With the line between physical and online businesses constantly growing less apparent, it is the very rare one that can say they have no online presence. This is simply the way that the world is moving. For every business, big or small, the internet is the place to be.
Yet, being a business online naturally means something else. Even those just looking at dipping their toes into what the internet holds still will have to face digital marketing at some point. Navigating the in’s and out’s of all that the internet provides for your marketing can, at first, leave one quite lost and confused. There’s social media, digital display ads, and so much more.
Where does one even begin? Well, here’s one good option for getting started: search engine marketing.
The term “search engine marketing,” or the acronym SEM, can encompass a broad range of different activities, all of which mainly focus around improving a website’s visibility on search engines. SEM has quite a bit of overlap with what is considered to be SEO strategy. While search engine optimization can be a mere component of the SEM plan, SEO and SEM can also be distinguished from each other.
When not looking to focus on SEO when taking a look under the wider SEM umbrella, many narrow things down to the paid SEM tactics. This primarily means pay-per-click advertising campaigns. These PPC ads typically take the very top search engine listing spots, blending in with all the other results in every way besides the “sponsored” tag. While the full range of search engine marketing is so much more, these PPC campaigns are a huge part of it all on their own.
Knowing all this, there may still be a lot about SEM that you’re not quite sure you understand. SEM does often go misunderstood by business that truly just want to make it work for them. Not to worry though because we’re here to clear up some of those common SEM misunderstandings for you now.
The Costs and the Value
Many businesses don’t quite understand what it is they’re getting into with SEM when it comes to costs. They don’t know what ads are worth, what they should be spending, or what they will end up spending. And without a realistic budget set, any business can end up spending way too much.
Before getting started with any sort of SEM, the importance of plenty of research must be noted. Part of that research has to be on what it costs for your business and what you specifically want to do. The different keywords that you can target all have varying cost-per-click, which must be taken into consideration. The value of an SEM campaign for your business critically depends on these keyword CPC’s. For some, it just might not be financially viable. Yet for a great many businesses, SEM is still an incredible, cost-effective marketing strategy, as long as it’s got a good, well thought-out budget behind it.
The Targeting Capabilities and Their Importance
One element of an SEM strategy that is pretty important is targeting. Most people that do any marketing, online or offline, know that having a target audience and implementing methods to specifically reach them is a must. It is no different with SEM, which actually has much more targeting capabilities than many may realize.
Part of what is so great about SEM is the ability that it brings along with it to put that marketing spend only into attracting the ones that matter most. With certain functions when setting up your SEM campaign, you can filter the target audience for these marketing endeavors by age and other demographic markers, the interest shown by a user’s browsing history, and so much more. If you make sure to take full advantage of SEM targeting capabilities, your campaign will be able to provide your business so much more.
Getting an SEM Campaign Right
Yet, there is so much more besides a targeting strategy that must go into SEM before you can declare what you’ve got a complete success. An SEM campaign won’t simply put itself together. It takes the right careful approach from the marketer in charge and a smart strategy to see it through to the end and the successful results that await.
As was mentioned previously, research is that crucial element that is needed to get you started. If you aren’t backing up all your SEM choices with research, you’re doing it wrong. Research who your target audience is. Research what reasons they might have for making an online search that could lead them to you. Research what that search, related to your business is some way, might be, what individual keywords are being used that you can pinpoint to be utilized for your SEM campaign.
Keywords are just as important to SEM’s paid ads as they are for the organic results generated with SEO. You need to choose the right ones, and then you need to ensure you’ll be showing up the right way to those that get your ad on their search results. Write it well and earn the business.
Seeing the Results
Finally, some businesses don’t always find it easy to understand the results of their SEM endeavors. Sure, digital ad campaigns provide much more information than more traditional, offline advertising does. Still, interpreting the information that you get back from your SEM campaigns may not be anything like a walk in the park. It can be made all the more difficult as well if you don’t know what results to be looking for because you never set clear goals to begin with.
To be able to find positive results at the end of the road, you have to actually have goals that you’re hoping to see results in first. Start with this, with determining where it is that you want to see progress, what results there are that you want to see. This should make it a lot easier to track the improvement that your SEM brings you. And if you’ve understood well enough to take care of all the other steps in the process correctly, you should definitely see some progress from your marketing efforts.
Understanding Search Engine Marketing Better
The various complexities of SEM do not just come naturally to everyone. A business needs to take its time to learn about search engine marketing. With a full, proper understanding of this form of marketing, you will be able to do so much more for your business.
SEM: Too Important to Not Understand
Really, with all that it has in store for you, SEM is too important to neglect developing an understanding of it. Just about everyone, including all of your potential customers, is online. If you want to reach them, you have to be online too and, even better, be practicing search engine marketing. It’s effective for almost every business, as long as you understand it.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.