Let’s take a dive into SEM (search engine marketing), a form of website promotion which increases website visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through paid advertising.
The Skinny On SEMs
Search engines dominate the way people find products or services. Or the way products and services find them. Before internet search engines like Google, advertisers relied on word of mouth, radio ads, print ads in magazines and newspapers, TV ads, or even the backs of cereal boxes. Those analogue media days are over. Ok, maybe not TV ads but even that is changing with subscription services like Netflix.
It’s telling that more than a third of product searches start on Google, and the average search lasts no more than a minute. So, you need SEM to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s the most powerful medium to influence your audience’s uptake of your goods and services, through sponsored advertising.
A SEM campaign makes or breaks the success of a company. It’s a seamless and non-intrusive form of advertising used by SMEs and corporations to present themselves and their offerings at the same time that potential consumers are actively looking for those goods or services.
Because you can target and measure SEM campaigns, it makes good financial sense to have one. And because you only pay each time someone clicks your ad, it’s economical too. Any company or individual who provides something someone else is going to want to have stands to benefit from SEM.
You might get confused by newfangled but similar sounding online marketing words, like SEM and SEO. But that easy to clear up. SEM refers to the practice of paying for ads on search engines. Search engine optimisation (SEO) means boosting website traffic from search engines in an organic way.
Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, we can talk about the many advantages you get with SEM for your business.
How To Leverage SEM’s Monetising Opportunities
SEMs are driven by intent. Instead of that old and obvious ad trick of trying to “con”vince someone they “need” this or that, you encounter potential customers at the same time they are looking for a solution to a need or something they already want.
This kind of marketing is called low-funnel because you’re driving purchase among shoppers who show potential to buy. You’re nudging them closer towards buying your product or service – not ramming them with it head-on.
Starting your own business? In a me-too product and service saturated world, targeted SEM helps you to stand out from your competitors. Visible and fast, SEM elevates you from the crowd by leveraging what’s already out there and putting your unique take on it.
SEM lets you see the number of people clicking on your ads versus your actual buyers, so you can make instant adjustments depending on what’s working. If your aim is to drum up more website sales by making blog content that targets key market segments, say, or installing a live chatbox, SEM shows you which mechanism is working the best, so you can allocate you time, money and energy in that direction.
Your campaign can be micro-targeted to your visitors by their location, device, clock and time of year – granulated data which drives your SEM return on keyword ad spend, without having to bank on cookies or increasing ad spend.
The Economics Of SEM
Components Of An SEM Ad
The sum of the parts makes up the whole. We dive deeper below:
- The headline goes at the top, is usually hyperlinked and has a maximum of 35 characters.
- A description (90 characters max) goes underneath the headline.
- Extensions are optional but present a number of potential actions a visitor may take on an ad, such as being shown a number of links by clicking on a single ad.
- This brings us to the all-important landing page, your website’s square one, where you send customers to when they click on your ad.
But how exactly do you make a paid ad for a search engine – a SEM? Easy peasy, here’s how:
- So search ads focus on the keywords that potential conversions (customers) are looking for. You need to research the keywords or phrases people use when they’re seeking out your product/service. Striking the balance between high-volume and low-competition keywords is crucial – so is weighing up demand (volume) versus budget (competition).
- We’re talking about keyword intent Ask yourself the question: what queries do you want your ad to show up for?
- When you’ve chosen the keywords you want to rank for, you need to look at the expense. The general rule of thumb is that the more competitive the keyword, the more it’ll cost. Once you’re ready to put your ad in a search engine, it’s time to enter an ad auction. All the Google ads you will ever see get run through an ad auction before showing up in SERPs.
- But we can’t forget quality score, ad rank and click-through rate. The quality score of your ad is about the relevance and usefulness your ad is to the keywords you’re using. Your quality score is ranked on a 1 to 10 scale. The more relevant the ad, the higher the quality score and the lower the
Our Pick Of SEM Tools
You want your ads to show up on Google, right? This is the way to do it, and this tool researches the most effective keywords for your organisation, keeping track of how searches for specific keywords vary over a period of time.
It even gives you options of bid amounts for the keywords you want for your budget. Critically, when you’re optimised to execute your ad campaign, you can do it all in the keyword planner.
Free to use, Google Trends tracks search volume for a specific term on Google over time, region and language. It finds trending search terms and queries based on your keywords, giving you inspiration for your advert. Trends helps you customise your ad for a specific country, maximising regional business potential.