A recent post on the Yahoo! Search Marketing blog brought up quite an interesting set of points that apply to search engine advertisers across the board, irrespective of the platform they advertise on. The three common mistakes to avoid, provided by veteran search marketer, Mike Moran, for entrepreneurs new to the field of search marketing are:
- Beginners usually get carried away by the rankings of their ads. While it is surely advantageous to be #1, rather thanat the bottom of the page or worse, on the second page, where most potential buyers might not even look, advertisers must realize that rankings bear no significance to customers.Consumers buy from websites that offer good services, good prices and reliable products. Few consumers even remember whether the site they had clicked on was number 1 or number 5 once they are on it.
Moreover, as Mike correctly notes, nowadays search engines offer personalized results in the paid and organic listings, so that people with different requirements get different results even with the same keyword. This just further necessitates focus on other measures of marketing efficacy than mere ranking.
The only time when traffic without sales can be justified by an advertiser is when they are using search to build their brand. Then too, one must be mindful of the user. Consistently showing irrelevant ads to a consumer can put them off the brand. Companies like eBay have negatively impacted their brand image in the past by advertising on irrelevant keywords such as “Golders Green College”, which then delivered meaningless ads saying “Buy Golders Green College on Ebay”!
- The next parameter that lures novice search marketers is traffic. While traffic does matter, it is important to differentiate between the window-shoppers and real buyers. For paid search operations, especially, it is a very costly error to have a lot of searchers but only a few buyers.Advertisers pay for every click. The revenue generated from each click may be negligible or even nothing. Hence it is important to focus on overall conversion rates rather than just traffic volumes. For this it is important to use keywords and ad copy that encourage sales and don’t just drive traffic.
- The final common error that should be avoided is delivering a relentless sales pitch. While it is important to highlight the salient features of a product, advertisers must also provide a proper background to customers. Few consumer like being sold to all the time. It is important for advertisers to address consumer problems rather than just rattle on about product features or advantages or “fantastic prices” and “super deals”!