Categorized as Channel Marketing, Customer Experience, Digital Fusion, Return on Investment, Strategy

Choosing the Right Digital Partner is Critical to Local Search Advertising Success

Whether your brand operates in a B2B or B2C market, the most important digital marketing investment you’ll make is in local search advertising.  It’s not only important at the brand level to drive awareness, but it’s even more important at the local level where you’re dependent on dealers to drive sales.  If you don’t have a partner who provides a solid search strategy, along with execution capabilities, you could be missing the lower funnel customers who have the highest intent to purchase your products.

Even if you’ve already established brand awareness, your potential customers still need to know where to purchase your products.  That’s where your channel partner comes in!  By providing local search advertising for your dealers, you’ll be driving more foot traffic in their doors and generating more product sales.

When researching partners to manage your brand’s local search advertising efforts, focus on trust.  That trust should be derived from knowing that what they’re doing for your local dealers is actually driving sales.  Can your current partner do that?  Here are three questions you can ask to help ensure they’re the right partner.

What KPIs do they share when tracking results?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are more than impressions and clicks. Whether they’re sharing results with you or one of your dealers, if your partner cares most about the number of impressions they’re driving to your dealers, that should raise a red flag.  Impressions are a vanity metric.  Similarly, clicks, although important, aren’t as important as visits or the conversion rate after the click.  In fact, the more a partner can prove the traffic they’re driving is interacting or “engaging” after the click, the more confident you should be that your search marketing partner has your best interests in mind.  Your partner should also be educating dealers on how to get the most bang for your shared digital buck.  Focusing on clearly defined and measured outcomes will build a long-standing, trusting partnership.

What is their optimization process?
If you have a partner managing local search advertising for your dealers, make sure they have an optimization process.  Learning about what activities their team spends time on throughout the month provides tremendous insight into how hard they’re working for you and your advertising dollars.
If monthly spend is the same in month three or four compared to the first month, chances are your partner isn’t diving into the results and ensuring the budget allocation is optimized. Search campaigns typically take up to three months to optimize and really drive desired outcomes. Ideally, the first month your partner might explore how a combination of search and display is performing. By month three or four, it may make sense to allocate more budget toward retargeting since you’ve likely established a base of site visitors who’ve already shown an interest in your products.

There are different ways to manage search advertising, but the most important thing to do is to ensure your partner is testing, learning, and optimizing – which means the search campaigns should always be changing. Plus, the more a partner involves your dealers in the process, the better their campaigns will perform.

Are they being innovative to help close the ROI loop?
Let’s face it, the biggest challenge brands and marketers face is proving return on investment (ROI) on an advertising expenditure.  This is especially true if the transaction doesn’t occur on an ecommerce website.  Closing the ROI loop can prove to be evasive at best.  Many times, dealers don’t have the bandwidth to provide sales data to help close the loop.  Asking your advertising partner if they’ve run a pilot test that shows a closed loop on ROI can definitely increase your confidence in their ability to manage local search campaigns.  If they don’t, make sure they’re at least able to track leads and that they’re consistently educating your dealers on how they can track the number of leads they’re getting each month from advertising spend.

It’s true that digital advertising is changing every single day.  The way people use online platforms and applications is changing at a record pace too, so what worked six months ago may not work tomorrow.  Ensuring the partner that manages your dealer’s local search advertising campaigns is constantly testing, learning and advancing your digital ad program is more important than ever in the evolving world of digital marketing.

About Channel Fusion
For nearly 20 years, Channel Fusion has provided brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. Part of our offering is Digital Fusion, a turnkey offering and dedicated team of “Fusers” who are focused exclusively on the development, delivery, management and reporting of digital marketing programs for brands’ channel partners. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver digital marketing outcomes.

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