August 18, 2007
Have you ever spent a few thousand dollars for an ad in a newspaper that ran for a week and received one call - maybe? You’re not alone.
I’m not saying don’t advertise in the paper - it’s a useful tool and sometimes necessary depending on your industry. I’m saying there is a powerful, trackable tool you can use to get to the people who are looking for your product or service. That tool is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - otherwise known as pay per click campaigns. When going to Google, Yahoo, or MSN, you’ll notice the “sponsored links” on the right side of the page and sometimes at the top - these ads are pay per click campaigns.
In a nutshell, you choose the keywords that your prospects use when searching for you in search engines, set a budget as to how much you’re willing to invest and choose which area you want to advertise. Then you wind up and let it go - while tracking your results on-line. You can potentially get an astronomical increase of return on your investment for the same money. As with any media, there are no sure things.
First, the keywords: Google and several other sites will provide a tool to get a list of keywords they recommend for your site such as:
Once you have the words, it’s important to notice that each word has a “bid” price. In other words, what a company is willing to pay when someone clicks on that link. Some are relatively inexpensive and some are very expensive. So you need to do your research. What you don’t want is to pay for people clicking into your site and finding out it’s not the right fit for what they were looking for.
Next you set your budget. You can itemize how much you are willing to pay for a click and how much you are willing to spend a day and a month. Once you reach your limit, your ad stops showing up.
Lastly you need to establish where you want your ads to show. If your product or service has a limited region you can service, it makes since to only advertise in those regions. You can set it by cities, regions, countries, or even a set distance from your store.
There are several other factors not covered here as I would have to write a book to even scratch the surface. Some of those things are; Am I in an industry that would benefit from SEM? Is it better for me to pay a service to manage my account? Will driving traffic to my website ultimately achieve my goals (such as bring people to my store)?
Do your homework before you begin. Your time is valuable and some things are just better left to the experts. I know how to change the transmission fluid in my car but I’m not about to do it. What would take me hours will take the person with the right tools and experience only minutes.
Now get out there and look good.
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