TopRank Online Marketing
Ashley Zeckman

Steven Yap of Google: Adjust Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy to Meet Consumer Needs

By Ashley Zeckman     Online Marketing, Search Marketing

Your customers are using multiple channels and devices to consume information

Until recently search marketing was the channel that many companies thought they had “all figured out”.  As the online marketing industry evolves many are finding it difficult to move into the next phase, which includes cross-channel optimization.

I recently attended a presentation from Steven Yap, Head of Emerging Products and Markets at Google where he covered that very topic.  Figuring out how search can help produce wins that really matter, and determining what role search marketing plays in a broader marketing campaign leaves many marketers stumped.  In this article I’ve included some helpful tips from Yap as well as some best practices for cross-channel optimization.

Today’s Consumer

Consumers used to follow a very predictable path to close making it easy for marketers to create a series of touch points based on where the customer was in the buying cycle.  Today’s consumer however tend to follow a non-linear, and unpredictable path.

Your audience has also become fast and fickle.  What does that mean?  Customers want the information at their fingertips immediately, and have a tendency to change their minds very quickly.

Marketers no longer control the business relationship, the consumer does.

What Can You Do?

In order to connect with today’s consumer, you must understand who they are.  Segmenting your customers will help create more predictability of actions, therefore putting you more in tune with what path they may take.

Cross-Channel Marketing For Multiple Devices

There is an immediate need for marketers to integrate across channels, and understand how consumers use multiple devices for online consumption.  Laptops, smartphones, and tablets have made it easier than ever for people to consume and share information.  As a marketer how can you anticipate which device your audience will be using at any particular time in order to encourage conversion?

Say for example your customer uses their mobile phone when commuting on the train to read industry news on the way to work.  When they get to work they’re likely using a desktop computer to read blogs and industry news.  On the commute home they again use their mobile device to access information.  Then when they get home out comes the tablet.   While the consumer may just be thinking “I was online” you as the marketer must consider which device they were using to access the information.

According to Yap, 44% of marketers state that managing multi-siloed campaigns is their biggest challenge.

What Can You Do?
You must be adaptable.  The types of devices, and the way they function changes quickly so keeping up on these changes and having a plan a,b, and c is essential.  You should know your data, and ask yourself some questions.  How many of your consumers are coming from a mobile device?  How do they interact with your site?

The need for speed in this industry is critical.  If we are waiting 24 or even 12 hours we may be losing customers.  We know that opportunity exists with responding immediately, not in hours or even minutes.

Search Marketing Beyond SEM

As you begin to make a shift in your search strategy, you must think about how this affects your business.  As your focus changes from “searching” to “finding” the linkes of communication between multiple channels is a MUST.

If your customer is searching on your site for a product, it must be thought of in the context of everything they did in that search.  Wouldn’t it help to know which sites they were looking at previously for those same terms, as well as related terms?

What Can You Do?
Identifying the information within the context of what your customers are searching for will help identify how best to target them now, and in the future. Determine how you can use this data to articulate the opportunity so that you can take action immediately.

Analyze The Data &  What Drives Business

One of the ways to address your data is through the use of analytics.  Most likely you have metrics that are tracking clicks, bounce rates, keywords, etc.  Upon reviewing analytics many marketers may see that a keyword is underperforming and immediately cut that keyword out of their strategy.

Instead of simply relying on the analytics, marketers must also consider the behaviors that are driving their business.  These behaviors will feed into the business strategies that drive search.

What Can You Do?
Focus on finding the value of your keywords and where they fit within your sales funnel.  Which keywords might attract your supporters, influencers, or decision makers within an organization?

In the end, you have to make search work for your business.  Once you’ve laid a foundation of common measurement you can then look across search as part of a whole and begin thinking about how it affects your business.  Has your organization taken steps to optimize your content for multiple channels or even multiple devices?  What has been your experience?


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