Online Marketing Strategies: SEO and SEM

Online marketing strageties

Online marketing stragetiesI want to kill two birds with one stone with this post and cover both SEO and SEM.  The purpose will not be to make you a SEO or SEM expert.  Not even an amateur.  The two categories are both far to broad to cover in a blog post or this online marketing strategy series.  What I want to do here is to explain what they are and how they are different as most people have no clue.  For the do it yourself’er I’ll point you towards some helpful resources.  If you’re not into the DIY thing then you can contact me and I’ll be glad to offer you some help via my paid services.

First things first

Before we begin it’s important to understand the anatomy of a search engine results page.  When you Google something let’s say the words ‘car dealer’ there are three possible places on the page to view results.  They are paid search, organic, and local.

What is SEO:

SEO stands for search engine optimization.  It typically refers to a website owners efforts to rank high in organic search.

What is SEM:

SEM stands for search engine marketing and refers to a business owners effort to appear in paid search results (think Google Adwords).

Where should you focus your energy and money?

Consider this senario.  You are evaluating two business for purchase.  They are identical in every respect except for business ‘A’ receives 90% of it’s business from organic web leads and business ‘B’ receives 90% of its business from paid search results.  Which would you prefer to buy?  When ever I ask people this they always say option ‘A’.  But that would be a mistake (in my opinion). What would happen if Google changes it search algorithm and now business ‘A’ does not rank high for it’s keywords but instead ends of on page 10 of the search results.  This happened to a friend of mine as well as other business when Google made it Panda update.

Why a primary focus on SEO is a marketing mistake

  • SEO results are out of your control (think Panda updates).
  • SEO results are far to competitive (literally millions of results for typical search)

I recommend focusing first on SEM / paid search

  • SEM results are largely in your hand
  • Paid search is far less competitive

SEO help

If you’re running a WordPress site I recommend downloading the Yoast SEO plugin.  That’s what I use.

If you want to read up on some advanced SEO pickup Danny Dover’s book Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Secrets
(this is not typical stuff you will find on the web).

Read the SEOmoz blog

SEM / paid search help

Setting up Google Adwords is easy.  But getting it to work cost efficiently is not.  I recommend you hire a professional (I provide AdWords management services) from the start if you’re considering advertising online.  You’ll save yourself thousands.  You an also try reading Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords 3/E: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes.

Online Marketing Strategies – How To Develop A Website or Blog Strategy

Online marketing strageties

This is the second post in my Online Marketing Strategies series.  Sorry for the delay in getting this out.  Appologies out of the way let’s dive in.  Today I’ll discuss developing a solid website or blog strategy.  I’ll also do a deep dive for choosing a domain name and a CMS.

The main focus of a website strategy is to build an information rich website that allows you to respond customer needs – whatever they are. (Click To Tweet)

You might think deciding on a blog or website platform would be a somewhat elementary part of your plan, but it’s not.  Here are a list of things you need to consider when thinking through your plan of action. Online marketing strageties

  • What should you use a traditional website or a CMS?
  • What will your domain name strategy be?
  • Where will you host your website? Do you need in house support or will the support provided by the hosting company do?
  • Is your website mission critical?
  • Shared hosting or dedicated hosting?
    • I use a shared hosting plan now because my blog is small.  As the blog grows I’m sure that eventually I’ll need a dedicated hosting plan.  I also use GoDaddy for this.
  • Unix, Linux, or Microsoft operating system running on the server?
  • Data backup.
  • And Price

Domain name strategy

What will your domain name be?  There are several things to consider here.

  • Company or product brand focus
  • Keyword focus
  • Personal brand focus
  • Catchy phrase focus

When you’re small I suggest you consider personal branding over the other options.  My thought is that I’ll always be Rodney Goldston.  However, if I launch a blog under a business name and build content that endevour might go out of business one day.  In fact it’s likely (checkout my post on what to do if nine out of ten businesses fail).  Although the company might not exist the content might still be relevant.  You can move the content but then you’re dealing with branding another site under a different domain.

With that said there are plenty of examples of success in each of these strategies, here are a few.

  • Keyword branded site: SEOmoz is a website run by Rand Fishkin about SEO it may also be the name of his company I’m not sure.
  • Personal branded site: Obviously this site uses personal branding, and so does Seth Godin
  • Company branded site: Coke runs a blog called Coca Cola Conversations
  • Catchy phrase site: Erica Napoletano runs Red Head Writing a popular site because her rants are edgy, and helpful (a winning combo).

Content Management Strategy

First you’ll need to decide on using a traditional website or a CMS system.  By traditional website I mean a primarily HTML coded site (There is likely not much reason to do this).  CMS is short for Content Management System.  Most sites today are running on some CMS platform.  This site runs on a self hosted version of WordPress.

Other CMS platforms you can consider are Joomla, Typepad, and MovableType.  It’s worth noting here that because a website runs on a platform traditionally associated with blogging it does not have to look like a blog or even have a blog on the site.

View the entire Online Marketing Strategies Series.

 

Online Marketing Strategies

Online marketing strageties

Are you new to online marketing? Perhaps you’re already got a few strategies going put you’re trying to figure out how they should all fall into place.  What ever your situation I’ve put together what should be the components of all well rounded and well thought out marketing strategy.  This will be the first post in a series where I do a deep dive into each set of online strategies.  Check back every Thursday for the next in the series.Online marketing strageties

I think many organizations approach internet marketing wrong from the start.  That is they do what’s popular without first sitting down and figuring out an overall strategy to reach their online goals.  I like to think of online marketing as a series of interrelated hubs.  You don’t have to engage in them all, if that’s your strategy, but you must consider them all.  So without further ado let’s dive in….

Online Marketing Strategy

At the center or nucleus is what I call your IM Stragety or Internet Marketing Strategy.  To me it represents the idea that there is a plan.  If you’re a small organization it does not have to be elaborate.  If fact you should be able to write your plan down on a sheet of paper, or the back of a napkin.  The more elaborate a plan the more difficult it will be to maintain.

CRM

CRM stands for customer retention management.  A CRM database is where you store every detail of information regarding each and every person who comes into contact with our business online or off.  It’s your lead management system.

The reason I locate it near the nucleus is because I consider my database my most valuable marketing asset.  I could go to work for any reverse mortgage lender I want to because I have a database of more than 5,000 seniors that have visited my reverse mortgage websites over the past two years and have completed the contact form.

If you’re not managing your leads properly you’re wasting your time, energy, and money.  Here’s something to make you go…hmm!  According to a recent HubSpot report nearly 50% of all leads are not ready to buy on the day they convert on your site.  Your CRM is the tool you use to stay in touch with, and nurture those folks who you’ve spent bloods, sweat, and tears, to get them to your site and to give you their contact information.  Don’t squander it.

I’ve talked to people who store all of their contacts in a spreadsheet.  If you’re not using a CRM tool, do yourself a huge favor and start using one today.  Check out my earlier blog post on the benefits of  CRM software to learn a little more and how you can even get started for cheap and better yet for free (I like free don’t you!).

Workflow Strategy

A good CRM tool will allow you to implement workflows that automate task based on information or rules you have inputed into the CRM.  I think of workflows as the engine that pulls the CRM train.  Without workflows you’ve just got a bunch of data and the more of it you collect the more valuable workflows become.

What you can do with workflows

Using workflows you can trigger actions based on any information you know about your leads.  This empowers you to do what every marketer wants to do, that is to, send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.  Here’s an example:

  • Leads who have viewed a certain page on your website
  • Leads from companies with more than XYZ employees
  • Leads from companies in XYZ industry or XYZ location
  • Leads with a specific website history like page views, clicks, downloads, etc.

How I used workflows for reverse mortgage marketing

My goal as a reverse mortgage consultant was simple.  Generate 1 inbound lead every day.  At the end of the month I had 30 leads.  I knew that of the 30 I would only be able to get some percentage on the phone right away.  Of the people I actually spoke to I knew that roughly half, or 50%, would not be in the market immediately.  They might want to do a loan in 3 months when they turn 62, or next year when their spouse turned 62.  I still considered these to be high quality leads.  Many RMC’s don’t.

Why did I consider these to be high quality leads?  Because I knew I could do a better job than most nurturing those leads.  So here’s what I did.

  • I wrote 12 different letters (one for each month).
  • Loaded all the letters in the CRM
  • Set a category in my CRM so I could tag leads as ‘sent letter 1, 2, 3, etc.
  • Setup this rule in the CRM (Zoho in my case): If letter 1, then letter 2 in 30 days.
  • Had the report automatically generate and show up in my assistants to do list, and….
  • Bada bing, bada bang, bada boom all she had to do was a mail merge, stuff the envelope with the letter, and run it through the postage machine.

View the entire Marketing Strategy Series.