[How to better spend your advertising budget
in a down-turned economy]
For several years now, we’ve been working under extreme circumstances. Downsizing is occurring in companies of all sizes. Businesses, both customers and competitors, are closing their doors at a neck-breaking pace. And budgets are being cut in our companies across the board.
But cutting your advertising budget at this point could be a serious mistake. Rather, there are ways of advertising SMARTER to get a better return on your advertising dollar. Here’s a great trick for better investing your advertising dollar in a down-turned economy.
[simply put, in poor economic times, companies are wise to consider
"pull" advertising rather than “push" advertising]
The traditional advertising method of casting a wide net to catch as many fish as possible and then “pushing” your message on them whether they’re interested or not ultimately ends up in wasting a lot of resources – namely, money.
For a more precise advertising practice, stop wasting your money investing in a soaker hose type of advertising where you’re dousing a wide array of possible buyers. Instead, use the squirt gun type of advertising where you specifically target an audience who is already expressing an interest in your service or product. You are in essence “pulling” a pre-screened and already interested audience toward your business.
Great. So how do you isolate those pre-qualified buyers? Specifically, where do you find that golden set of buyers who are doing research on the precise products and services that you want to sell them?
[easy: in the search engines]
The best way to position yourself in front of buyers who are actively researching your products and services is through gaining a presence in the search engine results pages. For instance, let's suppose someone performs a search on Google for “premium vacations”. Because they're actively searching on this phrase, we know that they have a desire to travel. And from the word premium we know that they are willing to spend some money on their next trip.
How interested in this buyer would a travel agent be? Extremely! So, that travel agent wants to present their website to that precise audience by appearing on the first page of Google's results. This is “pull” advertising in action.
You can place yourself on that first page of Google or Yahoo in one of two ways: organically or through purchased PPC advertising spots.
Let’s cover the purchased advertising spots first. In what is also known as “pay-per-click” (PPC) or “sponsored search”, advertisers compete to appear on the first page through a bidding process, then pay the search engines each time someone clicks on their ad. While you have the potential to appear on the first page of the search engines in as little as three hours, you also have to continually pay for each click on your ad for as long as you ad runs. This can become pretty costly over time.
The alternative to PPC is to invest in “organic” optimization of your website. The organic results on a search engine are the non-sponsored listings. It takes a lot more time and effort to make your website appear on the first page of the search engines, but there is no charge when someone clicks on the organic listings. Your website typically rises through the search engine pages in 3-6 months, but once you’re on the first page, you hardly need to do anything to stay there.
[the best mix]
So the smart business owner will invest in a bit of PPC advertising immediately while optimizing their website to appear in the organic rankings over time. Then, as their website naturally appears on the first page of the search engines for key search phrases, they can reduce their PPC adspend on those keywords. Eventually, you will also be able to eliminate those expensive yellow page ads since most buyers are doing research online before picking up the phone to call.
Ultimately what you end up with is less money spent on recurring yellow page listings, page one rankings in the search engines, more traffic to your website and more qualified phone inquiries. And in this economy, who couldn't use more of those?