Time and again, I hear people complain about how their search marketing strategy isn’t bringing them results. Are you one of them?
If yes, this blog is for you.
Today, everyone wants to launch their business on Google. Search Engine Marketing or SEM (also called as Pay per click Marketing) offers one of the fastest ways to do so. That’s mainly because search engines are a demand-fulfillment platform, which is used by the prospects to discover a business by searching for keywords specific to that business.
But that’s not all, when people want to make a buying decision they rely on the results they see on the first page of Google. In fact, 75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search. This is where SEM as a part of your digital strategy can fetch you the coveted top spots on SERPs. Done right, it can get you the highest quality leads without having to wait for organic growth.
Yet, there’s a huge chunk of businesses that pour money into SEM campaigns that are destined to fail.
Why Your SEM Campaign Isn’t Working
Many marketers struggle to demonstrate ROI of their SEM campaigns and their SEO activities. If that sounds like your team, then most likely your campaigns are heading in the wrong direction.
WHY? Among a dozen of possible reasons, one of the most common is they probably don’t know what key performance indicators (KPIs) or Key Result Areas (KRAs) they should be looking at in order to gauge the success of their Search Engine Marketing efforts (PPC and Organic Search advertising). They either waste time and resources tracking the wrong KPIs or simply go by the ‘set and forget’ attitude.
In other words, they start running campaigns without knowing what factors they need to track to see how well something in the Search Marketing strategy is or isn’t working.
Poorly Performing SEM Campaigns are a Drain on Your Budget
While it’s critical for businesses to feature on the first page of Google, it is an expensive exercise. Growing your ranking organically is time-consuming and cumbersome, which is why it’s also resource-intensive. Paid efforts, on the other hand, cost you money. Therefore, whether by organic means or paid strategies, ranking on top of SERPs turns out costly either in terms of the time involved or money spent.
This is why you can’t afford to invest on poor SEM campaigns. As the CEO/CMO of your organization, you would want to make sure that your business can leverage search engines to get a positive digital ROI. To achieve this, you must have your team focus on the pre-defined KPIs and KRAs.
That said, let’s dive into how to properly measure your campaign performance by setting the right KPIs and KRAs for your SEM team.
KPI #1 Identifying the search behavior of customers
People discover you on the internet by searching for the type of products/services you sell or businesses similar to yours. So the first thing your SEM team needs to do is find all the possible searchers that are using search engines to find companies like yours. How? By gathering all the possible keywords your target customers might be using to search for your business online.
For example, people find me by using keywords like “Digital Marketing trainer,” “Digital Marketing Consultant”, “Digital Marketing certifications,” “Digital marketing workshops” etc. Even more specific search queries would be “Digital Marketing certifications in Bangalore,” “Digital Marketing workshops near me,” or “Digital marketing consultant for SMBs in Bangalore”. These specific keywords perform better than the generic keywords mentioned before. So when I use these keywords to analyse, I can tell the intent of the searchers and who have better chances of turning into buyers.
So my tips for this step would be:
- Think of the most relevant specific and long-tail keywords instead of generic ones
- Use tools like Uber Suggest, Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Spyfu to help with keyword research
- Focus on less popular keywords as they offer greater scope of positioning you on the first page and your pay per click will be less
KRA – Your key result area to focus here is to find 100% of the keywords for your business and market.
KPI #2 Keyword segmentation
For the second KPI, your team must segregate the keywords as transactional, informational, and navigational keywords. Let’s see what these are.
Transactional keywords – These keywords are also referred to as “know” keywords and they are used by people who have already done their research, made a purchase decision, and are ready to buy.
“Digital marketing certification in Bangalore,” “Digital Marketing workshops near me,” and “Digital marketing course fee in Bangalore” are some examples of transactional keywords that my prospects use in their search queries.
As you can see, these keywords are more specific and they may describe the intent of the searcher more precisely.
Informational keywords – As the name suggests, these keywords are used by people looking for information before making any buying decision.
These keywords typically contain words like “what”, “where,” “when,” “how”, and so on. Some examples are “What is digital marketing”, “how to set up a Google ad”, “how to create a Facebook ad” etc.
These keywords have high search volume, but they aren’t much helpful when it comes to direct conversions.
Navigational keywords – People that use these keywords are aware of your brand and searching specifically for you. They must have interacted with your content before and found it helpful enough to search for more information. Some examples include keywords like “Digitechniks blogs”, “Digitechniks webinars”, “Digitechniks course”, etc. that people use to reach my services on my website.
KRA – The key focus here is to achieve a clear-cut distinction between transactional, informational, and navigational keywords.
KPI #3 Create blogs using informational keywords
Informational keywords serve to target people who are just beginning to realize their need for a product/service. These keywords are used by them when they are searching to know more about a topic, a problem, product, or service.
Therefore, the best way to leverage these keywords is to create blogs that answer the “how”, “what”, and “ways to” types of queries. When you use informational keywords having high search volume to write blogs which answers the problems or queries of your potential customers, they will start seeing you as trustworthy, become your loyal fans and begin to take or recommend your products or services whenever they require.
KRA – Your main focus in this step should be to increase the blog traffic by 10-30% every month.
KPA #4 Start ranking your website Services and Product Pages for transactional keywords immediately
Once you have the list of transactional keywords, take action on them immediately. To do that, you must start using a paid strategy like SEM or PPC to rank in the top three positions in SERPs for all transactional keywords, right from day one.
Because these are intent-driven keywords, if you wait for months to rank for these keywords, you lose out to your competitors.
KRA – This is where your efforts should be able to put your website on the top three positions on SERPs.
Related Article– 8 Steps to Develop a Google Ads Strategy for Any Business
KPI #5 Put systems in place to collect data
In this age of data, collecting data of customers and prospects must be a top priority for businesses. This step is critical in order to get a steady supply of high-quality leads and improve the outcomes of your search engine marketing campaigns.
You can do this in a number of ways. You can use email capture or opt-ins on your website pages, landing pages, or blogs which will collect the visitor’s contact information. You can also set up pixel (Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Quora etc) which can be used to collect the cookies. Later you can retarget or nurture the non buyers and convert them to buying customers.
Remember, the ultimate success lies in collecting 100% data for which you have spent on search engines.
KRA – Here you focus primarily on collecting 100% of data of your prospects and customers.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to ensure that your team uses all five KPIs to build an optimum performance measurement system rather than looking at each one of them in isolation. That’s because when you look at all of the KPIs and KRAs, it paints a more complete picture to clearly indicate when and where the progress is happening and when and where any improvements are needed. This performance measurement system can help your business leverage search engines to get a positive digital ROI.