What We Need to Know to Get Your SEM Campaign Started


Published: July 10, 2017 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
What We Need to Know to Get Your SEM Campaign Started

Getting started with a paid search campaign can seem daunting if you’ve never ventured into this territory before. That’s why we’re going through the process step by step so you can see how it all works and make better marketing decisions for your company.

The purpose of an SEM campaign is to drive more and better traffic to your website. That means you should already have a well-functioning website that conveys all your company’s branding messages. 

You’ll also want landing pages for new visitors to reach when they click your ads. Resist the urge to direct everyone to your homepage. Instead, you want pages that are dedicated to receiving traffic from your advertising to boost conversions.Once that framework is in place, the rest is about understanding your company’s individual needs.

See Also: The Importance of Branding in Your Marketing Strategy

1. What Are Your Products or Services?

This question should be easy: what do you sell? What does your business do? What services do you provide? How do your products and services differ from those of your competitors? How do you typically break down your offerings into groups or categories? Each of these items, groups, categories, and descriptions will all be used to build your keyword list.

2. Which Products or Services to Focus on

In most cases, you’ll only want to focus on a very specific product or service in a single ad campaign. Even for professionals like accountants, focusing on something as seemingly targeted as “taxes” will be far too vague for a campaign. Narrowing in on “small business tax returns,” or “corporate tax law,” will yield far better results.

Remember: you’ll be trying to collect traffic from searches so the more focused, the better.

If you’re not sure where to begin your focus, consider which products or services aren’t performing well with other advertising methods to see if SEM can give them a boost. Or, do some research and find out what types of products or services in your industry tend to do well with a digital audience. 

3. What is Your Market Area?

You can narrow down the audience for your SEM by area, so think about how far you want to reach. Are you thinking about a global campaign or is a hyperlocal target a better idea? Are you trying to expand your reach to new markets or maximize markets you’re already in?

4. What is Your Monthly Ad Budget?

Perfecting this number can take a little practice and a little time to see how searchers respond to your advertising. If you spend too much, you might not see a positive return. If you spend too little, you might not see enough movement to make a difference. To get started, you should dedicate a portion of your marketing budget to digital advertising with a minimum of $500 per month. As it begins to pay off, you can increase that amount down the road. (Want more clarification? We’re dedicating an entire post to figuring out the ideal budget for a paid search campaign so check back soon!)

Building the Keyword List

Once we know what to focus on, where you want to focus, and how much you can spend, we’ll start building a list of keywords to target that are a good match for your products while also maximizing your spending. Next week, we’ll explain the keyword strategy in more detail so you’re confident about how the process works.

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.
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