Nowadays, any person, company, or organization with a problem seeks to resolve that problem through search. If you want an answer, you Google it—simple as that. But sometimes, the solution is not as easy as a simple answer or definition. Sometimes you need to follow the marketing chain to get the right solution for your issue—be it a software issue, a security issue, a commerce issue, or anything else.

The purpose of SEM is to give customers solutions as quickly as possible. When people go to search for their solutions, SEM marketers should seek to give them the right answers, right away. Let’s say you have a customer who does not have a company website and wants to build one. The initial search will yield numerous solutions to the problem, some of the best solutions being SEM ads. SEM can adjust more quickly than traditional, organic, SEO—that’s why customers might find more direct and up-to-date solutions with it than they would with natural search results.

If one of these ads is for Adobe website building solutions, and then the customer clicks on it, we call that the first touch. Even though the customer may not make a purchase at the first point of contact with these potential solutions, SEM kicks off the marketing chain and helps solve the customer’s problems down the road. After the first point of contact, the marketing chain can move in numerous progressive directions, directions that will help the marketer, the company, and the customer. But the most vital part about the first touch is that the solution matches the customer’s issue.

To kickoff the marketing chain, an SEM marketer cannot just bid whimsically on every related keyword. The SEM marketer must ensure that they are spending marketing dollars wisely. Sure, there is no reason to leave any potential sales on the table, but there is also no reason to bid on keywords that are unlikely to yield any customer action. Action does not always indicate an immediate purchase, but if you get more clicks with a certain keyword than with others, then you know that keyword functions as a better marketing sparkplug. Weigh your options, and spend marketing dollars frugally. Use A/B testing and analytics to figure out what options best suit your marketing mission.

A relevant landing page is necessary if you want SEM to jumpstart the marketing chain. You can have the best ad copy in the world, but you won’t get any purchases until customers visit your site. Two important aspects of landing pages are (1) parallelism and (2) calls to action. You need your landing page to match your ad copy and the customer’s search terms as closely as possible. You also need your landing page to have obvious calls to action so the customer can move down the marketing chain.

Without SEM, many marketing campaigns would never get going. Make sure you put all the pieces in place before sending a customer on a marketing journey. Make sure that journey has an intention, and isn’t just a random jumble of marketing tactics. Remember that first impressions are the most important, so be meticulous about what type of SEM ad copy you put out. Also, make sure customers continue down the marketing chain by creating relevant and useful landing pages.

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