Advertising on traditional media was usually out of the reach of small businesses. Online advertising is now accessible to businesses big and small.
“Search ads and search data leveraged to deliver more relevant ad experiences based on user [intent] will be a key part of this growth and evolution.”
Search Engine Marketing may seem like a very broad term; however, it has now come to mean paid search ads. The most common and popular search ad platform is probably Google Adwords. These days there are a lot of other options, such as Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads, and let’s not forget the second largest search engine Youtube, which also allows advertising now.
Search engines have been around for decades and has become the most popular way for people to navigate the vast ocean of websites on the Internet. How would you search for information online? You’d naturally go to a search engine (usually Google) and type in whatever it is you are searching for. We have grown to trust the results returned by search engines due to their continued improvements to their algorithm and upcoming AI technology.
As seen in the above screenshot of a search engine results page, also commonly known as SERP, you will see that the first result is a paid ad, sometimes there may be up to 3 or 4 paid ads and below the actual search results. Now let’s explore the reasons why SEM will unmistakably benefit your business.
In Malaysia alone, Google ranks as the number one top visited site with over 165 million visitors per month in 2018. This makes the visibility of ads on search engines extremely high. Imagine having just 1 million people seeing your ad daily, even if 1% of that converts to sales, it would still be significant. Visibility on traditional print ads would pale in comparison with the millions of views you could potentially get from SEM. In the crowded marketplace of today, Brand Visibility is extremely important.
People who see your ad on SERPs are searching for something specific, and if your ads are setup correctly, then you will be receiving highly targeted traffic. The ads on SERPs are displayed based on the relevancy of your ad copy and targeted keywords, as such, people who click through to your website from the ads have a specific search intent, and have a higher probability to convert into paying customers.
You can quickly setup a Google Adwords account and have your first Campaign up and running within an hour. That’s how fast you can setup and implement Search Engine Marketing. As long as you have a well-planned advertising campaign with all the content ready, expect to have your ad out in the digital ocean within minutes. You do need to put in the legwork beforehand to have an effective campaign running.
SEM allows you full control of your ad campaign if you choose to manage it on your own. You choose when to run your ads, at what budget and where to run them. Unlike placing an ad in a magazine where you are not in control of the distribution location and amount, with SEM, you will be able to tailor your ad campaign to your needs and control your marketing like never before.
Google Adwods has a very low point of entry, you can start advertising from as low as 2USD per day (depending on niche)! Try getting an ad placement classified text ad in the smallest column in a newspaper with that kind of money. It’s cost effective as well, according to Google, businesses make an average of double their investment in Adwords. This means for every 1USD you spend, you can make an average of 2USD in revenue. To top that off, Google display campaigns reach up to 80% of global netizens and to date there are at least 300,000 mobile apps serving Google Mobile Ads. Where else can you get that kind of bang for your buck?
If you’re a local marketer then you stand to benefit even more from SEM. Local Marketing connects regional businesses with its surrounding community which it services. When people search for local businesses, say ‘Italian restaurants in Penang’, and you so happen to have an ad targeting the local market, then your business listing and ad will be connected with that query in the search engine.
Google has even given an advantage to local marketers with its Local 3-Pack update in 2016, which gives local ads the top 3 positions for location-based search terms such as city or region names and phrases like ‘near me, nearby’. It’s also known that searchers who find local business information are more likely to visit the physical store. Think about the last time you used Google to lookup a local business, you were either looking for the address, opening hours or different branch locations because you had the intention to visit the store. Now think what would happen if you searched for a local business and couldn’t find any information or listing information at all, how would that make you feel towards that business?
SEO may provide you with long term and longer lasting results, however it takes time to build up, often times more than 6 months. Businesses may need to bring in revenue quickly, as such SEM can help you bring in immediate results.
You can easily create your ad in minutes, the approval process may take a few hours to a day, which is considered quick when compared to other marketing strategies. Once your ads are launched, you can expect to see an increase in traffic, clicks and possibly even conversions coming in. Of course, account maintenance and optimization are part and parcel of running SEM campaigns.
The important point here is that, you increase your potential in getting more clicks and sales the moment your ad goes live. As such, SEM is one of the fastest-to-launch marketing strategy you can implement, just bear in mind the need to monitor and optimize your ad campaigns to ensure long-term results.
The beauty of digital marketing channels is its abundance of data which you can access. There’s not much data which can be collected from traditional advertising media, however, with digital virtually everything can be tracked and measured.
Besides demographic data, you can even get to know the number of people who clicked on your ad, what time did they click it, where are they from etc. The abundance of data available not only gives us insight into what type of ads work and what doesn’t, it allows us to tweak a poorly performing ad on the fly to save us precious advertising dollars.
Make use of digital channels and the data available to you to make detailed analysis and plan out your marketing strategy so that you are optimizing your marketing budget to achieve maximum results.
Now we all know that there’s nothing FREE in this world, or is there? Being Pay Per Click (PPC) means that you won’t be charged for the ads to appear on SERPs. You will only be charged when someone actually clicks on your ad, which is what we are aiming for as well. However, we do not want random clicks which do not convert, so even if they do not click the ad, your brand would still be visible to searchers.
With PPC, your brand exposure is literally FREE of charge even if it has been displayed hundreds or thousands of time. So, don’t be too worried if clickthrough rates are low in the beginning, sometimes gaining brand exposure is equally important. Perhaps even more important than having random people who are not interested in your business clicking your ad and not converting.
So next time your ad doesn’t receive the number of clicks you anticipated, do not feel discouraged, instead feel great that you are receiving FREE Brand Exposure. Maybe your brand exposure would eventually change the minds of non-believers someday. So what are you waiting for? Get your business online now with the right SEM campaign.
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