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Online Vendors Help You Capitalize on Keywords

By Dan Muse     Feedback

Sure, you do search engine marketing, but are you getting your money's worth? NetSuite and Salesforce.com announce services to help you create and track your keyword purchases.

Small businesses — e-commerce or otherwise — don't have the luxury of spending extra time and money on test marketing, which probably works out well as most don't have the means to measure it in any case.

That doesn't make any marketing any less important. For businesses that conduct part or all of their business online, keyword marketing — especially though Google AdWords — is a staple of lead generation.

In fact, earlier this year, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) reported that advertisers in the U.S. and Canada spent $5.75 billion on search engine marketing in 2005, a 44 percent increase over 2004 spending. The report, "The State of Search Engine Marketing 2005, also projects that SEM spending in North America will reach $11 billion in 2010.

Despite the rise in spending, knowing if you're targeting your search engine marketing campaign effectively remains more art than science to most business owners who typically purchase, place, track and bid on hundreds of keywords.

However, announcements yesterday by NetSuite and Salesforce.com promise to change that. NetSuite Keyword Marketing Module and Salesforce for Google AdWords, respectively, are on-demand services designed to help you create, manage and track search engine marketing campaigns from within familiar interfaces of popular Web-based applications.

Of the two services, NetSuite's is the more relevant to e-commerce businesses as its suite includes shopping cart and storefront modules that tie into accounting, CRM, inventory management and other business applications. "It's a built-in, not bolted-on service," Mini Peiris, vice president of product management at NetSuite said.

The new service, which will be included for no addition charge for NetSuite CRM + users, includes a search engine keyword campaign creation wizard, keyword campaign management capabilities and pre-built reports designed to manage both Google AdWords or Yahoo! Sponsored Search purchases. Peiris said, Google and Yahoo account for roughly 70 percent of the keyword marketing purchases. SEMPO's research also shows that Google and Yahoo command the majority of Internet advertising.

To measure the performance of paid search marketing using Google AdWords or Yahoo! Sponsored Search, you need to achieve what NetSuite's Peiris describes as "closed loop marketing." Peiris is referring to the capability to see results at each stage of the process from click-through, to lead, to order placement, to receiving payment.

The goal is to see which keywords campaigns translate into revenue and profit. In theory, at least, having your keyword marketing activity in the same application suite as your back-end and front-end operations makes it easier to track return on investment.

NetSuite claims that its keyword creation wizard will let you generate campaigns per keyword, along with a specific click-through URLs to embed within Google AdWords or Yahoo! Sponsored Search. You can also use templates optimized for search engines to bulk create these campaigns per keyword. You can automatically track campaigns by keyword and keyword families. You can also analyze campaigns by product, offer, landing page or message, according to NetSuite.

Peiris said that you also track off-line sales that are a result of keyword purchases "because most involve some type of call-to-action such as an 800 number, downloadable white paper that can be tracked to a keyword campaign."

Keyword marketing reports can be viewed in real-time dashboards, which is designed to allow you to identify both successful and problematic keywords and reallocate budget accordingly, according to NetSuite.

In that regard, Peiris said, NetSuite Keyword Marketing Module offers the double benefit of increased sales and cost savings.

Like NetSuite's Keyword Marketing Module, Salesforce for Google AdWords is designed to let you create, manage and measure search engine marketing campaigns from within Salesforce.com's CRM application.

The integration delivered in Salesforce for Google AdWords is designed to provide visibility into the entire life-cycle of a campaign from creation and placement of ads, to dynamic tracking of results, management of opportunities, closing of deals and measurement of return on investment, according to Salesforce.com.

The new service is based on technology acquired from San Francisco-based Kieden, a startup company that developed the technology using AppExchange, a development platform that allows Salesforce.com partners to create applications to used with the on-demand CRM application. Salesforce.com bought Kieden earlier this month for an undisclosed amount.

Salesforce.com customers can purchase Salesforce for Google AdWords for $300 per organization, per month at AppExchange. That fee is in addition to the per-subscriber monthly fee.

While NetSuite's Keyword Marketing Module carries no standalone price, it is available only to NetSuite CRM + users, which costs $125 per user per month. The NetSuite service costs $99 per user, per month.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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This article was originally published on August 23, 2006
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