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6 Essential Steps For Effective SEM


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6 Essential Steps For Effective SEM

  1. 1. SEM Program Management: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program Having your company’s website appear on the first page of a Google or Yahoo! Search. That is what every marketer wants for their company, because they know expo- sure on the first page will lead to more clicks, more calls, and more sales. Unfortunately, few companies can obtain placement on the coveted first page. Why? Because for many categories there are thousands of companies competing for the same placement. And while a carefully thought out and executed search engine optimization program will certainly increase your ranking in natural search results, for most companies the only way to get first page placement is to use a paid search engine marketing (SEM) program. One that promotes their website by increasing their visibility in search results through paid placement. Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  2. 2. Executives Lack Confidence in Most SEM Programs The need to be found on search engines is resulting in marketers 75% The number of US Senior-Level SEM spending an ever increasing Executives that feel their SEM program amount of dollars on SEM programs. will underperform or just meet their expectations. 38% A recent study released by Forrester Research, titled the “Five- Year Interactive Marketing Forecast Report” projected a 105% increase The number of those executives that feel in U.S. SEM spending over the next their SEM will greatly underperform their five years. Spending in 2009 should expectations. close out at about $15.4 billion, while they project 2014 to top the charts at $31.6 billion. SEM is the largest part of lack of confidence in the ROI in The Six Essential interactive marketing budgets as SEM from our own executives. Components of a well. In 2009, SEM will comprise High Performing 60% of budgets. Through 2014, Given these numbers, today’s SEM Program SEM is still poised to remain marketers need to take a critical It is hard to believe, but SEM has the leading form of interactive look at SEM programs and re-tool been around for nearly ten years. marketing . their company’s SEM strategies to (which later became boost executive confidence. But Overture and then Yahoo! Search That’s the good news. The bad that is easier said than done. Marketing) began in 1998. Google news is that in another report launched its flagship AdWords released by [x+1], called “Search Before an evaluation takes program in 2000. Despite the years Engine Marketing in 2009,” 75% of place, a marketer needs to have of history, some marketers still U.S. Senior-Level SEM executives a solid understanding of what struggle with understanding the feel that their SEM programs will differentiates a good SEM program essential components of an effective underperform or just meet their from a bad one. They need to SEM program. expectations. understand the six essential components of an effective SEM When SEM first emerged, it was These executives outweigh the program as explained in this report. largely seen as a function that few 25% of executives that felt SEM in people understood, and relegated 2009 will exceed their expectations. to a select few people that knew the Certainly, this indicates a complete SEM lingo. And while today some Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  3. 3. marketers can identify the basic week is an effective technique that is 6. Measurement/ components of a high performing often underutilized in SEM programs. Optimization - To maximize SEM program, they have a tendency It is an effective technique for driving your program’s results, you will need to oversimplify them. conversions and reducing wasteful to measure its performance and spending. optimize your program; adjusting Greater understanding of SEM is keywords, geography, budgets, and needed by marketing executives 4. Landing Pages - A landing other components as your business if they want to truly manage their page is a page that appears when changes. company’s SEM program. An a potential customer clicks an ad. effective SEM program must include Landing pages need to be carefully These components are complex the following six components: thought out in order to convert a enough that a white paper could click into a sale. be written on each one of them; 1. Choosing Proper however, for the sake of brevity, we Keywords - This refers to 5. Bid Level/Budget - will take a look at the fundamentals selecting a set of terms or phrases Budgets are limited, so determining a of each component that every that, when searched, will deliver maximum bid level for each keyword marketer should know. your ad to those who are searching. and developing daily and monthly Pick the right ones and you are well budgets is vital to ensure funds are on your way to bringing targeted, properly allocated throughout the qualified visitors to your site. Pick the year. wrong words and you will sabotage your SEM campaign. 2. Geo-targeting - If your Keywords business is in any way location- Measurement/ Optimization specific, you’ll want to take advantage of geographical targeting. Choosing where your ads will appear can be done in a variety of ways: At The Six Essential Geography a city/metro level, based on a radius Components (in miles) from your location/service of a area, or the geography can be fully Bid Level/ High Performing customized to include only the cities Budget SEM Program or ZIP-codes you want to reach. 3. Dayparting - Is a person conducting a search at 3:00 AM on Dayparting Landing a Tuesday morning a good prospect Pages for your business? Targeting your advertising by time of day or day of Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  4. 4. Keywords Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Budget Dayparting Landing Pages Choosing Proper Keywords Choosing the proper keywords for your SEM program consumers actually use-not technical jargon or internal sounds easy, but for those that actually do this it can be company buzz words. a daunting task. Since keyword selection is the first step in a SEM program, if not done correctly, it can lead to an Consider demographics, keep in mind the target audi- inefficient, wasteful program. Below are some guidelines ence and use the words related to that particular group. for proper keyword selection: Be sure to include all the common misspellings, abbre- viations, acronyms, and synonyms. 1. Start With The Obvious - Those words that are most relative to your business. In 2. Use Website Analytics - most cases you will create a list of keyword phrases, as Basic web analytic tools like Google Analytics can quickly most searches take place using multiple keywords. For and easily identify the keywords that consumers are using example, “car repair” has two keywords while “car and to get to your site. Not only that, but they can help identify truck repair” has three keywords. the keywords that are actually converting into clicks., a site that contains comprehensive 3. Evaluate Search Volume - aggregate internet usage statistics, shows that as of You have generated a long list of keywords—the question September, 009, the majority of searches conducted now becomes how do you prioritize these and determine contain three or more keywords. Once your initial list how many searches are actually being conducted using is complete, scrub it to make sure these are terms that these keywords? Search Engine Key Word Count 5 words 2 words 17.50% 9.09% 6 words 6.77% 1 word 4.87% 4 words 24.47% 7+ words 3.75% 3 words 30.55% Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  5. 5. Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Geography Bid Level/ Budget Dayparting Landing Pages Geo-targeting Sample Keyword Phrases with Why pay for clicks that don’t convert? An SEM campaign Local Modifiers that does not use geographic targeted online marketing will end up wasting advertising money on visitors that Florist 27312 are not potential clients simply because they live in Florist Fearrington Village another area or even in another country. So, unless Florist Fearrington Village, NC your business is a virtual business that can sell products anywhere in the world, your SEM campaign will need to Florist Fearrington Village, North Carolina take advantage of geographical targeting. Geo-targeting is the method of determining the Google’s Keyword Selector Tool and Wordtracker (and geolocation (the physical location) of a website visitor others) can show you search volume by keyword. These and delivering content to that visitor based on his or her tools can also tell you how many competing sites are using location. Choosing where your ads will appear can be those keywords. Caution is needed when using these tools done in a variety of ways - at a city/metro level, based though; high volume keywords are going to cost you more on a radius (in miles) from your location/service area, or than low volume keywords. And just because a keyword the geography can be fully customized to include only or phrase has a high search volume, whether it leads to the cities or ZIP-codes that you want to reach. conversions is another matter (more on that later). Recognizing that consumers desire to receive local, 4. Add The Local Modifiers - relevant search results, the geo-targeting tools in search If your business is in anyway location specific, you’ll need engines are becoming more robust. Google even lets to add local modifiers to your keywords based on your marketer’s geo-target down to the street level. targeted trade areas. Why? Because consumers are increasingly adding local modifiers such as a city name, town name, or Zip-code to their searches to generate more specific search results. Considering that there are 0 states, nearly 0,000 governments, and 9,6 ZIP-codes, adding local modifiers will increase your keyword list significantly. Although the search volume of keyword phrases with local modifiers is low, these “long tail” keywords often have high conversion rates. Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  6. 6. Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Budget Dayparting Dayparting Landing Pages Dayparting Sometimes referred to as “ad scheduling,” dayparting An additional benefit of dayparting is the ability is the practice of dividing the day into several parts and to determine “slow times” and develop targeted determining when your ad will be served as part of the advertising for these times. For example, a plumbing search results. Dayparting allows advertisers to optimize company that finds itself with open appointments on their SEM program by “dialing up” their campaign when Friday mornings could run a campaign offering % off they know it will generate clicks and conversions and service calls during 8:00-:00 a.m. on Friday’s. “dialing down” their campaign when it won’t. Sample Keyword Traffic Data Targeting your advertising by time of day, day of week, Retail or just those months that you have identified are most +60% successful in converting prospects into customers, is a Relative Conversion Rate +30% technique often underutilized in SEM programs, and is an effective technique for driving conversions and Avg reducing wasteful spending. For example, a company -30% that offers exterior household painting will most likely want to dial up in the summer months and place a -60% 1am 4am 7am 10am 1pm 4pm 7pm 10pm heavier emphasis on the spring when home owners are Hour refreshing their homes. Finance +60% Conversely, the advertiser may want to dial down their Relative Conversion Rate +30% programs in the winter months. In another example, a Avg company that targets teens may want to dial down their program during school hours and dial up their program -30% during the late afternoon and early evenings when teens are most active. -60% 1am 4am 7am 10am 1pm 4pm 7pm 10pm Hour All the major search engine sites offer tools that provide the traffic data you need to analyze an SEM program. When developing a dayparting strategy you will need to ask questions like: • When are the ads delivering the most activity? • When are the ads delivering the most conversions? • Are these patterns repeating day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month? Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program 6
  7. 7. Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Budget Landing Landing Dayparting Pages Pages Landing Pages Getting a customer to click on your Two types of landing Sending prospects to ad is one thing, converting that click pages: reference and your website home into a sale is a whole other matter. transaction. page will distract the A reference landing page presents consumer. As they One of the more common reasons information that is relevant to the wander through your for poor conversions from SEM visitor. These can display text, images, website they become programs are landing pages that a list of relevant links, or other sidetracked and the don’t fulfill the promise of the search elements. Reference landing pages are opportunity to connect keyword or search ad. Sending often used to educate and to generate with them is lost. prospects to your website home further interest on behalf of the page will distract the consumer. As consumer. Reference landing pages they wander through your website will have a clear call to action, and they become sidetracked and the usually includes some form that allows opportunity to connect with them is the visitor to ask for more information lost. That’s why landing pages are so or sign up for a newsletter. The goals important. of reference landing pages are often to capture the lead. This information is A landing page is a stand alone used in marketing efforts to promote a page that appears when a potential future sale. customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. The A transaction landing page seeks to page will usually display content convert the visitor into a customer by that is a logical extension of the promoting a single prominent offer. advertisement or link, and that Rather than capturing the lead, a is optimized to feature specific transaction landing page is designed keywords or phrases for indexing by to make an immediate sale. search engines. A visitor taking the desired action In SEM programs, the landing on a landing page is referred to page should be customized to as a conversion. The efficiency or measure the effectiveness of quality of the landing page can be different advertisements. By measured by its conversion rate adding a parameter to the linking - the percentage of visitors who URL, marketers can measure complete the desired action. Since advertisement effectiveness based the economics of many online on relative click-through rates. marketing programs are determined by the conversion rate, marketers routinely test alternatives and make improvements to their landing pages. Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  8. 8. Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Budget Landing Landing Dayparting Pages Pages The goal of a landing page idea to test different calls to action to your landing page. This includes is to get the prospect to see what works best. navigation bars, visual clutter, and take your desired links to other sections. Stay focused action. So what makes a • Put your most critical landing and make sure everything on the good landing page? Here page elements in the upper part of page is relevant to the headline and are some basic tenets of the page: Usability research shows offer. good land page design. that over half of site visitors will NOT scroll “below the fold.” So forget the • Test, test, test. Changing • The landing page headline should warm-up copy and get right to the landing pages is relatively inexpen- reflect the ad copy that drove point. sive, so why not experiment a little the click. This will keep your visitor to see what works best? Try different focused and engaged. • Stay focused on your goals. It is headlines, calls to action, and copy to easy to get carried away with writing see what combinations leads to the • Provide a clear, strong call to extensive copy and filling the pages highest conversion rate. action. You need to tell your visitor with fancy graphics or animation. what they need to do. It is a good Remove all irrelevant material from Sample Reference Landing Page Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program 8
  9. 9. Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Bid Level/ Budget Budget Dayparting Landing Pages Bid Levels/Budgets So you’ve got an annual SEM budget. It doesn’t matter if the budget is $0,000 or $,000,000, the big question is how will you manage this budget in terms of developing keyword bid levels and monthly SEM budgets? SEM uses a When it comes to bidding model in which advertisers that are willing to pay the most “per click” managing your generally appear first (relevancy also plays a role), with others following in order SEM budgets, of spending. no other factor is SEM budgeting requires careful planning in order for your program to deliver more important full impression delivery throughout the day, week, month, or year. Imagine if you than determining were a manufacturer of air conditioners and your SEM budget for the summer the maximum ran out of money only two weeks into July. Faulty bid level strategies can result bid level for your in costly mistakes that drain your budget and prematurely halt your campaign. keywords You may not realize it, but if you have properly targeted your keywords, developed a geo-targeting strategy, and a dayparting strategy, much of your budgeting work is already done. Using SEM bid management software, you or your agency can set the rules for your SEM program. These rules will impact just how much money you spend on a daily basis. For example, you bid on ,00 keywords in markets, with ads running between the hours of :00 am to :00 pm Monday through Saturday. Makes sense right? The problem is, most companies don’t have the money needed to support the “perfect” SEM program. Hard decisions will need to be made between what you want and what you can afford. While most of these decisions will revolve around keyword and dayparting selections, here are some strategies to get the most out of your SEM budget: Develop a Bid Formula How much are you willing to pay for a keyword? When it comes to managing your SEM budgets, no other factor is more important than determining the maximum bid level for your keywords. Developing your own bid formula will take the guess work out off keyword bidding. Here is one example. If you sell a product for $0, at a profit margin of 0%, and your conversion rate is a conservative % (for every hundred clicks, you get one sale), you will have $00 of profit per sale to use as ad spend over 00 visitors. In other words, you can afford to spend a maximum of $ per click. Developing a bid formula will help instill discipline in your bidding strategies and can help you defend your keyword selections. Remember that the maximum Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program 9
  10. 10. Keywords Measurement/ Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Bid Level/ Budget Budget Dayparting Landing Pages cost-per-click will fluctuate over time and you will need to make adjustments When is comes according to your actual conversion rates as well as the cost-per click’s of your to keyword competitors. bidding, You Don’t Have To Be #1 remember to For popular search terms, the top positions come with a hefty price tag. What listen to the good is paying for the first position if you exhaust your daily budget by 0:00 am numbers and each day. You may find that there’s a significant difference between the costs of not your heart. positions , and , but there may be little impact on how frequently your ad is clicked. In popular searches users may click on several ads, so appearing in a less expensive position can still give you good results. You will also want to look for bid gaps. For instance, if the top bids for a search term are $.0, $.9 and $0., the difference between the nd and rd bids is called a bid gap. In such cases, it makes more sense for the advertiser to bid for the rd position, paying $0.6 as opposed to the top positions which would cost $.0 or $.. Remain Unbiased To All Keywords Keyword bidding can sometimes seem illogical meaning the least likely keyword will perform well. And while it is tempting to develop an attachment to certain keywords, when it comes to keyword bidding, remember to listen to the numbers and not your heart. Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program 0
  11. 11. Measurement/ Keywords Optimization Geography Bid Level/ Budget Dayparting Landing Pages Measurement/Optimization Unlike traditional media, the results of search engine marketing are extremely easy to measure. Trackable metrics include clicks, calls, conversions, and ROI. It goes without saying that a high performing SEM program is one that is monitored and adjusted on an ongoing basis. Every facet of the program; keyword selection, geography, dayparting, landing pages, and budgets, must be reviewed on a regular basis by a knowledgeable, experienced SEM program manager. Summary Search engine marketing is no longer a function relegated to the IT “geeks” - it is part of mainstream marketing. As SEM budgets continue to expand, market- ers at all levels of the organization need to understand the complexities of SEM program management if they are to meet executive expectations. For the Marketing Manager Whether your SEM program is managed internally or externally, spend some time with your SEM team. Use the framework presented in this white paper to ask questions relative to how your SEM program is being managed to deliver the highest number of conversions at the lowest possible costs. For the C-Level Executive Search engine marketing budgets continue to rise yet executives continue to lack confidence in these programs. This does not have to be the case. Use the framework presented in this white paper when reviewing the performance of an SEM program, and challenge your staff to build and manage an SEM program that meets your organization’s objectives. Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program
  12. 12. About Berry Network Berry Network, Inc. is an advertising and marketing agency, and a wholly- owned subsidiary of ATT. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, Berry Network supports over 00 regional and national clients with marketing programs designed to drive leads at the local level. Berry Network’s award winning portfolio continues to expand, and currently includes solutions such as; print Yellow Pages advertising, Internet Yellow Pages advertising, search engine marketing, mobile marketing, direct mail, and social media. Contact To learn more about how Berry Network drives local leads, visit our website at or call one of our offices listed below. You can also follow us on Twitter, and LinkedIn. Berry Network Berry Network Headquarters West Coast 00 Kettering Blvd 0 Pacifica, Suite 0 Dayton, OH 9 Irvine, CA 968 Tel: 800-66-6 Tel: 800--0 © Berry Network, Inc. All rights reserved. #3669-1a 9/09 Berry Network White Paper SEM Progam: Six Essential Components of a High Performing SEM Program