Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing provides companies with one of the most valuable opportunities to reach potential clients and customers that has ever been offered. Never before has the ability to advertise directly to the end consumer when they are looking for a company’s product or service achieved such an efficient and direct pathway.
Think about how important that statement is to every business. Rather than spending thousands of dollars to place advertisements that at best amount to interruptions in someone’s entertainment, you can build a website and simply have it on permanent standby, ready to jump into action anytime someone decides that they need your services or products!
Google is the frontrunner in one of the most valuable industries on earth, all based on revenue earned from this principle. Time and time again, we’ve been able to generate consistent results for our clients, across a broad range of vertical industries, which allow us to show that there is plenty of money to be made in online advertising and especially in search engine marketing (SEM).
Even better, the market is rapidly growing as users find new ways to access the internet, old methods for marketing dry up, and a greater percent of the global population increase the amount of time they spend online.
The latest numbers are staggering, when you realize just what they can mean to a business. In North America, internet penetration has reached over 75% of the population. In 2011, over 1/3rd of the entire earth’s population will have access to the internet in some form or another.
Those numbers should blow your mind and they should blow our clients’ minds. The internet has achieved higher penetration than the English language (28%), Christianity (30%), Chinese (21%), and almost every other made shared demographic statistic. The only thing more popular than the internet, globally, is breathing air.
To add to this excitement, is the fact that so many countries still haven’t achieved nearly the same levels of penetration as Europe and North America. China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa, all lag behind in percent of population using the web, but are rapidly growing, advancing, and introducing the necessary technologies to follow the ‘developed’ nations path.
The ability to truly reach a global population is aided by the increasing functionality of software and hardware. Cloud storage and computing, now publicly available, mean that there is little constraints placed on the ability to access data by particular device storage or format. Browsers are becoming language aware, able to suggest and complete translations of foreign dialects, characters, and speech. The boundaries and constraints that typically limit a business to a particular region are disappearing.
All of that should lead our client to wonder why they haven’t gotten online before. Some of those clients will turn to an easy and overused excuse. Expense.
Cost is always one of the biggest bail out excuses that customers provide in any business model. The key to overcoming this discussion is changing the topic of discussion from cost to value.
We’ve already demonstrated that there is a huge reason to be online. There isn’t a business yet that hasn’t found a way to reach new clients and generate new revenue online. That means our customer can’t say that advertising online doesn’t serve a purpose.
We’ve already shown that there is huge numbers of people online doing something, which means that from a marketing perspective, there should be an incentive to be there. After all, billboards are placed alongside roads, with no relevance to the product, the company, or the driver, except the fact that people are there. At the very least, a website is just a bad billboard, right?
Let’s throw a few more numbers at you:
- The average American spends three hours online every day, not including time spent at work on the internet.
- The average American spends less than seven hours a day, without immediate access to the internet (this includes time spent sleeping).
Over 70% of consumers now use the internet to aid in their buying decisions. Most of those, rely on search engines to provide them with reviews, recommendations, and contact information. A single industry example: Almost 90 percent of consumers use the Internet to research vehicles – Capgemini Cars Online Study 2009/2010.
- Six out of ten Americans say they feel ‘comfortable’ making purchases online, up from three out of ten five years before. If that number continues to rise, all Americans will be comfortable making purchases online within the next ten years.
- In the teenage and young adult demographics (13 to 30 years of age), time spent online is nearly twice that of older groups.
- The fastest growing demographic group for internet users is people over forty, based on percent change in penetration from the previous years.
- In a small business marketing survey completed by owners and managers, almost 8 in 10 (79.5%) of the survey respondents reported that Internet has been their highest ROI. In contrast, only 7.5% (TV), 6.5% (newspapers), and 2.5% (radio) of respondents ranked traditional media as first.
- Time spent on Facebook last year was up 700%
- Last year’s online holiday shopping season sales were up 17%, much above physical retail increases.
- On average, 30 second commercials with national television networks cost over $100,000 per running. An extraordinary website and marketing push might achieve that level of billing, but will run full time year round, until hosting is discontinued or domain registration ends.
If that doesn’t get our clients excited about the value offered by online advertising, nothing will. The simple fact of the matter is that with a website you pay once for development (unless you choose to upgrade), a small monthly hosting fee, and little else in terms of the actual cost of operation.
Traditional stores and service locations require power, water, garbage, leases or mortgages, and insurance. Traditional sales and marketing staff work eight hours a day (if you’re lucky), require L&I, worker’s compensation, and involve a myriad of other costs. A website? None of these things. In most industries, a website can effectively replace a whole team of individuals and locations, without batting an eyelash.
When a potential client expresses reticence about the cost of online advertising and website creation, we just remind them of that simple fact. If they to add up all the costs associated with the functionalities of the website, and remind them that their site is always running, every hour, of every day, of every month, of every year. The decision should be a no brainer.