Sometimes when a client comes to us for advice on their online marketing, they ask whether it's better to invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisements, or in content marketing strategies.
The truth is this: There really shouldn't be an OR there. Good PPC strategies can enhance the effectiveness of your content marketing. However, without good website content in the first place, PPC has very limited value on its own.
So, if your budget is truly limited, you should start with content marketing since that forms the heart of your website. However, as PPC campaigns can be conducted quite inexpensively, there's little reason not to combine the strategies for better effect!
PPC and Content Marketing: Getting The Best Of Both Worlds
The first thing to remember about pay-per-click is what you're buying for your money. You get very precisely-targeted advertisements which can be dropped in front of virtually any user you want, based on pre-defined search keywords and demographics.
If you want nothing but females in Alaska searching for pet care advice, PPC can send them to you.
PPC ads are really not much different than billboards, or magazine ads, aside from allowing one-click access to your website. If a billboard inspires someone to visit your shop, but they leave disappointed five minutes later, that billboard really didn't help you. Worse, if the customer spreads word of their disappointment, the billboard might even cause your reputation to drop.
Similarly, if a PPC advertisement makes promises your website can't deliver on, users will leave even more quickly than in a physical shop. Plus, social media means they might be reporting their poor experience mere seconds after it happens.
Therefore, as we said, your website content is still ultimately more important than PPC. PPC can enhance your content strategies, but it cannot replace them.
Integrating PPC And Content Marketing Strategies
1 - Focus on keyword strategies for PPC.
As most of us know by now, Google has made keywords far less relevant when it comes to searches and search page results rankings. However, keywords are still a major element of PPC.
In fact, now you have to be using Google AdWords just to get access to Google's keyword database. However, once you are in the AdWords system, it's a great resource for finding out what customers are searching for when they find you.
PPCs targeting these keywords will show superior results.
2 - Target more than demographics.
When you're developing your content strategies, you probably have buyer personas to give you insights into the minds of your customers. (If not, we highly encourage you to create some!) Good content marketing looks to appeal to interests your customers have beyond your products.
Just as an obvious example, look at how many blogs recently have found ways to associate themselves with the Super Bowl!
PPC ads that target ideas or interests that are shared by your preferred clients will help encourage visitation from the leads you want, while discouraging people you aren't interested in marketing towards. This can then be reinforced with content strategies that deliver what the PPC ads promise.
3 - Do plenty of A/B testing.
Content management systems like Hubspot make it simple to implement and track the effectiveness of multiple campaigns at once, even serving up different variations of the same content to different people.
Do your visitors respond better to "used" or "pre-owned"? Does "Limited-Time Offer" inspire more clicks than "Holiday Sale"? You can't know until you try, but it's simple to run both versions for a week through Hubspot and then compare results. The data will almost always give clear answers.
Keep Embracing New Online Strategies!
Online marketing is constantly evolving, and adopting new techniques is a great way to expand your appeal. If you'd like more advice on updating your online marketing, we invite you to download our free ebook, How To Create Killer Marketing Content!