Volume 44, Issue 7 - July 2009

Online Bylines

Search Engine Overhaul
Leveraging Search Engines for the Ultimate ROI

by Mike Jones

New customers used to find you through word of mouth, strategic print advertising and marketing campaigns. You have a solid reputation and a good cadre of loyal customers. Yet today, more than 80 percent of those potential customers turn instead to Google or other search engines to tell them which companies offer the glass services they need. 

Most of those customers have not heard of you yet and have no idea of your specialties, nor how to find you online. That’s why search engine leveraging is such a valuable tool when creating an online presence. 

Using search engines to help your customers find you requires a different strategy than the more conventional advertising techniques to which you may be more accustomed. 

Where as most offline marketing techniques are designed to catch customers’ attention and convince them that they need your glass services (even if they hadn’t been considering them up until that point), online marketing techniques work in the opposite way. 

The search engine finds the customers that are looking for your specialty, and only shows them ads if it thinks they sincerely want to know more about your glass services niche. 

Push and Pull Marketing
The traditional method of marketing is commonly referred to as “push” marketing, where you try to push customers into buying your product or service whether they’re actively seeking you or not. Push marketing often works against the grain, since customers are not necessarily looking for your services at the time your ad hits them. 

Leveraging search engines is classified as “pull” marketing, where customers already seeking your service are gently directed to your company via search engine hosted advertising. The customer was already headed your way, since he was looking for the kind of service you provide. All you did was pull him gently in your company’s particular direction, instead of letting him drift to another company or competitor. 

Pull marketing is often welcomed by customers because it helps them find what they seek. Push marketing, on the other hand, is often considered invasive and annoying. 

Why Pull Marketing Provides the Best ROI
Leveraging search engines for your advertising efforts is an example of pull marketing. Your customers actually welcome your ad, because it will give them a good solution to the problem they were trying to solve. 

A push ad might only persuade one out of 1,000 people that they really do need your product or service and that they should buy it. A pull ad, since it is directed toward people who definitely need your product or service, has a much higher success rate when it comes to making a sale. 

Among advertisers, search engine advertising of various kinds has ranked number one and two as the best possible return on investment, according to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. It’s easy to see why, when the only people who will see your ad are the people who most want your product. 

Transferring Your Efforts
This shift from push to pull marketing often means you have to change your perspective on where you’ll be putting your efforts. 

Instead of targeting a customer who may not be looking for your service at the time, you are now targeting a customer who you know is interested. Your ad no longer has to persuade them they want the service, but rather that yours is the best company to provide that service. 

This means that you won’t want to simply transfer the same text from your print ads into your online ad. You’ll want to target your ad toward buyers who already are interested in your product but may need proof that you’re a better choice than your competitor. 

As an example, a print ad might explain why a certain kind of glass can protect your building from hazards. An online ad for that same product might say that your company offers 24-hour commercial and industrial window replacement service or some other differentiator. There’s no need to persuade the customer of the merits of that kind of glass—he’s already searching for it. You simply need to persuade him that you are the best provider. 

With a smart targeting strategy and a small shift in objective, search engine advertising will undoubtedly give you one of the best returns on investment. 

Mike Jones is the president of GTS in Portland, Ore. Mr. Jones’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.


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