It’s back-to-school time! Although many of us aren’t in school anymore, it’s a good time to think about how we’re doing and plan for the next year. It’s important for your business to use the best methods for Web Marketing, Social Media outreach, PR on the Web, and Social Networking. In this first part of a two part series, let’s look at Digital Advertising.
How well is your website working for you? How many leads does it drive per month? How well does it reach your target audience? When potential customers use a search engine to find products or services like yours, does your company come up near the top of Google?
Your website is only the beginning.
When the web was in its infancy just having a website made you cutting-edge. Today it’s a must-have, and it must look professional. Hire a website designer and graphic artist to give it that look, and a professional copywriter to make your message stand out. But then what? Many companies spend all their time and efforts – and funds! – on the site itself and then….
It just sits there. Doing nothing for you, because chances are no one even knows it’s there! You have to make it work for you through your Web Marketing Strategy. There are two components to Web Marketing: Advertising and Public Relations, and you need both to maximize your success on the Web. Since each requires complex and careful marketing strategies, this month we’ll discuss Digital Advertising.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization can sound so mysterious. Put simply, SEO helps your website to pop up at or near the top of search engine results – which is right where you want to be.
Years ago, businesses outdid each other adding AAAA’s to the beginning of their company names so they’d appear first in the Yellow Pages. And it worked. After all, why continue to browse listings for plumbers into the M’s when there were so many to choose from right there in the A’s?
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as adding a few letters or golden words to your website. Beware, too, of products you can buy that will submit your site to hundreds of search engines. You’ll need an SEO specialist – or a marketing agency with a track record for increasing website traffic using SEO – to create and maintain your pages so that you will continue to be found near the top on all the major search engines. After all, if you submit your site, but no one finds you in their searches, what was the point of all your hard work?
Paid advertising services
While you pay to have SEO applied to and maintained on your site, there is no charge for “popping up” on the Search Engines once you are ranking high. There are also other services that do cost money but are well worth considering.
- Google AdWords – These are the ads that appear to the right and top of your search engine results, based on which keywords the searcher has used. This means that people who click on your ad already have some interest in what you are offering and you are paying by “click throughs”.
- Pay Per Click and other Web ad programs – Although you have to “pay to play” in these programs, their intent is that you earn money too. When you put another company’s banner ad on your website, and a user clicks through the ad to their website, you get paid per click. Other variations are Pay Per Impression, Pay Per Lead, Pay Per Sale, You increase your revenue by increasing traffic to your site, and by choosing ads from companies that users of your site will be interested in pursuing.
- Newsletter sponsorships – Placing ads in newsletters that are closely related to the products or services your company offers can increase your revenues nicely, provided you choose the right newsletters AND give customers a reason to respond to your ad. A banner ad with just your company name as a sponsor might help them to remember your name. But an ad offering them something in return for contacting you has a much better chance of getting them to act. What can you offer? Sometimes just offering a White Paper will generate leads. A free analysis or discount have been known to work as well too.
The opportunities are there. The key is in deciding which methods will be likely to work best for you. This is where your marketing firm can guide you in the right direction. It’s a World Wide Web out there…make sure you’re getting your share of it.