It’s a wonder how search marketers get any actual work done. Between keeping up on the constant stream of AdWords updates, learning new tools, and adapting to new customer behaviors, who has time to do anything else? The good news is there are experts who are on top of the madness, and they are here to help.

I had the chance to sit down with search marketing extraordinaire, Johnathan Dane, Founder of KlientBoost and regular contributor to KissMetrics and Unbounce, to get the low down on everything marketers need to know to succeed in today’s search ecosystem. So sit back and get the insights, tips, and advice from one of the best.

If you want to hear from Johnathan and other experts live and in-person, join us for the Orange County International CRO day meet up.

Q: How should search marketers be thinking about PPC in relation to the broader path to purchase?

A: In my mind, paid search is the most powerful reactive advertising channel. Usually we think being reactive is a bad thing, but the neat thing about paid search is that your ads only show up in front of people who have intent to do business with you.

What other medium can you say does that? TV, radio, billboard, print? I would say all of those channels are there to generate demand, while PPC is there to harvest it.

I think one effective use of PPC that many people overlook is using it to test creative that can be used for other channels. If your company has a diverse marketing mix, then insights from your paid search analytics should help drive your other efforts.

For example, you may quickly find that your online audience responds best to a certain offer that you’re testing with a new landing page. That type of quantitative analysis can be difficult or very expensive to learn via TV or magazine for example.

Q: What tools do you recommend for search marketers?

My favorite tools for search marketers would be the following (in order of value):

  1. Unbounce – for landing page testing
  2. iSpionage – for competitor keyword and landing page surveillance
  3. WhatRunsWhere – for display network intel and ad placements
  4. Call Tracking – for tracking call conversions back to campaigns and keywords
  5. AdWords/Bing Ads Editor – for making changes inside an account at scale
  6. FreshKey – a nifty Google suggest tool that tells you the popularity of different keywords

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see marketers making with their mobile strategies?

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people understand they should have responsive pages and that they should be “mobile friendly.” But I also think it’s scary to take it all at face value.

I’ve seen responsive landing pages perform worse with mobile traffic than a desktop landing page.

Always be cautious with “best practices” and test the crap out of things.

Q: What are some of the best but underused features in AdWords or Bing?

A: I think some of the most underused features in AdWords definitely relate to the display network. Not only are there tons of features for targeting, but marketers often miss an opportunity to customize their display strategy. You have to understand how different your strategy needs to be on display versus the search network. For starters, your display offers should have a lot less friction compared to your offers on the search network.

You may have an offer for a “Free Consultation” on the search network, but you’ll find that a “Free White Paper” will work better on the display network. Remember that display visitors aren’t in the same place in the buying cycle compared to search visitors; they’re usually a few steps behind.

Q: What are your tips for effective retargeting campaigns?

A: Retargeting is here to stay, and advertisers are getting wiser with their approaches. Content retargeting is more and more common, and to my example earlier in regard to the need for different offer strategies for the search and display network, you should also have unique offers for retargeting campaigns. 

You can offer a guide or white paper depending on what type of content category a visitor engaged with on your blog. This type of offer is less threatening than a demo or sales call, and is a great way to establish trust and build the foundation of the relationship.

I’m a big fan of AdRoll for retargeting on Facebook and Twitter. We use AdWords for regular display network remarketing.

Q: Are digital marketers moving away from pure keyword targeting with new psychographic and behavior targeting?

A: That’s what they’re saying. Semantic search will play a bigger part of paid search and the regular keyword targeting we know and love may come to a close and be replaced with stronger targeting capabilities.

Q: Do you see call tracking becoming mainstream? What would you say is the first step for digital marketers who want to start focusing on calls?

 A: I do. Knowing what’s making the phone ring is one of the most important metrics you can measure. You’ll usually find that any lead generating business values phone leads over all other lead types.

It’s a no-brainer to track all the conversion channels you have open, whether that be a web form, chat, or a phone call. I would recommend any digital marketer to simply start with basic keyword call tracking.

Q:  What should digital marketers start focusing on or be most excited about?

A: Design.

It sounds weird, but I think there’s a humongous gap in what’s out there (the average) and what’s kicking butt (the advertisers with the highest conversion rates and profits). 

Being pretty doesn’t automatically make you more money, but I see a ton of opportunity when advertisers and marketers take the time on the landing page details.

You’ll usually find amazing designers on a site like Dribbble who are ready to turn your vision into reality.

Want More From Johnathan?

If you’re ready to learn how you can drive more phone calls from paid search, download this free guide featuring 60 action packed pages of phone ringing magic. You’ll never look at phone calls the same way again.

Don’t miss your chance to meet with Johnathan and other experts at the 2015 international CRO day meet up hosted by KlientBoost and Unbounce. RSVP to the event here.

Amber Tiffany

Posted by Amber Tiffany

Amber has a background in content strategy and brings her passion for writing along with her two first names to the role of Senior Content Marketing Manager at Invoca. Amber began her career as a marketing copywriter and has since gained experience in SEM and content strategy for both B2C and B2B organizations. Amber loves the outdoors, physical activity, especially when it’s competitive, reading and attempting to be musical. She is currently training daily to become the first female champion in Invoca’s Ping Pong League history.