May 2, 2008, 12:00 AM

A Perfect Match

(Page 3 of 3)

It takes more than simply sidestepping danger zones and settling costs to find the right search marketing partner and build a productive relationship. Among the core criteria to look for on the positive side, as suggested by search marketing companies themselves, are demonstrated competency in search, as well as interest in learning and ability to understand the retailer’s business. Retailers also should drill down on the how and why of any program tactics proposed; a good firm will defend its suggestions with an informed rationale.

But after a retailer has settled questions on qualifications, program objectives and costs, some of the best advice in choosing a search marketing partner has to do with none of these. “The retailer should feel that the vendor is the right fit from a personality, cultural and chemistry perceptive,” Murray says. “It’s paramount that they feel comfortable communicating with their search engine marketing team and spending time with them, as doing so can be a major factor in the success of the relationship between the retailer and its vendor partner.”

20 questions for a search engine marketing firm

1. Is your paid search solution full-service? If yes, define full-service.

2. What technology supports your full-service solution? How often is it updated?

3. Does your technology have direct API integration with the top engines?

4. Do you use API data or referral data for reporting purposes?

5. Is the technical support team separate from my account team? Is support 24/7?

6. Who will manage my account on a daily basis?

7. Is the account manager responsible for bid, keyword, copy and landing page management or do separate teams manage these efforts?

8. What is your methodology for search campaigns including bid management strategy?

9. What resources does my account manager have?

10. Do the account managers have vertical expertise? Which verticals?

11. What is the typical launch timeline?

12. How do you optimize my campaign once it is launched?

13. Which metrics do you use to define success?

14. What is the typical account manager’s background?

15. Is your search team certified by the engines?

16. What is your relationship with the top search engines?

17. How has your company shown leadership in the search marketing space?

18. Will I have opportunities to network with other clients?

19. How will you align my search campaigns with other online marketing efforts?

20. What other digital marketing solutions do you offer?

Source: DoubleClick Performics Inc.

Click Here for the Search Engine Marketing Products & Services Guide

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