You don’t need to be great to start. Every expert started somewhere.
The first step is always the hardest. We usually get lost with the new terminologies for digital marketing. Acronyms such as CTA, CRO, LSEO, and NAP appear on our screens and we're already WTF-ing! But no worries, we want to let you know that you're not the only one, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) doesn't have to be something to be afraid of.
"In online marketing, few strategies are as competitive or as quickly evolving as search engine optimization", mentions Jayson DeMers when referring to SEO efforts. Living in such a competitive world in the digital era, our brands have been marked by a series of algorithms that are constantly evolving. New technologies and techniques have created new hobbies for all of us, marketers, to stay on top of the latest trends that will shape our brand's digital future.
For the year 2017, Google was favored with 74.54% of market share percentage, in terms of the use of Search Engines. The number of daily searches on Google is now reaching 3.5 billion. With this being said, no wonder why the digital space is becoming more and more competitive, challenging and exciting!
We can't only rely on non-digital (Above the Line aka ATL) efforts for our brands to be found.
Who are we talking to?
The audience will definitely be the first thing to consider when creating a paid traffic campaign. Who is your niche? By establishing your target audience, you will get to identify the best approach to introduce your product/service. One of the best goals you may accomplish by selecting the ideal audience is using this information to retarget users based on their behavior. Traditional marketing used the method of intuition to deliver the message in a "one size fits all" point of view. Hubspot has a holistic manner to define this: Personas.
Nowadays, using this amazing technique, we are now able to incorporate behavior-based audiences, created using Google Analytics and AdWords. By doing so, we can reduce the cost per acquisition (CPA), address the user based on their buyer's journey stage, increase conversion rate, and increase the customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Defining the Budget.
Once we have our Audience established, our next principle will be the Budget. Budget and ad spend will be crucial to any campaign after defining which platforms you wish to use for your strategy. You will need to make sure you stay in a good position so your ads are seen and continue to improve their performance. But, the process of creating a balanced budget for your campaigns is not simple. We invite you to find out which activities have the potential to generate maximum exposure and ensure some return of investment (ROI).
We need to keep one thing in mind. Just because we see something that works for one brand, doesn't necessarily have to work for yours. Business owners and marketers need to plan their budgets after considering the type of product, the audience, and the company's goals, to name a few. Once this is established, we need to be dynamic and accept that sometimes, this budget will need to be adjusted.
Now, this brings up a great question: “How much budget should I use?”. You need to first decide which are the goals you wish to accomplish in your PPC campaign. If two brands spend the same amount of money on the same platform, one may accomplish more conversions than the other. Why? This is where we need to pay lots of attention. There are many possible combinations that can create a winning formula. Aspects such as Ad position, Ad Rank, Relevance score, Ad placement, are super important when considering the Budget. We will define all these below.
The reason behind this is the SERP algorithm. The specific keyword search is analyzed based on the user’s previous behavior and then the SERP determines exactly what the user will most likely need as an answer. Every single search will trigger different ad rank factors.
Bid strategy can be defined as the amount you need to bid as a minimum to be in a specific position. Some terms can have a cost as high as $1,000.00, so you will decide how much you want to bid for your ad to appear when someone searches for that term. If your bid is $5.00, there is no way your ad will rank on first pages.
Content will make a huge difference.
Optimized content plays an important role when it comes to the visibility your brand will have on search engines because content is king. By having a solid content marketing strategy, you will discover how your message will power through by attracting the ideal target based on the information you are putting in front of them.
It is not enough to say that content will set you apart from your competitor, it actually is the heart of any successful digital marketing campaign. It is important to design the message strategically so that the user doesn't feel obligated to see your ad, but he is actually drawn to it because of the good message you have displayed.
This is where a good keyword research is needed. SEM is not much without it. This research will provide the list of words, short and long phrases that users all around the web are using to find sites like yours. But that's not all! By creating an effective keyword research, you will be able to point out the amount of money other brands (your competitors) are paying to appear on search engines.
Content is crucial for the ad copy, but it also relates to the destination or final URL. It can be very frustrating to the user to click on a paid ad and end up in a landing page that has nothing to do with the original ad. If this hasn’t happened to you, then you’re lucky. The ad says one thing, and then the landing page is completely generic.
Landing pages need to have a clear message match. This type of match can actually improve conversions by more than 200%. This can actually take lots of time. One suggestion is to standardize a landing page copy for each campaign you have running. This way, you can edit simple bits of text at scale to customize the offer you are providing to the user.
On the developer’s end, you can simply edit specific and key characteristics of your landing page templates to match with your offer, message and ad group. You can consider creating dynamic keyword insertion (Google provides this option) for creating matching ads and final URLs.
Two more words for you: Ad extensions.
The use of correct ad extensions on your ads will produce higher CTR (click-through rates). Remember to keep it simple. Choose the correct combination of Ad extensions for your ad sets. Adding the incorrect ad extensions can be devastating. If you’re using an ad extension that doesn’t really match with your copy or CTA, the ad extension engagement will clearly below and this will negatively impact your Google results.
Businesses of all sizes now need to build strong relationships with leads and customers, and these three elements will definitely point you in the right direction. Create an effective way to target potential customers and guide them to your site.
Google and other SERPs continue to roll out new updates regarding targeting features that will help advertisers reach their target audience. But don’t forget that the best insight will be provided by the users who have already visited your page and analyze their behavior.
By doing so, you will be able to target strategically and boost conversions.Throughout the process of PCC efforts, don’t forget to keep your goals in mind when evaluating the optimal amount of budget. Your internal KPIs will define most of it, but you can also focus on the historical PPC information for past campaigns, insights from Google Analytics and additional estimating tools, and pulling together meaningful data to aid your decisions that will help tremendously.
Last but not least, what story are you telling with your advertising? Be sure to stand out from your competitors by solving that problem and providing that answer to that question. This will be portrayed in your content.
Do not be intimidated by SEM, remember it will grow as your business grows. Set a budget and create the most creative/relevant content for your audience and you will see a great impact.
Do not delay your opportunity to improve your brand's online presence and start building now.