What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Search engine marketing is the process of increasing your website traffic by purchasing online ads, often on Google’s network. Most people think of Google as a search engine but in reality, Google is an advertising company. Although Google answers more than 3.5 billion search queries per day, they serve up almost ten times as many ads.
What is Pay Per Click (PPC)?
Google offers adverts on a pay per click basis, i.e. you do not pay every time your ad is seen, only when it is clicked on. Proper campaign set up and management is important so that your costs do not spiral out of control and your business gets a positive return on investment. There are many PPC options.
Search Network Ads
These kinds of PPC ads will be familiar to every Google searcher. These ads are shown at the top of Google’s search engine results page, marked with a subtle “Ad” label. Businesses bid to have their ads shown first. Your cost per click is affected by many factors including:
- Relevance. If you try to buy traffic for non-relevant keywords, you will pay a premium, or your ad will not be shown at all.
- Quality score. Poorly written ads don’t get clicked on as much. Google recognizes this so will charge you more when they are clicked on.
- Competition. If more businesses bid on your keyword, you will pay more per click.
- Seasonality. Related to competition, the price you pay can change based on the time of year you target certain keywords. “Christmas” in July?
Display Network (Banner Ads)
Google has agreements with other websites so you can display your ads on popular online destinations like Trulia, DIYNetwork and BusinessInsider. These are usually graphical banner ads, which affords you a great opportunity to create brand awareness. They are also very economical, delivering tens of thousands of impressions at a small cost.
Retargeting & Remarketing
What if you could advertise to customers who visited your place of business but never made a purchase? That’s where retargeting comes in. Specific ads can be served up to your customers based on actions they take (or don’t take) on your website. Ever leave a pair of shoes in your cart only to be reminded of them later on Facebook or Instagram? That’s retargeting in action, and it can help you recover lost revenue.
Other Online Marketing Options
Email blasts will continue to be relevant as long as consumers use email. We can help you build your list via your website and advise you on best practices for improving your open and click through rates. We can also set up automated email campaigns that deliver timely messages based on triggers such as birthdays, anniversaries or the customer’s last service date.
Paid Directory Listings
Niche directories can still yield a great return on investment. They usually offer a package price for the year that includes an enhanced directory listing with a link to your website. TripAdvisor works like this. We can approximate the cost per lead for these kinds of package deals by examining your Google Analytics data. It is usually fairly simple to figure out if the package is worthwhile.
Do your customers spend time in certain places like home improvement stores, restaurants, or a particular beach? Geofencing allows you to draw a virtual lasso around physical locations and serve up ads to people in those areas. Reach potential customers where they live, shop, eat and drink. You can even capture them during a visit to your competitor’s place of business.
Google Shopping Feeds
A search made by a consumer who is ready to buy is known as a “transactional search”. On Google, there are approximately 700 million transactional searches every day. If you run an e-commerce store, we can feed your product catalog and pricing directly to Google, where you can advertise your products to customers who are ready to buy.
Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
Although Google mainly offers pay per click advertising, other companies use a cost per thousand impression (CPM) pricing model. With CPM advertising, you are charged for every thousand times your ad is shown on the advertiser’s website, whether your ad is clicked on or not. Chambers of Commerce and local newspaper websites often offer ads in this way. The greatest appeal of these kinds of ads is that you have much more control of your messaging.
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