Best Practices

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Suggestions from Ron Belanger of Yahoo Search Marketing Awareness:

• Have keywords for each stage of the buying cycle, as opposed to keywords segmented by product type or category.

• For keywords in the awareness-building stage, have messages that speak to the brand's value proposition. Copy should not be offer-driven as these consumers are not ready to buy. They are learning and will respond best to messages that you are offering to educate.

• For keywords at the message association and perceptions stage, consumers are now making a short list of vendors/brands to consider. These searchers may be looking specifically for more information on your brand. Again, these consumers are gathering information and will respond to messages/landing pages that acknowledge this.

• For consumers ready to buy, offer incentives and added value. For example, why should a consumer buy through your site versus a distribution partner?

• The relationship with your consumer does not end with the purchase. Offer support and service through search for consumers who are looking for information on product usage or assistance with set-up. If they used search to learn about the product initially, they are likely to go back when they need help.

• Use appropriate measurement for each stage. Do not measure your awareness-building campaigns with a conversion metric. Rather, look at engagement as a relative measure of success.

• Use data overlays from other sales channels. Are your search efforts affecting sales for your call center? Another channel could be benefiting from your search efforts, though you may not be assigning the appropriate credit.

• Think like a consumer. Think about the various need states that you have as a consumer. If you are researching Hawaii for your honeymoon, you are likely to respond better to a "Learn about Hawaii's beaches" message rather than one touting "Save $50 by booking today!"

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