If Search Marketing Doesn’t Work for You, You’re Doing it WrongKenneth Nel
Search Marketing, also known as SEM, is becoming one of the most efficient ways for pretty much every business out there to spend their marketing budget. The reason is simple: if you want to know something, find something or buy something, you go to one of the search engines. Google, Bing, Yahoo – they are all eager servants, ready to serve up whatever Sir requires.
However, we aren’t here to write yet another blog about why you should be advertising your business online. Chances are, you know that, and have already read more than a few authoritative pieces on the topic. No, we are here to show you what can, and frequently does go wrong when you dive head first into search marketing with nothing more than $10 and blind optimism.
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Three Search Marketing Essentials
The SEM discussion is something of a rabbit hole and it’s easy to get sucked into the confusion. We’d like to simplify things for you and make sure that you have the foundations right before you start flushing your hard-earned cash. For the purposes of this article, we are talking about paid ads, even though the SEM umbrella is a massive one.
Do You Know Your Audience?
If you were to define your audience, who would it be? And for the love of Pete – don’t say “everyone”. Even makers of staple items, like white bread, don’t have an audience of everyone. They won’t be selling to gluten intolerant people, those currently on any sort of diet, banting or otherwise, people who prefer rye or whole grain… you get the point.
If you know your audience then you will know what matters to them the most, what problem you are solving for them, and what language they use. And don’t skim over this part, it’s really the key to getting your messaging right.
Drill down and be as specific as you can. Ask questions like where do they live, what are their ages, male or female, what are their social habits, who are their friends, and where do they shop? This will more fully help you to understand how your product or service impacts them, and what problem it solves for them. (This is essential info for point number two.) All this information gives you a laser-focused, targeted point and enables you to reach the right people at the right time with the right message.
Are you Using the Right Words?
It’s no secret that to engage someone, you need to speak to them in a way that they understand. You wouldn’t walk into a preschool and start spouting Shakespeare, would you? Likewise, if your audience is made up of teenage boys between 13 – 17 who are searching for information on drones, then it’s perfectly acceptable to make Fortnite references and use colloquial terms to capture their attention and engage them. This same message would completely alienate an audience of senior real estate agents who require drone imagery to market million-dollar properties.
So, we know that we need to speak to people the way they would like to be spoken to, but there is more. When you are crafting copy for your next Google ad, you will need a headline, some subtext, and a short message. All of these need to answer the WIIFM question – What’s In It For Me. If you can say, “So what?” to any part of your message, hit that backspace key and start again. This is where you show the benefits of the product or service that you offer; what it can do for them.
Do You Test and Measure?
If you are going it alone with your search marketing efforts and setting up your own ads, then we definitely recommend making sure that you check your ads, test them, and measure your success on a frequent basis. What headlines are working best and have the best click-through rate? Which locations are responding better to your ads? Are men or women reacting to your message? What age groups are you seeing more success with? Which keywords are the most expensive, and which offer the highest conversion?
If you’re taking advice, we would also suggest starting with a small budget and beef it up only once you see results. Newbies have had the (unfortunate) experience of loading an AdWords account up with a monthly budget, and due to a couple of teeny incorrect settings, have had their entire account swallowed up in a day.
So, the nutshell version of this is:
- Know your audience and clearly define how you help them
- Make sure to speak in the right tone with the same language that will engage them
- Carefully track your adverts and make adjustments where necessary
Search marketing is a field on its own and has specialists who know how to speak fluent SEM. If that’s not you, but you want to get involved in search marketing to boost your sales, then have a chat to your friendly neighbourhood coach. We are standing by.