8 Best Practices For Serious SEM Marketing Plans

This is my last session at SES NY today and it’s a winner.  “Wpromote Workshop: 8 Things You Aren’t Doing That Will Boost Your SEM Results” was a WOW.   Follow the advice if you want results.

There was a little bit of everything for the throngs of professionals flocking to our industry and old pros alike.  The session was co-presented by Wpromote colleagues Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO and Michael Stone, Vice President of Sales & Strategy.  Michael and Michael gave real-life examples and told secrets to beating the competition.

1.     Always test everything. Embrace the worldview that everything is broken.  The question is by how much?  There is always room for improvement in the areas of ad creative copy, overall messaging, PPC keywords, buttons, colors, navigation, forms, steps, funnels, and traffic sources.   What are they all worth?  Test what is hot such as: discounts and deals, sense of urgency, expiration dates, and calls to action.

2.    Tell the right story to the right person by keeping messaging consistent. Get the right product in front of the right person.  Send the right message at the right time.  Start the consistent message with the user query.  Continue to the ad and keep it up to the landing page.  Tell the right story to the right customer.

3.    Don’t be fooled by Google broad match. The problem is that it matches to bad keywords and does little more than fund Google’s research.  Additionally, the way things show up in Google isn’t necessary what people are searching for.  Also, you can’t see what keyword Google really matched (to their fiscal benefit). You can only see which keyword from your list brought the click in.

How do you deal with it? One method is to drop broad match completely.  The problem is that it’s hard to replicate the traffic and conversion volume of broad words.  Another option is to track, learn and adjust.  But how?  You could use search query reports.  The problem is that a lot of keywords are hidden – especially the bad ones.

You could look at server logs but this is very difficult and time consuming.   Behold! Never fear, there is another option…Google Analytics Raw Query Hack! This tool cuts through to whatever the user  actually typed it.

There are two easy steps.  1) Install a Google Analytics filter. step 2)  Use the data to optimize your PPC keyword list.  Use good keywords to  bid higher and to further customize your ads and ad groups.  Use the bad keywords for your negative keyword basket.

4. Blogging & SEO. Everybody should have a blog on their website.  It’s great for SEO.  Michael advised writing 3-4 times a week.  Also keep it on your domain so you get the domain authority.

Make your post around 300 words per post and don’t forget to interact with your post and comments.  Guest blogging is also a great thing to do.  Along with creating relationships, it creates  great link popularity.   Always remember to use keywords for your anchor text and don’t forget to be natural.

5.    Usability testing – Do it. Perform user testing with lots of different people.  You may be surprised by what you find.   There are several tools available such as ones that show a click heat map of your site.  Remember that the way YOU cruise content may be very different than your users.  Lastly, make sure your site is compatible to all browsers and computers.

6.    Forms, Funnels, and Fun. Limit the navigation so you don’t lose users.  Attention spans are very small. Get the message to them right away and minimize distractions.  Get them to action.  Create smart forms and don’t forget to collect abandoned leads.  Ask only for required information.  Keep it simple and tight.

7.    Analytics is your friend. Ask yourself, what are the questions we want answered that would help us solve things?  Analytics in a nutshell dictates that the old way was all about hits.  Now, we need to understand what users do and how they do it.  Do this by identifying questions and then using analytics to find the answers.

Track statistics creatively and go granular.  Beware of the pretty dashboard.  It really doesn’t tell you anything.  Look deeper and segment, segment, segment.  Ask yourself,  who came from where and who did what?   Then compare the data by looking at more than one metric at a time.  Try to look at metrics before and after any  change.

Remember context is everything and your stats  will reflect it.  Establish GOALS!  This will help you answer more in-depth questions about conversion based on goal value.  Ultimately, it can help you determine ROI.

8.    Social media and you. It’s the next wave so grab a keyboard and catch it.  It is great way to connect your brand to those who aren’t actually searching for your website.  Tweet your customers.  Have your employees tweet your customers.

Follow these 8 actionable items and be on your way to results.

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