I bet you would pay a lot, you have a good understanding of your conversion and know based on the questions the customer is asking or the information they are looking for where they are in the purchase cycle.
Now I tell you that the above is what online search is, many of you and your clients all of a sudden loose interest. Don’t be crazy, today (not tomorrow) you need to make search part of your marketing portfolio. If you spend only a $1000 / year in advertising this needs to be one part of your strategy. By using search you can enter into the purchase consideration with the message you want to deliver and best of all you only pay for actual customer interactions.
It doesn’t matter what you sell or where you are in the supply chain you can improve sales by using this tool. Let’s take a manufacturer as an example, say a consumer is looking for a Panasonic HDTV. As Panasonic you want and need to be present, with your retailers, providing information on your offering. If I search Panasonic HDTV I should see an ad from Panasonic that leads to a site providing all of the information that is needed to complete my purchase decision. Is it really worth it, for Panasonic, for customers to go site that is off-brand and not providing them with the information they are looking for? I might even find info on a Sony HDTV that begins to take more mindshare and effects my end decision. I’m sure Panasonic has a site that provides everything I need but if I can’t find the info is it even of use or worth the money that was spent to build it.
Here is the result example and I guess I picked an example that furthers the discussion. Not only does Panasonic not show up in the sponsored ads but none of the Canadian retailers do either, which was a big surprise to me. Now here is where the debate can start, even through Panasonic shows up as the third organic result I feel it is very important to still purchase this term to that you can ensure you are communicating your message and guide the consumer to the information you feel is best suited.
Now this is a simple brand example but take this to the next step where Panasonic could, based on their market and customer understanding, expand the keywords to terms that consumers use when researching, understanding and looking for products. This can be a great way to ensure you are participating with the customer when they are the in purchase consideration cycle so get started.
Based on this example it looks like we have lots of work!