PPC Advertising & Building Relationships

John Scott compares the quality of AdWords leads to leads from word of mouth:

Running an Adwords campaign has brought in a few customers, but the number is minuscule in comparison to our #1 source of new customers: Referral by existing customers.

It's a hard fact to accept. You see all that search engine traffic, and it looks like a pot of gold, but it isn't. A lot of window shopping, even for those uber relevant terms like "buy links".

AdWords is good for gaining mindshare and building links, but many of the AdWords clickers are of the one off variety. You keep paying for the traffic but do not build much momentum for the price (unless you create content tailored for links). Many business models reliant on AdWords will die if those ad buys don't convert into more meaningful relationships.

I have one client that outranks his main supplier for their name on MSN, ranks just below them on Google and Yahoo!, and yet is wondering why sales are not higher. Our site also outranks most competing sites for long tail keywords. What happened to sales? Yahoo! puts many ads above the fold, and Google gives the main supplier an extended sitelinks enhanced listing. That drives down the organic listings for the core search terms, which makes the ads more important.

Some competing businesses sell a wider array of products from more manufacturers, and gain many repeat purchases due to their branding and wide array of product selection. Service businesses do not scale as well as ad based businesses and other easy to automate businesses, but if there is no relationship building in the transaction it is hard to compete with businesses that sell their commodity products as a tailored personalized service.

Published: May 18, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


Khalid Hajsaleh
May 29, 2007 - 4:18pm

Great insight. PPC is great tool to drive immeadiate traffic to site. It may or may not help building a relationship with clients. It all depends on what you have to offer to a client after they land on the site. We see that organic ranking and traffic based on relationships converts close to 66% better than traffic coming through PPC. Of course, that organic traffic takes a while to develop.

May 21, 2007 - 3:16pm

This makes balancing ROI a bit different in some scenarios, and is hard to explain these concepts to management, but these concepts form the key for the long run.

Kyle M. Brown
May 22, 2007 - 11:38pm

Word of mouth, always said to be the best form of advertisment. Still hold true it seems.

I would think that every hard fought PPC customer will also advertise your company by word of mouth if they are satisfied with the service or product.

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