The 7 Best SEM Hacks to Boost Campaign Performance Fast

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Search engine marketing, or SEM for short, is a digital marketing channel that seeks to boost traffic and conversions through the acquisition of top placements on SERPs (search engine results pages).

Though similar in some ways to search engine optimization (SEO), SEM utilizes PPC (pay-per-click) advertising to achieve its goals. Both channels involve diligent keyword research to determine their messaging; however, in SEM keywords are bid on and won in auction. Additionally, as the name suggests, each time an advertisement is clicked, the advertiser pays an agreed upon cost-per-click (CPC).

While a large budget certainly can facilitate the success of SEM campaigns, you’ll need more than a checkbook to achieve sustainable success. Thorough keyword research, concise copywriting, and cost-efficient strategies (among other things) are all necessary to maintain high standards. This guide of 7 SEM hacks will help you boost your campaign performance fast.

Hack #1) Invest in quality tools

One of the most crucial aspects to achieving sustainable success in SEM is cost efficiency. While it may seem counterintuitive, investing in premium tools will benefit your bottom line in the long run. Using free or cheap keyword research and campaign planning tools may save you a few dollars in the beginning, but cutting corners in marketing (and business in general) will rarely lead to long-term success.

Tools like Semrush can help your team identify highly targeted keywords with high volume, low competition, and excellent CPC. A qualified team with a deep understanding of the best tools will lead to the best results.

Hack #2) Conduct thorough keyword research

This one should be obvious, but it’s still always worth mentioning. Once campaign goals and strategies are outlined clearly, you should immediately begin keyword research. Take as much time as you need and be sure not to skip this step. You can write the most beautifully worded copy in the world, but if there’s no search volume to back it up, you won’t get any traffic. Alternatively, if you focus exclusively on keywords with astronomically high volumes, you’ll run through your budget before you can even log onto your campaign tracking platform. Ideally, you should have a mix of high-volume, short-tail keywords and low-cost, long-tail keywords. Each campaign will vary based on budget considerations, so just be sure the keyword research is as thorough as possible.

Hack #3) Utilize A/B testing

While SEM is certainly not just guesswork, there are some factors that are simply out of your control. Effective keyword research and strategic planning can help mitigate some of the error margin, but you won’t always get everything right the first time. For that reason, A/B testing is immensely helpful for search engine marketers. A/B testing is exactly what it sounds like: testing the success of one ad/campaign (A) against another (B) and observing which is more effective towards achieving your goals. This strategy allows you to test different messaging, CTAs, and keywords.

Hack #4) Don’t forget about competitor research

Keeping a close eye on your competitors is a highly cost-efficient way to conduct keyword research and discover new messaging and ad copy strategies. Without wanting to sound too cliche, “you don’t need to reinvent the wheel”. If you have a deep understanding of the competitive landscape and know which competitors are most closely aligned with your goals, observing and leveraging the work they’ve already done saves you time and money. Tools like Spyfu can even help you identify your competitors’ ad spend.

Hack #5) Bid on competitors’ branded keywords

Though similar to the previous hack, this differs in that instead of going for product or service related queries, you are directly targeting your competitors’ branded terms. Usually this is a cost-efficient practice and additionally, you can steal competitors traffic with properly worded ad copy. One way to do this is by addressing one of their weaknesses and outlining why your value is greater in that regard. Another great way to save time and resources.

Hack #6) Remember search intent

A major hack for both SEO and SEM is to understand and leverage search intent. While conducting keyword research, consider more than just the volume, competition, and CPC. You can do this by understanding the purpose or goal behind what a user is searching. Knowing how far along a consumer is in their marketing journey can help you better select keywords to target. If a search term has great volume and CPC but is primarily an informational search, you likely won’t gain any conversions. Instead, identify and target transactional terms that indicate a user is ready to make a purchase.

Hack #7) Partner with a quality SEM agency

Partnering with an experienced SEM and PPC agency, such as Nxt Era Marketing is the most effective way to ensure success across your campaigns. We have the tools, experience, and expertise to develop and execute campaigns that will achieve sustainable success.

Contact Nxt Era Marketing Today

Our talented team of SEM experts are ready to help elevate your brand and campaigns to the next level. Reach out to us today to schedule your free SEM consultation.

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