Paid Search is the most effective means of lead generation according to an August 2011 study completed by Advertise.com. Of the 200 study respondents 39.5% judged PPC campaigns as most effective at lead generation follow by online display campaigns at 17.9%, opt-in email campaigns at 11.3%, trade shows at 7.7%, direct mail at 6.5% and cold calling at 5.9%.
Respondents to the study also identified the email channel as the most under-utilized channel for lead generation.
This data confirms a long-held belief of many online marketers that buying traffic can be a very effective tactic. One of the reasons that PPC is so effective for lead generation is because it so targeted. If you look at the other marketing options you will see that each of them, to a greater or lesser degree, is more broad-based and less refined targeting and up-front qualification.
PPC campaigns for lead generation based on keyword search will result in your message being put only in front of people that have expressed an interest in the matter through their keyword search. Once you have qualified your potential leads through their search terms then you ad will display, called an impression, and you will only be charged for an impression if the searcher actually clicks on the link in your ad.
The effect of this is that the lead was first qualified in the search terms and then the lead self qualified again by clicking on your ad. At this point the lead is primed for conversion as they have twice announced their intent to learn more about your products and services. Now the ball is in your corner as the lead will be taken to your landing page where the lead has your full attention and is ready to hear your conversion message.
Has PPC been an effective strategy for your small business? Leave a comment and share your successes and frustrations with paid search marketing.