Woah, that came on quick. As I went skidding into Christmas like this was one of the many sequels to The Fast and The Furious, my clients prepared for the period with strategies to ensure that January starts with a bang not a whimper, I am already prepping for 2015.
Obviously the game has changed since last year; it goes without saying in a medium that changes more rapidly than my girlfriend’s mind. When I look at some of the accounts I look after, checking their Auction Insight reports and reviewing the year, it is clear that more and more people are turning to Search Engine Marketing as a method of peddling their wares. Competition not only abounds, but people are getting more and more savvy, most likely because they read every one of my blog posts. So savvy, you.
January is a great time of year to discuss strategy, to see what is ahead, as well as what is behind. In a majority of cases, we can look back at every month of 2014 to give an impression of how ads will perform at different times of the year. Of course there are products/services that will be unaffected by the time of year and we all know that EOFY, Easter, my birthday, all have their own effects on advertising and sales, but it is in the data where we see trends that can help us prepare.
A real life case study of understanding trends in search engine marketing
I’ll give you a broad example. Unfortunately I can’t be extremely specific as I am unable to give away my clients’ secrets, but you’ll understand what I mean. So this client, let’s call him Nick, mainly because that is his name and there’s at least 10 Nicks out there in Australia at any point in time, has a business that deals with fitness. We noticed that in a particular period of the year there was a massive rush on his services, during which, we enjoyed a healthy period of trade. As we began noticing a drop off after this busy period we tried several different strategies, including increasing the budget and targeting an even wider demographic, during a time when we were sure there would be sales, only to come up short. The enquiry just wasn’t coming through. We toughed it out, but there were times when we both felt like tearing my hair out. Finally enquiries started coming through again at a steady rate and I managed to keep my beard, as it is the only hair currently on my head.
The main reason we were able to tough it out is that we had been in this position before, the year previous, when he had just become my client. While this should have been boom time using reason as a yard stick, the data, for two years running, showed otherwise. Together we organised a strategy for 2015, whereby instead of throwing more money at the campaign when the going gets tough, we’ll throw that extra budget at the good times, gain more clients and then, in the month where it has historically been quiet, reduce the budget and invest those funds into client retention.
All this is possible because we have data. If knowledge is power, then it follows that data is King. I understand that many of you have just started tracking your online marketing using Conversion Tracking and Analytics, on my behest (you’re welcome), so you may be running off limited data, but it is still of great assistance in prepping for the year.
Using whatever data you have, consider the following:
1. Your budget for the entire year. This will be a daunting experience for first timers, $30 a day on AdWords is palatable to the tongue when said like that, but when you consider that figure is multiplied by 365 and you see you’ll be investing $10k+, it can be confronting. Just remember the terminology I just used: investing. You are investing in your business.
2. When is your boom period? If you have the data, excellent, prepare to increase your budget at that point. Put extra aside, or factor it in to your calculations. Conversely, when is your slow period?
Also, remember that there is data outside of your online presence, look at your sales history, or your busiest month of work. When did you do the most quotes? How are you affected by EOFY? Christmas?
3. Commit to making your online presence the best it can be. Read my blog; read others blogs if you have the time. Hire a professional.
4. Look at what works and what doesn’t. If the thing that isn’t working is paramount to the success of the business, try a different tack. Find a different strategy. As the wisdom of the 80s cartoon series G.I. Joe suggests, “Knowing is half the battle”, so you’re at least halfway prepared for war.
Happy New Year and I look forward to making 2015 an awesome year with you!