I hear companies complain about search and SEM every day. I sit next to someone who does this for a living, and I can’t believe these companies can’t do it themselves. It would save them a ton of money rather than outsourcing it. Here’s some tips whether you are a little company looking to understand the web better or a big company that hasn’t gotten the memo about search yet. These suggestions only apply to Paid Search Marketing, not organic or what is called SEO. (search engine optimization)
1. Do some research on how the Google and Yahoo ad networks work. The best sources are usually the sites from these ad networks themselves. Google has different rules than Yahoo. Google is easier to get up and running self serve style instantly, gives real time stats, has more liberal ad policies, a shorter creative space and is more expensive on a cost per click basis. Yahoo has a lower cost per click (better ROI) and longer text allottment for your ad creative, but is sooo hard to get set up (it takes days and days through a live person and same for changes) and they have a strict policy that if a keyword is not on your landing page, you can’t buy it. So, if your page is all about cars, you can’t buy autos, unless its in there somewhere. If you’re a small company that wants a good self serve product, go with Google. If you’re a behemoth company that needs a big impact, go with both. (forget ask.com and msn keywords for now)
2. Do some research on the search engines themselves. Start searching on the engines and look at what comes up. Look for your company name, are other companies buying it? Look for your category, with and without location, verticals and other product related keywords. make a list of these words, each one is going to become a google ad group and possibly a campaign. You will use the google keyword generator later to develop great keyword campaigns. Also, look at the creative. Which would you click on? Its a start, after you get some data, you will know which ads are best based on the data. But you have to start your creative somewhere.
3. Hire a recent grad out of college. One who is addicted to the internet and likes search. Doesn’t have to program anything. Give them the keys to the ad system and a reasonable salary, and they will deal with the details. (this is less expensive than outsourcing it) So much of these systems is common sense, and if you link your clicks back with tags so you can calculate cost per conversion metrics by campaign, adgroup or keyword, you will be able to make changes with turning keywords on and off, based on what converts good, bad, or not at all.
And that’s about it. It may take a long time to set up if you are a big company with a lot of products, but the actual tasks are pretty easy.