Sometimes it’s not about what you do. It’s about what you avoid doing! It’s all about being careful and consciously contemplating your every move. This especially rings true in the high stakes game of corporate search engine marketing. Today I’m going to present 10 quick, effective, and easy ways to sabotage your entire SEM career. Now, just to be super clear, you will want to avoid these bad ideas at all costs and in most cases employ the complete opposite strategy.
Bad Idea 1: Ask For a Raise Over and Over (and Over)
Here’s the great thing about careers in search engine marketing: You typically have free reign over your salary. The harder you work and the more results you deliver, the quicker you will get promoted (and earn a raise and/or bonus). It’s that easy. SEM is super measurable. It’s easy to instantly prove how much value you have added (in terms of raw dollar margin).
That said, I must caveat this in that promotions, raises, and bonuses typically happen within your company’s HR schedule. Most companies have a very set, strict schedule when employees will be evaluated. You want to be conscious about this and avoid asking for promotions off-schedule. Also, you want to avoid being the employee that constantly asks for a raise. If you’ve asked a few times and have not been able to secure the promotion (and/or raise) you’re looking for, it’s unlikely you’ll receive it by asking over, and over, and over. Rather, that’s a sure fire way to annoy your employer. As an alternative strategy, I recommend working harder and then revisiting six months later once you have some more results under your belt, even if you disagree with your employer’s short term decision.
Bad Idea 2: Ignore The Numbers on Nights and Weekends
I like to think of pay per click search engine marketing as a 24/7 Wall Street trading floor. SEM campaigns never sleep. Even worse, campaigns tend to tank on nights, weekends, and holidays (Murphy’s Law). Search marketing is a high powered career that carriers great responsibility with it. Don’t ignore the stats! Your worst fears will come true and you’ll look very bad if your campaigns tank while you’re not watching. As an alternative strategy, try to find a backup (another team member) to watch your campaigns if you absolutely must take some time off.
Bad Idea 3: Do Everything Manually
Time is money. If you go about doing everything manually, you won’t get one third of the tasks completed that you should. Your operations will grind to a halt and your competitors will pass you by. It’s absolutely imperative to investigate PPC automation platforms such as Marin Software and Acquisio. Confused about where to start? I highly recommend checking out my SEM Automation Buyer’s Guide.
Bad Idea 4: Invest Minimal Time In Your LinkedIn Profile
Ever since my first online marketing job, every single job has come passively via LinkedIn. I cannot say enough about the power of LinkedIn when it comes to growing your career in online marketing. When’s the best time to look for a new job, one with a better title, higher pay, and at a more promising company? Of course, when you already have one! That’s the power of entertaining passive job opportunities on LinkedIn. Want to learn more? Check out my post about growing your SEM career with LinkedIn.
Bad Idea 5: Stay Away From Affiliate Marketing
Jobs in search engine marketing are tough. We’re in a high powered career path with a ton of responsibility. When you come home, you just want to kick back, watch Jersey Shore, and then go to sleep. I’m here to say, however, that this is a mistake. Want to keep your edge? You need to learn new skills within other areas of online marketing. What’s the best way to do this? Invest at least a small percentage of your spare time learning all about affiliate marketing.
Bad Idea 6: Avoid Challenging Yourself
Most people in the pay per click search engine marketing field have aggressive, “Type A” personalities. They want to get promoted quickly and grow within the industry. If you’re more of a steady player, this can become a real challenge because the world will pass you by. If you’re looking for a steady career path, SEM may not be your thing. Want to get ahead? Get out there and challenge yourself today! There are many ways to do this such as public speaking, learning new technologies, or simply diving head first into the most difficult analysis ever!
Bad Idea 7: Ignore The Latest Trends and News
I’m a huge fan of SEM careers because they provide a direct avenue to partner closely with your executive team. When you’re personally responsible for millions upon millions of dollars in marketing spend, you can bet your senior team is going to be involved. Now, what types of questions are you going to get from your senior executive team? Often, they’ll ask about the latest news and trends (and what you’re doing to react). If you don’t know this stuff, you’re not going to instill much confidence in your executive team. And, if your executive team doesn’t have much confidence in you, you’re well on your way to sabotaging your own SEM career!
Bad Idea 8: Avoid Working Long Hours
I’ve said it over and over: SEM is a high powered career path. You’re going to grow quickly and the sky is truly the limit. With the power comes responsibility. You need to be ready to work long hours and truly “own” the campaigns you’re managing. Now, I think there’s also a question of perception here. If you’re super efficient like myself and leverage SEM automation to the max (see idea 3 above), it’s totally possible to work 8-9 hour days if you’re quick to respond to emails after hours and you also keep close track of the numbers at all times (see idea 2 above).
Let’s look at this from another perspective. I recommend staying away from the SEM career unless you truly love this stuff. Now, if you truly love this stuff it will be really easy to work those long hours!
Bad Idea 9: Don’t Put Much Thought Into Picking Your Employer
I’ve been extremely careful about picking my employers, and made it big in online marketing because of stock options in really powerful companies such as NexTag, QuinStreet, and Inflection. This was all intentional – I exercised great precision in picking my employers and viewed them as investments. If you put a lot of thought into choosing the right employer you could be sitting on a gold mine of stock options!
Bad Idea 10: Be a Poor Team Player
To close out, I want to highlight the importance of being a team player. Search engine marketing is a team sport. Search engine marketing often presents the unique opportunity to manage teams at a very early age within your overall career. Be a team player and it will truly take you places. If you’re not a team player, I recommend avoiding this career. Want to learn more? I recommend checking out my online marketing people management tips.
Image of Banana Peel © iStockPhoto – LuisPortugal