What is Search Engine Marketing?
Over the last 10 years, search engine marketing (SEM) has quickly become one of the best marketing channels for small businesses to generate brand awareness, quality website traffic, and even a source of new sales leads. SEM, also referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, provides advertisers the ability to increase visibility for their brand, product, and services at minimal cost by producing a better return on investment.
It does this by only creating costs for the business when someone actually engages (clicks or interacts) with the ad.
While Google Ads is the most widely known platform, and currently the platform of choice at CrowdSouth, there are hundreds of other PPC networks that businesses can leverage including Bing, Yahoo, and lesser-known Bidvertiser, RevContent, and AdRoll. If you are considering dipping your toes into SEM, be sure to do your research and determine which platform best fits your business needs.
Incorporating SEM in your overall marketing plan will allow your business to take advantage of the expansive online reach when customers are actively searching. Search engine ads can uniquely target people searching for specific keywords and phrases when they are researching products or service providers. SEM provides the opportunity for the ads to appear alongside results for search queries, directing them to your website or even providing them the ability to call your business directly.
1. Increased Brand Awareness
PPC advertising gives you the ability to show your ads only to those interested in your brand, products or services.
2. Targeted, Qualified Leads
SEM offers you the flexibility to target your ads through specific keywords, your ideal audience, and relevant website pages. This means your ads won’t be shown to just anyone, but instead, they’ll be placed in front of people who are actively considering your business, the type of product or service you provide, or even simply those who live near your business.
3. Controlled Scalability
Small business operators often struggle with the traditional “all or nothing” aspect of advertising. Minimum budgets, costly startup fees, and long-term contracts create barriers for small businesses which results in poor results or no advertising at all. SEM puts the power back in the hands of small business owners by providing a scalable solution with the control to dial up or down their spending based on results.
4. Competitive Intelligence
Along with the aforementioned benefits, SEM creates marketing and business data that is not generated by other forms of traditional or even digital advertising. Unique data points such as user interests, conversion metrics, and even competitor insights can be used to inform adjustments to not just your marketing and advertising strategy, but to your business as a whole.
5. Low Cost Of Entry
As we mentioned earlier, as an advertiser, you don’t pay for the impressions generated by your ads, only the clicks or interactions with your ads. This unique facet of PPC gives small business owners the benefit of campaigning for their business with a low barrier to entry. There is no minimum amount you have to spend to run search ads.
So why should any business consider search engine marketing? In addition to the five reasons mentioned above, it allows you to make data-driven decisions and offers immediate results.
If you own a business that is interested in getting the most out of your budget, I urge you to consider working with a marketing company with expertise in search engine marketing and start on your path to generating quality website traffic and grow your business!
By Charlene Brock
Charlene Brock is our resident Search Marketing expert! Currently based in Louisville, we still manage to distract from her job at least once or twice a day. We just love having her on the team!