Search Engine Marketing: Are you Just Buying Traffic?

The biggest benefit of paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is not that you get traffic to your website, but that you find out what your market wants.

If we define marketing as the process of:

1) Finding out what people want.
2) Finding out how to sell it to them.
3) Finding out if you can make a profit doing so.
4) Converting this knowledge into profit!

… then you can see how awesome paid SEM is.

The Purest Form of Traffic

By showing ads when people search for something in Google, we find out what they want.

If someone searches for “wedding rings Dublin”, then we know they are in the market for wedding rings, and that they are at the end of the buying cycle (since they are searching by location).

We could run a test using different ad headlines e.g. “Luxury Wedding Rings”, “Affordable Wedding Rings” or “Custom Wedding Rings”. The ad that gets the most clicks would tell us what is foremost in the mind of the searcher.

While fine-tuning this campaign we find out search volumes, the cost-per-click, cost-per-lead, cost-per-sale, and whether we can get a positive ROI. With this information we can either refine until we’re profitable or “fail fast” and move on.

With paid SEM, by the time you’ve got to step 4, you’ve already done steps 1 to 3 and have either a profitable sales funnel or not.

Therefore the biggest benefit of SEM is to use this “purest form of traffic” to evolve your business offering and give the market what it actually wants, and not what you hope it wants.

If you’re not using paid Search Engine Marketing like this then you’re only buying traffic.

About Andy Black

AdWords Specialist

Posted on November 22, 2011, in Tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wouldn’t it be cheaper if you just ask them what they want on your web site?

  2. Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for dropping by and for your thoughts.

    Asking your visitors what they are looking for is always good.

    If you don’t have much traffic coming to your site, or you are launching a new site, then this might not be feasible.

    The beauty of paid search is that you can get visitors very quickly to your website (so long as there are people searching with the keywords you are bidding on).

    Asking searchers what they are looking for just as they arrive at your site can give a very good insight into what the intent is behind each keyword. This can be invaluable market intelligence that could save you a lot of money and effort in the long run.

    Remember too that with paid search you pay for each click. You can still count how often your ad shows and learn what people are searching for, even when they haven’t clicked on your ads.

    I hope that helps.


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