Digital advertising has become an essential part of marketing. It has many channels available beyond digital advertising, such as social media, websites, email, and search engines, which allow you to can connect with your target audience. Digital marketing provides the opportunity for a larger and more targeted reach than with other traditional methods. However, for all of these, it is critical that your business shows up in search engines when a consumer is ready to buy for you to grow your leads.
The most important time for your products or services to show up in a search is during the research phase of the buyer's journey, so consumers will find your brand and it will be top of mind for the remainder of the process. Your goal is to reach your potential customers at the moments that are most likely to influence their decisions. A search engine ad has the ability to capture the customer's attention during the consideration stage of the journey prior to deciding, as well as in the conversion stage. This is known as zero moment of truth. Engaging your target audience during the zero moment of truth is critical for increasing conversions.
Search engines present information about your company through SEO and SEM. Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are very different approaches to audience engagement that work to do the same thing: place relevant information to those looking for it.
SEO focuses on optimizing a website so that search engines will display them prominently on results pages. SEM uses paid marketing to increase visibility and is sometimes called PPC or pay-per-click. If you aren't showing up as one of the first results, that means your competitors are.
SEO is a constant, long-term solution that can be costly. Optimizing your website and content is an ongoing effort to get Google algorithms to present your page in searches. While effective, SEO is not as much within your control as SEM, where the focus is more on advertising and marketing. SEO is also more of a service provided versus digital advertising. With SEM, you bid directly on keywords and have more control over where you show up.
Regardless of the method, the goal is to show up in customer searches at the zero moment of truth. One of the most common troubleshooting issues is not appearing online. A lack of visibility when your relevant customers are searching and deciding what to buy means interested consumers don't even know what you have to offer or that you are a viable option. Whether you are offering products or services, it is essential your ads are prominent in search results during the customer's time of need, such as a carpet cleaning service showing up after a significant storm with flooding or a credit union showing up for personal consolidation loans in times of economic distress.
If your SEM ads aren't displaying properly, you are missing an important opportunity to grow that part of your business. To make sure you show up correctly in searches, you have to research how your potential customers are searching for you and align your site with those keywords. Conducting keyword research gives you insight into what your competition is bidding on and helps you guarantee that your ads show up properly.
But showing up properly also means making sure your ads are omitted for services you don't provide. You do that by adding negative keywords. In our earlier example of the credit union, if personal consolidation loans are offered but home mortgages aren't, you would add negative keywords to prevent you from showing up in search results for buying a home, home refinance, or mortgage rates. While showing up in the right searches is critical, preventing you from showing up in the wrong ones goes a long way to ensuring a good customer experience.
Digital marketing can be tricky. Search engine algorithms change with increasing frequency, requiring constant monitoring and diligent optimization to maintain prominence in search results. While necessary, SEO is not the only strategy you want to depend upon for lead generation. Search engine marketing allows you to bid on the most critical keywords to ensure you show up where it is most advantageous. And the best part? You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
SEM can be a very effective strategy whether you are a new or established business. It improves your visibility while enabling more targeted marketing. Showing up more prominently in results pages gives you a competitive advantage. Search engine ads help you be found when consumers are searching for any of our products or services and allows you to be seen over competitors when customers are ready to make a purchasing decision.
Brittney Skoczylas is a Digital Marketing Consultant for Federated Digital Solutions. Her passion is helping to generate measurable results for her clients by creating customized & targeted marketing strategies that will engage a consumer wherever they are in the buying journey. Brittney’s #1 focus is to help local businesses improve their digital marketing footprint.