Posts Tagged SEM

5 Reasons Why Online Marketing Rules

One of the blog authors I read frequently is Matt Hames at his blog “People like to share“.  Recently he threw out a blog post that seemed to challenge my chosen profession of Internet Marketing.  The post was “5 reason why online marketing sucks“.  Now besides the title catching my eyes, some of the content was equally abrasive.  Now let me say this, if you come from the print world, his thoughts might be exactly what your are thinking and seem normal.  For someone like me that has come up the ranks in the internet only path I found his items lacking.

So rather then attack Matt’s prejudiced and bias post towards those of us in the internet space I thought I would spend some time explaining why I love the online marketing realm and why I think it is the future of our industry called marketing.

Reason 1: Speed of Feedback = Reaction Speed

I love the fact that I can put out an internet ad on Google or Yahoo and within a day I can start making adjustments.  I can test titles, graphics, copy, landing pages.  I know based on impression rates how many eyes have seen the ad.  Once they land on my ad landing page I can track what they do and where they went on my site by telling a story and adding action items at different points of the story, thus giving me valuable information about what engages the visitor.  I know how many people have clicked on the ad.  I know what phrases they used to search the internet that introduced them to my ad and land on my page for that ad.  I love the speed of feedback.  I can make changes to my world while my print counterparts are still wondering how bad their campaign was with some 0.000000000000003 conversion rate.

Reason 2: Pay Per Click

Most of my clients are small and thus are trying to compete in the world of the big boys, mostly national or regional players.  Yes, 75% of my time is building guerrilla marketing campaigns for these small businesses using internet advertising that the larger competitors don’t see as relevant or worth much to them.  I have very little buying power when it comes to the print world for my clients to compete against the larger companies.  The pay-per-click (PPC) tools provided by Google, Yahoo, and the likes, provide a low cost to entry model that when coupled with geo-targeting allows for many local and small companies to gain market share in their realm of influence.

Reason 3: Measurements mean Change

I laugh at some of the dollars spent in the print world as well as the deadlines they must meet to get in a publication’s print run.  In the non-online marketing world you have to spend a lot of money up front to generate your campaigns for print, TV, radio, billboard, wrap-around vehicle ads, etc.  Because these contracts are written for multi-year commitments you can have a real campaign STINKER like McDonald’s “I’m Love’n it” last much longer then it ever should.  You would have to find a large number of bad web sites on the internet ether floating around to compare to just that one example of a complete embarrassment of a marketing campaign built around a bad tag line.

In the online marketing space, owners of web sites can change agencies quickly and adjust at speeds the non-online marketers fear with all their souls.  Is it any wonder you see the attacks on the on-line marketing world coming from those that would love to see the status quo remain the same?

Reason 4:  Multiple Tools in the Toolbox

I can agree with Matt that certain online tools are used for the wrong reasons.  I for one don’ t use email marketing for prospecting new leads.  I use email marketing for retention marketing and increasing the “share of wallet”.  I explain to my clients that all the different things you can do on the internet are but tools in the toolbox.  We listen to the desires of the client, build the measurement expectations, then implement the plan based on the best tools for the job.

I often explain that a client demanding a web site as the solution to all their problem is the same as demanding that your home builder only use a hammer to build your entire home.  No tape measures, no ladders, no saws, no plumb lines.  Just a hammer.  They quickly realize that they would never demand this limitation on their builder and often then come to the conclusion that they should allow me to quote the job based on the tools I think I’ll need to complete their request.

Reason 5: Competition for Customers drive Innovation

Matt brings up a great ‘one click away’ discussion but online marketers tend to look at it differently.  We understand that we only have a few seconds (most will say 3 seconds) to engage with a prospect or client or they are ‘one click away’ from going to a competitor site.  This often drives more ‘creative’ tactics to come to the marketplace at faster rates then some would like.  It does tend to cause us to look at impulse and emotions more then someone who has the time to tell a story. We assume our web site landing pages will continue the interaction and tell the story.  It does also allow for some poor choices to be made but go back to Reason 1 to understand why I don’t care.  If I’m not making the numbers I expect within the first 48 hours of a new text or banner ad, I’m already working on an A/B test to see what I can do differently.  The next 48 hours will be better then the first 48 hours, I guarantee.    Let’s see … how long does it take to change a billboard, magazine ad, TV commercial, etc?

In conclusion

With all the advancements on the internet, I’m surprised the print marketing world is even around.  As more and more people drop their magazine, newspaper, and newsletter subscriptions and reduce their TV consumption, they begin to use their electronic readers  and on-demand viewing devices.   I would think that the print and TV world would be worried about their business models ….. oh, wait, THEY ARE!

Good Hunting.

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Cuil — the world’s biggest search engine?

Fist of all, I wish this crew nothing but the best. I’m a big fan of competition, and want to see advances in this field of search engines and search marketing. I think it will only happen when pressure is applied by these types of companies, so I support them as best I can. Now, that said ….


OK, bravado is nice. I like the attitude, but biggest?

I did some very basic searches, mostly my name to my company name along with some of the phrases I’m monitoring for my clients and the results were light compared to the legacy search engines. There is no comparison really at this time. Cuil is definitely collecting info from blogs, but even that was light. I’m sure it will continue to grow and I will check on it periodically.


Some of the features they are supporting at this time:

  • Drill Down
  • Roll-Over Definitions
  • Tabs
  • Navigation Suggestions

Somewhere I saw a Firefox add on for Cuil, if I find that I’ll add it as well and see if that works as well. (Oddly, I did a search for it on Cuil and couldn’t find anything about it.)

Good Hunting.

(Strange, I’m getting a lot of hits on this page based on the misspelled name Culi also, but not sure why?)

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Fix Problems, Don’t Sell Services

The ROI Hunters had the opportunity to speak with a new fledgling service provider.  (We use service provider for a reason here and not company.)  They shared with us their frustrations in acquiring new clients.  A very large portion of their non-billable hours were involved in seeking new clients.  Their success rate was very poor, to their standards.  We decided to take a few moments and analyze this problem for our up-and-coming competitor, after all, sometimes Hunting ROI requires we build relationships with other Hunters.

Improve vs. Educate

It became clear after the first 5 minutes, they were trying to sell services and spending all their time selling their abilities to prospective clients.   They were hoping for that epiphany to occur as the prospective clients absorbs the abilities-sales-pitch, that this new agency before them held the key to their future success.  The prospective client was expected to quickly sign a multi-year contract to ensure that these bright young geniuses would not be snatched away by their competitors.  They were simply there to educate, and hoped this would translate into a new client.  I won’t say this is impossible, but I would say this story would be equivalent to winning the lottery, with a very, very, small jackpot.

Some Ugly Scenarios

Let’s face it, we all want our clients and prospects to perk up and get excited each time we walk in the room, as if they were completely lost since the last time we left their presence.   We expect them to drop everything and give us their undivided attention, as if the remainder of their day/week/month/year depended on the very next syllable that came out of our mouth.  This is hardly ever the case, and often depends on your ability to show them a solution to a problem they have shared with you.

The ROI Hunters have come to believe that if a prospect can figure out that your agency can help them solve a problem, it is just as likely to occur in the 30-second elevator pitch as in a 30-minute presentation.  So why waste 29 minutes and 30 seconds, time is valuable after all. The prospective client’s time is even more valuable.  Let me describe two possible scenarios that play out with this abilities-sales-pitch story:

Scenario One

Five minutes into the sales pitch, the client, easily assessing that this will likely be a waste of time, becomes very nervous.  A hint of panic is expressed on his face as he realized that he did not demand or create an agenda at the beginning of the meeting.  Unless he becomes creative, he will waist value time listing to a dead-ender presentation.  He stops the meeting and says, “This is very exciting stuff, give me a moment so I can tell my assistant to hold all calls and possibly push my next hour’s meeting to this afternoon.”  As your head swells with this feedback, he steps out the door and flashes the 10 minute signal to his assistant, who understands that she has 9 minutes to wrap up what she’s working on so she can come in and interrupt your meeting, explaining some emergency needs your prospective client’s attention, immediately!  He apologizes, and states that he has your presentation, and will be contacting you to set up a follow-up.  You never hear from him again.

Scenario Two

Five minutes into the sales pitch, the client, easily assessing that this will likely be a waste of time, moves into position to dissemble and disrupt your plans to sell your services.  The questions as first seem innocent enough, but you begin to wonder why the prospect is challenging you to provide facts and figures to backup your claims.  He enjoys playing ‘devil’s advocate’ with you, and even states as much, and that this role is how he handles all his meetings. Realizing that you are being kept from getting to your points you become frustrated as time is now playing against you.  But, at the first sign of your frustration, the prospect politely stops the meeting, claiming that he has heard enough, but doesn’t think the timing is right, or states that he has to many conflicting points of view to move any future.  He thanks you for you time.  You asked if you can leave your presentation and offer to return and help decipher the conflicting messages, and he agrees.  You never hear from him again.

Add Value – Solve Problems

Our recommendations to this fledgling service provider was to identify the problems they can help their clients with, and then create 30-second elevator pitches for each.  Let’s face reality, for every agency like yours, there are 10 more waiting in the lobby to take any money you leave on the table for them.  You can still keep the 30 minute presentations in your back pocket and pull it out when needed.  But in this case, needed means that the prospect has shown genuine interest in the elevator pitch and wants to learn more.

After all, if the Hunters of ROI cannot add value, why bother with the Hunt.  Good Hunting.

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Search Engine Battlegrounds

The ROI Hunters recently reviewed the last three years of the Hunt. A major portion of our time is spent helping clients position themselves wisely on the search engines, either with ads or natural results. It is important to study the past so we learn from our mistakes, after all, hunting ROI requires us to improve ourselves, not just change with the times.

Search Engine Competition

Search engines are constantly (and with anonymous frequency) changing their algorithms so as to provide the best search results for the phrase identified. The obvious goal is to become the preferred search tool of choice for as many internet uses as possible. This constant tweaking of databases and infrastructure causes enough fluctuation that we have seen our client pages and ads rise and fall like an east coast tide.

Over the years, different search engines have taken the lead. Currently Google holds the highest ground and is defending its position with line extensions, something we think will cause them to weaken their position and loose ground on the search front. This will open doors for another competitor to come in and take the search engine title. Either way, we see change as inevitable.

Business Competition

We still produce great results for our clients, but I must admit, it was much easier three years ago. Our client competitors that utilized search engine strategies for their marketing plans have increased exponentially. Threat analysis vs. Key Word Search has increased over the years. We now plan quarterly meetings discussing our threat analysis rather then simply spending time looking for new phrases.

Fire, Aim, Fire

I remember, three years ago, selling our services under the banner of economy of scale. “We could do this more economically, not necessarily better, then you can do it on your own. In the end you will save a lot of money.” Minus the more exciting changes in our marketplace, this pitch often worked. It was very flawed.

Now we focus on how the ROI Hunters can improve the client’s top line, rather then, on how we influence the bottom line. Let’s face it, how many of us believe we can “shrink ourselves into greatness”.

We can usually show a new client results in one month with correctly placed ads. Search engines remain one of the best tools for conducting campaigns in 30-day intervals while still having opportunities to tweak inside the same period. Moreover, it is a lot of fun! Good Hunting.

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NO Life-Time-Value ALLOWED!

What do you do if you are not allowed to use customer life-time-value in the campaign planning when working with e-commerce sites. We met with a company, which we are helping with search engine marketing, to review options to increase sales with an e-commerce site which they are running for a third company. Sound confusing? It is! This is not our normal mode of operations, but we wanted to help this new up-start company with this project and help get their feet on the ground. After all, hunting ROI is sometimes done better in packs!

The site owner’s focus is clearly on sales volume. There is no desire to form long term relationships with his new found clients. He is treating his site just as it is a vending machine on a crowded corner and simply by being there with the right product they will make their millions.
Here are things we are not allowed to do:

  1. Follow-up email campaign
  2. Monthly or special newsletters with promotions and new news
  3. Follow-up phone calls

This impacts our ability to perform retention and referral marketing. Faced with this problem we are focusing on getting more visitors to the site. Search engines remain a long term strategy. But, this client wants visitors NOW! We are forced to look at PPC type activities and this means more dollars. With an increase in new customer acquisitions, the strategy will quickly be seen as too expensive and the site owner will decide to drop this and focus on the next strategy of the month.

At the time of this post, the site owner decided to drop the internet strategy work and move all of his eggs into the TV marketing basket. Another agency came in and showed them how much more they will make with TV. Our up-start friends, which we were helping, was given a perfect opportunity to let this client go.

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Non-Profit Internet Marketing

Occasionally the ROI Hunters are asked to provide newsletter articles for their clients. Below is an example we provided for Here-4-You Consulting. We always want our clients to succeed, after all hunting ROI is not for the selfish.

I would like to begin with a simple question. “If no one knows you are there, will they ever find you?” As leaders of our organizations, we have learned that we must go beyond the simple act of ‘putting out a shingle’. We have learned that phone book listings, TV commercials, newspaper space, billboards, and other means are needed to create public awareness that we are ready to meet their needs. What happens if a new way of locating your company suddenly becomes available to the public and begins replacing the old methods? The internet and its tools are becoming crucial in business and companies can no longer ignore or refuse to embrace it. The numbers alone should convince you of this.

First some statistics

According to Nielson/NetRatings there is a 135,827,206 active at-home Internet audience. This number does not include the folks that use company resources for internet activities. In another study, DoubleClick estimates that 30% of all active internet users utilize search engines on a daily basis to conduct research on products and services, or to satisfy their information needs. That is approximately 40 MILLION people each day searching for products and services, maybe a product or service that your organization offers! So what are these 40 million people doing?

Searching for products or services

Studies show that the internet is replacing traditional means of identifying companies and providing information about their products and services. People are first turning to their internet connected computers to fulfill their information gathering needs. Since the internet is so vast and expansive, these users have become dependant on aggregators of information, or often called search engines. These search engines traverse the internet cataloging everything they come across and can help searchers find people, places, and things.

As an example, let us say your organization is an adoption agency. A phrase that is often associated with your service is ‘adoption agency’. I can tell you that this phrase is searched about 2692 times per day. The search using that specific phrase pre-qualifies the person and thus is a perfect prospect for your agency. A company that uses this internet tool wisely can gain significant interest in their services.

So what should your organization do?

We are beyond the days of “build it and they will come!” Since the internet is beginning to replace other forms of locating your company, it is important that your web site be designed to support your organization’s goals while also making sure you can be found. Here are the items we often ask our prospects or clients to focus on when beginning down the path of internet marketing.

  1. Understand and measure all your tactics of generating new leads or prospects so that you can adjust spending levels, as some will prove more successful then others.
  2. Set goals for each, and especially the web site as it should compliment all your other methods.
  3. Build the web site so that it causes action – no use having someone show up at your door and having him or her walk away not knowing what to do next.
  4. Build the web site so that it can be found – internet search engines are powerful tools and should be considered when designing web sites and web pages.
  5. Consider email marketing – if possible, you want to keep an open line of communications with your visitors and valuable clients, so having a monthly newsletter or special announcements is the best way.

In conclusion

The internet can be intimidating, but should not be avoided. Each day more people are becoming dependant on the internet as a key and primary source of information. Companies that avoid investing in this area risk the chance of losing their future clients, donors, and customers to their competitors. Spend some time thinking about the phrases people associates with your products and services. Using those phrases you have identified, see if you can locate your company with your favorite search engine. You may be shocked or surprised.


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