SEM for Small Businesses

In our last post The 5 Pillars of Digital Marketing we mentioned SEM or Search Engine Marketing. I know that this term makes many small business owners wince, but hear me out. This is not something that should scare you. In fact, there are many small business owners that have come to love SEM for couple of very good reasons.

First off, it really does work. Since you only pay for someone that clicks on your ad, you are guaranteed that are most likely interested in what you have and depending on the keywords, ready to buy. We will discuss this in more detail in the next part. The second reason is that you control the budget down to the dollar. Only want to spend $100/month? No problem! Of all the digital marketing efforts that you can try, SEM can be the most budget friendly.

Now of course there are no guarantees and it is not quite as simple as I may have made it seem. Here is a list on the things that you need spend some time working on.

  1. Keyword Research - This is by far the most important part on creating your SEM plan. Since you are a small business with a small budget, you can not pay to educate a person. There are some general search terms that someone may use to find your product of service, but just at the early stages. Here is an example: Someone may search for "used cars". They may be trying to decide if they should buy a used car or a new car. You can't afford to pay for people at that stage in their buying journey. You may want to have the search term "used 2008 Honda civic". There is a good chance someone is looking to buy that car, but they may also be looking for parts or a manual. So you see this can be the difficult part. You must try and get into the head of what customers might search for when ready to buy your product or service.
  2. A Compelling Ad - Once you have your target keywords, you must write some text that makes a reader that may be interested in your product/service to click on your ad. For this we recommend that you incorporate the keyword into your ad by using {keyword:default text}. This will place the keywords searched for into your ad making seem incredibly relevant. As an example your ad may say "We have the largest selection of used 2008 Honda civics in the area". If I am searching for that term, I would be compelled to click on your ad. You insert default text in case the search phrase is too long.
  3. Landing Page - The landing page is the page that people land on after clicking on your ad. In most cases, you do not want them to land on your home page or any major pages unless they are specific for that keyword search term. Most companies actually have special pages created just for each of their keyword groups that they are advertising a specific product or services. This is a page that matches the keywords exactly and helps to sell your product or services to the customer that just clicked on your ad.
  4. Analytics - With everything set-up and running above, you will want to make sure that you have analytics set up to monitor the performance of all the traffic that you are getting. The most important factor is whether or not the customer is taking the desired action whether that is making a purchase, downloading a white paper, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a quote request form, etc. You goal is to determine what your actual cost for each desired action really is and then work to improve that.

There are many great blogs and training that you can find online for how to write compelling ads and the step by step instructions on how to set up a Google, Bing, or other SEM ad campaign. If you find yourself stuck and need some personal assistance, feel free to contact us or leave your questions below.

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