What is SEM, PPC or Paid Search Marketing?
Before we begin discussing the process of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), let’s first define it. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.
Why use SEM?
Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you may see benefits of PPC Ads with good planning and monitoring. Here are some of those benefits:
1. Immediate high visibility and rankings in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing
2. Immediate relevant traffic to your website from your targeted demographic
3. You only pay if the person doing the search clicks
4. Great for seasonal products/services and special sales and promotions
5. Capable of Geo-targeting (which is great for tourist attractions and the hospitality industry)
6. You can set your own budget each month
How to start a campaign?
1. First determine the end-result you are trying to achieve. Do you want more clicks to your website? Do you want more sales on your e-commerce sale? More signups on your email list? More leads for you to make contact? Once you establish your goal, then planning is easier.
2. Next determine your budget. How much can you reasonably spend on a monthly basis? Make sure your put enough aside to make an impact so you have a measurable ROI, but not so much that you put your monthly budget at risk.
3. Determine the best keywords for your goals. What keywords are your target audience using to find your product or service? Make sure to localize your PPC campaign with long-tail keywords, if you are appealing to a local market. For more on how and where to do your keywords research, read my blog: Opening Doors to your Website with Keywords
4. Determine your bid for your keywords. Each keyword has a CPC (cost-per-click) bid amount, which is the maximum amount your willing to pay each time a user clicks on your ad. Think of it as an auction. Google explains in this way:
“An auction is run every time a customer searches, which determines which ads show for this search and in what order. The AdWords system evaluates your keyword for each auction and calculates its Quality Score. The Quality Score is based on the recent performance of the keyword and your ad, how relevant the two are to the search term, and other factors. The higher the score, the lower the bid requirement.”
5. Group your keywords based on categories into separate ad groups. If you add all your keywords into one group, for example someone searching for cocktail dresses may also see your ad about tuxedos. To reach more relevant customers, group them separately based on your products or services into specific ads to attract various selections of your target audience. So you’d want one ad with specific keywords for your cocktail dress ad, and another ad with keywords for your tuxedo ad.
6. Write an engaging ad. The headlines should grab their attention without being too clichè or sales pitchy. And the ad copy should motivate the user to your end-goal, whether its geared towards selling, or getting more information. Test out ad content and refine them as you go, it will take time, patience and market research to engage your target audience in just a few short words. (You get 25 characters for the Heading, and 35 characters each for line two and three of your ad copy).
7. Create a Landing Page on your website for those who click on your ad. Make landing pages specific to each of your ads can result in higher conversion rates and a lower cost-per-click. The landing page provides a place to cater to those who click on your ad with specific content and images that match the purpose of the ad. The infographic below illustrates and tells the full story.
8. Monitor and Optimize your ad consistently. Each week or a few times per month, monitor the conversion and click-through rate of your ad, and make adjustments if you’re not seeing adequate ROI. Some PPC advertisers estimate that it takes 6-10 hours per month to monitor and adjust your ads, your bids, your budget and your selected keywords for a successful campaign.
9. Hire a consultant or a PPC Management team. If you have done your research, followed all the steps and put your ad up with no results, or if you are overall just flustered by the SEM process; then it might be time to get professional help. Just be careful because there are alot of unscrupulous companies out there charging $1000’s per month, making sensational claims and providing little results. You don’t want to learn the hard way, so instead get recommendations from colleagues, friends or local business resources. Contact Startup Production to learn more about our trusted and experienced PPC Marketing consultant.
“Turn your advertising expenses into a profitable avenue; Eliminate your fruitless SEM budget and start seeing real conversion rates for your money! Our clients receive on average a 600% to 1,000% return on investment using SEO.” – Christian Braun of Dreamwalker Social Marketing