The days when you could build a website and expect people to find you online are over.
In 2020, digital marketing is not optional. It’s not something that only big companies should do.
Small business owners need to ensure that their website shows up in the search results when their prospects search online.
Many years ago it was enough to pay for a Yellow Pages listing and expect the phone to ring.
Although some people still use Yellow Pages, the majority of prospects use Google or social media to find what they are looking for.
Depending on the nature of the market and the business, it makes sense to invest in social media marketing or in search engine optimisation (SEO).
How do you know which one is better for your business?
Search Marketing Versus Social Media Marketing
If you know that your prospects are searching for your product or service in the search engines, you should start with search marketing.
A reputable SEO company can help you to find out what keywords your prospects are searching. You want to show up when they are looking for your service or product.
The quality of a search prospect is higher than the quality of a social media prospect.
With search marketing, you can target someone who shows an explicit interest in the service that you are offering.
This is not the case with social media marketing. In this case you are able to target your prospects by demographics and interest, which is still very valuable.
But you are displaying an ad to them when all they want to do is spend some time checking on their friends pictures. This is not ideal because you are, in a way, interrupting them.
Advantages of Search Marketing
Search marketing (whether it’s organic search or paid search) has the following advantages:
- People find your website at the exact time they are looking for a solution.
- Your content is displayed as a solution for their problem
- Your content is an opportunity to introduce yourself as an expert.
- Your prospect doesn’t feel like you are “intruding” in their social media space.
- It’s great for “I need it now” types of services (examples: emergency plumber, emergency locksmith)
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
There are business contexts in which social media marketing is a better option than search marketing.
If you offer a high ticket service that needs a lot of explanation before it’s sold, Facebook Ads can be very effective.
Some business consultants and professional service providers can benefit from this.
For many of them, their prospects are not searching for their services in Google, Yahoo! or Bing.
Also, explaining the details and the breakdown of the service they offer might be very complex.
On these cases, they can use Facebook Ads to create a first point of contact with their prospects. This can be done by offering a piece of free advice to their prospects.
Once that first point of contact is made, they can display subsequent ads to their prospects explaining the benefits of their service.
These are some of the unique advantages of social media marketing:
- You can target a higher volume of people than with search marketing (you are not limited by keyword search volume).
- You have the opportunity to explain the details of your service.
- It works well for business owners and brands that are good at storytelling.
A Multichannel Digital Marketing Approach
Far from taking sides, smart business owners take the best out of each one of these two approaches.
Search engine optimisattion and paid search is great to display your content to qualified prospects that are looking for your service or product.
(key word being qualified).
Facebook and Instagram ads are great ways to reach audience that wouldn’t have found you otherwise.
With retargeting and pixel technology, you could use your search audience as a seed to create a look alike audience in Facebook that you can target further with paid ads.
These are just some ways in which you can blend these two approaches to make the most of your digital marketing.