01 Oct 5 Benefits of Using SEM Services
The world of marketing has rapidly changed since the dawn on the Internet. Back in the day, you needed to have catchy jingles and memorable characters in order to make your brand stick in your potential client’s mind – when they needed a product or service you offered, you’d hope that they remembered what you’d lodged into their subconscious. Nowadays, when someone needs something and they don’t know who offers it, or how to get it, they Google it. There’s still a place for traditional marketing, but no marketing strategy is complete without considering search engines.
What the Heck is SEM?
Good question! SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. Quite simply, it’s the practice of creating a marketing strategy that accounts for how most people get their information nowadays – by looking stuff up online. Now, you’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO), the practice of getting your website to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is one of the tools in your SEM belt – SEM uses optimization as well as bought ads, which are most often pay-per-click (PPC). Google Ads and Facebook Ads, for example, can both be PPC.
So why should you use SEM?
You’ll Get New Customers
Without new customers, it wouldn’t be a very good marketing strategy, would it? The biggest draw of SEM is that you’ll get new clients. Google your company’s name right now – consider going into Incognito Mode or using a public computer for best results. Are you on the first page? If you’re not, you’re losing out on a lot of potential clients – the first page of Google results account for over 90% of website traffic directed from Google, with the first result getting almost 35% of that pie. Think about how often you Google something and go past the first page – we’re willing to bet it’s not too often. Imagine you’ve just had an emergency where your furnace breaks down in the middle of winter – you’re going to be calling the first HVAC technicians you find, and you’re going to find them through Google, not through the Yellow Pages.
There’s often so much extra traffic created by SEM services that small businesses aren’t adequately set up, but great SEM takes that into account. A good marketing firm will help set you up with an online appointment scheduler, a virtual office, a virtual assistant, or anything else you might need to handle the expected increase in customers.
You’ll Get Better Customers
You’ve probably heard of content marketing, a strategy that uses content creation as a means of finding and engaging with the clients you want; it’s good for acquisition and retention. Content marketing can take the form of images, videos, tutorials, or any number of other creative endeavors that give your clients something valuable.
With SEM, one of the most commonly used types of content marketing is blogging – the blog you’re reading right now is a type of content marketing (which we hope you find valuable!). When content marketing is used properly, you’ll be answering your clients questions, keeping them informed, and telling them about important changes in your industry. That means the clients who get in touch will be more likely to know exactly what you offer and exactly what they want – in other words, they’ll be far along in the buying cycle. You’re only getting clients who are literally searching for the content you’re creating, so you know you’ve hit your target audience.
You’ll Get Great Value
Think about the costs that go into traditional marketing. You’d have to compose a jingle, or shoot a commercial, then you’d have to buy air time on the radio or TV. The process costs at a minimum hundreds of dollars (for radio), and it can often cost quite a bit more than that. You’re also not necessarily reaching your target audience (see above). You’re also only getting to run one ad at the prices we’re talking about – a TV and radio ad campaign can often cost tens of thousands of dollars.
With SEM, you’re reaching your target audience every time, and often for thousands of dollars less than a traditional campaign. What’s more, you don’t have to hope your target audience had the TV on at the time – they’ll always be looking your company up exactly when they need you.
You Get What You Pay For
We talked about PPC strategies, and the name tells you exactly what you need to know – you only have to pay if potential clients click the link. That means you’re always getting exactly your money’s worth, provided that those links help you convert. The SEM strategy takes that into account; a holistic strategy may involve a redesign of your website to help you convert leads from Google.
Many SEM companies follow a very similar strategy – they’ll ask you what your goals are, and you’ll pay the company based on how successful you are at achieving those goals. One of the reasons that SEM differs from traditional marketing is that all the leads derived from search engines are incredibly easy to track when you know what you’re doing – you can essentially write your website to track where every lead is coming from and who is converting, so you’ll know exactly how much value you’re getting.
Digital marketing is constantly changing. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithms (sometimes only giving a day’s notice), as are the other big search engines. They do this in order to improve the user experience – if you had access to Google back in the year 2000, we guarantee you’d be astounded at how much better the search engine performs nowadays. The consequence of this is that sites that might have been at the top of the pops, so to speak, might end up off the first results page. When you’ve got SEM, you have a team of folks dedicated to avoiding exactly that possibility, and tweaking their techniques in order to make sure you stay on top.