At the beginning of the month, I celebrated my five year workiversary at CGR Creative . That’s a long time, and I have learned so much during that time. However a few of those lessons especially stand out as major “ah ha” moments where I reached another level as a marketer.
A slightly more important moment in SEO history occurred roughly five years ago as well: Google switched all of its searches to encrypted pages using HTTPS. This actually officially began in 2011, and once totally shifted to HTTPS, resulted in loss of all organic keyword data reporting in Google Analytics (GA). Search marketers had to find other ways to report SEO success to clients since the only keyword to be found in GA was (not provided).
This was a watershed moment for CGR. We completely overhauled our reporting methods for all clients to demonstrate business outcomes instead of simply showing Google SERPs. We quickly found out clients began to care less about where they ranked for this keyword or that keyword if we could show them actual revenue from search traffic. Knowing that organic page landings are typically proportional with their derivative keywords, we could even further silo reporting to prove success of keyword groupings.
CGR transformed to a digital to dollars agency!
As a Google Certified Partner with a Search Advertising Specialization (sick brags), CGR gets access to dedicated account managers and optimization specialists from Google. They help us ensure that our clients’ Google AdWords PPC results are the best they can be. On one of our calls they brought up remarketing, which thinking about it now, I can’t believe we weren’t using at the time! The conversation went like this:
Google: “Let’s implement remarketing on this campaign.”
Me: “Why would I want to spend money on people that have already been shopping on my client’s website?”
Google: “If they are so sold on your client or their products, then why are they still searching?”
It just didn’t occur to me how long a customer’s consideration phase lasts. People shop around. A LOT. Look at some of these conversion paths:
Wow. We are incredibly indecisive. Looking at that makes you realize how important it is to stay at the top of your customers minds as they shop around the web. Remarketing through paid advertising is an amazing tool to keep your users coming back to your business time and time again.
Competitor benchmarking, site audits, keyword research, baseline reporting, spreadsheets, mind maps, theories, etc. are all critical components of a good SEO and online visibility strategy. However NONE of those will actually move the needle. Google doesn’t rank your clients’ websites based on the keywords in your Google Sheet that are waiting to be implemented!
Sometimes you have to just put your head down and get something done. We can’t spend our work lives waiting for developers to implement changes, clients to call us back, or seeing what the next Google algorithm change has in store for us. One of the things we have now mastered at CGR is the ability to be extremely agile in our approach to search projects. While we rely on data to make most decisions, there are some actions that must be taken straight away. And our clients thanks us for that.
I’ve talked about this one before, but at last year’s Digital Summit in Charlotte, I was blown away by a method of proving return on investment that I hadn’t considered. This moment came from the fantastic keynote by Thom Gruhler (@thomgruhler), former CMO at Microsoft. One of his premises included the need to justify the product development expenditure on Skype to continue improving the free product. By tracking his user lifecycles, he was able to prove that increasing Skype downloads resulted in a proportional increase in paid Office 365 memberships.
CGR is a digital-to-dollars agency. While we are literally in the business of proving the return on investment of our marketing efforts to clients, creating a brand new product or marketing channel to drive ROI from another product is such a unique, novel concept to me. Take any chance you can to drive additional users into your conversion funnels!
This may be a cop out, but one of the most important things that I have learned over the past five years is that the agency life is the life for me. CGR is such an amazing place to learn, be creative, try new technologies, and see direct results from my work. Julio is the boss of all bosses, and the rest of the team is as sharp as you can ask for. Thanks, CGR for an amazing five years and here’s to many more!