If there’s one complaint that is universal for in-house search marketing managers, it’s that there just isn’t enough time or resources to get everything done. And usually, this complaint is valid; rare is the case of over staffing for search marketing.
Often, one person may handle SEO as well as paid search and hey, for fun, they do the social media too. A feeling of being overwhelmed will certainly befall any search marketer at some point in their career, so here are some tips to accept the things you can’t change and focus on what’s important for search marketing success.
First Things First: Make Money
Routine search marketing efforts like adding new keywords or AdGroups and raising bids are core search marketing that drives revenue growth. Improving click-through rates and quality scores also drive better results and more revenue.
On the organic side, link building, improving page content and other core tasks to increase traffic would be a priority. Bringing on new marketing partners that have strong potential is another important area.
Focusing on making money is totally defensible, there are revenue goals to meet, and you are doing your best to meet them!
When in doubt about priorities, ask yourself, what will drive the most revenue? And if the search marketing you manage isn’t about driving revenue, there’s some other metric that takes its place like traffic, subscriptions, leads, or something similar.
Depending on your organization’s state of well-being, you might need to swap this with the next item on the list, cutting costs and improving efficiency. Often bringing this choice to the table of upper management is a good idea; do they want you spending more time focusing on growth or cost savings?
Next, Focus On Efficiency
After driving growth, trimming inefficient spend is next on the priority list. Analyzing query reports and adding negative keywords as well as pausing or adjusting bids down for less successful keywords are top tasks in this area. Basically, if something isn’t making you money (or enough money), can you make it cost less?
For more mature search marketing programs, there may be more opportunities to trim inefficiency than focus on growth, so priorities may shift in this direction. Often, very seasonal businesses shift focus between efficiency during their off season and growth in peak season.
Communication Is Always A Priority
The poet John Donne wrote, “no man is an island” and certainly the same is true of search engine marketers. Communicating your search marketing priorities and reporting on results internally is critical to in-house search marketing success.
Share liberally what the top priorities are for search marketing, and where resource time is being spent. And share results in regular reports on key metrics and goals. Increase education on search engine marketing within your organization.
Essentially, demonstrate that you have search marketing well under control and are fully using the resources you’ve got to produce the best results possible. I’ve never heard complaints of search marketing over communication, be sure to make time for it!
Experimentation & Testing
In an ideal world, time for running experiments and testing would never get short shrift. In reality, many in-house search engine marketers are keeping their heads above water on day-to-day management and not much more.
It almost goes without saying to try to work in regular experimentation and testing as much as possible. Beyond that, really jump on important new opportunities to experiment with beta tests or new campaign features.
These tests are often going to directly lead to better search marketing program results (like adding Ad Extensions or +1 buttons) and getting in early can help accelerate that with a first mover advantage versus the competition.
Recognize If You Need Help
Admitting you have a problem and need help is the first step towards recovery. At some point, a one person or small team will hopefully have grown a search marketing program that requires more hands on deck to drive better results.
There’s a healthy level of resource constraint, and then there’s the level of ‘we could have a whole other full time person and they’d be super busy’. Knowing where your search marketing is on this spectrum is important to regularly gauge.
Clear and regular reporting and communication sets you up to make a case for more help and determining the business results that more resources could accomplish.
Offering up multiple scenarios for growth, like a part time consultant or a full time person, helps resource gate keepers assess opportunities and gives them options to help you.
Find Your Rhythm
When things get overwhelming, find a search marketing rhythm that works for you. Some in-house marketers like to split managing certain programs on a given day of the week (Wednesday is SEO day!) or certain tasks on a day that is most productive for them (I have new AdGroup Fridays).
Giving yourself a chunk of time to focus on one thing can be helpful. As can just getting done what you can do in fifteen minute projects in between meetings if that’s the schedule you end up on. Recognize where you are and what you can or can’t do schedule wise to make it more manageable.