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Considering Search Marketing, but Confused by the Acronyms?

Updated October 16, 2017

Want to improve your company’s visibility, drive sales, gain leads or promote an event? Consider adding Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) to your marketing toolkit.

With Search Engine Marketing (SEM), your organization uses paid ads on any of the search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and a few others, to draw traffic to your website. So, why should SEM be an important part of your overall marketing and advertising strategy? Because SEM is a direct-response media tactic. That means it targets users who are already in a research or purchase state of mind. The ads are meant to provoke an immediate response.

Think about your own buying habits: when you’re looking for a refrigerator repair company or a new yoga studio, where is the first place you go? Don’t you pick up your phone, tablet or computer and pull up your favorite search engine? You’re in good company. According to searchengineland.com and Google’s latest released numbers, users conduct more than 2 trillion searches on Google each year. Google searches represent about 64% of all searches, with Bing and Yahoo representing 33% (according to a Feb 2016 ComScore study), so 3 trillion searches are conducted each year. That’s approximately 8.2 billion searches each day!

If your company could be visible during even a fraction of those daily searches, don’t you think you could increase revenue?

How do you go about being visible when users search? There are two options: SEM and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEM is like a sprint, while SEO is more like a marathon. With SEM you purchase a core set of keywords that relate to your product or service, write ads, then your ad and website are visible during searches using those keywords. This happens almost instantly. On the other hand, SEO is the process of increasing the visibility of your website in search engines’ unpaid results. Getting search engines to recognize your website as relevant so you can rank highly in organic listings is a slower process.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) are the techniques used to gain traffic through social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Paid advertising is a highly effective tactic in SMM. Paid ads on social sites are both a direct-response media tactic as well as a branding/awareness tactic.

So, why should SMM be an important part of your overall marketing and advertising strategy? The number of people using social media is increasing but so is the amount of time users are spending on these sites. There are more than two billion active users on social media sites. According to a recent AdWeek study, the average user spends over 2 hours per day on social platforms, which represents about 30% of all online activity. The study ran the numbers and that equates to 5 years and 4 months spent on social media sites over a person’s lifetime.

Each social platform has very sophisticated options for targeting users, so you’re able to reach the right audience. While SMM encompasses all social sites, each of these platforms is unique and requires a different strategy. SMM can be very effective in meeting a number of marketing objectives: building brand awareness, driving sales, promoting a sweepstakes or sale, publishing exclusive content or gaining leads.

All of these platforms, both for SEM and SMM, allow us to get the right message, to the right people, at the right time. If SEM and SMM aren’t part of your marketing strategy, don’t you think they should be?