As the year draws to a close, many people are looking back on 2008 and reflecting on SEM efforts, successes and goals. It's time to look forward to the New Year, and what 2009 will bring for you and your business.
It's no secret that we are using the Internet more and more for decision making and purchasing, and that trend is sure to continue. Consequently using Search Engine Marketing as a means to succeed in a tough economy will be a smart move for 2009.
A well-implemented SEM campaign will give you the competitive edge in the challenging economy we're facing as we ring in the New Year. Obviously in today's economy budgets are getting cut, money is being redistributed, and changes are happening.
But SEM is budget that should not be cut. In fact, you should consider increasing it. Well-implemented SEM is cost-effective, measurable, and highly successful. With the Internet growing, traditional marketing channels are losing effectiveness. As a result you need a strong presence on Google and other search engines to maintain sales and to position your business to take advantage of opportunities when the economy turns around. More than ever, people are finding companies, services and products online. Will they be able to find you in 2009?
Why do I think SEM is going to get even bigger in 2009? Just think about it...
- Lead Generation: Finding leads has never been an easy task. As people are being more cautious with their money and time, it can be harder and harder for companies to find prospective leads. SEM has the tools that allow you to generate leads as well as find out where leads are coming from. Once you know where the best traffic is coming from, you can focus your budget on the most lucrative avenues. Those who invest in a solid SEM campaign in 2009 will use their marketing budget more effectively and have better results generating leads that will turn into sales.
- Social Media Marketing: At its core, SEM is following in the footsteps of traditional, effective marketing practices. We all know how interactive the Internet is, making some classic marketing ploys worthless, while creating the perfect environment for new, creative forms of marketing to develop. Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a relatively new chapter in the Marketing book. This platform can engage your target audience when they are interacting online. SMM can increase Web site traffic, market interest, link popularity and search visibility. Whether you're looking for Social Networking help, Blog optimization, or a broad SMM campaign, SMM is becoming a specialization all its own, and I see that continuing in 2009. With the complex and time consuming tactics that go along with Social Media Marketing, it will be important to work with specialized professionals in the future to allow for the best chance of success with this strategy in 2009.
- Pay Per Click Advertising: PPC on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN AdCenter is a fast way to generate search visibility, traffic and sales. A successful PPC campaign doesn't only bring traffic; it should deliver qualified buyers. Measurement tools allow you to identify which keywords and ads lead to sales. You can take this data to optimize your PPC program to continually improve your sales and your bottom-line. So what will the trends be in 2009? As more and more companies implement PPC campaigns, there will higher competition for important key phrases, this will make professional PPC management necessary as campaigns will need to be stepped up to remain competitive. The mix of increase in competition and tighter budgets will make it hard for PPC campaigns to be run effectively without professional help.
- Local Results: An October 2008 Press Release from TMP reports that people use search engines more than Yellow Pages to find businesses. Not only that, but the rise in popularity of mobile devices is on the rise, and that trend will continue throughout the New Year. People are using the Internet to find what's close. Being found online is becoming more and more important to reach your local audience. In 2009 more businesses will look to SEM to make sure they're found online.
- Reporting: SEM efforts can and should be reported. Documenting SEM efforts, showing both the successes and struggles is one of the core reasons that SEM has the ability to grow in 2009. As the economy struggles, it is becoming more and more important to know exactly what your money is getting you. With tight budgets and the need to justify spending money, the ability to effectively and regularly report the progress of an SEM campaign will make SEM a go-to strategy for 2009.
- Cost: SEM campaigns are adjustable. You have the ability to manipulate the budget as necessary. Want to see even better results from your SEM campaign? You will have the data to guide you. Ranking for keywords without PPC efforts? Reduce what you spend on PPC and shift the budget to search optimization. SEM tactics, whether PPC or SEO, can be easily measured and tracked. You can see where your budget is going and what is getting results. This will be an important factor in making SEM thrive in uncertain times, like we' sure to see as we enter the New Year.
2009 may begin with tight budgets and uncertainty, but SEM is the marketing strategy that can transcend those challenges. Don't cut SEM out of your budget or avoid a new SEM campaign in the New Year. There are many reasons why I believe SEM is going to see growth in 2009. SEM has the potential to grow your business even when the economy stinks.
The New Year is a good time to evaluate your company's online marketing potential and needs. Do you have a strong SEM campaign in place? Are you happy with the results? Have you thought about SEM before, but are hesitating on taking the next step? Now is the time. SEM will grow in 2009; your competitors will be jumping on board. Will you?
Make SEM your business' New Year's Resolution. Make sure you're happy with your current campaign, or get started on finding the right SEM solution to implement. Don't get left behind as others will implement SEM, the potential for growth is a huge one, make sure your company doesn't get left in the dust.