“Now SEM is seen as the Holy Grail of digital marketing”
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing used to be a term that covered a multitude of digital marketing proficiencies. It was often generalized as part of SEO and was not a huge focus of most marketers until more recently. Now it is seen as the Holy Grail of digital marketing and it incorporates both the data side of SEO and the content marketing that brings all of your marketing efforts together. Generally speaking, it is seen as the paid advertising for search engine channels like Google Ads or Bing Ads. When you type in a keyword into a search engine, some of the first results will have the marker that lets you know it is an ad, the beauty is it that it simply looks like a search result! What can this do to benefit your business?
1. Focused on Conversion
The main purpose of SEM is conversion, which is what makes it such a useful tool. It is not spending dollars on loyalty or customer retention the way that social media ad dollars might. The money that you are putting into your search engine marketing campaign is directly focused on driving leads to your website for the purpose of conversion.
Of course, there are other ways that your business also focuses on conversion. The difference with this is that it is solely focused on it and nothing else. That means that the conversion rate will likely be higher because it is not a tool that is being asked to do much more than get your business in front of people who will likely buy!
2. Improves Brand Awareness
As laid out earlier, the purpose of search engine marketing is to pull up your business in a way that looks like a search result. The vast majority of users click on one of the first five search results that they see when they type in the keywords that they need. That means that they are paying attention to your brand when you utilize SEM for your website.
Even when a user does not click on your page, the fact that they are getting your brand name in front of them is still a useful result in your marketing efforts. It is worth the money if you are improving how recognizable your business is to the public.
3. Easily Accessible for Local Marketing
Big companies like Coca-Cola or Nike are flooding tools like SEM with huge budgets that block small businesses from competing against them on a national level. Not to say that it is impossible with a holistic approach to your digital marketing plan, but it is a big obstacle to overcome. This is why SEM is so effective for local businesses!
Even if your business stretches across multiple markets, you can leverage your search engine marketing strategy to target local markets across the country. It is how SEM can help a small business break through the noise online and compete for that online traffic just as much as bigger companies without feeling like they are being drowned out.
4. Works Quickly and Consistently for Traffic Sources
There are many parts of digital marketing, but most of them require ongoing attention. Content marketing requires consistent production and distribution. SEO requires constant attention to how your website is performing in comparison to others. Social media will not be effective without consistent content and engagement.
Search engine marketing has a much more immediate payoff for the dollars that you are putting in. You can immediately see the impact of your strategy and make adjustments accordingly. The other benefit to the way that SEM works is its consistency. Web traffic goes up and down all of the time based on the attention that you are giving all aspects of your marketing strategy. However, SEM will give you a very consistent result if you set it up well in the beginning.
5. More Qualified Leads
Part of breaking through the noise of the internet is generating traffic, but the bigger issue is generating traffic that is qualified and likely to convert. With search engine marketing, your business has a much better chance of converting its traffic because of the way that you are allowed to set them up.
You can build SEM segmentation to target specific demographics and don’t have to use a blanket strategy for all of the traffic that you are trying to attract. That specificity for your audiences in itself makes for more qualified leads, because you are marketing in a more narrow and targeted way.
6. Better Data on Competitors
One of the great challenges with how much noise exists on the internet is trying to understand how the competitors to your business are faring in comparison. Getting data on competitor ad strategies can help you shape your marketing plan immensely. With search engine marketing, you can simply type in similar keywords to what your target market is looking for and compare your ad with the language of the competitors that are running similar ads.
There are also easily accessible tools out there that will help you look through competitive analysis of keywords. Some of the tools are either cheap or free, but they will give you great insight into what you need to improve upon with your SEM strategy in order to maintain or gain an edge over competitors to your business.
Search engine marketing may sound intimidating to those who do not have as much hands-on experience with digital marketing, but it is not as scary as it may sound. There are so many programs online that can help you set up a very strategic and highly targeted SEM plan that will grow your business moving forward. Don’t be afraid to jump in head first and test the waters, and you will see the incredible difference that it can make for any entrepreneur. The internet is the friend of fast growing business, but only when it is used in the right way and pushed to its full potential. SEM is the best place for any business to start investing their dollars in order to reach their goals and achieve even more!