In this second post of our series on Marketing Your Website, we will focus on search engine marketing (both Pay-Per-Click advertising and SEO). Both are extremely powerful ways to market your products and/or services, even if you are still learning how to create a website. We’ll advise you on how you should approach them from a small business owner’s perspective.
Before we start to discuss the importance of Search Engine Marketing, take a look at a recent study done by Nielsen-WebVisible. In the study, 4000 internet users were asked how they most commonly find information on local businesses. The results were as follows:
- 82% Search engines
- 57% Print yellow pages
- 53% Local newspapers
- 49% Internet yellow pages
- 49% Television
- 38% Direct mail
- 32% White pages directories
The bottom line: Eighty-two percent of internet users use search engines to find local businesses. If you want to grow your business, it should be pretty obvious now that Search Engine Marketing is a major priority.
Search Engine Marketing
PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING (“PPC”)
Pay-Per-Click Advertising, or “PPC”, is a quick way to advertise your new business website and start driving traffic to it. This is a service provided by the search engines, most popular being Google Adwords. Here, you pay each time somebody clicks on your ad (your ad will appear somewhere within the area highlighted red on the above image). Within minutes, you can generate targeted traffic to your website. We highly recommend that you start here.
PPC Advertising should be viewed as a laboratory from which you can determine how your customers are searching for your products and services, and also where you can test and ultimately optimize your marketing messages. You can do all of this within hours. This is why today, many experts argue that PPC advertising is arguably the most effective marketing tool you have at your disposal.
WHY WE RECOMMEND PPC ADVERTISING
- It allows you find out what the most popular search terms your customers are using to shop for your products/services
- Knowing the most popular search terms, you can edit the SEO Options on your pages (title, meta keywords & description) to improve your organic search ranking from within your website builder account
- You can also use this knowledge to start an SEO campaign
- You can limit your budget on a daily basis, to make sure costs stay within your reach (for example, you can set your campaign to only spend $20 per day)
- You can segment your ads so that they only appear in very defined geographical regions (i.e. cities or towns)
- By creating ads and seeing how they perform (Google provides this data for you), you will be able to optimize them
- Once optimized, you will now know the exact terminology that influences your target customers to take action
- You can then take this terminology and put it all over your website, which will increase your conversion rate and ROI
- You can then take this terminology and put it all over the rest of your marketing materials (taglines, brochures, flyers, print ads, radio, etc.), which will increase your conversion rate and ROI
There’s even more to benefit from PPC than this, but hopefully you get the point!
BEFORE YOU START: FOLLOW OUR TIPS TO SAVE TONS ON PPC
Once you have decided to start a PPC campaign for your small business website, here are some crucial tips that will save you tons:
- Start with Google Adwords. Don’t worry about Bing or Yahoo. The 80-90% of your traffic will come from Google anyways, and managing all these platforms is far more time consuming than it is worth. So stick with Google.
- Your CAMPAIGN SETTINGS are key. You can waste a ton of money if you start with the wrong settings. Here’s some helpful tips:
- Pick a targeted geographic location, so that your ads aren’t showing up everywhere in the world. It’s best to start by keeping it as local as possible. You can always expand it later.
- In the Networks section, make sure you only select “Google Search” (do NOT also select “Search Partners”). This will restrict your ads from showing up on random websites, where your budget can get depleted fast without anything to show for it
- Be mindful of the DEVICES section. You may not want your ads to show up if someone is browsing on a mobile phone or tablet.
- In the BIDDING section, you can set prices for your bids at first to keep your costs low and save money. However, if you start advertising more consistently, you definitely need to select “AdWords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget”. You won’t believe how many clicks you will get at such a low cost — the Google software really does an honest job here.
- In the BUDGET section, make sure you set a daily budget that is within your reach.
- Lastly, keep in mind that you can change these settings anytime. It’s totally normal to change these on a near daily basis, once your ads start running and you start learning what is working and what is not
- For all of your keywords, make sure you use the PHRASE MATCH option. THIS IS CRITICAL TO DO BEFORE YOU START RUNNING YOUR FIRST CAMPAIGN, because this is one area where Google can really take you and your money for a ride. We recommend that you read more about these options in Google Adwords, so you understand what they are all about.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (“SEO”)
Improving your rankings in the search engines can be done via Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO”. SEO has become a huge industry and there are many companies that provide these services.
Before you hire an SEO firm, there’s a lot you can and should do on your own. We’ve put together a 3 Part Series on How to Save Money on SEO that shows you what you can do to improve your rankings right now. You’ll learn a lot, so we highly suggest you read it.
A FINAL WORD
Before you start any search engine marketing campaigns to promote your free website, it is absolutely vital that you install Google Analytics on your website. It only takes 1-2 minutes using our website creator. This is the way that you will be able to analyze all of the data about your visitors — such as where they came from, how they found you, what search terms they typed in, what pages they viewed, how much time they spent on your site, and so forth. Empowered with this data, you’ll be able to make intelligent decisions about how and where to spend your marketing dollars — because you’ll know precisely where you are earning a return on your investment.
The next post in this series is Marketing Your Website, Part 3: Leveraging Social Media where we discuss the value of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and how you can leverage them to grow your business.