March 2012: The Supplier Spotlight Monthly SBE Contest.
Sponsored by Supplier-Connection – An initiative of major US companies committed to spending more with US-based small businesses.
Selecting a firm to help with “search” and “digital campaign strategies” should extend beyond increasing rankings in search engine results. The continually-evolving digital landscape is driving interactive marketers to think strategic – more like business planners and less like social media and “search engine optimization” (SEO) experts.
Ask Four Questions for Search Marketing Success
According to 1Forrester’s Q2 2010 Consumer Technographics®, consumers’ search engine behaviors have dramatically changed. To apply search marketing more comprehensively, businesses should ask the following questions:
1. Are they integrating “Search” into a business plan?
Good search marketers integrate tactics with an understanding of the overall business plan. Simply put, they need to help solve business problems. A partner applying a comprehensive search marketing and digital communications plan will help define a strategy to meet business goals.
2. Are they identifying how you are found?
Customer online behavior is mostly impulsive, unpredictable and performed over multiple platforms and channels. People are interacting via email, mobile and the social web simultaneously. A search partner should help with customer maps to develop or maintain proximity with audiences across the best channels.
3. Are they optimizing across your customer’s conversion?
Search is changing how marketers look at the marketing funnel. The objective should focus on the entire customer experience from beginning to end, not only potential customers. Understanding “searcher intent” rather than just “keyword use” is important. Content strategies should extend past the right “keywords” and should detail intent, behavior and effectiveness of different searchers.
4. Do they consider reporting and analysis vital?
A search partner should establish a baseline and track progress with adequate tools. A quality firm will use cross-channel customer data and customer insight to improve the profitability of search marketing programs. A search partner should maintain multi-channel insights, including where and how users choose to interact.
With the vast differences between search engines past and present methodologies, there are several questions businesses need to ask when it comes to selecting an agency. Whether you need help with SEO, creating digital solutions that range from targeted micro-sites for smaller campaigns to major communications platforms serving customers, journalists, dealers or internal audiences….. Creating a solid strategy that optimizes integrating program success with long-range business plans is what you need in an agency partnership.
Director of Business Development
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Ann Arbor, MI 48103
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1North American Technographics® Interactive Marketing Online Benchmark Recontact Survey, Q2 2010 (US)