It may be hard to believe, but 2019 is coming to a close. For many businesses, that means reviewing what worked and didn’t work throughout the year, what you’d like to do differently moving forward, and developing marketing budgets for 2020.
When planning out your marketing budget, your team will have to determine how much money to put toward different avenues. It’s the perfect time to bring new ideas to the table that you may not have been utilizing before.
One particular avenue that should come up in this year’s meeting is the use of search engine marketing. If you haven’t focused much on search engine marketing in the past, it’s important to learn more about it and how it might benefit your business. What are the pros and cons? Should you invest more in search engine marketing than in other areas?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ins and outs of search engine marketing, so that you can determine if it’s the best fit for your marketing strategy as you go into the new year!
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing is a very specific, paid strategy that companies use to gain more high volume results in search engines. Unlike SEO (search engine optimization) marketing, SEM is a paid strategy. It boosts your website’s visibility via advertisements on search engine result pages (or SERPs) primarily, while SEO boosts your site more organically from within.
Search engine marketing pays for keywords that are targeted specifically for your business or certain campaigns that you’re implementing. When people are searching for those words in Google, etc., the more you pay, the more likely it is your website will be one of the top contenders that shows up.
While SEM is typically used just for search engines, you can also use it on social media sites like Facebook as a part of your social media strategy. It allows you to target certain audiences with boosted posts, events, and more, right on their newsfeeds.
What Are the Pros and Cons of SEM?
The more you learn about SEM, the more appealing it can be, and it’s a great fit for many businesses! But, as with any other marketing technique, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
First, there’s the cost factor to consider. SEO marketing is done with little to no cost, since it relies on internal keywords and content to boost search engine rankings. SEM marketing does require a budget, but you can set whatever budget you’d like to work from. Your goal is to turn visitors to your website into sales for your business, so your conversion rate is high. Using targeted keywords that people might be searching for is a great way to do this.
Another benefit of search engine marketing is that it’s highly trackable. If there’s one thing marketers and business owners love, it’s solid data. When you’re trying to get a handle on your return on investment, knowing what people are searching for, how many people visited your site, how old they were, where they were from, and more, can help you to refine your strategy and create an even more detailed search engine marketing campaign.
One of the unfortunate drawbacks to SEM, however, is that Google and other search engines change their algorithms from time to time. This can take some getting used to, and some additional research after each update/change. Finding the right keywords and strategies that work for you are important pieces to SEM, so staying up-to-date with algorithm changes will help to ensure that your plan keeps giving you success.
A final benefit is that SEM often has quicker results than more traditional SEO marketing. If you’re a small business with a limited budget, it’s important to make sure your return on investment means something. With search engine marketing, you can start with as little as five dollars and see results within one business day, depending on how strategically sound your keyword research and chosen market is. When you only use SEO, it can sometimes take months before you see any changes to your site’s traffic due to Google’s algorithms needing time to read and rank your site’s pages in search results.
Should My Business Invest More in Search Engine Marketing?
As you’re going over your marketing budget for the new year, search engine marketing should absolutely be a topic of conversation. Your website is often the first thing a potential customer/client will see about your business, and SEM targets people looking for what you have to offer, directing them to the information they need.
SEM should absolutely be combined with other cost-effective (or even free!) marketing techniques, including SEO, blogging, social media, and email marketing. You don’t have to have an enormous marketing budget in order to have a solid strategy in place. But, when it comes to dividing your budget, make sure that SEM gets a piece of the pie. You’ll undoubtedly be happy to see the results quickly, and know you can track them as needed in order to refine them for even better results.
by Adrian Johansen