SEM, SEO, Or Both?
One of the most common questions we hear is: Why should we pay for traffic when SEO is “free”? Well, the question is more complicated than it might seem...and the best answer we can give is that the best solution is to use both SEO and SEM advertising. Why?
Because while SEO is vitally important to your online presence, it does not replace Search Engine Marketing—it complements it. According to Google research, 89% of the traffic generated by paid Search Ads is NOT replaced by organic clicks when your ads are paused. This means that even if you have the top-ranking organic result on Google, you could still be missing out on 89% of clicks if you aren’t running Search Ads.
On top of that, Google has gradually changed the appearance of paid ads over the years to look more and more like the organic results. Today, over half of people searching on Google can’t tell the difference between the paid & organic results...which helps explain why 40% of clicks for search queries with high commercial intent goes to the top paid search results.1
Plus, keep in mind the many other benefits of running paid Search Ads:
- You have the ability to drive as much traffic to your website as you want, anytime you want.
- SEM provides more data than organic traffic, which we can use to track and optimize the performance of your website.
- Unlike organic traffic, paid media allows you to scale your traffic & business up (or down) as needed to suit the needs of your company.
- Because paid ads appear above the organic ads, SEM is the only way to truly reach the #1 position of search results.
- Networks like Adwords and Bing allow you to control where and when your ads are shown. You can choose to show ads only during business hours, and only to people in your service area.
- You get fine-tuned control over who is going to your website. We can target by keywords, demographics, interests, in-market preferences, and much more.
- Unlike organic traffic, SEM allows us to test different ads and landing pages to increase your conversion rates and give you better performance from your traffic.
- With paid traffic we can keep your pages and ads relevant to the keywords and other targeting settings to ensure a seamless user experience.
- Finally, networks like Adwords give us amazing control over your audiences. We can even create “lookalike audiences” and “intent-based audiences” based off of your customer email lists to target people who match your ideal customer’s profiles.
Choosing the Right Networks to Advertise
There are a lot of options when choosing which traffic networks to use for your SEM campaigns. And here at BK Media, we specialize in the 5 biggest and most effective networks:
When it comes to SEM campaigns, Google Adwords is the king of networks—and the most important place to advertise your product or service. Google’s search engine processes over 1.2 trillion searches each year, and their Display Network reaches over 80% of all users online.2 And best of all, it works: Google reports that, on average, businesses make about $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Adwords.3
This makes Adwords the #1 network to use when trying to reach customers online. But it’s not the only network!
While it’s not as large as Google, the Bing/Yahoo network is another great place to advertise your website to potential new customers. While Bing & Yahoo take up only about 18% of the market share (compared to Google’s 80%), there are some distinct benefits to being on the Bing/Yahoo network.
For starters, because there’s less volume, fewer people advertise on Bing...which means that your average cost per click (CPC) is typically lower than it is on Google for the same keywords. Bing/Yahoo also reaches a different demographic. Bing users tend to be older (55-64), less tech-savvy, and often have children. And most importantly, they have money to spend. A full one-third of the Bing Ads audience has a household income of $100,000 or more.4
Have you ever dreamed of seeing a commercial for your business on TV...but knew that it was too expensive? If so, here’s some great news: with over 1,000,000,000 hours of video viewed each day, YouTube is about to overtake TV as the most-watched platform in the U.S.5
YouTube ads allow for any scale you want, which means you can use this channel to reach hundreds of viewers—or hundreds of millions—all depending on your business, your budget, and your strategy. And because YouTube is owned by Google, it knows a lot about the people watching it...which means that you are able to target your ideal viewers based on their interests, location, demographics, and more. Finally, because everything takes place online, we’re able to track your results from YouTube with much better accuracy than traditional TV advertising.
Adroll & Remarketing
Most large websites have a conversion rate that hovers around 2%. This means that out of every 100 visitors to your website, on average 98 will leave without taking action, contacting you, or making a purchase. But that doesn’t mean that those people will never buy from you...it just means that they weren’t ready to buy this time. In fact, the “rule of 7” states that, on average, a consumer will need to be exposed to your brand 7 times before they will make a purchase.
That’s where retargeting comes in. Using the sophisticated retargeting options available on networks like Adwords and AdRoll, we can create detailed custom segments to target specific website visitors. Then we can use those segments to serve ads to people who made it partway through your conversion process but did not yet take the action you wanted.
For example, we can target people who added a product to their shopping cart but did not yet finish their purchase. Because visitors like this are often very close to completing a transaction, remarketing campaigns targeting these prospects often provide a very high ROI.
Amazon is the world’s largest ecommerce store by a wide margin. This makes it one of the best places online to reach new customers if you sell any sort of physical product. Using Amazon ads, we can get your products in front of more interested prospects—ultimately helping you to increase app downloads, drive traffic from Amazon, and increase product sales.
Types of SEM Advertising
There are two main types of SEM marketing: PPC/Search Advertising, and CPM/Display Advertising. Here at BK Media, we are Google-certified experts in both types of Search Engine Marketing.
PPC Search Advertising
Do you wish you could come up at the very top of Google search results...but you don’t want to wait for the time it takes to create an high-ranking site? Luckily, you don’t have to. With Search Advertising, we can ensure that your ad appears to people who are searching for your services right now on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing—and you can even show up above the top-rated organic results.
PPC (or “pay per click”) Search Advertising allow us to show your ads directly on the Google search results page for keywords that are relevant to your product or service. Search Advertising tends to have an immediate and high ROI for advertisers, leading to an average $2 in revenue for every $1 spent.6
And because PPC Search Marketing can be geo-targeted, it’s a great marketing option for local businesses seeking to drive more store traffic. Did you know that over a third (36%) of Google searches are associated with a location?7 Or that 86% of people use the Internet to find local businesses?8 Small wonder, then, that Google has been able to track over 4 billion store visits back to ad clicks.9
So PPC Search Marketing helps get your company in front of people who are searching for you...but how do you generate awareness in people who don’t know know about your company? That’s where Display Advertising comes in. By placing text and banner ads on websites across the Internet, we can get your brand message in front of just about anyone.
In fact, Google’s Display Network reaches over 80% of Internet users around the world.10 Which means that no matter where your target audience is hanging out online...we can find them with Display Advertising. But unlike traditional media (like buying magazine or billboard ads), Display Targeting allows us to show your ads only to people who meet your target demographic.
One big benefit of Display Advertising is that it allows us to track your ad spend back to conversions (purchases, contacts, phone calls, etc.) much better than offline marketing methods. Display Advertising can also generate massive awareness and cause people to search for you.
Our Process for SEM Advertising
With every new client, we go through a detailed 7-step process to help guarantee the best possible performance from your new SEM campaigns.
Step 1: Strategize
The first thing we’ll do is schedule a time to speak with you and your team during our initial Strategy Session. This is where we hash out the details of what your goals are and what success will look like for you. By agreeing ahead of time what your objective is, we ensure that everyone is on the same page. We also use this time to help plan out a big-picture strategy for your digital marketing efforts, and make sure that your SEM campaigns are in perfect alignment with all your other marketing.
Step 2: Research
Our next task is to perform in-depth research into your industry. We’ll analyze what your competitors are doing online, create customer profiles, and do a deep dive into the keywords and websites that you should be targeting with your SEM campaigns. This may be the most critical, yet most frequently overlooked, step in Search Engine Marketing.
Step 3: Develop
Here is where we go through the step-by-step process of creating your new campaign (or, if you already have an existing campaign, this is where we review all your settings one-by-one). We’ll ensure that everything is structured appropriately for the best performance, and make sure that your settings, geotargeting options, keyword bids, and more are set up for success.
Step 4: Launch
Now that everything is ready to go, we’ll start your campaign and begin the process of sending traffic to your website! But while most companies stop here, we’re just getting started.
Step 5: Observe & Gather Data
At this point we need to give your campaigns some time to run and gather data. During this stage, you will already start seeing more leads & customers come through your business. But don’t get too excited yet—your performance is only going to improve from here.
Step 6: Analyze
Once we’ve accumulated enough data, our team digs in and performs a complete performance analysis of your campaigns. We let the data tell us what’s working and what isn’t, and we’ll decide on the modifications necessary to bring you more traffic, leads, and customers at a better ROI.
Step 7: Modify & Repeat
As part of our ongoing optimization efforts, we’ll implement the changes we identified in Step 6 to improve the performance of your marketing campaigns. From there, we’ll go back to Step 5—giving those changes time to gather more data, at which point we’ll do more analysis and make even more improvements. This is how we continue to improve your results, bringing your more customers at a better ROI, month after month.
SEM Services We Offer
Whether you need an expert to create a brand-new SEM account, or if you just need help optimizing and managing an existing account, we can help to optimize your online marketing and deliver you the ROI your business needs to thrive and grow.
New Account Creation
Most new accounts are set up for failure long before they spend their first dollar. Why? Because they are created using the wrong ad structure, targeting options, conversion tracking templates, and other settings that are a necessity in any well-run traffic campaign.
When you choose BK Media to create your new SEM accounts, we’ll take control over the entire process:
- Properly set up your ad campaigns
- Choose the appropriate keywords & negative keywords
- Select appropriate targeting options, including audience, demographics, geotargeting, and more
- Develop compelling text & banner ads
- Set up conversion tracking, including confirmation page variations and call-tracking
- Optimize your campaigns to maximize conversions through bid adjustments and A/B testing of both your ads and your landing pages
If you already have an ad account, chances are good that at least a few parts of that account have been set up incorrectly at some point in the past. If you suspect that you could be getting better results from your Search Engine Marketing, contact us and we’ll be happy to do a thorough review of your accounts. Our ongoing account management services include:
- Review your campaign & ad group structure for best practices
- Analyze all your settings, geotargeting options, and conversion tracking to ensure everything is set up correctly
- Test different ads to increase your Quality Score, decrease your Cost per Click (CPC), and send more qualified + targeted traffic to your website
- Perform A/B split-testing on your landing pages to help turn more of your web visitors into new customers
- Make bid adjustments based on the performance of each keyword to ensure you are only showing up for the best-converting keywords
- Review all your settings, bids, keywords, & targeting options and make adjustments for best practices
- Provide ongoing optimization & reporting to improve your results more and more over time
Trust Your Local Google-Certified SEM Agency in the Boulder, Denver & Lafayette CO Areas
A well-run digital media campaign can transform your business by bringing in a steady stream of new leads and customers—but you have to choose wisely when deciding on an agency to run your Search Engine Marketing. SEM can be quite complex, and in the hands of an inexperienced marketer is liable to be a big waste of time and money.
Why should you place your campaigns—and more importantly, your trust—in us? There are some great benefits to taking on a strategic partner with the skills and experience to grow your company online. Some of them include:
- Save money by ensuring your campaigns are structured appropriately and that your bids and targeting options are optimized for maximum ROI.
- Start your campaigns immediately, and skip the learning curve and wasted time of having to figure out Search Engine Marketing on your own.
- Avoid the expensive mistakes that can cost thousands of dollars in wasted ad spend.
- As a dedicated agency, we offer more effective marketing services at a lower cost than managing your campaigns in-house.
Schedule Your Free Strategy Session
Are you ready to tap into the Internet’s nearly unlimited potential to reach new customers? If so, click below to contact us and schedule your free strategy session. We’ll be happy to discuss the goals and challenges you’re facing right now, and help outline the next steps you need to take to help grow your business online.