There is no right answer on how to generate leads online. All we can do is employ multiple methods, numerous submissions and quality web content, and ………wait. Internet Marketing has become one of the most misunderstood skill sets. There are too many chiefs and not enough indians. I recently read a piece by Joe Marchese, “…people need to stop “starting to think about ‘what’s next’ before they’ve figured out ‘what’s now,”. That statement holds the true-st in Web-site Marketing. In my opinion, search marketers’ spend too much time trying to “get over” on the search engines or out wit the competition. I believe in the ladder, but to what extent will this action of conquest marketing affect the bottom line and ROI?
There are some clear methods to obtain leads online: PPC, SEO, Banners and Emails seem to be the most employed. All the mentioned methods can be successful as individual or combined marketing strategies. The most comprehensive method utilizes all forms of lead generation. When working together complimenting each other, a complete saturation of the web can be achieved.
With that said, there is no clear “winner” or “best” method. I will explain some of the pro’s and con’s of SEO and PPC.
I have run thousands of PPC campaigns, using: Google, Yahoo, MSN and the IYP. I have marketed steaks and burgers, cemetery plots and everything in between online. There are industries that do better than others but, for the mast part “you reap what you sew”.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC): The paid placement of ads online is the fastest growing industry. Most industry analyst predict a steady growth in paid placement despite the “microsession” looming. Pay-per-click marketing is the fastest way to been seen online. Most platforms can have you “live” in days. There is a downfall to PPC, you can spend alot of money very quickly with little or no result. The method used to “bid” on words and phrases is very limiting in it’s ability to provide accountability of the words and terms you “bid” on. Also, most search engines limit the amount of keywords you can use (about 2000) so, you can see why knowing what a word has done for you lately is important. The attractive part of PPC is definitely its the visibility. The use of software to aid your decision making on “bids” is essential to a cost effective online marketing campaign. ROI is the operative word most business owners want to know about. PPC can give the best ROI when finely tuned, however there is always the risk of unqualified or dead leads.
In conclusion, I would recommend a PPC campaign for any business looking to generate leads online in a cost effective manner. Beware of snake oilers selling the top spots on search engines, you can always buy #1, but is it giving you the ROI you want or is your ego writing the checks?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The assumed title of most online advertisers. At some point during the internet (B.C.) the term “search engine optimiser” was given to people who helped websites be seen, but now in internet (A.D.) we call those people “search engine marketers.
SEO is the cousin of PPC. When you initiate a search, you get 2 results a paid (PPC) and a natural and organic (middle of the page). Both areas serve similar but different purposes? The natural and organic is generally used for research and analyzation, while the paid is a forum for sales pitches. But, the natural and organic can be used to market your company online. The #1 natural position maybe the most sought after position online. The number one rank is earned not bought. Well, that is partially true. You cant bid on that position but, you can pay a web developer to build your site so search engines find it and index (spider,crawl) all the sites content. The art of SEO can’t be explained in a article or a blog or the web, it is a cumulative application of failures and recoveries. The site needs to be focused on a topic or service/product. Next, the pages within the site need to support the overall theme of the site. Last, the content on the pages on the site need to reinforce the theme of the page ,which supports the theme of the site. In layman’s terms you need consistency. Finally, once you have built a search friendly site, submit,submit,submit. Find as many directories and engines as you can and let them know who you are, where you serve and how to find you (URL). SEO does have a draw back, it can take 3-9 months sometimes to get placement, and then when you do get placed you need to refresh all the above mentioned “supports” to stay current. There are many other factors to consider when you optimize your site but for now that should get you started.
There are hundreds of companies and individuals that can help with both PPC and SEO as well as basic site creation. Remember to think logically not with your ego, and you will see success in you Online Marketing endeavors.