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The Case Against PPC For Less Than 2 Year Old Businesses

Updated: Mar 7

I am a PPC professional. If I wore a cape, those two words would be at the back of it. So, I firmly believe that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) can be a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience and drive conversions. However, as the digital landscape evolves, so do the strategies and perspectives surrounding PPC advertising.

As a seasoned PPC professional with over a decade of experience, I am compelled to offer a hot take: small businesses may not need to dive into PPC advertising during the initial stages of their establishment. By initial stages - I mean in the first two years.

This assertion may be counterintuitive, especially in an era where digital marketing is indispensable for business growth. However, allow me to elaborate on why this might be the case.

PPC is Highly Competitive

First and foremost, it's crucial to acknowledge that every business is unique, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. Certain universal truths about PPC advertising must be noticed, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

One of the primary challenges SMBs face in the PPC arena is the competitive nature of platforms like Google Ads. With more giant corporations and established brands dominating the landscape, smaller players often find themselves at a disadvantage, struggling to compete for visibility and clicks.

This fierce competition can drive up the cost per click (CPC), making it increasingly challenging for SMBs to achieve a satisfactory return on investment (ROI).

It takes a while to undertstand your target audience

Moreover, diving headfirst into PPC advertising without a solid understanding of your target audience and market dynamics can be costly. Despite having the resources and expertise to conduct comprehensive keyword research, create compelling ad copy, and optimize campaigns effectively, it takes a long while to understand your consumers truly.

There are several organic ways of doing that, and if you have a small budget, you want to be strategic. That could lead to squandering your budget on poorly performing ads that fail to resonate with their audience.

What should be done instead

In contrast, investing time and resources into building a strong organic presence can yield significant long-term benefits for SMBs. By focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) and optimizing their digital assets, businesses can attract organic traffic and gain valuable insights into their customers' behaviour and preferences.

Organic traffic provides a steady stream of visitors to your website and allows you to identify high-performing keywords, content, and messaging that resonate with your audience. This invaluable knowledge can then inform your PPC strategy down the line, enabling you to create more targeted, cheaper and effective advertising campaigns.

What did my audience think

I did a poll on LinkedIn asking this very question after clearly stating my stance. I.e. not necessary:

LinkedIn Poll

It's a small sample size; however, just over 50% of the 83 people who voted disagreed with me. Don't worry - I got over it quickly.

Here are some of the comments from people who thought it could be worth it:

Amalia Fowler thinks small businesses need it more:

Amalia Fowler

Jordan Brunelle thinks PPC is a great way to jumpstart:

Jordan Brunelle

Harrisson Hepp though is a bit on my side:

Harrison Hepp

And I do agree with Harrison, sales process needs to be on point - which it usually isn't when you are starting off your business. You are still trying to figure out what works best.

And I agree with Matt - it is about the money as the space you advertise in could be very expensive.

Matt Beswick

In conclusion, while PPC advertising certainly has its merits, small businesses may be better served by focusing on organic growth during the early stages of their establishment. By leveraging SEO and optimizing their digital assets, SMBs can lay a solid foundation for future success while gaining valuable insights into their audience and market dynamics.

As a PPC professional, I believe that adopting a holistic approach to digital marketing, one that encompasses both organic and paid strategies, is key to achieving sustainable growth and long-term success in today's competitive landscape.

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