One of our specialties is working with financial services companies for PPC and SEO, particularly mutual funds and ETFs. This is a rather tricky vertical to work in with a variety of different compliances issues to be aware of.

PPC optimization is much easier when you are dealing with leads and sales, and you have clear-cut success/failure data that you can work with. Often, you just don’t have that available in financial services.

Take fund marketing, for instance. Someone who searches on Google for a particular type of mutual fund or ETF isn’t going to click to a site and make a purchase. They will likely come to the site, do some research and then go to their broker and make a purchase.

For an SEM company, optimizing this traffic can be a challenge because of that disconnect in the process. We can’t see whether they took the ball and made it all the way to the end zone or not.

What we can see is user engagement on your site. How much time does a user spend on the site? What is the bounce rate? How many pages are being viewed? Are they hitting important pages? Is there a download or whitepaper they’ve shown interest in?

All of these signals in your on-site analytics can be used to improve the traffic quality. You can even pull this data back into your AdWords account and set up rules-based bidding based on what happens on site.

There are also in-account signals you can look at, of course. We often pay attention to spikes in PPC traffic because it can correspond with spikes in the market. When you get that higher level interest because of what is going on in the markets, you have to get after it.

A recent news event sparked some higher interest in one of our client’s fund categories. We noticed it when it happened because we are constantly monitoring accounts and also have scripts that tell us about account anomalies. People were interested in this fund category. We informed the client, throttled up our PPC bids while they throttled up their other marketing. After a few days and weeks, they had nearly a hundred million more in investment dollars that poured into the fund.

It pays to hire marketing expertise.

To market mutual funds or ETFs you need to invest in PPC, SEO, PR and display advertising. (Maybe you don’t know it, but you need to.) And, you probably need a turnkey service — someone who can turn your company from novice to expert overnight.

A good firm will pay for itself with its efficiency, expertise and experience. Yes, there are challenges with compliance issues and the inevitable disconnect in analytics tracking, but a good fund marketing firm is familiar with those and should be able to work with you and build a strong, reliable relationship.

Bottom line to fund marketing is often just this: You don’t need to be an expert in all these areas – you just need to hire them.