Build a Solid SEM Campaign

December 1, 2020 Kevin White


Whether you spend your marketing budget on generating leads or seeking more sales—or a bit of both—search engine marketing (SEM) is a powerful way to gain visibility on search engines and get qualified leads. SEM campaigns run on advertising platforms such as Google and Bing and use a variety of ad formats to engage new customers. 

“Compared to traditional media like radio or newspapers, the beauty of SEM is that it provides a quick result, and you have access to a lot of very tangible information that you can leverage to really understand what works and what doesn’t within your ad campaign,” says Jonathan Van Erps, Senior Manager of SEM at Yellow Pages Digital and Media Solutions.

Jonathan leads a team of Google Certified experts who manage and optimize SEM campaigns based on the client’s goals. And as with most marketing, the budget often determines the complexity of the campaign and the servicing that follows.

Yellow Pages, a Google Premier Partner, has offered managed SEM, also known as PPC (pay-per-click), for more than a decade. More than 25,000 businesses have trusted YP’s experts to manage their ad campaigns. YP has developed a recognized expertise in this area, particularly when working with small- and medium-sized businesses. “We have different packages, different solutions based on the investment clients are making,” Jonathan says, “which depend on the goals they want to achieve.”

Not only are YP’s Campaign Managers Google Certified, but so is their Salesforce. Their MACs (Media Account Consultants) can help you establish your advertising goals if you need guidance. They are also there to help propose monthly spends depending on your vertical and geographic location, which is a big factor when investing in SEM.

More and more businesses are tapping into SEM, as a keystone of their digital marketing mix. In Canada, SMBs are projected to spend $4.5 billion on SEM this year, with Google the optimum choice, accounting for almost 92 percent of SEM spend in Canada.

Building the foundation

The first step is the most important: building a list of specific keywords that potential customers may be typing into search engines to find your products or services. With the keywords chosen, our team then creates advertising copy that will speak to the search terms, attracting the attention of the searcher. When your business turns up on the search engine results page (SERP), users can click straight through to your website, or dial your number directly from your SEM ad. These are qualified leads that could deliver your next sale.

“A Yellow Pages sales representative will have a meeting with the client to define the needs and discuss the goals,” Jonathan says. “We need to know everything about your business and website, the services you want to promote, the specific products you might want to focus on. Once that information is collected, the Sales team communicates it to our Operations team which creates a digital strategy and the campaign accordingly.”

Situations vary depending on your marketing strategy, the budget, and how involved you want to be with the campaign on a monthly basis—if at all. After your campaign is set up and live, you will have direct access to your reports online. “We walk our clients through the reports, highlighting the metrics that will matter to them most, so they can refer to it anytime and read it at their own convenience,” Jonathan says.

Side-stepping the pitfalls

As we briefly covered above, SEM can be very competitive. Your vertical and geographic area play a huge role in the budget you will need in order to see success. Allocating too little initially is something to avoid. If your budget is too small, you may not have enough money to bid on specific keywords which will prevent the ads from being shown to users.

As well, changing your strategy too often or too drastically during the campaign—or worse, doing both at the same time—will result in you getting lost within the information generated, unable to interpret the data correctly. Jonathan suggests sticking to the plan. “We strategically optimize at specific moments in a campaign. If you manipulate too many things all at once, you can’t keep track of what works and what doesn’t.”

Jonathan cites a heating and cooling company that began a Yellow Pages SEM campaign, yet focused mainly on the CPC (cost-per-click). When the campaign manager explained how to read the data, and shifted the client’s attention to the actual cost per lead, the dynamic completely changed. “The client understood how to read to their performance, eventually adding more budget to their campaign. We managed to get a good cost per lead for this client. It’s important to understand what your cost per lead should be and how it's going to be profitable for you.”

Yellow Pages helps all kinds of businesses, big and small, develop smart SEM campaigns that help focus and elevate their business goals. Find out how you can partner with our certified experts today by calling 1-877-553-6883.

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