Browsing "online marketing"
Search Engine Marketing (SEM); – SEM, paid search, Pay Per Click (PPC) – why would this particular form of online advertising appear to be just about recession-proof? Google’s continued growth in such a down market is just one example of how SEM continues to grow at a faster pace than nearly any other form of marketing.
It is expected that SEM/PPC will grow at a rate of 13% a year up to 2013, even where print, broadcast and other offline mediums are stagnating or declining.
What is it exactly that seems to make SEM recession-proof? SEM does what marketers need a marketing medium to do in a down economy: it generates better returns on the smaller budgets organisations have to work with.
The true power of Search Engine Marketing lies in the fact that a search user is telling the advertiser exactly what he or she is looking for, and search engines provide the relevant results to the user. Other forms of advertising by contrast push a message to the consumers who may or may not be interested in them.
The fact that advertisers place their messages in an environment that is relevant to the user mean that SEM is a powerful tool for branding as well as achieving customer acquisitions and conversions.
SEM is cost-effective and efficient. Because you are getting the right message to the right people, at the right time, there is far less wastage than there is in most other forms of advertising.
The flexibility which SEM provides is another key strength. One could easily set up a branding campaign that will see a longer tail of keywords and the possible use of the content network. The focus is on achieving critical mass or to reach it in a cost-effective manner. Sales-driven campaigns by contrast, will be more targeted with a strong ROI focus.
Around the world, industry is buying into search. Research conducted by Forrester in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe shows that 85% of marketers are using, piloting or planning to pilot search marketing programmes this year.
Search marketing should be a cornerstone of any marketing strategy. Any company which isn’t visible when users are looking for their services or products online is throwing away opportunities to capture new sales and customers.
Okay Time to Tell and we know better than most
1) Never be over confident : Uphold some modesty and keep in mind that it doesnt matter how good things look for you now, there is much more work to continue.
2) Don’t keep all your targeted terms in one basket : Barack Obama knew that to win an election meant campaigning in a multi-tiered fashion. You can’t target just one region. You must keep hold on every segment of your market in terms that they can understand.
3) Begin early : It was 2 years before Barack Obama became President that he started campaigning for it. For Online, age is a factor. Start up early and hold a top position.
4) Newcomers can beat old veterans : First it was Hillary Clinton then it was John McCain. Just because the other guys have more experience doesn’t mean that the guy with new ideas can’t come out on top.
5) Don’t spend all your time in areas you know you’re going to win : You must target the swing states – that is, there are segments of the marketplace that can go your way or move closer to your competition. Focus on those segments and make a strong case for yourself.
6) Build up a team that covers up for your weaknesses : Obama selected Biden which made a big difference. All Obama where lacked, was in experience which was make up by his running mate. Build up your team in a similar manner and lead ahead.
7) Be positive : It doesnt matter what the enemy throws at you, stay positive and be focused. Always have a ray of hope.
8) Change : Make sure that if you offer change that it is change we need.
Remember, SEO is not a zero sum game. Barack Obama and Online team have lessons to teach us all – about Search Engine Optimization and about life.
It’s always been known that America is primarily a consumerist market. But, even now Americans are dedicated consumers. And, the Web makes it easier and faster to track, and then bag, the goods.
Even with living with a devastating economy, we’ll still find ways to happily buy stuff. We won’t stop.
So, flagging emerging consumer trends is the lifeblood of any business. Consumers can pile into a fad quickly, and leave just as fast.
Two must-watch trends rippling through the consumerism this year bear watching: chic frugality and the greening of older goods.
Booming online shopping and research tools speed the frugality process, especially as small, mobile devices make the Web easier to navigate. The result is a giant communication tool for sharing consumer information and low-cost goods.
According to one survey, 80% of consumers say they’re shopping online to save money.
What with the 24/7 market of the web, it’s best to be your targets first, and only stop.
If business owners want to gain a competitive edge online in 2009, a comprehensive strategy is the way to go.
Businesses of any size will succeed with online marketing – and blow past the competition – by focusing on multiple fronts at one time to deliver the most favorable ROI.
The Internet offers a dizzyingly array of services, everything from search engine optimization and link building to paid search, banner advertising and video marketing. Each has merit and can improve profits.
How could it make any sense to let them operate as silos?
We tie these and other services together in what we call the Battle Plan. To get the best results, you need to hit your target market with everything you have available.
Regardless of what you call it, a Battle Plan approach requires a good deal of coordination that can become a way of life with practice.
Here are 8 tips to help you get started:
1. Cultivate Teams.
A plan on paper won’t work in reality if the people involved can’t cooperate. Long before our Battle Plan took shape, we made sure to involve the entire staff in team building exercises, contests and social outings. We also have regular staff meetings and hold internal mini workshops so each service line can let everyone else get a sense of what they do.
2. Nail Down Processes.
Yes, it can be tedious, but only good things can happen when everyone follows the same system.
3. Achieve Excellence.
It’s not always easy to define quality, but you need to continually provide exceptional service in each area. Our Battle Plan would suffer enormously if one service dropped the ball. In the military, for example, ground troops would fail more often without air support.
4. Think ROI.
At the end of the day, it’s about leads and sales. Time and time again, we’ve managed through SEO to achieve high rankings and traffic. Unfortunately, the website we inherit sometimes lacks clear Calls to Action. Adding a well placed, unique phone number or a special offer can work wonders.
5. Track and Adapt Conversion Opportunities.
Calls to Action can appear just about anywhere. With the basic website design, you may have any number of response forms or buy/call signals. Similar or different ones may be developed for paid search or video marketing campaigns. In our case, we learn from what each area is doing and adapt or repeat their Calls to Action. In other words, lead forms that work for video may perform as well or better in paid search.
6. A Central Project Manager Is Essential.
Obviously, plenty of work must happen behind the scenes. Yet, it’s also critical to have a project manager in place for each program to keep the lines of communication open. The project manager is in a good position to make sure everyone – from internal staff to clients – is on the same page and up to speed.
7. Share Data.
I’ve hinted at it already, but shared information is paramount to a comprehensive approach that crosses multiple disciplines. For example, when a SEO specialist gets a top ranking on Google, that information must get in the hands of a paid search expert who can help decide if an ad should be paused or continued depending on whether branding or conversion objectives are being met. You can exchange data from many areas – paid search ads, landing pages, banner ads, meta descriptions, inbound link anchor text, video marketing campaigns and much more.
8. Reinforce Efforts.
You have to find ways to stay in touch with prospects. For us, one of the easiest is an opt-in e-mail marketing system. I’m dumbfounded by the number of companies that I hear about that don’t consistently use structured emails to follow up with different types of leads. Sometimes businesses do send emails, but it’s not always well planned. Why not craft automated messages for designated dates, such as 7 days, 30 days and 60 days out from the first point of contact?
In today’s economy, at the moment in time someone is searching for what you offer, how fiercely are you competing to be found?
The economy is forcing travel search marketers to change the way they approach online marketing.
The travel vertical is already one of the most advanced groups of search marketers, but the industry has been under more pressure in recent months to make their campaigns count.
With business travel tanking, leisure travelers looking for deals, shrinking marketing budgets, and tougher competition than ever, the stakes are even higher.
You might think you have a handle on your target keywords, but in this economic environment, what your target travelers are looking for may have changed. Relax, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change your keyword focus to “cheap hotels,” “discount airfare/cruises,” or “travel deals,” but you may discover new areas of opportunity or searchers looking for value. Package deals, inclusive prices, and special offers may be something you haven’t optimized your content around before.
It’s also difficult to take a risk changing any of your title tags, page names, headings, and so forth if you’re already ranking reasonably well. But you could be leaving some traffic on the table if you aren’t including location data appropriately, or capitalizing on related searches (e.g., “lodging near any National Park/attraction” or “things to do in anytown, USA”). It’s an opportunity to create new pages and internal links targeted at these specific searches.
If successful, you may start experimenting by folding these concepts into your main pages, or just go for it and add to them now. You can always change it back if it doesn’t work.
Senior executives at advertising, marketing and interactive firms suggest the economic downturn will create unique opportunities for the industry, especially companies in emerging marketing and media, according to the AdMedia Partners 15th annual survey “Merger and Acquisitions Prospects for Marketing Services and Internet Marketing Firms.”
Respondents believe overall advertising spend will decline 5% this year, but expect 5% growth in interactive advertising, as well as their businesses. Most online categories got the nod, particularly word-of-mouth, social media, search, mobile marketing and behavioral and contextual marketing.
In fact 77% expect word-of-mouth/social media marketing to grow in 2009, compared with 76% for search marketing, 75% for mobile marketing and 70% for behavioral/contextual marketing. Some respondents noted pessimism about display advertising, suggesting “banner ads will become pure commodity.
Bring in the humans
To this point, the Web has been, by its nature, technology driven. Google is the most successful company of the Internet era thanks to its algorithm, a piece of technology adept at sorting the wheat from the chaff. Most of the leaps and bounds online have been in the realm of technology, whether it’s ad networks deciding marketing message placement by sniffing out users’ prior behavior or finely tuned measurement. Expect more advancement on those fronts, yet a greater emphasis on giving digital marketing a human face.
The algorithm is already getting a human touch with sites like Buzzfeed and Mahalo. Even Google is coming around to this notion by letting users tell it which sites are more relevant to them, a seemingly small step but one unthinkable for the engineer-driven Google just a couple years ago. New tools like Twitter will only increase the drive for people to connect with people, not just faceless entities. This will challenge marketing organizations and agencies, since humans don’t scale as easily as computers. The launch-and-forget mentality will need to give way to a 24 x 7 approach.
“There’s going to a big wake-up call for brands that the real work begins after the launch,” said David Armano, vp of experience design at digital agency Critical Mass. He sees cause marketing via social networks as a useful bridge to brands looking to infuse their mass reach ad tactics with a human touch.
What trends should internet marketers look for in 2009? I’ve decided to list some of my thoughts on changes in the industry for the coming year, what to expect and emerging marketing opportunities.
Social Media Tools – Just as social media marketing has become more popular over the last few years, so has the need for tools to help marketers manage this space. I expect more analytical and management tools for marketers to help make business sense of social media.
Closed Networks – Google will continue to be the major player in search, but do not underestimate closed networks (LinkedIn) and smaller players that fit a niche. Closed networks will continue to grow and may offer more opportunity to reach your target audience.
Internet TV – I have been hyping online TV services like Joost and Hulu for the past year. This will be the year for internet TV in my opinion. Services have jumped through some technical hurdles and now offer respectable performance over a broadband connection. Entertainment is becoming more personalized, so it only makes sense to watch what you want when you want.
Mobile Marketing – Now that we have more advanced mobile networks and devices (iPhone 3G and G2), companies are beginning to invest in mobile applications that compliment their online experience. Many of these applications will enable real time interaction with product and services. What was cocktail conversation a couple years ago will now become a reality for many mobile consumers.
What trends do you think will be the big movers in 2009?
Canada’s Online Retail Revolution Picks Up Steam.
New numbers from statistics Canada show that Canadians are taking advantage of e-tailing like never before.
Online shopping has increased by more than 61 percent in two years. ringing up a record $12.8 billion in sales in 2007.
A total of of 69.9 million orders were placed online in 2007, up from 49.4 million in 2005.
Overall more than 8.4 million Canadians aged 16 and over purchased something online last year.
Need Online Marketing Help? Call us today 204.942.4200
1. Under-monetize to buy mindshare. (almost every category Google is in)
2. Offer a free version to make sure everyone who may want to has a chance to experience your product and/or service. (almost every category Google is in)
3. Offer something that forces people to keep coming back to your website. Alternatively, bundle your stuff into the browser. (the Google Toolbar is huge.)
4. Invest heavily in distribution deals and public relations. Keep making small changes and talking about how important they are so you stay in the media. Maintain that your success is because superior products even while you are buying marketshare.
5. If a business model competes with your model, try to guide the conversation and get market participants to attack each other to your own benefit (this, above all other reasons, is why it is not smart for “professional” SEOs to publicly endorse outing each other…nobody wins but Google).
6. Offer free or low cost versions of cash cows of competing services to distract them and/or force change upon them. (Google Docs)
7. Even when you have a market leading position, keep investing heavily in complimentary markets to reinforce your position as the default. Become ubiquitous. Become a verb. (mobile operating system)
8. When you tap out the potential of your product or service look for ways to make it deeper is select high value verticals. (onebox, universal search, site search)
9. When you have enough leverage and a large enough lead, change the market to put yourself at the center of it. (the Omnibox in Google Chrome)