Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is all about improving brand visibility and increasing conversion rates. SEM works to generate clicks to your landing page, calls to your business, forms submitted to your company online, or purchases made through your website. As mentioned in our previous article, SEM requires a diligent strategy to rank well on search engines and strengthen your ROI.
This week, we’re providing 5 need-to-know suggestions for your digital ads. As you develop your next strategy, be sure to:
Establish Your Company’s Digital Campaign Goals
Every successful campaign has a defined plan in place prior to setting up ads. A thoughtful strategy is critical for the success of your search engine marketing. To get the most out of your SEM, start by understanding the different ad campaigns available and the outcomes each provides. From there, you can sharpen your strategy to achieve your intended goals.
Two types of digital ad campaigns include display ads and search ads.
Display ads appear on digital mediums like websites, social media platforms, apps, and videos. One purpose of these ads is to entice a user to click through to a website or landing page. By that point, you want the user to follow through on an action, like:
- Make a purchase
- Submit a form
- Click on a phone number to call
Display ads can generate conversions, but they are best at increasing brand awareness. The more a user encounters your display ad, the more likely they are to recognize your company name, digest the message in your ad, and carry out a conversion.
The Rule of Seven
There’s a belief in marketing that a person needs to see a company’s ad about 7 times before taking action on the product or the brand. Display ads are a beneficial way for your company to routinely appear in front of internet users, increasing your likelihood of turning leads into customers or clients.
Search ads—sometimes called paid searches, pay-per-click ads (PPC), or SEM ads—appear at the top of search engine pages like Google and Bing. The leading purpose of these ads is to drive conversions. They sit at the top of the search engine results page and present relevant information to the user. The success of your search ads depends on several factors, including:
- Keyword relevance
- Smart bidding strategies
- Quality content
When a user encounters a relevant, informative, high-quality ad, they are more likely to click the ad and follow through on an action.
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Create Content that is Consistent Between Ads and Landing Pages
Now that we’ve distinguished the differences between display ads and search ads, we need to address the importance of maintaining consistency between your ads and landing pages. A company that displays contrasting information, imaging, or even brand colors from one medium to another could watch the campaign suffer.
Why is Brand Consistency Important in Digital Ads?
Consistent content adds legitimacy to your campaign. It tells the user that you are serious about what you are advertising. Inconsistency eliminates trust and sends a message to the user that your business may be sketchy or unreliable.
How to Maintain Consistency with Content and Branding
Consistency means that the branding and messaging from your search ads or display ads also appear on the landing page. Stick to your brand’s colors, utilize the right logo, and create copy for the landing page that matches or greatly compliments your ad’s copy.
You’ll also want the content on your landing page to be well written, clear, and eye-catching. Users will often leave a landing page if the content is low quality.
Check Your Ad Account Regularly
Once you launch your ad campaign, you’ll want to perform routine check-ins to ensure it is working properly. Regular ad maintenance allows you to identify and correct any unexpected hiccups in the strategy.
Monitoring Search Term Performance
Digital strategists can generally predict how the ads will perform once the campaign goes live, but monitoring things like keyword performance also allows you to see the focused keywords that are either working well or aren’t performing as expected.
If a poorly performing keyword is detected, your digital ads manager can apply the right changes to improve strategy.
Specifying Negative Keywords
Negative keywords stop your ad from appearing in searches that use certain words or phrases from your campaign but do not apply to your company.
For instance, an orthodontist advertising braces does not want to appear in searches for “knee braces,” “back braces,” “ankle braces,” or anything similar. In this case, they would list knee, back, and ankle braces as negative keywords.
By regularly checking the campaign’s search terms, you’ll see if adding any additional negative keywords would help improve performance.
Watch Fluctuations in the Campaign and Pivot When You Need To
There are plenty of factors that would cause your campaign’s performance to fluctuate month to month, like:
- Changes in a keyword’s cost-per-click
- Competitors’ ad practices
- Updates to Google’s policies
As you monitor your campaigns and evaluate performance, you should pivot your strategy whenever necessary.
Take the orthodontist from the earlier example. Let’s say they are advertising their braces service, and their search ad for “clear braces” is regularly outperforming their ad for ceramic braces. The account manager may want to rework the ceramic ad to better match the clear braces ad and improve performance moving forward.
Utilize Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are features of SEM that allow you to show users even more information through your search ads. Extra information means more opportunities to convince users to click through to your landing page and complete actions.
Ad extensions provide more “real estate” to your ads on search engines, giving you more visibility and optimizing your digital marketing efforts.
Examples of ad extensions include:
- Sitelink extensions
- Call extensions
- Location extensions
Partner With the Team That Knows Search Engine Marketing! Talk to Us About Our Digital Services Today!
M&R’s in-house digital strategists are experts in search engine marketing and can help bring your campaign strategies to life. If you’d like to increase visibility and generate conversions through SEM, call us at 478-621-4491.