While many small business owners know that pay-per-click campaigns are a great way to increase their search presence, not many of them really understand just how many ways they can use these campaigns to grow their businesses. Pay-per-click marketing isn't just about setting up a campaign and letting it go, it's about understanding the many ways that you can use PPC to your advantage and then launching the type of campaign that makes the most sense for your business.

Short Term Campaigns

Short term pay-per-click campaigns are ones that are setup with an end date in mind. They might be one-time launches, or they might be campaigns that are turned on and off over time for different reasons. Either way, the goal of these campaigns is usually to supplement other forms of marketing and not to serve as an on-going source of sales.

Seasonal sales

With the holiday season just around the corner, businesses both large and small will be gearing up to launch new paid search advertising campaigns to drive even more sales. Pay-per-click campaigns are a great (though expensive) way to build up a search presence quickly. Companies looking for organic rankings usually need to put a plan in place at least six months before the season starts. Since pay-per-click campaigns can be setup practically overnight, they're one of the few search related options for last-minute holiday promotions.

Jump start a new campaign

Another popular short-term use of pay-per-click engines is jump starting a search marketing campaign for a new site. Since organic listings take time, companies looking to have a presence in the engines right from the start need to setup pay-per-click campaigns at the engines they wish to drive traffic from.

Keyword testing before organic campaign

My personal favorite use of pay-per-click campaigns is to test keywords before doing an organic overhaul to a Web site. Companies can bid on all of the phrases that they are considering optimizing for and then track the results to see which ones convert at the best rate. Once they know which phrases perform the best, they can then start organically optimizing their sites for those phrases. This saves the guess work that sometimes goes with optimizing a site for the first time.

Testing sales messages

Another testing related reason for using a short-term pay-per-click campaign is sales messages. This type of short term campaign can be run at the same time as an organic campaign, or even concurrently with a long-term pay-per-click campaign. The idea behind this type of campaign is to promote different offers in an environment that can be quickly changed and easily tracked. This is a great way to find out if free shipping drives more conversions than buy-one-get-one offers, or to see if blue graphics convert better than green.

In the next part of this series, I'll look into long-term campaigns and the reasons that some search marketers prefer to use them.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
September 12, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > The Purpose of Pay-per-Click - Part One: Short Term Campaigns