There is a lot of activity around Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing, and I know how frustrating it is to drop everything you’re doing to learn about a marketing modality that barely existed ten years ago. Sometimes it feels as if the whole world is shouting YOU MUST BLOG AND POST TO TWITTER AND BUILD A NEW WEB SITE…OR ELSE!
Taking the plunge was very meaningful for me. We went from 0 leads per day to 7-8 leads per day. It’s meant a world of difference to our business.
I saw a recent video that stated the ROI on social media is you will be in business in 5 years. Will you go out of business if you do nothing? I don’t know, maybe. Did anyone go out of business as a result of not buying a Yellow Page ad? Probably not? The point is that there is some urgency here. From a standpoint of keyword competitiveness, it is less expensive to start your online marketing program today than it will be 6 month to a year from now. The biggest lesson for me in developing my own Internet Marketing strategy was ignoring my preconceived notions about how and why the Internet does or doesn’t work. Trying to apply that which I already know about marketing to this new medium was a big help in understanding how to apply this technology to my marketing efforts.
So, the real question is, can people (your customers and prospects) find you?
At this point, it is irrefutable that the majority of people start their search using a search engine. The number that is frequently bantered about is 85%. That’s a pretty close estimate when you stop and consider the search habits of just your immediate family. As a matter of fact, the actual number is probably everyone minus those who don’t have any Internet access. Whatever the exact percentage is it’s everyone including business owners, CEOs, politicians, and regular working folks. All of these people start out with a question, think about what 2-4 word phrase they can use to find a solution and then type it into a search bar on Google or Bing. The challenge is matching your solution to the relevant questions and having the authority, rank, and reputation so that your solution appears on the top half of the first page of the search engine results.
Internet marketing applies to both business-to-consumer, business-to-business, it applies to large businesses, small businesses, rural communities and to larger urban communities, and just like traditional forms of marketing the results are relative to the targeted demographics.
So, where do you start? Start by setting goals and objectives. Determine where you want to see the majority of your growth come from. Evaluate your website. Is it functioning properly? Are you generating any business from your website? Is there an efficient way to track leads that are coming from your website? If your website is generating leads, are they qualified leads?
Once you understand what you want to accomplish with your Internet marketing strategy, educate yourself. Try to understand the relationship between your website and your social media presence. For example, your website should be the nucleus of your Internet marketing strategy supported by your blog, link building, keyword marketing, and social media.
By carefully selecting the key search terms for which you optimize your website you can control the quality of the leads generated by your website. Keywords are important to Internet marketing much as a list is to direct mail. They are extremely important, and you have to view them from the client’s perspective. For example, most people don’t search for “commercial lines”, or “personal lines”. In my next blog, I am going to talk about selecting keywords.