Pay-per-click advertising with Internet search engines is commonly called search engine marketing. But as I tried to explain it today to someone unfamiliar with the concept (and there are still people out there who don’t know how search engines come up with their search results), I realized that search ‘marketing’ is something of a misnomer and a source of confusion for many people.
Search marketing, unlike most forms of traditional marketing, only happens when someone is actually looking for you.
Let’s consider a tongue-in-cheek example. You own a store, and you have to decide how to spend your limited marketing budget. Traditional marketing is the guy or gal standing by the road waving a sign that says Big Sale Inside! (This may be a Florida thing, so if you don’t get it just use your imagination here.) They’re trying to drive people into the store, but the problem is that most of the folks getting the message couldn’t care less. Search marketing, on the other hand, is more like having a staff of trained employees who show people looking for your products where to find them.
In the typical business decision-making process, though, the sign-waver seems appealing because it’s relatively inexpensive. A trained staff may look pricey comparatively speaking.
The question is: which do you think would be more effective in building your business?