Five things the UK search industry should be doing better

Fredrik Holmén, managing director of Keybroker UK highlights some of the key issues that the UK search industry needs to address in the coming year.

It’s all about profitable online sales

Search agencies should be prepared to work on a shared risk model with clients. Working on a ‘success fee’ basis will reward agencies for increasing profitable online sales, incentivising them to constantly seek quick campaign improvements. This strategy aligns agency and client objectives – it should lead to reduced customer acquisition costs and increased sales of higher margin products which is a combination that will improve bottom line results for clients. Simply increasing traffic, or even sales volumes, can be loss-making if customer acquisition costs and profit margins are not aligned.

Understand the customer buying process

To achieve best results there has to be a bespoke response to different search modes. Generic searches signal prospective customers are in ‘research mode’. This is an opportunity to promote those relevant products you want to sell, whether because of their higher margins or to reduce stock levels on certain lines. Specific searches indicate a ‘buying mode’. This is a chance to sell a specific product based on price, availability and delivery terms. Understanding your customers’ buying process will drive relevant ad copy and targeted real time advertising which in turn will improve online sales.

Integrate search with offline business strategy

Agencies need to take a holistic view of a client’s business to achieve better results. Business strategy and offline trading decisions should influence search marketing tactics. Don’t forget, successful online search often drives buyers to purchase offline. Leveraging the dynamics of the multi-channel can drive sales of the most profitable as well as tactical products. Real time advertising technology enables the implementation of shop floor strategies online - trading decisions and bids can be executed in real-time based on product data, stock positions, physical location, market conditions and required margins.

Offer flexible contracts to clients

Search agencies should be prepared to work with clients on a more flexible basis both in terms of the length of contracts and data ownership. Client needs change constantly in response to an often challenging trading environment, so why tie them in to long-term retainer based contracts with extended notice periods? Flexible contracts coupled with success fee models will drive the need for agencies to consistently perform and achieve targets. This approach will fuel agency innovation, which is exciting.

Secondly, the customer insights and marketing knowledge within a client’s search account should always remain the property of the client. Where this valuable marketing asset is held by an agency it should always be easily transferable to a client at the end of a contract. This will make it easier for clients to quickly set up new campaigns using past insights.

Be agile and opportunistic

Operating an agile campaign system can win the day for clients. Market opportunities emerge all the time due to adverse weather conditions, new economic and social events, sporting achievements and other opportunities. Those agencies and brands able to work together to respond quickly, with highly relevant online offers, will win these new sales opportunities.

Keybroker has offices in the London and Stockholm, offering online marketing solution with the key aim of delivering profitable online sales.

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