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Three Ways Startups Can Leverage SEM

Published: August 19, 2016

Author: Kaitlyn Couture

New businesses may often feel pressure to catch up rather than start up. Established competitors, limited resources, and less operating data can seem like daunting challenges while entering an overcrowded marketplace of big players. Despite these challenges, startups have the unique opportunity to cash in their unique benefits and leverage search engine marketing (SEM) in their favor.
SEM is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to achieve tailored exposure to your unique demographic. What better way to advertise than to target users who are already searching for your service? The opportunity to target customers with purchasing intent could be the missing link to effective exposure – and, ultimately, the growth of your minimum viable product. But what can a startup do to enhance their SEM investment? Here are three ways startups can leverage their own SEM campaign.

Optimize User Experience—aka Don’t Make Your User Think!

The last thing you want your potential customers to do when they get to your site is wonder how to find something or question what your product is. Your website should be transparent and easy to understand just by glancing at it. This can be done by utilizing infographics, displaying clear and concise messaging, and, possibly, integrating video into your site. A self-explanatory navigation bar and simple website layout will lead to a seamless user interface. It is also important to implement a call-to-action on every page to encourage immediate conversion rather than require your user to take additional steps to acquire your offering. Club W does this well, with both a clear CTA and a step-by-step explanation of the process:
good landing page
Optimizing usability can increase the amount of time a user spends on your site and can also improve your ad rank. The combination of these effects ensures that your company’s dollar is used to its utmost ability.

Remember that Site Effectiveness Builds Credibility

How can a user expect your service to be effective when the site that represents that service is defective? An unresponsive site leads to a lower quality score and could lead users to question your credibility as a new player. Make sure your site is responsive on all devices, and continue to establish reliability throughout your site. This can be done through testimonials or quotes from well-known publications. Trustworthy sources recognizing your company increase the probability that a user will enter personal information to purchase your product or subscribe to your email list. Credibility is critical for conversion.

Never Stop Getting to Know Your User

The more you know about your audience, the more you can optimize you SEM strategy (and your entire marketing strategy, for that matter). Targeting an audience that has expressed interest in your product or is similar to those who have expressed interest is an effective method search marketers utilize. Think of keywords your audience may use to search for your product. Also think about keywords that may be misleading and should be blocked from your campaign. Could your campaign benefit from targeting a specific location you know will do especially well – or by not targeting one that won’t? The more details you know about your demographic, the more targeting can help lead you to a higher ROI.
Although startups face challenges such as established competitors, limited resources and less operating data, SEM can be strategically leveraged to take a startup to the next level. If a startup optimizes user experience, establishes credibility, and knows specifics about their target demographic, their SEM campaign will be more effective. 3Q Digital has developed a system specifically for startups and smaller businesses that may have limited resources. This system aims to achieve your specific goals in the most cost effective way as well as set a foundation for your company as it continues to grow.

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