SEM, SES & SEO. Which is which and WHY it is important to you?


What is SES, SEO & SEM?

SES – Search Engine Strategy. This is a process of laying out a plan of what your search engine marketing campaign will be. Do you need pay per click (PPC)? Does viral marketing or social site advertising make sense in your case? A good strategy is key for strong long term success and not wasting money.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing. A broad term used for any effort to market your website on search engines. You have your search engine strategy, now let’s implement it. SEM includes, but is not limited to paid-for banner ads, pay per click ads, organic search engine optimization and social media marketing. Oh, and don’t forget the all-important mobile marketing.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Normally associated with organic search engine optimization. This is a method of writing text content, web coding, linking and designing websites in a way that search engines favour and can read. If done correctly, search engines will give a website with strong SEO extra credit and rank them higher than other websites.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-24-45-amEarly search engines like Yahoo made significant strides in the digital evolution of search but let’s be honest, the golden years didn’t start until Google launched in 1998. In 2004, search engines started using advanced ranking algorithms and browsing online became more personal. The impact this had on business is immense. Being able to target browsers and develop strategies based on search patterns led to a whole new way of selling and communicating.

The use of digital marketing is not only a wise investment decision but also an effective marketing channel because:

  1. Digital marketing levels the online playing field.
  2. Digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing.
  3. Digital marketing helps generate better revenues.
  4. Digital marketing facilitates interaction with targeted audiences.
  5. Digital marketing caters to the mobile customer.
  6. Digital marketing builds brand reputation.
  7. Digital marketing provides better ROI for your marketing investments.
  8. Digital marketing earns people’s trust.

Digital marketing helps you make use of proven strategies and techniques that attract not necessarily more traffic – but highly targeted traffic that delivers results. Targeting the right kind of results is what digital marketing is all about – ensuring survival for your business.

Companies that are doing it right, according to Single Grain, Digital Marketing (Siu, 2016):


The company started in 2009, their service is built upon a luxury that most of us dream of, but few can afford: a private driver. Tap a few buttons on the app and in a matter of minutes, a car arrives at your door to take you anywhere you want to go. The service is so great that the need for expensive marketing is practically non-existent.

Uber grew almost entirely through word-of-mouth marketing.

They offer incentives for riders to act as advocates for the business by providing referral codes to their friends in exchange for free rides.

The Take Away: Word-of-mouth advertising is worth more than any exposure you could ever buy, and in the digital age, it’s faster and more effective. By providing consistently exceptional service since then, they’ve made it easy for users to spread the word for them.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club shook the notion of it being a drab, button-up industry and kicked it out the window.

Today this company has over a million subscribers, its promotional video has been viewed over 23 million times. These guys know how to let loose and get attention.

The Take Away: Don’t be afraid to have some fun! Dollar Shave Club doesn’t take itself too seriously. Everything is light-hearted, silly, and tongue-in-cheek. They’ve made something as tedious as buying razors and shaving hilarious and entertaining. And that’s what stands out in people’s minds.

How can you implement digital marketing strategies successfully?

Firstly, it is vital to know your audience well enough to select the most suitable channel to reach them. Market research through surveys or getting information from trusted sources can be valuable to plan your course of action. Secondly, make the most of holiday seasons and celebrations during the year to reach your target groups.  Digital marketing provides you with multiple channels to choose from.

Consider the advantages offered by different digital channels to select the most effective one to fulfil your marketing goals.

Last but not least, establish a method to evaluate the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategies.

There’s really only one thing that is for certain: if you don’t keep up you’ll get left behind.



Stokes, R. (2008). eMarketing: The Essential Guide to Marketing in a Digital World. Retrieved from

Lovato, J. (2016). Then and Now: The Evolution and Growth of Digital Marketing. Retrieved from

Siu, E. (2016).10 Companies with the Best Digital Marketing Campaigns. Retrieved from

Keys, G. (2016). 4 Easy Ways to Implement Digital Marketing Strategies. Retrieved from




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