Fun Times With Search Engines

Jun. 26

Last night, our Google AdWords team treated myself, my team, and leaders from my employer to the Giants/Dodgers game. We had so much fun enjoying the game from Google’s luxury suite at AT&T park. It was honestly one of the best networking events I’ve experienced with Google. It was a great game too – The Giants won in an 8-0 victory. Thanks Google, we cannot thank you enough!

Google Giants Dodgers Game Ryan and Ian

A few weeks ago, our Yahoo! account management team traveled to Silicon Valley and took us to a gourmet lunch (one of the best meals I have experienced in months). That day, we also spent hours planning strategies to grow our adCenter campaigns. Yahoo!, we cannot thank you enough, you rule! I am so thankful for the amazing friendships that I have made with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft’s world class teams.

This is a quick post today since I was out late at the game last night. The main point: I have found in business that it’s all about building world class teams. Spend time to really get to know your search engine reps and support teams. They are amazing and I couldn’t imagine running enterprise SEM accounts without their support and guidance. As a team, you will uncover amazing opportunities and take your paid search engine accounts to new levels.

Image in this post © PPCIan.com

Business Gifts Go A Long Way

Jun. 23

Whether you’re in the corporate world of online marketing, or any other industry for that matter, business gifts go a really long way. Just recently, I received two really amazing gifts. The first was from my great friends at Rocket Clicks SEM Agency. I had recently helped them out and they sent me an amazing gift and also a thank you note. I received it today and was so happy and excited. Thank you, Steve, Nicole, and the entire Rocket Clicks team, you rule! (Side note: If you’re looking for a great SEM agency, I can’t recommend Rocket Clicks enough.)

Business Gift

The second gift I received recently was from one of my good college friends. He now runs an investment fund and spent some time with my wife and I going over investment options. As a thank you for our time and also hospitality when he was in town, he sent us an amazing gift and thank you note in the mail. Again, we were super happy and impressed to receive such a great gift, how awesome!

A while back, I wrote a post about Online Marketing Business Etiquette. Both Rocket Clicks and my friend have so much business class and etiquette. Such etiquette goes a really long way, it sets them apart as people who truly care. They’re true business leaders.

The point of this post: When someone does something to help you out, send them a small gift in the mail. If you cannot afford a gift (or do not have the budget for it at your company), send a nice handwritten card. It’s not the size of the gift that matters. It’s the thought! Some other quick tips:

  • Send gifts and cards around the holidays. Take the time to write really nice and genuine notes. These days, corporate budgets are lower around the holidays. No problem! It’s the thought that matters.
  • If you manage a team, consider giving small gifts to those on your team who hit certain milestones. You need to stay within the guidelines of your company (many HR departments will place a limit on such gifts). This is a great way to Celebrate Success.
  • Always try to give as much as possible. There’s nothing more fun and rewarding than helping others, in life and business.

Image of business gift © Tomwang112

PPC Account Assignments As A Narrative

Jun. 19

Hey everyone, PPC Ian here. Today, I’m thrilled to share a guest post from my friend Todd Mintz from PPC Associates, Silicon Valley’s SEM Agency. You can read all about Todd in his bio at the end of the post. Todd, thanks for the great post and I hope you all enjoy.

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” – Hunter S. Thompson

PPC Associates

I’m going to have a new paid search client assigned to me shortly. Each client offers a distinct set of challenges and objectives, but the general framework of every new engagement remains the same.

I will be dropped into the middle of an ongoing narrative, and I’m not only expected to learn the characters and become part of the story but actually take control of the plot and create a positive outcome where temporal happiness and satisfaction is achieved.

A basic narrative structure has three components: Setup, Conflict, and Resolution. Unless the account is brand new, chances are that most of the setup has happened well before the new account manager comes on the scene…and even with a new account, one could say that the setup that led up to the agency engagement occurred when the business was formed.

Now, if the setup was conflict-free and everyone was happy and content, the business wouldn’t need to engage an agency (or a new agency, as the case may be). The conflict facing the business could be any combination of poor PPC results coupled with failed relationships with consultants, less than stellar employee management/oversight, competitor conumdrums, overall lack of knowledge and experience, or a combination of all the above.

Much of the earlier pre-engagement narrative will be anecdotal to the new account manager. He/she must build relationships with each of the stakeholders in the story which will, in effect, be creating minor subplots leading to the creation of a solid structure for the plot to proceed comfortably without costly detours.

The expertise of the new account manager is his/her ability to write a positive outcome to the tale. What makes up account manager expertise? Part of it is his/her technical ability to manage the accounts in a profitable manner that meets the aims of the business. Part of it is to manage the personalities that are part of the process…getting them to contribute to the effort to the best of their ability while making sure they feel valued as people and as teammates. Part of it is to manage the internal stakeholders in the agency…in my case, our wonderful production staff, our design team, and the other office personnel who might interact with the account. Finally, part of it is totally out of the account manager’s control…things such as marketplace events or client circumstances that might impact the paid search efforts but can’t be helped by the consultant.

The skillful account manager can take any plot circumstances and weave an ending that can satisfy all the characters as well as most audiences. Hopefully, the ending will be “totally groovy and far out” for everyone involved, and all can live happily ever after.

Once in a while, the narrative doesn’t end in the manner hoped for…in those cases, everyone can learn from the poor outcome and take those lessons to apply to the next narrative…where I will be dropped into the middle of an ongoing narrative and I’m not only expected to learn the characters and become part of the story but actually take control of the plot and create a positive outcome where a sort of temporal happiness and satisfaction is achieved.

Todd Mintz

- Todd Mintz is a Senior Account Manager at PPC Associates, a digital marketing firm with offices in the Bay Area and downtown Chicago. Todd has over 10 years of experience in search marketing and has used Google AdWords since it began. He also is very visible in the SEM social media space and is a curator/contributor at MarketingLand and one of the founding members of SEMpdx (Portland’s Search Engine Marketing Group).

Images in this post © PPCAssociates.com

The Best PPC Benchmark Data Ever

Jun. 18

A while back, I blogged about Marin Software’s Q4, 2011 Online Advertising Report. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you Marin Software’s Q1, 2012 Online Advertising Benchmark Report. In my opinion, this is the best PPC benchmark report ever!

Q1 2012 Report

If you’re in the corporate world of online marketing, it’s super important to keep a pulse on the market. You need to explain trends, predict the future, and understand how you stack up against the competition. Tools such as AdGooroo can help on a tactical, keyword-by-keyword level. Benchmarks from your reps at Google and Yahoo!/Bing can help with high level industry-specific trends (especially if you spend a lot of money and have dedicated reps at the search engines).

All of these data sources are awesome! However, let’s say you want a little more information. Let’s say you want data by industry that shows trends in major search metrics (such as impressions, clicks, CTR, CPCs, spend, and usage of match types). Let’s say you want to understand trends in clicks and spend by device. Let’s say you want to understand overall search marketing strategy from leading advertisers? You will find this information (and so much more) in Marin Software’s Q1 Online Advertising Benchmark Report. Marin is in a truly unique position (with over $3.5 billion annual spend being managed by their platform) to aggregate data anonymously and provide stellar search insights.

I highly recommend downloading this report (it’s free) and then sharing with your co-workers. There are some real interesting trends and insights that will help drive your overall business. At the end of the day, benchmarking is a critical part of the online marketing planning process. Leverage Marin’s report to benchmark and plan your search marketing strategy.

Image of pie chart © iStockPhoto – Violka08

My Friday Musings, It’s Been An Exciting Week

Jun. 14

This has been a super exciting week. Just last week, I attended SMX Advanced Seattle. This week, I worked really hard, played in a golf tournament, met a domain industry guru for lunch, and attended the US Open. I’m excited to share my Friday musings…

Randy Cross Invitational

PPC Ian and Work Colleagues in Randy Cross Invitational

Golf is a really great sport. On Monday this week, I played in the Randy Cross Invitational with three other colleagues from work. Our company was one of the event sponsors and we had a fantastic time. We played at the Stanford Golf Course and then enjoyed a reception (and charity raffle) after at the Rosewood Hotel, Sand Hill Road. The tournament raised money for the Ronald McDonald House, an amazing charity. (Side note: Charity is one of my huge goals this year, so I love how this event lined up with my goals and also provided some truly amazing times.)

This event was so much fun because I got to spend time with amazing co-workers/friends, help raise money for charity, and play golf. I have not played as much golf in recent years, but did better than expected (especially on my long game). I’m truly thankful that my parents got me playing golf from an early age, it’s an amazing sport (for fun and business). If you play golf, I highly recommend playing with co-workers. If you don’t, I recommend giving it a try! Golf is a great sport for fun, exercise, and business.

PPC Ian and Nima Jacob Nojoumi

PPC Ian and Nima Jacob Nojoumi

I’m a huge fan of Nima Jacob Nojoumi (@domainadvisor). I have been chatting with Nima about domain names for years. He’s a real leader online in the domain industry. This week, I finally had the chance to meet Nima in-person. We grabbed lunch in downtown Mountain View and chatted domain names, websites, SEO, PPC, and so much more. If you ever have questions about domains, he’s the guy to ask on Twitter. My advice: Find influential people within online marketing and reach out to them! You will build some amazing connections and friendships.

It’s important to spend time with co-workers and partners at fun events. Today, our account executive at Marin Software treated a colleague and I to the US Open. It was truly an event to remember. We got to talk business but also so much more. It’s important to spend time with those you work with outside of the office. Marin went above and beyond with the US Open and it was such an amazing way to spend Thursday.

The last few weeks have been amazing. They have marked an incredible combination of fun, networking, and of course work. While it’s been a busy few weeks, I feel like my team and I have also made incredible progress on our “real work”. Sometimes it’s the “extra” activities that motivate excellence and push you even further. Wishing you a super Friday and weekend! (Note: Like my musings posts? You may want to check out my last one, my mid-week musings.)

Images in this post © PPCIan.com