Keyword asset management approach cuts costs for get lower

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Get Lower Inc. is an information services direct marketing company that helps consumers research and secure home loans, real estate, insurance - auto, home, life - personal finance and other related home services. Get Lower connects consumers to a national network of preferred professional services providers covering all aspects of their home finance needs.

Since its inception, Get Lower has employed a comprehensive marketing strategy to attract qualified consumers and connect them with the right service provider. The majority of its marketing efforts have been targeted online, combining affiliate marketing through industry-leading Web destinations with targeted online advertising and paid search marketing.

Of these strategic components, paid search has served as its core lead acquisition activity. Search campaigns allow Get Lower to place targeted ads at the very point consumers are researching and seeking specific finance and home services. Once consumers click on a Get Lower sponsored link, they are directed to the Web site at www.getlower.com, where consumers are prompted to complete a Get Lower target lead profile regarding the service they need or want, and connected to a network of service providers that respond immediately to help the customer.

While paid search has proven to be an effective marketing medium for Get Lower, the company was facing several challenges to improve on its past performance.

First, keyword competition in key services areas, such as real estate and mortgage lending, had become very volatile and expensive. Major online marketers with deep pockets were competing for a finite number of popular keywords, increasing prices to cost-prohibitive levels. Though Get Lower offered more than just real estate and mortgage lending, these key services were the entry point to attract and market additional services as customers reached new lifestyle, personal and home finance stages.

Second, Get Lower was growing at a rapid pace, expanding its offerings into additional service areas due to consumer demand. As a result, the company's vast amount of keywords had grown to levels that were becoming difficult to manage in a real-time biddable marketplace. Adding to that complexity was the challenge of analyzing keyword performance and campaign return on investment (ROI).

In 2005, Get Lower president/CEO Gannon Giguiere recognized these challenges and revisited the company's approach to paid search. Mr. Giguiere, who previously had been responsible for global search at search engine AltaVista, recognized that in order for the company to grow it needed a better solution that could optimize its campaign and scale to maximize the potential number of keywords for all of its services.

To address these search marketing challenges, Get Lower selected search engine marketing (SEM) agency Efficient Frontier because of its Wall Street analytical approach to managing paid search.

Upon being hired, Efficient Frontier treated Get Lower's keyword campaign as an investment, managing asset allocation and maximizing the conversion of keywords into revenue. The agency first worked with Get Lower on expanding its keyword list. It then tested keyword performance using proprietary algorithms to run what-if scenarios to determine the optimal mix of keywords and prices that would generate the best returns.

The agency then modeled the expected return on all variations of keyword bids to maximize the portfolio against Get Lower's return metrics (CPA). This portfolio approach differs from alternative approaches to keyword bid management that make cost and placement decisions on a keyword-by-keyword basis instead of considering how various trade-offs might improve overall ROI.

As the campaign was launched, Efficient Frontier used its 24/7 real-time bid and performance management system to bid on the keywords automatically and make split-second arbitrage decisions. As the marketplace changes, the system adjusts its bids, creating a consistently higher rate of return.

Get Lower now has been able to increase its number of keywords by adding less common keywords (i.e. "tail words") that often generate a higher ROI than the more popular, yet expensive keywords. This approach has allowed Get Lower to capture otherwise difficult-to-claim customer leads.

In addition, Get Lower also has reduced its cost-per-lead acquisition by 73 percent and is obtaining more customer leads for roughly the same search marketing investment.

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