What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

It's a Way For You to Direct Internet Traffic to Your Website

When you do the internet search "web design richmond va" on Google, you will see three sets of results. The first set are the paid internet ads, otherwise known as Google Ads. Click on one of these and the company taking out the ad will be paying anywhere from a few dollars to $30+ dollars for a single click. The second set of results are in the Google Map section. You can also pay to get in this set of results. The final set of results are the organic search results. The companies in this set get here through search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. SEO tends to be the most cost effective way to show up on the first page of a Google Search. However, it takes months to get you on the front page whereas Google Ads will get you there today.

Where Can I Advertise?

You can advertise virtually anywhere from the top list of companies during an internet search to those annoying (but effective!) ads you see while going on huge websites like USAToday.com or Yahoo.com. Search Engine Marketing is online advertising using tools such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook ads, and LinkedIn ads are easy ways to get your business top-rank exposure very quickly. These are all paid listings on various platforms.

Social media platforms, like Facebook, make their money by selling ads. This business model encourages social media to learn about their users' interests. It has been argued sites like Facebook know too much about their users. However, this knowledge enables them to offer advertising that targets your market with laser focus. For instance, you can purchase LinkedIn ads that will appear only for LinkedIn members that work in companies of a certain size or particular industry. LinkedIn can even allow you to target members with specific titles.

How Much Does Search Engine Marketing Cost?

It All Depends On You

With this type of advertisement, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. So, the more times you ad gets clicked, the higher the cost. The cost per click (CPC) varies depending on your geographic market as well as the industry you are in. The cost per click will be higher if there are a lot of other companies competing against you in your geographic market. As an example, a heating HVAC company in Minneapolis probably will pay a higher cost per click (CPC) than that same heating company in Miami Beach.

Another example: A plumber in Richmond, Virginia will pay higher cost per click (CPC) than a swimming pool contractor. This is because there are a lot more plumbers competing for your dollar than swimming pool contractors. Since this is the case, more plumbing companies are bidding on that top Google Ad. This drives up the cost of the advertising on Google.

A good way to judge how expensive this might be is to look in the Yellow Pages (yes, they still exist). Industries that have companies that take out full-page or half-page ads tend to be more competitive. If companies are investing big advertising dollars with Yellow Pages, then you can bet they are investing in internet advertising which drives the cost up. This is based on the simple Supply and Demand curve.

So What If I Bid $8.00 per Click and it Gets Clicked 1,000,000 Times in a Month?  Do I Own $8,000,000?

Don't worry! Each of these advertising platforms allow you to specify a monthly and even a daily budget. This prevents you from being billed a ka-billion dollars in a single month. You can decide how much you are going to spend each month on internet advertising and the platform will adhere to your wishes. The advertising platforms make this very easy to do because they are vested in making sure you are happy advertising with them and continue to do so.

So How Does All This Paid Internet Advertising Work?

We're Not the Experts, But We Can Point You In the Right Direction

This is where it gets tricky. We are not experts. We have relationships with SEM companies whose primary mission is to provide online advertising services to businesses. We work with SEO Richmond and Blue Marble Marketing. They are internet advertisement experts.

However, We Can Give You a 5000 Foot View.

If you want to be on the front page of a Google search today, you can hire someone to manage Google Ads for you. The SEM company, say Blue Marble Marketing, will take a look at what other companies in your city are bidding for each click. They will then recommend a similar bid price and, based on your product or service, a monthly budget. This monthly budget will determine how many clicks you get in a month. A higher budget will result in more clicks back to your website.

It Sounds Like a Lot of Money. Is It Worth It?

It all depends. If your average sale is $5000, then spending $500 (many clicks) to get a single sale could very well be worth it. If your average sale is only a one-off and yields only $50, then spending $500 to get that sale is obviously a poor advertising decision. The best thing to do is to talk with us. We can work together to assess the options objectively and then, if you choose to further explore this option, we will refer to you a company who can help you. Please note: we never take commissions or fees for any referrals we make. This assures both you and us that each of our referrals are made in your interest only.