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5 SEM Assets You Aren't (but Should Be) Using

  |  September 28, 2012   |  Comments

Are you fully leveraging all your SEM, social media, and online targeting assets?

With search cost-per-click (CPC) rates starting to rise again in many industries, it's important to make sure you are fully leveraging all your search engine marketing (SEM), social media, and online targeting assets.

This week, I'll cover five assets you may not be fully deploying in your social media and SEM campaigns. I also include a special note for retailers struggling with the big changes that have come to Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

  1. The search intent of your organic traffic. SEO traffic may feel like it's free, but you know as well as anyone that a lot of effort goes into getting and maintaining the top positions that drive SEO traffic for key terms. However, as is true for every traffic source, visitors you get via organic search may not be ready to purchase at the time you are lucky enough to have them visiting your site. Make sure you have a search traffic retargeting program in place to market to those visitors after they leave. Although you can use Google AdWords Display Network retargeting, you may find you have better reach and control by partnering with an agency or digital solutions provider. Some of the new platforms out there let you leverage the intent inherent in the initial visit to personalize the display ads and improve response even further.

    Many display solutions providers and agencies can retarget within Facebook's Exchange making it possible to tune messages to include a social media call-to-action instead of a typical brand or direct response message.
  2. The search intent of your PPC traffic. Visitors from pay-per-click (PPC) - like those arriving via organic search - have exhibited a strong interest in your products, services, or brand (some call this "purchase signal") and therefore are often even more valuable from a display ad retargeting basis than the organic search traffic, because you actually made a conscious effort to target specific keywords, geographies, devices, and dayparts with your PPC campaign (I certainly hope you used all the targeting levers at your disposal). So the value of these PPC visitors will be even better on average than organic traffic (except for brand keywords).
  3. Your customer email list.OK, here's the one you probably never thought of because some of the ways you can leverage your customer email list are fairly new:
    • Retarget them when you send them email. Why? Because many users read their email in a browser and that often means that you have an opportunity to drop a retargeting cookie (and create a specific segment or treat the users individually). Retargeting inventory is a great way to reinforce your brand as well as drive incremental sales and response.
    • Use Facebook's Custom Audience Targeting feature.Facebook recently rolled out a customer audience targeting feature that lets you, within Facebook, anonymously target your current customers by uploading their email addresses or phone numbers. While this may seem weird and non-anonymous, the upload is hashed (anonymized) by Facebook on both sides when the ad server creates the segment in order to facilitate ad serving. The easiest way to think of this functionality is as a retargeting campaign that allows you to use the email address as a more permanent cookie than a typical retargeting campaign might allow. This form of advertising is particularly useful if you want to:
      • Build likes. Of course your current customers generally like you. This is your opportunity to get them to "like" you.
      • Build share of attention, awareness, and purchase intent, which of course leads to sales and increased share of wallet.

  4. Your non-converting email registrants. The above three ways to use your customer email lists also work for non-customers who have registered and not converted yet. Your relative willingness to pay for impressions or clicks against non-converting audiences will of course depend on your business and your marketing objectives. Some marketing departments actually place a greater value on new customer acquisition than on revenue captured from existing customers. Regardless of your strategy and KPIs, you can tune the messages that non-customers see so that they are better suited to their status and perhaps more promotional in order to get those prospects converted into customers.
  5. Your Google+ (formerly Places) page. While "Plus Pages" for businesses are still evolving, some data seems to indicate that turning on the social media extension in your AdWords campaign increases the overall visibility and CTR on your ads (with commensurate increases in Quality Score). If you are a large enough marketer not to have an embarrassingly low Google+ count, it may make sense to turn this extension on. If your Google+ count is low, consider using other means to get your number up.

Special Note for Retailers

In addition to taking note of the above advice, retailers need to make sure that they are fully deployed into Google's Product Listing Ads shopping feeds, especially if their average price, profit margin, and conversion is high enough to cover at least the minimum one-cent bid per click.

Please do not wait: get your data feed in order! A clean data feed is a powerful SEM asset, not only for the Google PLA ecosystem but also for the comparison shopping engines (CSE) and other marketplaces such as those provided by eBay, Amazon, Buy.com, Overstock, and Sears.

Internet Marketing image on home page via Shutterstock.

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Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.

Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.

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