Let’s start with the basics.
You hear many terms nowadays in digital marketing, SEM, SEO CPC, CRO etc. Making you wonder why does digital marketing have to be so different from the good old Billboard or Radio ad. It’s also very easy to confuse all these acronyms. You may even think they mean the same thing. Well, they don’t! So what is SEM?
Good news is you’re not the only one asking these questions, so relax. It’s very important to have an understanding of it all if you’re a business owner. Especially if you’re considering investing in a Digital Agency. So regardless of whether you decide to work with us, we are here to provide you with the information you need to know as a business owner about how SEM will benefit you.
So here’s what’s what….
What is SEM?
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and is the ability to put your ads in front of potential customers on specific search results. You may know this as the sponsored ads on Google. SEO Commonly referred to as PPC (pay-per-click), or Paid search ad, they all refer to the same thing. It may sound like a broad Marketing term, but it really only concerns one specific topic. That’s paid search results on search engines.
As you probably know, Google is the most commonly used search engine. With 3 Billion searches every day it’s clear to understand why businesses worldwide take advantage of Google ads (formally known as Google adwords) and implement PPC campaigns. Other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo may also be very well worthwhile (we’ll explain why later).
The purpose of implementing SEM on search engines like Google is to reach your potential customers at the right time and place. This makes SEM one of the best strategies to promote your products or services.
It’s also important to understand the terminology associated with SEM. This will help you gain a better understanding of how SEM works. Terms include;
CPC (cost-per click)– This is how much you are charged when your ads are clicked.
CPM (cost-per million impressions)– This means how much it is costing you per million times your ad was visible. This is an alternative payment method to CPC and depending on your ad strategy will dictate which method you use.
CTR (click-through rate)– This is the number of clicks your ad generated to your website.
Impressions– This is how many times your ad was visible on the screen. (Note, this doesn’t mean people actually saw it).
Quality Score– Also known as ad rank, indicates the quality of your ads on a scale of 0-10. This is calculated on a few factors which we will discuss later. Basically a low-quality score will be anything below 4. A good quality-score will be 7 or more.
Our Paid Search Service Packages
Essential Health Package
$750 per month (save $82) or $192 per week
- Ideal for local businesses
- Sustaining constant cashflow and brand awarness
- Monthly report and video call
- Only advertises on 1 search engine (Google, Bing)
- Additional $200/month or $55/week to add more search engines
$1000 per month (save $170) or $270 per week
- Ideal for local and smaller businesses
- Keeps account fresh and healthy
- Includes everything from essentials plus
- Greater optimisation, Bid adjustments, Audeince targeting
- Creation of new ad campaigns and groups when needed
Price on request
From $1500 per month (save $558) or $475 per week
- Ideal for businesses seeking growth. More competitive industries/broader markets
- Everything from Bronze package plus;
- High emphasis on optimising your account
- Advanced SEM (first and third party audience)
- Full funnel strategy
Price on request
From $4500 per month
- Everything from Silver Package
- Ideal for highly competitive industries and broader markets
- Senior account manager with full contactability
- Full growth strategy
- Accounts for over $30,000/month
- Multiple Search Engines (Baidu SEM-Chineese market)
- Custom Tags, in-depth business reports, multiple languages
Learn about SEM, make an informed choice.
SEM VS. SEO:
SEM, SEO both have their advantages and limitations. So which is the best marketing strategy? The answer, neither are the best. They go hand in hand with one another and ideally you should implement both approaches for best results. Note that only if everything is done correctly will you see the results come to fruition. Hence why it is essential to know exactly what you are doing and if you don’t, outsource it.
So let’s talk about it.
Google’s mission is to read and organise the world’s information and show you the right piece of content at the right time.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the ability of how well your website ranks organically in the search engine results. Note the term organic. This means you are not paying for advertising costs. This method of marketing involves constantly updating your website to rank as high as possible in the organic search results. This is relative to the topic of the website and it’s relevance to search queries.
SEO works like this, the better quality your website the better it ranks in the search results. Advantages are, if you know how to optimize your website correctly you can rank higher in the search engine results page and get free traffic. Disadvantages; SEO takes time to develop and you will need to be prepared to constantly update and refresh your webpages over a long period of time to rank in the top searches. Google even states it may take up to a year to rank on the top page, given that you’re optimizing correctly.
SEM works hand in hand with SEO. SEM is the ability to show your PPC ad in the top results of user searches. Advantages of a PPC campaign mean that you can literally put an ad up and start driving traffic to your website straight away. Furthermore, you have the ability to scale an ad campaign whereas there’s not much oportunity to scale SEO.
Additionally, Social media Marketing is a great resource to supplement your advertising strategy and drive traffic and increase conversions. The beauty of social media marketing is that it allows complete freedom for creativity. Applying all three strategies will see you achieve the best ROI.
Here is a list of advantges SEM provides :
- Supplement your existing SEO campaign with SEM
- Drive traffic to your website within hours
- Ability to scale campaigns that provide good ROI
- Target your audience based on location, age, interests etc.
- Abillity to remarket
- Control your ad spend effectively
Do I need SEM if I’m using SEO?:
This is a common question asked by many business owners, long story short, the answer is; Yes Absolutely!
Firstly, SEO is only focused on making sure your website is fast and user-friendly (by Search engine definition). Google’s mission is to read and organise the world’s information and show you the right piece of content at the right time. Google justifies how well a website ranks by reading each and every website and analysing its content on the quality and relevance to your search terms.
This also applies to SEM. Google has a system they call ‘quality score’. For instance, if a user sees your ad in the search results, clicks through to your landing page. Then they leave because of a bad experience; your ad will receive a low-quality score and Google will charge you more per click. All because you didn’t optimise your website… Bummer.
If your business is doing SEO correctly then there should be no hiccups in starting with SEM. From a marketing perspective, if your business is only using SEO to drive traffic online then you can expect to wait. You might as well watch grass grow if this is your strategy to customer acquisition. Now SEO is definitely a must but shouldn’t be done without any supplementing marketing strategies. This is why SEM and SEO go hand in hand. Start driving traffic to your website within hours and if you have the right systems in place can expect sales soon after.
Again we’d just like to reiterate the importance of supplementing your marketing by implementing both SEM and SEO and how valuable they both can be to your business when done correctly. Litepages also offers SEO.
Key elements to consider with SEM and SEO:
- SEO and SEM go hand in hand
- SEM requires ad spend
- SEM allows your customers to reach you within hours
- SEO doesn’t require ad spend
- SEO takes it’s time
What is the Cost of SEM?:
Asking this question is like asking how long is a piece of string?
Google gives your search ads a quality score based on a number of things. How relevant your ads are, how user-friendly your website is, how fast it loads etc. Based on the quality score, Google will either charge you more or less (per click) for SEM. e.g. if you have a high-quality score, Google will charge less. If your ads have a low-quality score you will be charged more. Let us explain why this is. Google is a service and needs to make money. The highest source of revenue is their users (more importantly their attention). Followed by advertising revenues. What Google and other platforms found is that on average, users time-spend decreased when ads were visible. This meant less traffic and interest on their platforms in the long run.Consequently, platforms would lose revenue. To address this, the ‘quality score’ was introduced.
This means if the ad is great (high-quality score) we reward the advertiser by lowering their CPC as it’s retaining users interest. Therefore, retaining spend-time on their platform. This also incentives the advertiser to spend more money. If the ad is not relevant/annoying/not helpful etc. it will receive a low-quality score. This then means Google charges more per click as so to counter to the balance of the micro decrease in user time associated with the low-quality ads.
Furthermore, additional factors such as industry, location, keywords you are trying to target in your search ads will have a dramatic impact on your CPC. For example for an eCommerce business owner, the average industry benchmark for CPC on the search network is $0.88. Whereas, the legal industry average benchmark is $5.88. This is a crucial factor to keep in mind for your industry.
When it comes to getting the most of SEM with your budget, there are several features to mindful of:
- Make better ads to lower the CPC
- Ensure your website is SEO friendly
- Factor your industry and keywords to your budget
- Test different ads to identify what’s performing well
- Remove campaigns that aren’t providing a positive ROI
- Double down on the ads that are providing a positive ROI
There are no rules to SEM, so what you do and what works is dependant on the level of your business and your competitors.
So how does SEM Benefit my Business?
There are numerous benefits to implementing Paid Search strategies for your businesses, but for now we are going to discuss the most important. So, let’s take a look.The below factors will determine how SEM can help your business reach its goals:
- Instant Brand Awareness SEM and organic social media content can take it’s time to have an effect on your business. Google even states it can take up to a year for your website to rank well organically. So with Paid Search advertising, you are in the driver’s seat and can get in front of people searching for key terms instantly. That also means instant Brand Awareness for your business when people constantly see your ads. This allows for new businesses with little or no brand awareness to instantly start getting their name out there. As for the same for an established business that may be looking to enter new markets. Furthermore, if you have the right systems in place to convert this visibility into customers, that’s going to have a huge impact on your revenue.
- Generates Revenue fairly quickly With the right systems, ad copy and ad strategy in place you can see sales coming in within hours. Google Ads makes it very easy for people to set up an Ad account and go for it. However, managing Ads requires skill, on going service and someone who really does know what they’re doing, otherwise you’re likely going to be throwing your money down the drain. That’s why it’s important for digital agencies to have experience and recognition of their skills. Here at Lite Pages, all our Digital marketers have at least 2-5 years experience under the belt. All have been recognised by Google and achieved their Google Ads certificates, so you can be sure your bottom line is in safe hands.
- SEM Scales with your Business Another incredible feature of Google Ads is you’re really in control of everything. Specifically, your budget and ad spend. The reason why paid search is such a scalable marketing channel is because you can test things out. See what sticks and what doesn’t. If you have a limited budget you can spend low amounts initially and go all in when something clicks. Additionally, once you start noticing a performing ad, you can duplicate it and increase the number of ads that are working. Remove the ads that aren’t. Increase your daily spend and you will see an incredible ROI.
- Reaches Potential Customers at the Right Time and Place Say you’re a plumber. Just imagine that someone out there on the web needs a plumber today. They go on Google and search ‘Plumber in Sydney’. There would be an incredible amount of results but because you started Google ads you are now in the top 3 results. That makes your ads highly likely to be seen and clicked on, putting you in front of a lot of competition.
- It Reaches your Target SEM allows you to target your ideal customer. For example, if you were a florist and new that your highest purchasing customer “Ideal Customer”, was women between the ages of 30-45, who lived in suburbs X, Y and Z and were married with kids.Then guess what. You can target that exact demographic. The capabilities extend far further, but we won’t discuss that now. All you need to know is no matter how specific your customers are, how small your niche might be, there is a way to reach your customers online through PPC. These are capabilities that just aren’t available through traditional advertising methods. For example, if you went and put a billboard up for your florist business, would you know how many people saw it? Would you even know if they saw it or they just drove past it not even noticing it? Okay well even if you did know they saw it, would you know if they fit your ideal customer demographic? These are the reasons as to why digital marketing and in particular Paid Search have become such a valuable investment for businesses.
- Far less expensive than traditional advertising Dominating capabilities Paid Search has over traditional marketing guess what. It’s also far cheaper! Here’s why. Instead of paying say $500,000 to run a TV commercial on a program and targeting a very broad audience. You target specifically who you are looking for. This will increase the conversion rate. Better yet if you realise your ads aren’t performing well enough, you can simply just stop them or tweak them to try again. Whereas you have paid $500,000 on a TV commercial only to realise 1 week later that it’s not working and there’s no way you are getting that money back.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and has robust targeting options to reach the right customers at the right time. Since Youtube is owned by Google the capabilities of Google ads extend to Youtube. You can target by location, age, time, day, interests, gender and more. Best of all, with the most common advertising option, if they skip the ad before 6 seconds, you don’t pay a cent.
What is the process for working with us on SEM
Hiring an Ad agency for your business is something that needs to be considered very seriously. Unfortunately, we live in a world where every second man and his dog with a Google ads account thinks they’re a qualified digital marketer. The effect this has had on the industry has left a lot of business owners burnt and allowed skepticism to flourish.This is why when working with Dreamflex, we are completely transparent and will only suggest things we think your business actually needs and could truly benefit from. Here’s what the process of working with us will look like;
- Step 1: Initial Audit of your Website By filling out the form at the top of the page you will bring us to action, and we will begin a top-level look at your website and how specifically how PPC could assist you to grow your business.
- Step 2: Initial consult with Dreamflex After becoming familiar with your site and business, we will set up a call or face to face meeting to understand your needs and give you a personal pitch on how we can help.
- Step 3: Analysis of current SEM activityIf you are currently running ads on Google or Bing, we will audit this activity to allow us to prepare a formal proposal and quote for our service.
- Step 4: Formal quote and proposal In a similar format to the initial consult, we will meet with you to present our plan of attack for your SEM campaigns. You will see how we will meet your needs in plain English and only get as technical as you want us to.
- Step 5: Onboard and campaign build Work commences, the first monthly generally involves us building the accounts for ongoing optimisation and setting up tracking for key goals on your site.
- Step 6: Regular monthly reporting Every month you will receive a report from our team with your results. It is your choice if you would like a call to occupied each report to explain the ins and outs. Also, you will receive regular contact from the team with ideas, we are hands-on and want to be part of your business.
What SEM Services Do We Offer?
We offer our expertise in the areas where you need it most. Below are our different packages on offer that will assist in optimising your business, depending on your business size and goals.
Do we have lock-in contracts?
At the moment we feel no need for lock-in contracts. We prefer to focus on creating results and building solid relationships with our clients. We are confident that our work speaks for it’s self and we can really help businesses meet their needs.
I prefer talking to a person, is this possible?
Absolutely! Our marketing specialists would be glad to organise a time to visit your workplace, or meet in Brisbane CBD if this is preferable.
How do I get started?
- Fill in the form at the top of this page for a quote
- Send us an email
- Give us a call