Before Pantone and the eyedropper tool, artists and designers had to create color the old-fashioned way – mixing primary colors to create new shades to use in their work. Starting from a few choice pigments, a painter can mix never-before-seen colors to his or her heart’s content using just a brush and palette.
Picture if you will, then, an artist approaching a beautiful landscape scene with an easel, paints and all the brushes necessary to create beautiful art. Just before starting, however, he decides that he is not going to use the color blue. Why? “I don’t like using it, and I don’t know how to mix it with the other colors as well.” Would you think that the painter is wise for conserving his resources? Or wonder how he’s going to accurately communicate the sky without a pretty important component of how we understand the sky?
Businesses and companies of all sizes do the exact same thing with paid search. Instead of approaching a situation with every tool available, they will leave it out completely because they don’t understand it, don’t like it, or don’t think they need it.
I may be speaking from more experience here than I care to admit, because I was that guy for a long time. I didn’t think I needed to incorporate paid search when developing a marketing strategy, in part because I didn’t understand it and in part because I didn’t think it was useful. Over time, however, I learned that it has its lot and place alongside organic search marketing, and the truly successful strategies blend the two into an infinite range of possibilities that can be customized to any situation.
If your business is leaving paid search off its marketing palette, here are three reasons why you should strongly reconsider adding it to the mix:
1) The “FREE” options are never Free
Social media, SEO, blogging, and other “FREE” avenues of digital marketing require a great deal of investment in order to work well. It may not be in money, but the time it takes to craft great content, optimize it for search and social, have a great website ready to convert qualified leads, and publish on a regular basis is pretty substantial. Depending on what type of business you use, these investments in time and energy may better be spent in paid search.
Please don’t misunderstand this as “paid is easier than organic,” because it’s not meant to be. Ad copywriting and design is an industry all its own and you need to excel in them in order to proceed. The point is that organic options are equally as demanding, and you should really investigate what the return on your investment is providing. Maybe, with paid search, it could improve.
2) Sheer volume with laser focus
According to Google, 38% of all daily media interactions are on smartphones. 49% of people watch TV with a smartphone. These numbers are not getting smaller. More and more people every day turn to the Internet to answer their questions, and are abandoning traditional media in doing so.
By paying for digital advertising and managing it wisely, you put your product at the front of the line of people who are looking for exactly what you offer. It’s like a tennis supply store buying a commercial for Wimbledon, except instead of one event a year, there are thousands of events an hour.
3) Follow the dollar signs
Quick, right now: how much money did you make from that ad you ran last year on television? Down to the penny? That specific commercial brought you that specific business?
It isn’t too much to ask from your advertising. Accountability for dollars spent is crucial in today’s marketplace, and no form of marketing provides a better chance to see exactly where your investment goes than paid search. From the budgeting process to the evaluation process, paid search gives you total control over how you spend your money and how much of your money is returned. Not only can you see what is succeeding, but also what needs to be improved or even removed. With no time minimum and no required budget, paid search can turn into the ultimate “all-you-can-convert” advertising buffet.
Now, this only works if you put in the necessary legwork. Throwing money at a problem never produces the best solution, and the same is true with paid search. Take the time to determine how you want to quantify a lead, and develop a system to keep track of how many leads are coming in and which are being converted.
Assuming you can successfully pull off a digital marketing plan without paid search is the wrong mentality. But it isn’t necessarily because paid search is the be-all, end-all; it’s because you should never limit your options without finding out what will work best for your situation. In the same vein, a plan consisting of nothing but paid search will be ineffective without the optimization of content on the website and an effort to generate quality content. The real mistake is closed-mindedness, and we should always take time to open up to new ideas and solutions every now and then.