By: Ashley Coles
Every day you are likely to hear some variation of the phrase “Google it.” It’s so pervasive, it may actually be true to say all paths lead back to Google. This speaks to the power of search in our everyday lives – no matter your age, interests or occupation. For marketers of any product, service or idea, search is likely your most powerful tool.
Over 4 billion searches are made through Google every day and over 15% of those are brand new queries that Google has never seen before. Even if you think you have the most obscure, technical or specific topic, chances are there’s someone searching.
For instance, you may think no one is searching for “approved lubricants for wind turbine gear boxes” but 75,000 search results beg to differ. The reality is, 89% of B2B researchers go online first when seeking new information. And there begins the buyer journey.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) places your brand front and centre when users are actively seeking information relevant to your product or service. As a brand, you can answer their need in the moment they need it. This is the exact opposite of most traditional advertising tactics that interrupt users with a message delivered out of context (e.g. a pop-up advertisement in the middle of a blog post).
Make search work hard for you by:
Digging into search behaviour is a simple way to determine where people are in the buyer journey and how close they are in their intent to purchase. The closer they are to purchase, the easier they are for you to convert.
Notice if more passive, open-ended search phrases are gaining the most traction, or if branded, specific terms are receiving more clicks. Users who know what they need – or ‘intent-to-purchase’ users – tend to require the least nurturing to reach a conversion.
On the other hand, if most of your website traffic is coming from more general search phrases, these users are probably going to need to learn more about your product or service before converting. Build your content strategy accordingly, giving people the information they need to move closer to purchase.
After jumping into SEM, you’ll learn tons of interesting things about your audience to help inform your strategy further, such as language preferences, location and interest groups.
Competitive data allows you to identify who owns which keywords – a telling insight into your competitors’ overall strategy. What language are your competitors trying to own? And most importantly, have any competitors bought your company’s branded keywords? This approach has been adopted by businesses of all sizes and in all industries. For example, when using a search term like Beck Taxi, you may instead be presented with Uber’s new app because they’ve placed a bid on this term to try and get in front of an audience who’s looking for a taxi.
If you want to know what’s actually working for your competitors, you can incorporate tools like SEM Rush into your competitor analysis where you can learn the highest-performing keywords, identify new competitors who are obtaining organic traffic and impacting their business most.
The metrics you identify at the outset of your campaign are imperative to measuring success along the way. Depending on the lifetime value of a customer, or the cost of the product or service you are offering, you can understand whether your cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is making sense for your business.
No matter how you integrate search marketing into your campaign, don’t expect your website performance to jump overnight. Although it takes time, one of the best features of SEM is the ability to track, analyze and optimize your resources. By keeping a close watch on your campaign’s performance you can continuously make enhancements – to do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.