In 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Lens.com, Inc. v. 1-800 Contacts, Inc. that online contact lens seller Lens.com did not commit trademark infringement when it purchased search advertisements using competitor 1-800 Contacts' federally registered 1800 CONTACTS trademark as a keyword. In August 2016, the Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint against 1-800 Contacts alleging, among other things, that its trademark enforcement practices in the search engine marketing space have unreasonably restrained competition in violation of the FTC Act. 1-800 Contacts has denied all wrongdoing and is scheduled to appear before an FTC administrative law judge in April 2017.
The largest search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo, each have fairly simple programs to get started. You determine the key words or search phrase as well as the amount you are willing to spend (per click and/or per day). Most of them offer simple programs that require filling out a form and putting a certain amount of money down as credit. Like anything new, start small with paid SEM and add complexity (and budget) as you learn more and see results over time.
Owned distribution is always a must, though, since you own and have complete control over these channels. There’s the lowest barrier to entry here and they also have the most opportunity due to how many different options for distribution you have. If one form of owned doesn’t work, another surely will. And, if your goal is to capture leads, using your owned channels is especially crucial.
In the following sections, we’ll cover the types of videos you should create for each stage in the image above. To start, plan to create at least two videos for each. Don’t forget to include call-to-actions to help lead your audience through their purchase journey and into the role of "promoter." Over time, you can improve based on conversion rates and the content gaps you discover.
After that, you need to make a choice about how to construct an online presence that helps you achieve that goal. Maybe you need to set up an e-commerce site. If you’re interested in publishing content to drive awareness and subscribers, look into setting up a blog. A simple website or landing page with a lead capture form can help you start developing your brand and generating traffic. A basic analytics platform (like Google Analytics, which is free) can help you start to measure how you are tracking towards your initial goal.