Smart Planning Leads to Attainable Paid Search Goals
Written by Kyle McCarthy
Smart Planning Leads to Attainable Paid Search Goal
Paid search can be a tough nut to crack, but it can also be an extremely lucrative marketing tool once you understand the landscape and begin leveraging your opportunities. If you don’t set clear objectives and goals from the outset, however, there’s no way to achieve (much less measure) success. And attainable paid search goals begin with honest, open dialogue.
Paid Search Is a Key Component of Your Holistic Digital Marketing Campaigns
The first step in any paid campaign is to meet with key stakeholders to develop a plan that clearly identifies your team’s goals, a timeframe in which to either achieve those goals or alter your approach, and how this initiative fits into your larger marketing strategy. Ask yourself these basic questions to get started:
- Why are we implementing a paid search campaign?
Businesses implement paid search campaigns for myriad reasons, but in most cases, launching a paid initiative is critical for:
- Maintaining brand positioning on search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Driving traffic to a webpage or landing page
- Generating conversions in the form of contact information or revenue
- Securing RSVPs to webinars or other digital or in-person events
- What are our fundamental expectations for this campaign?
When discussing this question, you don’t need to develop clearly defined goals or objectives (at least not yet). Just work together to identify what you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want to build an organic list for an email blast? Or perhaps you want to drive traffic to a specific section of your website to capitalize on seasonal opportunities. The important thing is to make sure the general reason for the campaign is universally understood.
- Do we have the right personnel and resources in place to succeed?
This is a critical question. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, if you don’t have the right people, the proper tools, and a comfortable budget, you’re doomed from the start. Creating, managing, optimizing, and maintaining paid search campaigns is very difficult and requires painstaking attention to detail and constant vigilance. You should have experienced, capable individuals overseeing the campaign. And you should provide them with tools they need to succeed (SpyFu, SEMRush, etc.) as well as the budget they need to be cautiously aggressive.
- Do we need to create any additional resources to complement the campaign?
If you are running a brand protection search campaign designed to redirect to your website, then the answer to this question is probably “no.” If, however, you are running basically any other type of campaign, then the answer is likely a resounding “yes!” Here are just a few of the potential assets you will need to create your campaign, the associated creative, and effective landing pages:
- Display Ads
- Informative and Useful Whitepaper or Infographic
- Professional Videos and Photos
- Website Forms
- Email Campaigns
The list could go on much further, which is just one reason you really need to understand your fundamental goals and the resources necessary to achieve them.
- Are we willing to see this campaign through potential challenges and obstacles?
Regardless of how much planning and research you conduct, the early stages of a paid search campaign can be brutal. Money seems to disappear into thin air with almost no return on investment, and the people clicking on your ads don’t match your persona or targeted regions. Some of this is basic human error, but most of it is just the consequences of a young campaign. All marketing initiatives suffer growing pains — perhaps none more so than paid search.
- What type of campaign do we want to run?
Many companies create paid campaigns to protect their brands from “conquesting” — when competitors use your brand-specific keywords against you by outbidding for them and siphoning away your potential traffic. (If this is happening, there are other methods unrelated to paid search you can use to protect your brand — contact us to learn more.)If you’re looking to be more aggressive in the marketplace, though, you might want to create broad-match keyword search campaigns, highly targeted display campaigns, or even email remarketing campaigns. Typically, display campaigns are meant to drive traffic, whereas remarketing campaigns are meant to generate conversions. Knowing what you want to achieve will inform how you pursue that success.
RELATED: Is Paid Search Right For Your Firm?
Moving From Brainstorming to Planning
Once you and your colleagues have answers to each of the questions above, it’s time to begin planning your campaign, which is where you establish your goals and objectives. At this point, the conversation moves from basic expectations to desired outcomes. You might be expecting to drive traffic or generate conversions, but to what extent and to what end? In essence, the question of “how?” becomes “how much?”
Answers to questions about your goals for the campaign are going to rely on your purpose, tactics, and budget. For example, if you are trying to collect RSVPs for an onsite event, you likely have a capacity limit, which means you have a clearly defined goal. On the other hand, if the purpose of the campaign is to collect as many contact listings as possible for a monthly newsletter, there likely isn’t a ceiling.
But even for campaigns designed to create as much interest as possible, you want to make sure the leads you are generating are qualified leads. Conversions are great, but what’s the point of adding someone to your list if they’re not actually interested in your product or service? The best way to ensure qualified leads is to use targeted keywords and placements and tailor your copy for your ideal audience segment.
When establishing your paid search goals, it’s also best to work in reverse. Determine the amount of revenue, traffic, conversions, etc. that you want to create and then consider the variables necessary to reach your objective. For instance, if your healthcare organization wants to add 10,000 new members in a year, it will help to research industry metrics to understand how many impressions you will need to get enough clicks and how many of those clicks you need to become conversions (leads). Further, you’ll need to have a percentage in mind for how many qualified leads will actually become members. Once you have a good grasp on those figures, you can assign an adequate budget and also let your team know the expectations from the outset.
Goals depend on expectations, and expectations are cultivated through open and honest conversations among key stakeholders that then trickle down to invested employees. As you go about developing a plan for your paid search initiatives, be sure to include the right people in all relevant conversations. This way, you can get quality input from multiple perspectives and rely on the people you trust most to provide the information you need for great campaigns that meet and exceed your goals.
Related: Paid Advertising — The Human Element
Contact LaFleur for All Your Paid Search Needs
LaFleur is staffed with certified AdWords specialists who have extensive experience in a wide variety of paid search approaches — including social and programmatic. We believe the best campaigns are built on a foundation of dialogue, research, and consistency. Paid search can be frustrating, but there’s no problem we can’t solve when we work together and use the resources at our disposal.
If you’ve been considering a paid search initiative or are struggling with your existing campaigns, please contact LaFleur today by completing this brief form or calling (888) 222-1512. We are happy to discuss your business model and expectations or review your current campaigns to give an honest assessment of what is working and what isn’t. There is never any pressure to sign an agreement, and we are always willing to give great advice and point you in the right direction — even if you choose to keep your business elsewhere.
Brown, K. (2017, April 25). Search vs Display Advertising in 2017. Vertical Measures. Retrieved from https://blog.reachlocal.com/search-display-advertising-whats-the-difference
Long, J. (2014, August 4). 8 paid search marketing tips for beginners. HuffPost. Retrieved from https://blog.reachlocal.com/search-display-advertising-whats-the-difference