Search is where almost every product or service discovery starts for the average customer. After all, “google” is now a verb, not just the name of a search engine. Search is even more critical for local businesses, with 61% of consumers saying they search locally daily. To ensure your advertisers get this visibility, local SEM (search engine marketing) is essential.

In this post, we’ll share insights on local SEM trends, how to present SEM to your clients and more best practices to pass along to them.

Local SEM Trends

People have been leveraging search to find local businesses for years. That hasn’t slowed at all. Adweek revealed that in 2021, according to Google data, searches using “local” and “business” saw an 80% year-over-year increase.

So, how are those local businesses faring with Google ads to capture this volume? A recent study found that local services ads receive 13.8% of all clicks. When these ads are present, 25.3% of clicks are on the ad. One reason for this, according to the analysis, was local business ratings.

These SEM trends correlate with what you likely already know. Search ads work to drive traffic and conversions. However, the content and quality do matter when searchers decide to click. These findings can be the foundation of presenting the tactic to your customers.

Presenting Local SEM to Advertisers

We created an SEM checklist for digital sellers that will set the stage for how to approach SEM conversations. Highlights include:

  • How to target the “right” keywords
  • Checking out competitors
  • Reviewing the intent of the searcher
  • Improving copy on ads
  • Getting strategic on where clickers land
  • Recommending integrated campaigns that include SEM, other digital tactics and linear ads

The first part of your conversation is determining if they’ve used paid search before (or if they are currently) and what their results were. This opening question reveals where you’re going to see objections. Often, they’ve spent dollars with no return or simply believe winning at local SEM is too competitive and complex.

Those are both valid reasons to be hesitant to invest in SEM. However, the data proves that businesses can generate revenue. It’s all about working through the elements noted above. You want to present it to your advertisers like the expert you are, stressing the importance of targeting the most applicable keywords with the most engaging copy.

Additionally, share the connection between linear and search. Radio does support a lift for digital, resulting in as much as a 29% increase in Google searches after people hear an ad. TV ads have a similar effect. Google determined that after people watched TV ads, product discovery searches increased, with 75% being brand name specific.

When you can build out campaigns that use multiple channels, SEM is one part of the funnel that creates revenue. Going into the pitch well prepared and setting expectations makes it go smoother. You can offer data like click-through rates by industrycost per click and cost per lead.

Additionally, if available, showcase how you helped another local business with SEM and the results they experienced. You can end your chat with some additional best practices to follow for better outcomes.

SEM Best Practices for Local Businesses: Beyond the Ad

Most of the strategy around SEM is the ad dynamics. There’s more that your advertisers need to have in place before you deploy. Share these best practices with them.

They should claim their Google My Business profile and optimize it. That includes completing all the fields, adding contact information and uploading images. One of the most crucial elements is reviews. We know they drive decision-making, so encourage your customers to get more reviews. Get more tips from Google on optimizing.

Your clients should also consider the rest of their digital footprint. They should make sure social media profiles and directory listings are accurate and active. Being consistent with social media engagement creates more visibility for the brand. Local businesses also depend on third-party sites like Yelp, so they should revisit those.

Customers should also turn their attention toward their website’s health. It should be easy to navigate and drive visitors to take action. That could be scheduling an appointment, making an online purchase, providing a promotion to use in-store, or anything that moves the user to become a customer.

Get Advertisers to Say Yes to Local SEM

The potential of local SEM can be significant with the right strategy and guidance. That’s all in your hands as you foster a relationship of trust with advertisers. If you can present a data-focused and customized plan to them, they’ll be more willing to say yes!

Get more support for pitching local SEM by downloading The SEM Checklist for Digital Sellers.

SEM Checklist