What is SEM?

Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, aren’t they all the same thing? Well, no not exactly. They all do occur on the internet so they do have that in common. Out of these three marketing terms, we’re going to discuss the importance of catering marketing and tackle Search Engine Marketing (aka SEM) since it is the toughest to understand.

We’ve already taught you one of the most common confusions about search engine marketing and you probably didn’t even know it. It’s the acronym. People often confuse SEM and SEO, because everyone in the marketing or digital business uses the acronyms instead of the full words, which are confusing on their own. The most simple definition of Search Engine Marketing – paid results that show up based on keywords down the side of a search page and in the top two spots of a search page, often labeled “paid” or “sponsored.”Search Engine Marketing can be broken down into two types of ads – Search and Display. Search Ads are those that you see on a Google, Bing, or Yahoo results page after you enter a search. For example, if you searched for “pizza Trenton New Jersey,” we would bet good money that a Papa John’s Pizza ad would come up on the top or side of your organic search results. If you were to click on one of these ads to take you to the Papa John’s website the company would then pay for that “click.” If you did not choose to click on that Search Ad the company would pay nothing but you would be counted as an “impression.” Display ads are those images that you may while you’re on other websites. Display ads are commonly paired with Remarketing Ads, which we covered in a previous post.

So, how do you utilize Search Engine Marketing for your catering company? First, build a set of keywords (similarly to how you would have done to optimize your website) that you want to bid on for your search engine ad buying, such as Google Adwords. Second, choose a budget for each month. If you have a peak season, such as January to April when people are newly engaged and looking for wedding caterers, you may want to consider higher budgets in those months. Adjust the budget for lower search months, such as May through August, when people aren’t necessarily searching for vendors to book but are instead actually having their weddings. Lastly, be sure to track your results. There are online tutorials for Google Adwords that you can take to understand how to read you analytics and how to bid on keywords.

If setting up your own Search Engine Marketing seems overwhelming you have a few options. There are large companies that focus just in SEM that you can hire to set up and monitor your online marketing. It is also likely that you have a local company of a few people who can install and run your Search Engine Marketing. Both of these options should provide you with a report at the end of each month to show your progress. The last option is to use a local news station to set up your SEM. Most news stations now, such as your local NBC station, have great digital marketing and SEM capabilities. Just remember, you’ll have to adjust your budget slightly to cover the convenience fee you’ll be paying to not have to learn this yourself, which is well worth the money if you aren’t up to speed on all things digital.