In today’s world, the internet is a valuable asset for nearly all businesses, but when it comes to promoting your business online, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At TechWyse, we use a variety of marketing strategies, so let’s discuss the pros and cons of each and see which make sense for your business!
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing, also called “PPC” (short for “Pay Per Click”), is similar to the “FastPass” at Disney Word. You pay a fee and you get to go straight to the front of the line whenever someone searches for a keyword that you selected for your ads.
Essentially, you bid on what you think people are searching for when they are in the market for products or services that you provide (these platforms often provide tools, such as Google keyword planner, to help you with keyword research).
This is particularly effective for service industries that need to capitalize on immediate demand. For example, if you’re running a renovations company, you may choose to bid on searches for specific services that you provide, such as “kitchen renovation.”
When someone goes on Google (or Bing or other search engines) and they search for “kitchen renovation,” they will see your ad at or near the very top of the list, which will allow for you to take advantage of appearing before a potential customer at exactly the right time.
If you’re a business that provides services to people in need, then search engine marketing is a great way for you to promote yourself online! What better time and place to show an ad than at the exact moment someone is looking for the services that you provide?
Social Media Advertising (Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
Advertising on social media is a relatively inexpensive way to reach a very wide audience based on a variety of factors, such as interests, location, demographics, and potentially even income level (depending on what you are promoting, Facebook and other platforms do have limitations for certain industries).
If you run an online store that customers can use to make quick purchases, then social media is a great way to reach potential customers, especially if you’d consider some of your products to be “impulse buys.”
For example, if you’re looking to sell clothing online, you may be able to manufacture consumer interest, which is more difficult with services such as plumbing. I know that personally, I’ve always had a weak spot for t-shirts. There have been many occasions where I woke up with every intention of being frugal with my money, only to buy four or five shirts online.
While ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter do not have the same timeliness of search engine advertising, there is an added benefit to showing your ads to people when they are in an idle state, as many people tend to be when hanging out online, watching cat videos and talking to friends (yeah, I like watching cat videos, so what?).
It’s during these periods of downtime that potential customers might be most likely to make a purchase. While they may not be in the market for anything in particular, they might have enough time on their hands to make a few impulsive purchases.
But even if your audience isn’t the impulsive type, there are still benefits to running ads on your favorite social media platforms (or their favourite social media platforms).
For example, if someone came to your website through another platform, you can then remarket to them on social media, which lets you take advantage of an audience segment that you know has expressed interest in your product.
All-in-all, paid social ads are a great option for businesses that have a strong focus on ecommerce or online retail!
Job Board Advertising (LinkedIn, Indeed)
For B2B industries, it can be challenging to reach the right people on social media or even search ads. Job boards like Affinda and professional networking sites like LinkedIn offer an approach that lets you target people based on specific job titles and industries (Facebook does have this feature, but the atmosphere is not as professional, so corporate decision makers may not be as active as they would be on a platform like LinkedIn).
If you provide a commercial service, this is a great way to work on building professional relationships. This form of advertising often functions very similar to traditional social media marketing, but the professional nature of these platforms offers unique opportunities to apply a very segmented focus to your ad targeting.
If you find that Facebook and Google aren’t bringing in the right quality of leads, then this might be the way to go!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You might be feeling a sense of deja vu upon reading this entry, but make no mistake, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two very different things.
While SEM may give you immediate results, SEO is more like playing the long game so that you don’t have to keep paying your way to the front of the line.
So, what is SEO? According to Google, SEO is the process of making your site better for search engines. Search engines, like Google, read the content of your website in very different ways than people do. For instance, since search engines do not have eyes, they rely on an image’s alt attribute to explain to them what an image is.
For the sake of this article, what an alt attribute is is not important, but small little things like this are important for SEO. Because not everyone is aware of these various little factors, giving attention to SEO is a great way to get a leg up on your competition, as search engines will prioritize sites that cater to how they read and assess content.
If your website has not been optimized to improve its ranking in search results on sites like Google, it’s never too late to start! Improving the SEO of your website will have long-lasting benefits that your competitors may already be enjoying. While SEO results do not happen overnight, they don’t tend to go away overnight either. Putting the work in now might really pay off in the future!
We’ve discussed a few approaches to promoting your business online and each one has its own benefits. Search engine marketing and optimization are both great ways to reach the right people at the right time if you’re a service provider, but if your focus on ecommerce or online retail, paid social may be the way to go.
If you are in the B2B sphere, LinkedIn ads may be what’s best for you if you are looking for quality commercial leads with deep pockets. SEO is good for everyone, but remember that it is a long-term approach, so do not expect immediate results! For this reason, it is often good to mix in paid advertising while SEO is still ramping up.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article (and learned something along the way)! If you’d like more information on different approaches to marketing your business, feel free to give us a shout!