The foundation of Internet advertising is the banner ad, with the pay-per-click model following closely behind. Google was the first company to make PPC (pay per click) huge, and it works out pretty well for both the advertiser and for the company charging them for the clicks. It’s a win-win for sure, but sometimes you have products or services that don’t seem to work with PPC advertising or you just aren’t getting the response that you used to. What you need is a fresh new approach and that’s why you should consider one or more of these five alternatives to PPC.
We discussed the lay of the land and several alternatives to the PPC with five industry experts to find out what they recommended. Read on to see some of their valuable insights.
1. YouTube Pre-Roll Ads
YouTube has been doing better and better when it comes to their advertising policies and now, with new rules in place for the pre-roll ads, advertisers aren’t going to have to pay for advertising that doesn’t net them any actual results, like the five seconds of an ad that plays before the viewer hits the “Skip” button.
Aaron Hocket, Partner & Sales Team Leader at AltaVista Strategic Partners was the first expert we conversed with. He believes that YouTube’s “True View” will benefit them even more now that advertisers only pay for completed views, and actively encourages their clients in the construction industry to use YouTube instead of PPC.
He goes on to illustrate how YouTube ads can work as a better alternative to PPC for some a number of specific services, while offering value at the same time:
“One example of how we are using YouTube as an alternative to PPC: Working with a plumber, we will create branded “how to” videos related around multiple residential services such as fixing a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink or unclogging a bathtub drain.” He explains. “Using an exact match keyword strategy within targeted zip codes, we will run the appropriate ads correlating to the search query. A user searches “How to unclog a bathtub drain” and clicks on the first video where we run an ad that starts “The first step to unclogging a bathtub drain.” and are able to capture and 4 minute video completions as we are fulfilling the user’s needs. We end the ad with a powerful call to action.”
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great form of advertising that has quite a few different benefits. Email marketing is definitely more personal than some of these other alternatives and it makes the person think that you are talking directly to them, even if they know deep down that they are one of many. Brad Owen of Never Bounce says that you should be using it as something extra, not as a sole way to advertise.
“If you’re not using a direct form of communication in conjunction with your PPC campaigns, you’re leaving big money on the table.”
“While PPC boosts your traffic needle, unfortunately it does very little for your overall conversions; that’s all up to you and your on-site marketing strategy.”
Brad adds that the average user will require six touches prior to completing an action. Although PPC can bring users to your site, that’s only one “touch.” Email marketing then can account for many more “touches” at once with a great autoresponder sequence.
“Organically growing and nurturing your customer email list is the core to continuous engagement with your customers.”
3. Influencer Marketing
Advertising with an influencer isn’t anything new. In fact, companies have been relying on influencers for hundreds of years, but these days, there are some very specific people who are having an impact on what consumers buy and anyone who wants to get their message heard should be focusing on them.
“We all know that social trust is key in the future of marketing,” says Noah Everton, a growth strategist at ShoutOurBiz. ”But for a brand to truly succeed and get a head, they should be looking to influencers within their niche. When I consult marketing teams, I always tell them ‘your competition is already reaching out to influencers, how do you plan to stay ahead of their game?’ And usually I’m met with a blank stare.”
Companies like ShoutOurBiz and FameBit help companies stay head of the competition because they are the meeting place between influencers and the brands that want their vote of confidence.
4. Content Marketing
One of the biggest trends when it comes to Internet marketing is the rise of content marketing. At first, only a few were seeing value in this activity, but now even the smallest businesses know that content marketing is necessary and effective.
Christopher Martin, Digital Marketing Manager at Flex MR, believes that PPC advertising is currently suffering through an “image problem.”
“Ad fraud and blocking have been hot topics amongst online marketing specialists throughout 2015.” He points out. “To make sure you aren’t wasting your 2016 marketing budget, consider investing in an effective content marketing plan instead.”
5. Reputation Marketing
Finally, reputation marketing is absolutely vital and cannot be ignored by any business large or small. In the old days, if you had a few dissatisfied customers odds were they wouldn’t influence any of your other customers. Now, those naysayers might end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars or more because they have a pulpit to preach from. Lauren Edvalson is the CEO of Edvalson Marketing and says that the best online partner for your PPC campaigns is reputation marketing.
There are tons of reputation marketing companies popping up. Organic search results are not showing websites, they are listing companies with five star reviews on review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List. It’s so important to put a strategy and budget to creating customer advocacy programs. Each person who works for your company then becomes aligned with your marketing efforts by asking customers to provide feedback about their experience. Taking it a step further, if you are a sales driven business, incorporating great customer service into the way you measure employee performance will keep your sales people honest and protect your reputation.
Featured photo credit: Josh MacDonald via joshmacdonald.net