With over 17 billion searches conducted each month, it’s no surprise that one of the most popular digital marketing tactics used by businesses, large and small, is paid search. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay-Per-Click is a powerful way to ensure that people can find your site when searching, regardless of your site’s organic search engine ranking. Another reason SEM is so popular for the smaller business is that it can be purchased directly through the search engines. For a campaign to really be successful, it’s essential that the business have someone, whether internally or otherwise, to manage and optimize the campaign.
It’s critical to manage your campaign closely for a number of reasons. The cost of keywords is constantly changing, so if you don’t watch closely, some of your keywords could double or even triple in price and eat up an ever larger part of your budget. If they are key traffic drivers, it’s a necessary investment, but if they are lesser, more exploratory terms, you could be wasting a lot of money – with no return.
Another reason a campaign shouldn’t be left on “auto pilot” is because your business and your message change over time. Whether you’re adding new services, running an offer or promotion in the newspaper, or have a more seasonal market, the words you’re investing in should reflect what you’re doing that month.
Optimizing a campaign for your current marketing efforts is especially crucial. For instance, if you’re running a “summer clearance special” or a “limited introductory offer” radio commercial, people might not remember your company name – just the promotion you’re running. How will they try to find you? Most likely, a consumer’s first instinct is “Google it.”
This is where your campaign needs to be optimized. If you’re running a promotion, you’ll want to update your SEM campaign to incorporate terms such as “summer clearance special west palm” or “limited introductory offer fitness center” to make sure that, when people are looking for you, they find you!
Optimization also includes closely monitoring the Search Engine Marketing-driven traffic’s interaction on your website. This is important because if a keyword is driving a lot of traffic – but once someone lands on your site, they aren’t spending a lot of time on it – perhaps this keyword is misleading and driving false traffic.
On the other hand, if your analytics show that a specific type of keyword is driving traffic that results in some sort of conversion (visitor makes a purchase, fills out a Contact Us form, etc.), then it is obvious that these types of keywords are strong and that the decision to invest in other, similar terms could prove very successful.
As with all marketing data, it’s about monitoring the traffic and measuring the quality leads. SEM campaigns should be no different, and to make the most of your money, careful maintenance and continuous optimization are crucial. For many companies, the decision to outsource the management of an SEM campaign is largely decided by the time and resources available internally.