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Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 3)

Part 3: How to grow your business with Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Jandre de Beer



search engine marketing

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.

By now I’m sure that you are proficient in your knowledge with regards search engines, but for those that skipped over part 1 and 2: Search engines are platforms for example: Google, Yahoo,Bing.

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.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

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 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



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.


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?

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 2)


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.

Related: Search Engines, Social Media And The ‘Right To Be Forgotten’

3Remarketing Ads

Remarketing Ads flow chart

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?


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.


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.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Really Works


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

target market

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


Stats from 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%

30-60 Minutes

  • Online shoppers = 12%
  • Offline shoppers = 18%

1-2 Hours

  • Online Shoppers = 22%
  • Offline Shoppers = 21%

2-3 Hours

  • Online Shoppers = 18%
  • Offline Shoppers = 17%

3-5 Hours

  • Online Shoppers = 16%
  • Offline Shoppers = 11%

5+ Hours

  • 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?

Related: 6 Free Online Classes For Digital-Marketing Beginners


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.


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.


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.


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.

Having started his first business at the age of 22, and selling it at the age of 25, Jandre fell in love with marketing! Jandre is a sales and digital marketing consultant with an appetite for entrepreneurship, and is the Founder and Managing Director of V8 MEDIA: V8 MEDIA.

Online Marketing

3 Reasons You’re Not Seeing Tangible ROI With Your Social Media Efforts

Not telling your brand story, posting inconsistently and missing out on paid advertising opportunities could sink your brand.

Colton Bollinger




When people hear these numbers, they don’t wait long before they too dive in head-long, eager to have their own slice of the huge pie. Typically, they open one social media account after another, in the hopes that one or two platforms will somehow convert and compensate for their overall investment of time and money.

But is “the more the merrier” approach delivering the desired social media returns?

Social media success has little to do with the number of profiles you have, the photos you like or the people you follow – just as the success of your dating life isn’t based on how many Tinder profiles you swipe right on. With so much content out there and just so much time in the day, the mindshare of the consumer is becoming more and more competitive among brands.

It is no longer just a numbers game. Quality over quantity will win every time, which all comes down to your content and how you make it resonate with your target audience. So, create content you know your audience wants to see on their feeds. It’s not about you or your company; it’s about them.

How an online product could be the focus of a “share-able” joke

Just as happens in real life in our efforts to meet that special someone, most of us also go on a blind date with social media: We settle for the “one-night stand” of a few likes and reciprocated follows, then hope to find true love with great returns.

But true social media success stories are not developed over a night. They are built with strong foundations and strategies in place for sustainable, value-adding content creation that engages with target audiences. Imagine how much more successful you could be on those blind dates if you had your date’s entire life history pulled up in front of you to stir conversation, instead of awkwardly sitting there for half the night twiddling your thumbs.

In today’s world, you don’t step into the batter’s box hoping to hit a home run, you step in with a strategy based on the limitless data at your fingertips, expecting to hit one. Successful content opportunities don’t just pop out of thin air into your lap, they are facilitated. If you take the time to understand not only who your target audience members are, but their correlated interests and passions, you’ll be on your way to effectively preparing a unique content-creation strategy that will lead you to those returns on social everyone is buzzing about.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

So, if you’re not seeing enough returns on your social media efforts, here are three possible reasons why:


1. Not telling your brand story

Stories are powerful, because they engage the mind. If well-scripted, they can attract visitors to your product or service, engage their emotions and get them doing exactly what you want – without being salesy or downright “in your face.”

If you sell umbrellas, for instance, you could post a picture of your product and say, “Buy this umbrella now.” But no one would like that post. However, what if you took a picture of a man opening an umbrella for his date and helping her out of her car? You’d be telling a story that aligns with your product in a way the consumer can relate to: “This month’s forecast calls for rain, and lots of it … and as our fathers used to say, ‘Always keep protection handy in your car; you never know when you might need to use it, but she’ll appreciate it.’”

Without directly asking people to buy your umbrella, the picture you paint with words generates the feeling of desire for the umbrella. If you’re targeting single men, they’ll chuckle at the witty spin on sexual protection and put themselves in the situation most have been in when their date asks, “Do you have an umbrella?” And because the answer is typically “no,” next thing, they’ll be clicking “Purchase” and sharing the joke with friends.

The message? Compelling, brand-optimised stories that your target audience can relate to are key. 

A brand that does this well: Warby Parker doesn’t sell just glasses, but fashionable glasses that don’t break the bank, especially for the millennial generation. To do this, Warby Parker turns every post on social media into a story, and allows customers to relate and “see” themselves in the product, illustrated by this recent Instagram post showcasing the brand with kids.

A brand that’s missing the mark: Lincoln Motors sorely misses the mark on its marketing, especially in telling stories. Lincoln is not always top of mind in many car-buyers’ decision process, in contrast to its parent company, Ford. If class and high-end appeal are Lincoln’s goals, storytelling will be how the brand reminds the market it still exists – and let itself be a consumer’s “second thought.” In contrast, Ford dominates, because of how its creative team connects with consumers through social strategy efforts.


2. Not engaging consistently

Consider the expression “Out of sight, out of mind.” In that context, any business with a “when I can” approach to engaging online customers will eventually see its brand buried. The reason is that even more crucial than crafting persuasive content is consistent content.

In the fast-paced social media space, you must consistently push out compelling content (by developing a content marketing strategy and sticking to it).

The message? If you post content today, then skip several days or weeks before posting the next one, your overall online engagement efforts will fail to deliver desired returns.

A brand that engages its audience consistently: Look at Wendy’s Twitter feed to see how consistent the brand is in engaging with fans. These tweets are the humorous go-to source for laughs, and often get into play “fights” with other brands. All eyes are on Wendy’s because it “gets” engaging consistently.

A brand that’s missing the mark: American Airlines had an automatic responder go out on Twitter to all that mentioned the company. But this was a big error because many tweets looked out of place and responded to offensive messages. The automatic responder wasn’t doing any favours for the brand, which clearly needed to have a real person engaging the audience.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips


3. Missing out on paid advertising opportunities

Captivating copy + consistent posting = successful engagement, but are you engaging the right online audience? Facebook, alone, has an impressive 2.2 billion active users daily, but that’s just traffic if you’re not targeting and generating the right leads (those more likely to buy from you).

Paid advertising offers a great opportunity to target your ads. For as little as $1 a day, you can advertise effectively and affordably on a platform of choice like Facebook. But 62 percent of small businesses still fail with Facebook Ads. This is because (a) the target audience isn’t spending time on Facebook; (b) The business doesn’t understand its audience; or (c) The business doesn’t have the right hook.

Again, businesses must tell a story that gets into the heart of the audience, and tell it strategically and consistently. To do this, they should take advantage of paid ads on social media. This can result in impressive returns on ad efforts almost immediately.

The message? If you aren’t continually testing new content ideas behind your ads, you will lose to a competitor who is.

A brand that does a great job with Facebook ads: One of our own advertising success stories centres around the product Gorilla Bow. With creative content, the mix of perfect targeting offered by our Facebook advertising manager together with a team making sure the product was stocked and ready to resulted in a 3.5x return on ad spend, a 350 percent increase in total sales and a 450 percent decrease in cost-per-click.

A brand missing the mark: This would be any brand on Facebook now that doesn’t have an advertising budget. With Facebook’s limits on your business page’s reach, businesses are left with no “air space” on the Facebook feed. If you have a product or service worth sharing, then paid advertising on Facebook is a must.

This article was originally posted here on

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Online Marketing

Black Friday Automated Marketing: 7 Must-Do’s

If you’re going the automated marketing route, whether through email or SMS, here are seven key fundamentals to implement before the big day.




The popularity of Black Friday in South Africa seems to be exponential in nature. Battling it out for consumer attention on the day will be, quite frankly, impossible, so a coordinated effort to do so beforehand is key. If you’re going the automated marketing route, whether through email or SMS, here are seven key fundamentals to implement before the big day.

1. Start small, build up to big

For Black Friday, there’s no need to go all in from the get-go. Start small and work diligently to craft your emails and build an audience. If you’ve been busy with automated marketing throughout the year, remember your wins and learn from them. Black Friday is going to be all about audience curation and timed delivery, so don’t wait – but certainly don’t rush either.

2. Hypertarget!

Talking about curation, yes, you can offer a broad variety of offers, but hyper-targeting will get the best results. By starting to offer different types of content beforehand that your customers can click on to show interest, you’ll be able to subdivide them into very specific audiences, each with its own preferences.

Remember that in the lead up to Black Friday, if you market the right message to the right person before others do, you’re set to score big.

Related: How SMEs Could Cash-In On Black Friday And Cyber Monday

3. Getting the message right

By advertising compelling offers that provide real value, you’re already halfway there. When crafting your email message, most important is getting the subject line right, but equally important is having an engaging preview message. A general rule is to have a question in the subject and the preview message hinting at the call-to-action required.

A/B testing is crucial to this, as you can send smaller samples and get feedback on which subject/preview pair is working best before opening the floodgates. The A/B testing of content is done quite easily with marketing automation systems, which include detailed email-click heat-mapping.

4. But when?

Being too late with your marketing is not going to get you anywhere, but starting too early will be money thrown down the drain, especially with expensive SMS campaigns. Two weeks ahead of the big day is about right, keeping in mind that the Black Friday buzz will really kick-off on the Monday of the same week. If you are dependent on a call centre to manage sales, ensure that you are able to scale your marketing efforts either up or down depending on the amount of seats available.

5. Marketing co-ordination is key

The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing. If your social media person is different to your marketing person, let them come up with a coordinated strategy going forward. While marketing automation works as a stand-alone solution, it performs best if the company incorporates other marketing efforts around it. Constant retargeting of the consumer puts your message front of mind.

Related: How To Prepare Your Business To Win Big On Black Friday

6. Have a back-up plan

Apart from receiving no response on Black Friday, perhaps even worse is getting the response but your site crashing. We’ve seen this happen to the best of them over the past few years, so have a strategy in place in case something horrible happens. Make sure you can put a hold on outbound email and SMS messages.

If the system sends out all one million emails you have no way of stopping the onslaught and your marketing budget has been wasted. Critical is that you are able to adjust your outbound marketing immediately, based on your call centre or site uptime.

7. And don’t forget about Cyber Monday

Yes, Black Friday is important, but don’t forget Cyber Monday. Usually reserved for online offers only, email marketing is by far the biggest value driver for e-commerce sales in general. Use the lessons learnt during the Friday to get the marketing message right for Monday. Don’t forget the mantra: The right message to the right person at the right time. Get it right and you’re heading towards major success on the day.

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Company Posts

How The 21st Century Digital Marketing Landscape Changes Our Lives

For more insight into the fascinating digital marketing landscape of the 21st century, join the Wits Plus Digital Marketing short course and learn how to select suitable digital marketing channels for specific needs.

Wits Plus




Vital Stats

In the course of only 25 years — a single generation — Amazon has grown from a start-up online bookseller to one of the most powerful corporations in modern history.

Consumers trust Amazon with everything from their personal information and buying habits to the literal conversations they have in their own homes through the purchase of smart home appliances and technologies. One possible explanation for this trust is that the company has a strong relationship with its customers, thanks to both its commitment to low prices and an apparent never-ending quest to make modern life more convenient in every possible way.

They started with print books, moved on to digital versions and e-readers and continue to crash through technologies and the media industry at an astonishing pace. All the while, they maintained an aggressive push into even faster shipping and all new retail formats. Prime Now, the same-day shipping initiative, and includes groceries — even fresh produce and refrigerated and freezer products —and makes Amazon competitive in still more types of retail industries.

Related: Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

Digital advertising spend worldwide finally surpassed TV in 2017. Paid online search — through Google Adwords — is one way that companies/advertisers can get their message across. And in an online, connected world, many customers are reached through their mobile devices, which they carry wherever they go. Mobile commerce has not yet overtaken desktop but a typical customer journey now has more touchpoints than ever before, which means that mobile devices factor into purchases most of the time, even if the actual transaction happens somewhere else.

On top of all its other achievements, Amazon has become as much of a search engine as it is an ecommerce platform. Research has showed that Amazon has been the starting point for more product searches than Google for the past few years. Amazon has already changed how we shop and, by extension, how we live our lives. What will be next?

For more insight into the fascinating digital marketing landscape of the 21st century, join the Wits Plus Digital Marketing short course and learn how to select suitable digital marketing channels for specific needs.

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