Every day, there are millions of searches by consumers on the internet for information, products and services. This means that through search engines there is a large pool of potential customers who are looking to buy. The challenge for you is getting these people to your website before they take their business to a competitor.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is surging in popularity over traditional forms of advertising as a means to reach this large pool of potential customers. SEM, also referred to as paid search or search advertising, involves paying for an advert, usually located at the top of search results.
It is a fast and cost effective way of driving traffic to your website and provides a greater level of control as it is very easy to edit ad text, adjust spend and change how long the ad runs until you get the results you want.
SEM also allows for better audience targeting. This is particularly useful for businesses that only service a specific geographic area. Major search engines allow advertisers to select specific locations to display paid search ads. For example, specific countries, states or even a radius distance from your office location can be selected.
SEM can be a simple and quick process, and can be set up in minutes! Use these easy steps as a guide:
1. Be prepared – do your planning and research before you begin. Visit search engines and input the keywords you’re using and considering. Talk to your customers and find out what keywords they currently use.
2. Establish objectives – know what you want out of the campaign and how you will measure your success at reaching these goals. While increasing visitors to your site is beneficial for brand awareness, achieving a lead or a purchase can provide a more tangible return on investment.
4. Register your site for SEM – you will normally be asked to create an account and input your credit card details before you can start building a campaign.
5. Create your paid search campaign – the paid search program allows you to determine settings for your campaignsincluding language, geographic locations, daily budget and how much you are willing to pay per click on your ad.
6. Create your paid search ad – Use your selected keywords in the heading of your ad to increase its perceived relevance to web users and ensure your ad text is punchy and action orientated to encourage people to click on it. Your URL should take people to a web page that is relevant to the ad and this might not always be your homepage. For example, if your ad is promoting a specific offer, it may be wiser to take them to a page with more information about that offer or the product itself.
7. Measure the effectiveness of your campaign against its objectives – For many small businesses, search engine marketing is proving to be an incredibly effective way of increasing sales leads, increasing marketing return on investment and seeing results quickly. As such, it can be a valuable addition to a sales and marketing plan.
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