With times becoming increasingly difficult, brands and businesses are looking for more efficient ways to spend their marketing dollars. While mass media still gets a large chunk of the advertising budgets, online advertising has grown significantly in the last 5 years, to the point that online ad spending is to overtake TV budgets this year (2013) in Australia.
Online advertising is a general term since it takes many forms, from display to social, from eDM to search. In this article, we will focus on search engine marketing (SEM) and why it has become so crucial for businesses – whether large or small – to consider investing in this particular field.
1. Direct Response Marketing
The term direct response marketing usually refers to more traditional sales channels such as infomercials or mail order where the ad incites the audience to perform an action.
The objectives of Search Engine Marketing can be quite varied, from traffic generation to lead generation. Whatever it is, it requires people to take action.
When people are looking for a product or service, the majority of them use search engines. It’s a fact no one can deny. And it now happens not only on the computer, but also on mobile phones and tablets. Whichever way people decide to perform a search, they can be targeted through Search Engine Marketing. Businesses now have the opportunity to target people directly based on what they search, putting their name and brand right in front of them, generating awareness and more importantly traffic to their website. If well targeted, this traffic is also most likely to convert.
2. Search Intent
You have the opportunity through Search Engine Marketing to target people based on their search intent. What people search for can often give you a precise indication of how close they are to completing your goal. Understanding how people search is important so you can adjust your adcopy messaging, calls to action and landing pages accordingly.
If you want to read more about search intent and how it differs based on where searchers are in your online acquisition funnel, read this blog post.
3. Online visibility
The internet can be a clustered place, and anyone doing business online knows how crucial it is for people to be able to find your website. This is where Search Engine Marketing (both Paid Search and Search Engine Optimisation) is very important. Traffic is good, quality traffic is better! Through SEM, we work on ensuring your website is visible on search engines for a very specific set of keywords that are meaningful to your business.
If you are renting party costumes and someone searches for ‘party costume rentals’, you know this is a qualified click. The only thing stopping you from receiving the sale is the ability for you to be visible when that person performs the search.
Make sure your ads stand out for the right searches.
The reality is that if you don’t show for a qualified search, most likely one of your competitors is, and will turn that click into a client of their own. Don’t miss out.
4. Precise targeting
The latest stats mention over 30 billion searches performed on Google globally. Every. Single. Month.
99.9999% of these global searches probably won’t apply to you, which means you need to be precise with your targeting settings.
Of course, the keyword targeting is crucial, because you only want to go after people interested in what you have to offer. But Adwords offers many other targeting settings that you need to rely on to maximise your SEM performance..
Geo-targeting (where searchers are physically located), device targeting (are they using a desktop, tablet, smartphone? Which carrier are they on?), Ad scheduling (Only target people during certain hours of the week or days of the week), etc
Many of the above settings are not available through other advertising channels, which gives the edge to Paid Search.
5. Trackable and measurable
Part of our role as search marketers, is to analyse and transform this amazing wealth of data into a meaningful and insightful story, which in turn can be transformed into actionable optimisations.
Tracking data also means you, as a marketer or business owner, know exactly what you get in return of your advertising spend, dollar for dollar. You could be tracking just clicks, simple form completions, advanced eCommerce sales (with revenue tracking and performance by products) or even calls generated to your support hotline.
Whatever your goal is, you can tell exactly how much value you are generating from this marketing/advertising channel, and can therefore make more educated decisions when it comes to budgeting.
And there we have it. The very best of luck to you if you decide to include SEM in your digital marketing strategy, and feel free say hello to Reef if you would like our best ideas about how this channel can deliver for you. You may also like to check out our AdWords and Paid Search services.