Preparing For Peak SEM Season

We’re getting down to the wire in the National Football League as the Super Bowl nears. Only four teams are left to decide who goes onto the big game. As I watched a ton of football over the past few weeks, I couldn’t help but think about how these teams progressed to where they are. Football is a tough sport. It is a sport that takes physical and mental strength, strategic insight and execution. To achieve this, teams undergo a lot of preparation to succeed.

Much like the athletes and coaches that prepare for a successful season, paid search professionals must as well. It is the beginning of a new year and a new start for our clients. Do you have a game plan of how you are going to tackle 2014? If not, don’t sweat because here are some tips to prepare for success in the near year.

Test Plans
What are you doing with your account this quarter? Next quarter? Do you know? Test plans are a simple way of setting goals, a timeline of events and execution. Review your accounts and identify areas for growth. Are there new BETAs from the search engines that you can take advantage of? Is there a new hot vendor knocking down your door to do a test for your clients? When was the last time you tested ads? All of these can be included in a quarterly test plan. Create a chart with a timeline of each test, when you plan to run them, time for reporting/analysis and what next steps are. This plan will keep you on track and ensure you are continuously testing your search accounts.

Seasonality
Just about every September, we’re bombarded with literature about how people are shopping online now more than ever! Really? Who would have thought? It’s a no brainer for most retailers that the end of year holidays are a big time for shoppers, but what about the other times of year. Non retail advertisers that offer home services may be more focused on changes in weather over Christmas time. Perhaps an advertiser selling sunglasses might want to prepare for spring and summer time to capitalize on demand. Take a look at your account’s past performance and see if there were any impression spikes to be aware of. Utilize Google Trends and see how search interest increased or decreased over the past few years, so you can plan for the future months.

Utilize Your Client’s Resources

We often get caught up in reinventing the wheel for our clients on our own. We have to bring new, ground breaking ideas to the table each week. What we may not realize is that our clients have a lot of useful information at their disposal. Our clients are planning for the year themselves and have data/materials to help prepare. Next time you meet with your client, ask for a product launch schedule, an editorial calendar or branding marketing materials used for other campaigns. If you know what your clients are planning on doing in the future outside of search, it only makes it easier to plan your efforts around theirs.

Having a plan to tackle the future will help ensure SEM success. Take the time to see what’s out there, measure past performance and utilize your client’s resources. Just remember, proper preparation prevents poor performance.

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