Local businesses employ many tactics to gain market visibility and customers. One of the most popular tactics is SEM (search engine marketing). While many companies want to launch these campaigns, they don’t always deliver the expected return for several reasons. Because of the margins, local media sellers also aren’t always keen to add SEM to proposals. However, local SEM advertising is a key component for successful marketing. If businesses are going to invest in it, they should do so with you. How you present proposals matters significantly, and that’s what well discuss in this post. 

Local Businesses Spend Big on SEM 

First, let’s look at the opportunity for selling SEM to your customers. Searching is the first step for many consumers looking for a local solution. At least 61% of people search locally daily, and 76% of local buyers search for something nearby to visit the business within a day. Of those, 28% make a purchase. Local SEM ads convert well, with 25.3% of clicks occurring when they are present in search results. 

There are some other great insights on local businesses buying SEM from the 11th annual Borrell-RAB digital benchmarking report for radio, including: 

  • Businesses buying radio and digital ranked SEM as the most effective tactic. 
  • 51% purchase SEM at more than twice the average annual spend on radio. 
  • Many of these companies (19.5%) planned to increase SEM spending. 

All these data points demonstrate how local businesses view SEM and that it’s an integral part of their marketing mix. However, it doesn’t mean they are getting the best results. That’s where your local media expertise comes into play, so you can build a proposal with SEM, other digital tactics, and radio ads. 

Best Practices for Presenting Local SEM Advertising in Proposals 

Selling SEM to your customers is critical to capturing all their digital spend. These are often long-term campaigns (or they should be), so there’s recurring revenue. When you deliver a proposal to your clients that includes SEM, keep these best practices in mind. 

SEM should never be a standalone tactic. 

Our experts discussed this considerably in our webinar, How to Become an SME on Selling Local SEM. SEM on its own isn’t good for your customers or you. There must be additional ad tactics running to support SEM. There’s a lot of data that proves radio lifts digital tactics, especially SEM. You want to recommend an omnichannel campaign to help them reach their goals. If you can deliver this in one proposal — digital and linear — your clients can see how all the pieces will work together. 

SEM campaigns require minimum budgets and timeframes. 

For SEM to have an impact, you should recommend minimum budgets and timeframes. SEM is a long-term strategy, and results don’t happen overnight. Regarding budget, they should spend at least $1,000 per month, and the campaign should have a duration of at least 90 days. 

SEM can impact customers throughout the sales funnel. 

Another consideration is presenting SEM as a means to influence buyers through awareness, consideration and decision. The type of SEM ads will differ depending on the stage in the funnel, so you need to understand your client’s goals to define how SEM can help them attain them. 

Demonstrate how you’re going to manage their SEM campaigns. 

Even though local businesses rely on SEM, some are notably frustrated when they receive lackluster results. If this is what’s stopping them from trying it again, talk through why those campaigns failed. Was it because of budget, copy, keywords, competition, etc.? Asking questions gets you to the answers and allows you to share how it will be different with you. A few things to emphasize include: 

  • Defining the “best” keywords: These should align with unique attributes of the product or audience and with searcher intent, which corresponds to the sales funnel. 
  • Discussing where people will “land” once they click an ad: Their website should load quickly, be mobile-friendly and be easy to navigate. Additionally, the landing page should be relevant to the ad content instead of just sending them to a homepage. For example, if you’re running ads for plumbers about emergency services, people should arrive at a page that details the offerings and allows them to contact the company immediately. 
  • Conversion-based optimization in SEM: If ads run for long periods of time without feedback relating to performance, they likely won’t deliver a return. Conversion-based optimization closes the gap to maximize ad spend for the best return, allocating the budget to the keywords and text ads that drive the most conversions. 

Sell More Local SEM Advertising with Smart Proposals 

Local SEM will continue to be a tactic your clients use. If they’re going to invest in it, they should do so with you. When you develop a smart proposal and share your expertise, they’ll say yes to SEM and much more. 

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