Best described as the Yellow Pages of the 21st century, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is currently recognized as the highest performing marketing medium available for B2C businesses. SEM is an aggressive method to target prospective customers who are actively seeking a particular product or service in real time. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask, “where would I look first?” More than likely, your answer is a search engine.

This is why the importance of paid search is insurmountable for any consumer business. When it comes to online marketing, paid search has the ability to put a company’s advertisement directly in front of the right audience, rather than rely on the search engine to decide how a company should rank on the organic listing.

However, in order for an SEM campaign to be successful, there must be the right knowledge, time and industry expertise in place. Here are a few tips for B2C businesses to keep in mind if they are planning to implement an SEM campaign into their marketing budget:

Tools and Reports – Whether a business has someone in house specifically hired for SEM services or has hired an SEM firm, make sure the right tools and reports are in place to monitor the campaign’s performance. Also, make sure the person in charge of your campaign knows how to interpret and use these tools.

Industry Expert s– Along the same premise as above, it is important to have an SEM expert optimizing the campaign, considering the campaign will be competing against other industry professionals whose sole purpose is search engine marketing. Ensure there is enough experience, knowledge, and focus backing any online marketing effort.

Keyword Selection – When selecting keywords, remember to include words people would use to search for the product, including misspellings. The less competitive the keyword, the lower the cost per click.

Landing Page – What is the first thing a prospective customer sees when they click on a paid listing? Review the landing page where searchers are directed when the advertisement is clicked. Even if the homepage is rich with useful content, it may not convert well. A landing page should be focused and hook the searcher into wanting to learn more about the product and should make it easy for the product to be purchased. If your landing page is an ecommerce site, make sure that the site has all the right security settings so that your customer feels safe to make a purchase.

Phone Call Tracking – This is especially important for B2C businesses considering how a significant amount of conversions start with a call. Phone call tracking helps the SEM expert decide how the campaign should be optimized, and also gives the business owner the transparency to see performance, conversions, and a return on investment.

Author: Rich Kahn, CEO of search engine & search marketing company eZanga