SEM and small businesses - are you using it?
Too often, small businesses tell us 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.
These comments are typically made by individuals who have never witnessed what SEM can do for them. What is SEM? Wikipedia hits the nail on the head defining it here. Through targeting, managed ad placements and fixed cost, SEM is undoubtedly an effective way to reach potential customers/leads.
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. Search Engine Marketing is also for those businesses that want to reach local customers conducting research or interest searches via the internet.
One area that seems to always be misunderstood is where exactly an ad shows up on a search engine results page. Below is a screenshot from a typical search result on Google:
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. 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 searches for a keyword or phrase that relates to your business, your ad is displayed. Once a potential customer reaches your website, you will be able to see where they have visited, if they called and, ultimately, translate these leads into revenue.
At least 20% of all online searches are local; that number jumps to 40% for users searching from a mobile device.* Experts only expect these numbers to grow. Still only marketing in the Yellow Pages? It might be time to start reaching those potential customers online.
* Marissa Mayer, VP, Google – TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, 2011comments powered by Disqus