About a month ago, I attended and spoke at Search Insider Summit. At this amazing conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Prashant Puri (CEO & Co-Founder) and Johnny Shami (Director, Business Development) from AdLift. What is AdLift? It’s one of the best SEO Agencies ever! Based in Palo Alto, AdLift is right in the heart of Silicon Valley and manages SEO campaigns for some of the biggest, most savvy brands around.
Today, I had the honor of contributing a guest post to the AdLift blog. Given their SEO expertise, I thought it fitting to write a post about the intersection of SEO and PPC. In particular, I wrote SEO Tips From A PPC Pro. My post highlights 7 SEO tips that leverage intelligence/collaboration with your PPC program. Looking at it from a paid search perspective, this post offers 7 ways in which you can help out your SEO team. There are so many ways in which SEO and PPC teams can collaborate.
Head on over to AdLift today and check out my post. I hope you enjoy! If you are looking for an SEO agency, I highly, highly recommend chatting with AdLift. They are true experts!
Image in this post ©AdLift
I have been around in the digital marketing career for 9 years! Fortunately, I have not had to manage too many difficult partners. Why? Our industry tends to attract the best and the brightest, and I’ve done my best to filter out potentially problematic situations before they occur. The level of service that we all have become accustomed to almost creates a bubble. Because of this amazing space, however, it is important to keep a well-rounded perspective since you don’t want to let your guard down in all situations. From time to time, you may end up working with a difficult partner. I hope these tips help make your life just a little easier, as we all know that difficult relationships can create a stressful environment for you and your team.
- Spend a lot of time qualifying new partners and vendors before you start working with them. Do not assume everyone is like Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook. As mentioned above, we are spoiled. Partners/vendors will become part of your team/family. Make sure they are truly great and will give your team leverage, as opposed to holding you back. Treat every new partnership and vendor with a key checklist. It is ok to say “no” and avoid working with a certain partner/vendor. In online marketing, we tend to “do it all”. Learn to say “no” sometimes, especially if a partnership could hold your team back. The best way to manage a difficult partner/vendor is to avoid working with them altogether. Some of my favorite areas to investigate:
- Size of company – Larger companies get bonus points since they have proven they have what it takes to scale. That said, I love startups too.
- Years in business – Has your prospective vendor lasted the test of time?
- Reputation – Is your vendor well-known? Have you seen them in the media? Do they have credibility? Do they have a brand? Do they attend the important trade shows? Do they have someone reputable standing behind them?
- Reference checks – Can your potential partner provide references? Make sure to call them and ask plenty of questions. It’s amazing how much you can learn from a solid reference.
- Case study check – Can your prospective vendor provide case studies that illustrate their success with others?
- Proposal check – Is you vendor/partner willing to fill out a proposal? How good are their ideas?
- Ease of relationship – Based on your preliminary talks, is the vendor easy to talk to? Are they willing to visit your office in-person even if it involves travel? Are they making a strong effort?
- Team check – What does your team think? Make sure multiple people “interview” the prospective partner. Do they fit your company’s core values?
- Go with your gut – You’d be amazed what your gut can tell you. Go with your instincts.
- Ironclad legal agreements are key. Invest the time upfront working on really great legal agreements that protect you and your company. This will take more time since we are online marketers, not lawyers, but is critical. You never know how a business deal will end up. Most are great (we live in a truly fortunate world/industry), however you never know what will happen all of the time. Work closely with your legal team to protect your company and you will have such an easier time managing situations if they ever do turn difficult.
- Work within your company’s means. Do not commit to something that is not going to be possible to fulfill on your end. It is important to follow partnership agreements, and a partnership is a two-way road. If you agree to something, make sure you follow through. At the same time, make sure to work with vendors who are understanding since roadblocks and changes are the norm in our industry. Flexibility is a key trait I always interview for in prospective partners.
- Keep your communication short and to-the-point, once in a difficult situation. Let’s assume you’re in a difficult situation. The best thing to do is stay calm and keep your communication on-point. Don’t get off-topic. Don’t respond to the other party if they try to provoke you. You are a business professional. Keep it professional and calm, even if the other party is not trying to accomplish the same goal. Rise above any drama that may come your way. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if a vendor is really trying to provoke you. Luckily, this case is very rare.
- If in a very difficult situation, solicit the input of others. Your legal team will often have amazing perspective and advice. Finance teams often have a breadth of experience too.
- In a difficult situation, loop in senior management. Make sure to inspire confidence that you have a plan and have it under control, but make sure to loop them in as well so they can help out and be aware of the situation.
- Be a good person and do what’s best for everyone. Good people get rewarded. We all face challenges from time-to-time. The key here is keeping your cool and keeping the faith. If you follow these tips and your own gut, you will get through any challenging partnership/vendor relationship with ease.
These days, it’s all about diversifying your traffic and marketing mix. This means that digital marketers are not only in the marketing game but also the business development game. Digital marketers are also working across a broader array of digital and traditional marketing channels. Make sure you sharpen your business development skills, and I hope these tips help you prevent/manage any difficult situations that may come your way. However, I truly wish you end up like me – a minimum of difficult partners and a maximum of amazing ones!
Image of Obstacle © iStockPhoto – iqoncept
I’m a huge fan of Kenshoo Digital Marketing Technology. Kenshoo provides one of the most amazing search marketing platforms in existence. Approximately three billion dollars of annual digital marketing spend is managed via Kenshoo, and they were named the leader in bid management buy Forrester.
Today, I am thrilled to share Kenshoo’s new Global Search Advertising Trends whitepaper. It’s free and a true must-read. I’m a real fan of Kenshoo whitepapers and have covered several here on PPC Ian. One of my other favorites is the Kenshoo SmartPath whitepaper, all about Kenshoo attribution modeling (truly advanced stuff).
So what’s Kenshoo’s latest whitepaper all about? Global Trends aggregates billions of dollars worth of data and illustrates really interesting trends in the digital marketing landscape. We’re talking about trends in budget/spend, CPCs, clicks, click-through-rates, impressions, and more. We’re talking about trends across region – US, UK, and EU. We’re talking about device-specific trends.
I personally rely on such whitepapers and trends to understand the bigger picture. I found the insights Kenshoo shares about spend/budget to be particularly insightful. Thanks, Kenshoo, for another awesome whitepaper! I recommend downloading this free whitepaper and leveraging the insights at your company.
Image in this post © Kenshoo
Keywords are the most fundamental building block of digital marketing. As the picture on the right implies, they are the key to your success within online advertising. Whether you’re a PPC or SEO professional (or both), there is not a day or minute that goes by when you are not thinking about keywords. I’ve been generating and managing keywords for nearly nine years, so you’d think I have exhausted every trick in the book. Not true! I still find some clever strategies each and every month and wanted to share some of the latest ones that are top-of-mind. You never stop learning in this incredible field. Remember, the best keywords are the trending ones, oes that have not yet become popular, ones that are not in any of the automated tools yet. Today’s tips are all about forecasting the future and beating the competitive rush!
- Attend industry events and become a futurist. Learn about all of the latest trends in your industry. Chat with industry leaders. Attend seminars and ask questions. Become a thought leader yourself. To the extent you can leverage industry events to predict the future, you can start buying those keywords today. You can start building high quality content and engaging user experiences around them now. The only constant in this world is change. Predict the change and act on it now, you will build a competitive moat by doing so!
- Devote some time each week to reading cutting edge literature. You need to go beyond the easy stuff. Blogs are so fun and easy to read, and are a great place to start. However, I also recommend reading technical literature, non-profit studies, academia research, and other dense material. Such studies are not always the easiest to read, but will truly provide cutting edge trends before they hit the mainstream. Digital marketing is not just about being good at our trade, it’s also about becoming a deep expert within your field.
- Sit in on customer phone calls, visit your call center. Customers offer a true wealth of knowledge and inspiration. After all, any business is in business to help their customer. If customers speak to certain pain points, why not address them in your product, paid search, and organic strategy.
- Collaborate with partners via business development calls. Does your company have strategic partnerships? Learn about new and exciting trends through partnerships, as a team. Just make sure that you are giving back as much as you get, all partnership as a two-way street.
- Collaborate with anyone and everyone in your company who will listen. While your call center is a perfect starting point, there are so many other key functions in your company who can provide a wealth of knowledge around new trends. Some of my favorites: Executive leadership, product management, and sales.
- Hire a really, really great SEM Agency. The best agencies, like my friends at Rocket Clicks, truly get to know your business. They are not only masters at PPC, SEO, and UX, but take true pride in becoming vertical leaders/masters within your industry. The beauty of this vertical integration is amazing ideas, such as predictions of where the industry is headed and how to stay ahead of the curve from a holistic marketing perspective!
- Keep testing! New trends often take time to work. There are so many times that I have experienced bad keywords transforming into good ones. Keywords that are negatives today may become positives tomorrow. Past performance is not always an indication of the future. Remember to keep testing new ideas and never lose hope in future trends. While you may lose some money testing, the long term upside is tremendous.
Image of Keyword © iStockPhoto – gunnar3000