When organizing a marketing campaign, many small businesses get pulled in multiple directions. One source may tell them SEO (search engine optimization) is the way to go, while others swear by paid ads. As a result, they often neglect one approach in favor of another or spread themselves too thin by attacking both with full force.
In reality, successful digital marketing for small businesses typically consists of both parts: SEO and paid advertising. Both are very powerful if executed correctly and can make or break a marketing plan. Therefore, one approach is not better than the other and there is no one correct answer for every business.
In this blog, you will learn about balancing SEO with paid advertisements and the different types of ads you can run to leverage paid ads for your small business.
What is the Difference Between SEO and Paid Advertisements in Small Business’s Digital Marketing?
SEO is the process of attracting leads to your website through ranking highly in your target audience’s searches, nurturing them, and ultimately converting them into customers. However, there are significant weaknesses associated with SEO compared to paid ads. For one, it takes a minimum of 90-120 days to rank for even the most low-competition keywords and half a year for more competitive ones. Even if you wait for months and do the right things, there is never a guarantee that you will earn a spot at the top of a Google SERP (search engine results page).
On the other hand, SEO also has distinct advantages over paid ads. Unlike paid ads, SEO compounds over time and acts like an annuity. As you develop your content and improve your ranking over time, those lasting investments continue to attract leads even after you stop dumping money into them. Therefore, the more time and effort you spend on developing your SEO, the more it will benefit you over time. In addition, SEO’s CPA (cost per acquisition) is much lower than paid advertisements and continues to decrease over time.
Should I Use SEO or Paid Ads for My Small Business?
In short, use both! Both have strengths and weaknesses that complement each other if used in tandem. To make the best use out of the approaches, we recommend that you use one of the following methods:
- Pivot approach
- Scale approach
In a pivot approach, you begin using both SEO and paid ads to target the same keywords. Once your SEO has gained traction and begins to generate leads, you pivot your paid ads to other keywords that fit your target audience. Once your SEO for your original keyword/s runs at full speed, you can then follow your paid ads with SEO to reinforce your domain authority for the new keywords.
Conversely, a scaled approach begins with mostly paid ads and some SEO. The paid ads supplement the lost lead opportunities in the several months it takes for SEO to start working. But, when SEO does start working, you scale out of paid ads and allocate that budget towards SEO to bolster your long-term success and domain authority.
Neither of the approaches above is better than the other; each will work better for certain businesses. Therefore, choosing one is a matter of where you want to take your business and what kind of marketing you wish to pursue.
What Types of Paid Ads Can I Run?
Whether using a pivot or scaled approach, you have six options to choose from in terms of the types of PPC (pay-per-click) Google My Business paid ads you can run. Those types include:
- Search ads
- Display ads
- Responsive ads
- Video ads
- Retargeting ads
- Geotargeting ads
Search ads appear as search results when people look for something on Google. Businesses and Google can disguise them so well that people may not even know they are clicking an ad. For example, if someone looks up an “advertising agency,” their first several results will be ads for advertising agencies that disguise themselves as search results. The only way to tell an ad apart from a typical search result is by a small grey “Ad” box before the URL.
Instead of using solely text to attract clicks, display ads reach customers through pictures integrated into the websites they visit. Whether worked into a banner at the top of a website or squeezed into a sidebar, your ads can appear in leads’ daily lives. People often find picture-based advertisements much more engaging than those with only text, making display ads an extremely effective advertisement.
Responsive ads take advantage of Google’s AI technology to produce ads that are the most effective. Essentially, you give Google pictures, headlines, and taglines that you want your advertisements to include. Google’s AI generates numerous versions of ads with the elements you gave them, tests them in the real world, learns which work and which do not, and ends up with optimized ads.
Video ads are the best way to humanize your business and engage with your audience. Video-based advertisements attract higher engagement and click rates than any other format. In fact, videos attract almost double the number of clicks as image-based ads.
Retargeting ads rely on cookies placed on leads’ computers that allow your product or service to follow them from website to website. If you have ever looked at a pair of shoes on amazon and then seen that same pair of shoes follow you around for weeks, you have been the target of a retargeting ad.
Finally, Geotargeted ads are a powerful digital marketing tool for local businesses that let you put ads in front of people in a precise geographic location. We have a client who advertises to the baseball industry. Therefore, we geotargeted their ads to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and the surrounding hotels where people might stay. As a result, they made sales to baseball fans visiting the area.
Implementing Paid Advertising in Your Small Business
There are many different factors to consider before deciding on your balance between SEO and paid advertising and the types of paid advertising you employ. To decide on digital marketing for your small business, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are paid ads the right approach for me?
- Do I have enough budget to compete with other companies in my industry?
- Am I going to use PPC paid ads at the expense of SEO or in tandem with SEO?
- If I am going to use SEO, should I use a pivot or scaled approach?
- What formats do I use for my paid ads?
As you can see, there are many decisions to make and places to go wrong when organizing a digital marketing campaign for your small business. To avoid those costly mistakes and get the best results, we recommend that you use a team-based approach for your marketing.
With a team-based approach, you get to reap the benefits of a large team of experienced marketers without the cost associated with hiring full-time employees. At Farotech, we have years of experience and numerous client success stories to back our methods and approaches while saving you at least 40% compared to traditional marketing alternatives.
If you want to organize your marketing campaign right and get the most out of your paid advertisements with the help of a team-based approach, click here to learn more about PPC ads for your small business.