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Outbound marketing means getting your sales funnel right, and learning how to connect with the demographic that will love your product or service. Unlike inbound marketing, when grabbing attention with a search engine marketing campaign (SEM), you will be paying for every click.

Before you begin paying for advertising on a search engine, there is a lot of work to do. It all starts with your landing pages, and the goals you set up for the traffic your ad budget is buying.

Because a SEM is monetized on a per-click basis, it is important to have a solid website that will lead potential clients to your goal.

This goal could be either a conversion to an offer of some form, or a sale. Your landing pages and sales funnel should be ready to go long before your dream of paying for placement on a results page, otherwise, your company is guaranteed to waste its budget.

We Need Goals

Don’t forget that more than half of all searches on Google are done with a mobile device of some kind. So when you create landing pages or any other part of your sales funnel, making sure smartphone users come first is the way to go.

If a landing page is easy to interact with for a mobile user, people with desktops won’t have any issues at all. Once you have made sure that your landing pages are finger-friendly, it is time to think about how your marketing strategy is going to entice visitors into your owned traffic.

The visual designs you incorporate are also essential to get right. Keeping landing pages simple lets visitors identify with your offer immediately, and prevents them from getting confused. Landing pages should lead visitors directly to a goal without any additional hassles for them to click through.

Give It All Away

You can make loads of offers, but a giveaway is usually necessary. Some companies create webinars that require visitors to opt-in to owned traffic, and others use books or some other form of gated information to push visitors further into the sales funnel.

Don’t waste your money by making a weak offer to your visitors, you need to make sure anything you put on the table is valuable and will draw their attention. The last thing you want to do is get people to your site, only to let them down with an offer that falls short of the mark. Of course, your offer should be supported by a strong visual language which includes great placement of your logo design or brand mark, brand colors used effectively and custom graphics to make your page feel unique and interesting.

The kind of offer you make to potential customers will depend on the industry your company works in, and how you plan to lead them towards a conversion. In some cases, a discount code or free trial is a good angle to take, and in others, event registrations or even service offers can do the job.

If your company services commercial diesel motors, giving away free diagnostics could be the thing to entice potential customers. But if your company specializes in B2B marketing, offering free webinars to potential clients would make a great incentive.

This part of a SEM campaign comes down to designing a great landing page, and making sure your company has a killer offer for visitors. Once you have paid for a visitor’s attention, you need to make that click count.

Who Cares?

When you pay for advertising on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), keywords will be how your company connects with potential clients. Casting a wide net on Google isn’t a good idea, so your campaign goals need to center on very specific keywords and demographics.

Figure out who will be looking for your offer, and what kind of phrases your target demographic is likely to use when searching for your product or service. You will also want to take advantage of your ability to choose where your ads are displayed.

There is no sugarcoating this; AdWords is expensive, and Google will get paid whether or not you make a sale. Using negative keywords can help your campaign to eliminate unwanted clicks, so you aren’t running through your budget on visitors that could care less about your promotion.

Using metrics to quantify a campaign goal is a must, and setting specific performance goals up front will keep your campaign from getting bogged down as you fine-tune its performance. Don’t worry too much about losing money at first, as most SEM campaigns will need to be refined to be successful.

Your Options!

Isolating your target demographic is how your campaign will create positive ROI. While the internet is vast, in most cases your customers will be looking for very specific things.

There are many ways to advertise on search engines, and Google lets you choose how and where your ads are presented. With the CPC of AdWords measured in dollars, not cents, you will want to make sure to isolate your target demographic to the greatest degree possible.

Thankfully Google will let you backtest your display network options, so you can have some idea of what your campaign could cost. You will also need to decide how much your company is willing to spend on a daily or weekly basis, as a SEM will become expensive if left to chance.

Most people associate a SEM campaign with a SERP, but most platforms will offer the ability to blast ads over a much wider area. For example, Google allows advertisers to plaster the same message across many of their services; like Gmail and YouTube.

Regardless of what kind of display options you decide to use, you need to keep a close eye on how your campaign performs. The analytical tools that services like Google offer advertisers are powerful and will allow you to see what draws the attention of people that create revenue.

Get What You Pay For

The costs involved in a SEM campaign can be broken down into two groups.

Hard costs refer to costs for producing all your marketing materials. The landing pages and any associated costs would fall into this category. While landing pages can be expensive to create, services like HubSpot can really knock the price of a SEM campaign down.

The other group of costs will all center on the search engine, with CPC, keyword research and campaign analysis comprising some of the larger line items. In most cases, the latter group of costs will be where your company spends the majority of its budget.

This is where having a good plan, and a hard budget comes into play. It is ridiculously easy to hemorrhage money on a SEM campaign if you don’t have some strict spending limits in place. Your company will be far better served by running a few smaller campaigns to test the water and gather metrics to guide further development.

So How Do I Create A SEM Campaign?

Well, it will all hinge on your market sector and your goals. But in simple terms, a great SEM campaign starts by deciding what you want to promote, and how much your company can afford to spend.

These core ideas will drive the landing pages your team creates, and the keywords you choose to bid on as well. The demographic your campaign will target is important to investigate, but until you begin to sift through the results from a week or two of ads, it will be tough to know if your efforts are going in the right direction.

Don’t be afraid to limit your display area to very small geographic locations, so that your company is only going to get interested from the most likely potential customers. While this isn’t always an option for all SEM campaigns when you can employ it, do so.

The underlying design dynamic should always be targeted, and cautious. Otherwise, your team risks wasting lots of money of clicks that won’t create revenue. Once you have identified strategies that work for your brand, it will be time to pump up the level of exposure!

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.