To PPC or Not to PPC, That is the Question…
Sara Heins |August 16, 2013
Pay-Per-Click marketing, or simply just PPC, is a way to increase traffic to your website from the search engines like Google and Yahoo. It's a paid practice used as part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) rather than its counterpart, organic search, a result of search engine optimization (SEO) that brings in traffic to your website naturally.
Why PPC is Attractive
The logic behind PPC makes sense – you only pay for the ad placement when someone clicks through to your website, which sounds like a pretty great deal on the surface. Your brand is exposed for free, while you're only charged when someone shows a legitimate interest.
The options in the orange highlighted section as well as on the side are paid advertisements.
However, it is very important to keep a close eye on the amount of traffic being produced by your PPC campaign to ensure you’re not over paying for customers you could be getting from organic, maps and local listing results.
These maps listings show up on the top of the search results, so it's always __a good idea to spend time optimizing local pages.
Why We don't Particularly Recommend It:
The truth is, although you can see some initial growth in traffic with PPC, it's not a sustainable, or long-term, plan of action; the StorageAhead team runs these campaigns for customers who truly desire using it, and we record PPC progress by number of clicks, how many pages potential customers visit, how long they stay on the site and by tracking dynamically inserted phone numbers. Based on our assessment, it's a pricey action that can cost you roughly $250-$400 per move-in . Yikes.
Bigger brands in competitive markets spend upwards of $5.00 per click for each visitor to their website when using a PPC approach to generate additional traffic The dollars quickly add up and owners must be able to calculate how much money they are spending to acquire an actual new tenant/customer. The costs are often excessive, and the money could be better used on other marketing avenues or a solid linkbuilding campaign and SEO fixes to your website that have longer lasting impact - an investment instead of an expense.
Not Great for Small and Medium-Sized Brands
The number one amenity renters care most about isn't climate-control – it's proximity to their home or office. If you only have one facility in Oak Hill and are bidding for a PPC ad for "Austin Self Storage," chances are that the online renters aren't going to be near your facility – it's much too big of a metro to compete against the larger brands with several facilities that are spread out throughout the whole city. Chances are that unless your ad is specifically targeted to a narrow geography, the "clickers" will move on until they find the closest facility with the right amenities.
What We Do Suggest:
Invest in Long-Term SEO Fixes Instead!
Searchers overwhelmingly click on organic results more often than the paid advertisements. We encourage our clients to invest more funds on long-term solutions such as link building, content improvement or self storage listing sites like StorageFront. At the end of the day, the most important thing is for companies to have an SEO-enhanced website with good content, site structure, well-crafted title tags and meta tags, etc; do as many things as possible to rank well organically and in the local results, and you'll be much happier with how you naturally show up in Google results over time.
Still Considering PPC? Keep These Things in Mind
So maybe you're still on the fence about PPC. If you're still sold on that route, or at least want to give it a fair chance before tossing the idea out the window, we have a few considerations to keep in mind so your campaign can be as successful as possible.
Think Carefully About Your Traffic Sources
Nearly half of your facility's website traffic is from existing customers; when an existing customer searches to, say, pay their monthly bill, chances are they'll type in the name of your facility into a search engine bar to find your website. If they end up clicking on an ad rather than your organic listing to reach your site, you're paying when they click, when all they're trying to do is give you the money you're already owed!
To avoid wasting money on marketing to existing customers who are just trying to pay rent, consider running a negative keywords campaign – this is a tactic where you WON'T show up for a certain keyword with a paid advertisement (like your facility name).
Before you throw all of your PPC eggs into one campaign basket, it's always a good idea to run some tests before hand. Try a few different approaches, then track your results before investing your entire budget into a certain campaign.
Like your high school chemistry class, make sure you run your tests correctly – have your constants, and then alter one variable so you can make sure you track what changers actually affect your outcome.
Consider tweaking which keywords you're trying to rank for, as well as the title, body copy, and link you use (ex: whether you link to your home page versus the "About Us" page)
Add negative keywords to your testing criteria
See how your tests go, and then you can make your own personalized decision about whether PPC will work for you; however, remember that even if you see an increased amount of traffic from the campaign at first, it's costly to keep this process up over a long period of time. We still recommend maintaining the best SEO practices to your website alongside your SEM efforts so you're happier with your traffic in the long run.