What is better: SEO, Google Adwords or social media?
When looking to market your website, there are 3 key areas: SEO, Adwords & Social Media.
I am often 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.
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.
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.
You didn't add blogging?
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.
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.
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
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. :)
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.
Having been 'in' marketing for 28 years and mentor of marketing I have some points of views from looking at the facts - i.e. the results of marketing from what hundreds of businesses are experiencing.
Starting with social media marketing, its my least favourite strategy. Posting often leads to nothing but wasted time.
With all marketing from experience it needs to start to show some form of 'encouraging' results within weeks or a month, even for SEO. That point of view upsets a lot of marketing service providers!
The challenge with every marketing strategy is in the majority of cases not the strategy chosen but the execution of it.
Most businesses have a website and it can and is a fantastic lead generation tool, however over 90% of all websites are very poorly executed. They are built by programmers more than marketers and so while they can look pretty, they fail to generate quality and high volumes of leads. The majority of websites fail in dozens of areas in how they are built from the design, to the wording, to the offers, to the page types and contents to the SEO on page.
The number one reason why marketing execution is poor is because the focus is on how great the business is, showcasing its products and services and the greatly overused use of the word "we" everywhere. This self-promotion focus is the primary reason why any marketing strategy will fail.
Keeping poor execution, in mind social media it why most businesses will fail with it. That and the very poor reach of any posts. These days you're lucky if 3% of fans/followers see any post from a business. Good execution can increase it significantly but that execution requires hours of research and investigation.
Rarely will I meet a business owner who can state their social media marketing is working for them. Less than 5% do.
This is the best way to lose $1,000,000 if ever you wanted to, and get nothing in return. No other platform (except for perhaps TV) can burn up cash for little result as fast.
Execution is the number one reason, however there's another big reason.
The allowable Acquisition Cost to buy a customer.
Talking to expert Adwords managers has revealed that it is very common to pay 25% minimum and up to 50% or 100% of the average sale value seen, just for the advertising cost.
How many businesses can afford to pay 25% or 50% of the sale value? Some can like high margin retailers.
As the marketing company is focused on "Cost Per Lead" and not "Customer Acquisition Cost" many businesses aren't making money from their PPC advertising.
Determining what the allowable acquisition cost is per sale/product/service is wise, before thinking of any PPC campaign.
28 years of measuring advertising results and profits on sales has shown 10% of the average sale value as being an excellent figure. If a business sells a product at $100 then it would be 10% of the sale value can go to advertising to convert the lead into a sale. This may require tracking all leads to a source, which is achievable although sometimes challenging.
Retailers can pay more than 10% as their rent is their primary 'acquisition' cost. In a service business, it has to achieve a net profit ROI on advertising spending so it can keep on paying the cash for advertising.
Excellent, highly experience Google Ads management providers can assist with lowering the acquisition cost of buying customers and they need to. If they only want to focus on Cost Per Lead then find someone else.
Google Ads can be very profitable, if you find a great management company. That's your greatest challenge.
I can only recommend 2 businesses after looking for many years. It's so complicated it needs a very focused company with many years of experience.
SEO is the most controversial marketing topic there is. Every business wants to rank number 1 and are willing to pay (gamble) on companies to assist them to achieve this almost impossible goal. So many promises are in the space on getting businesses to position 1 or on page 1.
SEO definitely works as a good strategy, for some but not all businesses and that's only if you can afford the learning curve and patience for results that can take months or years.
There are "white hat" and "black hat" methods that can be used with SEO. Look up these phrases to learn about them.
I don't like the 'lock-in for 12 month contract' approach of SEO providers as the business takes on all the risk with no guarantee of results.
The challenge with SEO, Google Ads or Social Media is not having a clue what's important to understand with any of them. So business owners pay for service providers with a lot of "hope" they will receive value for what they pay.
Ignorance is extremely expensive.
For 22 years I've mentored business owners on marketing principles, starting with how to measure their results. It's always where I start and if you're reading this post to try to identify what you need to know about the 3 main forms of digital marketing, I suggest you start with education.
Ask questions online in Google searches such as... 'how to measure SEO results', or critical ingredients of 'google ad results', or 'social media success ingredients'. Learn about marketing and even pay some money to learn from a mentor or from a course etc. You pay once and then benefit for years and years, but without education you risk thousands of dollars for years and years.
SEO starts with on-page work and that makes the biggest and fastest difference.
I like SEO because of its rapid improvements - i.e. 2 to 4 weeks to see a traffic increase, when well executed. That's if its started with on-page work first.
All 3 types of digital marketing can be successful for most businesses however, its 100% determined by the execution of the strategy.
That said, social media success doesn't mean every platform will work great for a business. Facebook is terrible for my business whereas LinkedIn is good. Choosing which platform to focus on is the first step with social media and asking if its even likely to be successful. You probably won't get a truthful answer from a platform 'expert' which are abundant these days.
Keep that in mind if you're considering spending money on any form of digital marketing and all the best with your success.
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.
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.
I agree with James It depends on your budget and your features goals.