The following search engine marketing (SEM) frequently asked questions (FAQ) was created by Anvil Media, Inc., our sister company.
- What is search engine marketing?
- Why should I care about search engine marketing?
- How do I determine if search engine marketing is right for my company?
- How do I get started with search engine marketing activities?
- How do I measure the success of search engine marketing efforts?
- How do I determine if I should manage search engine marketing activities in-house or outsource to an SEM vendor?
- What criteria should I use to evaluate an SEM vendor?
- Why would I choose Formic Media for search engine marketing services?
Search engine marketing is an umbrella term referring to all activities utilized to generate visibility in search engine results in order to increase revenue. Common strategies and tactics include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine and directory submission, link development, pay-per-click (PPC) management, shopping feeds, affiliate marketing and online public relations (promotion via blogs, ezines, threaded forums, newsgroups, discussion lists and chat).
Research indicates that a high percentage of the developed world is online, so the odds your potential customers, partners, employees and shareholders are also online is very high. Not only is search engine marketing one of the fastest growing and popular new marketing channels available, it’s also the most cost-effective (as compared with both online and offline channels like email, direct mail and broadcast). Search engine marketing both an excellent avenue for brand-building and cost-effective at generating leads and online sales. If your company doesn’t currently have a search engine marketing strategy, you’re behind the curve. Do a search for your own company, competitors and industry terms and see for yourself.
Unless your company is headquartered in a cave and your customers are other cavemen, it’s very likely that your company will benefit from some aspect of search engine marketing, whether it be search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Regardless of whether you are interested in generating awareness, new recruits, strategic partners, investors, leads or sales, search engine marketing offers an opportunity to improve your bottom line. A quick assessment by professionals (like Formic) will help clarify the need and fit.
The easiest way to get started with search engine marketing efforts is to contact Formic. If you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, or would like more information before moving forward, we recommend downloading our free search engine optimization (SEO) white paper and read our SEM blog, which contains a variety of links to search engine marketing industry news and resources.
Search engine marketing efforts are highly measurable. If your objective is to generate awareness, you can track “impressions” and “clicks” on organic and paid search engine listings. If your objective is to measure brand preference or performance of text ad creative, you can measure “click through” and “conversion” rates. If your objective is to generate qualified leads, you can track online registrations (for newsletters, events or white papers), downloads (trials or demos) or email inquiries. If your objective is sales, you can track ecommerce sales or offline sales via printable coupons or phone call tracking.
How do I determine if I should manage search engine marketing activities in-house or outsource to an SEM vendor?
Generally speaking, most companies prefer to outsource their search engine marketing efforts to SEM professionals to ensure their programs are properly managed and remain cutting-edge. Larger companies tend to have an in-house resource like a Webmaster or Internet Marketing Manager who is responsible for implementing search engine marketing programs, but often times, this person outsources the day-to-day SEM activities to a trusted vendor to free up their time educate and manage internal resources, develop long-term strategies and to create optimized content. Factors influencing the decision process include objectives, timeline, available marketing budget and internal resources.
There are a few key criteria utilized to evaluate search engine marketing vendors. The following are just a few of the most important: length of time in business, collective industry experience, number of employees, number of clients, size of clients, client and employee turnover, depth and breadth of service offering, pricing, proprietary services, industry credibility, client testimonials, success stories, strategic partners, philosophy and process. Look at their client’s visibility versus their own, as “search engine marketing” is a highly competitive term, and those that perform well probably have a little too much time and not enough client work to keep them busy. Be sure to ask for references if they don’t have testimonials and success stories.
Formic Media is a Portland-based company with a mission to create Oregon jobs to help Oregon businesses be successful in a global marketplace and challenging economy. Leveraging the DNA from Anvil Media, Inc., its sister company, Formic is able to provide affordable services tailored to small and local businesses. The executive team alone has nearly 30 years of search engine and digital marketing experience, and a proven track record with past and current clients. If you are a small business looking for help, and want to work with a local company that actually cares about your business and can provide a depth and breadth of services at a low cost, Formic Media is for you.