SEO, PPC, and Other Buzzwords That Distract You from Your Goals
SEO-search engine optimization, trying to rank higher in search engines
PPC-Pay Per Click, the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked
optimize-to make something as close to the ideal as possible
on-site optimization-tasks carried out on the website being optimized to ensure that it can be readily indexed by search engines
platform-a room of one’s own on the internet
Not everything is rosy on the World Wide Web. Every industry has its downside. Unfortunately, when there is money to be made, there are hacks out there trying to prey on the unknowing business owner. I cannot say it enough: there is no ‘magic feather’ that one digital marketing company has over another. When companies promise to get you to the top of the Google ranking, they may have no idea what they are promising. Great marketing online is in-depth research, professional planning, implementation and reporting. Other people can do it for you, but you should know your company best. Here is a great example from what I hear clients relate all the time:
Cold Caller: Ring, Ring, Ring
Business Owner: Hello?
Cold Caller: Hello, my name is Joe Smith from Miraculous Marketing. I noticed that your plumbing business website is not on the 1st page of Google for the keyword ‘plumbing Miami’. You know that being ‘found’ on Google through SEO will be the foundation of your business moving forward.
Business Owner: Okay.
Cold Caller: My company, Miraculous Marketing, can get your website on the 1st page of Google within 4 months for a fee of $399/mo with a startup fee of $500.
[STOP RIGHT HERE FOR A SECOND]
- How many accounts do you think an SEO company like Miraculous Marketing needs to make a profit at $399/month? Most likely 200!
Business Owner: What sort of work will you do to my website to get me on the first page of Google for ‘plumbing Miami’?
Cold Caller: First, we will optimize your website through a process called on-site optimization, and then we will send out links to your site to push you up to the first page.
Business Owner: Umm… okay. I don’t really know what that means.
Cold Caller: Our business is technical. We will send reports explaining our work. No need to worry, we’ll handle everything.
Right here is the gap between what business owners know about search engines and what the cold callers and vultures in digital marketing are hoping you don’t know. SEO, PPC, and On-site Optimization are all technical sounding terms. They tend to scare business owners into not inquiring what they actually entail.
Here is the ugly truth: successfully creating a platform online that will generate revenue for your business takes time invested in driving organic traffic, a sound strategy for paid advertising and research for targeting your website to the proper search market related to your business. Do not be fooled by instant gratifiers online!
What Do You Need?
This is a great question, one that we do not get enough! Necessity should be the primary goal of any marketing effort. Some of the best marketing initiatives come from a need to survive, expand or nudge out the competition.
The answer is never simple because it is different for every business. Too many times, we have clients who say, “I just want you to handle this-here is the money.” While that is our job, the best insight into an industry or business comes from the people who eat, sleep and breathe it. No matter how good your marketing team is, they will never have the day-to-day experience that you have. A business owner is keen on his customers or clients and it is exactly that knowledge which can be the tipping point for a marketing push.
Thinking out a marketing campaign should take some time. Make sure that your ads will not offend anyone. Take into consideration the context and tone of your market. Take for example The Economist and its marketing disaster of 2011. Only 13% of its readership was female. The magazine wanted to up this number and set about doing so in the worst way possible.
“Why should women read The Economist? They shouldn’t. Accomplished, influential people should read us. People like you.”
The implication was, for all intents and purposes, that the magazine was geared towards people, not genders. With a low female staff, this certainly rankled quite a few feminists and when the press got a hold of it, it was a field day. On its best day the magazine was an all-boys club that probably would not have added female staff members save to be secretaries a la Sterling Cooper. Smacking of blatant sexism and the notion that women were not people, the ad campaign was just an unmitigated disaster.
To make matters much worse than they already were, the Economist ad was split into two parts: one on the front cover and the other on the back page. It appeared as if they were really making a point of being anti-women. Every company wants to have a unique campaign, but only in a positive way. Ad men may like to take risks to get people talking, but remember, the conversation must be positive.
The ad came across as stating the masculine perspective was the only human one and women did not matter. First World men telling women they were pointless was just as bad as women disregarded in Third World countries. Stay away from gender, race, religion and politics. People absolutely love the opportunity to be offended, but do not give them an opening. Choose your words and images carefully.
Many great ideas come from silly or outright bad ideas. You have to give them their due. By ideas, I am not talking about how to market the next pet rock—rather how to position a strategy to gain the most from each dollar spent. The following is an example from a client of ours who builds metal and steel buildings:
Allied Buildings noticed that many of their buildings sold for different purposes. Some were horse barns, airplane hangars or even just backyard sheds. Considering this observation, a strategy was devised to increase exposure in these niche areas. Allied built websites specifically for horse barns, airplane hangars and backyard sheds. The outcome was substantial. Consumers now saw Allied as an expert in each of these subcategories, increasing web-based sales of metal and steel buildings. This is a perfect example of thinking before acting in marketing and using your knowledge to outsmart the competition.
A website is a necessity for marketing online. Without a website or even with a site built from a free site builder, you are guaranteed to be invisible on the web. What do you need to know about building a website? The best option is to find a professional with experience in site building and web development. Ask for references from that web developer and, more importantly, make sure their design style matches your taste.
These two ‘needs’ are the backbone of marketing on the web. Throughout this book, you will read about complaints from clients regarding marketing on the web. This classic is probably the most painful to hear: “I built this site and I have not seen one stitch of business from it.” They have a website, but do not develop a strategy for marketing the site. Therefore, the site sits there looking pretty and doing absolutely nothing for the business owner. A site without a strategy is a useless. Everything you do in business must have a goal.