How PPC Platforms Have Leveled the Marketing Playing Field

The highly targeted PPC approach to marketing has evened the playing field in multiple verticals, creating an incredible opportunity for small firms to compete with industry titans writes, Christopher Pappas, Founder, eLearning Industry

In any burgeoning industry, connecting with your audience while battling the competition is a significant challenge. Marketers must contend with myriad pain points including cost, platform price increases, and the challenge of going up against larger rivals that have greater resources.

Critical to your success is how well you provide prospects with high-quality marketing materials that establish you as a trusted source.Customers crave reliable experts who care as much about forming lasting relationships as they do about making a sale.

At the same time, you must promote yourself consistently to stay relevant and fresh in people’s minds. Companies that maintain a constant online presence to bring new prospects into the fold will snag the greatest market share.

I have encountered this situation extensively in the learning management system (LMS) industry. According to TOPYX, the LMS world is looking at a banner year in 2018, likely worth $8 billion. Because of this rapid growth, we have had to find increasingly creative avenues for LMS marketing.

One solution we’ve started to experiment with is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. By only paying fees based on the number of times users actually click on an advertisement, companies can exert more control over their marketing efforts and achieve a higher return on investment.

For instance, search engine advertising is one of the most common forms of PPC. Companies bid for a spot in a search engine’s sponsored links, and their ads show up at the top of search results if their bid wins out for a keyword. You might pay $3 per click, but it is well worth the investment if it leads to a $300 sale.

This highly targeted approach to marketing has evened the playing field in multiple verticals, creating an incredible opportunity for small firms to compete with industry titans.

The Rise of PPC

Before PPC platforms became popular, software companies and service providers reached target audiences through inbound marketing. Digital marketing has opened up a world of promotional opportunities for organizations, but its surge in popularity in recent years has led to oversaturation.

Most companies rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to stand out from the virtual crowd using backlinks, organic keywords with the ideal density, and value-added content. This used to be all that was required to boost conversion rates, but it takes more than traditional content to rise above the competition and make a lasting impression.

According to WordStream, 41 percent of clicks go to the first three paid ads on a search result; that figure increases to 65 percent for commercial intent searches. When potential customers overlook the hard-earned organic results after these paid placements, this rightfully causes some companies to reconsider their SEO efforts.

Considering that Unbounce reports that PPC visitors are 50 percent more likely to make a purchase than organic visitors, PPC advertising makes a tremendous amount of financial sense. It allows you to take control of your spending and target your niche audience, setting budget caps and narrowing ad parameters to increase conversions. While SEO might feel like the cheaper route, PPC gets you a lot more bang for your buck.

Plentiful Perks of PPC Platforms

Still not sold on PPC as a marketing tool? Here are five ways a PPC marketing platform can help you customize how you connect with your audience:

1. Focus on specific marketing goals.

PPC marketing platforms allow companies to set parameters for each campaign to align with their objectives. If an organization wants to concentrate on increasing conversion rates and improving brand recognition in a target sector, it can align its PPC ad wording and display criteria with those marketing goals.

2. Gain control of your market spend.

Thanks to geo-bidding, PPC platforms help minimize expenses and give you complete control of your marketing budget. In addition to setting spending caps that keep bids within your budget, you can target prospects with as much granularity as you want. A software vendor who wants to appeal to HR managers is able to select keywords and search criteria to ensure it only pays to reach the most relevant HR professionals.

3. Reach the ideal prospects at the ideal time.

With PPC, your ads only appear in certain locations when prospects type in specific keywords. The visitors who click on your ads are already interested in your product or service, which is half the vetting battle.

But successful marketing is not just about who you target — it also involves when you target them. PPC marketing platforms give you the power to build brand awareness when it’s most relevant. In the LMS industry, for example, this involves promoting eLearning innovation at a crucial stage in the buyer’s journey: when they’re reviewing options and determining which product meets their needs and price point.

4. Achieve immediate results, regardless of your budget.
For most marketing techniques, increased budget leads to faster results. That’s not the case with PPC, which is all about creating relevant, targeted ads that appear when customers are most likely to click. Even with limited resources, this achieves almost immediate results.

A small startup has just as much marketing power as a global organization with decades of experience. Thanks to carefully chosen keywords and demographic criteria, a small company’s ads show up alongside those of bigger brands with significantly larger budgets. Better yet, their ads display immediately on relevant search result pages with minimal lag time.

5. Gather actionable data to improve resource allocation.
PPC provides the same access to reporting capabilities across the board. You can easily track KPIs and real-time metrics, enabling you to determine whether a marketing expense is worth the investment by analyzing specific campaigns. You can then modify PPC ads that are underperforming or remove them altogether to maximize your investment. These real-time reports allow you to measure visitor engagement and other key stats to continually refine your marketing strategy.

PPC ads are a cost-effective addition to any marketing strategy. They let you take control of your spending, target niche audiences, and narrow ad display to increase conversions. A critical part of any PPC strategy is choosing the right marketing platform. Find one that provides the best value for your money, offers flexible geo-bidding, and gives you optimal exposure without spending a fortune. Once you do, the size of your marketing budget will no longer be a limitation.

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