Outsourcing Search Engine Marketing
June 24th, 2009 by Missi



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TRAINING
Am I qualified? If not, how long will it take me to become qualified?
Are the SEMs (Search Engine Marketers) at the Agency qualified? Can they prove it?

AUTOMATION
Do I have access to a bid management tool? If not, how can I get access?
Will the expense outweigh the benefit?
Does the agency use an automated tool at no additional cost?

TRACKING
Can I track each keyword or ad separately in my analytics or tracking tool/script?
Do I understand the metrics that I am capturing?
Can I make decisions and optimize the campaign based on these metrics?
Does the agency use these tracking tools, capture these metrics and optimize campaigns based on this data?

TARGETING
Do I understand which keywords and ads need to pair with which landing pages?
Will an outsider understand my niche?
Can I explain my customers to a stranger?
Does the agency have experience in my niche / locale / industry?
Can the agency employ targeting techniques to capture traffic relevant to my offer?

TIME
Do I have the time to work on my campaign?
Will the agency bill me for time?

BUDGET
Do I have the budget to hire a search professional?

EXPERIENCE & EXPECTATIONS
Will I expect the campaign to produce too quickly or too slowly?
Will I waste money & time while I am learning Search Engine Marketing with live dollars?
Is the Agency too inexperienced in my niche to run a proper campaign?
What are my expectations of the campaign with the Agency?

TRUST
Can I trust someone else to work on this campaign and that they will do a great job?

If you decide to stay IN-HOUSE:

Check out Google AdWords. Google has a wealth of knowledge, including video tutorials, an AdWords Professional Certification program and basically everything you would ever want to know. Start there.

If you decide to OUTSOURCE:

These questions and many more are what you should not only ask yourself if you decide to outsource your search engine marketing, but that you should also ask your Search Engine Marketing Agency or Consultant before signing contracts or making deposits.

One of the biggest deal-breakers in an outsourced Search Engine Marketing agreement is a loosely defined set of expectations. Be very clear with your campaign goals. If you absolutely must double your money on the campaign as a break even, make sure that you state at least that. If you expect to quadruple (4x) your money, make sure you state that and put it in writing. The same goes for CPA, ROI, ROAS and any other campaign goal.

Another great downfall of a newly formed outsource relationship is a poorly funded campaign. Without enough money to run a campaign, there can be no actionable metrics, no acceptable campaign goals, nothing but a paper-thin search buy. “Paper-thin” refers to buying search terms over the broad scope of the campaign, but not being funded well enough to acquire more than a few impressions per keyword.

It comes down to trust in the end. You must trust that the Agency will put your customer’s best interests first and that they will convey the messaging and vision for your brand/offer/product. There is a big component of communication that must happen between Client and Agency if the campaign is to be cohesive. If there are any unique qualities about the promotion – or if there are promotions – they must be communicated to the marketing team immediately so that they can be included in the Search Engine Ads. By pairing other forms of promotion and marketing with Search Engine Marketing, users feel a more cohesive experience with your brand and promotion and the Agency can do this for you, given the chance.

By design, a well planned search campaign – either in-house or by agency – can be revolutionary to your business. By contrast, a hastily planned campaign can be disastrous and embarrassing. Take the time to become a qualified Search Engine Marketer or please, hire one.




     

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