The Importance Of Branded Search Programs (Even in Tough Economic Times)

B2B marketers, how would you address the following question from your client or boss: “Why should I invest in a branded PPC campaign when I rank well organically?”

This is a very legitimate question, particularly in this economic climate where companies are looking to cut corner Consider, too, that this becomes a stickier wicket when some search engine sponsored listings can have the appearance of organic listings.

The short answer?  ”Because you need to be in both places to increase the searcher’s confidence.”

We all learned this in SEM 101. The famous heat map showing how a searcher views a results page.  Well, this tried and true research still holds firm. So tell them they need to be in both places.

Maximize conversions

In a 2007 report, Enquiro Search Solutions reported that for branded keywords, there was a +7% increase in conversions when branded terms were in both the top ad and top organic positions. This data clearly indicates a lack of confidence when a brand name is searched on and there are no results!

Block competitors

Leaving your brand name to only show up in organic results offers an easy target for your competitors to exploit. With just a few well-placed header tags of your name, they can leapfrog your listings rather easily. And speaking of confidence, imagine the lack of searcher confidence if they look for your brand and only find your competitor.

Capitalize on early research

Do not underestimate the ‘research’ search cycle either. B2B marketers must embrace their customers’ entire buying process and reach prospects early during the research phase. If you are not visible in early-phase search results, customers are not going to buy from you now, or later.

Benefits of PPC and organic visibility

Summing it up, the benefits of combining branded SEO and PPC include:

  • Improving your market positioning
  • Blocking competitor’s ads
  • Maximizing “share of voice” and search engine results page real estate
  • Improving brand recall
  • Improving purchase and lead generation results
  • Maximizing overall marketing ROI

How to maximize results on a limited budget

Once you have convinced your company or client, you can expect another question: “How can I maximize my exposure on a limited budget?” These five pieces of advice will help increase exposure and stretch those shrinking budgets.

What to include (and what to leave out). Forget trying to be all things to all searchers. Focus on the brand names that you must have—branded searches that have the highest conversions and lowest cost. These are the terms that should also be present in your ad copy so that you are ranking well on paid and organic listings.

Provide a specific destination. In the interest of getting more bang for your buck, consider linking searchers to a targeted landing page rather than the home page. Not to say that you want to have a loss-leader pitch, but take them to whatever promotion you are currently hawking in your other marketing efforts.

Leverage other marketing efforts. Nothing says “well-rounded marketing program” like having your paid and organic listings support your other marketing efforts. Leverage these “non search” efforts by sending them to the same page.

Pay attention to your analytics. As previously mentioned, the ‘research’ cycle is often unappreciated. Those 90 day cookies are very important to understand and refer back to so that you have a full picture of how successful your marketing efforts have been.

Consider day-parting. Hourly and daily reports are your friend. Take a good look and try to maximize your spend by turning your campaigns off on your slower days or time of day. Make sure however, that your company knows you will be employing this tactic. You don’t want to receive a call on a Sunday morning because someone decided to Google themselves.

The importance of branded search programs for both paid and organic listings can be an economical and powerful way to promote your company even with budgetary constraints. With careful planning and close monitoring, it is possible to not miss a beat (or a conversion) even in these tough economic times.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: B2B Search Marketing Column | Channel: Search Marketing


About The Author: is an Account Director at SmartSearch Marketing, a Boulder, Colorado-based search engine marketing agency. Sami has extensive experience in comprehensive marketing analysis across all online marketing media, including paid search, affiliate programs, organic optimization and email marketing for both B2C and B2B clients.

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