How to Think Like a Search Engine Marketer – All of the Time
Let’s say you spend three years slaving away at law school. It’s okay if after all of that you don’t practice law; you’ll still learn how to think like a lawyer. While this may be helpful, I think it’s better to think like a search engine marketer. Having graduated law school only to have my career success achieved mostly in search engine marketing, I apply these principles on a daily basis.
SEMers believe in 2 fundamental principles:
1. It’s all about the data/metrics/numbers/whatever you want to call it
2. Test EVERYTHING!
SEM metrics start with impressions (the amount of people that see a given or total number of ads), then roll down into clicks and then conversions (a generic term for sales or purchases.) 2 metrics within these are click-thru rate (ratio of clicks over impressions) and conversion rate (ratio of conversions over clicks). These principles drive E-commerce traffic metrics.
When starting my business, I was naive enough to think sales would just come our way. Luckily many referrals did, which helped the business grow organically, but it also masked the need for a sales person or team to achieve stable and predictable growth. It was 2 years before we hired our first sales person. I think many businesses fail because of their lack of emphasis on sales or new business.
When we finally began growing our sales team, we created analogies to a typical search campaign (even in regards to offline sales). Impressions were any contact with any lead, clicks equated to a meeting, and conversions became exactly what they were – sales. And when evaluating the performance of our sales team, we knew that all aspects had to be tested (much like all aspects of search engine marketing) – time of outreach, day of outreach, type of outreach, follow-up strategy, proposal format, length of T&Cs and everything in between.
While the above example isn’t that much of a stretch from SEM because it involves a sales funnel, we also looked at our recruiting process with the same fundamental SEM principles.
Our recruiting efforts have involved testing strategies including LinkedIn job posts, craigslist ads, career sites, niche websites, recruiters, and manual outreach. We also evaluate our investments (costs and resources) to determine which strategy is the most effective to result in the lowest cost per resume or qualified candidate and eventual hire. We recently have been pushing our job postings on more listing sites to increase the amount of impressions these postings achieve. We believe by doing so we will increase the total number of applicants who apply, which will in turn increase the amount of applicants and allow us to make hiring decisions from a larger pool of individuals.
Overall, I’ve found that fundamental SEM principles can be applied to many aspects in my life like travel, health, and social experiences. For example, let’s say it’s Saturday night and I’m at a bar….
Ajay Pattani is a lifelong resident of Chicagoland and is fiercely passionate about his white wine. If he could be a spokesperson for any product, it would have to be white wine. Ajay says if he could be good at one thing, it would be reading minds. If you could read his now, he’d most likely be thinking about white wine.