If you build it, they may not come
Building a website is an exciting time for a business. You have a great opportunity to not only showcase your business to the world, but more importantly a new site can be a potential sales channel that works 24/7 for you. One of the most common misconceptions however, is that when you launch a website, customers will come flocking to your site ready to buy.
In reality, this couldn’t be much further from the truth. In fact, unless you have some kind of online marketing strategy, it can be many months before anyone even knows your website exists!
Depending on why you built the website in the first place, this can be a problem of varying importance. If your site is purely informational, and exists mainly to give your existing clients additional support and information it may not be such a big deal. But for most websites, the primary purpose is to deliver new leads and sales. No visitors equals no sales and this quickly becomes a big problem, especially when you have overheads to cover.
Traffic is King
There are many ways for visitors to arrive at your site, but one of the most common sources of traffic is from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Search engine traffic comes in two distinct flavours:
Organic Search Traffic
The term ‘organic traffic’ refers to visitors that arrive at your website through a search engine results page, as opposed to an advertisement. The search engines display their listings based on a myriad of factors in an effort to give the visitor the very best result for their search query.
- How high your site comes up in the organic search results can depend upon the answers to the following questions:
- How relevant is your site to the visitor? How likely will it be to answer their question?
- The age of your domain. How long has your site been online for?
- Link popularity. How many other websites link to your site?
Of course, ranking higher up in the organic search rankings is key to getting the most traffic and subsequently more potential for leads and sales. Another massive benefit of organic search is that all clicks that come through to your site are free.
But there can be a downside to free, though. Hear me out. Often, well established companies do a pretty good job of taking up a large portion of the first page search results and it can be a tough proposition to get quick results from organic search. Over time, providing of course that your website content is relevant, you *could* start to gain traction and see your website ranking higher in the results, but it’s most certainly not a predictable outcome. While you can do your best to create relevant content and use SEO to rank well in organic search, the cold hard fact is that Google, Yahoo and Bing ultimately control who shows up in the rankings.
Paid Search Traffic
The major search engines quickly realised that they had a viable business model on their hands by introducing ‘paid search’, allowing their customers to ‘jump the queue’ of organic results for a fee. By providing an ‘express lane’ to the top of the page, they have made it possible to get quick and reliable search traffic to your website.
The most popular paid search program is AdWords, which is run on the Google search engine. We recommend Google AdWords as a great place to start experimenting with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising due to their flexible options and large amount of traffic.
PPC Marketing 101
Managing your campaigns to give the best return on investment is crucial to achieving great results.
Here’s a few things you should know about PPC campaigns.
Keywords & Phrases
At the heart of any pay-per-click marketing campaign are ‘key’ words or phrases that a potential customer may enter into the search box to bring up your website. You need to make sure to research and select keywords or phrases that will deliver the right type of customer to your site. For example, if your business is selling sails for sailboats, bidding on the term ‘outboard motors’ will bring website visitors, but they won’t end up buying from you.
Where your ads are placed on the front page of Google depends on a few factors (including several quality score indicators based on your ad content), however ultimately how much you are willing to spend per click determines where your ads appear amongst your competitors.
You can give each of your campaigns a daily budget limit based on the maximum amount you wish to spend each day. Once your budget runs out, your ads don’t get shown until the next day.
Location Targeting (Geotargeting)
Smart tools inside Google AdWords give you the power to show ads only to those people in your service area. For example, if you are a Brisbane carpet cleaning business, there’s no point paying for ads to display in Sydney or Melbourne as you won’t be able to convert the resulting traffic into customers.
You can identify prime lead generating periods and only show your ads in those time-slots using the built-in time targeting tools. For example, if your business is to sell to restauranteurs, it is pretty pointless to pay for and show ads between the times 5pm and 10pm when they are busy with dinner service. Targeting more closely times that align with your potential customers will bring you better results.
By running a paid search program for your business, you can quickly and measurably bring in new traffic and leads to your business, however like most marketing there are a lot of factors that go into making a successful campaign. By hiring a professional PPC manager, you can save a significant amount of time and money setting up and maintaining your campaigns.
Our experts at Excite Media can help you create an entire new stream of customers and help you to optimise and monitor your AdWords campaigns for the best return on investment. Get in touch with us today to learn more.