SEM Careers & Dealing With The Flu Season

Jan. 28

Have you gotten the flu this year? It’s horrible! I was sick all last week and that’s the main reason I went a bit silent here on PPC Ian. I’m glad to be back to normal, more or less. The flu this year is the worst I have experienced in a very long time (many years). I was so thrilled to go into work today, healthy!

As you probably know by now, I’m the biggest fan of SEM careers around. The SEM career path is super fun. It’s a very high-powered career with tons of upside. That said, it can be quite the challenge thriving in any high-powered career when you come down with the flu. Today’s post offers tips that will help you get through the flu (or another illness) while thriving in your SEM career.

Flu Season

  • Tip 1: Stay home and get rest. In our line of work, we tend to be ambitious. However, don’t let ambition get the better of you. Rest is critical. Otherwise, you will not get better. Even more important, the flu can spread. Make sure to stay home and rest. Otherwise, your illness may spread to others at your organization.
  • Tip2: Work from home when you are up to it. When you start feeling better, start working from home. You will not be super-productive. The first day I started working again last week, my mind was half-working. I was trying so hard but the flu had influenced my ability to power through work. That’s ok. In SEM, some work is better than none. It’s all about keeping a pulse on things and making incremental progress. Each day, you will get more and more productive.
  • Tip 3: Rely on your team. I have said it many times: SEM is a team sport. Great teams can cover for each other. Those that are healthy can pick up the slack. Then, those that are sick can repay the favor later!
  • Tip 4: Make up for lost time on the weekend. When you are ill, you will fall behind in your work. Even if you work from home, you will probably start off working at half-capacity. SEM is a career where lost time will catch up with you very quickly. As such, I always recommend working weekends after you are feeling better. That extra work will get you back on-schedule, as if you never got ill at all. I worked all weekend last weekend and am caught up.
  • Tip 5: Maintain work/life balance. This final tip ties into my last post about Achieving Balance In Your PPC Career. Strive for balance and you will get sick less frequency. It’s that balance (eating healthy, exercising, sleeping) that will keep you in the game for the long run.

Image of Flu © iStockPhoto – KLH49

Achieving Balance In Your PPC Career

Jan. 20

The online marketing career path is an intense one. There’s no doubt about it! It’s a career that involves true dedication, long hours, and an unbelievable level of responsibility. Of course, with intensity comes true opportunity and rewards. I wouldn’t want to be in any other career than this one!

Recently, my friend PPCknight asked some really great questions about achieving balance and longevity in one’s PPC career. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are 24/7 marketplaces. When you’re working long hours and have so much responsibility, are there any hacks and optimizations to make things a bit easier? Today’s post is all about achieving balance in your PPC career. From someone who’s thrived over the long run (8+ years in this great industry), I hope the following tips help!


  • Rely on your team. Paid search is a true 24/7 marketplace. It’s like Wall Street, except trading never stops. It’s impossible to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As such, it’s all about covering for each other. PPC is not a one-person sport, it’s all about working as a team. If you do not have budget to hire a team internally, check out some of the tips below.
  • Rely on your agency. Do you have an SEM agency? I recommend looking into SEM agencies, even if you have an in-house team. SEM agencies are always on call and can help you out 24/7 when you are in a true pinch.
  • Hire help on oDesk. If you don’t have budget to hire an internal team, you can always consider getting help on oDesk (or another outsourced marketplace such as Trada). The more talent on your side, the more you can divide the work and function as a true team!
  • View your search engine reps as an extension of your team. Search engine reps are amazing. Yahoo! and also Google are truly going above and beyond these days. They keep upping their game, and if you ever need help with anything, make sure to relay on your search engine reps.
  • Hire interns. The theme of this tip ties into the last few. It’s all about building out that team.
  • Automate and improve manual tasks with SEM software. I’m a huge fan of SEM automation platforms such as Kenshoo and InsideVault. Not only can they be huge time savers but they can also take your SEM operations to the next level. If you’re not using an SEM platform, chances are you will be working much longer hours for the same (or worse) results.
  • Get smarter and more efficient. Are there any tasks you work on that can be crossed off the list? Are there any components of your day that are consuming extra time? Sometimes it all comes down to efficiency. The advanced online marketing professional is looking for ways each and every day to improve efficiency.
  • Consider changing your location. In the world of SEM, it’s all about productivity. Don’t just sit at your desk all day. Visit Starbucks, travel between your offices (if your company has multiple offices), break up the days with work/meetings, and make sure to enjoy industry conferences. The more you break things up, the ore productive you will be.
  • Remember to take time off. I’m talking about vacations, staycations, and random days off here and there. It’s super important to recharge your batteries in the world of SEM. If you forget to take time off, you will not last the test of time.
  • Avoid making changes on Fridays and weekends. Also, avoid making too many major changes at one time. SEM can be quite unpredictable when you are not able to watch changes closely. Make sure to phase tests and changes for maximum ease of management.
  • Work at a world-class company. I cannot stress this point enough. SEM is so much more fun and powerful when you have an incredible product and team behind your marketing. It’s so much more fun and exciting to market a product that truly changes lives. Get behind something great! Marketing is difficult. Make sure to stack the cards in your favor as much as possible by picking a world-class organization.
  • Focus on your health. It’s all about exercising, eating well, and getting enough rest. If you push yourself too hard, you will not stand the test of time in the PPC industry. You have to pace yourself, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Bonus tip: If you’re ill, make sure to stay home and get proper rest.
  • Love what you do. PPC is an intense career path so you’ve got to love it. Make sure to do a sanity check from time to time, make sure you love what you’re doing.

Image of Balance © iStockPhoto – malerapaso

Advanced SEM Trademark Strategies

Jan. 15

I just wrote a guest post called Advanced Trademark Strategies For Large AdWords Advertisers on Acquisio’s blog. What is Acquisio? It’s the performance marketing platform of choice for large online advertising agencies.

Acquisio Guest Post

When presented with the great opportunity to write a guest post, I opted to go with a highly tactical post for large online advertisers. Upon brainstorming a few topics, I narrowed in on trademarks, specifically your own brand name. When you’re a large advertiser, your own brand name is often one of your most profitable and important keywords. With such profitability and scale comes a ton of responsibility. Despite its importance, however, I feel like brand names are often placed on a “set it and forget it” mode. My post is meant to spark some creativity and excitement in taking your own brand name campaigns to the next level. Complete with 5 advanced tips, I encourage you to head on over to Acquisio’s blog today and check out my guest post. I put a lot of effort into this guest post, so I hope you enjoy it. Also, make sure to arrange a free demo today with Acquisio. They offer one of the most amazing SEM platforms around and are the platform of choice for SEM agencies. Thanks, Acquisio, for the opportunity to guest post!

Image in this post © Acquisio

Amazing Free YouTube Advertising Guide

Jan. 08

Do you have a YouTube channel? Do you advertise on YouTube? In my opinion, you should! YouTube is a wonderful top-of-funnel channel that can help build brand awareness, therefore increasing the effectiveness of all marketing channels. Moreover, YouTube presents a great opportunity to identify target customers and remarket to them via display ads. (You may want to check out this helpful Google support FAQ on Remarketing To YouTube Viewers.)

Even if your company is not ready to advertise on YouTube (perhaps you don’t have budget just yet), you should still become a YouTube advertising pro. These days, online marketing professionals are required to go well beyond paid search. We are managing a diverse portfolio of online advertising channels, with video advertising (YouTube) being toward the top of the list. This is a must-have skill for your repertoire.

With YouTube advertising evolving quickly and being a bit newer, how can a PPC pro learn all about this exciting channel? Easy: Our friends at Silicon Valley’s SEM Agency, PPC Associates, have written The Marketer’s Guide To YouTube Ads. This FREE 25 page eBook is a true must-read. You will learn about the benefits of advertising on YouTube, YouTube’s two advertising platforms, ad types, targeting options, and so much more. I particularly enjoy the examples/screenshots in this eBook and the careful inclusion of “who should use it” and “who should not use it” throughout. It’s a new year and I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of diversifying your online marketing skill set. I highly recommend downloading this free eBook and very much enjoyed reading it myself! (And, when you’re done, make sure to check out the PPC Associates Impression Sculpting eBook as well.)

Marketer's Guide To YouTube Ads

Image in this post ©

My 2013 Goals

Jan. 03

Happy new year! 2013 is officially here and it’s time for my 2013 goals post. It’s a long standing tradition here on PPC Ian to blog about my goals for the new year. (You may want to check out my: 2012 goals, 2011 goals, and 2010 goals.) These posts really help me document my aspirations for the new year so I’m able to stay on track and strive for excellence. I try to keep my goals attainable, but still a stretch. Typically, I do not hit all of them (within one year), but I have a great track record of hitting most of them (and a super high percentage of them if you project out more than one year). I feel that if I’m hitting all my goals within the year, I’m not pushing myself hard enough. I hope you enjoy reading this post as a way to spark your own goals. I truly feel that documenting goals on paper (or via blogging) is a critical step in achieving your dreams. Here’s to an amazing 2013!

2013 Goals

  1. Save money and invest wisely.. This was also my number one goal for 2012. While I accomplished this goal in 2012, it’s not the type of goal that is over after one year. Saving money and investing wisely is a lifestyle. It requires many years of persistence to truly get the momentum building in your favor. As such, I’m going to be watching every expense very closely and hunting down passive income vehicles (such as dividend-paying stocks) every single day. Specifically, I’m looking to grow the amount of money I have invested in dividend paying stocks by at least 20%.
  2. Help others and build careers. In 2012, I got promoted to VP. This was one of my longest standing goals. I view my role as the greatest honor and responsibility. At my company and also within the industry, I will strive every single day in 2013 to help others. Whether it’s via this blog, public speaking, 1-on-1s with team members, dinner with partners, or just about any other avenue, I’m going to do everything I can to motivate and empower. In terms of making it specific, I will help at least 5 people every single day, in a big way.
  3. Invent a major new marketing strategy. I love online marketing and the marketing field overall because it’s all about innovation. I enjoy pushing myself to the limits. This year, I want to invent at least one major new marketing strategy (new to me/my company).
  4. Continue to grow my offline marketing expertise. I’m all about pay per click and online marketing. When it comes to online marketing, I have 8+ years of experience. In more recent years, I started getting into offline marketing in a major way. I have built some great expertise across several offline marketing channels and am always learning more. In 2013, I want to deepen my offline marketing expertise and invest at least a few hours each week building my marketing toolkit.
  5. Optimize, optimize, optimize. I just wouldn’t be PPC Ian if I wasn’t thinking about optimization. All day/night, I’m thinking about optimization from a PPC standpoint. However, this goal also ties into my life. I’m looking forward to optimizing my time (get more sleep, and more effective sleep), optimizing my workout schedule (getting out there and working out 4 days/week, one of the goals I did not hit in 2012), organizing our home and making better use of the space (a project Nicole and I are working on right now), optimizing my commute (trying different times to get to/from work as quickly as possible), really finding any and all ways to get even more out of life. I’m a big fan of optimization and 2013 is all about optimizing everything.
  6. Match or potentially exceed our 2012 contribution to charity. Nicole and I donated a record amount of money to charity in 2012. We truly believe in helping others and get a thrill out of giving back. I’m not sure if we will exceed our 2012 contributions this year since we need to balance this goal with the saving/investing goal (which would allow us to donate maximum money long term). That said, we will strive to match our 2012 contribution.
  7. Visit Hawaii. My wife, Nicole, and I love Hawaii. It’s one of our favorite places in the world. We try to go every year. (Here’s a fun post about our 2011 Maui Vacation). In 2012, we took a multitude of smaller trips, but no major vacation to Hawaii. Why? We got super focused on work (which is a good thing since we love our jobs). In 2013, we are already planning a vacation to Hawaii.
  8. Invest in family and friends. It’s all about the big picture. I like to keep this goal on my list each year because it’s easy to get focused on work, blog, business, and investments. However, it truly is all about the people in your life. I’m going to make sure to take time for fun times with family and friends.

I could not be more excited about 2013. What are your goals for the new year!

Image of 2013 © iStockPhoto – A-S-L