Search Engine Marketing – Some Small Business Basics to Consider When Getting Started

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In today’s internet driven world, many small businesses are finding it confusing to get started with on-line advertising. Corporations spend billions of dollars every year with Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, competing for top search results. However, how does a small business effectively advertise now that the Yellow Pages and local newspapers no longer deliver the desired results? Here are a few tips to help drive well qualified traffic to your website.

First, know your customer. Overlooking this, many businesses waste thousands of dollars without turning a single searcher into a customer. For example, let’s say you are located in New York, NY and your specialty is used office furniture and fixtures. You would not want to target a person searching for “office supplies” who is located in California. By combining geographic and keyword targeting you can precisely focus all of your advertising efforts.

With geographic targeting, you choose the areas where your customers are. Do you ship worldwide or only the continental United States? Perhaps your business only services local customers. You may even have multiple demographic types; selling “used office furniture” locally; but shipping “used phone systems” all over the United States. Setting up multiple campaigns with different parameters and keywords for each, would deliver the best results.

With keyword targeting, you can further qualify your customers before sending them to your site. Some people may consider a desk an “office supply.” However, the average person searching for “office supplies” is probably looking for pens or paper. Don’t waste money getting the wrong traffic to your site. Spending it on a local person searching for “used office desks” would be the wise thing to do.

Your budget should also be based on knowing your customer. What is an “average” sale worth? Is it a onetime purchase, or something that usually continues to generate profit? For every 100 people that visit your site, how many complete a purchase, fill out a form, or call on the phone? With this information, you can begin to develop an idea of how much to spend “per-click.” With proper tracking and analytics, you can monitor the cost per conversion and make adjustments accordingly. Obviously, selling an average office desk is worth more to a business than selling an average pen.

Before launching your campaigns, make sure your site is up to the challenge. One huge advantage of paid search marketing is that you determine what page of the site the customer lands on. Don’t make a customer search an entire site when you already know what they are looking for. Having relevant landing pages can also lower your average cost per click.

This article has just skimmed the surface of search engine marketing. I hope it has given you some food for thought when considering on-line advertising. It may be in your best interest to contact a Search Engine Marketing expert to answer further questions.

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