Jul 14, 2016

6 Hacks to Stretch Your Search Marketing Budget

by Digital Marketing Institute

As the old adage goes, you have to spend money to make money. And this holds true in the world of digital marketing.

All too often, small businesses assume that digital marketing is a free, or at least very cheap, way to attract sales. They toss up a 5 page website, create a couple of social media profiles, and post updates sporadically.

But the reality of it is, successful digital marketing costs money. Once a business recognizes this, the question is no longer “should we spend on marketing?” to “what marketing strategy will provide us with the highest ROI?”

While we are big advocates of using inbound marketing strategies through content and social media, we also recognize that there are many benefits to combining these tactics with paid search marketing. Because search engine conversion rates tend to be 10% higher than social on desktops, and 15% higher on mobile devices, a well-developed search campaign can provide tremendous value – particularly for a young company without a large search and social media footprint.

But search marketing isn’t cheap! With some terms costing as much as $900 a click(“best mesothelioma lawyer”), a search marketing campaign can quickly break the bank.

Although search marketing keywords probably cost a lot less in your niche, a poorly run campaign can still get expensive. You can download our free ebook to find out why digital skills are so essential to marketing success. The following six strategies will also help ensure that you make the most of your budget:

1. Use specific, long-tail keywords in your search campaigns

There are two reasons why you should use long-tail keywords in your search marketing campaigns.

  1. Long-tail keywords are cheaper. While one or two word search terms may have a substantial amount of competition, search terms with five or more words will have far fewer competitors bidding on those search terms.
  2. Long-tail keywords give you better leads. If you own a small local restaurant, you don’t want to waste your budget on people looking for a restaurant across the country – you’re only interested in people looking for a place to eat locally. Therefore, by using long-tail keywords that include your location and cuisine (Chinese, Mexican, Italian, etc.), the only time your ads will come up is when someone is actually looking for what you have to offer!

Considering that half of all search queries contain 4+ words, targeting long-tail keywords is a quick and effective way to stretch your funds through lower bids and more relevant results.

2. Focus on more than just traditional search content

When you hear the term “search engine”, what probably comes to mind is a search bar followed by a long list of blue-shaded words and brief descriptions.

But people no longer focus exclusively on traditional search engines to find what they’re looking for – they also search the news, videos, images, and local results. Whether trying to place on search engines organically, or seeking to find cost-effective promotional strategies, consider focusing on these other, nontraditional, types of search.

Considering 72% of people who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of them, if you aren’t optimizing your brand for local search results, you could be leaving money on the table.

3. Promote content worthy of the first-page results

Did you know that paid search can actually improve the organic visibility of a blog post or web page?

What does this mean for you? Don’t always focus your PPC campaigns on landing pages (and never on your home page). If you have a highly informative and engaging blog post or video that’s effective at collecting subscribers or driving sales, consider promoting that specific post.

The more that people visit this blog post through the paid clicks, the higher it will appear organically on search results. And once you’re on Google’s front page for a valuable keyword, traffic will skyrocket.

It turns out that combining both a PPC and SEO campaign increases clicks by 25% and profits by 27%. So don’t just focus on one – combine these strategies for maximum impact!

4. Use search engines besides Google

You can save a tremendous amount of money on your search marketing campaigns simply by recognizing that Google is not the only player in the market. Although Google does receive about ⅓ of search engine clicks, there are certainly other alternatives.

Because Google is where most business immediately turn when seeking to promote their business, the competition for primary keywords can be substantially higher than if you use the #2 search engine advertising platform, Bing (which powers both Microsoft Bing and Yahoo search engines).

Meanwhile, depending on your company’s offerings, it may even be beneficial to target advertising on other “search engines” like Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, and Alibaba. For the right audience, all of these other search alternatives can provide a substantially high return on your investment.

5. Send visitors to highly optimized landing pages

Often, when a visitor clicks on an ad, it’s their first time visiting your site. And while you may have 30 seconds to make a good first impression in person, there’s much less time online!

Not surprisingly, 72% of visitors will exit a site that loads too slowly, and 67% of mobile users will leave if they can’t figure out the site’s navigation. This means that you have to catch their attention fast!

Additionally, because a large number of visitors don’t buy on their first visit to a site, it’s critical to make sure that the first page they visit captures their attention and delivers a clear Call-To-Action. Ask the reader to subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, or read more about a specific product.

By making a great first impression and encouraging the reader to continue exploring your brand, the PPC campaign can have tremendous long-term results – even if it doesn’t lead to immediate sales.

6. Track campaigns, A/B test, and continually improve

The beauty of search marketing is that you gain access to extraordinary amounts of data. From your own website analytics, to those produced by the search engine, you can easily track what does work and what doesn’t.

By experimenting with different campaigns terms, landing pages, and search platforms, you can begin a process of continual improvement that provides a consistently improving ROI.

Now, go get started!

While you want to be intelligent regarding where you spend money, one of the worst things that you can do is nothing. Taking the advice mentioned above, start researching which platforms and keywords will offer you the best prices for quality leads, and then start testing.

Considering you can set a cap for as little as $5-10/day for most of these platforms, it’s not excessively expensive to get started. Then, once you find something that works, you can increase your investment.

Finally, if there are any tools or tips that we have missed in this article, feel free to share them with us in the comments below.

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