- 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: email@example.com
If our ideas aren’t worth a nickel, you won’t owe us a dime.
Also take a look at Five Content Marketing Tips.
In my job I talk with many companies that “Have an SEO guy.” I always talk with them about the great sides of SEO and we on occasion talk about the down sides. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a big advocate of SEO and SEM together provide a great mix. In fact I talk to alot of my customers about using Denver Media for some SEO help on the campaigns that I run. Some times I run across a customer that has found a Black Hat SEO guy that is performing miracles, generally it doesn’t take to long before the site traffic dissipates and then can’t be found. Please read this article if you are considering SEO and make good choices, after all your business my depend on it.
Computerworld – Being at the top of a search engine results page can mean the difference between business success and failure. So, what would you do to ensure a listing there?
If so, you could be walking into a minefield.
Search engine optimization (known as SEO) involves actions intended to get your page listed higher on a search engine results page. In the past 15 years, SEO has evolved into a complex art, one that is now the foundation of many businesses.
The problem is that there are ways of trying to improve your standing that are considered legitimate by the search engine companies like Google, but there are also methods that can get you into trouble. Google (which receives 90% of the world’s search engine traffic, according to StatCounter, and 65.4% of the U.S. market, according to comScore) does not appreciate being gamed — and will retaliate.
Just ask $17 billion retailer J.C. Penney, which got caught using black-hat (i.e., illegitimate) methods to boost its search results during the 2010 holiday shopping season. Penney was accused of taking part in a so-called link scheme, probably the most complicated black-hat SEO technique.
“Our high [search engine result] rankings were pushed down,” Darcie Brossart, Penney’s vice president of communications in Plano, Texas, confirmed concerning the sanctions Google imposed. “We have terminated our relationship with our former natural SEO firm. We don’t know how it happened. We did not authorize it, and we were not involved.”
It’s important to recognize if your SEO firm (or your in-house Web expert) is venturing too close to the edge of the black-hat cliff — because if Google or other search engines find there is some hanky-panky happening, it’s your site that will suffer. “I’m not saying everyone is doing it, but it’s not unusual,” says Vanessa Fox, former Google Search employee and author of Marketing in the Age of Google. “A company might hire an SEO firm without knowing a lot about SEO, or they might think it’s not risky,” she adds. (Google publishes advice for those considering hiring SEO firms.)
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
Search marketing objectives may vary, but all search marketers share a common goal: top placements on page 1 of search engine results.
Unlike paid search, which lets advertisers simply buy top position, search engine optimization (SEO) earns marketers premium page rank through careful website optimization on select keywords. Because SEO can take days or even months to increase natural page rank, marketers must be more selective and deliberate in choosing which keywords to optimize.
Findings from Optify suggest one way for marketers to prioritize SEO efforts is by considering the value of each keyword in Google AdWords, then using the average CPC to determine potential organic listing clickthrough rate.
The study looked at terms that were both expensive (keyword phrases costing more than $1.50 per click) and cheap (phrases with CPCs less than $0.25) for Google AdWords advertisers to determine whether paid search CPC had an impact on organic listing clickthrough rate.
For terms that had low paid-search prices, the organic clickthrough rate for page 1 placement on Google was 87.5%, compared to only 37.3% for organic results tied to more expensive keywords.
In fact, the average rank 1 clickthrough rate for organic results tied to cheaper terms was 31.8%, almost double the 17.1% clickthrough rate at rank 1 for natural results tied to more expensive paid search CPCs.
Crunchbase: Optify is a company (Software) based out of Seattle, WA, founded in 2008. →
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.