Lead Generation: PPC or Social Media? (Part One)

Every business needs leads right? The definition of a “lead” will differ for each company but the over all objective is to build your customer base, sell products and services, and increase revenue.  This is why conversion optimization should be taken into account when looking at any Internet marketing strategy.

The answer to the question in the title to this blog is subjective and really depends on the company and what their desired conversion is.  Obviously, having a solid search engine optimization campaign and gradually increasing your organic search results is one of the best foundations for any Internet marketing strategy.  In fact social media can play a major role in effective SEO strategies, but we’ll get to that later.  For the purposes of this post, I want to compare Pay Per Click Advertising and Social Media Marketing.

Let’s face it, times are tough and PPC can be VERY expensive.  Depending on the industry you are in and the keywords you are targeting, ads may run anywhere from $0.12 per click to $5.00 per click.  In many industries these rates have fallen due to the economy.  Fewer companies have the budgets to spend for ongoing PPC campaigns so some major terms have become less competitive.  As I have mentioned in other posts, if you have the means, a recession is a great time to gain market share.  So if you can afford some PPC and approach the campaign correctly, then you may generate some good immediate results.

So how do you approach it correctly?

First, you need to set up the website for receiving PPC traffic.  This is a bit different than receiving natual traffic because Pay Per Click traffic will behave differently on your site.  The user will generally spend less time, view fewer pages, and might have a higher bounce rate.  You might be thinking “well what is the point”?  The point is that if you approach PPC advertising correctly, you can drastically increase your odds of receiving high quality targeted traffic that will convert to sales.

You will need to create optimized landing pages that coinicde with the ads you are running.  For example, a major focus for the auto industry right now is hybrid vehicles.  Therefore, many major manufacturers like Chevrolet and Ford are running massive PPC campaigns that focus on “hybrid” related keywords.  The titles and descriptions mention the new models, special offerings, etc.  So when the user clicks on the ad, they need to see exactly what the ad was referring to and content that supports the keyword they searched.  In this case, you would not direct a user who searched “hybrid vehicles” to the Ford.com home page.  Ford has optimized landing pages (separate from the main corporate site, but linking to it) that display only information about their new hybrid products.  The pages include good content and very specific calls to action that encourage the user to dig deeper, contact the sales center, and hopefully turn into a good  buying prospect.  So set up your site accordingly and send PPC traffic to pages that are specific to the ad campaign and the goals you are trying to acheive…makes sense right?

Second, make sure you hire a qualified Internet marketing company to help with keyword research.  Thanks to Google there are many “do it yourself” tools so pretty much anyone can run their own Google AdWords campaigns.  Be careful.  This is why there are experts in this field and certified companies who handle multi-million dollar PPC accounts.  If you do not know what you are doing you could be wasting a lot of money.  This is not the time to be wasteful with your marketing budget.

Your keyword research includes a few components:

  • Make sure that you target both broad keywords and long tail keywrds because they will have a different but complimentary effect on the outcome of your campaign.  Long tail terms are keywords and phrases that may be more specific or niche terms.  These will probably drive less traffic individually but it can be more targeted traffic.
  • Make sure you have a few variations on each keyword or phase and include some misspellings on your major terms.
  • Make sure you are not just choosing terms YOU think are good but terms that will actually drive the traffic you need and focus on you target audience.  People often make the mistake in PPC and SEO in targeting terms more specific to their brand identity rather than terms specific to their actual products and services.
  • Research how many times per month the terms you are using are searched.  If it is not searched more than a few times, you probably need not include it.
  • Choose a budget that fits within your financial means but do not be unrealistic. If your idustry has competitive terms then a budget of $20 per day may not cut it.
  • Geo-target ads to appear in specific geographical areas you are targeting.  This will help focus your budget on your target audience.
  • Once you get up and running, montior the results closely and make adjustments where you can.  If certain keywords are dring less traffic, remove them.  If your budget isn’t doing enough for you, you may need to rethink your strategy (becaue a budget that is unrealistic and too low will simply not provide the exposure that will give you a good ROI).  PPC more than any other form of Internet marketing needs to focused on ROI because if you are not paying attention you can waste thousands of dollars.

Now check out Part Two for the Social Media comparison…

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