Search Engine Marketing –Is Paid Search for You?
Topic: Marketing | Comments Off on Search Engine Marketing –Is Paid Search for You?
If you offer your products or services online, you’ll want to explore ways to get potential customers to your website. Search Engine Marketing can help.
Why is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) an Effective Form of Marketing?
Classical marketing techniques involve carefully targeting the segments of customers (consumers or businesses) who are most likely to want or need your product or service. The reason is simple: acquiring customers is not only critical to your business; it is costly in time, money, and energy. If you are not effectively targeting in your marketing efforts, you will pay way more to acquire customers than the resulting sales to them would justify.
Advertising on a search engine revolutionizes the effort of marketing because it allows you to advertise to a potential customer in a highly-targeted manner. Think about how cool it would be to only show your ad to someone who has just told you that your product or service is exactly what they are looking for. And, oh by the way, they are looking for it right now. That is targeted advertising!
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing involves buying search terms or key words from a search engine so that when a user searches those terms your advertisement gets displayed.
When developing a SEM strategy, consider these four things:
- Which search terms or keywords will I buy?
- How much will I pay for each?
- What text-based advertisement or creative will I display when someone uses that keyword?
- What landing page on my web site will I send them to?
So, How Do You Get Started?
There are three large search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing (Microsoft). More searchers use Google so it is the largest search engine. If you want to grow your ad operation in a short period of time, you may want to start there. The other two engines, however, tend to be more efficient. If you do choose to start with Google, you can gain access to the Google AdWords advertising program from the Google home page.
Here’s a quick look at the process:
- Set up an account.
- Establish an initial set of keywords to buy.
Think about how potential clients would search for your product or service. Use those as your initial keywords, then use the Google keyword tool to expand your list. You can find that at: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
- Use Google’s ad guidelines to write your text-based ads. You can find them at: http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=23305&topic=24052&subtopic=24053
The ads are text-based, so they are very simple for you to create.
Analyzing and Measuring the Performance of Your Ad Program
Your objective in any ad program is probably to acquire customers at a cost that is less than the revenue you generate by selling your product or service to those acquired customers. Search engine marketing is no different. SEM uses a cost-per-click model. You pay when a user clicks on your ad. The search engine systems enable you to measure your ad performance in great detail. Their systems enable you to measure cost of customer acquisition very effectively. So, your objective is to run a positive return on investment (ROI) advertising program when you consider the cost of customer acquisition and the revenue that the acquired customers generate. Because you are able to measure the performance of each search term you buy, you should also be able to manage each term to ensure you are driving a positive ROI with it.
A Few Words About Optimization
Once your ad campaign(s) are running, you can optimize your ad performance for each keyword by changing the text-based creative, the landing page, and the price you pay. You also determine which search terms to continue buying.
One of the most valuable characteristics of SEM for small businesses is that any business of any size can participate. You can also participate with any sized budget and it’s very flexible. Once you have set-up your account, selected the keywords you want to buy, written the text that will be in your ad, and selected your landing page, you have great flexibility to start or stop and grow or shrink your SEM campaign.