A comprehensive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy has proven time and again to be a necessary foundation for any company marketing themselves on the Internet. Kudos if your business also participates in some form of social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn). However, now that peak season has arrived, it’s time to kick your online marketing up a notch with some pay-as-you-go options.

Any business that engages in a well-executed SEO strategy knows that it has a lasting effect on your search rankings (which translates into an ongoing stream of sales throughout the entire year). Active participation in popular social media properties provides ongoing branding for your company, so prospects are more likely to respond favorably to your future advertising.

But what happens when peak season arrives for your business?

Your competition is ramping up their advertising efforts to attract online customers. Potential customers now have more options to choose from. You need to keep up the pace or risk losing out on new business.

Here's how you do it:

Supplement Social Marketing with Sponsored Options

To prevent drop-off from your follower base, you may have taken a fun, relaxed approach to your social strategy. However, when busy season arrives for your business, you should consider putting a little more sales message into your social interactions. After all, this is when prospects want to hear your marketing message. The major social media sites have programs to assist businesses in taking a more direct marketing approach for potential customers.

Market to existing followers:

Marketers can use their existing Facebook page and Twitter feed for posting marketing messages to their followers. However, the news feed of an active Facebook / Twitter user replenishes itself often, so your message (although received) can quickly disappear in a sea of updates. Facebook provides an option to ‘Boost’ a post. 'Boosting' allows your post to remain prominently placed in your followers’ feeds for a longer period of time. You can purchase a post boost for as low as $5 (the cost increases with the level of exposure). Boosts also get your post put in front of your followers’ friends and relatives.

Market to new prospects:

If you want to reach beyond your follower network, you can purchase a sponsored post, which can get your message out to new prospects based on your demographic needs. Facebook makes it relatively easy to purchase a sponsored post. You can set up a campaign quickly based on your budget requirements. Currently the process is not as automated if you want to do a sponsored tweet on Twitter. You have to reach out to the Twitter sales staff and indicate your interest in advertising.

Supplement SEO Efforts with a Paid Search Campaign

An effective SEO strategy takes time to show results.  Have you just started your SEO efforts? Implementing a paid search campaign allows your business to immediately benefit from page 1 placement. Already have page 1 rankings on Google? Great! A paid search campaign gives you the opportunity to send an additional, customizable marketing message to prospects.

Customize Your Message:

If you already have rankings in the organic search results, Google decides which information is presented to prospects, which may not be the ideal sales message you want to convey. A paid search ad allows you to tailor the message in your paid ads to tout a competitive advantage, or highlight a current sales promotion.

Increase Your Reach:

Remember, people can conduct all types of searches when looking for your product or service. You may have page 1 rankings for some search phrases, but not have a presence for others. Participating in a paid search campaign allows your company to appear for any type of search your prospects may be using.

Plan Ahead (And Prevent Wasteful Ad Spending):

A properly planned paid strategy can help you increase sales, while a poorly planned strategy can merely drain your advertising budget. While the advertising platforms of social media properties are relatively easy to navigate, the ad platforms of search engines are pretty complex (to allow advertisers the greatest amount of flexibility). Only using the basic functionality will typically lead to an under-performing campaign. However, taking advantage of the complexities of their systems can lead to an acceptable (and often favorable) ROI for your spend. This is where the paid search pros earn their paychecks.

For a more in-depth conversation on this topic, contact your SEO -- we'd love to hear from you!

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