Thursday, September 28, 2006

Online Marketing is Being Dominated by Search Marketing. What is Your Strategy?

It's pretty crazy how popular internet advertising is and how much it continues to grow. According to a recent study internet ad revenue is up 37% over the first half of last year. See the full article at BtoBOnline

Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers report that
Search continues to lead that growth, accounting for 40% of total online advertising revenue in the first half. Search is followed by display ads, which account for 30% of total revenues, classified advertising (20%), referrals/lead generation (8%) and e-mail (2%).

What does this all mean? It means that search marketing is working! It's delivering the goods - both web traffic and conversions (i.e. $$$). What can you do? If you don't have a search marketing strategy, walk over - NO RUN - to your VP of marketing and get his/her team together to discuss this immediately.

New to Search Marketing? Get thee to a bookstore!

Not versed in the subject of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Pick up a copy of Search Engine Optimization an Hour a Day. This will give a good start as to what is involved. If you're a larger organization, I suggest looking at an agency or consultant to help you get moving. Optimizing your website to make it search friendly is a tremendous effort and you may not have the bandwidth to get where you need to be. Paid search is a whole other can of worms. You need to stay on top of your keywords that you've purchased to ensure you get the most bang for your bucks.

Hey I Googled You - Now What?

It happens, all the time. You find a site and then you leave 2 seconds later (If you reached this section of my post that you've been here for a bit longer - good for you!!) as the content is not relevant to what you're looking for. How do you improve this? With your SEO expert consultant or learned knowledge drive people to highly customizes landing pages that incorporate the search keywords that brought them there. For example, the page titles and headers should include these keywords. Have a strong call to action based on the keywords. For example, I was searching for vacations in Florida, I want to see a list of vacation packages on the landing page that I get to with "learn more" button regarding seeing Disney World or visiting the Florida Keys (here's a good example of a result I found based on this search). I don't want to see trips to Hawaii or the North Pole on this landing page mixed in with Florida trips. This is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended - OK, maybe I did intend it).

You Searched. You Found. You Left. Now What?

The good news is that your efforts should pay off as you should start to see higher sales and/or greater lead generation from the new web traffic you're getting. However, what if people come to your site but don't purchase anything right away? That's OK and should be expected. More and more organizations are leveraging their software to use search queries in productive methods. For example, why not send an email to those people that came to your site based on a certain keyword but maybe didn't download a certain white paper and/or complete their sales order? I've also seen others use search queries as part of an automated lead qualification process. There are many ways that you can leverage the search traffic you're getting.

Bottom line - don't get left behind as the only thing you'll be searching for is a new job. Having a website and sending out direct mail or email isn't going to cut it. You need a fully integrated marketing effort that is fresh, creative and exciting. Keep thinking about how "Anything Goes" and never forget it.

Happy searching!

Chad H

PS: Great resource - SEOmoz
PPS: Here's my Anything Goes Marketing tip of the day (I get these the odd time) - does your organization use a type of regular reporting email tool with your customers? If you do, think about including some small marketing messages such as a link to an upcoming webinar or event, a link to the latest copy of your newsletter, or a link to your new product/service offerings. Customers expect to get these emails so spice them up a bit and keep on marketing.

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