Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is paid search. You may be familiar with Google Ads. Those are the paid search campaigns that appear on the top of Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). SEM is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.
SEM is not to be confused with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO are the organic search results that derive from many techniques and strategies to increase the number of visitors to your site and to increase your ranking on (SERPs). These descriptions and links appear below the paid search results (and sometimes beside) and are essential in their own right to get your website on Google’s first results page. Read my past blog entry about SEO to learn more.
People go to search engines because they are looking for answers to their needs. SEM allows organizations to target people based on specific interests, locations, buying behaviors, and more. Paid advertisements are often where consumers' needs are met. Here are some of the benefits that SEM can give your business:
1. SEM focuses on conversions
The primary goal of any campaign is to convert your target audience into new or returning customers. SEM is a vital conversion driver for any campaign. Because you can seek out audiences based on multiple attributes, you can target specific audiences to draw them lower into your sales funnel where conversion happens. Brand awareness is important top of the sales activity, but paid advertising gives you a more direct path to a transaction (the lower funnel) while searching for solutions to their need.
2. Even small players can get into the big game
You may not think you can afford the costs associated with paid advertising. Just the opposite. With strong budget management and strategy, even small businesses can more than double their investment. Google has a starting budget of only $5 dollars. That makes the barrier of entry for less intimidating.
3. Local, local, local
Another affordable reason is that you can be hyper-local in your campaigns. Local marketing aims to connect regional businesses with the surrounding community it serves. When someone searches, for example, “restaurants near me” or “pharmacies in Chicago,” you as the local business will appear in SERPs with your business listings and paid ads in Google.
4. Get there first
You may have read in my previous blogs about Search Engine Optimization; organic search is a marathon. It takes long-term strategies to get you to the finish line that is the first page results. However, SEM is a sprint. Your listings are immediately listed based on the parameters of your campaign strategy. Once you launch your ads, you begin seeing clicks virtually instantly, and you can start optimizing those campaigns to meet your strategic goals.
5. Mobile marketing is key
63% of Google’s US organic search traffic originated from mobile devices (Merkle Inc, 2019). Be aware; mobile marketing is different and it appears to be less effective. WRONG! Know the basics. Rely on professionals to help build a strong paid mobile strategy that works. But as always, don’t follow blindly. Do your research, too. This will get you started. Remember, it’s a mobile device. Take advantage of obvious phone features!