Paid Search: The Glue Between Offline & Online
While people use the internet for daily activities including reading news, doing research, communicating with others and shopping, many marketers still do not make paid search a priority when planning a new campaign. In fact, it is often implemented as an afterthought—a second level priority behind more traditional media such as TV and print. Rather than making it an integral part of initiatives starting with the planning phase, marketers find themselves wondering if they should run a paid search campaign to coincide with another effort.
Unfortunately, this approach is a mistake as search is the glue that connects offline interest with online communications. For example, research shows that 67% of online users are driven to search by an offline channel. Given that, it is essential for marketers to plan to leverage paid search as a key component of their initiatives to fully capitalize on the potential volume of search queries that exists for their brand online.
Understanding the risk
Is there really much harm in tacking on paid search as an afterthought? Absolutely. Depending on the nature and scale of the brand messaging being launched, a late and hasty paid search program can involve considerable risk. Often, last minute paid search campaigns don’t allow sufficient time to properly research the best keyword set or to create thoughtful, enticing ad copy. As a result, the effort may not capture the quantity and quality of users it could have. Also, when paid search is an afterthought, landing pages can lack sufficient branding to connect the offline message to online engagement.
Failing to effectively use paid search when creating and planning marketing initiatives holds more risk than poor campaign performance. In fact, failing to incorporate paid search into your marketing efforts has the potential to alienate current or future brand followers. Why? Because consumers have expectations. They expect to see a comprehensive brand presence online. They expect to find information related to a new product launch they’ve seen on TV or in store. If a consumer doesn’t feel that a brand’s online presence matches the presence they’ve established offline, they can become less loyal or abandon the brand completely.
7 Tips for integrating paid search with other marketing
To ensure that paid search is not an afterthought for your next marketing initiative, follow the tips below. Doing so will help you effectively use paid search to both connect your offline and online marketing efforts, as well as establish and strengthen your brand’s presence on the web.
1. Invite your search team to the initial initiative planning meetings. Doing so will not only help ensure that paid search is a part of the overall campaign, but it will also allow you to tap into the team’s knowledge on elements that could impact the success of the campaign. For instance, if your proposed plan includes a made-up word, or a word that people often spell differently, your search team would be able to counsel you on how this could affect the volume of people coming to your site on terms related to the campaign.
2. Spend as much time planning the website content as you would other media so that your messaging is consistent and complete wherever your consumers see it.
3. Research your paid search keyword set thoroughly so you have the right mix of branded and unbranded terms. You want to make sure that you’re getting a large volume of traffic, but also that the traffic lies within your target market.
4. Write ad copy to support your initiative’s messaging. This copy should mirror the language used in other media, but also contain call-to-action wording to entice users to click on your ads.
5. Timing is everything, so make sure you have content on the website before the offline marketing launches. If website content is launched late in the game, you risk not being able to turn on your paid search campaigns in time to catch people searching for terms related to offline messaging they’ve seen. This is crucial as this first wave of interest can make up a large part of your search volume.
6. Track, track, track. Create success metrics for your paid campaign before it launches and track your results as the campaign runs. Doing so will help you to target your optimization efforts. It will also help you better plan future paid search campaigns.
7. Use insights gained from campaign performance to educate your brand on how certain terms perform. Let them know how many people are actually searching on their marketing language. This education will serve you well the next time a new initiative is launched.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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