Here are 12 boxing-inspired insights to ensure your search marketing lives up to the hype:
1. It’s all about the money. They payout for the Mayweather Pacquaio fight was the single biggest for any professional athlete ever. The bottom line with SEM is the bottom line for your business too. Cash money, baby. Make sure you’re tracking everything all the way through to revenue and, ideally, profit and lifetime value. Clicks and conversions won’t cut it anymore.
2. You can’t get your money back. While it’s possible some people who bought the fight on pay-per-view may get their money refunded due to broadcast issues, you will not get a refund if your site encounters any problems. Use automated URL-checkers to ensure your landing pages are always up — and pause them immediately when catastrophe strikes.
3. Training is key. Rome was not built in a day. Neither was Floyd Mayweather. He is notoriously hard-core when it comes to training and reportedly had nine sparring partners while prepping for the Pacquaio fight. As a search marketer, you must meticulously hone your craft and never get complacent. Engine algos are always changing and you need to stay up to speed on the latest developments that may impact your program. Ongoing training is required to understand how to leverage various third-party platforms to increase efficiency and maximize performance.
4. Technology is a great enabler. Speaking of third-party platforms, technology can help automate many of the manual tasks associated with managing SEM and also improve results through advanced bidding. Boxers too benefit from the latest cutting-edge technology, such as the Cryosauna that Mayweather uses to recover after workouts.
5. Speed matters. Floyd Mayweather is nothing if not fast. His style of cross-arm defense relies on speed over power. Search marketers must also be fleet of foot when it comes to identifying opportunities for offense or defense with real-time campaign optimization.
6. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Similar to the other big event this past weekend, the Kentucky Derby (which also has parallels to SEM), boxing can be the most exciting two minutes in sports — but more often drags on for multiple rounds. For search marketers, playing for the long haul requires patience and perseverance. SEO tactics can take months to generate rankings. PPC portfolio bidding can take days or weeks to calibrate. Keep your eyes on the prize and resist the urge to overcorrect before your actions have a chance to take hold.
7. When in doubt, hug it out. Mayweather is great at drawing in his opponents for a quick embrace and reset. This lesson can be applied to the team collaboration aspect of SEM. You have many stakeholders that are critical to your success. Be sure to show them the love as you work through the process of creating campaigns, managing budgets, optimizing performance, and attributing results. As Benjamin Franklin (or was it Winnie the Pooh?) once said, you catch more flies with honey.
8. Don’t worry about pleasing everybody. There may not have been a knockout — but, for Mayweather, the win is all that matters. Set the same goals for your business. Focus on the most important metrics and don’t get distracted by proxies. This is especially important when it comes to attribution. It’s a zero-sum game. If you start giving credit to multiple touchpoints, some channel (and somebody) is going to lose. Don’t let that stop you from doing what’s right.
9. The judge’s decision is final. Manny may have really thought he won — or he may have been reciting from a script — but it didn’t matter. Once the decision is made, there’s no going back. Same goes for search. You can appeal a Google penalty or complain about a quality score, but you’re unlikely to get anything changed. Suck it up and focus on your next fight. You may have lost the battle, but you can still win the war.
10. Beware the pirates. Much ado was made over people using Meerkat and Periscope to live-stream the fight to those who didn’t pay for it. Piracy is a fact of life in search as well, from people infringing on your trademark to full-on poaching your domain. Take steps to protect your booty!
11. The good guys don’t always win. We all wanted Manny to pull it out — but, alas, boxing is not always happily-ever-after. Search is no fairy tale either, and your white-hat tactics may get dominated by 50 shades of grey. Don’t stoop to that level, though. Keep your mind right and your game tight. It all comes back around — and you can go from zero to hero like JC Penney.
12. Mind your legacy. Pacquaio may not be the world champion, but he may become the Philippines president. As more and more CMO roles get filled by digital natives, your experience in SEM will serve you well down the line. Analytics and agility are the skills you need to bob-and-weave your way to the top of the corporate ladder. And, when you get there, don’t forget about the little people (and keywords!) that paved your way.