Debunking Online Demand Generation

During most of my initial marketing consultations I tend to hear the same story and concerns from business owners, only modified to reflect their industry. For the most part, frustration and lack of knowledge are the underlying sentiments. And, why not? Most capable business owners would rather focus on the part of the business that they love, the part that got them into business in the first place—not relentlessly keeping up with their marketing campaign.
Long gone are the days when all you had to do was consult with your local Dex or Yellow book advertisement rep, pick out the biggest ad you could afford, and you were in business. Much has changed; we are in an information age and people want their information faster, more accurate and increasingly mobile.
So, what about online demand generation—is this a trend that truly has staying power?
Answer:
Absolutely. There’s a reason Google trades at nearly $600.00/share.
Depending on the size of your business, you may already have a very functional website. When visitors find you, it gets the point across—but does it really do all it can for you and your organization? A truly great website is not only functional and informative; it also draws potential consumers in, engages visitors and eventually converts them into a customer.
Converting a web visitor into a customer is a great concept, but how do we get those visitors there in the first place? There are several ways: word of mouth, social media buzz, affiliate relationships, search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, and of course paying BIG BUCKS for traditional media to plug your URL, among others.
Search engine optimization is an outstanding tool to draw in web traffic, but it does have some limitations. Often times the initial cost of optimizing a site and properly executing a back linking campaign can be cost prohibitive, not to mention that it often takes quite a while to truly dominate the SERP’s (search engine results pages). That’s not to say it isn’t effective, because it certainly is. For now, let’s focus on pay-per-click marketing which can be used to circumvent some of SEO’s limitations. In speaking with most business owners, this is often times the most misunderstood variable in their marketing campaign—if they are even using it.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing is an extremely effective medium to use to draw internet traffic to your website. Consider the benefits:
• Targeted--ads are only shown to those looking for your product or service
• Accountability—you are only charged when someone actually clicks on your ad and visits your landing page
• Control—you set the budget you are comfortable with, and it never exceeds it
• Data—numerous reports can be run to judge the efficacy of your ad and allows your campaign manager to make adjustments on the fly
• Preparedness—internet users are well educated, they have done their research and are ready to be matched up with the company that can best fulfill their needs
• Level playing field—Google has strict ad guidelines which allows even a modest budget to compete with fortune 500 companies, which means that the biggest budget doesn’t always win!
Of course there are several other factors that make up an effective PPC campaign like quality score, relevancy, delivery methods, affiliate marketing, contextual advertising, placement targeting, etc….but the number one thing you need to keep in mind is that Google simply wants the same thing everyone else wants—happy customers.
In its simplest form, Google wants the individual performing a search query to find exactly what they are looking for.
In future postings, we’ll tackle the many variables that go into executing an effective search engine marketing campaign. If you have any immediate questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

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