10 Ways That Small Businesses Can Use to Enhance Their SEM Performance

Search engine marketing (SEM), today, is crucial for growing your business and promoting it online in this fiercely competitive business world. SEO and SEM can be confusing terms for many. SEO is related to increasing traffic and rankings without paying for ads, while SEM uses paid advertisements to promote your brand and products through SERPs. SEM empowers businesses with increased purchases and moves you ahead of your rivals.

What is SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM) gives your site better visibility and a higher position on search engine results pages (SERPs) using paid advertisements. It uses pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using SEO strategies to target searches. SEM is essential as it lets your business occupy organic space and makes your ads appear at the top of the first SERP page. With 35% of product searches starting on Google, your company’s product or service must appear at the top of a SERP when a user searches for it. This makes it crucial to invest in an SEM strategy that helps you reach your target audience, increase traffic and enhance conversions

SEM Strategy – What is Included in SEM?

The SEM strategy revolves around optimizing paid search ads and encompasses paid marketing methods leveraging powerful search engines that allow entrepreneurs to reach potential customers at the right time and in the right place.

SEM usually refers to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and includes:

• Impressions – the times that your ad campaign was seen on screen

• Cost Per Click (CPC) – Amount you pay when someone clicks on your ad

• Cost per million impressions (CPM)

• Click-Through-Rate (CTR): Indicates the number of clicks that people make to reach your website after watching your ad

Why Employ a Strategy to Enhance SEM Performance?

SEM and PPC ads can reach 90% of global internet users. It is substantial to get professional expertise like hiring an effective search engine marketing company to help prepare a conducive SEM strategy that:

  • Reduces your cost per acquisition by up to 53%, which translates to a much better return on investment.
  • Increases brand awareness as 48% of consumers begin their product research with search engines.
  • Refines your audience as you get an idea of the number of clicks and sales, what visitors searched for previously and why they found your ad. You can use this data to narrow down your target audience and eventually expand to other effective keywords.

An enhanced SEM Performance can help your business:

  • Compete with competitors effectively
  • Complement existing marketing efforts
  • SEM can help you increase your revenue as it is a conversion-based strategy that ultimately increases brand awareness
  • SEM is accessible to small accounts using pay-per-click advertising
  • Excellent for local marketing that can deliver immediate results
  • You can generate a reliable traffic source with qualified leads
  • It is the fastest way to reach the top with a pragmatic approach
  • Excellent for mobile marketing as it offers flexibility in many ways and meets different requirements

10 Ways to Increase Your Relevance as a Small Business with SEM

Here are 10 key strategies you can use to improve your brand’s SEM performance:

Improve Your Keyword Research and Optimization

Keywords form the basis of your SEM performance and help customers find you, so to generate qualified leads, you must optimize your keyword content. You can bid on keywords that target earlier stages of the buyer’s journey or even on terms that are loosely related to your products. When it comes to keyword research, relevant keywords with high volume and low competition are recommended.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model is a great engine for business and a top-tier marketing strategy that extends beyond search engines to other media, such as YouTube or display advertising. 74% of brands say PPC is a great engine for their business. Other key metrics to consider are cost per click (CPC) and cost per thousand (CPM); however, PPC is one of the most affordable ways to advertise your business.

Create Engaging Content

All your efforts, like keyword research, can go down the drain if you don’t have compelling content to attract visitors and convert them into sales. It is imperative to create and publish engaging content on website pages, blogs, social media posts, blogs, etc., to increase your brand awareness, so it is advised to take assistance from a search engine marketing company to help form the written content and empower your SEM performance.

Improve Your Local Searches

Several prospects search for “near me” or “nearby” products and services on their smartphones which makes it imperative for businesses to opt for mobile optimization for better results.

Account and Campaign Structure

Many businesses combine all keywords into one lot and display an ad for the same, which can negatively impact the Quality score. It’s so important to properly structure your Google Ads account to manage different campaigns. You must cater to:

• Display different keywords depending on the searches you are bidding on.

• Ad Groups bunching similar keywords concerning the topic.

• Campaign for ad group management.

You must focus on different components like

• Title

• URL to display

• The description

This will help you identify what people are looking for and make your offer more appealing. Ongoing PPC management will help you avoid wasting your budget and optimize the keywords you bid on to ensure you get the best return on investment from your efforts.

Target Beyond Keywords

You must also focus on specific demographics or locations by including:

• Geo-Targeting for a specific area of your zip code, city, state, or country. 

• Scheduling to display ads only at certain times of the day.

• Device targeting only on certain devices considering mobile optimization

• Audience targeting based on demographics

Manage Your Reputation

You need to do your best and provide what your prospects are looking for. Be professional when engaging with audiences online. Calmly and quickly respond to their objections, concerns, and queries and encourage customers to post positive reviews to spread the word about your brand.

Advertising Text

Attract the target audience with enticing words and value propositions. Include:

• Up to 3 headlines of 30 characters each to grab a prospect’s attention.

• Up to two descriptive blocks of 90 characters each to highlight what your company has to offer which is relevant to the search term and its users.

Bidding and Auctions

Applying SEO and SEM marketing strategies doesn’t guarantee that you’ll appear in all results for your targeted search terms. You must participate in bidding and auctions for a specific outcome and thrive on multiple factors to decide which ads to show.

• Use the maximum CPC bid and analyze the maximum amount you are willing to pay per click.

• Quality Score is correlated with high click-through rates and helps Google decide whether your ad is relevant to a specific keyword or not. Ensure that your content is relevant to the keywords you’re targeting, and your landing page matches your search intent.

• Ad Rank is assigned to your ad for a specific keyword auction which is derived by multiplying your maximum CPC bid by your Quality Score. If it’s too low, your ad won’t show up on the front page, and you’ll lose most of your potential reach.

Use Social Media to Reach a Wider Audience

Social media is a great opportunity to reach a wider audience, attract more leads, and build strong audience relationships. Post your company’s news, content, updates, and events on social media to increase customer engagement.

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Search engine marketing (SEM) is a great way to enhance conversions and grow your brand visibility among prospects. Using the above-mentioned strategies, you can generate a massive amount of traffic and ultimately grow your business. SEM doesn’t stop with the creation of your first campaign and is continuous, consistent, and a long-term commitment. You should upscale and update your SEM tactics as the market changes and keep a solid monitoring system for real-time campaign performance and PPC metrics. SEM performance can increase your business visibility and help integrate PPC and SEO into an effective search marketing strategy.