Small Business Marketing – Online PR or PPC Ads


Microsoft’s getting lots of attention [Small Businesses to PPC: Drop Dead] for its survey that finds 70% of small business owners would rather do their own taxes than manage a PPC [pay per click ad words] campaign.

We don’t do our clients’ taxes, but we do manage their marketing strategies, create online PR campaigns and help them prioritize their advertising spending.

We tell them to never purchase a PPC program until we talk to them about it first.

Why? Well . . . PPC is complicated to explain, to implement and to keep going. Yet, you have to keep going. Thinking of jumping in? Here’s a . . . 

PPC Preliminary Checklist

Purpose – why are you doing this?

For most small businesses, the answer is leads.

Goal – how will you know when you’re successful?

Do you need 1 or 100 clicks a week? The better your ad, your landing page and your offer, the lower number of clicks you’ll need.

How much are you willing to spend – for how long?

Think about this one carefully. If you want to play around and test, go ahead, but limit your investment to an amount you’re willing to spend.

Do your prospects click on ads?

Like most marketing tactics, it’s best to be where your customers are.

Is your industry overly competitive?

For keywords like “credit” you can expect to pay thousands of dollars to get traffic.

Will you design a landing page for every keyword?

To convert traffic, you’ll need a custom landing page. Sending ad traffic to a home page with no way to collect data or take action is like losing the lead before you get it.

Who will manage your campaign?

If you have money and the zeal to attack this task, then study with a master like Perry Marshall. If you outsource your campaign, ask to see comparable results from similar businesses. Make sure the contract has a cancellation and a competition clause you’re comfortable with.

When will it end?

Ideally, you will continue to run AdWords, but some campaigns may be cancelled as keywords change and costs increase. 

How Online PR [Public Relations, Press Releases, Page Rank] Stacks Up Against Pay Per Click Advertising

PR people like to tout the benefits of public relations over advertising. To us, it makes sense to maximize your budget by optimizing your efforts. Here’s how we think online PR outperforms pay per click advertising . . . and no, this is not apples to apples. We know that. But, we also know that online PR is one of the most under-utilized search marketing and community building strategies. Have you tried online PR? How about PPC?

  Online PR Pay Per Click
Uses Keywords Yes Yes
Organic Search Yes No
Pay per click No Yes
Distribution Fee Ranges from $0-400 None
Ads No Yes, for every keyword
Landing Page Recommended Recommended
Reporting Depends on Service Number of views and clicks by keyword
Stays in Search Engine Yes No
Picked up Media Yes No
Picked up by Bloggers Yes No
Delivered via RSS Optional No
Cost to produce DIY or Agency Fee Monthly expense
Word Count 400 words is ideal about 150 characters total
Include Links Yes, several may be included Yes in ad
Subject to Editorial Approval Sometimes Sometimes
Submit to Search Engines Yes No
Linked to from other sites Yes No
Budget One-time distribution cost, if any, agency fees Set per click
Relationship Story Ad copy
Headline 80 characters 25 characters
Attachments Yes None
Fast Results Indexed to search engines, usually within a few hours Takes time to get a track record
Geographic Yes Yes
Repurpose Yes No


Interested in test-driving an online PR campaign?

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