In this digital age the consumer is in control. With content and research readily available, 70% of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales. Just getting your business on the shopping list is more difficult than ever, and if it can’t be easily found online, you might as well not exist.
This makes your Google ranking all the more important. So it’s not surprising that businesses are clamoring over each other to get that top spot and be discovered online. SEO is a smart choice, but it can be confusing, take time to establish and require regular monitoring.
That makes AdWords a safe bet, right?
You’ll get the visibility needed to drive new leads without drowning in complex, forever changing algorithms.
This is true. But there’s also a problem with this approach – it’s not sustainable. No marketing tactic ever is. And by its very nature an AdWords campaign (essentially online advertising) is a tactic, not a strategy.
Who cares as long as it gets results, right? As a business owner, you should. The essence of having any kind of strategy is to outline a clear plan that will deliver results that are ongoing. The only way to do this is to have the right building blocks in place – supported with the right tactics at the right time to boost performance.
AdWords can be a very dangerous ongoing tactic to use. When the campaign stops, so do the results. And as more and more businesses engage in AdWords, the keywords get more competitive and the costs continue to rise. If you’re reliant on AdWords for leads, you’re at the mercy of Google and all your competitors (big and small). As they’re driving up the cost of clicks your ROI is driven down and you’re not really in control of your marketing.
So how do you take back control?
Don’t think only about immediate results. Look to the future by investing in long-term strategies that will allow you to grow awareness and engagement over time. Some examples include:
- SEO. Even though it is a complex area, with the right planning, activities and approach you can deliver long term value.
- Content marketing. This is a broad area with many options and opportunities, which essentially allow you to establish yourself as a valuable source of information to build engagement and trust.
- Social Media. It’s hard to imagine a marketing strategy in this day and age that doesn’t incorporate some element of social media. Not only because it’s a great channel to distribute your content, but it’s vital for fostering engaged communities.
These are just a few examples. But the main take away is not to spend all your funding on AdWords, but rather invest in the building blocks that will grow your business over the long-term and support these with the right tactics to drive immediate results.
Knowing when to use AdWords
Of course, I’m not suggesting that AdWords shouldn’t be used, but it should be used tactically for example;
- to grow awareness and visits to a new site as SEO is established
- to research the best keywords to incorporate into your SEO strategy
- to leverage seasonal or cyclical offers related to your market.
- to support a campaign or new product launch in your business.
What are your experiences of running AdWords campaigns? Tell us your thoughts.