How do you get the most out of your paid search engine marketing (SEM) budget? Rather than purely focus on getting a top position at any cost, Kevin Lee, executive chairman and co-founder of Rockville Centre, N.Y.-based search engine marketing consultancy Did-it Search Marketing, recommends relying on the right mix of analytics and a well thought-out strategy. Presenting at DM Days New York Conference & Expo earlier this summer, Lee set out the following tactics that can make your paid search engine efforts more effective:
1. Base SEM success metrics on the business realities of your operation. Factor in your cost per order; cost per action; revenue per dollars spent; profit per dollar spent; return on ad spend; lifetime value; and any other metrics applicable to your business. Use blended metrics to determine your SEM success, and manage your campaign based on your ROI, not by position.
2. Constantly retest keyword combinations. This includes understanding where your keywords fit into the customer’s buying cycle. For instance, customers search on broader, more generic terms (e.g., “insurance”) when they are starting the buying cycle and doing research on a product or service. As customers move closer to making a purchase, the keywords they search on become more specific (e.g., “New Jersey car insurance quote”).
3. Fine-tune your creative to ensure your site content is valuable to site visitors. Search engines are adding “quality” ratings to their site evaluations; because of this, more relevant content will help you gain better positioning.
4. Test your offer page. Test to see which landing page performs best for a keyword. Are you better off with short copy, long copy or bulleted copy? Test whether the page performs better with more navigation, less navigation or no navigation.
5. Don’t set daily budget caps. Instead, rely on your metrics to manage and measure at a granular level. Take the opportunity to drill beyond averages and examine what every element of your campaign is delivering. Use segmentation to pick the clicks you want.