The Key to Success: Why Search Engine Marketing Is So Important

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    It’s that topic you keep hearing about… search engine marketing.

    You must have some desire to use search strategies given you’re reading this post.

    Until now, you may have read a few articles but brushed it off as something “you’ll get around to”.

    Let’s finally get you started with SEM.

    In this post, you’ll get confirmation of SEM benefits to justify budgeting for it.

    You’ll learn how SEM stacks against other online marketing strategies.

    Then, you’ll get advice on how to get started with SEM strategies.

    Ready to make your business more money by using the web? Let’s get started.

    What Is Search Engine Marketing?

    Most refer to search engine marketing involving two primary activities:

    SEM is a rather loose term depending on who you consult. For some, SEM is reserved for paid tactics. For others, SEM may include blogging, link building, and everything between.

    Search engine marketing may also include:

    The goal, however you define the term, is to improve a site’s visibility online. You’ll tap each sub-tactic along the way, but let’s focus on the paid side as we move forward. 

    The Amazing Benefits of Search Marketing

    Since the goal of SEM is visibility, the topic of SEO is entwined with the term.

    To understand the benefits of SEM, one must compare the differences with SEO.

    Comparing SEO vs SEM to Dictate Your Direction

    Search engine optimization typically includes doing the following:

    • Keyword research
    • On-page optimization
    • Link building & outreach
    • Campaign & user improvements

    An SEO campaign may take months before it shows a positive ROI. Why? Because it takes time before Google recognizes optimization and outreach.

    Now compare SEO to SEM.

    Search engine marketing:

    • Leverages paid media & ads
    • Delivers results upon campaign approval
    • Offers real-time optimization

    Google Ads is the top choice as this delivers ads to the majority share of search engine users. Ads on targeted sites prove an equally viable option if Google’s PPC platform isn’t one’s privy.

    In short, SEM offers instant results whereas SEO is a lengthy process.

    Why SEM Is the Best Option for Your Business

    Let’s dive into the deeper SEM benefits now that we’ve distinguished it from SEO. Here are the benefits if you so choose to budget for paid campaigns:

    Brand Awareness

    There are some 1.5 billion websites vying for web users’ attention. A paid campaign through Google Ads cuts through the noise. The ad placements let your brand appear in relevant search terms and queries.

    Example: displaying ads on competitor terms, giving users an alternative.

    Targeted Campaigns

    Selective keyword use and negative modifiers qualify ad traffic. The result is targeted ad campaigns delivered to those most likely to respond. The campaign settings strike when it’s hot through timing and clever copy.

    Example: displaying promo ads when locals search for a town event in progress.

    Real-Time Results

    Ads display after approval by the platform. Within moments, given you’re targeting a hot term, you’ll see impressions and clicks. The real-time results let you adapt campaigns in an instant vs waiting months later for a report.

    Example: readjusting a discount depending on its initial conversion rate.

    Quick Entry

    Paid ads let businesses jump on trends while they’re hot. The quick response could improve awareness and sales as interest grows for the topic. The response also lets businesses bail before investing resources in a dud project.

    Example: quickly list products during peak adoption lifecycle before the market becomes swamped.

    Data Collection

    You collect vast data from campaigns and tools that would otherwise take ages. You can then use this data to make smart business decisions. The data verifies your convictions while providing a peek into competitor performance.

    Example: test targeted keywords and response later used in product development.

    Optimize Conversions

    The combination of targeted campaigns directed to sculpted landing pages improves conversion rates. The lead generation funnel starts with targeted prospects vs unfiltered web traffic. The refined funnel lets you create 1-for-1 campaigns for an intended campaign metric.

    Example: running a campaign to measure clickthrough rates later used in broader campaigns.

    Cost Effective

    You know the ROI of SEM campaigns because every action gets measured. And, because every action gets managed, you control the budget. An SEM campaign is only costly if you let it run unmitigated or without oversight.

    Example: Your $100 budget delivers $100 in ad traffic. Compare this to spending hours on SEO without anything to show.

    How to (Finally) Start with Search Marketing

    By now, you’ve learned the following:

    • SEM delivers rapid results through paid ad campaigns
    • Campaign budgets are controllable and built to scale

    These should excite you as the opportunity is near limitless. Need one more kicker to start? A business can expect $2 for every $1 spent on Google Ads.

    You’ve put off search marketing for far too long. Here’s what you can do to explore search engine marketing, today.

    Step 1: DIY or Services

    Explore SEM two ways:

    • DIY — Use Google’s free Ads course combined with trial & error
    • Services — Tap paid ads management on a retainer

    Both need a financial investment, but the decision is whether you have time to learn SEM basics. Go with services if you prefer a hands-off approach so you can focus on the day-to-day operations.

    Step 2: Create a Goal

    Create a goal for your campaign regardless of how you approach SEM:

    • Who will you target?
    • What are you selling?
    • Where do visitors go?

    The goal sets which metrics you’ll track and report. Don’t skip this. Otherwise, your SEM campaigns could become costly as they go out of control.

    Step 3: Prepare the Campaign

    Develop the main ad items:

    • Keyword selection
    • Ad copy & creative
    • Landing pages
    • Promotions

    Start by designing and refining a landing page optimized for conversion. Then, replicate its best features and bullet points in the ad copy. Finally, select your targeted audience through keyword research in the Ads tool/platform.

    Step 4: Fund, Track, and Refine

    Give the campaign approval and double down on the following:

    • Funding — Adapt the campaign’s budget if it’s showing a positive ROI
    • Tracking — Connect analytics to understand the ad reception
    • Refining — Use feedback and data to adjust targeting and promotions

    Scale the SEM campaigns be reinvesting profits into the campaign budget. Repeat this process with each successful campaign, building on the last. Before long, you’ll have several ad campaigns.

    The Next Step in Growing Your Business Online

    Search engine marketing is an effort that shows its true value as time goes on. The basic strategies, which you learned in this post, will jump-start your foray with SEM. The next step is investing in and adding advance strategies for exponential growth.

    Where do you start with the advanced SEM strategies?

    Put your business on the map and explore our all-encompassing business packages. Our experienced team can and will show you the power of online marketing. All you need to do is reach out. Let’s talk.

    About The Author:

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey is the CEO of Direction, a digital marketing agency reflecting the culmination of a 15+ year obsession with digital marketing. It all started with an eBay business at 9 years old, then transitioning from domain investing and website building. After a 6-year US Army career leading intelligence collection teams both in the US and overseas, Chris now brings a sophisticated approach from cryptologic language and adversary data intelligence to digital marketing intelligence. His precision and planning of military campaigns, now reflected in digital marketing campaigns, have proven successful for clients in industries ranging from law firms to technology startups.