Monday, 18 December 2006

Search Marketing & How to Waste Money Doing It.

1. Don’t get to know your visitor….

Use the data you already have and any other nuggets you can glean
Offers should be refined for specific customer segments, such as gender, referral source, keyword, new or return visitor, and any others that we can mine. Create personas to use as a guide. From the anonymous browser, to the identified customer, Artificial Intelligence modules can now detect the most promising prospects from their browsing behavior.

2. Don’t make a direct connection between search terms used and the very first page you show to the visitor…

Create relevant landing pages
For example, if a customer searches for a high yield savings account and click on a link, that link must take you to a page which specifically deals with that subject—not to a generic home page where the customer must find the product herself. With so many choices, customers most often will just move on. The market reality is that there is simply not enough affordable traffic to sustain business growth unless the marketer optimizes the landing page as well as the search terms.

Offers must be relevant based on insights and different scenario testing. Content must be relevant and meaningful. And, design must reflect the needs and expectations of the target audience. We are trying to establish a profitable relationship here and relevance is the father of engagement.

3. Don’t pay attention to the copy of your ad…

Be specific in your copy
Yahoo gives you 190 characters (including spaces) in your text ad. MSN adCenter gives you 140, while Google allows just 70. No pictures, no colors, no company logo... nothing, just a few words. It’s a small canvas, your words are fundamental, be very careful not to waste them on generalities. Studies have shown extraordinary variations in the effectiveness of different copy (see point 5).

4. Don’t measure what matters…

Decide on a short list of key success metrics and measure, measure
The web has a great strength in the availability of performance data – the amount of data available is also a weakness. Some of the leading web metrics packages offer more that 5,000 reports out of the box – you probably need 5. Watching how customers behave on your website, and using the information to drive structural, offer placement or editorial improvements, is integral to increasing conversion.

5. Don’t use what you learn to drive improvement (continuously)…

Test, optimize and test again
Test as many combinations of content variations as you can or want to and track any sequence of conversion behavior. Use A/B split or multivariate test campaigns to meet your conversion goals. According to a Stanford University study the following are the conversion components that should be tested and optimized (there are more): Headline, Offer, Lead, Benefits, Images, Look & Feel.

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