As Search Marketing becomes mainstream and part of any media planning, the real question is; when is search marketing not a viable solution. Search marketing is still in its infancy in terms of who really understands this medium. Coupled with that there is the confusion of organic search and paid search. This article is not going to get into the specifics of each one, other than a very high level discussion of when search marketing is not the best alternative.
To start with, let’s ask the question – what is the dependency of search? Users requesting! That’s the dependency. The problem with that dependency is; “do you users know what to search for”? Here is a simply way of looking at search marketing – if your product or service is in demand and your objective is to grow your sales volume of an in demand product/service then search marketing should probably be part of your mix. The alternative is that if you have a product/service whereby there is no demand and you need to create it, then search marketing is probably not the best alternative – why – because nobody knows it exists, therefore, how can they conduct a search on it?
For starters ask yourself – does your business advertise in a directory? If so, you are probably a great candidate for search marketing, as directories are identical to search marketing – just in paper form. If you do a lot of radio advertising, flyer or direct mail advertising you may also be a good candidate for search marketing. These mediums have a sense of urgency around them and most businesses use them to drive sales or promotional events. Those business owners believe the demand already exists and therefore, they want to increase their share of it.
With that in mind, search marketing can be a great support mechanism to ensure growth in sales. For example, start your search marketing campaign on the day that your radio spots run – targeting the same message in your radio ads as on your search ads and using keywords pulled directly from your radio ad. What you are most likely to see is an increase in your search marketing campaign right after a radio ad run – people hear the ad, but need another venue to make the contact. This is the old technique used when companies would run a radio ad on a Thursday promoting their newspaper ad on a Friday for a sale on the weekend. Now, substitute newspaper for search marketing and you will be surprised at the ROI model with that combination.
Search marketing is not the end all be all form of marketing – it is another important piece of a marketing mix. The biggest mistake business owners make is that they are “hoping” search marketing is the answer to their sales lows (for all products/services) as opposed to asking the question – does search marketing really make sense for this particular product/service? Will users even know what it is to look for? If I examine my retail customers – what do they ask when they come in to my store and can I apply this to search marketing?