How to Make Paid Search Support Your Digital Marketing Strategy

by | Sep 2, 2016 | Digital Strategy, Online Advertising & PPC

You know what your digital marketing strategy should look like. You know it should take all of your marketing channels and integrate them seamlessly, optimising each one to create a beautiful balance of creativity and analysis. And you know your strategy should be backed by a budget that is effectively distributed to help you get the most out of every channel.

Let’s be realistic, though. Nailing every aspect at the same time is kind of like walking a tightrope. But the tightrope never ends. And the tightrope is on fire. And there’s no safety net. And the splattered outlines of your predecessors line the ground beneath you.

Well, that took a gruesome turn. But there really is a delicate balance to a successful strategy, and one of the hardest things to do is get all your channels working together. Think about horses pulling a cart – if one horse (we’ll call him ‘S-E-Whoa’) is pulling straight ahead while another horse (let’s call this one ‘Neigh Per Click’) is surging off to the left, your cart is probably going to end up on its side.

While it is relatively easy to make your more creative channels pull in the same direction, convincing ol’ Neigh Per Click to join the fun can be trickier. Luckily, we’re here to help you rein in your paid search pony.

Back to basics

You probably already have a pretty good idea of what paid search is all about, but if you need a refresher course on SEM jargon or AdWords management, we won’t judge.

What are some of the benefits of paid search?

  • You only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad.
  • You have control over budget and how much you are willing to pay for a user to visit your website.
  • You have precise targeting abilities, allowing you to reach users across specific geographic locations, show ads across selected keywords and phrases, and show ads at specific times of day and days of the week.
  • You get immediate top placement in search engine results pages (i.e. fast visibility), as well as twice the visibility in some cases (for example, you can have a paid ad and an organic listing present on the same page, which means twice the click opportunity).
  • You can collect statistical data to inform your strategy and direction across other marketing channels.
  • Your ROI is measurable.
  • There are vast testing features available to help you refine your strategy.
  • You can turn it off and on when desired.

Yep, got it. So how can I integrate paid search to be the forward-pulling horse my digital strategy deserves – and needs?

When it comes to making paid search perform well as a standalone marketing technique, there are many resources available. But how can it help in the larger picture? Here are some ways to use your paid search to support and improve your overall marketing efforts.

Attribution – Paid search can help you look beyond last touch and into multi-touch attribution to provide deeper understanding as to how paid search is contributing to the overall value of your brand. This lets you optimise the channels or touchpoints that are particularly valuable to your brand while reducing spend on those that don’t do their fair share of the work.

Consumer and competitor insight – Capitalise on data and trends to better understand your customers and competitors. Use these insights to drive your strategies and campaigns for SEO, content or social channels, and support above-the-line marketing efforts with appropriate targeting and ad copy.

Testing – Paid search is a great way to test market offers, incentives, messaging, or pretty much anything else before rolling out on a broader scale.

We’re not really doing anything in the way of paid search right now. Is it essential for success?  

Most businesses benefit from investing in paid search – competitors are likely to already be in the space, and by having a presence you are not only increasing your visibility but also potentially decreasing theirs. On top of that, having the ability to reach users at the right time in the right place is pretty darn attractive.

There are some exceptions to this, though. Do you:

  • Have little time or resources to monitor, evaluate and make appropriate optimisations to improve ongoing performance?
  • Have low search volumes across target terms or geographic locations?
  • Have a low budget but highly competitive markets (meaning you can’t compete at an effective ROI)?

Any of these factors may mean that paid search isn’t ideal to integrate into your digital marketing strategy right now.

Any tips for splitting the budget between paid search and organic search activity?

You bet! When allocating your resources, there are some key points to think about:

  • What optimises your return on investment?
  • Your KPIs – will it come down to getting traffic, impressions, sales, or something else?
  • What has the best reach?
  • What’s the scope of the market like?
  • How do users currently find your brand?

Consider your priorities and which activities help you achieve your digital marketing goals, then invest in those activities intelligently.

Once you have all your marketing horses pulling in the same direction, you can start to gather momentum, which allows you a bit more freedom to experiment with direction, speed, which horses lead the group or any other adjustments you think may be beneficial.

If it’s time to revamp your digital marketing strategy, have a chat with the team here at Search Factory. We can help you get your different activities working together to support your goals.

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