Paid media, or PPC, is an advanced strategy that I only recommend business owners explore once they have solidified their owned media spaces. That means that you have developed content on your website that appeals to your Ideal Client Avatar and are also building a newsletter list to stay in touch with your prospects.
As mentioned before, if you use Google Ads or Facebook Ads to send a prospect to your booking page, and they aren’t familiar with you or your work, you’re going to be more likely to attract the wrong type of client or turn off your prospective ideal clients while spending money in the process.
Let’s look at a couple of scenarios:
If I create a gorgeous Facebook Ad and target my Ideal Client Avatar to perfection, but my website isn’t geared towards appealing to that avatar, I am likely throwing away money on traffic that isn’t going to garner me future bookings. The same goes for creating a Facebook Ad but not knowing who my Ideal Client Avatar is; it is simply attracting traffic that won’t benefit my business.
However, let’s say I create a Facebook Ad to target my Ideal Client Avatar “Karen” by promoting blog posts about how celebrating yourself with a photoshoot is an ideal gift to oneself. There is a much higher likelihood that the traffic garnered in that approach will engage with my website, sign up for my newsletter, and eventually book.
Notice I haven’t mentioned creating ads to encourage someone to book right away? Generally, ads like this do not work, or if they do work they are incredibly expensive. Ideally, paid media is used to amplify the content you have created in your owned media, such as promoting blog posts on your website or encouraging prospects to sign up for your newsletter.
This is why I tend to recommend rolling paid media into your digital marketing strategy last. Its success is largely dependent on how well you know your client, where you are meeting them in their customer journey, and how well your owned media is ready to serve them.
So, Is SEO Better Than PPC?
There are SEO practitioners that will tell you that SEO is much better for your business than PPC. Their reasons would be that SEO has longer term effects, whereas the traffic from PPC will dry up immediately the moment you turn it off. And while those two statements are not incorrect, it can give many business owners a false understanding of the marketing ecosystem of their business.
My background is actually in paid media. That’s how I got into this crazy world of marketing. And while the SEO’s point of view is not wrong, I like to look at SEO and PPC as tools that help each other and ought not to be looked at in competition. As discussed, paid media can also help amplify the content you are creating in your owned media spaces by driving immediate traffic.
As a bonus, if you have the budget for it, PPC is actually a fantastic research tool to help you understand your Ideal Customer Avatar while driving traffic to your website. Let me give you an example: back when I worked at a digital marketing agency, we had a client that was bringing a new brand to market. They had no website when we started working with them and they were up against a huge competitor.
As the paid media account lead, I used various tools within Google Ads to help me research what their Ideal Client Avatar might be searching for. Then the SEO account lead and I created a content calendar to help us build the website and blog, but we then used our ads to drive traffic to those pages. Once some of those pages were ranking well due to our SEO efforts, we began to pull back our paid media budget so that we could use it for new experiments and efforts.
Again, if you have the budget and the desire to research your market, paid media is a great way to get data and test theories fast. But if you don’t have the budget, I recommend focusing your efforts on SEO by creating solid content in your owned media spaces.
Everything in digital marketing comes down to knowing who you are meant to serve in your business! Your Ideal Client Avatar and their customer journey from Awareness to Action are the cruxes of any marketing strategy. Knowing these two key elements help you know where to be in the digital world, and what to create! From there, everything else comes down to consistently showing up in those places and providing value, whether it is informing, inspiring or educating your prospective client.
So, take the time to examine who your business is best suited to serve and how they go about finding your business and what that journey looks like for them. Once you are consistently crafting content for a combination of paid, earned, shared and owned media, you are executing a solid digital marketing strategy that has the potential to book your photography business solid!