When you think about search marketing, are you hung up on the numbers? Things like cost per click, CTR, conversion rate, total number of impressions, share of searches, number of keywords, average position, cost per sale?
It’s easy to get caught up in the analytical side of search and become downright mesmerized with your total conversions, total sales or total ROI each month or week or DAY. But there is a pitfall when you let all those pretty, shiny statistics overhwelm you – you can easily miss out on the things that make search marketing work.
No, that’s not half a sentence. I didn’t intend to write “ten reasons to love search” or “Why you should love search marketing.” I’ve written plenty of articles like that, and I’m sure I’ll write more. However, this article is intended to make you a better lover…of search. I’m deliberately leaving the term “marketing” out for now. My point is that you should love search because of what it represents to you, your business and your customers.
Search is about language.
Let’s put aside the buzzwords for a minute – things like keywords and match types and cost per click. All of these words belong to the language of search marketing. But the language of search is the language you speak on your Web site, in your marketing materials and on your blog.
It’s how you describe yourself beyond marketing and advertising. It’s present in your mission statement, your conversations with colleagues, and in less obvious ways you employ to help your company grow (the type of people you recruit, the way you treat your employees and clients, your company’s connection – or lack thereof – to the community).
Search is also very much the language your customers speak – it’s what they type into Google when they need something, and what they look to for reinforcement when they reach your web site. Know this language. Speak it fluently and embrace it as part of your search marketing strategy.
Search marketing doesn’t have to be about guesswork. You have all the tools you need to create a holistic search strategy that incorporates the language of the people you want to reach, right at your finger tips. These tools are your customers. Ask them how they found you or what they’re looking for when doing research or how you can make your product/site/customer experience better. Listen to them. Then write down what they say.
Search is about results. We perform a search online for something we want. Maybe we go to Google to look for a bit of information on hydroponic gardening, or maybe we go to Ebay to look for an out of print book, or perhaps we go to Weather.com to see what the forecast is going to be in Chicago on the day we’re planning to fly there. The point is that when people search, they are actively looking for results that will satisfy that search.
Searchers are on a journey and it’s important to understand that they will not be satisfied until they fulfill their quest. That’s why relevancy factors so strongly into a well-structured search marketing campaign. If you provide the answers that people seek, then you will likely achieve your goals. Do think about what keywords you’re targeting. Do think about what people will see if they click on your ad and, above all, do tell people what they want to hear. If you’re not exactly sure what they want to hear, then test, test, test until you figure it out.
Fall in love with the fact that people are actually looking for you. They want YOU to help THEM. Cherish that fact. Don’t try to trick them or redirect them. At best they won’t respond, at worst you’ll lose their respect.
Love the journey.
The best advice I can give you when including search into the marketing mix is to enjoy it. Search is unlike any other form of marketing you’ve likely tried (or are going to try). It forces you to speak the language of your customers, and confront (perhaps for the first time in a long time) the language of your business. You may find yourself rethinking how you define your business, your products, even your mission.
Many business owners discover that they are very connected to their search campaign, more than any other marketing initiative. They want people to find them in the search engines – not just for the traffic, but as validation that their business is relevant. It’s a great feeling to realize that Google – the omnicient titan of search – deems you worthy enough to appear at the top of their results for “pink sparkly socks” or whatever it is you want to rank for.
Take this with a grain of salt – Google is not the beginning and ending of all things search. Understand how your customers embark on their journey for information/products/services online and put yourself in their path. If you learn to love the journey then you’ll do well. And that’s how search marketing can make you a better lover.