Let’s face it: small business marketing is done chiefly online these days. The Internet is its own ecosystem and learning to properly project your business’ brand within that ecosystem can lead to some amazing results—results that your newspaper ad or billboard could never even dream of achieving. As a small business owner you’ve probably heard a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but maybe not as much about Search Engine Marketing (SEM). And while they’re both important to master for your business to thrive online, SEM can be particularly beneficial to budding businesses when used appropriately. Let’s take a look at 5 ways SEM can positively boost your business’ abilities and why it makes sense to spend some time learning the ins and outs of marketing through Google directly with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and other forms of direct advertisement. 1. Conversion tracking: Virtually everything having to do with SEM is measureable. Want to know how many people clicked on your ad? What time of day they clicked? Which of two ads was more popular? Thanks to quantifiable data, all of these questions and more can be answered. Not only does this give you insight into what works, it also allows you to change what doesn’t. And, at the end of the day, you can match up your investment to your sales conversions to see just how effective your SEM campaigns are. 2. Targeted advertising: Gone are the days of marketing to anyone who will give your ad a second glance! Thanks to SEM, targeting a specific audience is more viable than ever before. Get as granular as you need for a specific campaign or focus on a niche based on your message. The depth of control you have over an SEM campaign is astounding, which means you have the power to shape your marketing like never before. Target keywords, age, geographic location, gender, hobbies/interests and more to see if your message is reaching the right people. 3. Controlled advertising: Thanks to SEM, you’re the master of your own ad campaign. You can choose when your ad runs, what your budget is, which devices will see your ad, where your ad will run and more. This is extremely important for small businesses who need to make smart moves on a limited budget! Being able to tailor your campaign around your needs means control like never before over how your advertisement dollars are working for you. 4. Ongoing exposure: Even after your latest SEM campaign has run its course, you might still be reaping the benefits of your digital exposure. Thanks to cookies and sophisticated tracking technology, you can advertise to great effect on other platforms such as social media, with significant overlap! Users will keep seeing your ads wherever they go online, which helps boost exposure and keep the ball rolling on your marketing, even after you’ve pulled your PPC ad. Moreover, if no one clicks on your ads, you don’t pay, which means free advertising! 5. Instant exposure: Trying to shout your name out online is like shouting into the void—with so many other companies trying to do the same, you’re not likely to be heard unless you have a plan. SEM puts you front and center with your customers, to give you an opportunity to speak to them, without shouting at them. Most PPC ads are front-page on Google and targeted ads occupy prime real estate on other websites. Positioning your brand front and center means getting the best chance to appeal. As you plan your next online marketing campaign, look for SEM opportunities to maximize its effectiveness. When utilized appropriately, SEM could just be your small business’ secret weapon. Consult with an AlphaGraphics marketing professional today to learn how you can master search engine marketing! Read article →