When you search on Google for a specific service or product in an area, you have probably noticed a small green “Ad” label next to the topmost search results. This is known as a Paid or sponsored result. And this kind of marketing is called Search Engine Marketing (SEM), where companies pay for their ads to display in search engine results.
SEM is no rocket science. It is a self-serving model that anyone with a little common sense and understanding can do. But then why do some Companies seem to be using it more effectively than others?
Are all the results you gain from investing in SEM really helping you?
When you normally eat a meal, you probably eat a bite of this and that as you go from course to course. You simply eat and enjoy your food, but do you actually get the full flavour of each and every item?
The other day, I was at a fine dining restaurant where after having the starters, I was served a sorbet which I had not ordered on the menu. The restaurant Chef explained that this serving in between was meant to cleanse your taste palate before the next food is served so that you can truly enjoy the essence and full flavor of each course!
This kind of knowledge about palate and gastronomy is something only an expert can have! This is exactly the difference Brand strategy experts with years of experience can do to your SEM campaign.
So, what are some of the best practices to follow when planning your SEM strategy?! Here are the top 5 ones:
1) Don’t sell/market everything on SEM!
Never confuse your audience!
When we partnered with Surya Eye Institute and Research Centre based in Mulund, India, we realized that this premier institute was offering a wide range of advanced eye treatments which was being marketed through various channels. With over 35 years of experience, the institute had a strong brand presence, but how could this be converted into more walk-ins and leads?
So, we suggested they start by relooking at their entire SEM plan and fine tune it to address the specific need of target audience. C Quick, a sub-brand of Surya Eye Institute, is the first of its kind Bladeless Lasik Laser center in Central Mumbai. The SEM campaign focus was hence shifted to this particular sub-division, addressing a certain age group of audience who are keen on experiencing “freedom from glasses and contact lenses”. The campaign message and tone were hence built around the same.
This kind of clear, well-defined SEM goal gave Surya Eye Institute a much better impact and the kind of qualified leads that could become conversions offline.
2) Understanding the thinking and mindset of the target audience
Think like the customer!
Since for CQuick the target audience was clearly people who are interested in planned surgeries, it was highly likely they would look for opinions of others online before opting for such a surgery. Hence when creating the landing page for this campaign we ensured all the Google reviews of CQuick were included, helping prospects make an informed decision.
Likewise, the images used on the landing page showed a clear visual difference of people experiencing freedom from glasses and contact lenses in everyday life – something a prospect could relate to mentally.
3) Region – specific campaigns – localize your ads
How accessible are you to your target audience?
When planning SEM campaigns that aim at lead generation for a service, it’s important to localize your ads. It makes sense to target customers who are in and around the area, who have more chances of dropping in and making an inquiry in person or for whom the service is at an easily accessible distance. In the case of ads for CQuick, the keywords focused more on people who were living within a 30km radius.
4) Research keywords
Use your brand keywords smartly.
Remember, paid search means the customer is telling you what they want and we hand them the solution in the form of an ad. Including keywords, based on what your customer is likely to search for and not just technical or industry terms, can make your paid ad more effective. Your competitors might already be there in the same digital space, so we also make sure you understand where you can compete on a cost-effective level.
5) Identify what you don’t want to include!
Be wary of the negative keywords too!
When working with one of our clients who is into packing machinery, we noticed one of the keywords identified was ‘packers and movers’, which apart from its commonly known meaning is also a packing industry process. Similarly, for another client, Sterling and Wilson, when working on the digital marketing strategy for their Sterling Generators, there were keywords like ‘DG (Diesel generator) set on rent’ which was not relevant to their area of business.
We made the clients understand how this keyword could impact negatively by bringing in unrelated queries online and got the keyword changed, eliminating unqualified leads.
As a strategic branding unit, it is such subtle nuances of customer behavior and customer pain areas that we keep in mind when helping our clients build effective SEM campaigns. Ensuring that the quality of leads becomes better and assuring better bang for the buck.