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Local Search Marketing Services
& Strategies for Professionals.

Should You Buy Online Ads?

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising builds traffic fast and is a great way to test your pages. But there's a catch . . .

Because PPC ads deploy immediately, they are a fast way to boost traffic, and to test how well different page designs convert visitors into buyers. Paid ads should be considered as part of your promotional mix, especially for highly-focused keywords, or to go beyond the geographical reach of local search methods.

Sample Google Adwords AdBut use caution: Small businesses may not well-served by the juggernaut of companies re-selling paid ads services from the big networks: Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Resellers are often compensated on customer acquisition and ad spend, not campaign effectiveness.

Your conversion costs may be higher because the reseller has to make a buck too. On the other hand, they may have tools to optimize your campaign to save money overall. Do they have deep experience with your industry, and pay enough attention to important execution issues like polished ad and landing-page copywriting? Can they demonstrate profitability? Maybe, you must find out — those are key factors in a successful campaign.

The alternative is to run your campaign in-house. Doing so makes perfect sense if you like to stay close to your marketing money and the skillset is available.

Did you know . . .

  • Only about 10% of traffic flows through paid ads. Many studies have shown that users overwhelmingly click on organic search results, bypassing paid ads. It's called ad blindness. If you don't have a strong organic search engine positions, you're missing most of the traffic! For that reason alone, don't rely entirely on PPC.

  • PPC campaigns are a substantial expense. Figure out how much you can pay for each click and still maintain acceptable profits. Any serious campaign requires expertise and time to both monitor and manage. Be sure to factor those costs into your budget.

  • Ads create a short-term presence, not a long-term asset. Unless you have another traffic-building strategy, traffic (and sales) will drop dramatically the day you stop paying for ads. Continue to build online strength in other ways regardless of your paid advertising program.

Most owners will be better served in the long run by limiting dependence on paid ads, and putting more emphasis on local search optimization, content creation, and communicating with customers.

Here's what local businesses and professional practices need to do:

  • Optimize your listings and site for local search
  • Add fresh content to your site or blog
  • Educate customers with your email campaign
  • Reach out to customers for reviews.

[Part 2: Saying Goodbye to Paid Ads]