What exactly is SEM?
Search engine optimization provides your business with a passive increase in web traffic over time, as your online presence becomes visible to more potential customers. Search engine marketing provides a quick boost to the same, which is not sustainable over so long a period of time. In addition, SEM improves the “warmth” of your traffic; it increases your customer conversion rate, through advertisements targeted at your primary customer demographic. This is based on their own search patterns and past online behavior. In short, if your business would benefit from any kind of advertisement, it needs some level of SEM work – wherever you might be located.
There's not a lot of advertising being done within my industry in Charlotte. Can I get away with using SEM by itself?
SEM will have a certain effect on its own; in fact, it takes effect more quickly than any other overall digital marketing strategy. One of its components, pay-per-click advertising, can potentially have a measurable effect on your web traffic within minutes of it being executed, and the other forms of marketing involved in SEM are similarly, if slightly less dramatically fast-acting. The problem with using SEM by itself, however, is that it is a direct trade-off: SEM is expensive, and its effects – while quick – are also quick to fade away once the money stops flowing in. For best results, SEM needs to be paired with a strong SEO campaign, which can use the boost provided by your SEM to “springboard” into a higher level of gradual, sustainable growth.
Most of my customers are walk-ins to my Charlotte location. Is SEM good for local advertising?
Used sparingly and responsibly, SEM works to provide a quick enhancement to your online traffic, sometimes referred to as an “artificial” boost. Other tools and techniques within the digital marketer's playbook, such as SEO and Social Media Marketing, provide complementary long-term traffic enhancements which can piggyback off of your SEM efforts. Because SEM is based heavily upon paid advertisements, it includes elements such as Google's “map pack,” which displays local business results ahead of organic search results in response to a typical search. On a mobile device, this will be the first thing that a prospective client sees. In other words, some SEM investment will be worth it to your business – whether your customer base is local, regional, or international.