Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for your business

Use search to build your digital marketing

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The way we do business now, has dramatically changed. If we compare it to how we operated just ten years ago, today we have more and better options. One of the main reasons for that change can be attributed to the advancement of technology and its application to marketing. In the past, mass media was the main tactic used by most companies. However, mass media doesn’t provide the targeting capabilities that modern marketing offers, it triggers a lot of wasted impressions and it is expensive.

Today, the number of marketing options available to small and large business are plentiful. We still have traditional media, that depending on your objectives and budget may still be a viable choice. However, there are several digital marketing approaches that with a small budget can provide you with outstanding results. Those options include search, social, video, digital audio, and programmatic among others.

In this article, we will focus on search. Search Engine Marketing or SEM is the process by which a company buys traffic through paid search listings. Search Engine Marketing used to be the umbrella term that included Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and SEM. The search buy can be placed on key search engines that included Google, Yahoo and Bing. All search engines provide you with targeting options: behavioral, contextual, domaining, general, mobile, pay per call, video, etc. Once you select targeting options, you need to select the actions that will determine when the ad has been delivered and by default, when would you pay: impressions, clicks, calls, leads, video view, etc.

Each search engine offers a self-service dashboard on which you can place the buy, set the targeting, allocate the budget and term for your campaign. In addition, they offer training articles and videos for those not familiar with the process. However, there are tools provided by third parties and agencies, that will optimize the buy using a combination of technology and human intervention. These tools deliver improved results, from impressions to clicks to reduce costs.

If you have small marketing budgets and/or have a dedicated team member to manage your search buys, we recommend keeping it in-house. But if your budgets are above two thousand dollars per month, we recommend you consider working with an outside agency. They have the resources to optimize the entire campaign and provide you with better results that translate into increased leads, sales and profits for your company.

Based on the way consumers move along the sales funnel, we recommend including search as the base from which you build. According to Google, customers use search to first find the product, then to compare stores and once purchased, for shipping options.

Keep in mind that you need to commit to marketing and make it an integral part of running your business. As we mentioned above, there are several digital tactics that can be used in the most optimal combination. One of the benefits of digital marketing is its ability to provide measurable results and quick implementation. If not sure where to start, pick two tactics and run a test for 90 days. At the end of the term look at the results and determine what tactic was the most effective, continue with it and substitute the low performing tactic with a new option. Repeat.

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