A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Social Media, SEO, Pay-Per-Click? It’s All About Content

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Nothing makes me happier than seeing the world come around to our point of view. Here’s a quote from an article in yesterday’s New York Times Business section.

“It hit me like a brick, because I finally understood how you get better search results by creating content around the keywords people are searching for.”

The quote is from the operator of a company that manages vacation cabin rentals. Like many others, he essentially built a business around a Google AdWords strategy that worked. As he grew and, importantly, as the popularity of AdWords and similar programs grew, he was forced to increase the amount he paid for each click from 60 cents to about $1.25. He wound up spending about $140,000 a year on AdWords campaigns. That cut into profits and at one point threatened the sustainability of his business.

Competing in this ad market may look deceptively simple – what’s 60 cents, afterall – but small business is at a distinct disadvantage. While 96% of small business spend less than $10,000 a month (according to AdGooRoo, cited in the article.), they are on the same playing field as Amazon, the University of Phoenix, and other large entities that spend millions of dollars a month.

It’s not that we think that PPC shouldn’t be a part of your marketing mix. In fact, it can be a great way to get results quickly. But for most businesses it can’t be the centerpiece of your lead generation anymore. More to the point, no matter how big a part of the mix you make PPC, your return is only going to be as strong as your offer and your content.

And that’s true for social media, SEO efforts, and email marketing, as well. You can’t just “do” these things. (What does that mean, anyway? We’re “doing” social media …) You have to do them well. And that means publishing compelling content that moves your audience toward action.

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