If you’re the owner of a small business that’s trying to take advantage of the holiday season, it can be tough to know exactly what steps to take to achieve this. The days when word of mouth was enough to keep your business bustling are long gone; today, much more depends on the online market. And while most people are familiar with basics of the Internet and technology, you might be unfamiliar with the benefits of SEM and how SEM can help your business.
SEM: Secret Encoded Message??
While you might think the acronym is a bit elusive, SEM actually stands for Search Engine Marketing, and it is becoming a popular—and necessary—phenomenon in the business world. Search Engine Marketing has two main components: SEO and pay-per-click strategies. The first, SEO, stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to using specific key words to ensure that when a person searches a certain word, your business is one of the first to appear in their search results. For example, if you run an ice cream store that specializes in chocolate ice cream, you’ll want to create content for your website that guarantees that when a person searches the phrase, “the best chocolate ice cream,” your web content matches and comes up in their results.
The second type of SEM refers to the pay-per-click method. As the phrase suggests, you place an ad online through a company, and every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay the company for it. This can be a very effective, inexpensive marketing method that results in more instantaneous gratification, perfect if you’re in a time-crunch.
SEM and SEO: Let’s Get Started
If you like the idea of having your business connected to potential customers this holiday season via the Internet and would love to have your business advertized online, then there’s a few things you need to do to get the ball rolling.
First, you need to create content for your website. (Or, if you don’t already have a website, you need to create one!) You know your business better than anyone; choose a few key terms that you think describe it and your product the best. Next, create content (articles, summaries, text blurbs) that are posted on your website that contain those key words. Make sure that you choose words that you think a person will search. Just like the example above, people keep things simple when they’re searching for something like ice cream. Make sure you keep your key words and content simple, too. The downside to SEO keywords is that you won’t see growth to your business instantaneously. Working through key words can be slow going and will usually take months to make their full effect, so it might not be the best route to go through if you haven’t started already.
Pay-per-click, on the other hand, while more expensive than SEO, will allow you to get almost immediate results just in time for holiday shoppers to find you. The first thing you’ll want to do is find a site that you’d like to advertize through, like Facebook. Once you create your ad/links/keywords, you’ll pay the site you’ve chosen to advertize through for every click that your ad receives, which drives traffic straight to your website. You should establish a budget for this first. Most websites allow you to pre-pay and will automatically cancel your ad once you’ve maxed out your set number of clicks.
The Benefits: Are They For Real?
SEM and SEO are incredibly beneficial. A recent study showed that 89 percent of consumers turn to the Internet to seek out travel and leisure options, and 88 percent of consumers use the web to compare goods and services. With numbers that high, you can’t risk not being easy to find online, especially during the season that can represent about 20 percent of one’s business for an entire year!
This article was contributed by Cohlab, your number one choice when looking for professional SEM services to grow your holiday orders. Check out their website today and see how they can help!
Sheldon Armstrong is a regular contributor to The Tech Scoop. He's a techie who loves keeping up with the latest gadgets and technologies in the market while writing about them during his free time.
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