Whether you are just starting up your business out of school, making a career change, or operating a successful brick-and-mortar office, you realize you need to step up your online presence.

You have constructed the ideal website, but now you are faced with some confusing marketing decisions. You may have heard of different marketing strategies for increasing your online presence but don’t know which fits you best. Here is a comparison of pay-per-click (PPC) ads and search engine optimization (SEO) and how they can support your marketing goals.

What Are These Marketing Strategies?

PPC ads appear at the top of a search engine results page (SERP.) When a prospective client clicks on the ad, you get charged per click.

SEO takes a little more effort but is free. You influence your position on SERPs based on strategic SEO. The traffic generated through SEO is organic and only costs some time. You will never be at the top with the ad listings, but you can consistently land near the top of the organic listings.

For example, a person types “professional hypnotist” into Google. If you’ve used PPC, your hypnosis business will pop up above the fold in one of the top three ad spots. If you use SEO, you cannot guarantee your place, but you have a good chance of being in the top 10 results if you employ SEO correctly. If you’re asking which will promote your business better, here is how they rank on different marketing criteria:

What’s Your SERP Number?

If your goal is to be number one or you want to be in control of your position, then PPC ads will achieve this. However, you won’t appear when your monthly budget runs out. You may also encounter the banner blindness phenomenon. Think back to your most recent google search. Did you start at the very top, or did you skip to the results in the middle of the page? If you did the latter, you unconsciously cut right to the organic search results below the PPC ads. Our brains skip over paid advertisements like banner ads, but many still don’t filter them out.

A BrightEdge study explains that paid traffic provided roughly 15% of overall website traffic compared to organic search providing 53%. With SEO, you can pop up at the top of organic SERPs, and you won’t quickly lose your position like with PPC. It takes effort to move up the ranks, but it pays off. Search engine algorithms are changing based on analytics, but consistent SEO work will continue to achieve strong rankings over time.

Targeting Your Market Audience

PPC marketing can be the preferred choice because of its precision targeting. You can hand pick the right demographic for your hypnosis business, sorting by hobbies, household income, gender, location, age group, parental status, and virtually any other category you may want.

Again, SEO is more fluid and cannot be as specific with your market audience. However, you can subtly influence how you show up on SERPs to reach your intended audience. There’s a bit more leg work to shape your keywords and content to reach your target and appeal to those clients.

With SEO, you target buyer intent, reaching potential clients searching for answers to their problems. They may be googling “treatments for anxiety” or “stress management techniques.” With PPC, you are targeting your pre-formulated persona or stereotype of what your typical client’s demographics are. It’s a much smaller net to cast, but a more precise one.

Generating Leads

What makes SEO incredible is its fluidity; a few well-chosen keywords dispersed throughout curated content will generate leads within your target audience and even some outside of what you expected. However, this can also be a downside. It takes longer to generate leads for you; most providers will estimate a year before you ascend to the coveted first page on search engines (although many clients start to see their page crawling up the rankings in less time). With PPC, you will get a quick turnaround on your investment, getting responses the day you start advertising.

Costs

If you want to spend the time to learn about SEO and how to leverage it, the only thing it will cost you is time. You can also choose to hire a firm to help fine-tune and manage your content for you. Either way, you will be building your top-tier rankings over time. Your initial investment is less and will continue to market, even when your marketing budget runs out.

PPC offers you explicit control over your budget. What you spend is what you get in a specified number of clicks. But we already know that you disappear from SERPs until you sink more money into these ads when those clicks are up.

What Strategy is Better For Hypnotists?

Both strategies have their merits and downfalls. If you want laser-focused results and absolute control over your budget, PPC ads are the better choice. You will also get analytics, allowing you to evaluate your ads’ performance and adjust them as you see fit. PPC is the optimal strategy to jumpstart your business.

Over time, SEO is more cost-effective, giving you consistent results and building your brand authority. Many businesses will use a blended strategy, devoting part of their budget to PPC ads while also generalizing their results with SEO for their long game. It’s up to you to find the right balance for your business and what works for you. Even if you start running all the marketing yourself, keep track of what you are doing and what you change, so you can track your results and what is working.