The Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Advanced conference in Seattle, Washington wrapped up last week. A variety of search engine marketing experts including Brad Geddes, Chris Goward, Feras Alhou, Heather Coan and many more shared their unique and valuable insights. We covered the Paid Search sessions and brought back these 5 takeaways for your business.

1. Embrace Mobile

Whether you’re ready or not, mobile is here. You can no longer ignore the valuable traffic and conversions that come from mobile users. It’s important to have mobile optimized sites in order to give users the best possible shopping experience, and a higher chance to convert. Design your web pages to drive users to take the action that you want, whether it’s a sign up or a purchase.

2. Challenge Best Practices

Challenging best practices may seem like going against everything you’ve heard or learned, but there’s truth to it. Yes, many best practices are good to follow as general rules, but don’t assume that what works for some businesses, will work for yours. It’s important to test different hypothesis and strategies before blindly assuming a “best practice” is right for your business. Try different things out, especially when it comes to your landing page designs and calls-to-action. The results may surprise you. This leads to our next take away: testing.

3. Test! Test! Test!

One of the biggest and most important takeaways from this year’s SMX was the topic of testing. Businesses can always improve things and testing should never stop. It’s important not only to continually test and reiterate, but it’s important to form and establish a process for doing so in order to eliminate as many affecting factors as possible. Break your tests down to manageable pieces to make things easier and continually reiterate and improve those different aspects. Remember that factors like seasonality and running promotions that may skew results.

4. Analyze the Data

Okay, so you’ve run some tests, now what? Analyze the results. Whether it’s a simple A/B split test or multivariate testing, make sure to look at the data in more ways than one. Slice and dice your data a different ways to tell different stories about your customer base. What you assume about your customers may not always be correct, so it’s important to analyze your data to form “personas” for your customers. Different sets of your customers may behave differently depending where they are in the sales process. Additionally, there is a wealth of information available to website owners from various paid and free tools and sources that can be used to make valuable business decisions as well including:

5. Utilize Display and Search in Tandem

Display and search have different capabilities and unique characteristics, and each should be utilized appropriately in tandem to get people to convert. You should use display to build awareness and trust and use search to get people the information they’re looking for about your product or brand. People who search for your product tend to be more in the “learning” or “buying” stages, so your queries and ads should reflect that. After you’ve finally gotten the person to visit your site and hopefully convert, again use search and display for retargeting to cross sell, upsell, and make your spend more efficient.

For anyone thinking about attending SMX, it’s well worth the time and money. There are lots of informative speakers and workshops that share actionable insights for any business trying to drive online conversions. For more info on SMX, check out their site and be sure to look at slides from this year’s speakers.

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