Search Engine Marketing Tactics

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By 2015, Internet advertising will make up nearly 25% of the entire ad market. Search marketing, mainly comprised of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO), is a key component of said Internet advertising. In fact, according to the online marketing community MarketingProfs, “72% of PPC marketers plan to increase PPC budgets in 2015” and “33% of traffic from Google’s organic search results go to the first item listed.”

That being said, search engine marketing specialists everywhere are at no shortage of work, doing less of this…

A picture of Mark Zuckerberg

...and more of this:

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Given the projected growth of Internet advertising, I think it’s safe to say your direct competitors, assuming they already employ effective search engine marketing tactics, are planning to increase their SEO and PPC spending. Why wouldn’t they? Search marketing is highly effective (more than 80% of consumers use search engines to find local business from which to shop) and measurable (there are several free and paid analytics tools, both of which we’ll revisit later).

But before you go rummaging for your checkbook, you should know a thing or two about the method behind the madness we call search marketing.

What Is Search Marketing?

As search engine marketing specialists at Signet Interactive, the number one thing we deal with is change, including industry changes, technology changes, and algorithm changes. We are proactive in anticipating and preparing for said changes before they actually happen. However, the one thing that never changes is each client’s need to be #1, not just on Google, but in sales, too. When tasked with that level of responsibility, being positive, optimistic and enthusiastic in the midst of change will set the stage for ample success.

Our search marketing process contains 8 key steps:

  1. Define the Marketing Goals: What is the Client Trying to Achieve?

    Clients typically hope to grow their business through branding and/or direct response. Branding leads to mass exposure which increases credibility whereas direct response produces quality lead generation, which attracts new customers and rings in sales. Our clients often choose to focus on direct response in order to be as efficient as possible with their ad dollars. But this isn’t always the best course of action, seeing as most consumers would rather do business with a brand they trust or have at least heard about. Regardless of whether our clients choose to focus on branding or direct response (or both), it is up to us as search professionals to uncover and understand their possible goals.

  2. Determine the Target Audience: Whose Attention is the Client Trying to Capture?

    This is especially important when a client is launching a completely new product or service. Sometimes the research we conduct can save the client from making a potentially costly business move or product/service line addition due to low demand. It can also cut down on wasteful ad spend, allowing more money for initiatives that are actually lucrative.

  3. Determine the Target Geo: What Area Does the Client Most Lucratively Serve?

    Defining a client’s target geo (or geographic location) goes hand-in-hand with establishing the target audience.

  4. Competitive Analysis and Research

    We collect as much business intelligence as we can in hopes of identifying unique marketing opportunities for a client. With opportunities in mind, we also perform keyword research that sets the stage for campaign-specific content creation, which leads to our next step.

  5. Landing Page Identification or Creation

    A lot of times, our clients wish to run seasonal campaigns to promote specific products or service offerings that their current site may not effectively depict. That’s where our content team comes in; they populate pages with writing that is both engaging and effective in its purpose, be it branding or direct response. Our design team helps by laying everything out in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, resulting in qualified leads for the client.

  6. Analytics Tracking Implementation and QA (Quality Assurance)

    Now, what good can we prove came from all these initiatives if we don’t take the time to track them properly? Also, what insights can we gain from all the campaigns we run if we don’t have any data from them? The answer to both questions is ‘none.’ Our team goes further than creating a Google Analytics account and slapping a few UTM codes on destination URLs while silently hope for quality leads. Rather than merely hope that all is properly accounted for, we take the time to ensure that everything is. This may require cross-department involvement, but at Signet, our attitude is all hands-on-deck.

  7. Campaign Creation, Launch, Optimization and Reporting

    Most search engine marketing specialists agree that this is the most exciting part of the process. We are allowed the opportunity to minimize Excel for a little while and exercise our right brains with ad copy creation and general campaign organization. For some people, the latter of the two is treated as an afterthought, but from our experience, solid account structure makes managing campaigns that much easier. Once a solid account structure is established, we prepare ourselves for more number-crunching in Excel. Only after some time has passed (lengths obviously vary according to initiative) do we begin deep-diving into the data in order to report on the interaction between customers and the client’s brand, products, or services. From there, we make changes to maintain or improve performance. We also monitor spend and keep our eyes open for any trends that could negatively or positively impact campaigns.

    When all is said and done, we produce a 100% customized report for each client with information that includes:

    • What initiatives were completed and why?
    • How were goals not met, met, or exceeded?
    • Insight into unknown/unseen findings.
    • What will be/is suggested to be completed next and why?

  8. Above All Else, Be Calm

    In an industry that is constantly changing, it’s very easy to get bogged down in the details of one project only to discover that Google no longer places value on what it is we’re doing. Rather than allowing these changes to impact our campaigns in potentially negative ways, we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry news and change. Some people just skim over industry-specific email blasts, but we actually implement the most applicable best practices from them in hopes of garnering better results for our clients—and because best practices change so often, our work as search marketing professionals is never completely done.

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