So what is SEM?
SEM is a very effective way for small businesses to reach new customers increase revenues, and trim acquisition costs.
What is SEM? A Beginner’s Guide
SEM stands for search engine marketing. This may seem very broad. But the term has actually come to mean a very specific type of marketing on search engines. That’s paid search. The most commonly known and used paid search tool is Google Ads.
But Bing or Yahoo may also be worth your time and money.
SEM leverages the power of search engines like Google to reach potential customers at the perfect time and place.
It’s also known by many other names
- Paid search ads
- Paid Advertising
- PPC (Pay-per-click)
You’ll also want to learn terms that are used often when discussing SEM. Through them, you’ll better understand how SEM works. Some of the most important ones include:
- Impressions — How many times your ad was visible on a screen. It doesn’t actually mean the person saw it.
- CPC (cost-per-click) — how much you pay when someone clicks your ad
- CPM (cost per million impressions) — This is another way to pay for a search ad. Depending on your goals and how the ad tool is set up, you may want to pay just to be seen.
- CTR (click through rate) — the number of clicks you got to your website from people that saw the ad, even if they didn’t click on the actual ad itself.
What Is SEM Compared to Social Media Advertising?
Some social networks also offer ad services that we can include when we ask, what is SEM? They involve a search function. But social media advertising and SEM aren’t generally the same thing.
- In social media advertising, ads typically display based upon data that the social media company collected about that individual. This allows you to target people based on specific interests, locations, buying behaviors and more.
Search engine marketing, on the other hand, relies on keyword phrases to target people when they’re performing searches in places like Google.
Social media advertising and SEM aren’t interchangeable. But they can work together very effectively to increase brand awareness and sales. It’s not uncommon for people to see your social media ads for a few days.
Then when they do a search, their eyes are drawn to your ad because they recognize you. They’re more likely to click. This may also happen in reverse. For this reason, it’s often effective to use both methods when marketing your business.
What is SEM Compared to SEO?
They are not the same. But it’s not really SEO vs SEM either. They do work together closely as a team.
SEO is search engine optimization. With SEO, you take certain steps to help your website appear higher in the organic search results in Google.
Google’s goal is that you find what you’re looking for at the top of page 1 in search results. SEO is about positioning your website so that Google determines that you’re the best website to answer the question.
Google factors in many elements to determine this, including:
- How fast your website is
- Whether people click when they see you in search results
- How people interact with your website. Do they click on other pages? Do they stay a little while?
- How in depth the answer appears to be
How Does SEM Benefit Small Business?
Take a Look!
It’s Instant Brand Awareness in Search Engines
As stated, SEO and unpaid social media take time. Google says it can take up to a year for a quality site to scale the rankings. And your ability to do so depends on strategies applied and what the competition is doing.
In contrast, SEM positions you at the top or bottom of page one. A business that has no current visibility or brand recognition can instantly get some attention.
If you have the right systems in place to turn this visibility into paying customers, that’s a huge impact on your revenues.
It Can Generate Revenues Quickly
With the right ad copy and strategies in place, see sales coming in the same day. It doesn’t need time to rev up. It’s really easy to get started with something like Ads.
It Grows with Your Business
What is SEM? It’s incredibly scalable. It’s easy to start small. Test things out. See what works. Keep costs low if you have a very limited budget.
Then as revenues go up thanks to SEM, increase the number of ads. Remove ads that aren’t working. Refine your campaigns. And increase your daily ad spend.
Want to get the most out of your small business marketing budget? Work with a company that can help you with your “what is SEM” woes by building and managing a smart SEM campaign. Contact us today.