Monday, October 4, 2010

Five Steps To SEM Paradise (From Search Insider)


by Akin Arikan , Monday, October 4, 2010
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All marketers know the challenge of keeping up with a dynamic, evolving and growing industry can be daunting. And as they continue to add responsibilities, there isn't necessarily a corresponding increase in budgets and resources.  Fortunately, modern technology can make this process simpler by helping you better understand your customers, run more effective SEM programs, and increase ROI.  The following steps outline an easy way to raise organic rankings for every single keyword that's important to your business.   
1.     No matter how rapidly things change, always know exactly what keywords are hot -- and, more important, lucrative -- so you can prioritize SEM efforts. Prioritizing keywords for SEM starts with a discovery process. You can identify your best keywords based on your own messaging and Web site, but an even more revealing approach is to discover the keywords used by your audience when they go searching for information about your products.  
·       Review organic search keywords used by visitors to your site. Using your Web analytics solution, rank the order of organic traffic by conversions or sales metrics. Contrast that information to your organic ranks for the same keywords by using your SEO tools. High-performing keywords where you don't currently rank on page one of the search results are good candidates for paid search.
·       To stay on top of trends, don't forget to also check keyword discovery tools and social media monitoring reports for other terms that are used by your audience-- even if your site does not currently rank for them at all.
 2.     Treat every visitor as a unique individual with Web site personalization. Even if you have millions of customers, over time you ought to know your top 25% customers' preferences and interests just as well as a corner store clerk knows her best customersWeb site personalization extends email segmentations, offers, and messages to your sites so customers get the right offer even if they have not logged in or don't open mail. You can also author new, Web-specific personalization rules, for example targeting "anonymous" visitors based on referring URL, search terms, geolocation, and other insights.
3.     Think globally, act locally. If your business is a multinational enterprise, how much time do you spend aggregating local PPC reports from 200 countries, agencies, etc.?  Too much time, you might be answering.  It's quite simple to automate these processes today with search bid management tools, and while you're at it, to also manage your search engines on a global scale -- Ask, Baidu, Google, Looksmart, Microsoft Bing, Miva, Yahoo, Yandex, and more.   
4.     Even if your prospects don't buy immediately, they are almost magically pulled back to your Web site for repeat visits and opportunities for conversion. It used to take significant resources to target, author, and execute personalized email campaigns.  Not anymore.  With a few clicks you can access personalization data directly within email authoring tools to create dynamic personalized email content without data integration headaches. You can also check on successful deliverability to make sure your efforts to don't get stuck in spam filters.
5.     Know exactly how much credit each channel deserves and where you should place your money . No matter how many touch points (PPC, organic, or other click-throughs) it takes to persuade a prospect over time, it's simple and beneficial to attribute conversions to all the touch points: 
·       "Assists" - give credit to keywords that assisted in the conversion process
·       First touch - gives all credit to the first marketing touch, e.g. PPC clickthrough
·       Last touch - gives all credit to the last marketing touch, e.g. direct visit
·       Share among last five - credit is shared
·       See the buying journey-see how each individual interacted with various touch points leading up to a conversion
·       Custom attribution - every interaction with every visitor is warehoused.  
You can then use the data to run your own custom attribution algorithms as desired, e.g. to give 50% credit to the last touch point while sharing the rest of the credit among all of the touch points.

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