Chris is the Head of Operations and a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs who enjoys strategizing and writing content that drives results. When not typing away, Chris is exploring nature with his two daughters, wife, and dogs.
Do you need paid search to have a successful marketing campaign?
Some marketers say yes. Others say no.
In reality, it depends.
In some situations, paid search is the only way to accomplish goals. When things are time sensitive, you don't necessarily have the opportunity to wait for content to grow organically. You need something that delivers results, and does it fast.
Other times it's the absolute wrong approach. It could cost a ton of money and slow progress to your goals.
So, before you choose whether you should or shouldn't use paid search in your campaign, take into account these six reasons to know if it's right for your brand.
The No-Holds-Barred Truth About Paid Search
Here's the deal with paid search. It works every year, but it gets more expensive every year. And unfortunately, as the cost increases, the returns do the opposite.
Every year, less targeted traffic clicks on the ads. And if your budget doesn't increase annually, you'll see fewer and fewer returns.
And to make it worse, when you stop paying, all of that traffic goes away. So if you're pushing paid search as your main traffic source, you're running a huge risk. You'll continue to pay more and more for the same search terms, watching your returns slowly return less and less, until that traffic is cut off.
We know there are a time and a place for every tactic and approach to marketing. That's why at Lean Labs, we have a plan. It's not just a plan for when to use paid search, but for how to replace it.
A lot of companies rely on paid search to bring them traffic, so their ROI drops every year. Our strategy increases ROI year-over-year, and we can help you do it.
If the thought of increasing returns sounds appealing, click here to schedule a meeting with us. We'll explain how you can reduce your dependence on paid search and get your content snowballing, continually increasing ROI.
Now, although we don't agree with it being a primary means of gaining traffic, paid search does have a place in marketing. That's why we'll discuss the four reasons you should use paid search and two reasons why you shouldn't. So you can make an assessment based on your own marketing goals.
4 Reasons to Use Paid Search
1. You Need Traffic Fast
When speed is of the essence, paid advertisements will deliver results much faster than standard organic search.
Purchasing ad space on the search engine results page (SERP) gives you a significantly better spot on the page. Rather than fighting for the top spot, you can use cash to put your content as high as it can get.
Organic marketing takes time to grow. It requires enough time that visitors can engage with it, so Google knows whether it's worth ranking on the page. Paid advertisements don't need to worry about that.
Since most PPC platforms make it easy to view your metrics, you can adjust on the fly to continuously produce a more engaging advertisement. And with a larger budget, you can quickly influence how many people the ad appears before.
2. You Need to Target a Specific Audience
When using paid search, you're able to target a very specific audience. This is exceptionally useful for brands who are very niched or understand the ins and outs of their client's persona.
With some agencies you work with, you're able to re-target individuals who've been to your site before. This lets you reengage them, potentially turning a window shopper into a customer.
Google enables you to target your audience based on who they are, their interests, or even whether they've engaged with your business before. This ability gives you more specificity for your ads, resulting in more relevant campaigns.
3. You Want To Secure a Long Tail
Users are growing increasingly better at searching for exactly what they want. And as they do, marketers get better at providing optimized content for their keywords. By capitalizing on the ability to understand what users are searching for, you can secure long tail keywords more easily than before.
Now, rather than needing to write content for each keyword, ensuring every aspect of it will cause it to rise through the results, you have a second option. You can create content that's sufficient to answer the user's question and then pay to get it to the top of the page. And since long tail keywords have less competition than more generalized terms, there's a better chance users will engage with your content.
4. You Have an eCommerce Store
If you have an eCommerce store, paid advertisements can be a powerful way to gain customers. Ads are extremely effective if someone is shopping for a specific product.
For example, if someone is searching for "red high heeled shoes," your product image can be the first thing they see. So long as you bid on the keyword, the ad can be what brings them to your site for the shoes and more.
This can be done for all your major products. You can also optimize these ads based on the data you collect to display the image and title that draws the most engagement.
2 Reasons Not to Use Paid Search
1. You Want Long Term Compounding Results
Organic marketing will always dominate the SERPs. What makes content marketing so effective is the way it gains continual traction. It's as close as a set it and forget it approach to marketing as you can get.
With paid advertisements, the second you turn off the cashflow, your traffic goes away. This means if your ads don't deliver enough ROI, you'll eventually run out of funds and be worse off than when you started. At least with organic search, you still have the content that's been potentially increasing in value from the moment you published it.
It's also important to note that many users understand paid ads only get that spot because a company paid for it. They'll skip paid results until they find the first organic results, knowing it earned that spot by providing value to users. In fact, paid ads get 85% fewer clicks than organic links, showing that people trust organic more.
2. You Have a Limited Budget
PPC costs money, and it only continues to climb year after year. As more people search for a specific term, the cost to purchase it gets higher. And unfortunately, conversions have stayed the same, meaning you're paying more per lead.
There's also the chance you get caught in a bidding war with another company. In this situation, you'll either "win" and end up paying more for a keyword, or "lose" and not compete for it.
Additionally, there's always a chance a user clicks on your ads by accident or doesn't convert. Every unintentional click is money lost, and there's no way to recoup it.
Using Paid Search to Your Advantage
If you're looking for some quick gains, and you have the budget, paid advertisements could be a valuable addition to your marketing strategy. If you see results, the ROI could even be enough to sustain the approach.
An easy way to identify whether it's worth using is to see what your competition is doing. If multiple companies are doing it, there's a good chance it's working for them, and could do the same for you. Start with a small budget, so you're not making large sacrifices, and validate it for yourself. That's the only way to know for sure whether you should or shouldn't use paid search.
About Lean Labs
The only outsourced growth team with a track record of 10X growth for SaaS & Tech co's. 🚀 Get our proven growth playbook →
Discover the Hidden Strategies We Use to 10X Our Clients' Growth in 36 Months!
The Growth Playbook is a FREE proven guide to planning, budgeting and accelerating your company’s growth.