In Part 1 I roughly skimmed over what search marketing is all about. However, I didn’t get a chance to elaborate on how you can use it as leverage to help grow your business.
In summation, these are websites that we use a reference to culminate information that we seek. “Google” ranking as most popular as a search engine.
Google currently processes over 40 000 search queries every second, and no other search engine gets close to that.
I can guarantee you that a large proportion of those searches are related to finding or learning more about products and services, and that is why search engines are the perfect platform to help promote your business.
There are two ways to leverage search engines to your company’s advantage, and that is through search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
The search engine depends on your team focus as well adapting the structures and content of the website to improve its rankings.
Search engine marketing is when you, your team or a marketing agency spends money on ads that feature in search engines that can help promote your business, products, and services.
I explained in part 1 that digital marketing is not limited to online companies or e-commerce stores, but expands as far as offline or local businesses that may benefit greatly by tapping into the digital realm.
With that in mind, in this article, we will be digging into how you as a solo entrepreneur, business owner or marketing manager can utilise search engine marketing to your advantage.
1Search Engine Search Network Ads
How often have you used Google to search for something? Have you ever noticed that the two or three positions usually say “ad”?
Well, those ads have been paid for by ‘someone’, ‘someone’ that is trying to promote a service or product related to your search query.
Let’s say you were searching for “red Nike running shoes,” the first two ads might be from a company like Takealot.com or Total Sports trying to showcase their running shoes.
Because it’s in the first or second position, most users think they are the most relevant results, and therefore click through to the website that has paid for the ad.
If you are using a laptop or desktop, then search ads can also appear on the side. These are usually less effective as fewer people pay attention to the side of their screens, however, they are still utilised.
I’ve mentioned before that 66% of all search traffic goes to the first five positions in Google, with that said, it’s crucial that you rank well either ‘organically’ or ‘through paid’ advertising to ensure you are not losing out to competitors.
3 Best features of search ads that can help grow your business
1. DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
One of the most popular reasons that companies use search ads is that they can drive customers directly to their site, or any related page for that matter.
This is the perfect example of the “red Nike running shoes” search query that I explained above.
This is not only an innovative means to increase brand awareness, but it’s one of the best ways to convert online shoppers into customers.
2. GET DIRECTIONS TO YOUR BUSINESS
Now, I know that the above example is mainly aimed at an online business or e-commerce store, but there are other great features specifically designed and tailored for the needs of local businesses or offline stores that will attract customers to your business.
If you’re a local panel beater in Sandton for example, you can run a search ad campaign to target only people in the Sandton area that are searching for an affordable panel beater to help them fix their car.
With that said, once the customer sees the ad, they can click to get directions to your workshop.
Now, do you see why I always say that digital marketing is not only for online focused businesses?
3. PHONE CALLS TO MAKE BOOKINGS OR ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
Another great option for both offline and online companies are the phone call feature.
If you’re a local restaurant, you can make your services pop up to customers in the area looking for places to dine.
Once they see the ad, they will have the option to phone your restaurant and make a booking.
The same goes for hairdressers, dry cleaners or literally any other business for that matter.
2Search Engine Display Network Ads
As mentioned in Part 1 of our Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing in South Africa, display ads are different to search ads in the way that they can show an image or a video with your message on it to the potential customer.
Have you ever wanted to advertise your services or products on a popular website? Well, with Google’s Display Networks Ads you can.
One attractive feature of display ads is that it allows you to reach more users as it extends beyond the user’s search terms.
It’s also an affordable way to increase brand awareness due to the fact that the image can be designed around your brands corporate identity.
How display ads work
Google’s Display Network is a collection of more than a million websites, blogs, mobile apps, videos and other online destinations that show Google Adwords Ads.
This allows you to put your brand and product in front of over 80% of the wos internet users who have a specific interest.
For instance, imagine that you are a travel agency this is not only looking to increase awareness about your agency, but to also promote your specials. Well, with the Google Display Network you can target users that are interested in traveling, and who are also in the market to booking a holiday.
This works similar to search ads, but take into account that the presentation of ads is different.
Instead of showing up in Google search results, your banner,ad or video will be shown on any website that is running Google Adsense, but only the user interested in booking a holiday will see your ad.
As an alternative, you can also choose where your ads get displayed, for example, websites related to traveling.
Display ads provide you with a powerful conduit to reach customers who want to hear your message.
Imagine there were a way that you could reach customers that hadn’t visited your website in a while?
What if there were a way to reconnect with a customer who wasn’t ready to make a purchase the first time around?
Or maybe you just want to increase your brand awareness, and want to make sure people see your brand message often. Well, with Google Retargeting Ads you can do all of that.
The feature I love most about Google Remarketing is that your brand and message can be displayed to your previous site visitors wherever they might be browsing.
Not only does this help your brand remain fresh in the cuomers mind, but it can also help capture lost sales.
A while ago one of the biggest problems in digital marketing was that there was no way to follow up with a website visitor, especially if they didn’t buy anything.
This helps you, as a business to remain in the consumers mind subconsciously, without lifting a finger or incuring any detremental cost to your company.
How does one charge for these ads?
COST PER MILE (CPM)
CPM stands for cost per mile. However, it’s actually cost per thousand impressions. An impression is each time the ad gets shown to someone.
This means that you will pay each time that the ad gets shown to a thousand people.
You can manually set this in Google Adwords, and you can programme Google to what you are willing to pay each time that your ad gets shown to a thousand users.
Google will provide you with a suggested bid, and you can then decide what you are willing to pay.
Bidding too low can result in your ad getting outbidded every single time and therefore never airing.
Bidding too high can result in your ad winning every bid and running out of budget quicker than you can say Mississippi.
COST PER CLICK (CPC)
This is what you, the advertisers are willing to pay each time a user clicks on your ad.
If your daily budget is R100 and you are willing to spend R5 a click, then worst case scenario is that you receive 20 clicks on your ad.
I say worst case, as the CPC can be lower than the bid you provided. It’s possible to bid R5 a CPC, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to spend R5 every time.
This only means that you are willing to compete with a competitor for the ad space as long as the value of that click is no higher than R5.
COST PER ENGAGEMENT (CPE)
Cost per engagement might sound similar to CPC as it if a user engages with your ad he is clicking on it right?
Correct. However, you might want to drive the user to the website. What happens if he clicks on directions and then leaves.
That would mean he never visited the website, but you still paid for the click.
For some advertisers this is not ideal, so Google launched CPE.
If you’re a local business wanting people to give you a call, then you will only be charged each time someone clicks the telephone icon.
That would be your CPE.
Target your audience based on demographics and more
The best feature of Google Adwords and other search engine marketing solutions is that you can target people based on where they live, their age, what they are interested in as well as what device they are using to search or browse the internet.
This is especially handy for local businesses looking to target people in a given area.
On the other hand, if your business mainly sells makeup, then you will mainly be using the gender specific function.
These are simple and very basic functions that most digital advertising platforms have, but they are most definitely underrated when it comes to their overall influence.
5 Main Reasons why Search Engine Marketing Ads should be a part of your marketing campaign
1. YOUR CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS ARE ONLINE, DEAL WITH IT.
Stats from Statista.com show that 26% of online shoppers spend 5 hours or more on the internet.
But it’s not just online shoppers that spend time on the internet, Statista concluded that of the number of shoppers that spend time on the internet, 19% were offline customers.
Below is the percentage of South African customers that spend their time on the internet:
30 Minutes or More
- Online shoppers = 7%
- Offline shoppers = 14%
- Online shoppers = 12%
- Offline shoppers = 18%
- Online Shoppers = 22%
- Offline Shoppers = 21%
- Online Shoppers = 18%
- Offline Shoppers = 17%
- Online Shoppers = 16%
- Offline Shoppers = 11%
- Online Shoppers = 26%
- Offline Shoppers = 19%
So, if your customers are online and browsing and searching the internet, why aren’t you using this opportunity to talk to them?
2. IN-MARKET AUDIENCES
When driving, I see a ton of billboards representing car companies showcasing their new models that have just been released.
How many people do you think drive by these billboards on a daily basis? Probably thousands.
But, have you ever wondered how many of them actually have the intent to buy a car?
If you were a car dealership, how great would it be to be able to advertise to someone who had the intention of buying a car? Well, with search engine marketing you can, and it’s called in-market audiences.
In-market audiences from Google can decipher when a customer is in the market to purchase a product as opposed to when they are just simply browsing.
Google surmises this by looking at a users search history. If that user has been browsing reviews from different car manufacturers, performed price comparisons, and clicked on certain ads related to buying a car, that user becomes an in-market user for your car dealership.
And the best part is you can now show the user your ads which provide you with the chance of a sale you probably didn’t have before.
3. SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING IS AGILE
I would say one of the biggest benefits of search engine marketing is that it allows you to change your message in real time.
What I mean by that is, that back in the day, if you wanted to advertise a product, you would have had to get your creative team to work on some artwork first.
From there you would have to send it to the printers and then wait 3-4 weeks before the ad was live in the magazine that was presented on the shelves. The same goes with old fashion billboards etc.
Don’t get me wrong waiting is not necessarily a bad thing, but what if the ad had been planned to run for two months and the supplier ran out of stock of the product you were advertising?
If you don’t have stock, you can’t supply the customer, that means that all the money and time spent creating and not to mention paying for the ad would be in vain.
When it comes to search engine marketing, and search ads specifically you can easily change your message without having to wait for anyone.
The moment you perceive that your campaign is not generating the wanted results you can manipulate the outcome. For example, if you run out of stock of the product being advertised, you can just change it to another product, to your own convenience.
Having an agile marketing solution can go a long way, keeping you ahead of the competition and narrowing the timeframe between an idea and execution.
4. INSTANT RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Most marketing campaigns can take anything between three to twelve months to show a positive ROI (Return on Investment). However, with search engine marketing (if executed correctly), you can spot a positive change in sales within as little as a few days.
Maybe you spotted that sales on a particular product have slowed down? Or maybe you are just looking for a quick and affordable way to upscale your business?
Well, search engine marketing is the answer.
5. CALCULATED RISKS & UPSCALING
Back in the day, upscaling meant one thing, investing a ton of money. Whether it was in stock, staff, warehousing or marketing for that matter.
It meant that you had to reinvest your capital before you could reap the rewards.
With search engine advertising (or most digital other digital advertising solutions) one can analyse which channels are bringing in the biggest ROI and increase that channels budget.
The odds are that your specified channel would be able to bring in the same ratio of ROI just on a larger scale. With the extra profits, you can then decide if it is necessary to allocate more money into resources to help cope with the demand.
This is what I call calculated upscaling.
SEM is a very powerful tool that can help you take your business to a whole new level.
It’s sad that most marketers or agencies don’t use it to its fullest potential.
Search ads are a great way to help find the ideal customer, not to mention that you can advertise to them at the correct time.
By targeting users based on their demographics and interest, you will have a higher chance of your ROI should be positive.
Display ads are a great way to stay on top of mind in today’s competitive space, and it’s a cost-effective way to get previous website visitors back to your platform.
With that said, this concludes Part 3, I sincerely hope that this has changed your perception of search engine marketing.