93% of all B2B sales start with a web search, and this has led millions of companies to engage in search engine marketing (SEM) activities. Companies invest fortunes in search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising so that links to their website pages are ranked as highly as possible in search engines such as Google and Bing.

Statistics provided by Chitika show that the top three ‘organic’ positions in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) tend to equate for over 60% of all click-throughs.

But what is less commonly known, is that search engines may not be used as much as we might hope to source previously unheard of suppliers.

A recent survey of executives, managers and engineers in the manufacturing industry by Gardner Business Media, highlighted the importance of company and brand awareness to driving click-through rates (CTRs), no matter where the pages featured in the Google rankings.

In response to the question “which search results do you select?” 86% responded with “companies that I recognise”. In contrast, only 42% answered with “companies that I don’t recognise”.

This simple question highlights the importance of public relations, advertising and other activities that raise brand awareness in making investments in SEO, PPC and the like effective.

While web-based marketing activities are generally easier to ascribe an ROI figure to, it is of course incredibly difficult to remove the effects of other activities that may not directly lead people to a website.

What this once again highlights is the need for a fully integrated marketing programme that raises awareness, nurtures brand loyalty, and educates leads into prospects.

If you’d like to learn more, please download our essential guide to internet marketing.

Essential guide to internet makreting