What is SEM?

Chapter 3

Mistakes to Avoid with SEM

While SEM should be an integral part of of any business’ marketing and advertising strategy, to get the results you want, it needs to be done right.

Let’s take a look at five of the most common SEM mistakes marketers make so that you can create highly profitable SEM campaigns.

1. Not Researching Your Target Market

This is basic advertising 101, but if you don’t understand who your target market is and what they care about, you won’t be able to craft ads that resonate with them. You want to target a specific market so that you create a more powerful message for those who are more likely to buy your product or service.

What does this mean for you? You should set up interviews with current customers and prospects. Find out what they value about your product or service, what their pain points are, and how your product addresses them. Discover the language your audience uses so that when you write copy it feels like you’re speaking directly to them.

Look at who your competition is targeting and the language they’re using. Think about how you can position your product so that it stands out from the competition. Do you have features your competitors don’t, or superior customer support? Identify what makes you different and that also resonates with your target audience. This will increase your click-through-rate (CTR) and ultimately boost sales.

2. Not Taking into Account User Intent

Taking into consideration User intent allows you to gain an insight into what a user is looking for while they make a search query. User intent helps you determine the user’s thinking pattern when they type a certain keyword phrase into a search engine.

User intent is essentially divided into 3 categories:

    1. Navigational: when the user is trying to access a specific website.
    2. Informational: when the user is looking to collect information about a specfic subject
    3. Transactional: When the user is ready to buy

To explain user intent and how you should plan your SEM campaigns around it, let’s take the example of a fictional company called “Pretty Pages”. Pretty Pages is a tool that helps designers collaborate on projects.

When a potential customer of Pretty Pages does a search for the phrase, “what’s the best way to collaborate on design projects” the user intent is at the informational stage. They are probably still searching for the best solution and aren’t ready to buy yet. Landing pages connected with this keyword should lead the user to a page that is educational.

Now, if the potential customer does a search for the keyword, “Is Pretty Pages the best tool for design collaboration?” you know that the customer is inclined to buy soon and has transactional user intent. Your landing page should at this stage should get to the point and tell them why you are the best in the business, and then point them towards your personalized CTA.

Find out which keywords describe which type of buying intent and target those keywords properly with your landing pages, and overall search engine marketing campaigns.

To explain user intent and how you should plan your SEM campaigns around it, let’s take the example of a fictional company called “Pretty Pages”. Pretty Pages is a tool that helps designers collaborate on projects.

3. Setting and Forgetting It

To maximize the ROI from your SEM campaigns, you need to check on your campaigns at least once a week. Just because you can automate the process, doesn’t mean you should. Otherwise, you might end up spending a ton of money on advertising without any results to show for it.

When you first set up a campaign the keywords you choose are a guess. After all, you have no way of knowing for certain which keywords will generate traffic, while making you a profit. You can make an educated guess, but you’ll still need to track your ads’ results to find out and make changes according to the data. You should also add negative keywords and experiment with match types.

Check your bids. Increase your bids for strong performers to ensure you rank on the first page of results, while lowering your bids for poor performers.

Finally, test your messaging and copy in your ads. Do you get better results from having a witty, clever slogan, or a direct benefit statement? Test your CTA. You’ll only be able to improve your SEM ads’ performance by monitoring your results and making changes when necessary.

4. Incomplete Tracking

Only 57.7% of AdWords accounts actually have tracking set up for their sites and campaigns. It’s not shocking then that 97% of all AdWords campaigns fail. Make sure you set up conversion tracking in AdWords (or whatever search engine you’re advertising on). If you aren’t tracking and monitoring your results, you’ll have no idea which ads are working and which are a waste of money. And you won’t be able to optimize your ads to increase conversions.

For most search engines, it’s as easy as placing a snippet of code on the right page of your website or landing page, which the search engine generates for you.

5. Not Creating Relevant Landing Pages

Creating a successful SEM campaign, doesn’t stop at optimizing your ad and keywords. After all, the landing page is where the conversion happens.

Every ad should have a corresponding landing page. A landing page is a standalone page with a single purpose. It’s removed any obstacles to conversion.

Your ad is directed toward a single offer, so you want to ensure that the landing page it’s connected to matches that offer and has a clear call-to-action (CTA).

If you’re spending your time, money, and energy creating an ad with a high click-through-rate, don’t waste that effort by sending someone to a generic landing page or webpage.

Think about if you were looking for a holiday dress and were directed to the homepage of a clothing website instead of the product page with the dress from the ad you clicked on, you’d probably bounce. Meaning that the advertiser just paid money for no sale.

Creating a landing page for every promotion may sound daunting, but not if you have a landing page platform to streamline the process of creating stunning, mobile-responsive, conversion-optimized landing pages.

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