Search Marketing – What’s New?

December 28, 2011 Filed under: Internet Marketing,Local Search,SEO — Tags: , ,

Much has been happening in the world of Internet Marketing lately, so here is a brief synopsis of what’s new, and what it means for small businesses looking to market themselves on the web.

Growth of online advertising.  Internet advertising will be 2nd only to TV advertising in revenues by 2014 and will surpass newspaper ad revenues by 2013.  While representing 14.4% of all advertising today, Internet advertising is projected to grow to 21% of all ad revenues by 2014, growing by roughly $10B a year for the next 3 years.  Read more.

Google ads everywhereGoogle puts online ads everywhere.    Online real estate is limited and growing more scarce.  So, Google is trying to squeeze ad real estate out of every corner they can.  Here are 6 new paid search products that Google has introduced to offer still more opportunities to advertise online.  Read more.

Google deals.    It appears that Google is planning to roll out a ‘check-in’ feature for its Google Place Pages so that companies can offer coupons & deals like they do with Groupon, Living Social and other deal competitors that are growing in popularity.  Can Google really compete in this space, even after earlier failed attempts?  Will sharing offers on Google+ make the difference for them?  Read more.

Onsite Review Stations…go for it!  We’ve advised many clients with walk-in businesses to put a computer in their lobby to encourage customers to post reviews, since it helps improve their local search ranking.  Some industry pundits have written that Google would frown on this and find a way to penalize such behavior, but Mike Blumenthal reports that Google is now publicly encouraging the practice.  If you’re not doing this already, why wait?  Read more.

Negative reviews – keep your cool.   While we’re talking about reviews, I always like to pass on good advice about how best to handle any negative online reviews posted about your business.  It’s always a delicate situation, and one to be handled carefully.  Here’s some good advice from industry veteran Andrew Shotland.  Read more.

Location targeting for mobile is hot.  Mobile internet use is exploding with the growth in smart phones, and Google last May announced that 40 percent of mobile searches are for local businesses.  Advertisers are jumping on this trend by targeting their ads by location.  BIA Kelsey blog estimates that 29 percent of mobile campaigns today are targeted locally, and that it’ll grow to 69 percent of mobile ad spending by 2015. Time for you to jump on the bandwagon?  Read more.

PPC ads drive offline sales, big-time.  New research shows that PPC ads drive 6 times more business in in-store sales than in ecommerce sales, with an average PPC click worth $15 in in-store sales.  Unfortunately, this good news is often difficult to track, so it goes unnoticed and unreported.  But retail marketing firm RevTrack has developed some clever methods for tracking and measuring offline results.  Read more.

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Content Marketing: What Should I Write About?

September 13, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,SEO — Tags: , ,

If you are actively pursuing an SEO strategy for your website, you are most likely aware of the need to create unique, compelling, and original content on a regular basis.  Any SEO practitioner will tell you how critical content publishing is if you want your website to get found by the search engines.  Content is King has become the mantra of SEO.

You probably also know that you need to think like your target audience in order to be found by them.  This means using words they’re likely to be searching for, and addressing needs they can relate to.  Nothing new for anyone in sales or marketing, right?

content marketingActually, it is new — especially for many small businesses.  Compelling online content needs to go beyond traditional sales & marketing speak; it needs to provide standalone value, not just sell your products.  It needs to speak like a journalist, not a sales person.  It needs to be educational, not promotional.  In short, it needs to be about your audience, not about you.   Sounds simple, right?

Making the Content Leap Easier

Creating online content can be a tough leap into new territory, even for experienced marketers.  Many business owners have plenty to say about their own products and plans, but are challenged when it comes to creating audience-focused topics.    “What else can I talk about besides the subject I know best?” a small business owner asked me recently, meaning, of course, his own products.  I asked him to think about what publications his customers read every week – and then become one of them.   He gave me a blank stare.

If you’ve been in business a long time, it’s tough to step outside the traditional selling mindset and begin thinking like a publisher.  But if you want to be found in organic search results, publishing – not selling – is the best approach.  Here are some steps to make the transition easier:

Keyword research. Every business knows what its customers’ needs are in some form, since they’re in business to satisfy a need.  But you might be surprised to find your customers don’t use the same words you do to talk about it.  Google’s Keyword Research Tool will help you find words and phrases your target visitors actually search for, and how many other websites are competing for those terms.  Use this tool to find the ‘sweet spot’ of popular phrases, relevant to your business, and least competed for as a starting point for your content topics.

Customer interviews. If you have trouble stepping out of your selling mentality, try interviewing a handful of your customers.  Take the conversation away from your product area and find out more about their business, what challenges they face, their current frustrations and needs, their longer-term plans and dreams.  This will help you think bigger-picture, write from a sympathetic perspective, and address topics they care about.

Freelance writers.  If you’re too busy to struggle through writer’s block, or find you can’t step out of your own perspective, hiring a freelance writer may be the best way to produce content.  If you’re selling to a consumer market, a freelance writer can master your content readily and bring some fresh creativity.  If you’re a B2B company, you may need to train a writer on your industry specifics, but you’ll find that many freelancers are former (or current) journalists and will come up to speed quickly.  If you’re busy running your business or writing fills you with dread, this is your best option.

Industry publications. Read your industry publications.  Notice the trends, tips, and general topics they cover.   This is probably your best research for what topics readers find interesting, since publishers are in the business of selling content to your target audience, and they know what sells.  Follow their example and you’ll be off to a good start.

The new age of content marketing is just beginning and most marketers are trying to find their way with limited guideposts and no experience.  Several websites – Hubspot and Copyblogger being my favorites — offer volumes of good advice on how to do it well.  But if you don’t want a full course on the topic and just need some pointers on creating good online content, try these approaches and learn for yourself.  Web analytics will give you real-time feedback on how well you’re doing and allow you to adjust as you go.

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Online Marketing – It All Starts With Keywords

June 15, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,SEO — Tags: , ,

Words are the currency of the Web.  With over 40 billion indexed pages, the web has more words than most people can fathom, and in fact, leaves most of us overwhelmed.  With all the noise of people talking, bloggers publishing, forums commenting, social media sharing – how can you, one small business, reach out and connect with the people most likely to care about your product or service?

Keyword loading

Pollinate your content with Keywords

It all starts with keywords.  Keywords are your unique identifier, the beacon your website sends out to let your target audience know who you are and how to find you.   As Shari Thurow writes on Search Engine Land blog, keywords help define the “aboutness” of your website in a way that’s visible to others – both humans and search engines.  And social media, when used well, can amplify your beacon and confirm your “aboutness” in conversations by others.  The trick is to pollinate content with your keywords and encourage it to take root broadly, building your brand where it will bear the most fruit.

Keywords – The Bridge Between Marketing and Publishing

You’ve probably heard by now that online marketing is all about content.  Authoring a blog, creating a Facebook Page, chatting on Twitter, sharing your favorites on Digg or delicious – marketing today is about having something to say that engages your audience.  But how can you make sure your ‘content’ is not just blowing in the wind?  How can you make it purposeful and productive?  How can you use it to draw people to your website so they can take the next step with you?

Keywords are the connection that ties interesting content to a purposeful marketing strategy.  An online marketing campaign without keywords is like a political campaign without soundbytes.  You may have something to say, but it doesn’t stick.  Your keywords will only stick if they are the actual words or phrases your customers would naturally use to talk about and search for information or products in your niche.  (See here for a great primer on how to perform keyword research).

Constructing A Keyword-Focused Digital Presence

Once you define your keywords, they should populate all the content you produce – not in an over-stuffed way, but woven naturally into your pages and posts, and featured in your titles and headings.  It helps to create an editorial calendar, listing your most important keywords and mapping them to each piece of content that you or others in your company will author (blog posts, Facebook shares, tweets, etc.).   This will turn your content publishing efforts into a deliberate piece-by-piece construction of the digital beacon that you want to shine brightly for you in the thick fog of the web.

keywords and content marketing
Keywords create a beacon for search engines & searchers

The more digital content you have pointing to your website with a consistent, keyword-identified theme, the more likely it is that:

  • Search engines will rank your site well for your target keyword phrases
  • Social media conversations on that topic will reference or link to you
  • Bloggers on that topic will link to and send traffic to your website
  • Your online reputation and thought-leadership will grow
  • More visitors will come to your site looking for exactly what you have to offer

For more on keywords and content marketing, see these posts:

Choosing the right keywords for content marketing

Don’t Damage Your Brand With the Wrong Keywords

Keywords, Aboutness and SEO

Will Content Strategy Save Marketing?

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Online Marketing – A Fisherman’s View

February 8, 2011 Filed under: Internet Marketing,SEO — Tags: ,

Picture your Online Marketing campaign as a fisherman casting his net over the waters of the Internet, looking to attract and catch the most desirable fish — those visitors who will come to your site and take the actions you want them to take.   Just as a real fisherman doesn’t want bottom feeders or ‘trash fish’, you don’t want unqualified or disinterested visitors coming to your site.  In order to attract the right fish, you need the proper bait and a strong net.  On your website, that bait takes the form of keyword phrases.  Your fishing net is the content on your website that allows you to reel in your visitors and entice them to take the next step on your site.

courtesy of freefoto.com

The practice of SEO is all about using your bait (keywords) and fishing net (content) to attract and convert the right fish (qualified leads).  So, how can you put this fish analogy to work and perfect the sport of SEO?   Here are some useful tips:

Choose bait that’s recognizable, tasty, and unique.  To attract qualified visitors, you need to include on your website the words and phrases your target visitors will be searching for.  Use words your audience uses, not company jargon or technical terms.  Make your content readable and enticing.  If you go after terms used by lots of competitors, you’ll be like a single fisherman in an ocean of huge trawlers, and few fish will be swimming your way — so strive to stand out.  Keyword research can help identify which phrases are most popular and how much competition they have.  That’s the science of the sport.

Place your bait where it can be found. Unlike fishermen, you have an invisible helper in your fishing expeditions – the search engines.  You can place your bait where they always look – in HTML tags, link text, bulleted content, your first sentence, etc. – and they’ll help it get found by the right fish.  Search engines are like every fisherman’s dream — an invisible ally to lead the fish into your clutches.  SEO lets you effectively enlist the help of that ally by understanding how the search engines work.

Make your bait easy to identify. Make every webpage about one clearly identifiable topic and introduce it in the first sentence (remember what your English teacher taught about a topic sentence?).  Be sure to use your keyword phrases in that topic sentence — this is the artful side of the sport.  Then don’t use those same keyword phrases on any other pages – otherwise you’ll compete with yourself and dilute the ranking strength of your page.  And your visitors will be like fish fooled by false lures.

Attract the influentials. Fish swim in schools.  While they may not have individual leaders, they do follow the school.  In marketing yourself on the web, you’ll want to attract the schools, which means getting links from relevant and popular websites, blogs, and social media influencers who can bring schools of qualified visitors to your site, along with links that will enhance your search ranking.

Make sure your net is strong.  Once you bring visitors to your website, don’t let them swim out through the holes.  Have a clear call-to-action on every page.  Link fluidly from one page to the next and encourage them to stay for a while.  Don’t include lots of outgoing links, and don’t link to an email address, as they may never return (use a Contact Us form instead).  Have a clear strategy for what you want them to do (download a tool or ebook, sign up for a free service, leave an email address, etc.) and know how that fits into your overall marketing strategy and sales funnel.

Learn from your mistakes.  Every fisherman has a story about how the big one got away.  Your online marketing efforts might have a similar story to tell.   But you can use web analytics to make sure you don’t make that same mistake again.  Track each element of your online marketing campaign — keyword effectiveness, incoming link quantity and quality, traffic statistics, performance of call-to-action buttons (and more) — and learn what works and what doesn’t work.  Then use those metrics to fine-tune the effectiveness of your online marketing tactics.

I guess this is where the fishing analogy ends.  I’m not going to suggest that you fry, saute, or otherwise cook your catch…nor does catch-and-release seem appropriate.  I trust you know where to take your customers from here.

NOTE: This blog post does not reflect my true thoughts about the sport or politics of fishing.

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Bring Out Your Dead — Content, That Is

January 26, 2011 Filed under: Blogging,Content Marketing — Tags: ,
dead content

from Wikipedia

If you’re old enough to remember Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you may remember the “bring out your dead” scene (it still cracks me up!).  I don’t want to draw too strong an analogy, especially since the ‘almost dead’  guy gets whacked in the movie, which is not what I’m suggesting.  But I would urge you to think about bringing out your dead.  Content, that is.  If you’re a content marketer, blogger, or Social Media chatterer, you may sometimes wonder where your next idea will come from.  Perhaps you’ve felt that knot in your stomach when gazing at a blank WordPress screen and no blog post topic comes to mind.  Or maybe you feel like you’re just repeating yourself  or regurgitating what you’ve read on other blogs.

One antidote to content cramps may be to look backward.  Previously published content may seem like it’s history, used up, or dead.  But it can actually have plenty of life left — if you know how to revive it and make it relevant to your readers.  After some practice at reviving existing content, you’ll learn how to create new content in ways that are designed for reuse from the start.  Here are some ideas:

  • Company presentations.  You can reuse company slide presentations in their entirety or break them up into digestible snippets for multiple reuse.  We have a tech client who uses their executive presentations from tradeshows and posts them on DocStoc and SlideShare, re-narrates them into videos for YouTube, and re-casts them into multiple blog posts for the company blog.  That’s extended mileage!  Instead of reaching only a room of people, the content is spread across the Web, bringing links, traffic and leads to the company website, where visitors can take the next step in the selling cycle.
  • Educational materials. If your product or service requires instruction, this can be a great source of educational blog posts, helpful tips on Facebook or Twitter, or demonstrations on YouTube or Webinars.  Also consider guest blogging on complementary blogs.  We have a client that sells beautifully handcrafted furniture and they guest blog on interior design blogs so they can educate readers on how to beautify their homes with classic furniture.  And, of course, this builds links to enhance their search ranking.
  • The voice of the customer. Testimonials.  Case studies. Customer reviews. It’s likely you already have some form of written feedback directly from your customers.  What else can you do with it?  Place it on your website.  Feature it in a video and post it on YouTube or your Google/Bing Place Page.  Share it on Facebook.  Quote it on your blog or e-newsletter.  And if you know someone is a fan, engage with them on Social Media and invite them to say more about why they like you.
  • Press releases. If you have news worthy of a press release, don’t stop there.  Make sure you optimize your press release, include links to your website, and post it online.  Then re-cast it as an article or a guest blog post on partner websites or blogs.  Embed a video and post that to YouTube.  And, of course, contact news reporters and bloggers to encourage them to write about your news – then you can feature their article on your blog.
  • White Papers. A single white paper may be the source of multiple blog posts or an article series for distribution to article directories.  A skilled editor will know how to pull out the key points and build each one into a single blog post, optimized for the right keywords.
  • Ebooks. These work as a source or a destination for  content reuse.  You can package a group of related articles or blog posts as an eBook and offer it for download on your website as a qualifying call-to-action.  Or, if you started with an ebook, you can break it into smaller pieces and run it as a series of blog posts.  Either way, a bit of re-wording and selective updating can revive and freshen up old content so you don’t need to start from scratch.
  • Industry articles or blog posts you’ve saved from other sites or publications can be used as a jumping-off point for your own commentary or to initiate discussions on Twitter or other Social Media.
  • Support Forums. These will give you a good idea of what your customers are concerned and talking about, and give you fresh ideas for what topics they’ll want to read about on your blog or Facebook.  You can quote their comments or questions as your starting point, and turn to your Support department for help with the answers.

So, if you find yourself short on ideas for what to say on your blog or social media, return to the well of existing content.  If you pay close attention, you just might hear it whisper “I’m not dead yet.”  If you understand the value of content marketing, you’ll realize that existing content can come back to life in many forms, be reused in many channels, and work on many platforms – all of which can help generate traffic and links to your website and build your reputation online.   And you’ll never run out of things to write about.

For some great examples of how to re-purpose existing content, see the book by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks and Webinars.

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How to Manage Your Search Marketing Agency: No More “Go Do It Please”

There’s no doubt about it – marketing as a profession is undergoing massive changes, right now, in real-time.   When you’re in the midst of change, it’s hard enough to shift your perceptions, and even harder to alter long-established practices.   But in marketing as in anything else, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to acknowledge that things aren’t what they used to be, and then be willing to reset your expectations as well as your plans.

I’ve been a marketing professional for over 20 years, and for the first 17-18 years, the practice of marketing didn’t change much.  Companies determined their product (or service) strategy, created marketing materials, attended conferences, hired ad agencies to run ad campaigns and PR agencies to pitch stories to the press.   (Gross generalization, I admit, but roughly true).  When you hired an agency, you expected the ‘creative types’ to go off, think creatively, and come back with some cool-looking ads or some punchy story ideas to pitch to journalists.  The implicit expectation: “just go do it for me, please.”

The new world of search marketing and social media is much different.  If your job is to market your company’s products, you can’t expect an agency to just “go do it” for you.  Why not?  There are 3 main reasons, as I see it:

Content Freshness. Your online image is only as fresh as your content.  While an outside marketing agency may know lots about your company or product, they’re just not as close as you are to what’s new and interesting about it.  You’ll need to keep the content coming, and keep the news fresh.  An outside agency can, however, be a terrific brainstorming partner, content management advisor, ghost writer, editor, content optimizer, writing coach, and even blog “personal trainer” (ask me about this if you don’t know what I mean).   Online marketing is fast evolving into content marketing, and an agency can be a valuable partner in helping your company to make this transition.

The Personal Touch.  Social media is all about connecting directly with your customers and prospects, and an authentic voice is critical to establishing trust.  It’s therefore a good idea to develop your own company “voice” and to build a credible presence on social media.  An outside agency can be a key partner in helping you set goals for your social media strategy, understand the different social media channels and which are best suited to your goals and audience, and coach you on how to get started.  They can also help you tie your social media strategy to a larger Content Marketing strategy, and measure your effectiveness across the board.

Quick Response.   It’s likely your company is being talked about online.  Whether it’s online customer reviews, social media discussions, or blog comments, your company name – and hence your online reputation – is out there.  If you want a chance to respond, shape your image, or even just track what’s being said, you’ll need to tune in to this chatter.  A company representative is once again your best online voice, although a marketing agency can track and measure what’s being said and point you to the trouble spots that need your immediate attention.

Success for a marketer in the current online environment starts with engagement.  Engagement is becoming an over-used word, but it’s an apt one nonetheless.  If you don’t engage with your customers, you’ll lose their online attention; and for a growing number of consumers, online is where their attention is increasingly focused.

Does this mean you shouldn’t hire a marketing agency?  No, that’s certainly not what I’m suggesting (disclosure: I AM a marketing agency).  And you should still expect creative ideas, solid strategic thinking, and excellence in execution, as good marketing agencies have always provided.  But I am suggesting you alter your “just do it for me” expectation.  To help you succeed, an Internet Marketing agency needs your deep involvement.   While there are agencies who’ll encourage you to outsource everything to them, a more effective approach is a partnership.

If you want to portray an authentic online presence, you’ll need to develop your own unique voice in social media, generate unique content on a frequent basis, and respond in a timely manner to your online fans and reviewers.  These are big tasks, and an online marketing agency can help – as coach, editor, organizer, strategizer, ghost writer, metrics tracker and analyst, and more.  But they can’t “just go do it” without you.

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Search Marketing: Content, Credibility and Call-to-Action

September 21, 2010 Filed under: Content Marketing,SEO — Tags: ,

SEO and search spiderSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) has only been around for 10 years, but in that time it has proven its value as an important new marketing discipline, a wealth of training and information resources have become available, and thousands of practitioners (yours truly included) have turned it into a viable profession.   To be sure, there’s a lot to learn, the tools and techniques are changing and evolving rapidly, and implementation details need to be managed carefully to ensure success.  But there are some simple, broad-brush principles to keep in mind, and they relate directly to the basic principles of traditional marketing.  Keeping these in mind will help you integrate SEO as a core component of your overall marketing strategy, and link it naturally with your other marketing tactics.

Any marketer can tell you their primary job is to achieve three simple goals in generating new business for the company:

  1. Communicate a unique selling proposition to potential (and existing) customers
  2. Establish credibility for the product, service or brand
  3. Motivate people to take a desired action

All successful marketing tactics are built around one or more of these goals, and most marketing disciplines (advertising, PR, email marketing, etc) keep them actively in their sights at all times.  Search marketing should be no different.  However, since it’s a relatively new discipline, there’s a dizzying amount of advice circulating about it, and it’s not always practiced by people with a marketing background, SEO can sometimes lose sight of these goals.  Here’s a quick primer on how SEO can keep “the big picture” in its sights.

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Google Instant And The Small Business Owner

September 10, 2010 Filed under: Internet Marketing,Local Search — Tags: ,
SEO and Google Instant

source: Google

If you pay attention to the Search Engine Marketing industry (which I do), it’s hard to miss this week’s news about Google Instant, the new Google feature that shows search results in real time, letter by letter, as you’re typing in the search box.  This is one step beyond Bing’s already-existing type-ahead feature, which guesses what search term you’re typing and offers a list of probable word matches; Google guesses a word match and also displays a page of search results to go with it, then changes those results as you type each new letter to reveal your full intent.  The idea is you can click on a relevant search result before you’ve even got your search term fully formed.  The assumption by Google is that people can think and read faster than they can type — and will appreciate Google keeping up with their mind rather than waiting for their typing finger.  No more having to hit that pesky <Search> button before getting your list of choices.

There’s been lots published in the first 2 days to analyze what this means — for searchers, for website owners, and for the SEO practitioner.  But what does it mean for your small business, if you’re looking to improve your search ranking for a handful of keyword terms?  Here’s a roundup of opinions from across the web, and my overlay of comments from a small biz perspective.

1. It’s great for searchers – provides helpful suggestions, broadens your search experience, and is more efficient.  This undoubtedly describes Google’s intention, as the new feature is positioned to improve the search experience and create the best match between the searcher’s intent and the list of search results.  If you’re a small business and your site is well optimized for keywords that do a good job of describing your business, this is good news for you.  It may even direct users to your site by moving you up from page 2 to page 1, because the result page will be changing dynamically and refreshing instantly as the user continues to type  and narrow their search.  In the course of typing a 2-word search term, for example, a user will see a different list of search results for each letter they type, rather than just a single static list after they click <Search>.  This makes it even more imperative that your website is super-well optimized for the keyword terms most important to your potential customers.

2.  Popular keywords will become even more popular. Lots of initial reaction to this new feature suggests that search volume will increase for the most popular keywords, because Google will “suggest” the most common ways to complete the searcher’s query.  In the short term, this may give more search prominence (and hence more traffic) to the most established brands, as they are more likely to be “suggested” by Google.  However, if the suggested results don’t deliver what the user is looking for, this result may subside over time.  Implications for small business?  Don’t be too quick to judge whether this gives unfair advantage to the big players.  Ultimately, it’s more likely to send more qualified leads your way.

3. Google Instant means no one will see the same web anymore, making it virtually impossible to optimize your site for your intended audience. Real-time feedback will personalize every search so there’s no predictability to people’s search behaviors.  This is certainly true, but it doesn’t mean site optimization is no longer valuable.  It does mean, however, that you can’t “game” the system to trick the search engines.  Instead, Google will reward (as it’s always tried to do) the websites that most clearly explain what they’re about, by sending them searchers who are looking for them.  If a searcher knows what they want, and you’ve optimized your pages for what they want, your chances of being found will be better.

4.  There will be less traffic for long tail keywords. This is SEO-speak meaning that search terms with multiple words (a “long tail”) will become less common because searchers will find a relevant result before they type the 3d or 4th word.  Makes sense.  This could be bad for small businesses, as conventional wisdom in search marketing circles has been that longer, and more specific, search terms are less competitive and therefore offer a niche for small businesses to compete with more established brands.  If you’re in a well-defined niche business, you may continue to draw long-tail keyword searchers; if not, you may indeed see a dip in your search traffic.

5. This new feature is not that new, and is annoying besides…it won’t change much of anything. Like any new feature, this one has critics as well as fans.  Recognizing this, Google has made it easy to turn off the feature, though a good percentage of people, even if they find it annoying, won’t do this.  If you’re a small business, this means things may not change at all for you.   (…and here’s my favorite comment from a not-too-impressed user:  ”Great. Like we’re not lazy enough. Thanks Google. Those few extra nanoseconds come in real handy.”)

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Search Marketing: How PPC Can Enhance Your SEO

June 29, 2010 Filed under: PPC,SEO — Tags: , ,

PPC keywordsIn the “old days” of traditional marketing (about 2-3 years ago) advertising and PR were the two mainstays of marketers.  In advertising, big budgets and creative talent allowed you to control your message and build your brand.  In public relations, influence and relationships with the media allowed you to add credibility to your brand through stories in the press.  But aside from shared branding themes, there was typically little overlap between the 2 worlds, and almost no shared learning.

Search marketing changes things.  In the Internet Marketing world, search advertising (PPC) is the latest form of paid brand-building, while SEO and Social Media are the newest strategies for boosting your  credibility online.  Traditional advertising and PR still exist, of course, but there are good reasons why companies are increasingly shifting their marketing budgets away from these channels into search-based Internet marketing.  The most obvious reasons are:

  • the growing number of hours that people now spend online
  • the fact that businesses can target audiences more effectively and less intrusively, since PPC ads and organic search listings display only when they’re relevant to what someone is actively searching for
  • the ability to measure results and improve the return on your marketing investment

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YouTube Viral Marketing Tips

I’ve been reading lots lately about how small businesses can best use YouTube in their online marketing efforts and I’d like to share some useful things I’ve learned.  First, statistics indicate that 4.3 billion videos are watched per month on YouTube.  That’s a viewership that many marketers find too enticing to ignore.   At the same time – and perhaps a major factor in YouTube’s growth – the cost and time required to produce a video is now well within reach of nearly every business. 

Does this mean everyone needs to run out and create a video to jump on the bandwagon?  Not necessarily.  Like all forms of social media, it’s best to stop and think about what value you have to offer before jumping in, as content that’s strictly self-promotional isn’t likely to get much viewership. 

So what do YouTube viewers like to watch?  Topics that work best on YouTube tend to fall into one (or more) of 3 categories:

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