Avaya Communications has been doing search marketing for more than seven years. It launched its program in North America before search was "cool," said Renee Rodgers, senior director of interactive at Avaya, as a way to vie with competitors that could outspend it in other markets.
"Search has always been successful for us," she said. "We see it as a critical part of our overall marketing program and we've continued to grow it, recently moving into other regions."
Over the past year, Avaya has instituted paid search campaigns in Central and Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. It's currently launching a paid search program in Asia-Pacific.
The company's journey into international search has been a continuous learning process, Rodgers said. Early on, Avaya realized that every country—and sometimes every region within a country—required extensive localization; it couldn't just tweak its North American campaigns, translating them into other languages.
"It was always an exploration," she said. "We had to start keyword by keyword to see what worked and what didn't across our four product portfolios. We spend a lot of time on the localization process. It's not just translation that's going to make someone feel that Avaya is making an effort to be in their market."
For example, Avaya has local-country Web sites that carry the appropriate Web extensions. While all of the search efforts go through Avaya's North American offices, there are region leaders in each of the markets who work with native language-speaking people to choose keywords. These people are encouraged to be extremely involved during campaign planning and execution, Rodgers said.
"We've got people on the ground that are always pushing back; they are very vocal," she said. "They help us choose the correct words, and make sure the translations are logical and the best selections out there."
The company also consults with its search vendors, asking for competitive analysis about keywords and markets. People like this helped Rodgers realize that Avaya's Chinese Web site should include a mix of Chinese and English text because one of the company's product portfolios—Communications-Enabled Business Processes—wouldn't translate effectively.
"We could do it, but it would take up the entire home page. So we kept that in English and surround it with localized copy. And the keyword search term is in English," she said.
The company's search campaigns continue to evolve, Rodgers said. For example, this April Avaya launched its Mexican paid search campaign, starting out with a mix of 32 words and phrases in English and Spanish to capture market share, demand generation and brand awareness in what Rodgers calls a fast-growing market where adoption of IP telephony and unified communications is accelerating.
The Mexico campaign has been very successful, so much so that Avaya tripled its spending and impressions, boosting its keyword buy to 170 words. Avaya has about 700 U.S. campaign terms, Rodgers said.
"We reduced our cost-per-Web conversion by 50%. Our success was attributed to targeting the appropriate keywords for the market, with translated copy and conversion experience," she said.
Additionally, the company is seeing a sixfold boost in Web conversion.