Five SEM Lessons from Hawaii

Pop quiz hot shot: What do Steve JobsIsrael, Billy Beane, Don Draper, and Bonnaroo have in common ?

All of the above have been sources of inspiration for my columns -- and, today, I’ll add one more to the list.

After spending last week in Hawaii with my time-zone challenged kiddos, I hope you can understand why my mind wandered to SEM every now and then.



Here’s where I landed:

1. Search cannot exist on an island. Some things thrive on islands. Bananas. Surfers. And sugar. Others don’t. Battleships. Birds. And search. Indeed, as I pontificated on the eve of the inauguration of the 44th U.S. President (who was born in Hawaii), integrating search is no easy task -- but one that’s vital to national, er, job security. 

2. When the surf’s up, ride the wave. Like the North Shore tide, search query volume can swell at a moment’s notice. As a search marketer, you must be ready to capitalize on marketplace opportunities created by seasonality, promotions, competitors, pop culture, etc. Like a wave-chaser checking the tide table, you should be monitoring the hot trends as if it’s your job. Turns out, it is!

3. It’s OK to change your clock to island time. To succeed in the always-on world of search marketing, you need to “chillax” every now and then to give your mind a mental break. Thankfully, there are technology platforms out there that let you schedule campaign actions and automate bid optimization so that you can enjoy a nice luau without worrying about your kids, er, bids.  

4.Like the hula, make sure to close the loop. OK, this one is literally a stretch. Beyond the hip-shake, though, the hula dance is a way for Hawaiians to “preserve ancient traditions for future generations.” So, too, is search marketing a way to preserve ancient media for future budgets. After all, many a search query is influenced by offline channels. By tracking all touchpoints and doing proper attribution, you can effectively allocate your budget to placements that will stimulate search activity.

5. Don’t don’t let island fever settle in. Per Urban Dictionary, island fever is “the realization that you are stuck on which ever island you are living and not going anywhere.” Too many SEM managers reach conclusions that they’ve done all they can to optimize their campaigns and are stuck on whatever volume has been achieved. You’ve customized your meta tags. Tweaked your match types. Set your negatives. Killed non-performing keywords. Oh Hogwash, Sweet Pea! There’s always one more variable you can test. Better yet, take two and call me in the morning! 

Alright, it’s over.

2 comments about "Five SEM Lessons from Hawaii".
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  1. Nelson Merchan from CLICROI LLC, July 11, 2012 at 7:50 p.m.

    I enjoyed reading the lessons. I learned a few things and can relate to all the lessons. Hard to believe that there is anything else that we can do to get more conversions...but that is always the case.

  2. Mai Kok from So What, July 12, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.

    Aloha Aaron - e komo mai. malama pono.

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