Search engine marketing puts your business in front of customers at the very moment they are looking for the products and services that your business offers.
Without the support of online advertising your website may remain hidden from prospective clients. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your website is, if people can’t find it it’s not doing the job it was designed for.
At its most basic, SEM is the process of delivering traffic to your website by purchasing ads on search engines. You may also hear it referred to as paid search or pay-per-click marketing.
If you’re new to SEM or you’ve only just implemented a strategy, there are a few things you need to be aware of to make the most of your SEM budget.
Dean Ramler, the founder and CEO of Australian online furniture retailer Milan Direct, has been using Google AdWords since about 2006 to attract customers to his site.
Having “learnt everything by doing,” Ramler says Milan Direct’s overall paid search strategy is to have an unlimited budget - as long as those key words are performing.
He offers the following tips for those just starting out.
1. Analyse your campaign every day
According to Ramler, businesses should constantly analyse and optimise their paid search campaign – not once a year or once a month, but every day.
“As a general rule, whichever key word is performing we’re happy to spend more money on. We’ll spend less money on what’s not performing until we get to that sweet spot where it’s breaking even or making a profit,” he says.
“You should be [analysing your campaign] every day because otherwise your costs can blow out – and you can spend quite a lot on AdWords.”
2. You can’t trick Google
Google rewards ads that are extremely relevant, meaning your business needs to have highly targeted ads that go to the correct landing page.
“That’s the best tip to get you the cheapest ads on Google and the best position as well,” he says, explaining that Google will charge more for those ads that aren’t as relevant.
3. Compete against yourself
It’s important to have two ads competing against each other, according to Ramler.
“We’ll have two different ads with slightly different text competing against each other and what we’ll do is look at the two ads and work out which one is performing the best.
“We’ll try to improve the worst performing ad to beat the other. You always want to try to beat your other ad,” he says. “Your ads will be really relevant and Google will reward you for that.”
4. Set up your campaign correctly
According to Ramler, a lot of businesses make the mistake of including as many key words as possible in the one campaign.
“What Google wants you to do is to have specific ads popping up for different key words,” he says.
“At Milan Direct we’ve got thousands of products and we’ll have a different ad for every product. It makes a lot of work but what that does, again, is make your ad really relevant and Google will reward you for that, and you’ll pay less.”