2016 ornaments new year2015 is winding down to a close and the new year will be upon us very shortly. As we all reflect upon the past 12 months and inevitably turn our attention to the new horizons ahead, we’d like to share an observation we had so that you can turn the insight into an advantage in 2016.

If there was one thing that we needed to constantly remind our clients of this past year, it was that search engine marketing (or SEM as we all know it) should not be considered in isolation. What I mean by that is while most businesses and companies are increasingly acknowledging the importance of SEM, they have yet to think about SEM as it relates to the rest of their marketing initiatives. Instead of integrating SEM as another marketing tool with which they can communicate their ever-changing and dynamic promotional messaging, most have created a silo in which SEM lives alone. Our advice has always been that, in addition to being a brand awareness tool, SEM should be utilized as another channel to deliver your in-the-moment messaging. Since this has always been our philosophy, that might not make this the next big thing per se, but we do believe that the implementation of this idea is how many businesses can get ahead in the coming year.

Let’s look at an obvious implementation example of this idea. One of our retail clients (let’s call them “Joe’s Widgets”) planned to run a promotional campaign for Black Friday back in November. Upon learning about their plans, we developed a series of ad copies that ran in the weeks leading up to the sale. The idea behind the various ad copies was to generate excitement without giving away the sale details too early, thereby generating interest, excitement and increased traffic to their site from customers who wanted to know more and likely make purchases. We executed this by scheduling three different ad variations. The first merely announced the sale and ran until the Wednesday before Black Friday. The second variation provided the sale details and ran from Wednesday until Friday. The last variation created urgency and ran on Black Friday. We’re pleased to say that Joe’s Widgets enjoyed Black Friday sales figures that were more than double the previous year.

A more subtle example of this idea can be found with one of our B2B tech services clients. They recently exhibited at an annual conference for their industry and we ran a very simple ad in line with their marketing collateral messaging that also provided their booth number at the conference. We also created a separate ad group with keywords targeting the event. The client was able to procure several promising leads as a direct result.

As more and more businesses become wise to the benefits of SEM, it may become more difficult to stand out from the pack. Creative use of SEM beyond general brand awareness is what will separate your business from the rest that are quickly catching up. We’re here to help you generate creative SEM ideas, but we cannot do it without collaboration and the sharing of information. We urge you to keep your SEM team in the loop with regards to what your other marketing campaigns and initiatives are. You may just find that SEM finally becomes a seamless part of the bigger picture.