Written by: Erin Trowbridge, Director of Marketing at JB Systems, LLC
Recently, the Chippewa Valley Business Report wrote about something near and dear to our hearts: the online marketing world. I wanted to take just a minute to focus on a couple of ideas they mentioned, and explain why they’re important. And of course, we can help you out with any of this on your site.
Landing Pages and Microsites
Landing pages allow you to easily track where your website traffic is coming from so that you know what marketing efforts are working…and which are not. Think of your marketing activities – whether it’s advertising, trade shows, direct mail, or another offline channel. How do you know if they were effective? Landing pages are specifically targeted to exactly what the ad or direct mail piece is talking about so that the customer isn’t at all confused. This makes it more likely that they will keep clicking through and eventually buy or contact you.
Microsites are exactly what they sound like – small sites within or added to your site that are specifically targeted to one product, program, service, etc. This is what Net Health Shops does for their various product lines. They allow you to provide a few pages of ultra-specific content to your customers who you don’t want distracted by other things on your website.
“No unsupervised thinking” - MarketingExperiments.com
Both landing pages and microsites are extremely effective for getting the customers to do what you want them to do on your website. Studies have shown that by being blatantly obvious about what you want customers to do and how to do it will increase your conversion rates in a huge way. And isn’t that what we all want – for our website visitors to convert into qualified leads, subscribers, customers, or donors?
Search Engine Optimization, Organic Search, and Paid Search
Although this may just sound like a collection of buzz words and trendy online jibberish, these are things that your company really should be considering in your marketing plans for 2010. If built and marketed the right way, your website can actually generate revenue or leads that turn into revenue, instead of just being another expense.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process by which you make small, but significant changes to the content of your website (seen and unseen by visitors) in order to be listed higher on the search results page of Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines. Why, you might ask, do I need to be ranked high in search engines?
Reason #1: Location, Location, Location. If no one could find your business, how long do you think you’d last? Same goes for your website.
Reason #2: We are spoiled. Well, maybe not spoiled, but busy – and because of that, we expect that everything should be right there, right now. We expect that the best results will be at the top. Would you go to page two or three when you can get the best on page one?
Reason #3: We don’t listen. It’s not that we don’t listen to things that we care about, but your advertising is not one of those things. We’ve been bombarded by advertising most of our lives and it has gotten to a point where most people just tune it out. Although using a variety of advertising channels is a good move for most companies, they won’t always remember your web address in that ad. If the ad was effective, they will, however, remember the ad’s message and maybe your company name or what kind of product/service was being advertised. That’s what they’ll put into the search engine. If you’re near the top and they heard/saw your ad, it’s pretty likely that they’ll click through to your site.
We have implemented our SEO+ program for several of our clients and they’ve seen some great results. Google uses about 100 different variables to determine your placement, so it’s not something that happens overnight and it’s not something that most small business owners have time for. SEO is an ongoing process; our program is 12 months and we meet with you every other month to talk about your rankings. We also review your analytics with you so that you really understand what’s happening on your site.
“Ok…I get the organic search stuff, but what about paid search?”
Paid search (also called CPC, PPC or pay-per-click advertising) means that you’re actually buying advertising on the search results page. Those ads are triggered by whatever keyword is typed in. You bid on keywords that are relevant to whatever you’re advertising, and the best placement goes to the highest bidder. When someone clicks on your ad, you get charged whatever your bid was to be to win that placement. The more relevant the target page is to the keyword typed in, the better placement your ad will have. I will caution you though: paid search is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of monitoring, bid modifications, and budget control. This is easily done by using the ‘daily budget’ function, but if that’s not used, you can rack up a hefty bill in no time.
There’s a lot more in-depth I could go, but for the sake of your precious time…here’s a link to tell you a little more about how our Search Engine Marketing program works.
Let us know if you have comments or questions about this kind of stuff. We’ve made these kinds of things work really well for several of our clients already and we’d love to share those successes with you. Comment on this post or send me an email!