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Search engine marketing has been one of the most popular marketing strategies for online businesses. Statistics show that advertisers in North America invested $13.5 billion in search engine marketing in the year 2008, and the forecasts are absolutely bullish.

However, these figures may not be a general recipe for success for every aspiring entrepreneur and obviously, each entrepreneur needs to find the most suitable online marketing strategies. Most important is the fact that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to know the advantages and disadvantages of this marketing model before taking a plunge.

Advantages:

Effective marketing technique: The foremost requirement of an online entrepreneur is to ensure the flow of traffic to the website. Traffic flow to a website is directly proportional to the revenue of the merchant. A website needs to be visible and popular first before it starts to generate revenue for the entrepreneur.
Search engine marketing (SEM) employs techniques that ensure that the merchant website ranks right at the top of the specific search results. Depending on the search engine, a website can get maximum attention from Internet users.

Targets the right audience: When you compare the online advertising techniques (optimized, of course) with conventional marketing techniques (for example, TV and newspaper advertisements), you can see that while the former is aimed at just about everybody, the latter has a specified target audience.

While traditional forms of advertising essentially try to convince people who may not be interested, search engine marketing (SEM) targets people who are interested in a specific product or service, and thus, it is easier to convince people to buy the product or service.

It is cost effective: Search engine marketing (SEM) is believed to be more cost effective than traditional forms of advertisement. The returns on investment (ROI) on the other hand, are relatively attractive. While a television advertisement can cost a lot to the advertiser depending on the duration of the advertisement, there are no such terms attached with a search engine marketing campaign.

In fact, search engine marketing is said to be 1, 153% more cost effective than other forms of advertising!

Disadvantages

Competition: As search engine marketing (SEM) is considered very effective, just about every business house claiming to be a search engine optimization (SEO) expert has jumped into the fray. Bidding has increased, and this has pushed the rates of search marketing up, thereby reducing the cost effectiveness of this model.

Gestation period is long: The time between the launching of the initiative and achievement of profits can often be very long. This is because it takes some time for traffic to actually pour into the website. It can take even longer for business houses to recognize the potential of the website and start calling you for placing their advertisements on the website.

However, search engine marketing is still considered one of the most effective methods of online marketing. As statistics have shown, despite the competition and the web space getting crowded, the worldwide web will still have place for new entrants.



This post was written by

Jason Ratzlaff – who has written posts on Website Promotion Strategy.
I have been doing SEO for 8yrs now! Jason Ratzlaff

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