Your passion lies in helping little ones develop healthy sleep habits, but to be a successful sleep coach, you also need to be a successful entrepreneur. That means promoting your business so that you can bring your services to a wider audience.
You’ve probably heard about these two techniques for marketing your business online: PPC and SEO. If they sound like alphabet soup to you, we’re here to demystify these marketing strategies and help you determine which is the best fit for promoting your business.
When a family wants to hire a sleep coach, they may type a query like this one on Google: “sleep coach near me.” They’ll then see a SERP (search engine results page) with a list of options.
At the top of the page (“above the fold”), they’ll see paid results designated as “Ads.” These are the results of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. These businesses have paid to be listed at the top of the SERP. If you click on one of these listings, the business will be charged a certain amount of money for your click.
Below the paid ads, you’ll see a list of organic listings. You can’t control exactly where you appear in these listings, but strategic search engine optimization can help you consistently land toward the top of these organic search listings.
Here’s how PPC and SEO shake down on different criteria.
Position. You can control your position on the SERP with PPC ads. No matter what, you will always appear “above the fold” so you’ll be among the first few listings people see. Bear in mind, though, that you lose that position once your PPC ad budget runs out.
There’s also a phenomenon known as “banner blindness” where users are conditioned to ignore banner ads and other paid advertisements and skip right to the organic search results below. Though this doesn’t affect everyone, it can drain some of the bang out of your PPC buck.
With SEO, you’re at the whims of search engine algorithms when it comes to position, but if you are rocking your SEO campaign, you can plan on moving up those ranks. And once you achieve those top rankings, they don’t go away quickly. If you keep up the solid SEO work, you can maintain strong rankings long-term.
Click-through rates. According to Google, only 2% of consumers click through paid ads to get to websites. In contrast, here are click-through rates for different page-one organic listings according to 2022 data:
Other research by BrightEdge (2019) shows that organic search drives 53% of all website traffic while paid generates just 15%.
Speed. PPC is the undisputed winner here, yielding a quick return on investment. You could start getting responses the day you start advertising.
With SEO, it will take longer. Most SEO providers will tell you to plan on a year or so to ascend the search engine ranks and make it to page one; however, it’s very possible to start seeing revenue-producing gains within a few months of starting SEO.
Budget. PPC offers a lot of control over budget. You can specify exactly how much you want to spend overall and get a specified number of clicks in return. However, SEO can be cheaper.
If you want to attempt SEO on your own, your only investment will be the time it takes to learn about SEO and leverage it. If you hire an SEO firm to help you, you will be charged a regular fee (often monthly). With each passing month, you will be accruing online clout and gradually building up to top-tier rankings (vs. ads that disappear the day you stop paying for them.)
Targeting. Advertisers love PPC ads for their precision targeting. You can target by location, age group, gender, parental status, household income, hobbies, and more.
Search engine optimization can’t drill down to those same specifics, but there are still ways to effectively reach an intended audience. With careful research, you can get a good idea of how to mold your content and keywords to appeal to the right customers.
It’s also important to keep in mind that with PPC, you’re targeting a stereotype, but with SEO, you’re targeting buyer intent. You may not be able to appeal directly to young parents, for example, but you can target people with queries such as, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” with your keywords and content.
Analytics. Google Ads offers impressively specific analytics, which allow you to evaluate ad performance meticulously and adjust your ads accordingly. SEO doesn’t yield these laser-focused results, but you can still see the performance of various keywords and pieces of content over time.
Many business owners will use a combination of marketing strategies, trying PPC to get specific, actionable feedback on keywords and then generalizing those results to the long game of SEO.
SEO vs. PPC is not a zero sum game. Both strategies have their merits and can help you get discovered online. If you have a generous budget, PPC can deliver quick, targeted gains to jumpstart your business.
Over the long run, however, SEO is generally considered to be more cost effective. Whereas PPC gains go away when your campaign ends, SEO gives you something you can hang onto. It grows your brand authority (which Google likes and rewards) and increases the value of your website.
Just make sure that you’re using a sound strategy if you go with SEO. This includes targeting the right keywords to appeal to your target audience and having an attractive, fast-loading, and mobile-friendly website. It also involves generating consistent, high quality content that establishes you as a credible authority in your field.
If you’re interested in learning more about a career as a sleep coach, I’m currently looking for a handful of entrepreneurial-minded trainees for my Certified Sleep Sense Consultant program. You can click here to learn more.
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