Search Engine Marketing vs. Search Engine Optimization

I pitched a prospect on a national PPC campaign last week to jump start a lackluster launch of the new enterprise.  In my opinion, a well executed PPC campaign is the fastest most efficient way to do ground level market research and create sales activity.  The client gets the added benefit of generating real sales leads that can result in revenue to offset the cost.  The company learns about competitors, activity, pricing, features, benefits and what it takes to convert a lead into a sale.  Everybody wins.  The PPC campaign has extremely low risk with the potential for a very high reward if the product is competitive and compelling to the buyers.

I learned after making my pitch that two weeks before meeting the prospect they had retained an SEO / Social Media consultant to provide guidance.  I guess the thinking is somehow Facebook and Twitter are going to launch the enterprise from non-existence to the forefront before the cash runs out and the investors become disenchanted.  Unfortunately, this strategy is not well suited to generating revenue now.

For all the hoopla and hysteria around SEO and Social Media we need to remember there are significant differences between a traditional Search Engine Marketing / Advertising (PPC) campaign and SEO / SMO marketing. The primary difference is the predictability, reliability and control of a Search Engine Marketing program.  Implementing a Search Engine Marketing campaign is like herding cattle. Conversely, implementing a Search Engine Optimization / Social Media strategy is like herding cats.

PPC is like washing dishes in the kitchen sink.  “The water flows in the sink fills quickly and we get the job done.  SEO / Social Media is like filling a swimming pool with a garden hose. It takes time and it is hard to perceive of any progress for a longtime.  The pool does fill but it won’t happen quickly.

Most businesses that start an online marketing program are looking for fast result.  This is particularly important for a new enterprise.  A new business needs to be launched not dribbled into awareness.  PPC is the best tool for becoming prominent in your market quickly and efficiently.  An SEO and social media strategy can be transitioned to over time.  Once the SEO and social media program begins to take hold and demonstrating tangible results the PPC campaign can be rolled back.

Check out this blog post for a supporting viewpoint.

If it was my business I’d use PPC to generate revenue and market data then move to SEO and SMO.

Thanks for reading.


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