Pay Per Click Online Advertising Versus Traditional Trade Shows

Pay Per Click

Traditional trade shows have long been an established and effective way for companies to reach their target audiences. This is true for business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer companies, and is even an established marketing method for companies looking for investors. When participating in trade shows, it makes sense for companies to track their associated expenses and time to determine how much each lead costs.

So, in comparing traditional trade shows to pay per click campaigns, imagine that your website is a trade show booth and your ad campaign is the event. Impressions, which don't cost a thing in pay per click campaigns, are those people that walk by your booth and probably don't even notice you. The people that click on your ad are the same as those people who step into your booth, and the people that contact you or sign up for something are equivalent to those who gave you their business card at the event. This trade show is open 24/7 all year long and on a global scale.

Online advertising done correctly gives companies an exact cost per lead and is being adopted by advertising companies the world over and now represents an annual 500 billion dollar industry. Of course getting the traffic to a website is important, but it really only makes sense after ensuring that the site is effective at converting site visitors into customers.

To take full advantage of the Internet many companies need to do more than draw organic traffic. Those companies should be running targeted ad campaigns that reach out and pull people back to their website. The advertising platform for Google and other search engines is particularly effective because it shows ads to an audience that's in the moment of having an interest in the particular product or service being advertised. Individuals are searching for your product or service and based on your adword selections, your ad is presented to them at the exact right time.

Adwords work for a diverse range of businesses. One of my past campaigns was for a hotel company, where we were easily able to calculate that we paid an average of $15 to book a $125 per night stay in one of the hotels. When times were slow we paid for more ads and filled the rooms. If the rooms were booked we lowered the ad budget. To show the diversity, we have worked with another public company looking for investor interest and quickly found out that we could spend $5 for each investor that came to their website and read their investment proposition in the form of a fact sheet. That same company spends many times this amount on a per lead basis to reach similar investors at trade shows.

Your target market is out there, and they are probably searching the Internet right now for something similar to what you have to offer. How much are you willing to pay for website visits from interested leads? Step up to the plate and just see what happens when you spend comparable amounts to participating in trade shows.

By Corri Loschuk
Creative Director
November 1st, 2012
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