Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Evaluating Your Marketing Plan

In today’s economic climate, every edge is important. That’s why you need to make sure your marketing plan is up to speed. It’s a good idea to go over your marketing plan periodically and audit it to ensure your plans and methods match with the overall goals of your organization.

One of the most powerful tools of any marketing campaign is the measurement. Metrics are the most reliable and unbiased way to test the effectiveness of your campaign and any changes you may make. You need to decide exactly what needs measuring and why. If you aren’t sure, you can measure a number of metrics until you determine which are the truly important ones. Then, keep careful track of those metrics and set reasonable goals to improve them.

It is also crucial to ensure your marketing team is being maximized for its effectiveness. Ensure people are being used for their strengths and are motivated to produce their best efforts for your company. People are what make up a company, so you need to fill your company with the best and then make the most of them. That means keeping tabs on the strengths and productivity of your personnel is just as important as tracking the success of your website directly.

Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind with regards to your marketing plan is whether each aspect of your plan is in keeping with your primary company goals. Do your metrics reflect a general trend in the direction of your goals? Are your people all on the same page, whether they be marketers, technicians, or the CEO? Do you have a plan in place to continuously move the company forward? Each of these areas should be evaluated regularly to ensure your company is progressing along the right track.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Targeting Moderate Relevance Keywords in PPC

Much of the job of a search engine marketer is finding the perfect balance between competitiveness and value in keyphrase choice. Much has been said about utilizing the long tail (including by us here at FindYourSearch), and of course most SEO/SEM articles focus on how to rank for and profit from nearly any keywords, including those in high-competition, if you have the time and money and find them worthwhile in terms of return on investment. In PPC, in particular, it is usually accepted that highly targeted, highly relevant terms provide the best ROI. One article contends differently, however.

The basic premise is that, although some level of relevance is necessary (e.g. cat breeders shouldn’t market to people looking for roofing companies), sometimes a bit of cross-marketing can be profitable. For instance, a business just outside a city can profit by marketing to people looking for hotels within the city, as long as certain care is taken. The article outlines three steps.

First, separation of the ad campaigns is essential. Ads targeting the most relevant keywords should not be the same as those going for the less relevant. In fact, you should have a few campaigns of varying specificity going at any one time. This makes tracking much easier and allows you to properly refine the ad copy for the keywords being targeted.

Secondly, the messages of the ad campaigns need to cater to the audiences they target. Less relevant keywords need more qualification. If someone is searching “purebred puppy breeders” it’s impossible to know whether they want to buy puppies or simply research breeders, or what breed of puppy they’re looking for in what location. Therefore, an ad for a dog breeder selling Golden Retriever puppies in Las Vegas needs to specify all that information in the ad to ensure only qualified click-through.

The third and final key is persuasion. Since you are targeting people who are not directly searching for your product, you need to explain the reasons they should choose you. If you’re promoting a hotel just outside an area being searched for, you should express how easy it is to get to the area. That way, you weed out people unwilling to consider something nearby before they click your ad and cost you money.

As you can see, it’s important to be extremely careful with ads targeted for moderate relevance. When proper care is taken, however, it’s possible to get returns even for these terms.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Building an Outstanding Brand

When you are starting a business or building up an existing brand, you need to make it your goal not to be simply “good,” but to be absolutely amazing. You need to think big, plan big, and design your entire branding strategy around blowing your competition out of the water. As the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” So how, exactly do you go about this lofty goal? Here a few things to keep in mind as you build your brand.

From Oskay on Flickr
First and foremost, develop a solid core company value and belief system. Far more important than logo and design (and foundational to them) is the core driving force behind your company. Once these are established, the rest flows more naturally. Not only that, but the people working on other aspects of the company will be encouraged to protect the brand on a deeper level than simply following color and style guides.

Once you have a core value system, you can be bold with your vision. Put aside your fears and dream big. Don’t just dream big, however -- act big. When you embark on a marketing campaign, you need to put forth a message of confidence through every channel you choose. This doesn’t mean you should pour every dollar you can access into your every campaign until your business has been bled dry; it does mean that whatever avenue you choose to pursue should be done with gusto and confidence.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be strict with how your brand image is being handled when it is in your control to do so. Don’t let people off the hook with “good enough” when it’s your business that’s being represented. Make sure everyone working for you puts forth only their very best efforts.

These suggestions only just scratch the surface of the intricacies of brand management, but they should give you a beginning from which to start building a truly outstanding brand. Let FindYourSearch partner with you in getting that brand more exposure and helping you find success!