Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Email List Building.
Today’s Topic = Search Engine Marketing
You’re read all the articles, listened to all the experts, and you know that your company could benefit from search engine marketing (SEM), or paid search. That’s fantastic, but where do you start?
Given that the majority of searches done occur on Google, that’s a good place to start. Google’s SEM platform is called Google Adwords. When you visit the site you have the option to get started using their online account setup tools (plus a free 800 number for direct assistance). It benefits Google to have you come on board as an advertiser so you can count on them for help getting started.
After you create your account, the next thing you’ll need are the keywords that you want to target. When choosing keywords, you want to start very specific. What will your potential customers be typing into the search bar when looking for your products? Make a list and load it into Google’s keyword tool, which will give you additional suggestions based on similar terms that they know get a lot of traffic. They will even show you how much traffic to expect for each keyword phrase, along with some idea of the competitiveness and cost.
Accounts have anywhere from a few keywords to tens of thousands. But to start you’ll want to limit it to those keywords you expect to have the greatest value. You’ll be able to analyze the relative success of each keyword and add more as you go.
Next, you need to create the ads that will show when someone searches those keywords. Again, Google has a simple tool that allows you to generate ads to fit their platform. You should use a combination of different headlines and sub-headings to create a number of ads, at least 3-4 for each product or product category you’ll be advertising. This allows you to run ad copy tests to find out which ads have the most impact.
Where are people going to land after they click on your ads? Those are your landing pages. Landing pages are pages on your website that clearly state the offer you are making. It might be a product page, or a sales page, or a lead generation form. Good landing pages restate the information in the ad and direct the user experience in order to eliminate confusion and the number of steps necessary to complete a desired outcome, like purchasing the product from your site.
Once you have all the assets created, it’s time to get started. In order to do that, you need to set your bids (the amount you’re willing to pay for each click) and your budget caps (the amount you want to spend in a given time period). With both of these the general recommendation is to start small, so you can measure performance before spending more.
The key is to continue to test new things – landing pages, ad copy, and keywords – to find the right combination that produces the more sales, leads, etc. at a lower cost. Always be measuring performance.
Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.