Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing, or SEM, is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With millions of businesses out there all vying for the same eyeballs, it’s never been more important to advertise online, and search engine marketing is the most effective way to promote your products and grow your business.
Whichever way people decide to perform a search, they can be targeted through Search Engine Marketing. Businesses now have the opportunity to target people directly based on what they search, putting their name and brand right in front of them, generating awareness and more importantly traffic to their website. If well targeted, this traffic is also most likely to convert.
The number one reason that any marketing agency should be pitching SEM to their clients is more money! Marketing’s raison d’etre, the reason businesses be in business, is to show me the money! Of course, anyone who has ever run an SEM campaign in AdWords knows that while this is possible, you have to know what you’re doing to achieve these results. At the end of the day, SEM offers brands and agencies the potential to make more money from their marketing campaigns.
SEM is Conversion-Focused:
SEM is an important conversion driver for marketing campaigns of any type. The reason is because paid ads are commonly linked to conversion-focused landing pages or sales pages that move web traffic through the sales funnel. Organic results aren’t typically linked to landing pages, but paid ads are. With this in mind, SEO can support brand awareness and top of funnel activity, while paid ads can really focus on a specific goal and end of funnel conversions.
SEM Can Increase Brand Awareness:
While SEM is often considered a bottom-funnel marketing channel, it can also support brand awareness. According to Google, search ads can increase brand awareness by 80%. Even if ads don’t receive clicks, brand names are still clearly visible on the top of the fold, and searchers may still read or recognize the product, brand name or URL when they see the ad. Searchers might also take notice when ads include keywords and search terms for competitor brands, as the brain tends to compare things that are listed side by side.
It’s Accessible Even to Small Accounts:
One of the biggest hesitations with paid search advertising is cost. Brands and agency clients often think that the costs of SEM will outweigh the benefits; however, as we pointed out from Google’s data in reason #1, if managed correctly you should double your investment in AdWords. So the potential for ROI is there no matter what. The success that you will get for your budget is a different story though. Today SEM is available to even small accounts, which is great news for agencies serving SMBs and multi-location franchises that need to spread their budget among many location-based campaigns.
SEM is Great for Local Marketing:
SEM is an important tool for driving website visits and getting more conversions on almost any budget – it’s even more important if you’re a local marketer though! Local marketing aims to connect regional businesses with the surrounding community that it services. In other words, when people search online for local business services, like “dry cleaner near me” or “food delivery in Montreal,” it’s local marketers who make those queries connect with business listings and ads in search engines.
It Generates Immediate Results:
SEO and other forms of online marketing tend to be “long game” strategies that generate web traffic over a long period of time (6+ months), whereas SEM has the potential to deliver immediate results. Ads typically take minutes to create, and though there is an approval process that all ads must go through before they appear in the SERPs, the average time between creation and ad launch is around one business day. After that you can sit back and watch the clicks roll in! Well that’s not entirely true… ongoing account maintenance and optimization is simply part of running SEM campaigns. The point though is that from the minute your ads are launched, which doesn’t take long, the potential to start getting more clicks and even sales is alive. For this reason alone, SEM is one of the fastest-to-launch traffic strategies out there. Just keep in mind that campaigns should still be optimized for long-term results.
It’s a Consistent Traffic Source:
Every business wants consistent web traffic to maintain visibility and sales, but also to be able to plan, forecast and budget. Unfortunately, spikes and drops in traffic are often prevalent and at times unexplained. To mitigate some of the chaos, search ads can be used to generate consistent traffic for certain keywords and help you control the amount of traffic coming to your site at any time. One Google study found that “incremental ad clicks make up 89% of traffic generated by search ads but aren’t replaced by organic clicks when ads aren’t running.” In other words, search ads will generate traffic to your site, even when SEO and other marketing tactics fluctuate.
It’s the Quickest Way to Be First:
Ads appear first in search engine results. Having a paid search ad gives you a good chance of being at the top of the SERPs (in the ad section of course) if your keyword bid is high enough and your quality score is good. However, there is one rule to getting clicks in search engines and that’s being on or near the first page. Clicks tend to drop off after that and search engine marketing becomes less effective the deeper you are in the results pages. The image below shows CTR declines for every position, and dramatically after the first page to almost zero.
It’s Great for Mobile Marketing:
With a growing share of the mobile market engaging in search, SEM provides a perfect opportunity for sites to capitalize on mobile marketing while still gaining traffic across multiple platforms. After all, most consumers turn to search engines when they’re researching with mobile devices.