There are many measures that can help make your business visible and you've probably heard that search engine marketing or ads can be a great way of increasing your visibility in places where customers are searching for solutions to their issues. But what is search engine marketing, and how can you use it to generate sales-qualified leads?
What is search engine marketing?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a way to direct people from search engines to desired web pages through ads on search engine pages. It differs from search engine optimization (SEO), which is the traffic you get to your website through organic ranking on search engines.
Much of today's buying process happens online. Therefore, it is important for businesses to be where customers are at the right time with the right and relevant information. SEM can be of great help when it comes to this. When people type a search phrase into the search engine to find solutions to their issues and your business has products or services that can be part of that solution, the search page will show your pages among the results – if you've done your work right.
People tend to look for solutions to their problems in different ways and can find your business at different stages of their buyer’s journey. Therefore, it is important to have in place actions that can capture people’s attention no matter where they are in the buyer’s journey when they contact your company. Search engine marketing can help you with this.
This is how search engine optimization works
In search engine marketing, you create text or image ads that are associated with keywords related to your business and industry. It’s essential that you know your customers well and knows which keywords, search phrases, and sentences they’re looking for so that you can set up and buy ads for these words and sentences.
There are various tools you can use to set up your ads. The most used search engine marketing tools are Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Yahoo Search Ads.
The Google service, AdWords, is the largest in the market and accounts for 80 % of ads. Microsoft has Bing ads that account for about 8 % of search engine ads while Yahoo Search Ads have around 3 % of the market. The remaining 9% of search engine ads are found on search engines like Yelp, Amazon, IAC, and Verizon (formerly AOL).
With regard to search engine optimization, there are a lot of terms that may be good to know about, such as pay-per-click (PPC), cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM).
PPC (pay-per-click) or cost-per-click (CPC) are search engine ads that lead people to your website, and you pay only when someone clicks on the ad. CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) are search engine ads where you pay per thousand ad impressions.
Before you begin your campaign, you must know what budget constraints you have. First and foremost, you need to know how much your business is willing to spend in order to attract visitors to the website and convert them into leads. This is also known as cost per lead (CPL). You should also have some thoughts regarding the budget the company has for purchasing something, cost per order (CPO) as well as acquisition of customers, known as cost per acquisition (CPA) in the search engine marketing language. This will help you set limits on how much you can invest in ads.
Ads can be optimised throughout the campaign because you can see real-time results and make the changes that are needed. It’s possible to see how many people have looked at the ads, where in the country or world they are, gender, age, which keywords work best, and more. It is also possible to create different ads and see which ones work best.
You can also compare the information you have about your current customers with what appears in the results, to see if there are other audiences you've missed or if you attract people who does not fit within the campaign or with your goals.
How do you use search engine marketing in the inbound methodology?
Search engine marketing is part of the inbound methodology and can help your business become more visible. Search engine results on Google and Bing are usually the first four search results ads. This also applies to other search engines. Search engine marketing can also enhance SEO, which is a critical part of the inbound methodology.
SEM is particularly important for new businesses or companies that have just begun launching SEO initiatives. Why? Because changes don’t happen overnight, so it may take some time before the actions you take give results.
That’s why a PPC campaign can make it easier to attract visitors and leads to your website. Search engine marketing efforts are an important part of the first phase of inbound marketing in particular, namely the attraction phase.