The Magic Thanksgiving Secrets of SEM

By Sean Dowdall, General Manager and Chief Marketing Officer at LCI
Sean DowdallFirst of all, there aren’t any magic secrets with search engine marketing.  The question is – are there really any magic secrets in life?  Well, if there are any, I’m hoping to discover the one that guarantees a moist turkey for Thanksgiving.
Search engine marketing is a discipline.  Which means it needs constant cultivation and refinement.  You can’t be lazy about your SEM program and, most importantly, it isn’t a singular tactic to rely on.  SEM has to be connected to compelling content and an experience that at least vaguely resembles one that the searcher is expecting.  A promotion strategy that is over-reliant on search and does not have the support of thoughtful post-click experience is surely one that will allow competitors to gobble up your business.sean blog post image

  • Always Analyze (use a turkey thermometer) – The tools to gain insights from that data are readily available.  The point is to know what to focus on and what to do about it.  Take a look at how your campaigns are performing over time, time of day, how your position compares to competitors and when your or their budget runs out.
  • Terms of Endearment (use favorite recipes and adjust to taste) – Take a look at your targeting and your ad performance against that targeting.   A way to make your SEM campaigns more effective is to narrow them down.  Tweak and test your terms to see which perform better towards your objectives.
  • Budge the Budget (buy quality, but don’t buy too much) – This is one area where you shouldn’t just set and forget.  Use you analysis to see opportunities where you can change your budget amount and when you spend more or less.
  • The “Way” of the Experience (time the dinner, dessert can wait) – Usually, the biggest pitfall isn’t a poorly designed or underfunded SEM campaign, it is what happens after the click.  Map out and optimize the experience for the searcher so that they can accomplish what they were looking for quickly and easily.   Arriving at a website home page may work for broad services, but a landing page with express lines to the shopping cart can work better for narrow e-commerce related searches.
  • Don’t Fly Solo (ask for help with creating variety) – Turkey is usually the centerpiece for a Thanksgiving dinner and there are a lot of other dishes too.  Think of your marketing and communications program in the same way.  To entice your audience to your table and serve them well, have a strong mix of brand promotion programs such as social media, public relations, engaging content, seamless customer experiences and broader marketing.

For fun, ask people at your Thanksgiving table how many did holiday-related searches, what they were looking for and what did they liked/didn’t like about what they found.
Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in a comment below or send an email to [email protected]

5 thoughts on “The Magic Thanksgiving Secrets of SEM

  1. Sean, great to see you “stuffing” this post with so many great insights 🙂
    Just as a lovely Thanksgiving meal takes patience, so does SEM!

  2. Sean, just as you don’t put the turkey in the oven and forget about it, you’ve pointed out the important fact that SEM requires research, monitoring and enhancements to be successful. Maybe I’ll enhance that Turkey recipe as result this year? I hear Sur La Table has some great ideas. Great ideas here for SEM, too. Cheers, David

  3. Hi Sean,
    Excellent post! While it’s important to emphasize quality over quantity, enticing an audience with a buffet of options is often a successful way to gain consumer interest. Even if that interest does not secure a purchase, piquing one’s curiosity can at least create an impression. Thanks for these great SEM tips.

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