Should I Fix the Roof or the Wall?

August 1, 2010

My wife and I read about a local charity that was soliciting donations for backpacks and other school supplies for needy kids in our area.  I called the group and asked them which items they wanted me to give the most – backpacks or school supplies.

The answer, which I guess I could have anticipated, was: ‘We need both.’ With our back-to-school spending close to zero as we have 4 dogs and zero kids, we decided we could help out and donate both items. Somewhat absent-mindedly wheeling my cart around Office Depot this weekend, loading it up with 10 backpacks and ten sets of pencils, pens and paper, I was mentally multi-tasking and thinking about this month’s newsletter.

It hit me that we at Market Hardware get a ‘which one do I need most’ question about web marketing all the time. Our clients question us about which strategy they should use to get more business from the web – Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).   

Now, imagine you call a remodeler after a big storm damages your house. What would he tell you if you asked, ‘I don’t have much money, what should I fix – the hole in the wall in my kid’s room or the hole in the roof over the master bedroom?’

Since we are talking about web marketing, I get to give you a slightly better answer than ‘you need to do both.’

Both PPC and SEO programs drive more traffic to your website, which in return should increase your sales.

Paid Search ‘ also known as PPC ‘ refers to online advertising that can guarantee a certain placement or rank on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.  It is a fast and measurable way to generate inbound leads from web-savvy consumers.  SEO refers to the process of managing your website’s content and organization to improve its ranking in the ‘organic’ search results.  Done right, SEO can provide long-term results on the same search engines as PPC.

Individually, both PPC and SEO will improve your website’s exposure in your local market area, therefore increasing the amount of leads it generates. But if your budget is tight, I have a suggestion about which one to do first: PPC.

PPC advertising provides fast results. After successfully bidding to have your site posted among sponsored results, a listing featuring your business will show up immediately when users type in the keywords you bid on. Search Engine Optimization is a smart and rational web marketing move but it can take up to several months to work.

Now, most web marketing experts will tell you that the most effective web marketing plan utilizes not just SEO or PPC, but a combination of these two strategies.

In other words, experts recommend that you ‘do both’. But I am willing to disagree with that advice in some cases.  If you are truly cash starved and need to generate business now with the most effective marketing spend possible, PPC will get you there faster than SEO.

However, if you are in a position to be more strategic and want your marketing to be healthier in the long term, SEO and PPC work well together. Results from SEO are harder to track, but you do lower your cost per lead over time if you ‘do both’.

If you want to learn more about PPC or SEO, email or call us at 888-381-6925.  You’re our client, so we’re always happy to give you some free web marketing advice.  Likewise, if you want to do PPC or SEO we can help you get set up with either service.

Power Stat: 

Yahoo and Microsoft’s recently announced search engine partnership will give them a combined 30% share of all searches.

~ Source: Search Engine Watch, August 18, 2010


“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

William Arthur Ward, 1921 -1994 (American author and pastor)

Griff’s Last Stand 

My constant constellation in the dynamic world of Internet marketing is simple: Do something. Even if the best possible choice is to market on several fronts, marketing on just one front is not the wrong answer. It’s a great second-best choice.  Still need counseling? Call us and we’ll help you sort out some of the good, better and best choices you can make this month.

This article was written by Market Hardware’s Griffin Davis. Reach Griffin at [email protected] or reach anyone on his web expert team at (888) 381-6925.

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