Startup traction channel: SEM



This blog article is based on the 3 Things This Week’s edition dated 21st June 2018. The theme of this edition is “search engine marketing”, one of the traction channels popularly used by many startups!

Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to placing advertisements on search engines like Google, where online marketers spend over $ 100 million each day on Google’s AdWords platform. Paid search advertising (also known as pay-per-click, or just PPC) involves buying ads for keyword searches. You are capturing people that are actively searching for solutions. The scale of search engines is so vast that this channel works for any product phase.

The basic SEM process is to find high-potential keywords, group them into ad groups, and then test different ad copy and landing pages within each ad group. As data flows in, you remove under-performing ads and landing pages and make tweaks to better-performing ads and landing pages to keep improving results.

Click-through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of ad impressions that result in clicks to your site. Cost per Click (CPC) is the amount it costs to buy a click on an advertisement. Cost per Acquisition (CPA) is how much it costs you to acquire a customer. You can use search engine ads to test product positioning and messaging (even before you fully build it!). Do not expect your early SEM ad tests to be profitable. If you can run an ad campaign that gets close to breakeven after a few weeks, then SEM could be the traction channel to focus on. Areas you should be testing with your SEM ad campaigns include keywords, ad copy, demographic targeting, landing pages, and CPC bids. If you measure conversions effectively, you can test these variables against profitability. Longer keywords (known as long-tail keywords) are often less competitive because they have lower search volumes. As such, they are cheaper and so can be more profitable – you just may have to aggregate a lot of them to get the volume you need to move the needle. Pay close attention to your ad quality scores. High-quality scores get you better placement on the page and better pricing on your ads. The biggest factor in quality scores is CTR.

Here are this week’s 3 things.

Thing # 1:  What is SEM – Top 4 Benefits of Google AdWords and Online Advertising

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, SEM also one of the modules of digital marketing through online advertising in search engines. SEO is a long-term result and free organic method. Whereas SEM is an instant result, Search engine optimization is organic search results, whereas search engine marketing is an Inorganic or Paid search results. This article is a perfect guide to learn SEM marketing, right from content creation, media planning to media buying; covering a vast range of search ads – Banner or Display Ads can be run through Google AdWords on targeted peoples, search partner websites, Mobile apps etc. Video Ads which visible on Video channels like YouTube,  Dailymotion etc.  Gmail and Yahoo mail Ads visible on email user interface part at the top of our email lists etc.

Thing #2: Top 20 Search Engine Marketing SEM Tools

SEM is a process to acquire traffic for the website by purchasing ads on several search engines. This is done through several SEM tools used to fulfill different objectives.  Two of the most frequently and commonly associated terms related to SEM advertising are Pay Per Click (PPC) and Cost Per Click (CPC). To perform paid advertising, SEM tools come to the rescue of ad-runners. This article gives you top Search Marketing Tools that you must access to gain high website traffic, based on high ranking keywords.  If you are using SEM marketing as a channel, you must try out some of these tools to get better results.

Thing #3: How Negativity in Adwords Can Yield Positive Results

There are many educational resources for “would-be Adwords experts” along with plenty of tutorials, agencies, and expert-trainers who can be hired.  This tutorial isn’t going to teach you the basics of Adwords, SEM, or any other entry-level approach to Paid Search Marketing. Instead, it focuses on the area of Adwords that is the most overlooked and can really be the deciding factor between relevancy and completely unrelated traffic. It can be the difference between generating a lead or generating a bounce. It affects your quality score, ad relevancy, the frequency your ads are shown and perhaps most importantly YOUR WALLET. This article is about Negative Keywords. How to find them, how to select them, and how you can use them to avoid gaining the attention of those who have no intention of buying your products, using your services, or even interacting with you in any way.  This is a detailed and practical guide on the use of negative keywords to boost your SEM results.


What has been your experience with this traction channel?  What kind of SEM marketing is giving you results? Share in the comments.