I have been a witness to plenty of mistakes made over the years. These mistakes are warning signs for Campaign Managers, Account Executives, Search Marketing Directors and everyone involved in a search marketing agency. The reasons behind these mistakes are usually the same. But if you follow a couple of basic guidelines, you can avoid the majority of these pitfalls. Remember, the worst kind of mistakes are those we fail to learn from! The 6 biggest mistakes I see made by search marketers are:
1) Not Communicating with Clients Properly
This is at the top of my list. If proper rapport is not built with your Clients, then they will most likely not trust you or your company. It’s unlikely that business goals will be communicated properly and this will lead to a campaign that ultimately goes nowhere. Make sure to conduct weekly campaign status calls with your Client during the first couple of months of the business relationship, as well as sufficient e-mail communication so that everyone is on the same page from the very start. I recommend that a plan of action for the campaign be devised so that the relationship starts off with crystal clear, short-term / long-term goals to best serve as a guiding light for the campaign moving forward.
Takeaway: Communication is key. Strive to reach your Client’s goals; especially since these are your goals as well. Think of your Client / agency relationship, as a team. If there is not enough communication, performance will likely be sub-par, goals won’t be met and the relationship is very likely to end on bad terms.
2) Mismanaging Campaign Budgets
Too High – If you set a marketing budget that exceeds the maximum spend your Client has budgeted for, then you are entering hazardous territory. Not only will your Client be upset at you, they will have to put in additional budget dollars for the spike in spend and the Client will likely be accountable for your blunder. Nobody likes to pay more than what they budgeted for.
Too Low – If you set a budget that is too low, then you won’t capture enough traffic in your campaign and will lose out on impression share. This leads to less visibility and reach because you are not addressing your entire audience with your campaign and as a result, are missing out on potential customers or leads.
Takeaway: Make sure your true budget amounts align with that of your Client’s and that they are communicated properly and well-documented. This mistake happens when we don’t monitor our campaigns on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to forecast potential spend.
3) Dead Landing Pages
I don’t know how many times I’ve revised long-running campaigns with value tag parameters, auto tagging or appendable codes that lead to dead URLs. Again, this leads to lost opportunities and revenue. Plus, getting disapproved ads and having your Client notified is downright embarrassing for the entire team.
Takeaway: Quality Assurance. Make sure you open your entire final destination URLs when they have codes appended, and that you check that every landing page is live in case a wacky Webmaster decided to move things around and didn’t keep you in the loop. You have checked all your landing pages recently, haven’t you?
4) Launching Campaigns on a Friday and Not Checking Them Over the Weekend
Weekend Warrior No More. I am pretty sure most people like to be proactive and would prefer to launch their campaigns as soon as possible; but isn’t it best to design, structure, revise and wait for the next week to come around to actually launch? It is way savvier to wait for Monday. Chances are, you will not focus on the campaign or monitor it appropriately during the weekend. Furthermore, you will not have any support from your team or your network reps to help tackle issues that can easily arise over those two days. If there is an emergency over the weekend, chances are you are flying solo.
Takeaway: For campaign launches, its best to wait until Monday. If you feel the need to work over the weekend, the best thing you can do is to make tweaks to improve the campaign before launch. If you absolutely have to launch on a Friday, you can check out a couple of tips that could very well help you in Andrew Lolk’s blog post: Save Time by Using AdWords Labels and Automatic Rules to Schedule Promotions.
5) Working on Multiple Campaigns at One Time and Posting Them in the Wrong Accounts
Multi-tasking will divert your attention from what you really need to focus on. The potential hazard of confusing the content of two campaigns and creating some sort of Frankenstein campaign hybrid could be a true nightmare. In the case of search marketing, focus on a single Client at a time to assure you don’t mix up campaigns in AdWords Editor, Google AdWords, adCenter desktop or any other third-party search marketing tool.
Takeaway: We are busy most the time, and possibly a little anxious and tense, but there is no need to rush through things, even when there are deadlines to meet. Plan well in advance and make sure that somebody QAs your work before launching.
6) Targeting the Wrong Geographical Areas
Targeting wrong geographical areas is a ridiculous mistake to make, but it happens. European campaigns targeting Russia, Campaigns that are supposed to target The United States targeting all of North and South America… the potential mismatches are endless. You wouldn’t like your entire advertising budget ending up in China, would you? It is important that each search marketer troubleshoot their work, and then run it by a Supervisor or Director for additional feedback.
Takeaway: Make sure you send out screenshots of your campaign to your Clients. That way, they know the campaign is live, and your settings are accurate. Again, make sure somebody checks your campaign before going live!
It’s a Wrap!
As you can tell, these common mistakes can be solved with proper quality assurance and Client communication which addresses all aspects of search campaigns. Stay tuned for my next article, which will take you through a new set of blunders I’ve thus compiled in other areas of PPC. Additionally, keep an out for White Shark Media’s Ultimate List of Mistakes Search Marketers Make!
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