Is paid search engine marketing right for your business?
We’re often asked by clients of all sizes to estimate a search engine marketing (SEM) plan with the question, “How much should I spend on search marketing?”
This is actually an easy question, though if you’re looking for a specific dollar amount, you won’t like our answer, which we give to any business:
Spend as much as you can spend … as long as it’s profitable.
For instance, if I could make $1.10 back for every dollar I spent on SEM, I would want to spend $10 million dollars a day or more.
The real work comes when determining the size of the opportunity that is profitable for your business. We need to know how much profit you make from a lead or a sale. Then we want to see how much we can pay for each search term, and finally, how many of the people searching for these terms will convert into leads.
It would be great if we could use a Magic 8 Ball and see into the future, but the truth is we have to run real tests to get the answer. We can estimate the value of a search marketing campaign in just a few hours, but nothing beats running real campaigns.
So the next step is to determine a budget, set goals and run the campaigns for a short time. With these smaller test campaigns, we can determine if search marketing can even be profitable for your business, and if so, how much money we can spend and still be profitable.
Generally, we like to run test campaigns for three months. This will give us the minimum amount of data to find the best keywords, create the best ads and design the best pages for users to visit (landing pages). At the end of the campaign we always recommend one of three options:
- Keep the campaigns runnings, because they are profitable and are near the maximum you can spend and still be profitable.
- Increase your spend, because we believe we can make even more money.
- Stop running the campaigns, because we can’t get the price low enough to make a profit.
At the end of the day, we only care about one thing: making money for our clients.
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