Success in Search Engine Marketing (SEM), otherwise known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. That's not to say that it's impossible to figure it out if it isn't in your background, but it certainly isn't something you can pick up in a day. Here's a few things that you need to know about SEM that will help you to begin to understand it better:
1 – IT'S COMPLICATED
The first thing to know about SEM/PPC is that it's no simple endeavor. There's some excellent study materials here, and of course our team here at Level 11 loves to help people learn about it, but honestly, there are many things that you'll need to know and understand in order to know how to make the most of your SEM efforts.
2 – IT'S A SCIENCE
Knowing how to find AND interpret data is critical to SEM success. Any PPC campaign can have hundreds and even thousands of moving parts, and knowing how to make everything work together for your good requires a lot of work with numbers. Drilling down on the details will be the key to your PPC success.
3 – IT REQUIRES MAINTENANCE
SEM is constantly evolving and requires babysitting. There is no "set it and forget it" solution. Not only is technology constantly evolving (there's constantly big news from Google and others about PPC and the tools involved), but even your PPC campaigns will require regular (weekly at the very least) maintenance in order to optimize the investment you have in SEM. This is a huge reason behind the management fees that are typical with running PPC campaigns - success requires constant upkeep.
4 – GOOGLE IS THE PLACE TO START
In the world of search, Google is the elephant in the room, and so Google AdWords is the place to start. Reports vary, but Google has about 2/3 of the market share, and Bing is in second place with nearly 1/3 of the market. This means that if you need to do something somewhere, Google is almost always the answer. However, some search traffic does admittedly trend more heavily towards Bing, so as always, check the data before doing anything.
5 – NOT ALL MANAGERS REAP EQUAL RESULTS
PPC management is not commoditizable. What this means is that if you were to give your budget to 10 different managers, you'd get 10 very different results. In taking over management for some clients, we've seen thousands of dollars in budget completely wasted on horrible targeting and irrelevant keywords, and we've seen click-thru-rates (CTR) that were far below the average across Google. For comparison, Level 11 often achieves a CTR for our clients that is about 500-800% higher than the average across Google. We really are quite good at what we do.
6 – IT BRINGS YOU NEW, QUALIFIED TRAFFIC
A well-executed PPC campaign brings you traffic that likely wasn’t even looking for you specifically, and because you can establish parameters for qualification, you can know that the traffic coming to you already has a high likelihood of converting to paying customers. Would you rather spend your day talking with 100 random people in hopes that a handful will buy from you? Or is it more worthwhile to spend your day talking with 10 people that are vetted and ready to make a purchase? That's what effective PPC does for you.
7 – THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. An Ad that you create on AdWords, for example, only has so many characters you can use and so many extensions you can use. Knowing exactly what you want to say and what you want prospective customers to do means you need to be very judicious with everything you say and do. Again, this is why we excel at Level 11 - we've established processes that ensure efficiency and maximize customer engagement, leading to more money for our clients.
8 – IT CAN BE INEXPENSIVE
All different forms of online advertising come with very different costs. SEM can be an excellent way to dip your toe into the water and start figuring out what works. It certainly is possible to achieve measurable success from a PPC campaign using only a small budget.
9 – IT CAN BE EXPENSIVE
All due respect to #8, but the primary objective of PPC is to make money, which means that if you perform well with a small budget, you'd be silly to not increase that budget. When you know you're netting significant income from a specific marketing effort, and it's all proportional, would you not be inclined to keep growing? You know you have a well-executed PPC campaign when you want to keep increasing your budget.
10 – INDEPENDENT THRID PARTY AUDITS HELP
Just to ensure that everything is doing as well as it should, an audit can be very helpful. Having performed audits for many clients, we come across areas of potential improvement often. Similar to having an outside accounting firm audit your books, a PPC audit can be helpful in making sure that everything is in ship shape.
11 – IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE BEST FORM OF SEO
Effective SEO takes time, as you can see here and here. That being said, many thought leaders in the industry have said that PPC is now the best form of SEO. Being trackable and extremely targetable, PPC has many strengths that can truly help you increase traffic to your site, and ultimately increase your revenues, immediately. Yes, SEM can be very complicated, but it can be a huge boost to your bottom line today. Luckily, we're RIGHT HERE ready to help you!
About us: Level 11 Online Marketing is a fast growing digital advertising agency that is becoming known for disrupting the status quo. We specialize in digital advertising, video production, SEO, SEM, advanced analytics, custom web solutions via website design & implementation, social media strategies and conversion optimization. Headquartered in Utah, you will find Level 11 team members in Utah, Washington, California, Idaho, and Colorado. We have the best creative minds in the industry backed up by the most talented software developers and video production teams which leads to powerful, efficient advertising campaigns.
If you have questions, comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!