Building the Best SEM Strategy

By June 18, 2019 digital marketing

When boiled down to the essentials, search engine marketing is more or less paid digital advertising—the process of buying prime real estate and top-shelf visibility on key search result pages.

But without a well-thought-out SEM plan, you’re likely just throwing darts into the digital void—paying for a PPC campaign that’s missing the bullseye in terms of clickthrough, engagement and feeding your sales funnel.

Below are a few marketing tips for building a more effective SEM strategy, one that grows brand awareness and maximizes your digital marketing budget:

Set Clear Goals

What do you want people to do after they’ve clicked on your ad? Download an app? Subscribe to your newsletter or podcast? Read a testimonial? Contact your firm?

Before bidding on keywords or writing compelling copy, be sure your team has a clear idea about what you want customers to do after the initial clickthrough. Clearly defining why you’re spending money on SEM helps align your goals with those of your business, focus your marketing efforts and gets your strategy rolling in the right direction.

Redefine Your Audience

It’s no longer enough to simply aim your SEM strategy at a particular age group, gender or hyper-local demographic. While those factors are important, it’s crucial to also consider the dynamics of interaction at each phase of the purchasing process—including how and when consumers search for content, engage with sites and make decisions along the decision-making journey.

Accounting for behavior and context as well as demographics can help you carve out an SEM strategy that aligns with customer mindsets and adds value at each stage of brand interaction.  

Know Your Competition

Do you have a good idea what your market’s current SEM landscape looks like? Before you start drawing up your paid ad roadmap, it’s good to understand which keywords your competitors are bidding on, how aggressively they’re using PPC and the conversion metrics they’re targeting.

When you know what you’re up against, you can then build a bid strategy more centered on accomplishing your long-term marketing and business goals.

Choose Your Keywords Wisely

The right keywords are the meat and potatoes of your PPC entrée. The search phrases you choose can be the difference between successful, brand-boosting SEM and a big-time digital marketing money-pit, making thorough keyword research an absolute necessity before you start bidding.

It’s important to identify the short and long-tail keywords that line up with your goals. Depending on your needs, you could lean more toward general, non-specific industry phrases or highly-specific brand-based keywords without as much volume. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to test and refine your choices as your efforts progress over time.

Optimize with SEO

Your brand’s web presence is the culmination of everything you are and do online. If your search engine marketing approach isn’t in sync with your organic results, social efforts and overall digital strategy, you’re likely sending your audience mixed signals about who you are and why you’re the best choice to solve their problems.

Reinforcing your paid search strategy with organic SEO helps strengthen your messaging and improve your coverage across search results pages. Essentially, proper alignment of your SEM and SEO strategies can enhance industry authority and improve your click-to-conversion ratio.

Be Ready to Change

A robust SEM strategy must include room for change. PPC and search are always on the move, and the “set it and forget it” approach to search engine marketing will de-optimize your effectiveness and your marketing budget fast.

Continual testing and research should be baked-in elements of any SEM strategy, as constant updating and refining are central to maximizing your budget and performance.

For more marketing tips, or to learn more about “marcating” your business online, visit Marca Global® today.

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