Too often, small businesses think Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is not cost-effective for them, or that expanding their marketing campaigns onto the web is a waste of their resources. They are not aware of how much SEM can do for them. Through targeting, managed ad placements and fixed cost, SEM is undoubtedly an effective way for small and local businesses to reach potential customers.
One of the fundamentals of advertising is to place the advertisement somewhere where a lot of people will see it. You don’t see billboards on small side streets; you see them on major highways. You don’t see advertisements in warehouses; you see them in malls, on trains, and even up in the sky. In the online world, search engines are the heavily trafficked, highly visible place where you can guarantee exposure for your small business.
Wikipedia hits the nail on the head defining it here. Do you own a small business that operates in a specific area? Is that area as specific as something like a 10-mile radius around an address or town? SEM platforms allow for business ads to only show in areas that a business operates in.
Don’t be fooled or misled by people who say that SEM is only for those who are trying to reach a national scale. SEM is also for those businesses that want to reach local customers searching for products, services, and information online.
Oftentimes, people are unclear as to exactly what a search engine advertisement looks like. To create an SEM ad, you do not need to design something with images, graphics, or other branded elements. You only need ad copy. Writing SEM ad copy can be tough, but the plus side is that design work is not required.
On a tight marketing budget? Using SEM is a cost-effective way to get your business listed throughout internet search pages. Have your ad listed in the Yellow Pages? If you have, then you know that you pay a fixed rate whether you receive calls or not. Using SEM, you are only charged when a well-targeted potential customer clicks on your business ad and is directed to your website (hence the term pay-per-click).
How does Google know that this potential customer is genuinely looking for your business? SEM campaigns use keywords that are directly related to your business and chosen by you. When a customer in the targeted area performs an online search using those keywords your ad is displayed.
With campaign tracking and advertising platform analytics, you can track websites and phone calls back to specific ads. You can also see which ads are performing best and gain more insight into your target audience.
If the above information isn’t enough to convince you that SEM is right for small businesses, consider these stats from Search Engine Watch: