Outsourcing SEM – What to Know About Search Engine Marketing

The “if you build it…” approach doesn’t translate well to the internet. 

Anyone who has seen the film Field of Dreams  has heard a variation of the phrase “if you build it, they will come.” Many of you are already nodding your heads, remembering the scene where novice farmer Ray Kinsella first hears the voice whispering to him on a walk across his Iowa farmland. It’s one of the most memorable scenes in film history. Given that baseball is one of the great American pastimes, one can easily expect that a freshly-built baseball field in rural Iowa would indeed drawn fans and players of the game from all over the county. But as with most fantasy conceptions, the “if you build it…” approach doesn’t translate well to our reality. This is never truer than with websites. Merely building it doesn’t quite do the job. Successful websites – as well as web-based or web-driven businesses – require marketing. In this capacity, we are talking specifically about search marketing.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a field of service that traditionally includes search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC), and search-engine-friendly web development. These services help businesses  (and in many cases, web designers and agency partners) leverage the power of search engines to generate exposure, visibility, and brand awareness for their websites and their business.

Developing a comprehensive and highly-effective SEM program is no small task. A truly effective SEM program requires the coordinated, unified effort of search marketing experts with numerous competencies. Many business owners and agencies therefore feel more comfortable hiring an experienced, qualified agency to manage the little details.

What you need to know about outsourcing your SEM:

1. It’s cost effective: By outsourcing your SEM program, your company or agency does not need to employ specialized staff or budget for those associated “internal” costs. Big win for you or your agency.

2. It’s detail-oriented: A professional SEM agency should provide a direct contact that operates as your SEM and web advertising consultant. This individual is ready to help you at all times. They advise you on SEM strategies that are tailor-fit to your needs and business goals. They manage your campaigns, as well as prepare and distribute your monthly reports.

3. It’s a mission-critical decision: Whether you’re a business owner trying to grow your business and your brand or an advertising agency looking for SEM vendor support, selecting an outside SEM provider is an extremely important decision. Search ranking equals revenues. When you look at the worldwide search queries (from comScore qSearch 2009, below), you can easily see that the search market is so large and so fluid that it’s no effort at all to understand that there is a level of complexity to any effective SEM program. The search market demands competence. The right SEM program (and SEM vendor) affects your ability to compete in the market. Search is therefore mission-critical.

  • Google: 88 billion search queries per month
  • Twitter: 19 billion search queries per month
  • Yahoo: 9.4 billion search queries per month
  • Bing: 4.1 billion search queries per month

4. Search affects your bottom line: Executed correctly, search marketing pays for itself and adds dollars to your bottom line. Effective search marketing yields high conversion rates and a return on investment – if you get it right. The argument for outsourcing your SEM program is supported by the knowledge that the continual changes to the search engine algorithms are incredibly complex. As such, SEM tactics become more sophisticated and detailed every quarter.

In the end, the best in the business bring the right mix of analytics and interpretation to the job. Top SEM providers – like those at Sweet Spot Marketing – provide a nose-to-the-grindstone service that is tailored for maximum effectiveness. They help stakeholders cut through the jargon and the buzzwords and develop a customized strategy that meets business goals. Lastly, your SEM provider should always provide the information your business or client needs to make informed decisions and minimize operational costs.

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