Whether you're an established hosting company or just a start up, you are probably either using or considering using PPC search engines to attract new clients.
As far as most advertisers are concerned, there are really only two pay per click search engines that deserve their attention – Google’s AdWords and Overture (owned by Yahoo!). After all, these are the most popular search engines that dominate the industry in terms of traffic, technology, and popularity.
This also means that the competition for a position on these search engines is fierce, which causes bid prices for many keywords to go up, making it too costly for smaller players to get into the game.
Fortunately, another category of PPC search engines, known as 2nd Tier, exists. Don’t let the name fool you – many of these search engines process in excess of billions of searches per month and some are actual public companies or wholly owned subsidiaries thereof, such as FindWhat, ePilot, Marchex (owner of GoClick), and several others.
2nd Tier also includes search engines such as SearchFeed, Enhance, Kanoodle, 7Search, PageSeeker, Search123, and so on. While all of them combined represent less user traffic that Google AdWords alone, you will find that you can actually get very decent positions on a lot of them without spending an arm and a leg.
In general, you will find that if it takes you 20 clicks to get 1 hosting client on Google, it may take you 200 visitors to get 1 sale on a minor search engine. However, since it all comes down to ROI, you might wind up paying the same or even less per sale, as the bids are significantly lower on the 2nd Tier engine where it took 200 clicks to make 1 sale.
There is a lot of controversy going on regarding the actual conversions that 2nd tier search engines bring. A popular rumor is that they work with lower-quality traffic providers. In reality, however, minor search engines actually do work with some pretty great content websites. It just varies from industry to industry. You may find that an advertiser selling flowers may have miserable results on a specific search engine, while another advertiser selling web hosting may get an excellent return on investment.
Of course, it also has a lot to do with your skills as an ad writer. After all, a skillfully crafted title and description can make all the difference between a successful campaign and a dismal failure.
My personal recommendation would be to definitely try as many other search engine ads as you can afford to. With a minimum commitment of just $25-$50 per search engine, you might just find a new, highly cost effective source of traffic that you’d never known about if you haven’t tried this out. Secondly, make sure to utilize the Customer Service these search engines offer. Many of them will assign a specific Account Manager to help you get the most out of the campaign. Talk to them and find out what works and what doesn’t, instead of guessing yourself.
Good luck and don’t hesitate to respond to this post if you have any questions or comments.