The Internet has changed the way people learn and shop for products. With the Internet the discipline of marketing has changed before the Internet, companies reached their consumers through trade shows, print advertising, and other traditional marketing methods. In today’s market, consumers start their shopping experience by looking on the Internet, in the search engines, the blogosphere, and social media sites.
In order to remain competitive, businesses’ websites need to be found online by the consumers already searching for the products and services that you sell. You need to be found in the:
Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing
For the past decades, marketers have used â€œoutboundâ€ marketing techniques such as trade shows, direct mail, email blasts, print ads, tv/radio ads and print advertising, where marketers push out a message far and wide hoping that it resonates with a few individuals. These outbound marketing methods are becoming less and less effective for two reasons:
- People are getting better at blocking out interruption-based marketing messages.
- The average person is inundated with thousands of outbound marketing interruptions per day and is figuring out more creative ways to block them out, including caller ID, spam filtering, and on-demand TV and radio.
The Internet presents quick and easy ways for consumers to learn and shop, a consumer can go the Internet to research and purchase products or services. In order to remain competitive, businesses need to utilize “inbound” marketing techniques such as search engine marketing (SEO & PPC), blogging, social media, to “get found” by the consumers.
Get Found Online: Search Engines
Consumers most frequently go to the search engines to research and purchase products and services. There are two kinds of search results: paid results and organic (or natural) results.
Paid results are those listings that require a fee for the search engines to list their link for particular keywords. The most widely used form of paid listing is Pay Per Click (PPC), where you pay each time someone clicks on the link in your advertisement. The price increases with the competitiveness of the keyword.
Organic results are gathered by search engines’ web crawlers and ranked according to relevance to search terms. This relevance is calculated by criteria such as the extent of keyword match and the number of links into that website. Ranking in the organic search results is better because not only is it FREE, but research shows that people click on the organic results 75% of the time and paid results only 25% of the time.
How Does Search Engine Decide?
Search engines rank websites in search engine results pages according to relevance to the search terms. This relevance is calculated by looking at both on-page factors such as the content on your site and off-page factors in the form of inbound links to your website. Off-page factors are the biggest influencers in your website’s ranking in search engine results.
Step by step on how to get found by search engines.
STEP 1: Find Keywords
Search Volume – Given two different keyword phrases, optimize for the one with the larger number of searches.
Relevance – Choose keywords that your target market is using to describe and search for your products and services.
Difficulty or Competition – Consider your chances for ranking on the first page of Google for that keyword phrase. Look at the sites ranked in those first 10 slots, their authority and relevance to search terms, and gage if you will be able to overtake them to secure a spot on that first page.
STEP 2: On-Page SEO
Place keywords in the page title, URL, headings, and page text.
Optimize your page description for maximum click-through-rate when your site ranks in Google searches.
Place keywords in other “invisible” places on your site, including meta-keyword tags and alt-text on images.
STEP 3: Off-Page SEO
Build more inbound links from other sites into yours. Each link serves as a recommendation or a reference to tell the search engines that your site is a quality site.
Build more links within context, i.e. those with valuable keywords in the link anchor text (the text that is hyperlinked to your site). Link anchor text provides context for the search engines to understand what your site is about.
Build more links from trusted websites. Just as references from well-respected friends and experts offer more value, so do links from trusted and well-respected websites.
STEP 4: Measure & Analyze
Track number of inbound links, keyword rank over time and compared to competition.
Measure real business results: number of visitors, leads, and customers from SEO.
Get found by Blogs
What is a blog? A blog, or weblog, is a website that allows for regularly posted content or articles.
- Blogging is Inbound Marketing
- Blogging helps with SEO
- Blogging helps with social news and networking sites
- Blogging is permission centric
The conversation has already started, it’s time that you’re aware of it and develops a strategy for engaging in it and using it for marketing
Step by step on how to get found by blogs
STEP 1: Read
Read and subscribe to blogs via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or email – RSS allows users to subscribe anonymously and consume content however they want.
STEP 2: Comment
Contribute to the conversation via a comment.
Increase the value of the article – share an example, add a point, add a useful link, disagree, ask a question.
- Engage in the community
- Get noticed by other bloggers and blog readers
- Get links back to your blog
STEP 3: Write
Find the right blog software for you. Blog functionality: Make sure to use your own business URL (blog.mycompany.com), not a sub-domain of someone else’s URL (myblog.typepad.com) – most blog software allows you to do this. Also your blog software should allow for email and RSS subscriptions as well as integration with social media sites.
Analytics functionality: To truly measure the success of your blog, your software should allow you to report on email and RSS subscribers over time, measure visitors and leads generated, and track search engine keyword rank over time and compared to competitors.
Support and expertise: If you are new to blogging, you may want your software provider to provide technical support, education and marketing expertise on how to succeed with your blog.
Draw in readers with your blog article titles.
Funny: â€œGoDaddy’s 16-Step Checkout: Brainless Marketing At Its Finest?â€
Enticing: â€œ12 Quick Tips To Search Google Like An Expertâ€
SEO: â€œFree Advertising on Googleâ€
On frequency: General rule of thumb is to blog at least weekly to maintain steady readership and continue your SEO efforts.
Blog topic ideas:
- List of 5 ideas, trends, or thoughts
- Publish a list of links
- Take a recent experience and share it
- Answer questions you received recently
- Comment on other blog articles
- Turn a press release into a blog article
- Promote your blog.
- Email friends and family
- Replace email newsletter with blog
- Trade guest articles with similar blogger
Promote on social media sites: digg, reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, LinkedIn
STEP 4: Measure & Analyze
Track number of blog visitors and subscribers, SEO rankings, Technorati blog rank.
Measure real business results: number of visitors, leads, and customers generated by your blog.
Get found by Social Media
What is social media? Media (content that is published) with a social (anyone can add to and share it) component. Social media is like a business networking reception without the constraints of time and space.
- Social Media is Inbound Marketing
- Social media helps with SEO
- Social media promotes your blog
- Social media is permission centric
The conversation has already started, it’s time that you’re aware of it and develops a strategy for engaging in it – and using it for marketing
Step by step on how to get found by Social Media
STEP 1: Guidelines for Engagement
Meet people and start conversations, become a real member of the community – don’t join to just advertise your products.
Add value to the community – answer questions and help others.
Ask questions – trust others’ advice.
STEP 2: Publish, Share, and Network
- Everyone can publish anything for everyone
- Publish everything you have anywhere you can
- Monitor what others publish and promote it
- Empower your customers to publish
- Anyone can promote anything to everyone
- Monitor what’s being shared about you
- Find where your audience hangs out
- Promote valuable content, yours and others’
- Product content your audience will love
- Anyone can connect with everyone from anywhere
- Make friends – find your existing connections and build new ones
- Be helpful – answer questions, share interesting content
STEP 3: Measure & Analyze
Key metrics to consider are: number of blog visitors and subscribers, del.icio.us bookmarks, inbound links, Facebook fans and activity, friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, votes for blog articles, posts in forums.
Measure real business results: number of visitors, leads, and customers generated by each social media effort.