- Online Marketing
Research indicates that the majority of buyers conduct their own research using the internet and then contact you, not vice versa. Do you know what your customers/prospects are searching for in relation to your business?
When is the last time you used your “yellow pages?”
The Internet is the first place they turn for information and they do it nearly 18 billion times each month. Your website is unlikely to be the first thing they find. You can engage them earlier with stories, fact sheets and case studies using the technologies of connection rather than waiting for them to find your website.
Q1: What are the three most important buying criteria for your prospects?
Start talking about these criteria on line. Become “needs focused.”
Q2: What are the three biggest challenges you’re having with your prospects?
What are their worst fears? What do they think might go wrong? Describe what you do in your business to relieve their fears, besides promises. Develop recommendations to help them avoid these problems.
Producing interesting, non-promotional content is critical. It is more than offering product or service information. It is understanding what customers are looking for when searching. What problems are they trying to solve? If you publish solutions, answers and guidance you begin to look like the best choice.
If you struggle with writing, or the time to do it, hire a professional writer to do some of the work with you. Have a publishing schedule.
Chas. McNamara – SHOW&TELL
Phone: 720-951-0001. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If our ideas aren’t worth a nickel, you won’t owe us a dime.
Also take a look at Five Content Marketing Tips.
Another great article about the nature of PPC advertising being far more important than just getting new consumers into your website.
Ten years ago a business could thrive by focusing on organic search engine optimization. My rule of thumb then was that organic rankings garnered roughly 80 percent of the clicks on search result pages while paid listings garnered less than 20 percent. A smart SEO strategy seemed to outweigh a smart pay-per-click advertising strategy.
A lot has changed in 10 years. Google’s propensity for changing organic search results has hurt many smaller retailers that relied exclusively on SEO for traffic and revenue. As a result, many of these retailers have started shifting more of their marketing dollars to PPC as they seek a controllable flow of traffic and revenue.
At the same time, Google has implemented a brilliant strategy — called “Quality Score,” which I addressed at “Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Six Metrics that Drive Performance” — to reward retailers to make their ads increasingly relevant to shoppers. Furthermore, Google conducts many of its own tests to find the optimal layout, formatting, and labeling of its paid ads to blur the line between organic listings and paid listings.
The result is that while retailers should still be able to generate more total clicks via their SEO efforts — versus their PPC efforts — PPC is rising dramatically in its importance. The traffic and revenue retailers can generate by optimizing and scaling the performance of their PPC marketing is higher than it’s ever been, and that’s a big deal that no retailer should ignore.
I recently asked several of my pay-per-click managers to analyze Google’s “top vs. side” report — I wrote about that report previously, at “For Google AdWords, It Pays to be on Top” — to calculate an average click-through rate for PPC ads when they show on the top of the search results page. Here are the results from six merchants they surveyed:
Those click-through rates are likely as high as a merchant would expect from many of his or her organic, page 1 rankings. By the way, they are for non-branded search queries on campaigns that are well run and profitable over many months.
Clearly, PPC can send a lot of traffic relative to organic listings. But is it profitable traffic? Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. When it’s not, many retailers blame the inherent nature of PPC for campaigns that they perceive to be unprofitable. But I always advise to check your perceptions.
Since PPC has the potential to send a lot of traffic quickly, it can expose fundamental flaws in an online retailer’s business or marketing strategy. If your prices are too high, your campaign isn’t managed well, your website’s usability stinks, your products are out of season, or the buying cycle for the products you sell is long or complex, then of course PPC won’t perform optimally. Try addressing those issues before deciding that PPC can’t work for you.
In addition, there are circumstances when smaller retailers should consider adjusting their expectations for their PPC campaigns. Quite often the expectation for a PPC campaign should be a steady flow of profitable traffic that results in a high return on ad spending. There are times, however, where retailers should think more like bigger retailers — if they hope to become one.
Larger retailers treat the first sale they make to a new customer as an invitation into their customer’s home. Once they get that first sale, their marketing machine goes to work, and they focus on increasing the lifetime value of that customer. They use a combination of email marketing, loyalty programs, and on-site personalization to generate repeat business from their customers in a way that changes their economic model for PPC.
If smaller retailers pay $30 in PPC advertising fees for every $40 in related PPC sales, they may conclude that PPC cannot be profitable for them. If over the course of a year, however, they can generate an average of $500 in sales from customers acquired through PPC, the entire profit picture would change drastically. Suddenly the retailer would be in a position to throttle up its PPC budget in a way that could support significant ongoing revenue growth.
Website publishers have had about three months to react to Google’s “Panda” algorithm update, which primarily targeted “content farms,” sites that the Web search giant has long aimed to squash from its results because it views their information as basically identical to that found on other sites, or just too sparse to be useful.
Google claimed that Panda, at least in its initial late February release, affected only about 2 percent of U.S. search queries. However, the dramatic hits taken by some well-established sites dominated headlines in the Search Engine sector for months after the rollout.
“When a client’s site is pretty clean, it’s been a pretty easy cleanup,” said Dave Davies, the CEO of Beanstalk, an SEO consultancy based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Davies did note that Panda has been “huge” in terms of impact, but sites are making a comeback. “Google is not really interested in punishing sites long term; it is just trying to protect its results,” he said. “So, if you correct your issues, you can re-build your reputation.”
Davies and other SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) professionals who spoke to IT Business Edge suggested that if an otherwise reputable site took a hit after the Panda rollout, it probably was because it:
“Google doesn’t think like your business,” said Matt Law, the founder of Law Marketing Systems, an Internet marketing and SEO consultancy based out of Orlando, Fla. “They think like a bunch of California yuppies who run the Internet. And they do.”
In this first part of our two-part series, we’ll look at the issues surrounding the “Panda penalty” for duplicate content and the best tactics for ensuring Google and other search engines identify your site pages as unique. In part two, we will look at the general guidance Google and SEO experts offer for making sure your content is valuable enough to rank highly in search results. We’ll also take a look at how Google may be using user behavior and social interactivity to gauge that value.
So, what is the big deal about duplicate content, anyway?
Orthodontics was the first recognized specialty field within dentistry. Orthodontists are dental specialists in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of orthodontic problems who have completed a minimum of two academic years of study in an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only those dentists who have completed this training may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Specializing on one focus is a major advantage to a patient with a very specific problem. That stated, orthodontics often struggle with how to best market their practice. Often times the old faithful yellow pages is the extent of the marketing that they do, after all that is how most practices where established. The market penetration in any given area (like above) shows a need to set your office apart from the competition.
Times have changed and firms that specifically market orthodontics have popped up all over, the two that most Doctors recognize are Orthosesame(TM) and Televox(TM). An amazing website is only the start.
SEM will allow you the ability to qualify your potential patient based on many different criteria, you can use keywords that define a specific vertical of your business that you want to be more aggressive in, you can use geographic locators or radius’s just to pull customers from certain areas of town, or you can choose specific engines to further refine the demographic you are looking for. Search engine marketing is a great fit for a orthodontic practice.
Applying a search engine marketing campaign to your already “conversion friendly” site will allow your orthodontic practice to reach new levels as far as new patient acquisition. In the Denver area, orthodontics offices don’t saturate the area as much as dental offices, but then again, the client base is much smaller. This makes it even more important to make sure that your orthodontic practice is an available option to EVRY new patient looking.
I suppose I need to take my hat off to Google once again. Don’t get me wrong, I love capitalism, but Google has got the market cornered in so many ways. We, as people, love things for free. Once something has been given away for so long that it becomes a part of our daily life and then a small price is all the sudden associated with it, shock comes over people. This one shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, Google has paid it forward in so many of the services they provide for so long, it’s time to figure out how to monetize it.
Google’s Local Extensions in AdWords have been a favorite paid advertising technique for small business owners since it was released in 2009. With Local Extensions, business owners are able to attach relevant business information (like their address, phone number and a link to directions) directly to their ad, making it easier for searchers to take action after seeing the business appear in the search results. During this past holiday weekend it was announced that Google would be making a small change to the system. Business owners will now be charged when a user clicks on the directions link in their ad, the same way they’re charged when a user clicks on their headline or on their phone number.
I read an article today about the 10 biggest lies in online advertising, and the wheels started turning in my head about customer perception of search engine marketing campaigns. So many companies today sell “buckets of clicks” and are somehow able to hang their hat on it, “We got you 700 clicks to your website!” The truth is; it doesn’t make any difference if you get 100 clicks or 10,000 clicks on your website if none of them convert to a sale.
I have consulted with so many businesses that talk in hits, and clicks but have no idea if they have any sales but assume so because someone said, “I found you online.” It’s like someone used the power of the force to convince the customer that clicks are great and that 800 clicks you got somehow covered the $1500 you spent on it.
I guess what I’m getting at is the lack of education and trackability provided to a customer is necessary for continuing the business relationship in many SEM campaigns. The truth is, you should know exactly what you generate from your online search campaign; amount of Calls, Emails, Online Sales, Form Submissions, and ultimately return on investment. I believe that you should also understand how the program works, why the cost is what it is, and have some expectation of what you need to cover the cost of the campaign as well as targets that you expect to hit over the course of running the Search Engine Marketing program. I believe that all data should be evaluated monthly to ensure that the search program is running correctly, and that the internet marketing program is on track to achieve the expectations.
Yellow Pages Online “Clicks Programs:”
Most yellow pages companies sign the business to a year contract and then never talk about the program again until it’s time to renew. The customer has an idea of the search engine(s) that they are going to be marketed on, but that is about the limits. Yellow pages companies generally use a landing page (digital storefront) or a mirror of the business website, and the business is at the mercy if the of the yellow pages company to convert that traffic. The customer has absolutely no idea what the bounce rate looks like, the cost of the click, the source of the click, the quality of the click, or if the click converted into a sale. Furthermore, if call or event tracking is associated with the program, what is the quality of the call? Are they all sales calls? Did any of the calls become customers? This generally results in the customer I described in the 2nd paragraph looking at their reports of how many clicks they got over the last year, and ultimately a poor representation of the value of an online marketing program.
Small search engine marketing boutiques are plentiful, and generally provide much better trackability than yellow pages companies. Most boutiques employ an Adwords certified manager for the setup and managing the performance of the campaign. Boutiques specialize in online marketing and nothing else. Finding a great boutique is very difficult, but they are out there. Make no mistake, search engine marketing costs money, the amount the boutique makes is based on volume of accounts they manage, and fees associated with the program. Boutiques are also able to leverage Google’s Adwords Conversion Tracking tool. One last thing to consider, as the boutique acquires more advertisers, more staff is required or less attention will be paid to your campaign. This is a very tricky equation, and picking the right SEM boutique needs to be paramount in your decision making process.
Companies with technology:
Companies like ReachLocal, that have spent millions of dollars creating automated algorithms that run directly through APIs with the search engines, allow for the ability to scale customer growth while keeping overhead costs down, and are, in my opinion, the way to go. The Conversion Based Optimization algorithm ReachLocal runs is proprietary and patent pending. This technology allows the online search campaign to maximize the return on investment for each customer they run on their platform. If you break down the search product to it’s very basic components, you will find that it’s all math.
These are just a few things to get the wheels turning about how mathematical the search engine marketing program is. Once you have defined all the parameters that are necessary in making good decisions on where to spend the clients money, you start building an algorithm around those points, and, over time, determine which keywords and sites drive the best performance for your campaign. Then, the technology learns over time which keywords and sites drive the best performance for your campaign. The technology automatically shifts more of your ad dollars twice daily towards those elements.
Very few companies have this type of technology because of the cost and time associated with engineering such a complex algorithm.
Google has engineered a technology that Adwords accounts can employ, however most business run on phone call generation and the Adwords platform has not addressed this conversion point. Tying the keyword to the call has a substantial impact on the overall performance on the campaign.
The Web Designer:
Most business are under the belief that a web designer can run your online marketing program, in some cases that’s right, but in most it’s not. The reason most web site designers will run adwords is because the credibility is already established, and it’s a great way to have a reoccurring revenue stream, but most customer oriented web design firms focus on search engine optimization because it is truly a function of the website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just as important as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) but the process is very different. My belief is every business should have 2 different firms that work in harmony together to make sure the SEO and SEM play well together and back each other up, this will allow for your online marketing program to reach as many potential consumers as possible.
If you would like more information on this topic, please call Chris directly at 720.427.3707
Marketers reflexively think of search engine-based advertising when thinking of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which is not surprising given paid search’s tenure and continued effective use among online marketers.
Yet the latest annual findings from Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) and Econsultancy indicate paid search marketers are increasingly turning to PPC advertising on social media channels to complement traditional search engine placements.
More than half (52%) of companies worldwide vouched for the “moderate” or “huge” impact social media has had on their search engine marketing programs within the last year. Add that to the growing number of social media channels offering a PPC advertising model, and it’s no wonder 47% of North American companies are running PPC campaigns on Facebook, and more than a quarter (27%) are doing so on LinkedIn. In addition 18% of companies are PPC advertising on YouTube, and 15% on Twitter.
Although these percentages are dwarfed by those of North American companies advertising on Google and Bing/Yahoo!, major search engines aside, it’s clear companies prefer PPC advertising on social media channels to smaller engines like AOL and Business.com.
Many people confuse or don’t know the difference between the two. I’m going to try to help you understand the pros and cons to both allowing you to make a decision for yourself. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is located in the main space of the search engine results page and has always been a fundamental goal on initial website construction. Web designers put “meta tags, alt tags, Meta names, content, etc.,” into the site during construction in hopes of making the site show up in the results page in any given engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing). It’s always been a game with the web site designers jockeying for the top position on a few different keyword terms. SEO was dubbed by designers as “Free area of Google!” Make no mistake about it, SEO is not free Though Google doesn’t charge for your listing, the costs associated with your time or a web designers time render “free” fairly expensive..
The major advantages to SEO are: Organic listings are generally considered “Trusted,” or at the very least unbiased. In addition to that, there is NO dollar figure assigned to the click value so it can pull more traffic without shutting down. And the last major benefit is that all costs should be paid up front. Lots of debate has ensued about monthly SEO fees, however most SEO companies charge a one time fee.
Cons to SEO:
You have little or no control over the placement of the listing, if it even shows up. The content that each spider or robot looks at can vary greatly from one engine to the other, thus stripping away your control of the optimization process, not to mention that sometimes site design can cause robots not to follow the content correctly.
In November 2010, Google threw another wrench into the SEO process. Google changed the layout of the 1st page of search results in any given search. Google has lessened the amount of SEO locations available on the first page and replaced the listings with Map locations, also known as “Google Places.” (Please see images)
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) also referred to as PPC. SEM appears along the top and right side of the search results page. On the surface is very easy to understand, you pay per click. You don’t need to worry about all the “meta data” with SEM, the only thing that is important is that you have a decent budget you are willing to spend and a decent site to land the customer on. You can do this yourself, but If you decide to do it yourself, beware of a very costly learning curve in how to manage the engine’s Adwords tools. If you hire a professional to do it for you, make sure the company you hire only does internet marketing. Choosing a yellow pages company to manage a SEM program is like asking a veterinarian to perform open heart surgery on you.
Paid traffic is very predictable; you pay for the amount you want, and it is done in a very capitalistic way, a bid system. Paid traffic is instant, specific, and relevant. You buy only the terms you want, and you can choose Nationwide exposure or limit it to a 10 mile radius, thus providing “no waste.” Paid positions on the page generally convert at a higher rate and drive a larger sales volume. SEM fits in nicely to the changes Google made to the search results page.
Cons of SEM:
You pay for what you get, stop paying…stop receiving. Conclusion: SEM and SEO play a very large part in the overall plan of “site marketing” and it is up to your business to determine the amount of money to direct to each aspect. I would say from my own stance that both have their place in today’s market, but with the recent changes to Google, SEM is your best bet for the immediate bang.