While Search Engine Marketing is growing by leaps and bounds (specially here in the Middle East), brand managers need to have a simple check list when working with their SEM strategy agencies to make sure Search yields the results they need.
A typical scenario we come across often is when a consumer in Dubai jumps on to google and searches for a LCD TV. Typically, within 0.17 seconds he gets around 6 million + results, but we know he will probably look through only the first few pages. The Search Engine will quickly look through its list of advertisers and place the most popular ones immediately as ads. And, of course, depending on how well the brand or retailer has done on their organic search strategy (SEO), their listing will appear on the page. And fight for attention with review sites, auctions sites, an Amazon or two, and a blog by a geek. This is where good SEM strategy can kick in to ensure that the consumer is empowered and enabled to make a positive decision for a particular brand, and a particular model being marketed.
1. Each specific search term (keyword, model name, key descriptor, brand, feature etc) should lead to a specific landing page. When I am searching for 'lcd tv' I should not have to trawl through a Home Page and try and locate Products > TVs > LCD > Brandname etc. How often have you searched for a 'car loan' and been proudly introduced to a "Our Leadership" feature on a Bank's silly home page?
2. The specific landing page should be a sales tool for that specific offering. If I am looking for a 18 megapixel camera in my search query, oh, please don't lecture me on the benefits of high megapixel. Sell me the D900. It's not about persuasion in general (time is precious online), it's about specific empowerment information. Don't waste the consumer's time, and don't waste your budget.
3. On the specific landing page you take them to, reiterate the offer you made in your ad copy in the search result. If you have brought them in to your site with a lure of "lowest interest rates on car loans", talk about it clearly, re-sell and shout about that specific feature. They did not click on "free credit card with loan" – so why put that in your landing page headline? Scream "Lowest Interest Rates on Car Loans".
4. Be clear on context (see above) and be clear on content. Make all the information easy to understand, the offer transparent and clear, and the benefit of a purchase decision easy to see and understand. Gather the information you need – ask nicely, and give the consumer what they are looking for – which for the most part is a sense of direction, assurance and the enablement of a positive decision in your favor.
5. You'll be tempted to say a lot since you have already started a conversation per se, but here brevity is key. Try not to provide dozens of links to your main company home page, other product pages, corporate mumbo jumbo etc. When you're saying too much you end up not saying what's really key. And what you say should be relevant – locally contextual, available, and immediate.
Do, of course ake sure that your organic search works hand in hand with SEM, and that your website content – particularly the landing page you created (yes! specific to the keywords you bought) has all the right words in there.
When working with your Search agency, or even developing a basic strategy, set goals and tick the 5 SEM Tips above. You'll be five steps closer to the consumer making the decision that you want him or her to make – in your favor – right there. And armed with that, hopefully, he'll click through to buy, or head off to the nearest retailer. Or bank, as the case may be.
Also published on: http://www.innovationsdigital.com/2011/10/5-sem-essentials-for-brand-managers/