sem strategy

Developing an SEM Strategy That Will Supercharge Your Brand’s Growth

You can build your digital brand quickly by learning a few things about search engine marketing strategy. 

Social media advertising, search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to choose just one. 

Together, they can form a strong foundation for your online marketing. However, it helps to understand the difference between SEO and SEM strategy. 


SEO encompasses ensuring that you use the right keywords in the right places on your website. SEM, however, involves using paid advertising to show up prominently in search engine results. 

You can funnel visitors to your website using both SEO and SEM. The two advertising practices are closely aligned. Using both SEO and SEM is a great way to build online brand recognition. 

Search engine marketing is one part of your entire marketing mix. Using analyses such as SWOT or PEST, you can make informed decisions before the start of your next digital marketing campaign

Compared to traditional marketing, however, search engine marketing allows you to collect a wealth of data quickly. Using SEM, you can track nearly every move that potential buyers make online. Thanks to powerful web analytics applications, you can understand consumer wants and desires, sometimes before they can do so themselves. 

Today, online advertising is essential. Without search engine marketing, companies risk becoming a relic. 

Now, the prime advertising real estate lies in the digital domain. Accordingly, you must build your online presence. 

Alternatively, you can continue to use traditional advertising. Your competitors will thank you as they capture market share that should have been yours.

Starting at the Beginning: Planning for Success

There are many ways that you can structure your marketing campaigns. Today, however, search engine and social media marketing are at the top of most advertisers lists. 

In any marketing campaign, there are five steps. Those steps are: 

  1. Planning
  2. Theory
  3. Communication analysis
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation 

You can use these steps across any advertising medium. 

In the planning stage, you’ll need to figure out your brand messaging goals. During the theory phase, you want to devise the best way to achieve those goals. 

Communications analysis is where you apply detailed market research and audience analysis to test out your ideas. When you implement this part of your campaign, you’ll make decisions based on the 4P’s of marketing – product, placement, price and promotion. 

Finally, you need to evaluate the outcome of your campaign. This step is essential, as it allows you to measure your return-on-investment. 

Search Engine Marketing Strategies 

SEM strategy is a bit more complex than search engine optimization. It involves targeting your ideal audience with keyword planning and placing bids. 

Keyword research is a part of SEO and SEM. The Google keyword planner can help you figure out which keywords will attract your ideal buyers. 

For example, it can help you calculate a reasonable bid range for SEM. The keyword planner can also help you discover keyword trends and forecasts. 

The broader your keyword terms, the more they will cost. For instance, if you bid on the keyword “designer jeans,” you can bet you’re going to spend a ton of coin for a good search engine position. 

You can save budgeting dollars, however, by focusing your energy on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are terms with more than three words. 

These marketing gems may seem counterintuitive. For example, when you go to the store, you want “jeans” – not “white jeans for summer in New York.” 

Nevertheless, long-tail keywords offer more value. When consumers look up long-tail keywords, they’re more likely to focus on your product and make a purchase, compared to people who look up general search terms. 

Keyword specificity enables you to narrow down your audience. For example, it’s almost always beneficial to include the name of your city in your keyword bid. 

Increasingly, local SEM is big business. It helps consumers who are ready and willing to buy to find local retailers. It also saves time and resources in analyzing the behavior of casual browsers. 

Long-tail keywords are cheaper. However, they’re highly effective. 

Once you figure out your keywords, you can start targeting your audience. Now, you need to figure out which search engines you want to use to advertise. 

Search Engine Advertising 

Search engine advertising (SEA) is another part of effective marketing and branding strategy. The goal with SEA is to increase your website click-through rate. 

You can do this quickly with search engine advertising. The click-through rate is a critical SEA metric. It’s a crucial variable that influences your marketing return-on-investment. 

The idea is that a certain percentage of consumers who click on your ads will make a purchase. If not, there’s a problem somewhere in your sales funnel. 

Fortunately, digital advertising provides you with a wealth of data. You can use that information to find out what’s wrong and fix the problem quickly. 

As for choosing your search engine, Google Ads is hands down the leader in the field of search engine advertising. Using Google Ads, you must bid for ad space using an auction format. In your bids, you will go after specific keywords, such as the long-tail keywords you chose while devising your marketing campaign. 

You can also pay for clicks or impressions on display advertisements. This kind of marketing is called pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) advertising. As in any other competitive market, the opposition can get fierce in this type of media buying environment.

Looking Beyond Google Ads

Other search companies – such as Yahoo and BING – offer advertising platforms. Most offerings are similar to the platform provided by Google Ads. 

Google Ads is a dominant platform around the world. However, you should also consider advertising across other search engines with a dominant market share in your region. 

You should also consider specialized search engines. For example, you can purchase ad space on Amazon using their proprietary platform. 

Your locality is also crucial for search engine advertising. For example, if you’re selling a product in Russia, you want to advertise on Yandex. 

Alternatively, if you sell car parts, you want to advertise in automotive parts marketplaces. For nearly any good or service, you should research markets that apply specifically to your industry. 

Defining Your Ideal Audience 

You can’t sell your goods or services unless you know who your customers are and what they want. This rule has served as a primary tenet of business since the invention of commerce. 

No matter how great your idea, it won’t sell if your buyers don’t know about it. This oversight is the top reason why many new businesses fail. 

The famous adage “Build it and they will come.” no longer rings true. Wayward entrepreneurs may have a great idea or product, but they fail to show customers why they need what they have to offer. 

Today, marketers use big data analytics to understand consumer behavior. However, you need baseline statistics before you start researching your ideal buyers. If you go into market research blind, it’s unlikely you’ll yield beneficial results. 

Also, it’s important not to try to sell your offering to everyone. Hypothetically, everybody may serve as an ideal customer for your offering. However, there’s no way to market to everyone effectively. 

Accordingly, you must find the initial group of people who will benefit from your good or service the most. Now, you can focus your limited resources on generating real revenue.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Analytics is the foundation of search engine marketing. However, basic marketing research answers key questions. 

You need to understand who your consumers are and what they do online. You also need to know what they do when they visit your website and social media assets. 

Furthermore, you need to know which digital assets they visit online the most. This data will help you determine their wants and needs. 

In time, you can build an accurate profile of your ideal buyer with enough data. In addition to analyzing your ideal consumers, however, you also need to analyze your competition. Fortunately, data can also give you answers about your competitors. 

Know Thy Buyer’s Journey 

When developing your digital marketing campaign, you also want to think about the buyer’s journey. By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can understand how consumers feel as they move through varying parts of your sales funnel. 

You should gear your SEO, SEM and social media advertising to consumers’ emotions during their journey. Collectively, there are four stages in the buyer’s journey – awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty. 

During the awareness stage, you can use SEM and SEO practices to help you rank at the top of search engine results. The listings that make it “above the fold” get the lion’s share of website traffic. 

If people don’t know about your business, you can’t make a sale. Therefore, making it to the first page of search engine results is a coveted goal for many marketers. 

During the consideration stage, you must build rapport with potential buyers. Here, you need to provide a solution to their problem. 

Many brands accomplish this using content marketing. They create articles and blog posts that establish their credibility as experts. With content marketing, you can leverage SEO, SEM and social media advertising to make sure that your brand message reaches potential customers. 

During the decision stage, it’s time to bring your message home. You can lure potential consumers into buying with discounts, giveaways, and loyalty rewards. Promotions make customers more likely to buy. 

Finally, you need to win the loyalty of your audience. Loyalty will help your business to expand. You can earn customer loyalty by offering an exceptional good or service and providing phenomenal customer service. 

SEM for Dummies 

There’s no easy way to execute a digital marketing campaign. You can, however, enlist the help of an expert. 

Often, it pays to get help with marketing, especially with digital advertising. There’s just not enough time to master marketing and run a business. However, you must practice caution when choosing a digital marketing consultant. 

Common sense would have you thinking that in SEO consultant who ranks high in search engine results is the right candidate. If you operate your business in Philadelphia, for instance, you’d simply need to look up “SEO consultant in Philadelphia” on Google to reveal a wealth of experts. Like magic, a list of experts will appear on your screen. 

There is, however, another side to this scenario. Effective SEO companies and consultants earn most of their business through word of mouth referrals. 

These companies and consultants are in high demand. Resultantly, they don’t have time to market themselves online, and they don’t need to. Typically, they have plenty of business. 

They don’t spend time optimizing their digital assets because they’re doing it for their clients. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to ask your professional peers in noncompeting fields who they use for their digital marketing campaigns. 

There’s Always More to Learn 

In relatively recent years, search engine companies such as Google have placed an increased emphasis on local search results. Now, consumers who want retail business information expect to find it online easily. 

Local search engine marketing enables mom-and-pop shops to compete with larger enterprises. If you operate a real-world storefront, this is a trend that you want to embrace. 

SEM strategy evolves continuously. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you must stay informed. Visit to learn how to promote sustainable digital growth for your brand.

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