Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Worth It? [Spoiler: Yes]


Published: July 31, 2017 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Worth It? [Spoiler Alert: Yes]

Search Engine Marketing is often talked about like an optional advertising product. You can stay within the traditional advertising methods like mailers and print ads and still be competitive, right?

Well. Maybe not. When was the last time you hauled out your printed Yellow Pages to look for a solution? At the very least, you must have an online presence to have any hope of being found. And the last time we checked, having a sliver of hope for being found isn’t enough to keep a business afloat.

Enter Search Marketing

SEM takes that sliver of hope and turns it into a customer-generating machine. It does so much more than simply make you visible. Here are just a few of the benefits of SEM:

  • Boost Brand Awareness.

    The more people who know who you are and what you do, the better your bottom line will be. Learn more about Brand Awareness here.

  • Greater Visibility.

    This is the “getting found” part. When you have a product or service to offer, you want people who need it to find you. SEM will help you get together.

  • Targeted Audience.

    You don’t want to spend time and money on people who are not interested or cannot use your solutions. SEM allows you to target based on a variety of factors including location, languages, keywords, and more.

  • Better Leads.

    Getting a hundred leads sounds like a great thing, but spending the resources chasing down 100 dead ends is a bust. When you target your advertising and use things like landing pages to filter out more people, you might get fewer leads, but each of them will be far more qualified. A dozen highly qualified leads are far better than 100 dead ends.

  • Competitive Advantage.

    Get ahead of the competition by showcasing why your products and services are better than the rest. Plus, you’ll have an automatic advantage over every competitor who isn’t using SEM.

Show Me the Money!

Ok, ok. All those other things are great for building a strong, reputable brand that people want to get behind. But SEM also makes money

when it’s done right. When you do the research beforehand and follow up each campaign with a hard look at the numbers to make appropriate changes, SEM will boost your bottom line. 

Think of it this way. Suppose you’re a technology retailer that’s trying to boost the sales of a particular gadget that costs $1000. Your profit margin on those gadgets is 20%, or $400 on each item. You decide to spend $250 on SEM to see if you can boost sales. 

You only need to sell one gadget to achieve a positive return on that $250 investment. Once you subtract advertising costs, you still have $150 of profit.

On the other hand, if you try to drop $1000 on SEM, you’d have to sell at least three gadgets to stay in the green. In most cases, it’s not the right move to boost your budget before zeroing in on a campaign that’s working. If you start with a $250 spend and sell ten gadgets in the first month, then you’re onto something good. If you only sell 1, you’re still in the green but we can probably make a few small changes to make that even better before upping the spend.

How Much to Spend?

One last (but BIG!) benefit of SEM is that it is far more affordable than traditional advertising. Consider the hefty cost of a national television commercial (well into the six-figure range) with the relatively low cost of digital and you’ll see how SEM can help small and medium-sized businesses compete with the big spenders.

Figuring out how much to spend can make you feel like you’re driving in circles. You have to spend something to make anything, but spending too much will lose money. Next week, we’ll get into budgeting for your SEM campaigns, and talk about the long game vs. trying to get quick returns.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
SEM helps you get heard above the noise. We’ll show you how.

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