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SEO Saturday: Should I Invest In PPC Ads Or Content Marketing?

This can be a tough question to answer for many business owners and managers. Should you invest more of your money into PPC ads and see results now or should you invest in content marketing and possibly reap the investment for years to come? Which choice is the best one for you? Let’s explore how to arrive at that decision.

If It Ain’t Broke…

First of all, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it! This holds true for your marketing. If you are running PPC ads with strong ROI, then keep it up. If your organic content is making you a killing, then keep that up. The point is, if you are already doing something and it is successful, keep doing that.

However, don’t forget to experiment with other marketing and advertising to see what works because this will change over time. For instance, you can maintain your PPC advertising campaign, but go ahead and try a small amount of content marketing for one month and measure what effect it has.

Core Differences Between PPC Advertising And Content Marketing

There are two essential differences when it comes to PPC advertising and content marketing, and those two factors are time and guarantees.

Time

Once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying

PPC advertising has an extremely short life span, once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying. This means that you have to constantly spend money to keep traffic coming to your site.

On the flip side, content marketing can have a indefinite impact. One post that you write this week could bring your site a substantial amount of traffic for the next several years. Content marketing has a longer shelf life than a PPC ad by a long shot.f

Guarantees

PPC advertising has a sort of guarantee that comes along with it. You will know ahead of time about how much traffic you can generate at what cost. This consistency and ability to know before starting is what comforts a lot of marketers and businesses alike.

Content marketing lacks any gaurantee. You could spend weeks writing what you think is the greatest blog post to ever be written only to find out that not a single person on the internet cares. It could also take weeks for your content to pick up any traction, or it could be months, or years. Costs for content marketing can be all over the place too, do you need a video or an infographic this week? How much does that cost? Oh, this blog post took longer than expected to write, that will be an extra $150! These variables can be a campaign killer for an unorganized marketer or business.

Choosing A Side

Now that we have covered the basic differences between the two types of marketing, we can begin to discuss which marketing method is best for your business or situation. Although it is generally recommended to use a balance of both techniques, some businesses may cater themselves strongly to one side or the other.

Ask yourself the following 5 questions about your marketing campaign goals:

  • Is it time sensitive?
  • Do you have specific sales goals that need to be met?
  • Do you sell your product/service online (no phone call or further action needed)?
  • Does your product have a short buying cycle?
  • Is there enough search volume to sustain your business?

If you answered yes to these 4 questions, PPC advertising is mostly likely your best option. If you answered yes to most of these questions, your answer is most likely yes as well, but I highly recommend talking to a marketing consultant or agency about your situation.

If you answered yes to some, but not all of the above questions, ask yourself these 6 questions to see if content marketing is best suited for you:

  • Are you willing to invest the time?
  • Do you have the basic writing skills?
  • Do you have other ways to promote content?
  • Is branding (and brand recognition) is a major goal of the campaign?
  • Do you need authority to sell your product?
  • Is there a long time between consumer purchases?

If you can answer yes to all of these, content marketing is a great option for you to explore. Content marketing will offer you traffic now and increasingly in the long run, making this marketing method a great option for campaigns that aren’t facing definite short term goals. You will also need another way to promote this content, especially at first before you start getting traffic from the search engines. A few ways to do this are to utilize your social media channels, do some guest blogging, use forums, and you can even use PPC ads!

Sites that need authority to help sell their products or services will generally benefit the most from content marketing. Companies that need authority to sell are companies that tend to charge a premium price for their product. Customers need content to be convinced that your product or service is worth the additional cost.

Products or services with long purchasing cycles tend to experience good results with content marketing as well. This is because these kinds of purchasing decisions are usually made with more research. This means that you need to have a steady supply of onsite content, as well as other online touch points for your potential customers to find you (they won’t do all of their research on just your site).

In conclusion

You should now have a pretty good idea about how to make a decision between PPC advertising and content marketing. It is not always a clear cut decision, and as I mentioned earlier, it is usually best to utilize both for maximum effect. If you are still not sure, ask me on Twitter or on Google+ and I’d be glad to help.

Be sure to let myself and others know how you determine whether to use PPC advertising or Content Marketing in the comments below!

Do you need to talk to someone about managing your PPC campaigns to boost ROI?
Adwords Ad Formating Google Spreadsheet to test the character count of PPC ads for Google Adwords

Spreadsheet Sunday: Easy Adwords PPC Ad Formatting

When you manage Google Adwords PPC ad campaigns for your self or for your clients, you know that going into Adwords can be a waste of time when all you want to do is test some new ad copy. I’ve experienced it many times myself, I know how annoying it can be to set up a new ad just to see if your character count will fit. It is especially annoying when you are proposing ads, as the client often won’t have an account or they want to see a few examples of what you might give them before the buy into it.

Your pains are no more. Use this simple Google Spreadsheet to help you format your proposed PPC ads for Adwords. Simply fill out the required lines in the Spreadsheet and it will automatically show you if you are beyond the allowed character count. As an added bonus, the ads are all formatted like they would appear on Google, so you can copy and past your ads on to another sheet and send the client a PDF of what the ads will look like!

Get Your Free Copy Of The Adwords PPC Ad Formatter

Ready to get started? Simply click a button below, make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet (File > Make a copy), and you are all set and ready to go!


Top 3 Mistakes Made By Facebook Advertisers

Facebook ads can be a great way to connect with more of your current and potential customers. However, that does not mean that all Facebook ads are created equally. Many Facebook advertisers make the same mistakes over and over again, costing them more money and creating a disconnect for their customers. Listed below are the top 3 mistakes to avoid as a Facebook advertiser.

  1. Lack of proper ad targeting

    It’s truly unfortunate, but so many advertisers still fall under “the more, the merrier” mindset when it comes to ad targeting. They are so afraid of missing one potential customer that they feel it is better to pay to target nearly everyone. This has a few negative effects, first and foremost being that you are paying way more than you need to. You have to pay for all those impressions and clicks from uninterested people, often several times.

    The second major problem that this is creating is that you are sending annoying and irrelevant messages to people. If your ad shows up enough, they may be inclined to think bad things about your company and possibly could even influence their friends to think the same. All of this leads to bad business. Don’t be afraid to micro-target, you can expand as needed.

  2. Generic messages

    Generic ad copy is another huge waste of time and money for many companies. While your ads might be successful using the same copy over and over to target different markets, it is almost certain that you can improve your CTR with unique and customized copy. If you are targeting people in a different areas or with different interests, your ad copy should reflect that.

    Most businesses have multiple services or products, but fail to realize the difference to the customer. Let’s say you sell clothes online. Many Facebook advertisers out there would make one ad that claims they have awesome shirts out there. That’s great, but so do many other businesses, this doesn’t give the user a great reason to click on your ad. However, let’s say there is a classic rock section to your store (among other categories). Instead of making that generic ad and blasting it out to everyone, you would most likely have much greater success if you made your ad about classic rock tshirts and then targeted it to people who like classic rock. Repeat this for your other categories and you should be spending less while getting more clicks.

  3. Poor use of images

    Images are one of the most important assets to your limited ads. These are usually what will grab the readers eye and direct the user to reading your ad. Getting their attention with an image and using a related image that adds meaning to your ad are often two different things for many Facebook advertisers.

    You are limited to 25 characters for your title and 90 characters for your ad, so it is vital that you use your images wisely to create the most impact for your ads. Be sure to avoid using an eye catching image if it doesn’t add meaning to your ad, otherwise you will create a disconnect for the user and will most likely miss out on their business, even after they clicked your ad. Choose an image that compliments your ad copy, but also one that is fitting and evokes the feeling you would like for your brand.

What other big mistakes do you find Facebook advertisers making over and over? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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