SEM is advertising for your customers only.
Famous 20th Century industrialist John Wanamaker made legendary his quote, “I know that at least half of my advertising dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half.”
This was true of most advertising all the way up until digital technology and the Internet started to dominate how we broadcast marketing messages. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is still a relatively new way to advertise although it’s been around since Google and other search engines have commercially operated (no pun intended).
Buying space in print and time on broadcast networks is largely a “spray and pray” method whereby you can begin to narrow down channels that your target audience may be more likely to see/hear your ad. But if you’re like most businesses, only a small fraction of the audience you pay for will have any interest in your offer. Even if your message is in front of an interested prospect, you rely on his or her whims at that moment. An unknown distraction can divert the attention of someone intending to respond to your ad and, poof! The prospect forgets all about you.
Now there’s a way to assure that every dollar you spend buying advertising will be the direct result of physically engaging a person with your message online based on keywords, phrases and questions they are typing into search fields. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has given you control over the type of online shoppers you would attract and exactly how much you will spend to reach and engage each single prospect or customer. Analytics programs such as Google Analytics will track and measure the direct results (clicks and website interaction) of your advertising campaign in real time. John Wanamaker would be impressed! He might say, “Now I know exactly what my advertising dollars are doing. I just wish online shoppers weren’t so fickle!”
Google is the dominant search marketing giant and wants its customers to get results. To that end they’ve put together a nice best practices guide which this article will encapsulate.
We’re curating the basics of SEM success directly from Google:
- Keywords – Effective keyword management helps you reach the right customers and grow your business. Your keywords should reflect all of the different types of user queries that could help someone find you when they’re looking for something you offer. Keyword research and analysis is a fundamental step you must take initially to make sure you reach your target audience searching online for your products & services.
- Negative Keywords – Words or phrases that allow you to filter out who your ads will be served to in the search results page. Upon deciding that a term is irrelevant to your campaign, you can add that term as a negative keyword. Whenever someone searches on Google with that term included, depending on match types, Google will refrain from showing your ad and you won’t waste money paying for an irrelevant click. To help you determine negative keywords for your campaign, here’s a free negative keyword tool.
- Your Ads – One of the most important things to get right in your search ad is “the Creative” – the key message you put into it. Creative relevance drives more qualified clicks. Make your ad relevant and resonant to pull qualified click through engagement.
- Your Advertising Budget – Google AdWords lets you set daily budgets for your campaigns with the flexibility to change them at any time. A key benefit of developing and fine tuning an SEM campaign is your ability to measure, adjust and actually begin to control your response rates within a spending limit. This helps you manage your growth and marketing administration costs.
- Reporting & Analytics – AdWords and Google Analytics together offer insights into the performance of your campaigns and those insights help you become a better marketer. By carefully measuring, analyzing and making adjustments to your keywords and messaging, you will continually improve the ROI performance of your SEM campaign.
There is more science to the practice of Search Engine Marketing than this overview reveals. Within each of the four major components of SEM listed above, there are entire sets of best practices with various tactical options that will help you customize your campaign to generate the best results. For more in depth education, go to PPC University.
If you would like a free evaluation and consultation regarding an SEM program for your business, feel free to contact us at 603-345-7223.