Search engine marketers, by and large, suck. They hunt down your email or find a contact form on your site or message you on LinkedIn with grand promises of clicks, leads and conversions for the low price of a few hundred dollars a month. More cockroach than human, these hideous dullards infiltrate every part of your digital life preying on unsuspecting business owners.
Here’s one that hit my inbox. (Names redacted, though I don’t know why I bother.)
Need SEM for your Website? We can help you with our SEM program in only $99 Per month per website.
Looking forward for your positive response
If this is how these ghouls market themselves, do you really think they’ll be effective at marketing your business?
Most SEM services are a scam at worst and ineffective at best. If you hire some fly-by-night search engine marketing company you’re just giving money away. They’ll set up a campaign, and let it run. You might see some traffic, but you’re damn lucky if you see a return on that small spend.
Worst of all, they make it sound easy. In reality, search engine marketing is highly complex, requiring intricate strategies, deep knowledge of your company, and a true understanding of your customers.
PPC Ain’t Easy
Here’s the thing. Search engine marketing, at its most basic level is pretty simple. For a basic search ad, Google gives you 95 characters to make your case. Filling 95 characters is really easy, especially when you give no consideration to messaging. Then you give Google some keywords and some cash and your ads are up.
This is how the cheap search engine marketing firms operate. They take your money, put 95 characters of boring copy into Google and send your ads into the online ether.
This is a very, very bad search engine marketing strategy.
I know all this because Rock Candy Media is a good search engine marketing firm, and we’re good because we’re not just a SEM or SEO company. Because we do all digital marketing, we are able to see the search engine’s place in the larger picture, which leads to more effective campaigns than you could get from a more “specialized” firm.
When you’ve only got 95 characters to make a statement, you need to choose your words carefully. We take the branding and messaging that we’ve developed on your website, social channels and advertising campaigns and put it to work on your search ads. Every impression is an opportunity to build your brand and highlight a selling point, so we don’t let impressions go to waste.
Keywords Are Hard
If you own a dog walking business and you tell Google to serve your ads to people searching the term “dog walking business,” you’re going to burn through your budget real quick and have very few clicks to show for it. The more obvious the keyword, the more it’s going to cost you per click. Rather than pay tens or even hundreds of dollars per click, the smart play is to bid on a bunch of cheaper, related keywords. This requires a considerable amount of time, expertise and experimentation. Our Rock Candy Media search engine marketing strategists review our client AdWords daily to see which spends are generating value and which aren’t. I promise that your $99 a month SEM agency isn’t doing that.
A/B Testing Is a Requirement
For the uninitiated, A/B testing is experimenting with two similar, but distinctly different ads to see which gets the best results. This can be a different CTA or a different offer price or any other easily comparable variable. By continually testing and refining little bits of data, ads will continue to improve over time, generating better and better returns for lower prices.
Conversions Are Key
AdWords can be deceptive. By sheer chance, your bargain bin SEM firm might stumble upon a keyword that drives a lot of traffic, but traffic can be a mirage. What’s your bounce rate? If 90% of the people hitting your ad click off your site before the page loads, you’re not getting a lot of value there. SEM tracking should always be tied to conversions. If you’re working with a SEM firm and they haven’t set up a conversion tracking pixel, go ahead and fire them immediately. Don’t get starry eyed by big traffic numbers, if those clicks aren’t converting, a good search engine marketer will banish that keyword without hesitation.
Search Engine Marketing is Vast
We’ve been using your basic Google search ad as an example here because it’s easy to understand, but the world of SEM is much wider than that. For instance, are you using retargeting ads? Retargeting ads track people who visit your website and hit them with your message again and again – burrowing your brand deep into their brain. Also, why limit yourself to text? Display ads and YouTube ads allow you to add graphics to your messaging, for an even stronger advertising punch. Call ads, Gmail ads, the ways that you can get your message out to consumers through SEM are constantly evolving. Our strategists stay on top of the latest trends and use them to your advantage before your competitors have even heard of them.
Want to know more about one of the best SEM agencies in the game? Request a positioning analysis. We’ll see if your company is a good fit to grow with us.