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How to start SEM?

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Depends on whether you are going to do this yourself or hire someone.

Also, some of the tools have a cost associated with them.

What do you already know about SEM?

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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) was once used as an umbrella term that included SEO and PPC marketing. Today, it's mainly used to describe Paid Search. Search Engine Marketing is specific to search engines, so when you state boosting a Facebook page, it is technically not SEM or Paid Search but will fall under PPC advertising.

There are two main platforms for Paid Search, Google Ads, and Bing Ads. These platforms will require you to allocate a daily budget - so yes, you will need a budget. The other part that may require a budget is if you hire a PPC manager to manage the accounts. You can do this yourself, which would save you from paying someone, but more often than not, a person running a business or website does not have the time to learn how to maximize the return from the campaigns. A PPC manager, however, is a specialist that will help you maximize the returns. 

I often get asked how much of a budget should a person or company should allocate to paid search. The amount is dependent on the size of the company, and its resources. For small businesses, I usually reply by telling them that the budget for paid search should be like investing in your retirement. People who save money for their retirement will invest an amount that does not disrupt the day-to-day living standards. It is an amount that is affordable and that will be used at some point in the future. For small businesses, allocating a budget that will not disrupt their cash flow is key. Paid search requires some time before it sees returns, so whatever money is invested should yield a positive return at some point. When that happens, they can reinvest the returns back into advertising which would then fuel further growth.


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