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?
I spoke with Jerry Booth, President and CEO of Fresh Traffic Group about some things that can not only give those spots to advertisers, but earn eCommerce sites some extra money.
First we talked about how the current economic situation is driving more consumers online as opposed to in-store. Jerry cited an AdAge piece stating that Web sales were growing at five times the rate of brick and mortar stores, a trend that the economy will no doubt fuel further. “The Web represents an unprecedented choice for today’s consumer – a broader spectrum of product options, features and prices to compare than physical stores offer,” says Jerry. “The sheer time savings, and the saved transportation cost make the Web an increasingly preferred venue in which consumers are shopping.”
“From the retailer side, the economy is clearly causing brick and mortar chains to evaluate the profitability of every store, and close those that are under-performing,” he continues. “It’s hit everyone from Best Buy whose Web growth outpaced in-store sales to Starbucks. For the consumer, fewer stores is another driver to the Web.”
There are simply too many benefits to using CSS (cascading style sheets) to ignore. Is your page code long and difficult to read? Is it increasingly harder to find that line to tweak your pages layout or appearance? Cascading Style Sheets will help improve your websites efficiency, and it will be easier to read for search engines. To a search engine, a website that is coded in CSS says several things about your company: you embrace foward technology and that your content is modern, up-to-date and relevant. Using Cascading Style Sheets is one of the best Search Engine Optimization methods to creating a web site, it is candy to Search Spiders.
A Cascading Style Sheet is a method used to give web designers more control over the style of each page — allowing them to customize each paragraph, title, header, or bulleted list. CSS gives you the ability to specify font, size, and color of anything you want without having to repeatedly insert specific lines of code.
A few key points to using CSS to help optimize your website are:
1. Using regular HTML codes to define things like font tags can be very cumbersome. It inserts extra unnecessary code into the source code of your website, making it more difficult for the spider to crawl your site. Search engine spiders won’t just read the content that shows up on your site, they read every single line of code. You don’t want to pollute your source code with excessive HTML.
2. In a nutshell, CSS can do everything HTML can do, only better. Instead of placing the style tags (for fonts, backrounds, colors, etc.) in the actual code, it is placed in an external file. A simple and brief statement is placed in the source code to call to that external file where all your bulky style codes are laid out leaving your page clean and simple.
3. The use of Cascading Style Sheets will also allow preloading of your website into your browser. The basic elements are carried forward through any page you visit. This is optimal for search engine spiders, they want to read through your website as fast as they possibly can. With CSS, you can have all the effects you want without slowing down the search engine spiders you are striving to impress.
4. Give your website a diet plan! Converting your old HTML layouts to CSS can typically cut anywhere from 25 to 50 percent off of page size. They give you the added benefit of simplified, adaptable structure and the separation of code in a presentation.
5. One of the most instantly rewarding benefits of Cascading Style Sheets is that they are a huge time saver. Code it properly once, and never again. Let’s say for example, your site is coded with HTML; the header on each one of your sites pages is written in blue text. One day you decide you want to change the look and feel of your site and you want to change the headers from blue font to a bold black. With an HTML website, you have to go through each page and physically change each header. Depending on the size of your site, that could be very time consuming. with a website written with CSS, you simply open that external file, change the header tag color from blue to black and your job is done That one change will automatically update every header without you having to manually change each one.
Petsecure Pet Health Insurance, Canada’s leader in pet insurance, has announced that they have engaged the services of Fresh Traffic Group to drive qualified sales leads to their website and strengthen their brand online.
“Since undergoing a major rebranding of Petsecure in early 2008, we have seen a noticeable difference in how people are finding us online. We identified our placement on the search engines as one of the major areas to invest for this years marketing budget. We understand that to achieve high placement on the search engines, the best approach is to hire an SEO expert to consult us on the optimum way forward online,” says President of Petsecure Randy Valpy. “We were pleasantly surprised to find that a former Director of Google UK was headquartered right here in Winnipeg. We are confident that by engaging his company we can regain our position as leaders online for pet insurance in Canada.”
Comments Fresh Traffic President Jerry Booth, “We are always proud when we have the opportunity to work with industry leaders. We hit it off immediately with the management team at Petsecure, and we are confident that we can help them restore their position as leaders online. We often meet with companies who have placed a great deal of accountability in their IT departments or web designers to handle the task of marketing online. The reality is that SEO is a completely different skill set than that of an IT professional or web designer. This is why we welcome the opportunity to work with a company like Petsecure who value the importance of our service. We are excited to show them the results that come with engaging the expertise of a company dedicated to search engine marketing.”
About Petsecure Pet Health Insurance.
Petsecure Pet Health Insurance, the core brand of SecuriCan General Insurance Company, is 100% Canadian-owned and operated. It is Canada’s first and leading pet insurance provider, helping to provide the best care for dogs and cats, and peace of mind for Canadian pet parents since 1989. Their signature member package, Secure For Life™, provides comprehensive accident & illness coverage, routine care for pets, plus member benefits including dental, alternative care and more.
For further information on Petsecure, please visit their web site at www.petsecure.com or contact Mika Sanson, Manager, Marketing & Communications at: 204-942-2999 ext. 7297, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Fresh Traffic Group – www.freshtraffic.ca
Fresh Traffic Group, operated by former Director of Google UK, Jerry Booth, specializes in organic search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), helping company websites to place high on the pages of the major search engines such as; Google, MSN and Yahoo. The company is headquartered on the 16th floor of the CanWest Global Building in Winnipeg, MB Canada.
For further information or to book an appointment to meet, contact: David Guspodarchuk, Sales Manager, 204-942-4200 ext. 2225, email@example.com
Everyone wants to get associated with this word. What has web marketing in store for your online business? In selling products and services inside the Internet, there is a procedure that is utilized in order to advance the brands and names for one purpose: to sell. Selling in the Web is different because a website must give concentration on ways to get the attention of users and how they can be baited. Therefore, there are devices that have been formulated to take advantage of the number that gets inside the Internet.
Considering the large population of Internet users, it would be fairly easy to catch them and point them to a certain site. However, these people cannot be manipulated that easy unless there is a common ground for all of them. What is that common ground? The search engines, a tool so widely used and an authority when talking of information gathering. Certainly, the individuals who make use of search engines are scattered all over the globe. Hence, this venue has been considered very viable to give information on your products. SEO is a process in Web marketing that allows your business to be included in the search results.
The first thing that comes to mind when SEO becomes a topic is, can I rank in the first pages? There is plenty of website now so one questions, “Will I shine among the millions of competitor sites?” The answer lies in the potential of this method.
Consider it a privilege for you to know that SEO is a non-expensive method of making a mark in the search pages especially, of Google. Once your site lands in the top ranks, it would be easy to maintain that position. So, it is an imperative that if success in business is being aimed at, Web marketing methods can help each hopeful to achieve that goal.
The companies that have relied on the guarantee of Web marketing process are now enjoying the fruits of this brilliant technique. Making money becomes a relatively easy endeavor and thus, if they have succeeded, then there is big chance that you can achieve that too!
The big bee that is over extension is coming back to bite a few companies in the butt, Winnipeg’s Canwest can vouch for that. This is what happens when you spend years building an empire by paying too much for crappy assets.
Who’s now going to buy newspapers in this digital age? Um – nobody. Most get the news for free on readers or other online sources. You don’t need to plug a landfill or recyclying container with reports of uninteresting stuff that happened one or two days ago.
The only downside to all of this is that once again, the loyal employees will be screwed over when shutdowns or CCAA takes place. One only need look as far as Nortel to see what happens to the ‘real people’.
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.
The UK’s search engine marketing spend grew 11% year on year during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a report.
Search spend increased by 14% between the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2008, according to a Search Engine Performance Report.
This reflects the trend for consumers and marketers to increase online activity during the busy Christmas trading period.
Google grew its overall UK market share from 82.6% to 88.2% year on year, largely as a result of its Google Content network which grew by 300% year on year.
The increase in market share by Google was in part at Yahoo!’s expense. Its market share dropped from 13.9% to 8.4% year on year.
Microsoft Live Search was able to maintain its presence in the UK market at 3.4% market share.
The increased level of search spend during Q4 can be in large part attributed to the strength of the online retail channel in price comparison and shopping efficiency, particularly for more established online brands who increased spend to reach revenue goals.
Get ready SEOs… in 2009, it’s not all about search engine webpage rankings anymore! According to Google, they will officially be launching their Universal Search model in early 2009 to make users’ search experience as simple and straightforward as possible.
So what does that mean for the SEO world? The search game is not all about ranking #1 in the results anymore. Considering that there could be 2 videos, a series of images, and a map of local businesses ABOVE your top (SERP) webpage ranking, it’s time to turn those optimization efforts to new fields.
As Google incorporates Universal Search into its results in 2009, all types of web content will begin to appear on page one – not just web pages. Before you know it, whitepapers, images, news stories, products, and videos will permanently infiltrate search results.