SEO & SEM: Three Steps To Help Your Audience Find You
How large is your brand? Your audience? What about the reach of your advertising? You might be thinking you need a giant budget, years of school, or bleeding edge software to be successful in marketing your products to large groups of customers. Truth is, you don’t need to spend a dime, have a degree, or download a single thing to be successful. You will, however, benefit immensely from the same ideas and tools no matter the size of your business or what you’re selling. The key strategy is reaching your audience when they’re looking for you. SEO and SEM is exactly how you do that.
In case you weren’t aware, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are the tools you use to ensure that your site and products are boosted to the top search results on popular search engines like Google and Bing. You use your position there to serve ads to your desired audience so they’ll comes knockin before they even know they’re customers. This happens through a series of smart keywords, planned demographic data, and a smooth buying process among other things.
With so many steps, it might seem overwhelming. Let’s dive into these three steps and get you started with your new SEO skills!
Step 1: Start With A SEO Roadmap
The first and most important way to get started, is to plan. Judging your customer demand will have a dramatic impact on the quality of your ads. For instance, knowing what your most popular selling product is. Finding out who your demographic is, and what their wants/needs are will inform how to position your advertising or keywords. You might determine that you want to create a campaign for vegan men, ages 25-50; in the Pacific Northwest region who have interests in the ‘outdoors’ & ‘skincare’ for your cruelty-free lumberjack soap.
You might be running straight for the Google AdWords homepage to start a campaign; before you do, consider testing what keywords are most searched. The built in keyword search tool in Google AdWords is amazing at showing what keywords you might (or might not) want to start with. It has info on how competitive the keywords are in AdWords, how often people search those phrases, and how much it’ll cost to use each keyword. All of this information will help you determine which keywords you want to use in your first campaign. Once you’ve mapped out the relevant info and decided your keywords, it’s time to decide your budget. Your ‘CPC’ (Cost Per Click) is usually determined using a simple formula of the max your willing to spend per click, and what acquisitions (CPA) will cost. That breaks down to:
Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (1 – profit margin) x (website conversion rate)
A real world example would be my average customer spends $300 a year, and I expect to get enough returning customers from my ads to make them worthwhile – 10 out of every thousand or so. With a 30% profit margin, that means “Max CPC = $300 x (1 – 0.30) x 1% = $2.10” This is where planning can stop you from overspending, or put your expectations in check.
Step 2: Pay Attention
Next, it’s important to monitor your campaigns and your competition. The old saying goes, ‘a watched pot never boils’, and you certainly don’t want to over manage your ads. But if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to add a new campaign, pause an old one, or revert to ‘plan B’. Things happen fast, and testing out new keywords and strategies is important. On the other hand, it’s also vital to stay on top of what’s happening with your competitors.
Next to each of your ads and campaigns is a score that is generated based on how well it matches with what people search for. It’s a 1-10 scale and it affects how much your CPC runs, which has an impact on your bottom line. The higher the number, the better ranked that ad is. If you search for a product on your page, and something else shows up, what are they using to advertise? What ads show up, if they seem unrelated? Is it a bad keyword?
There’s an option to add ‘negative keywords’ to your campaigns as well- as in, don’t show results with this search at all. If you sell baby powder, you might consider excluding “formula” from “+baby +powder -formula” so parents and caretakers looking for milk don’t find you by mistake. That causes clicks, not conversions or acquisitions. That means empty spending, and wasted ad dollars.
It’s also vital that you pay attention to how your ads are presented. Making sure your mobile ready is key, as mobile devices account for 55% of paid ad delivery, and google accounts for 95% of that. That’s 13 billion in ad revenue in the US alone!
Step 3: Diversify (More Than SEM)
Sure, this post is about SEO and SEM. However, you can certainly take the principles of planning keywords and targeting your ads to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… Not to mention the idea of retargeting ads. That’s when a customer visits your site and doesn’t buy anything. That ad can “follow” them, reminding them that they had something in their cart with a gentle ‘Hi- Remember these great products you almost bought?’ ad that might appear somewhere else. After a bit, they’ll stop receiving those ads and move on. Hopefully, they’ll have your terrific product in their mind though.
Social media ads are another great way to back up your SEO. If you make a great tweet about your brand, and it even goes viral… Boosting that post or creating an ad based on it via a social media platform’s built-in ad system will allow it to be seen much more easily on a search engine. Pictures, video, and creative copy allow for more interactions as well.
Be sure you’re always looking for more ideas and using these three steps to double check your own SEO, never stop using your keywords, and let us know in the comments below if you have any other tips you use when creating digital marketing campaigns, or what you’d like to hear more about!