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Is PPC a must?

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Roughneck

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I am currently looking into a potential business idea, it's basically an online platform connecting customers with business owners in a niche industry. With my current research, there seems to be a market for my idea along with the fact that the whole industry is expected to double in size in the next 11 years.

Thanks to a member on here who posted a link to www.spyfu.com, I have been carrying out some research on what competitor companies are doing for paid and organic searches. To my surprise, the competitors in this market space are doing NO PPC advertising and their organic SEO figures are relatively low. The history of the main competitor is 11 years, and it has not once been listed with google adwords.

It got me thinking, do people believe in this day and age that PPC is a must? I would have thought to experience decent growth in a business, it would have to be?

I was also thinking, as soon as I realised that my competitors are doing no PPC is the fact that I can start hijacking they business keywords to drive business my way and attempt to grow the business rapidly using their customers? Have others done this?

So for example, say the company is called overtop lounges. Since they have no PPC, if I set my adwords to "Overtop Lounges", I could drive their potential customers to my website?
 

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DaDream

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If you call customer support from the AdWords team and say you are a newbie just starting out and need some "guidance" setting up your ads. You may be able to run Ads in the name of your competitor. Sometimes the representative you speak to is nice and doesn't verify whether you are in fact the owner of the business or not and they would approve those ads.

Now, in terms of legalities. You should not do this as is in violation of the terms set by Google. Chances are your competitor will realize you are doing this and report it to Google. Your ads will be stopped and you will be at risk of being sued.

If you read Fastlane & unscripted and dig around this forum long enough you will come to find the idea of a productocracy. Build unique products that solve real-world problems and the product will market itself. Of course, that's easier said than done.

My advice use white hat ways to overcome your competition otherwise you put yourself at risk of losing everything. Karma is a bitch my friend.
 
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Roughneck

Roughneck

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If you call customer support from the AdWords team and say you are a newbie just starting out and need some "guidance" setting up your ads. You may be able to run Ads in the name of your competitor. Sometimes the representative you speak to is nice and doesn't verify whether you are in fact the owner of the business or not and they would approve those ads.

Now, in terms of legalities. You should not do this as is in violation of the terms set by Google. Chances are your competitor will realize you are doing this and report it to Google. Your ads will be stopped and you will be at risk of being sued.

If you read Fastlane & unscripted and dig around this forum long enough you will come to find the idea of a productocracy. Build unique products that solve real-world problems and the product will market itself. Of course, that's easier said than done.

My advice use white hat ways to overcome your competition otherwise you put yourself at risk of losing everything. Karma is a bitch my friend.
Exactly what I wanted to know. Reps to you sir. Working on how to make my business idea unique in this space.
 

1step

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So for example, say the company is called overtop lounges. Since they have no PPC, if I set my adwords to "Overtop Lounges", I could drive their potential customers to my website?
Yes you can do this. Here is an article that discusses how you can do it without putting yourself at risk. AdWords Competitor Targeting: Everything You Need To Know To Do It Right
In short bid on the keyword just don’t mention them in your ad at all
Google pretty much any saas and you’ll see this in action. In inventory management you can google the company tradegecko and see all their competitors bidding
 
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Roughneck

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GoodluckChuck

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Not sure what your niche is, but maybe Google will not allow ads for this product or service and that Is why nobody runs ads?

In my experience, if there Is money to be made in PPC it is already being done on some level.

Zero activity is a red flag.

Also, PPC comp analysis tools aren't always very accurate.
 

Andy Black

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do people believe in this day and age that PPC is a must? I would have thought to experience decent growth in a business, it would have to be?
It’s not a must. The only musts to be in business are “Adding value” and “Getting paid.” (And some would argue about the “Adding value” part.)

I’ve built my business without running a single “paid search” ad for myself (I presume that’s what you meant by PPC) ... and my business involves running paid search ads.
 

itfactor

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In my experience, PPC is never a mustonly works when you have perfected your business idea, where you already know that your target market is readily available and hungry enough for your product/service

PPC is not a magic bullet where it will instantly send customers through your door.

What it is though is a platform that allows you to amplify your marketing message and let them reach the right audience.

In short, if you don't already have a tried, tested and proven business model AND idea, don't waste your money on PPC. Work on using low-cost methods for customer acquisition first, then use PPC to scale once you have reached a plateau.

And yes, if you don't see any of the major players in your niche using PPC, it's very likely that they aren't allowed to advertise in the first place.
 
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Roughneck

Roughneck

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In my experience, PPC is never a mustonly works when you have perfected your business idea, where you already know that your target market is readily available and hungry enough for your product/service

PPC is not a magic bullet where it will instantly send customers through your door.

What it is though is a platform that allows you to amplify your marketing message and let them reach the right audience.

In short, if you don't already have a tried, tested and proven business model AND idea, don't waste your money on PPC. Work on using low-cost methods for customer acquisition first, then use PPC to scale once you have reached a plateau.

And yes, if you don't see any of the major players in your niche using PPC, it's very likely that they aren't allowed to advertise in the first place.
Ok, this makes sense.
Can you elaborate on what you would call low cost methods?
Since the business is based around connecting customers with service providers, the acquisition is almost two fold for what I need to achieve. For service providers, I think cold calling, emailing, trade shows and visiting business premises will be a suitable avenue but for customers, other than organic SEO - I am not entirely sure what other methods to use (obviously Facebook etc, but 'low cost' methods?)
What I need to do is start brushing up on some marketing books.
Update on the PPC - I did find 1 competitor who is using PPC.
 

Andy Black

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itfactor

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You've already mentioned some of the low-cost methods.

Not exactly low cost in the traditional sense, but definitely cheaper than PPC methods.

There's a long list of stuff you can do, but it depends on your business and where your customers are found.

Some of the low-cost methods I can think of (but not sure if they are relevant to your purpose):
1) get yourself published on Amazon to position as an author/expert
2) contributing prizes/prize money for local contest or pageants
3) donating to charities, sponsoring local artists



Books tend to become dated, unless you want to learn the principles.
Ok, this makes sense.
Can you elaborate on what you would call low cost methods?
Since the business is based around connecting customers with service providers, the acquisition is almost two fold for what I need to achieve. For service providers, I think cold calling, emailing, trade shows and visiting business premises will be a suitable avenue but for customers, other than organic SEO - I am not entirely sure what other methods to use (obviously Facebook etc, but 'low cost' methods?)
What I need to do is start brushing up on some marketing books.
Update on the PPC - I did find 1 competitor who is using PPC.
 

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johnp

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In short, if you don't already have a tried, tested and proven business model AND idea, don't waste your money on PPC. Work on using low-cost methods for customer acquisition first, then use PPC to scale once you have reached a plateau.
This is generally good advice and I think I agree with it, yet I did find that PPC helped me acquire my first set of customers before I really proved anything. And it put me in the position to acquire more customers... so with that said, PPC CAN be used to get customers without a proven model/product.

The key thing here is that I lost money upfront doing it because I had to learn a couple of things, buy data, and test. I viewed it as more of an investment.

If I had done events, networking, sponsorship stuff, and the other offline shit then I would have been spinning my wheels for I don't know how long.

So, I think PPC can work early on. It helped me get customers faster than anything else, which is key when in validation mode. BUT you need the right mindset, goals, expectations going into it.

--
Edit: I have experience with media buying so that's also a big factor.
 

puckman

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I'm a former Google sales rep, and I worked with the largest retailers in the world, to manage their AdWords spends across Google. I have been certified in the past(it was required). I am also deeply knowledgeable about YouTube ads, FB ads, IG, Snap and Amazon.

Here is my answer; if the companies in your category are not doing AdWords or PPC, there has to be a reason why. I would try and find that answer. Can you share what the product is? Adwords is the most effective(ROI) marketing there is. If an entire category of advertisers is not using it, there has to be a big reason why. Can you share what the product and advertisers offer?
 
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Roughneck

Roughneck

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You've already mentioned some of the low-cost methods.

Not exactly low cost in the traditional sense, but definitely cheaper than PPC methods.

There's a long list of stuff you can do, but it depends on your business and where your customers are found.

Some of the low-cost methods I can think of (but not sure if they are relevant to your purpose):
1) get yourself published on Amazon to position as an author/expert
2) contributing prizes/prize money for local contest or pageants
3) donating to charities, sponsoring local artists



Books tend to become dated, unless you want to learn the principles.
I believe 2/3 could be appropriate to the business.

I'm a former Google sales rep, and I worked with the largest retailers in the world, to manage their AdWords spends across Google. I have been certified in the past(it was required). I am also deeply knowledgeable about YouTube ads, FB ads, IG, Snap and Amazon.

Here is my answer; if the companies in your category are not doing AdWords or PPC, there has to be a reason why. I would try and find that answer. Can you share what the product is? Adwords is the most effective(ROI) marketing there is. If an entire category of advertisers is not using it, there has to be a big reason why. Can you share what the product and advertisers offer?
It is the transport industry. I have finally had the time to do some more in depth research and as @GoodluckChuck has said, the PPC analysis service I used wasn't very accurate. Probably holding back information because it was a free service I was using. So I went ahead and did a bunch of searching with what I thought would be critical keywords for the segment of industry I am targeting, and I got some results. Interestingly though, only one of the main competitors in this segment consistently showed up to these keywords. The others are non-existent. This could either be that there is an opportunity for business here or it's been tried and tested by these other companies, with a poor ROI.

I think I will have to take the advice and regardless, test the market with PPC once I have the site operational.

Thanks for the help.
 

puckman

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unfortunately, a lot of the free tools are very limited, and I wouldn't base your business decisions on them. I would try to find someone with a login that can help you look, maybe someone from here.

If the product is something a customer would buy from their website or ecommerce, it's likely they are using Adwords and you are not seeing it. Another reason you might not see it is because you are not in their targeting. Set up a new browser on a VPN, with a new Gmail profile created with the target consumers targeting characteristics in the Chrome/Gmail profile. Then run some new searches and see what comes back.
 
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Roughneck

Roughneck

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unfortunately, a lot of the free tools are very limited, and I wouldn't base your business decisions on them. I would try to find someone with a login that can help you look, maybe someone from here.

If the product is something a customer would buy from their website or ecommerce, it's likely they are using Adwords and you are not seeing it. Another reason you might not see it is because you are not in their targeting. Set up a new browser on a VPN, with a new Gmail profile created with the target consumers targeting characteristics in the Chrome/Gmail profile. Then run some new searches and see what comes back.
Didn't even think of that. Will start a new account based on the targeted customer and try that.

I have considered joining up to one of these PPC analysis companies just for a 2-3 month stint to get the initial information I need out of it.
 

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