Quick Read Main Point:
Ensure that any money or time that you and your organization spend in online marketing efforts directs traffic to your website, not that of the online marketing agency or firm you have employed. Want to find out why? Continue reading…
When Should You Use SEM/Ad and SEO for Your Business?
As a business coach and business consultant, in the course of our interactions with our clients, ansleyRDgroup is often asked some variation of the following questions;
- Should I be doing SEO?
- What is this search engine optimization thing I keep getting phones calls and emails from sales people about?
- When should I do search engine marketing?
- Isn’t SEO and SEM the same thing?
- What is the difference between search engine marketing and advertising on Facebook or with Google?
The first answer is: you, your leadership, and your business should not be “doing” anything when it comes to marketing…you should be “executing” marketing campaigns.
What do I mean by “executing marketing campaigns”? Gary Vanerchuck in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” and in numerous presentations (many of which you can find online) hammers home the point that too many of us (business owners and marketers) think we are marketing online because we are spending time on social media. We believe we are working towards business goals. However, we are merely “doing” things online.
In order to be successful in marketing, in particular online marketing, our efforts need to be aligned with business goals that deliver on our business mission and vision.
Your Online Marketing Efforts Need a Foundation
Does your home have a foundation under it? (I hope so) Yes!
Does your office complex have a foundation beneath? (Again…I hope so) Yes!
So should your (online) marketing! The foundation of your online marketing is your website. Michael Hyatt calls it your “Homebase” in his book “Platform“.
[Tweet “In online marketing all roads should (ultimately) lead to your website”]
All solid foundations have supporting structures. For online marketing, Hyatt again, titles these as “Embassies” and “Outposts”.
Given the above foundation, framework, core philosophy, and strategic approach to our online marketing efforts, all the decisions and efforts we make must be weighed against this online platform framework and aligned with business goals (that deliver on our overarching business mission and business vision).
[Tweet “Successful online marketing executes efforts aligned w/ business goals that deliver on mission & vision”]
Now that you understand the foundation upon which your business should build its online marketing efforts, we can turn our attention to some of the questions at hand, and how to integrate them into our online strategy.
What is Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Advertising (SEM)?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Advertising are often used interchangeably. Although the terms have become synonymous with each other as more and more “marketers” attempt to “market” online, the reality is there is a difference between Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Advertising.
Specifically, SEM refers to Internet Marketers’ efforts to bring attention to a website in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and harness traffic (clicks) to a landing page with both paid (advertising) and unpaid (optimization).
Basically, when you use Google, Yahoo, Bing, or even conduct searches within a website; the content creator wants their results (web pages) to show as close to the top as possible. The search engines determine this based upon relevancy (and other technical factors).
Since search engines are run by businesses (ie. Google, Microsoft [Bing], and Yahoo), they need to make a profit! 🙂 So companies like yours and mine can “buy” rankings in the results (advertise). These results are typically displayed in the top and/or sidebar of the SERP.
Now this doesn’t sound bad in and of itself, and it really isn’t. But remember our foundation!
I don’t want to just hand over my advertising money to an agency that is going to pool my money with my competitor’s money and sell the same keyword (“adwords”) to us all and direct our paid traffic to their landing page. This is foolish!
Some examples of this are YellowPages.com, dexknows.com, and even “reputable” companies such as “angieslist” do this sort of paid advertising. If your meeting with a marketing agency or any other search engine marketing or search engine optimization firm, and they are not going to direct traffic to your website and Online “Homebase” but instead to “their page for such and such industry” then here is what you do:
- put your money back in your pocket
- contact someone (shameless plug) such as ansleyRDgroup which understands how to build and grow your business by directing traffic directly to you!
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves two levels of “optimization” for the content that is on your website and webpages.
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
What is the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO? I’m glad you asked!
On Page SEO
For the sake of brevity, there are topically contextual words, phrases, and “technical settings” that content creators should use in order to gain attention and capture visits (clicks) to a specific piece of content that is displayed in SERPs organically (organic = unpaid).
Off Page SEO
There is also the process of building references (commonly referred to as backlinks for their function) back to the optimized original content on your website. This is most often accomplished via Embassies and Outposts as identified in our Online Platform and typically appear in social media posts, forum posts, and guest posts. However, Off-Page search engine optimization really comes alive when you are able to leverage it in your physical marketing such as in brochures and presentations in addition to your online marketing efforts.
What about Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
The generation of optimized content has birthed one of the prime strategies within online marketing called Content Marketing. Content Marketing is often times referred to as Inbound or Pull Marketing by Internet Marketers.
One of the best ways, due to its virility, is to leverage social media for the distribution of your content. Here again you can “pay to play” or allow things to fester and grow organically.
Unfortunately, because the social media networks are a business with a profit motive just like the search engines, in the middle of 2014 most of the big dogs such as Facebook began tweaking their algorithms. Thus getting your social content in front of your audience and especially your non-customers organically (free), has become a losing battle. Today, you have to pay to play.
The good news is, if you know what you are doing or are working with an online marketing agency that does (remember…a good marketing firm will direct traffic to your website not theirs) then your cost per lead is often 1%-10% of what you are selling. This means, in dollars, that you could be spending as little as $2-3 per acquisition.
Stay tuned for:
Part 2 – How to Develop Your Online Marketing Strategy
Part 3 – How Mature is Your Online Platform?