What is better - SEO, Google Adwords or social media?
When looking to market your website, there are 3 key areas (SEO, Adwords & Social Media) for businesses to pursue. I often am told, I only want to proceed "my way" because I have either tried or talked with someone else that tried and failed with one method or another. How did you find and evaluate the merits of each method for your business?
I would love to hear from anyone that believes only in one method, rather than using an integrated marketing strategy. Why do you swear by one rather than another?
Jayson, I never recommend anyone use AdWords in their marketing campaign unless they do one of the following 3 things.
1. Outsource Your AdWords Marketing Campaign
2. You have done an extensive course on how to effectively use AdWords
3. You are already an expert in this field.
Don't get me wrong AdWords works, but unless you are an expert you will just be throwing your money at Google.
Having started my business with virtually no marketing budget I utilised methods such as content marketing in conjunction with social media which worked brilliantly. However, I would suggest that one strategy alone won't work as effectively as a combined strategy.
Especially when it comes to content marketing... you must have the correct marketing platform such as WordPress.org, your website and content must be fully optimised and you should also incorporated article marketing off page or even Press Releases to really get you on top of the search engines fast.
In regard to your statement "i only want to proceed "my way" because I have either tried or talked with someone else that tried and failed with one method or another"
I've heard this quite often over the years and when people say they have "tried and failed" that really means they quit using the strategy before it had time to stick. Marketing your business online is not that difficult when you know how.... however you really need to be patient, the results will come.
All online marketing strategies work in different degrees of use and how they are implemented and patience is the key.
It depends on your budget and you need to be smart with your money.
1. With Adwords in the Australian market the cost has gone up and up, my advice is to be smart with your Adwords spend do not blow it on silly keywords which are not going to convert. Find the keywords which convert and implement conversion tracking.
2. With SEO you have many areas to take care of, it can still provide the best ROI for your investment but the thing is results do not happen over night and it takes months to yield good results in high competition niches. It is about doing your research and making sure you target the right areas.
3. With Social you need to make sure you have to time to be active on a daily basis on the account, you need to reply to users and you need to post informative information about the brand. It can involve a bit of work yet results can be long lasting.
In the end of the day its a case by case basis, you need to test what works best for you on an on going basis.
I agree with Sandy in regard to AdWords.I was fortunate to start using adwords in the first week they were available. In the three months following that week I saw the bid price for the key word 'Sales Training' go from just $0.10 a click to nearly $3.10 a click to be in position one. Today the main keywords are all dominated by majors and people like us need to be smart in the way we use Adwords or go broke quickly.
I think the key to online marketing is being patient, as mentioned by Sandy as well.
There is a big temptation by smaller organisations to buy Facebook likes, hits and Twitter followers. DO NOT BE TEMPTED! I have observed others who have tried this. One site I know (a person I advised not to follow this strategy) got over 250,000 facebook 'likes' after only a few weeks - but not one conversion and their online credibility was decimated. The only way to build a following is to build a real following. My own BLOG has almost 1,000 followers on Facebook - but each one of them reads my BLOG regularly and many of them I know personally.
Neil Steggall ,
Partner at Wardour Capital Partners
Thanks for the question and all of the answers. As someone looking to take a new (at least in Australia) company into this space in 2014 its a very confusing environment and not easy for the uninitiated to understand. Forums such as Savvysme are a great help
Hi Jayson, choosing the right online marketing strategy depends heavily on your goals and budget. If it is for direct response, and quickly then AdWords, after running an AdWords account, you can use those keywords in SEO - which is a long-term strategy. However, the main issue depends on the landing page/website and whether or not is aimed at converting.
Jessica McGrath ,
Marketing Consultant at Stoke Marketing
Although they all have very key roles in a marketing strategy, SEO should be considered crucial to start. It ensures that you have a very sound website and relevant content for those who know nothing about you but are looking for your service or product. Appearing in search for all the right reasons is key to being an upfront and transparent business and important for any first time visitor to your website.
It entirely depends on your niche & where your customers "hang out" - if none are on FB then don't waste your money there, find where they do hang out first.
But really it's about testing, testing, testing. Then tweaking, tweaking, tweaking.
Off page SEO these days is more about "Content Marketing" (blogging), On page SEO is still crucial and done right will be very beneficial for your website & blog, done wrong (or not at all) won't hurt your website (as such) but it certainly won't rank - unless there is little or no competition in your niche.
Adwords are effective in most niches, but again, test, test test, tweak, tweak, tweak.
Zac Johnson ,
CEO at Blogging.org
This really depends on a wide range of factors, such as how much time and money you have, and if you are generating money online with your traffic.
SEO is great for the longterm business model and generating free traffic, but it's also one of the most competitive areas as well. You will need to have a well-established site to rank for decent keywords.
ADWORDS is the best way to get instant and high-quality traffic, but you are going to be paying for all of it. This can add up fast in competitive niche markets.
SOCIAL MEDIA is very effective, but more so when you have some advertising dollars to spend. I would recommend taking a look at Facebook's self-serve advertising platform.
Be sure to consider each of the options above when trying to generate new traffic, leads and sales online.
Just been looking through, and whether or not which on is 'expensive, all depends on the ROI and whether or not it is working for you. Regardless, with PPC, having a well built campaign can get you far! If you have a strategy coming into AdWords, for example a promotion, then you may see that it can actually work.
Wendy Huang ,
Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Although I don't think there is a "best" this question is a great one :)
Personally SEO is really key for businesses that need high traffic, whereas social is great for businesses that require a lot more loyalty and branding - e.g. businesses that rely on heavy customisation or differentiation to make the sale.
SEO usually drives more than 50% of website traffic for most businesses however there are many businesses that grew from just a social following e.g. BlackMilk - because of their business category. BlackMilk is a fashion brand that relies on differentiation and aspiration and peer influence that is more effective on social than via SEO.
If Blackmilk had a strong SEO strategy they may not make as many sales because who will buy a pair of leggings for up to $100 from a site they found by typing in a keyword "black leggings" vs. someone who has seen the amount of love this brand gets on social media and seeing their friends and influencers wear the brand and talk about it. Yes social will make me pay over $100 for a pair of leggings.
Although it's important not to discriminate against channels, online requires you to be doing things in all channel, the question is where should I focus knowing who my target market is and what my brand is going to stand for.
In addition I think these channels also target different stages of the purchase cycle with SEO and PPC targeting people that are already looking to buy, whereas from social it's a longer process of just "being around and familiar" which can happen before they have an intention to buy. Being a familiar name when they do make it to the stage of buying will give you lots of credibility over other brands when they do.
PPC also is extremely expensive and should only be used once you have an intention to optimise that channel e,g. getting really good at landing pages that convert as well as a robust sales funnel to capture information and lead to the sale.
Thanks Jayson, but I disagree on your three key areas. As much as the marketing tactics change, the marketing fundamentals remain and the key one here is that of the 'marketing mix'.
This marketing mix (choice of marketing tactics) is different for every single business because each differs in budget, market, skills, strategy and a range of other factors - though there is some uniformity within industries.
As much as I'm an online marketing advocate (as well), the traditional media will still drive traffic more than online media if you have the budget and message.
The three you mention are now very important, but they should be considered alongside traditional media rather than instead of. :)