wrongly.
What are the benefits of a multi-channel marketing strategy?
We have gone through the benefits of each digital marketing channel, but what are the benefits of working on more than one of them at once? Below we will bullet point some of the more obvious reasons as to why a multi-channel digital strategy will work best.
- The more relevant traffic you can get to your website the more you should perform. So getting potential traffic from three sources and not just one makes sense.
- While PPC traffic can be profitable on an ongoing basis, social media and SEO traffic can potentially be delivered successfully without ongoing cost per click cost. All it takes is the right level of expertise and time. That traffic is free.
- You are mitigating risk by not putting all your marketing eggs in one basket.
- Remarketing – What if your organic visitors who didn’t convert on your website could be remarketed to online using PPC, and then shown tailored ads on Social Media? The beauty of a fully integrated digital marketing strategy means you can work on cross channel activity.
- Brand awareness and online visibility can be communicated quickly and more concisely to a larger audience.
- A multichannel approach can ensure you have all of your bases covered, with a potential customer having multiple touchpoints during the conversion funnel it is paramount that you have full visibility throughout.
(Image shows multiple touchpoints of an average user)
These are just a few examples of the importance of a multi-channel digital marketing campaign. Whether you have the budget to start with multiple channels or you have a limited budget, your overall aim should be to incorporate as many marketing channels as possible into your strategy.
Summary – Where should I start?
- If you want immediate returns.
- If you want the flexibility of strategy.
- If you want to get information to help shape how you approach marketing in future.
- If you want to test different products or services from your business.
- If you want a long term success.
- If you want to generate free traffic to your website.
- If you know you can get good rankings and traffic because you are in a more niche industry.
- If you think your product or service is something for people to get excited about and want to share.
- If your service or business needs to allow you to connect regularly with your customers.
- If you want to build brand awareness.
We hope this article has given you some vital information when starting out in the world of online marketing and will hopefully enable you to start. If it proves anything, it is that there is definitely no one size fits all approach, unless that answer is ‘choose a multi-channel digital marketing strategy’! Simply put if you have the budget to allow you to attack multiple fronts then you stand more chance of making a serious impact on both ROI and growth, however, if your budget is limited then make sure you pick the channel that is more in line with your industry or service to start and scale from there.
If you are struggling to choose a digital strategy and need help then please speak to a digital marketing expert here at DPOM and we will be happy to help. For more information on these marketing channels then visit any of these pages – PPC, SEO or Social Media Marketing.