Don’t Fall For The Tricks… Know the Basics


SEO, CPM, PPC… I am sure you’ve asked yourself, “What are these things and what do they mean to my business?”  The sad thing is, if you are a business owner in this country some huckster has tried to sell you their amazing service to boost this or help you gain that but if you have no clue what those things are, how can you know what you are spending your precious marketing dollars on?

All too often I get calls from clients excited about some great package an Internet guru is trying to sell them because they are told, “This will make you a star on the Internet”! Sadly, that often isn’t the case.  First – has that vendor even evaluated YOUR business and what YOUR needs are, and what YOUR long-term and short-term sales goals are?  Have they even looked at your website to see if you need any changes made to your online presence before you start funneling traffic to it?  More importantly, do they know if you even have a working site?  Has this possible internet guru sat with you and explained the digital world should be a part of any existing marketing plans, not a stand alone?

First, you need to educate yourself.  What do all these terms mean and which ones are important to your business?  The truth is – every marketing challenge is different.  This blog is a quick tutorial that can help you and your business navigate the many solutions to your challenges.  In other words – it’s not one-size fits all.

Let’s start with the basics:

SEO – Search Engine Optimization.  This is simply how the search engines (like Google, BING, Yahoo…) list you when someone searches a term or category that would (or should) include you.  Where does your website come up – 1st? 5th? 25th? not at all?

Organic Search – When someone searches your company or business by putting the name or main keyword into the search engine tool bar.

PPC – Pay-per-Click Advertising or Paid Search – Paying for your business name to appear when someone types in a certain keyword.  Google, for example, lists their paid search listings in a light color above the organic search listings on the top and right hand side of the pages.  There are 2 basic ways to buy internet display advertising – one of those is PPC.  PPC means you only pay a certain bid upon amount when someone clicks on your ad and no other time.

CPM – Cost-per-Thousand – This is the other basic way to buy internet display ads.  You are paying a certain amount for every 1,000 people served your ad.  There are reasons why one is a good choice over the other, but that depends on the circumstance.

CTR – Click Through Rate – This is one of the ways to evaluate the success of your display advertising campaign.  This rate is typically calculated in a percentage and is usually something very small because it is based on the total number of people who have been served your ad.  So if 100,000 people saw the ad and 100 clicked on it, the CTR would be .10%.

Conversion Rate – This is also an evaluation statistic, which can further prove the goals of your digital advertising campaigns are working.  Conversion is simply this: did the people who clicked on your ad, do what you wanted them to do?  This could be simply showing up on your website or landing page, filling out a form, answering a poll or completing a sale.  Conversion rates are the end result of a digital campaign, but your website or landing page must be set up to capture this information.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing – This is simply the all encompassing term for all advertising on the Internet.  BUT you have to be careful because there are some people who have begun to use SEM to mean paid search or PPC.

FB Display Ads (Facebook)– These are the small 25 word ads you see on the side of your FB wall.  Anyone can place these ads, but you have to be savvy about how you choose to buy. You could end up paying a lot of money per click if you choose PPC because the ads are served based on an auction basis.  That means if several people are competing for the same targets, the prices will go up.  Think of it just like buying something on ebay – the more people want something and bid for it, the more the price will increase.

As you can see, just knowing what the basics are begins to help open up your options to advertising in the digital landscape as well as what to do.   Not knowing just these few things and how they apply to your marketing goals and plans can cost you money and leave a sour taste in your mouth for digital and social media marketing, which is one of the most vital tools being used today to help meet and exceed marketing goals.

As with nearly everything – educate yourself before listening to some random person emailing or calling you telling you they can make you the next internet star,  because I can nearly promise you, they’ve already called your competition too.

  • Randy Diplock

    Being someone who started in creative in the late 70′s, some of this stuff scares me. But then I comfort myself when I’m reminded that a great idea is a great idea and everything else is just a vehicle.

    Randy Diplock,