(Minor plug) I just did my first radio interview! And I wanted to expand a bit more on what marketing managers should take into account when first deciding to invest in search marketing.
I was terrified but they are great editors so I don't sound completely foolish.
Check out the interview here:
And their write up:
I'm grateful to Radio NZ for the opportunity to do a short segment and I also wanted to expand on some of the points we were discussing.
Are there dodgy operators in the search market? Yes. I believe so.
Wherever there is confusion or misinformation about a product or service, there will be people wanting to take advantage of that. In a lot of cases though, it might be a misalignment of expectations between what you were expecting and what you got.
But the result is the same. Wasted budgets and poor results.
Whatever the causes, I think we can go a long way towards stopping the waste by keeping some key factors in mind.
1. Understand the nature of organic search (SEO) and paid search (Google Ads)
They are not magic bullets but they are two important channels in a marketers arsenal.
- Organic search is a longer term game, it's depending on good content, brand authority and building trust. It helps by reaching out to your entire target market and educating them about your brand and your business. Lots of traffic but to get that traffic you need hard work, persistence and patience to earn the rankings your business deserves.
- Paid search is advertising with the bonus of knowing what people are searching for before they see your ad. However, all the basics of good advertising still apply. Good creative, a strong USP, persuasive calls to action and a consistent experience from ad to landing page.
2. Know your business
What is your organisation trying to do and how does the website help them achieve that? What are the numbers that tell you how you are doing, online and offline.
For example, if you're a retail store, you can probably get immediate great value from Google Ads. You might have set margins and you know how much you can spend on advertising to get a sale.
If you have million dollar services, it will take more than one ad to get your clients across the line. Maybe your numbers are about getting people onto your mailing list to push them towards an event or a trade show. Perhaps a longer term SEO strategy where your site shows first for your clients key concerns is your best bet.
If you know your organisation really well and can provide that direction, any agency will be able to help much much more.
3. Pick a great agency sure, but pick one with people you can work with
No matter what business you have, at the end of the day, it's about the people you're working with. Search is hard work so you want to find an agency with people you enjoy working with and learning from. People that you trust.
At the same time, an agency should be transparent and honest in what they can and can't provide. And they should be OK teaching you and helping you to grow.
Something that I say consistently to my clients is that you should understand the actions we're taking on your behalf, why we're doing them and how they add value. If you don't, then we haven't done a good enough job.
Search can be a terrific channel for any business. I love it. And I want you to love it as well. But there are pitfalls and people wanting to take advantage.
Stop that happening by taking time to learn about search, your own business and by picking people you can trust and that help you grow. Agency or otherwise.