What’s your goal?
Before you begin, decide what it is your search and site is trying to achieve. Without a goal, you’re a donkey on a boat with no rudder, completely directionless (redonkulous?).
Common goals include:
- Lead generation (by online form or phone)
- Online sales
Once you’ve established your goals, you can make sure everything else aligns to them.
...and the Destination?
Search advertising is all about driving qualified, relevant traffic to your website. You can lead a donkey to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Similarly, you can drive plenty of qualified traffic to your site, but if your customers aren’t taking the action you need them to take, then it’s for nothing. Before you embark on a journey to bring on new traffic, make sure your product is well-placed and can be easily used, viewed or purchased through your site.
Things to consider with your site:
- Is it easy to navigate? Can you get to the conversion points simply and logically?
- Does the web copy match your intended audience?
- Is your page mobile-friendly?
- Does the site look professional enough to instill credibility?
There are various site tracking tools that can help you see user journey on the site, so you can address barriers to conversion. A/B variation testing can allow you to adjust things on your site and see how changes resonate with users, allowing you to simplify their journey from landing to conversion. Platforms like Mixpanel.com or Optimizely.com make testing easy. Google Analytics also provides valuable information for how users interact with your site and is completely free. For more on this, here’s a piece about how to make sure your website is as awesome as your business.
What budget should you set?
This should be linked to your ROI, but also lifetime value of a customer. Your search marketing costs should be factored into your costs just like producing your products or carrying out your service.
When setting a budget, you need to consider the average value of each sale and work backwards. There is no point running search activity that spends more than your profit margin.
If you haven’t already, start by working out your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). CAC can be calculated by dividing all the costs spent on acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent. For example, if a company spent $100 on marketing in a year and acquired 100 customers in the same year, their CAC is $1.00.
If it’s done well, you might find that by adding search advertising to your repertoire, you end up lowering this figure.
Your search activity should reflect your site and your site should reflect your brand and other marketing efforts. With search advertising, running activity over a very short period of time is not advisable as you won’t get a clear picture of how your search marketing is impacting your business and how you can optimise to deliver conversions more efficiently.
Is Search right for me?
Search isn’t appropriate for all brands, especially low-cost repeat purchases (you wouldn’t google a packet of gum, would you?). However, it’s not just for e-commerce companies. You might have a local business which relies mostly on word of mouth and people driving past your storefront. But could you find more customers if you had a presence online? As with most things, the most important aspect of any digital marketing is to test, and then see what actually works in reality.
Instead of trying to learn the ins and outs of search marketing, if you’re a sole trader or a small business it’s likely better to outsource your search activity. A well set up search campaign will be easier to maintain and won’t waste your search budget on irrelevant traffic. It’s generally better to start with a small trial budget over a few months so you can make a judgement on search impact and then increase based on results.