2011 has been another dynamic year for search marketers. I want to continue a tradition I started last year and review some thoughts from the past 12 months and set some resolutions for 2012 that we should all live by.
1. Work together towards cross-channel, holistic marketing: I resolve to partner with my colleagues in display, email, site optimization, etc., to make us all look good, collectively. I will make sure we understand how our programs work together and build cross-channel insights to benefit the overall bottom line and maximize ROI.
2. Benefit from understanding my customers: I resolve to better understand the most important people in the world: my customers. I will determine the actual behavior of my customers and the path they take to conversions. I will tie user behavior and attribution together to make the most out of every campaign.
3. Optimize my SEM account: If I haven’t done this recently, I resolve to dig deep into my SEM account to make sure I have the right team, the right structure, correct match type coverage and the ability to get the highest ROI out of it. I will set benchmarks for success and continue to build on those successes.
4. Embrace “soft transactions” as an optimization goal: I resolve to consider the value of goals that help drive engagement and affinity such as: unique visitors, product views, video plays, store locator searches, whitepaper downloads, email signups and social engagement metrics. Though revenue will still likely be my main concern, I will leverage the measurement of soft transactions to grow the number of attributed transactions and to add value to search marketing for branding efforts. Because, after all, consumer engagement leads to more revenue.
5. Be an advocate for search engine marketing: I resolve to educate my bosses and co-workers on how powerful a channel SEM is, to make sure they see the ROI and are invested in it. I will continue to expand the perceived value of SEM -- and the central role it plays in both digital and offline marketing -- across my organization.
6. Test, improve, test, improve: I resolve to put my SEM campaigns through rigorous and ongoing testing to make sure I’m always looking for new ways to improve returns through better keywords, creative and landing pages. I will never be satisfied with “good enough.”
7. Always look ahead: I resolve to research new industry trends that will profoundly impact my SEM campaigns in 2012. I will explore multi-device searching (mobile and tablet), socialization of search, and localization of search. And not only will I keep on top of trends, I will lead and create my own.
2012 will be another amazing year for our industry, but there is a lot of work ahead. I cannot wait to see what is in store for us -- both successes and challenges. And by keeping to our resolutions, we can hopefully see a lot more of the success side of the equation.