The purists in the marketing world would say that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Inbound Marketing are mutually exclusive. Yet, together, they make a powerful marketing strategy.
We are huge proponents of inbound marketing and high value content as a basis for an effective marketing strategy. And we're not alone. Increasingly, year after year, more and more marketers and brands are turning to various forms of content marketing tactics that are incorporated in an inbound approach.
And it's working!
But the glaring reality - and common objection - to inbound marketing is that it takes time to gain traction and see measurable ROI in the form of sales and revenue. Which is one of the reason that the 'old-school' approach of "Interruption marketing" with paid advertisements still thrives.
This, despite the seismic impact of Seth Godin's book Permission Marketing back in 1999. In that book, he had this to say about the long-lived advertising approach,
For ninety years, marketers have relied on one form of advertising almost exclusively. I call it Interruption Marketing. Interruption, because the key to each and every ad is to interrupt what the viewers are doing in order to get them to think about something else.
Now we have what Godin termed "Permission Marketing" which is what inbound is all about. Gaining that tacit consent to market to prospects using information and value content as opposed to annoying ads.
How to Make PPC Inbound Marketing-Friendly
For those who are even somewhat immersed in the marketing world, the idea that using pay-per-click advertising can go hand-in-hand with blogging, infographics, SlideShare presentations, and a host of other inbound marketing tools seems... well, a bit counter-intuitive.
Mike Lieberman, Chief Revenue Scientist at Square2Marketing, noted this in a post a while back:
OK, but isn’t pay-per-click interruptive advertising? I guess so if you look at it logically. When you change your lens, however, and start marketing educational content with a highly personalized user experience, as well as use the micro-targeting available from social sites, you get a very effective inbound tactic that drives leads for clients.
Because PPC and other forms of online advertising have a fairly proven track record of results, marrying it to traditional inbound marketing tactics can boost those results, as well.
If it's done right.
We know that tools such as Google AdWords can work because of the amount of money advertisers continue to spend on it. Investopedia reported recently that the bulk of Google’s $75 billion revenue in 2015, for example, came from AdWords.
So, how is it done? As Mike Lieberman stated, the first step is in re-framing the way you look at and think about pay-per-click ads themselves. Instead of thinking traditional, "Buy this!" type of text ads, think inbound-oriented offers and calls-to-action.
For example, instead of publishing text ads that simply ask a prospect to come visit a store, or call, you would have a headline like this:
"10 Ways To Increase Your Home's Value", followed by a text line that reads:
"Download our Free Homeowner's Guide to boost your home's sale price."
Even though you may be a Realtor, or a hardware store owner, or even a contractor, the goal is not to land a client here. Tthe idea is to to get the contact information for anyone interested in selling their house. Then we can reach out to those people, engage them wherever they are in the process, and offer additional content to move them through the sales funnel.
Another tactic to leverage here is to send prospects who click on your ads to a specially designed landing page as opposed to simply the home page of your website. Again, the purpose here is akin to what we do with inbound marketing calls-to-action. A landing page allows for more accurate conversion tracking and a more personalized experience for the visitor.
Statistics show that pay-per-click ads that use landing pages convert three times more visitors into leads. In addition, according to a study done by Unbounce , PPC campaigns using targeted landing pages get a better quality score with Google. This means your cost-per-click is going to be less and your potential ranking is going to be higher.
The Key is to Think "Inbound" With PPC Tactics
Even HubSpot, perhaps the premier purveyors of Inbound Marketing, have a similar take on pay-per-click advertising:
When HubSpot realised 53% of their customers were using PPC alongside inbound marketing, they considered if it was possible to create 'inbound-y' ads.
PPC + Inbound = Inbound-y Ads!
We've determined the following criteria for classifying inbound-y ads:
- The ad is shown to the right people, at the right time
- The ad presents a direct solution to a search query
- The ad moves the searcher further down the Buyer's Journey
At least two of the above must be true for the ad to be considered 'inbound-y'.
The beauty of this approach to PPC is that if you have already established an effective inbound marketing campaign and strategy utilizing value content, a great deal of your work here is already done.
The downside, of course, is that word "pay" in pay-per-click. You must still have a budget to finance your PPC efforts. On average, most advertisers using Google AdWords successfully spend upwards of $1,000 per month and this can easily exceed $10,000 a month or more for enterprise-level players.
If you are new to the PPC game or have a very limited advertising budget, consider starting with a $10 to $20 per day maximum budget. Once you have a month or two of activity you can begin to expand and diversify your ads strategy, budgets and bid amounts.
And always, always integrate Google Analytics with your Google AdWords or other PPC platforms. The key to any successful marketing is capturing, tracking, and analyzing data. While it may seem overwhelming for some, this is a case where more is better.
Find Your Inbound/PPC Strategy Partners
An great approach for creating an effective marketing strategy is to get outside help. A digital marketing agency such as BroadVision Marketing can offer expertise and tools that the typical business owner or marketing manager may not have.
In addition, it often helps to have a professional marketer's perspective to assess your content marketing strategy. Acquiring the insights of a third-party professional is an investment that can bring a quantifiable return.
BroadVision Marketing offers all this and more. Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.