Turning Up the Heat: How to Strengthen Your Underperforming SEM Strategy

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be a goldmine for lead generation and brand awareness. But what happens when your clicks dry up, and conversions dwindle? Don’t panic! An underperforming SEM strategy is an opportunity to refine and reignite your campaigns. Here’s how to diagnose the issues and get your SEM strategy firing on all cylinders again.

Here are some SEO statistics that every online marketer should know:

  • Less than 1% of searchers click on the second page of Google results (Backlinko, 2023)
  • Pages with the highest number of total backlinks usually rank best in Google (Backlinko, 2020)
  • The top traffic source for all websites is organic search (HubSpot, 2022)
  • Long-tail keywords make up the vast majority of all Google searches (Semrush, 2022)
  • Over 70% of shoppers use their phones to buy online (Semrush, 2023)
  • Some 36% of Americans own a smart speaker (Edison Research, 2023)
  • Some 91% of companies (an all-time high) now use video as a marketing tool (Wyzowl, 2023)
  • A staggering 98% of people read online reviews for local businesses (BrightLocal, 2023)
  • Almost 70% of consumers head to the search bar when they land on an online retailer’s site (Nosto, 2023)

Is it any wonder that you should be analyzing your SEM spend? If your SEM is not performing here are some things to do:

1. Diagnose the Problem: Analyze Your Data

Before diving in, you need a clear picture of where things go wrong. Most advertising platforms offer robust analytics suites. Dive deep into these to identify areas for improvement. Are your impressions high but clicks low? This suggests weak ad copy or irrelevant keywords. Low conversion rates might point to a landing page that doesn’t resonate with your audience.

2. Keyword Check-Up

Keywords are the foundation of any SEM strategy. Revisit your keyword list and ensure they are:

  • Relevant: Do they accurately reflect what your target audience is searching for?
  • Specific: Laser-targeting high-intent keywords can lead to more qualified leads.
  • Balanced: Include a mix of broad and long-tail keywords to capture a wider audience.
  • Researched: Use keyword research tools to identify search volume and competition for each term.

3. Craft Compelling Ad Copy

Your ad copy is your digital storefront window. Make it enticing!

  • Highlight the Benefits: Focus on what matters to your audience. How does your product or service solve their problems?
  • Use Strong CTAs: Tell users precisely what you want them to do, whether “Visit our website” or “Learn More.”
  • A/B Test Different Variations: Don’t settle for the first draft. Experiment with different headlines and descriptions to see what resonates best.

4. Optimize Your Landing Pages

Your landing page is where the magic happens. Ensure it’s designed to convert those clicks into sales or leads.

  • Align with Your Ad Copy: The message on your landing page should seamlessly continue the conversation from your ad.
  • Prioritize Clarity: Visitors should instantly understand what you offer and how it benefits them.
  • Make it Easy to Convert: Include clear calls to action and a user-friendly design.

5. Embrace Experimentation

The beauty of SEM is its flexibility. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different:

  • Ad Formats: Explore options beyond text ads, such as captivating visuals or engaging video ads.
  • Bidding Strategies: Test different bidding models (e.g., cost-per-click vs. cost-per-acquisition) to optimize your budget.
  • Targeting Options: Refine your audience targeting to reach users who are more likely to convert.

6. Stay Ahead of the Curve

The digital advertising landscape is constantly evolving. Here’s how to stay ahead of the game:

  • Monitor Industry Trends: Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and adapt your strategies accordingly.
  • Stay Updated on Algorithm Changes: Search engine algorithms are constantly tweaked. Understanding these changes can help you optimize your campaigns.
  • Embrace New Technologies: Leverage new targeting options and ad formats as they become available.

Following these steps, you can transform your underperforming SEM strategy into a powerful tool for driving traffic and conversions. Remember, SEM is an ongoing process. Regular monitoring, analysis, and refinement are essential to optimizing your campaigns and achieving long-term success.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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