Your marketing budget is being squeezed. Your sales cycle is getting longer. You’ve got to wring every last nickel’s worth of benefit from your marketing efforts, and track the return of every effort to boot.

What’s a frustrated marketer to do?

One partner who should be singing “Lean on Me” is your search marketing agency. Doing the same ol’ same ol’ just won’t cut it marketing agency Atlanta While search marketing is still one of the most effective and efficient marketing tactics, like everything else, it needs to do more with less, help move prospects along the buying cycle, and be more measurable than ever before.

Assuming your agency has already optimized your website for search engines, and is successfully managing your pay-per-click campaign, what else should they be focusing on in today’s challenging environment?

1. Social Media. Let’s get this one out of the way first. Yes, there’s been a lot of buzz and you may even be tired of hearing about it. But in addition to the myriad marketing, customer service and research benefits that social media offers companies, there are also numerous search engine optimization benefits. Social media provides (a) more online content, such as profiles, that can be optimized and take up real estate in the search engine results, (b) ratings and tags from other participants that give the search engines more information about your content and trustworthy votes, and (c) links to your corporate site, which can boost its rankings.

2. Reputation Monitoring. Let’s say a prospect searches for your company or product brand name and sees negative mentions in the search engine results. Maybe a disgruntled former employee posted on a blog, or an unhappy customer wrote a negative online review. Many companies have seen their website traffic, leads and sales fall off due to an online reputation hit like this. Your search marketing firm should be keeping an eye on the top search engine results in order to see any negative mentions before your prospects (or investors) do. By using social media and other tactics, they may be able to push the negative content down off the first page of results, where fewer people will see it.

3. Custom Pay-Per-Click Landing Pages. Where do searchers go after they click on one of your paid listings? To your home page, or a page deeper on your site? Many companies can double or even triple their conversion rates by instead building custom landing pages for pay-per-click visitors. These landing pages tie directly in with the keyword the searcher typed into the search box, and have a lead form or a purchasing method right on the page, eliminating the need for the prospect to click around multiple pages on your site (and potentially get lost or lose interest) before converting.