Imagine that every time a consumer searches for, ‘plumber near me,’ ‘electrician NSW,’ or ‘how to fix leaking roof’ online, your business’ website is the first result they see – an immediate and convenient solution to their problem.
What a dream, right? Now pinch yourself because you’re not dreaming. You can actually achieve these results with a little help from SEM for tradies and contractors strategy.
You might’ve heard of SEM’s sister act, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, but we assure you, these two are totally different.
Allow us to explain…
SEM? SEO? What’s The Difference?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) involves the editing of front and back end content on websites, social media pages and other online platforms so they include more commonly searched phrases or keywords relating to your business services and location.
For example, if you are an experienced builder who services the North Brisbane area, you’re going to want to edit your website content, social media posts and more so they include words and terms like ‘builder Queensland’, ‘roof repair’, ‘North Brisbane renovations’, etc.
This process increases the number of ranking signals in your content that alert search engines of as a possible answer to a search someone has entered. This can then improve the chances of your business’ website ranking higher in search results (like on the first two pages!).
It’s a free and organic way to improve your chances of securing a customer through a web search.
Search Engine Marketing (also known as SEM, PPC, paid marketing, or Google Ads), does include the SEO strategy of editing content using keywords and phrases, however, it takes things one step further by introducing a paid search advertising element that targets the first four results of a search.
See, the results of a search you’ve entered in Google or Bing are separated into two categories: the paid (which appear in the first four spots at the top of the first page of your search) and the organic (which appear directly under the paid ones).
The goal of SEO is to get your business’ platform onto the first page of search results for free, meaning they appear under the paid spots. The goal of SEM is to get your business’ platform in those four paid ads at the top, because that’s what your searcher is going to see first.
SEM achieves this through bidding. As the owner of your Google Ads account you, or a specialist you hire, will use money from the budget you allocate to bid on specific keywords related to your services so that when someone searches using them, your ad shows up.
The likelihood of your ad showing up is based on how optimised your content is (through SEO) and how much you’re bidding for the keyword. So, if you’re the highest bidder with the best optimised content, you’ll appear above all of the other ads.
When someone clicks on your ad, you pay the amount that you bid on the keyword – this is also called cost per click, or CPC.
The Best Of Both Worlds
At Tradie Web Guys, we get a lot of different contractors and tradies asking us whether they should invest their marketing spend in our SEO or our SEM packages, and our answer is always the same – it really depends on whether or not you want fast results or a longstanding marketing foundation that’s going to carry you for years to come.
See, there might be a difference between SEO and SEM, but the truth is that they don’t exactly compete against each other, they compliment each other.
What plumbers, builders, electricians and any other contractor you can think of should be working towards when it comes to digital marketing is having both SEO and SEM.
Good SEO across your online platforms is great for long-term, unpaid online visibility and SEM is going to be that boost that you might need in the quieter times of the year when you’re looking for more traffic to your website to increase leads.
Buuuut, if we really had to answer, we’d probably say SEM is the most realistic one for tradies to invest in first as that will get them the clicks, callouts, and, ultimately, customers pretty quickly. This can be valuable as most service industries are pretty competitive when it comes to winning jobs, tenders and projects.
Before you make the call though, let’s look more closely at SEM and how it can benefit your business. After all, knowledge is power!
So, Is SEM for Tradies? You decide…
You Only Pay When It Works
Only once the ad has succeeded in seducing a potential customer to click on your website to find your services will you pay for it. Essentially, you pay per click (hence, PPC).
So, you won’t be wasting money on ads that aren’t working. And when they do work, you’re paying for leads that are already interested and primed to hire your services!
It Captures Consumers Ready To Convert Into Customers
Remember ‘plumber near me,’ ‘electrician NSW,’ and ‘how to fix leaking roof’?
To survive online, and in this digitally driven world, tradies need to be one of the first results for these types of searches.as they show high intent; meaning that these searchers need your services like right now.
Google Ads, the most profitable SEM platform, captures this high intent and ensures that your ads show up as the top few search results for search terms like these.
And searchers with high intent are highly likely to hire your services on impulse (and because they need them, of course).
It Targets Potential Customers Precisely
Google Ads uses hundreds and thousands of data points to precisely target those prospects most likely to hire your services.
Your ads will be shown to your perfect prospects based on their demographic characteristics; age, gender, location, or, for example, whether they’re a home or business owner.
Google Ads can also target prospects who have already clicked on your ads or visited your website.
And the more precisely targeted, the more profitable the results!
What do you think? Ready to invest in SEM or want to know more?
This merely touches the tip of the SEM iceberg, leaving many questions unanswered for tradies like you. How do you get started? Which keywords should you bid on? And how?
Here are some other sources we recommend you check out to learn more about SEM:
- This breakdown on the difference between SEO and SEM from Backlinko
- This look at the best benefits of, and strategies for, SEM from Hubspot
At Tradie Web Guys, we do more than offer SEM services. We act as a digital marketing mentor for tradies trying to navigate the digital domain. Coming from a tradie background ourselves, we help tradies understand and access the online marketing tactics they need.
Give us a call today for advice, insights, and SEM for tradies and contractors!