Harp Interactive

SEM: 5 Things to ask (and answer) before revving up the search engine

As the matchmaker of the internet, search engines connect supply to demand. And you can pay to play. With no minimum spend or no long-term commitments, we think you can afford to give paid search a shot!

So you can juggle search engine marketing (SEM) with all the other things you do (i.e. run your business), or you can use the help of agency experts. But before you have them hit the ground running, make sure to cover these 5 crucial SEM questions…

1) Why are we here?

Do you want to try paid search because it’s cool? Well, it is, but you need a better reason.

What are your business goals? What do you want people to do on your landing page? And what is the plan from there? Be clear about your goals and expectations and your agency will build a better strategy (and will help you evaluate them properly).

2) What is a conversion worth?

Before any keyword bidding begins, you and your agency should know what a conversion (transaction, lead, etc) is worth, in dollars.

Attribution is a beautiful thing. We can tie new business to a specific search term and a dollar amount, so let’s focus on the ROI.

Tip: If your ROI is positive, consider removing your budget ceiling altogether. Think about it.

3) Who needs to be involved?

Involve the team for even greater greatness.

Your web developer

Your website and landing pages need to be consistent with your ad groups, keywords, ad copy and calls-to-action (CTAs). If your web assets and search campaigns work in unison, you will have a higher quality score, higher ad rank, and save money on bids.  

Tip: Make sure the keywords you bid on are present in your ad copy and on your landing page (not just in the footer).                

Your analytics

Avoid the extra coding by linking Google Analytics with AdWords.

Create goals in Google Analytics and pass them through to AdWords as conversions. Not a single ad should run until your conversion tracking is in perfect order. Remember the tree falling in the forest analogy?

Set up custom audiences (i.e. remarketing lists) in Google Analytics instead of AdWords for more targeting options across your websites, and increased simplicity and organization.

Tip: Set up a list of ‘converters’ and ‘non-converters’ and create a strategy to retarget them through the display network.

Your sales team

Tap your sales team to discuss how well leads are converting, especially with longer sales cycles. If your leads aren’t converting, adjust the strategy to find the right customers.

Tip: Use negative keywords to exclude search terms that are driving irrelevant clicks and leads.

(For the advanced class—use negative exact-match keywords to keep ad groups from competing against each other.)

4) Who will own the account?

In short, make sure you do.

Confirm beforehand that in case the partnership dissolves (sad face) that account ownership will be transferred to you, intact. After all, you’re the one paying-per-click.

Tip: What other third-party tools is your agency managing for you? Google Analytics? Email? Social media? With Harp, you will always have ownership of your accounts.

5) What’s the game plan moving forward?

Hoping your agency can set it and forget it? Forget it!

No amount of ‘me-search’ can perfectly predict what your target audience is searching, and what ad copy makes them click. Regular analysis and updates are good for ROI. For example:

Tip: Use the ‘search terms’ report to optimize your keyword list.

(For the advanced class— use this report to move keywords from broad modified match to exact match to refine targeting and reduce costs.)

Talk to your agency to build a game plan that goes beyond the initial set up. Discuss how much time should be spent optimizing, and how you would like to see results reporting.

Ready to rev up the search engine?

Whether you’re testing the waters or looking to spearhead your inbound lead generation with paid search, we’re here to help you with a killer strategy. Connect with our AdWords Certified strategists for an audit or game plan.