Developing an Effective SEM Strategy—From Scratch
As the holiday season approaches, many of us will head to the kitchen, break out grandma’s old recipe book, and bake some delicious treats. Without question, the satisfaction that comes from starting with raw ingredients and baking from scratch can be just as exhilarating as the taste of these holiday desserts themselves. Believe it or not, some of today’s most successful enterprises utilize a similar methodology when it comes to constructing their search engine marketing strategy—using reliable search “ingredients” and techniques to craft a homemade SEM plan that consistently delivers exceptional returns.
The growth of using SEM to stimulate business has rapidly expanded in recent years. Whether this is primarily due to cost-effectiveness of paid search marketing or the real-time analysis and metrics that are available through this marketing platform, many corporations are actively beginning to engage paid search activity when they work in the digital marketing space . . . but here is the $64,000.00 question: where do you start? Let’s examine two important questions that you should ask that will help you plan, analyze, and launch a positive SEM strategy from scratch.
First—Define the “What & Why”
Developing an SEM strategy should start from the ground up—looking at the “what and why” before looking into the “how and the where.” Here are a few practical questions you should be asking during this first step:
Clearly define the purpose of your online presence. This is defining the “what” category.
- Is the purpose of your website to provide static information or to engage the consumer?
- Is a unique visit to the website important to you?
- Is time on site important to you, or are you after direct-to-paid conversions?
- What type of consumer are you trying to reach online?
- What is your customer demographic? And are there certain Web portals they use more frequently where you can activate your SEM strategy?
Once you clearly define the purpose of your website and how it is used to stimulate growth within your company, you have a great starting point to establish SEM goals, and this will significantly help shape your SEM activity.
Why Would You Use SEM?
The next step in this process is to clearly define the “why.” There are a multitude of digital marketing mediums you could use to reach that killer CPA or drive highly targeted traffic to your site, so why choose SEM?
- Push versus pull marketing: Users are providing intent and are searching for something you are selling or providing.
- Online visibility: When users are searching for you, you want to be found. Why let a competitor grab that sale from underneath your nose?
- Measureable: One of SEM’s greatest strengths is the never-ending amount of data that comes out of it. From the click to the sale, paid search can give you the information you need to be successful and improve upon your success through optimization.
- Pay for what you use: Only pay for the click, not the impression. This can be useful in driving awareness because you aren’t paying anything for the impression.
- Accurate targeting. Find the right user for your company at the right time through ad scheduling, device targeting, and geotargeting.
The answers you provide to each of these questions are vital in order to begin the process of developing a SEM recipe from scratch. Not only do these answers help you clearly define your audience, but they also provide insights that will permit you to fine-tune each SEM strategy to target specific goals.
Just like preparing to bake some delicious holiday treats, the first phase in creating a powerful and successful SEM strategy will always begin with defining a reason—or defining the “what and why.” In my next two blogs in this series, we’ll dig deeper into the “how and where” or what “ingredients and cooking instructions” we need to produce a successful SEM campaign.