5 Advanced SEM Strategies for Businesses

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By Ash Genete on June 01, 2018
Ash Genete
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Your digital marketing campaign can never be complete without search engine marketing (SEM) in your playbook. The reason is simple. SEM can help achieve goals that other strategies such as content marketing and email marketing can't meet on their own.

SEM allows your business to obtain increased visibility on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. When done right, it can help you reach your target audience in the right context. Because these searchers are often ready to buy, SEM can significantly help you achieve your marketing and sales goals, as it drives qualified traffic to your website.

Check out some of the top benefits of SEM:

  • Lead Generation. There are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone. These people are on the hunt for information, products, and services. Because SEM can increase your search engine visibility, your website can benefit from this large number of searches and gain targeted traffic.  
  • Cost-effectiveness. Your website's success is dependent on targeted and qualified traffic, and targeted ads mean there’s a higher chance to convert those visitors into customers. This sets SEM apart from traditional advertising media where anyone (even those who will less likely be interested in your business) can view your ads in exchange for big money. With SEM, unless prospects click on your ads, it’s free. 
  • Brand Awareness and Building. Increased visibility is strongly related to brand awareness and growth. The higher your business, product, or service ranks on search engines, the more opportunities you'll have for people to see your brand and visit your website. This also gives a signal to online searchers that you've established authority in your niche. 
  • Intent-based. People search for something they want or need in the moment, which means that the intent to buy or inquire is present. With convincing SEM ads, you can attract these prospects and drive them towards your sales funnel. 
  • Measurable. You can track and monitor your SEM campaigns, which makes it easier to optimize your keywords, content, and budget. This, in turn, helps brands make more informed business decisions based on historical data.

 

Advanced SEM Strategies You Can Implement for Your Business

We already know the basics such as writing compelling ad copy, A/B testing, and paying attention to negative keywords, among others. But if you're developing an SEM plan and want to take your marketing game a notch higher, then it’s time to implement these advanced strategies.

 

  1. Create Urgency with Remarketing Sales Countdowns

No customer wants to miss out on a great deal. It’s called FOMO or the fear of missing out, and customers will almost always avoid the uncomfortable feeling of not getting what they want.

As marketers, you can add the element of time to create a sense of urgency with a countdown in your SEM ads. Ad customizers let you automate this.

You can use the countdown timer when you're running a promo that will expire soon to inform customers how little time is left. If you have an event coming up, you can use fear-of-loss to encourage sign-ups. Countdown timers can make your ads more compelling to push customers to act immediately.

Here’s a sample ad using a countdown timer:

Advanced SEM Strategies Sample Ad Countdown Timer

 

  1. Improve Prospecting Efficiency with AdWords Similar Audiences

If a certain type of audience has brought you good results, why not target those who share the same qualities with them? This is what Similar Audiences is all about.

Using Similar Audiences means looking at your existing remarketing audiences to target new prospects sharing the same interests with people on your remarketing lists. Because you're technically advertising to people with similar behavior to your effective audience, the probability of obtaining relevant clicks and conversions is higher. In fact, according to Google, using Similar Audiences with Remarketing can result in 60% more impressions, 48% more clicks, and 41% more conversions.

Using the new AdWords interface, you can add a Similar Audience to your campaign or ad group with the following steps:

1. Select the campaign or ad groups you want to add a Similar Audience to.

2. Select “Audiences.” From here, you will see your existing audiences for your chosen campaign or ad group.

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3. Click the blue circle with the pencil and choose the targeting that you want between Targeting (target and bid) or Observation (bid only).

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4. Click the similar audience bar and choose your similar audience and then click save.

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  1. Personalize Ads by Device and Audience

Personalization is a big thing now. In fact, studies show that personalization cuts acquisition costs by up to 50%, increases revenues by 5-15%, and improves the efficiency of marketing spend by 10-30%.

Using AdWords "IF Functions", you can tailor fit your ad copy for audiences who satisfy a condition. If the condition is not met, the default text will show. This strategy ensures that your ads have a higher level of relevancy to your target audience.

There are two effective ways you can use the AdWords IF Functions – by device or by audience.

The device-specific IF function enables your ads to be mobile-optimized so that a mobile version of your Expanded Text Ads will show to mobile users.

On the other hand, audience-specific IF function allows you to show targeted and personalized messages to different sets of audiences. For instance, if you're advertising an e-commerce business, you can use the audience-specific IF function to offer a 30% discount to cart abandoners while new prospects and email subscribers only get a 20% discount.

 

  1. Mix and Match Ad Customizer Parameters

If you’re offering several models, products, or services, you'll know that it’s taxing and time-consuming to create multiple ads to promote each one. Well, thanks to ad customizers, you don’t have to go through this anymore. The tactic is to mix and match.

By mixing and matching ad customers parameters, you can create an ad campaign that is time-sensitive or inventory-sensitive to show prospects the best product at the most affordable price. Updating prices, product availability, or any other ad information is easy. You only need to re-upload your updated spreadsheet and the changes will reflect on all your ads in that group.

 

  1. Improve Quality Score with a Consistent Theme  

According to Google, Quality Score is “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”

Because high relevancy brings a positive user experience, Google grades your keywords to improve the chances that users only see relevant ads. Of course, good Quality Scores can put your ads in a better position, but it can also help reduce your ad spend with lower keyword bids.

Many factors can affect your Quality Score. Some of these are:

  • The relevance of your ad to your keyword
  • The relevance of your ad to your landing page
  • The past performance of your account
  • Expected click-through rate of your ad computed by Google

In short, relevance and organization are two of the most important things to obtain a high Quality Score. You can achieve this by creating a consistent theme with your keywords, searcher intent, ad copy variations, and landing page.

Here are tips you can do to improve your Quality Score:

  • Organize your keywords to structure your campaigns effectively and use searcher intent to give focus on your ad groups.
  • Make sure your landing page contains keywords relevant to those you use in your ad group and ad text.
  • Incorporate your keywords within the ad copy to make your ad text relevant.

 

Final Thoughts

The internet never sleeps, and people will continue using search engines to find the products or information that they want/need. Give yourself a competitive advantage to capture searchers and turn them into profitable customers.

Implement these advanced SEM strategies and analyze your results. These are just a few of the many things you can do to improve your SEM performance.

Always be open to new learnings because a smart digital marketer should always be hungry for new knowledge and techniques.

 

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Topics: SEM, Online Advertising

Ash Genete

About Ash Genete

Ash Genete is the first guy to be part of Spiralytics’ Content team. He’s a Pokemon fan. Some of his interests are media and advertising, pop culture, and communication theories. He’s a graduate student somewhere in northern Metro Manila. If he’s not writing blog posts and doing academic researches, he’s probably at the beach or on a mountaintop.

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