Your Solution Options
Search engine marketers today are lucky because we have a variety of tools to improve the profitability of our campaigns...but a majority of these aren't free. With an increase in the number of pay-to-play programs and in the bid prices on Pay-For-Placement (PFP) search engines in particular, marketers need cost-saving strategies.
I wrote the ROI tracking section to present solutions that provide companies with marketing features that extend beyond search engine advertising. Here's how I've categorized them:
Small Business E-Commerce: Combines the ability to manage an online store and promote it in one system.
Affiliate Programs: Manage the affiliates who promote your products or services for a commission fee.
Web Analytics: Collect web site traffic data, from how visitors found the site to an end transaction, and the paths in between.
Bid Management Tools: Automatically adjust your bids and positions on PFP search engines.
Internet Marketing Agencies: Act as an extension of your marketing team; they use a variety of tools to execute your search engine and other promotional programs.
With any luck, you're already using one of these solutions for another focus and you'll learn how to apply it to your search engine analysis. Or, you're researching one of these types of solutions and will now add search engine tracking to your evaluation criteria.
An online/offline coupon program allows Internet promotions to be redeemed at an offline retail store. CoolSavings and Valpak offer this type of coupon service to advertisers.
An entire book could be dedicated to each solution discussed. In the interest of getting you started with your ad campaigns as soon as possible, I've provided you with a program overview, likely main strengths and weaknesses, as well as examples of solution providers. Explore your options within the solution category that interests you. In the end, any ROI tracking program you choose is better than not having one at all.