Today I will discuss how Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can help our VARs in their marketing efforts. Please keep in mind that this is not a walkthrough, but some ideas to keep in mind if you are going to attempt your own SEM paid search campaigns in the near future.
When setting up your first SEM campaign you must remember that SEM is a form of "Pay per Click" advertising. This means that you are placing ads on the search engines and although many people can see those ads, you only pay if your ad is actually clicked. This type of advertising can be beneficial twofold. First, if your ad receives a click, it means that you're getting your message across and have the potential to land new business. Second, even if a person doesn't click your ad, they still saw your ad or in web parlance generated an impression. This helps to build long term branding for your company and help associate you with larger competitors who may be spending greater sums on advertising.
Another benefit of search engine marketing is scalability. Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines have created an advertising platform that is scalable from a 10-mile radius to global advertising. This is very beneficial. Campaigns can be created to only show up locally or regionally and gear a message to a specific area or audience. This provides an advantage over others that are peppering the entire nation with advertising. Another option is to utilize the "long-tail" approach for generating online leads. This concept consists of adding more specific terms to the search campaign to lower the cost and execute GEO targeting. For example, instead of the key term "business voip" or "hosted voip" you would incorporate a location such as "business voip dallas" or "hosted voip dallas". GEO targeting reduces costs substantially while honing in on your desired market.
The most important aspect of any advertising is the ability to track conversions or buyers. As an advertiser, you need to know how much success you're getting with your advertising. SEM provides the ability to measure your return on investment versus advertising dollars spent. Every search engine offers a suite of tools that track how much you're spending, which ads and keywords people are clicking, and what a customer does while on your site. The only drawback to SEM is the inability to track what has driven or caused a phone call to your business. That being said, one can create a custom landing page for each unique DID or toll-free number used thus tracking most phone conversions from online advertising.
In the end, SEM is a great advertising platform for all businesses. It provides scalability and the ability to measure how each precious ad dollar is being spent. It is convenient and can be done from the very same computer you're using to read this blog. Please do further research on the benefits of SEM and apply them to expanding your IP communications and SIP Trunking sales.
Have a very safe and enjoyable extended weekend. See you on Wednesday with a final week on Internet marketing. The new areas will be Social Media and Reputation Management.