Thursday, May 20, 2010

SEO or PPC Which is Best for My Business?

Search Engine Optimization or a Pay Per Click Campaign
When speaking with business owners, concerning their website marketing budgets, sometimes the question that is asked is should they use a SEO strategy or a PPC strategy.  I personally like to diversify my marketing efforts so I use a combination of both with several other marketing strategies included.  However, lets look at some reasons why to choose one as oppose to the other, or why one would be more valuable to your business than the other.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site or a web page (such as a blog) from search engines via "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results as opposed to other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) which may deal with paid inclusion. The theory is that the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence.--Wilkepedia
SEO is a long term strategy.  It is an investment into a website that, if performed properly, will pay off for years and years to come.  SEO isn't an overnight answer to low traffic concerns.  In fact, I usually inform clients that they are looking at 3 to 6 months before they notice any significant traffic increases.  SEO at first glance may seem to be an expensive marketing tactic to many small business owners, due to the many hours involved and the website re-design that usually accompanies it.  However, when compared to other traditional marketing strategies such as television and radio; SEO can be an excellent ROI given the competitive advantage that website owners receive and increased conversion rates.

Pay Per Click Campaigns (PPC)

Pay Per Click (PPC) is an Internet advertising model used on websites, in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. Content sites commonly charge a fixed price per click rather than use a bidding system.--Wilkepedia

PPC campaigns are what you should turn to if you are looking for immediate increases in your traffic.  They are simple to run but tend to get complicated the more keywords you have and the larger the number of products you are trying to promote.  An online e-commerce site will usually hire a professional consultant to manage their PPC campaign while they concentrate on running their business.  The major work with PPC campaigns is the keyword/key phrase research and writing compelling ad copy that not only brings traffic but qualified traffic.  Remember, with a PPC campaign every time someone clicks on your banner or link, you have to pay for it.  If you get a lot of clicks but no conversions, this can become quite costly.  

In conclusion, you can see how either marketing strategy can greatly benefit a websites marketing needs.  As stated earlier, I like to use a combination of both strategies when promoting a website.  The best thing to do before deciding is sit down and create the objectives and goals that you want to accomplish then it will be much easier to decide which one will be more helpful for your business.

Love to hear your questions or comments or anything that you guys feel I left out that you would like to add.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Email Marketing Campaigns

Email Marketing Campaigns

An effective email marketing campaign can be an excellent marketing strategy.  By providing a sign up form for your website visitors, you harness information.  You are able to learn more about your customers and what they like and dis-like.  Lets face it, everyone that visits your website does not necessarily purchase your products or service at that visit.  They may return at various later times or never again.  However, if they sign up for your newsletter, then there is an opportunity to convert them to a customer at a later date.

Email marketing campaigns keep you in the minds of your customers and potential customers.  They give you the opportunity to tell them about news, new products, and just to make a connection.  Just imagine if a potential customer went to your website and there was a product they wanted to purchase but it didn't fit their budget at that time.  By keeping in touch with them through your email marketing campaign; when their budget does allow for that purchase, they have a quick link to your website and not one of your competitors.

Their are a couple of excellent services that can help you achieve great results if you decide to take on the challenge of an email marketing campaigns.

  • Constant Contact--They provide email marketing, online surveys, and event marketing.  They have become an industry buzz word, however, they can become a bit pricey.  They tend to charge for extra pictures which get annoying and every service that I mentioned above also has an individual charge.
  • Rate Point--This is the new kid on the block.  They offer the same features as constant contact, however, they don't nickel and dime you for every little feature.  When I am starting an email marketing campaign, I like to use them.  The product is great and the customer service is even better.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Consumer Behavior

Consumer Behavior
The study of when, why, how, and where people do or do not buy.  It attempts to understand the buyer decision making process, both individually and in groups. It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and society in

Why do we study consumer behavior?
By studying the consumer, it helps organizations, businesses, and firms to improve their marketing strategies.
We can explore the psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between competing alternatives.  The influences of the consumers' environment such as family, friends, culture, and media also reveal their importance when we delve into the study of consumer behavior.  Consumer behavior gives us a chance to study how consumers shop and make their buying decisions while shopping.

By researching all of this information, we can adapt and improve our marketing campaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach the consumer.  Studying consumer behavior not only helps us to refine our marketing strategies, but it also makes us better consumers.  It shows us how to check for bargains and teaches us the benefits of buying in bulk as oppose to smaller, more expensive supplies.

"Consumer Behaviour - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia." Main Page - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Your Website Should be Your Hardest Working Employee

Why take the time and money to invest in the design and development of a website just to have it sit on the Internet like an old abandoned building, or even worse, stand around on a smoke break, like some questionable employees do, just collecting a pay check.  Well, take into consideration that your website is an employee that works for the company like everyone else.  If it doesn’t perform then it may be time to send it to the un-employment line, or at least give it a stern talking too.

The problem with creating a website in today’s environment, is understanding why you are creating it and what you are going to use it for.  Yes, it is no secret that if you want to do business in 2010 and beyond, you need to have a website to be taken seriously.  However, don’t just have one designed and created just because you read an article that said you should.  You need to have a complete plan on how making this investment is going to pay off for your business before you even think of having it designed.  The key is you want to design it to meet your goals not wrap your goals around its design.

Another key point to remember is that creating a website is an ongoing effort.  The worst mistake you can make is creating a website and then just leaving it on the Internet and hoping that the magic god of traffic will refer you customer after customer.  You have to be an active manager of your website or hire managers for your website, just as you do your employees.  You have to set goals and objectives for your website to meet.  Make sure your website finishes its projects on time. When making an investment you have to either constantly cultivate it yourself, or hire a professional to do it for you.  Make sure that if you invest in building an online presence, that presence isn’t  just left to run however it sees fit.  You are the boss and your website is an employee, tell that lazy bum to get to work.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Establish a Problem Then Position Yourself as the Solution

Defining a problem and having everyone or at least your target market see you as the solution is one of the ultimate goals of marketing.  When you mention marketing to most people they tend to classify marketing as sales or advertising.  Sales and advertising are a part of marketing, however, marketing is a much, much larger.

Create a product and then decide how to market and advertise that product.   Well, this is the standard approach that many companies choose when trying to bring something to market.  Unfortunately, most products brought to market during the year fail.
The failure rate for new product launch ranges from an estimated 50% and 75% (PRLEAP.COM
I hypothesize that this high failure rate can be contributed to marketing.  Marketing should be the very first step in the product development process.  Before you spend $1000s or even $1,000,000s of dollars developing a product and then advertising it and creating partnerships and distribution deals only to see it sell about 100 units; why not do some market research and determine if it is a product that is NEEDED by the consumer.  When opening up a new pizza restaurant or fast food chain, research the location and decide if that particular market can handle another restaurant such as yours.  Are there already too many of them in the area, do the demographics of the people living there actually like that type food?  These are all questions that marketing helps us to answer.

Remember:  The best marketing strategy there is, is  to establish a problem and then to position yourself to your target market as the solution to that problem.