5 Reasons to Keep SEM In-House
Editor's note: The following article is part 1 of a two-part series discussing the pros and cons of do-it-yourself search engine marketing. In part 1, John Ellis, senior online marketing manager for ResortQuest, a managed vacation rental company in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., discusses the pros of do-it-yourself SEM.
1. Direct relationships with search engines. Monthly or weekly calls with leading search engines can provide your company an inside track into enhancements, news and optimization suggestions. In addition, through close conversation and communication, an in-house team often can let a search giant like Google handle the grunt work while it focuses on strategic and promotional needs.
2. No agency management. Managing an SEM agency requires maintaining hours and costs associated with workloads. To assure your pay-per-click campaigns are running properly, manage your SEM agency. Weekly calls and reporting are often needed. With this time dedication and effort, you might as well put that same effort — and training — into your employees.
3. Ability to make quick changes. To maintain global marketing messages, PPC campaigns should change with the company. That often means featuring seasonal changes or last-minute deals. Working with an agency can make these changes difficult, because you have to work within the constraints of its workload. Agencies, despite what they may say, have other clients. This sharing of agency time often causes delays in execution.
4. You know your company. Many search marketing companies hide behind a cloak of mystery. They want you to think that the PPC world is dangerous, scary and way too complicated for your in-house brain. Yes, paid search is time consuming and often difficult, but it’s not a mysterious black-magic science.
With the right staffing and funding, you can handle PPC in-house. Your employees can be more effective than the most skilled PPC agency. You know your company and industry best. Sure, all this knowledge can be transferred to an agency with frequent conversations. However, those frequent conversations require time and money. That’s time that can be better spent in-house.
5. Access to data. PPC marketing is an accelerated method of gaining customer information. By having this information in-house, you can make educated decisions based on your consumers’ behaviors through PPC marketing. Paid search provides keyword knowledge to target for search engine optimization efforts.
By seeing which keywords your users are typing in and, more importantly, which keywords are converting, you can take those keywords into your SEO campaigns. This eliminates a lot of the guesswork in SEO. It allows you to focus on the converting keywords.
PPC also provides insight into consumer language. Marketers often get caught up in their own industry speak and acronyms. PPC reporting cuts straight through to customers’ mind-sets.
Next week, in the Nov. 19 edition of eM+C Weekly, Maia Benson, director of SEM at New York City-based LexisNexis, will discuss the benefits of using an SEM agency. This article series is based on a session called Point/Counterpoint: DIY SEM - The Pros & Cons that'll take place at the Search Engine Strategies 2009 Conference & Expo in Chicago, Dec. 7-11.
Reach John Ellis at email@example.com.