Search Engine Marketing Strategies

Now that we understand a little more about what SEM/PPC is and how it works, we should talk a little about strategies. Like anything we should be doing in business to get the best results, there should be a strategy in how a SEM/PPC program is approached. As a business owner/manager, you really don't need to understand all the strategies necessary to develop and manage a successful SEM/PPC campaign. You should feel comfortable in knowing that your program manager understands SEM/PPC, and your business, so they can use the best strategies in accomplishing your goals.

The ultimate goal of an advertising program is to bring business to your door. Whether that door is physical or online is based on your own business strategies. There are decisions you can make that can help optimize your success with a SEM/PPC program. Most business owners believe they understand their customers. Where they often fall short is expanding on their business terms, or keywords, in order to capture their whole market. So, your first decision would be to help drive the expansion of the terms, or keywords, that relate to your market. Some of this is achieved through cooperation with your SEM/PPC manager, and some could be sitting in your current business assets, such as sales logs or even web logs.

The next decision you should make would be to invest in pages on your web site that would focus on the campaign terms that are being used in your SEM/PPC campaigns. These pages are called 'Landing Pages' because they are where your prospects from your campaigns 'land'. These pages are your opportunity to convert those paid visitors into qualified prospects or even customers. You want to ensure anybody that isn't qualified leaves the page, and those qualified continue on to the next step. By ensuring this qualifying, your campaigns can be better tweaked and those true prospects can be moved on to your sales funnel. These pages should focus on targeted keywords from the campaign so the ads can be very relevant. Creating specific landing pages for each group of keywords in your campaign(s) can significantly improve your overall success.

Another decision you can make as you implement a SEM/PPC program is to design and commit to a specific sales funnel either online or offline. Leading your paid prospects through a proven program, and tracking them through the process, will increase the overall success of not only your SEM/PPC program but your sales process as well. Marketing through a SEM/PPC program gives your business a head start by providing immediate tracking information, and the ability to quickly adjust your program. Take advantage of that by following through your complete sales process. This tracking, then tweaking of the programs and process, is what is termed as Conversion Optimization. By using SEM/PPC to help drive the optimization of your business conversion, you can improve your overall sales process.

As I talk about strategy that stands outside of the actual SEM/PPC ad campaign, you may be asking how that is related. It is related in a very big way that isn't obvious on the surface. Google Adwords, in particular, tracks where those visitors click (your ad) and where they go (your pages). Google itself can't see where the visitors go after they leave your landing page. But, they do track how many visitors leave your page in a short period of time. Visitors that aren't satisfied by the page they land on, usually leave that page within seconds. Google's goal is to satisfy their visitors (and ad clickers) with the best pages possible. So, a quick departure (or bounce) is considered poor quality. Ads and pages that aren't optimized together will cost you more per click, AND may be displayed less often. That has a large impact on your overall ad campaign(s). So, obviously, the goal of your program manager and you should be to provide the best match between what your paid visitors think they're going to get and what they actually see.

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