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Hiring Key to E-LOAN's Search Strategy

Executives with consumer loan site E-LOAN say hiring people with analytical and math skills — not just marketing prowess — for the site's search marketing program is paying off.

The site has hired individuals with backgrounds in economics, computer science and investment banking for search management, rather than executives with marketing degrees, for the past few years.

“We realized pretty quickly that traditional marketers with soft skills would not be able to do the trick,” said Imran Khan, director of marketing for E-LOAN. “We're dealing with a large number of keywords and data from search engines every day, where keywords are being bought and sold in an auction environment.”

Search executives need analytical skills to track the customer buying process from start to finish, Khan said, since the process can take up to three months.

“Unless you keep track of every transaction, the customer can drop off the radar at any point,” he said.

While Khan believes hiring the right people has been an important part of E-LOAN's search marketing strategy, implementing technology to efficiently bid on and track keywords has also been vital to its success.

E-LOAN uses Mountain View, CA-based Efficient Frontier's search marketing technology, which is based on “Wall Street analytics.” In the company's Wall Street approach, keywords are treated like a group of stocks: as a portfolio that is analyzed across all variations.

“Keyword-level intelligence is used to determine how and why individual keyword spend is increasing,” according to a statement from Efficient Frontier.

E-LOAN's use of “Wall Street analytics” has allowed it to significantly increase the number of keywords it can use because “it's easy to manage them now,” Khan said.

“Given higher efficiencies, we have also been able to ramp up our search marketing budget … to around $15 million, making search marketing one of our top three customer acquisition channels,” Khan said.

Persistence is also vital to a firm's search marketing strategy, Khan said, just as it is in the stock market.

“As long as you are well aware of your success metrics, and you're tracking the metrics, you will be able to get to the point where your campaign will start paying off,” Khan said. “It's not going to happen in the first week.”

While search marketing is an important part of E-LOAN's marketing initiatives, Khan cautions companies not to put all their eggs in one basket. When E-LOAN runs effective television campaigns, executives notice a hike in search results.

“So far, search marketing outperforms other channels, but we don't look at different marketing channels in isolation,” Khan said.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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