When it comes to search, there are SO many channels requiring an SEM shop’s expertise. While targeting channels with optimized content is far from a “one size fits all deal,” it’s essential for any SEM team to have all necessary arrows in quiver. Here are some talking points we use to raise the level of discussion internally and with our clients. Share this post with your search marketing team and challenge the entire process to excellence.
1 Can your in-house or agency team react nimbly to the ever-evolving environment of channels, management tools, reporting engines, and analytics to measure conversion? Does your search marketing team systematically test ROI by probing organic, paid, social, and hybrid channels?
2 Keyword research tools like Trellian and WordTracker are now complimented by buzz pocket research in Technorati and Google BlogSearch to mine potential interest in online communities. It’s all about links and traffic baby. Social media has already taken over our planet. Is your team ready?
3 Does your social media marketing team really understand how Digg, Facebook, StumbleUpon, or LinkedIn actually work from users’ and marketers’ perspectives? Are they building industry contacts for qualified help in releasing and promoting content to any major channel according to accepted etiquette? Search marketing now has to include, as standard operating procedure, actionable analysis of major bloggers and their networks. Does your team provide blog reaction research and recommendations?
4 Can they mine buzz pockets from Del.icio.us, Reddit, and YouTube and research red hot tags? Facebook’s stealth platform may actually rock Google at the end of the day. Is your marketing team ready to buy it?
5 Do your web developers build post search retargeting systems to tailor content for the unconverted return visitor?
6 Are you ready to manage dozens of challenging PPC accounts spread out across major ad platforms and associated vertical products? It used to be easier. Mass Media meant network television, radio, newspapers, billboards, collateral print, and direct mail. Now there are SO many channels we have to test for the ability to drive traffic and fuel conversion.
7 Have you dug into micro-communities, which present the promise of extremely focused and fruitful interactions with smaller groups?
8 12 Billion Local Business Searches scream out “Pay attention.” Is someone testing IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) channels and hyper-regional players? Does your team have a protocol for managing local/mobile campaigns for maximum reach? Who’s the in-house expert on mapping mashups like Google Earth?
9 How does your team use online press releases and interface with physical world PR? The disciplines are inexorably interwound and should be considered as an integrated strategy. Do they brainstorm the intersection of search and branding as applies to your project?
10 Is there an ongoing shop-wide commitment to continuing education? Which team members are charged with attending search marketing conferences throughout the year to keep up. What systems are in place to assimilate the knowledge for quick action in service of search marketing objectives.
Not One Size Fits All
Every client and situation is different. Not everyone needs a blog, yellow pages, or every flavor of paid search- but SOME combination of channels is always called for. Challenging your in-house or agency search marketing team to excellence and holding them accountable to the fluidity of today’s marketing vernacular is the difference between the success and failure in the fast moving landscape of search.