Earn a Quick Win with Paid Search Advertising
Kick start your SEM.
Paid search engine marketing (also known as search advertising or SEM) is an inexpensive way to use the power of search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to connect your business’ internet advertisements with people who are searching for the goods, services, or information you specialize in. The most effective search advertising campaigns are pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and the way it works is quite simple: place a bid for your ad’s placement in a search engine’s sponsored links section for select keywords that pertain to your business, and then pay the search engine its fee for each click your online ad receives.
Initially, paying per click (or PPC) might appear to be a very expensive advertising option, but if you carefully design your campaign, the opposite is true. Your ultimate cost per conversion could be lower than expected. Why? With a carefully constructed advertising campaign, only the people you target will see your search advertising. With a well-constructed search advertising campaign, you will have a greater opportunity to remove any casual “window shoppers” and instead be able to hone in precisely on your target market when they are ready to buy, commit, or provide your business with their contact information.
How Paid Search Advertising Works
If you are new to the concept of search engine marketing and advertising, here is a basic overview of how it works:
- You decide the keywords or phrases that you would want your business’ ads to show up for. (ex. divorce lawyer, Fort Collins, CO). Some keywords sell per click at less than $1, so the cost of entry can be low.
- When a person conducts a search using the keywords or phrases you indicated, they may be presented with your business’s advertisement. If the online ad is appealing to them and resonates with their search, they are more likely to click on it and be taken to your website or landing page.
- When the person conducting the online search clicks on your business’s advertisement, you are charged for that click.
- As the advertiser, you can eliminate key phrases or add in new ones. If you want your ads to appear more frequently, then you can increase your bids for selected phrases or increase your daily advertising budgets to allow for more people to see your ad and increase the potential for more traffic to your website or landing page.
Search advertising is simple, yet it’s also very complex, and it’s easy to have a bad experience and blow your advertising budget quickly if you don’t carefully consider your keywords and phrases and target demographic. Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner tool can help you figure out what your specific keywords or phrases might cost you per click, so you really want to take some time to do your keyword and key phrase research.
Search advertising example A. Displayed after searching “pizza delivery”.
Search Advertising Strategies
When you’re building your paid search keyword list be sure to stay focused! Long-tail keyword searches tend to show a high degree of interest, so they are excellent choices for your SEM campaigns. For example, it’s pretty safe to say that someone searching for “gluten-free frozen food free shipping” is more serious about making a purchase than a person who searches for “frozen food” alone.
However, determining the right keywords is only the first part of getting your search advertising campaign organized. You also need to create compelling, appealing, and highly relevant text ads that searchers will want to click on. When your ads attain a high click-through rate (CTR), your campaign will become more cost-effective and you’ll earn better ad positions. It will pay in the long run to monitor your online ads and make sure they are as irresistible as possible!
When you’re crafting your online search ads, you’ll also want to make sure that the person clicking on your ad is taken directly to the item you are advertising or a specialized, eye-catching landing page.
These are two of the quickest ways to lose a customer to an online competitor that will direct them exactly to what they wanted to buy – and yes, even if that visitor “bounces” off your website, you still have to pay for their click!
Search advertising example B. Displayed after searching “northern Colorado real estate”.
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Why Search Advertising?
If you’re still trying to make up your mind as to whether marketing your business through search advertising is right for you, consider our top reasons why we think it’s a powerful tool:
- Get your business within the top 5 sponsored ads on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. That’s a lot of eyeballs!
- Bring immediate traffic to your website, e-commerce site, or lead generation form within an hour of setting up and activating your advertising campaign.
- Target your ads with laser-like precision with the ability to edit, test, and track them for maximum return on investment and effectiveness. If you notice a particular keyword isn’t converting as well as you like, you can change it on the fly and reduce your expenditures immediately.
- Place your business in front of the highest-quality, most relevant customers. The sponsored ads on search engines are weighted based on relevancy – does the target keyword or phrase match what is in the advertising text and what is on the landing page or website? Ensuring a high level of relevance creates the very best user experience as it directs searchers to exactly what they are looking for and allows your business to attract customers wanting exactly what you have to offer.
- Target select geographic areas and schedule advertising for days and times when your online ads should be visible. This allows you to maximize your budget in the best way possible. For example, if your business’ practice is to call immediately following the submission of an online lead generation form, you may want to limit running your ads to the days and hours that your customer service agents will be making outbound calls.
- Know exactly how each dollar (down to the cent) was spent and track the path of each customer who clicked your online ad. You will not get this degree of reporting and analysis from any other traditional advertising method!
Search advertising example C. Displayed after searching "book stores".
And yes, there are other forms of online advertising. Google is without a doubt the most popular place for paid search advertising; however, there are other ways and places to get your business in front of potential customers when they are online. Here are a few different options you may also want to consider:
Facebook allows business to target very specific populations and their sponsored ads and content can help to boost your social media presence and website. For example, if you sell environmentally-friendly children’s clothing you can select key demographics of Facebook users to have your ads only appear for them.
Online Display Advertising
Every major website, plus many speciality blogs and online communities, will have banner and skyscraper ads available for you to purchase. Online display advertising can be very effective when you carefully choose the right website, craft a message that speaks to the visitors of that website, and then analyze how much traffic your ad drives to your website and what the outcomes are.
YouTube Video Advertising
If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube, you probably seen ads that appear before, during or after video. You can also create video ads to be placed on websites, much like display advertising, for a more direct-selling approach. If your business relies heavily on video content and has a strong YouTube subscriber-ship, this is a viable outlet to consider.
Let Us Help Get You Started
We firmly believe that paid search engine marketing works extremely well for every type of business — when it’s done with careful thought and attention. While we love organic search engine optimization (SEO) and believe it’s a “gift that keeps on giving”, we also recognize that SEO takes time to become strong and effective - from 6 to 12 months on average. With SEM, you can have a well-constructed SEM campaign up and running within 30 minutes and immediately driving traffic to your website.
If you’re curious about the benefits that online search advertising can bring to your business, consult with us. We can help you to organize a cost-efficient, highly targeted online marketing campaign that will drive results without taking up your valuable time - which will leave you with more time to make your business the best that it can be.