Paid Search Marketing is the way to get your site guaranteed visibility on search engines for specific search phrases that can be selected in a careful and intelligent way. On a Google search, for example, the ads you see at the top, and to the right, of the main search results, are all paid listings through Google AdWords, based on companies and individuals "bidding" a certain price they're willing to pay-per-click - the reason this is sometimes called "pay-per-click" advertising.
A difference, though, between Search Marketing and the blanket term Pay-per-click, is that Search Marketing programs like AdWords always allow the targeting of customers who are very specifically looking for exactly what you offer. This is the advantage of advertising on Google.com. Unlike traditional advertising, which offers and even inundates thousands of viewers who may have no interest at all in the product, and may even respond negatively to the irrelevance of seeing the same misdirected ad, Google AdWords offers your ad as one of many appropriate and helpful solutions to their growing audience of searchers - an audience that now represents over 80% of the internet.
The specificity and ease of AdWords are why I don't hesitate to recommend it to even smaller businesses. There may be, however, cases where my best advice would be to avoid it at this stage of your business, or to keep it very small and manageable, depending on many factors, including your profit margin and existing online competition. The last thing I want is for a small business to take on a useless cost under my direction! You can trust me to state and honest opinion based on how Search Marketing can, or can not, help your company's goals.
On the topic of goals, if ads triggered on Google by searching for certain terms is one half of today's paid online marketing landscape, then Display Ads are the other. Display Ads usually serve a somewhat different business goal - namely, exposing your company, products, or services, in text, images, or videos, on a potentially wide range of related sites with readers interested in your topic. If there were ads on this site, they would be Display Ads - probably, if created correctly, very relevant to the topic this site is about. The ads can be text, image, video, or interactive - which maybe sounds laborious until you consider Google's great Display Ad builder. Using it, we can easily create image or video ads around a proven formula to display your business's message on the perfect sites around the web.
For businesses looking only for local promotion, Paid Search can be even more efficient and rewarding. Contact me and we can discuss what I would recommend for your business.