When it comes to driving traffic to your website, nothing is quite as easy or efficient as pay per click advertising. Literally you can have paid traffic on your site within moments of starting your first ad, which is something that marketing via search engine optimization or social media simply can’t beat.
One of the newer choices when it comes to pay per click (PPC) advertising LinkedIn has a number of inherent advantages. First, you can target people based on their job title, meaning that you can target only C level executives if that is what you’re looking for. When it comes to business to business marketing and PPC advertising, I can’t imagine another platform having the affect that LinkedIn does. The cost of the ads themselves tend to be high (50% higher than Google in my niche, which is wine and gift baskets) but the average sale is significantly higher as well, so the ads easily pay for themselves.
Facebook offers two advantages that none of its competitors do, or at least that none of its competitors do quite as well. First, these are the cheapest ads by far, yes even cheaper than Twitter for most users. Second, if you have something to give for free, it can even be a free guide, or something along those lines, you tend to gain likes of your page fairly quickly and efficiently. As an example we routinely give away travel guides and daily wine tasting ideas and suggestions in PDF formats to our readers. For people coming to California wine country for the first time, we hear these are indispensable. Adding those likes allows you to continually market to these newly interested parties, but it also allows you to share content with them, therefore giving yourself even more chances to gain more likes etc etc.
The ads are not expensive, my main problem with Twitter though is that you aren’t able to sell anything on the site directly. You have to encourage someone to click on an external link and then convert them from there on your own site, basically you have to convert the same person two times for a single sale. With my site being basically average when it comes to a regular conversion rate, that starts to really eat into our profit margin. To me, that hurts conversion rate too much to make the practice really viable, although there is hope since Facebook was like that for some time before a few really smart programmers (who had once worked for the social media giant) found a way into the system, a tactic which has since been blessed by Zuckerburg himself.
Do we really need to say much here? Everyone should have a Google Adwords account and should play with it at least enough to know where to focus your SEO dollars. There’s simply no other PPC provider than allows you as many different data points and interesting market subsets as does Google. Google is truly the best advertising company in town for good reason, don’t knock it, just be careful as ads can get incredibly expensive when major media companies get involved, like they often do in my niche.
Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, a wine club based in San Francisco that is an online only wine store. He regularly has to consider his PPC marketing expenditures since his competitors like the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Sunset Magazine probably don’t have to.