The Importance of Search Engine Marketing

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The Technology Shift

In 2000, consumers were awed by the convergence of two useful technologies: the digital camera and the mobile phone. Despite the low-quality images produced by these products, consumption surged for the camera phone in the early 21st century.

A decade later, we again see that the cell phone has evolved. This generation of "smart phones" has all of the capabilities of a camera phone, but one key differentiated prevails - the Internet! In 2011, the newest trend is not just to take a picture with your camera phone, but to use your smart phone to connect with others on the Internet via email, social networks and more!

We live in a digital world, and technological convergence with the Internet has become a standard. Smart phones, Kindles, iPads and lighter-than-air laptops have made accessing the Internet a breeze - no matter where you are.

According to Online Marketing Trends, the average American spent over 32 hours per month online in 2010. If over 1/5 of an Americans life is now spent online, how can we reach them with traditional advertising methods? Just like the evolution of cell phones, we need to evolve our marketing strategies.

It is no secret that the usage of the Yellow Pages is declining, and it makes sense. In a world where information can readily be pulled from online resources, why bother searching through a printed book? Search engines are the modern day solution, and search engine marketing is the future of advertising.

Search Engine Marketing

What exactly is search engine marketing? Unlike search engine optimization (SEO), SEM is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites through the use of paid advertising placements and contextual advertising (advertising that targets users based on the content of the web pages that they are viewing) in search engine results pages. There are several platforms for online advertising. The most recognized tool is Google AdWords, but there are also ad opportunities on Yahoo! and Bing, as well as on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Different businesses have different successes with each platform. The first step is to understand your target customers and their online behavior: which websites do they frequent and what time of the day? Once you have created an ideal buyer persona, create advertisements that will accommodate to your customers needs. By showing that your business is the solution to their problems, you can drive traffic to your site and increase your business.

Google as the Online Market Leader

According to market research giant Nielsen, 65.2% of all online search engine queries in the US in February 2010 were performed by Google. In addition to the Google network, there are literally millions of Google partners and affiliates. This wide reach has led Google to become the dominant market leader of online advertising with their AdWords service.

Creating an account on Google AdWords is free of charge; the only cost incurred comes from the keywords that you choose to bid on. The platform offers pay-per-click (PPC), cost-per-impression (CPM) and website-targeted advertising in the form of text, banners and rich media advertisements.

Users can manage their own AdWords accounts, or outsource to a third-party company that specializes in search engine marketing. Regardless of who manages the account, the key to AdWords success lies in continuous and careful monitoring and adjusting of the advertising campaigns.


If you are still not convinced that advertising your business online is the way to go, consider the last time that you needed to search for a service provider. What did you do?

If you needed to find a power washer in your area, did you type into the search query bar: "power washer in ( your town )? When your child decided that they wanted to start karate lessons, did you search for regional martial arts schools online to find one that was most cost effective? When you needed to find a florist spur-of-the moment in an unfamiliar town, did you use your smart phone and search for flower shops online?

The worldwide trend has revealed that there is a shift to digital medium: from the decline of the Yellow Pages to the uprising tablet era. If information is easily accessible and readily available online, then why not utilize digital technology. As marketers, we must learn how to harness the true power of the online realm. Whether you're a small business owner with a limited budget or the SVP of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company, search engine marketing is important. If your business is not online, your competitor probably is; and your competitor is reaping the benefits of your lost business.

When it comes down to it, the real power behind search engine marketing is the element of control. Every facet of your Google AdWords campaign can be monitored, measured and altered depending on your goals. Campaigns can be designed to drive new traffic to your website or maximize your return on investment.

Regardless of how you choose to measure your online marketing success, the Internet is a vital channel to utilize. Positioning your business against or above the competition through online advertising is a key competitive advantage, and the personalized metrics dashboard provided is a fundamental tool that allows you to track your online success.


1. Butcher, Dan. "Worldwide Camera Phone Sales to Exceed 1B This Year: Report - Mobile Commerce Daily - Research." Mobile Commerce Daily. 07 Apr. 2011.

2. "Average Time Spent Online per U.S. Visitor in 2010 | Online Marketing Trends." Online Marketing Trends. 18 Feb. 2011.

3. "Search Engine Marketing." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

4. "Nielsen Reports February 2010 U.S. Search Rankings | Nielsen Wire." Nielsen Wire. The Nielsen Company, 15 Mar. 2010.

About Modern Mail
Since 2004, Modern Mail has maintained strong capabilities in its three product lines: integrated direct marketing, collateral management and transaction processing. Based in Newark, Delaware, the company leverages a multi-channel strategy to increase business for its clients. For further information about this article and others, Caitlin Rambo can be reached by way of email at, or visit the Modern Mail website.

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