Search Engine Marketing (SEM) may be broadly defined as the combination of all efforts made to gain visibility on internet search result pages. SEM tools may be a combination of paid marketing campaigns, such as Pay Per Click (PPC); and other online content strategies, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and even social media.
Search Engine Marketing Campaigns
An advertising campaign in which the media outlet charges the advertiser each time a website visitor follows a link within the advertisement is known as a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. A PPC campaign targeted to the results page of a search engine, is known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). One of the most popular SEM PPC formats is Google’s AdWords. Facebook, Bing, and other online destinations and search engines also offer PPC advertising options.
For best results, a PPC campaign should drive traffic to a carefully constructed landing page. This landing page would feature text targeted to the specific customer’s circumstances, and would include a specific call to action: sign up for a mailing list, “Like” our social media profile, buy our new widget, or whatever.
A successful PPC campaign does not only require a competitive bid (although this is typically necessary, if you wish your ad to be shown). It also depends on the strategic use of keywords. An ad should be catchy, pointed, and easy to understand. It also must directly relate to the content of the landing page, in a way that is plainly obvious.
Often, an effective strategy for creating a PPC campaign that gets results is to develop different versions of an advertisement. Show the ads separately to similar markets, and determine which ad gets the best results. This technique is known as A/B testing, although marketers often use the method to evaluate and compare many ads at once. When one ad clearly gets more clicks over time, then the other ads are discontinued, and the real marketing effort begins.