Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the most cost-efficient ways to reach a target market for businesses of all sizes. Traditional marketing such as catalog mail, trade magazines, direct mail, TV, or radio involves passive participation by your audience and targeting can vary greatly from one medium to another.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
SEM is a form of Internet marketing involving buying traffic through paid search activities.1 This is distinctly different from search engine optimization (SEO), which is the process of earning traffic organically. Take a second and Google the word “car”. See all of the advertisements visible above the search results? Those are ads paid for by a business to generate traffic.
Search delivers an active, targeted message to your online properties.
Individuals who see your SEM advertisements are actively searching for the keywords you indicated. For example, if you are an attorney practicing in Tucson, you would most likely advertise on the following keywords: Attorneys in Tucson, Lawyers, Tucson Law Firm, etc.. Over half the keyword searches are three words or longer, so be sure to utilize long-tailed keywords; check out our blog regarding long-tailed keywords here. Now, if anyone searches any of the following words and you are paying enough per click, your advertisement will appear. If you use the Pay-Per-Click methodology, you only pay if a user clicks on the advertisement. Therefore, as a business, you’re only paying for leads who find your content relevant and not wasting resources!
Search is the most popular medium for locating information.
74% of internet users perform local searches and of this percentage, 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP / comScore). In 2012, Google processed over 1.2 trillion search queries.2 That is an average of 100 billion searches a month! Google represents 65.2% of search engines during this period.3 In other words, people are using search engines to find out about your company’s products or services.
Search Engine Marketing has one of the lowest costs per customer acquisition.
SEM is a great marketing medium and very cost effective compared with other marketing mediums. As displayed by the graph, customer acquisition is just below $10 while direct mail is highly ineffective at around $70 per customer. Granted the cost per customer can vary drastically based on the industry, but this gives a good overview of the effectiveness of search engine marketing compared to other direct marketing channels. For more information on customer acquisition, read our blog on The Cost to Reach 1000 People.
Search engine marketing is a very cost-effective way to grow your business and increase profits; it is also the most popular medium for locating information. If your business is not actively pursuing search engine marketing, you can be sure one of your competitor is.