2013 was a turbulent year for Online Marketing. We saw more dramatic updates to Googles algorithms, Google decided to make all search traffic secure, social media data became more important to search, Marketing Automation software exploded as an industry and many other changes to online marketing tracking and techniques.
At Blackbird e-Solutions we followed the news about trends and changes as well as made some news ourselves. Here’s a run down of our best of 2013 from our blog e-Life.
We started the year off with ways to help businesses get their online world in order with a few interesting “How To” posts:
Nobody (especially your client or boss) wants to waste money. So the first part of our series is about seeing if you’re ready, by assessing your current situation and laying the groundwork for online success. We see too many people that just start firing away without any idea about where they currently are or a plan for what they want to accomplish. Usually they get frustrated quickly and give up with the complaint, “online marketing just doesn’t work for me.” We don’t want that to happen to you!
Let’s assume you’re not currently tracking what happens on your site. There are many different website analytics programs out there, but we recommend Google Analytics to most of our clients. It is cost effective (Who doesn’t like free?!?) and very powerful. In this post I’ll walk you through how to set it up on your website.
Even with all the changes in the industry basic SEO practices are still important. Many times we see websites that are beautifully designed, but the designers either neglected SEO completely or they may even be doing things that go against simple best practices. We’re going to look at some basics.
One of the things you need to understand early on in your online marketing plan is where your target audience hangs out online. This can vary from industry to industry. Maybe you’re selling to teens, retirees, businesses in the manufacturing industry or maybe businesses that are just starting out.
Whoever your potential customers are, if you are putting your money and efforts into the wrong place you won’t see the results you want from your online marketing.
We’ve created a list of tips and tools to get you started finding your audience.
A great example is a recent project we were working on for a staffing firm. The company was strongly against using the word “temp” or “staffing.” as keywords. They said we could get away with using “temporary”, but definitely not “temp”. His reason was something along the lines of people aren’t looking for staffing anymore, they are looking for employment and employees. Not temp workers because “temp” has a bad connotation.
When this discussion came up, I went to my tool set to find out the truth about search. This post tells you what I found…
The second half of the year we looked at things in a bit more strategically as well offered advice for moving forward.
Or better said what’s your goal? What are you trying to achieve with online marketing. Unfortunately too many online marketing campaigns are started with out a clear goal or set of goals in mind. If there are goals in place often they are too vague to be meaningful.
Let’s look at an old favorite. “Our GOAL is to sell more stuff.”
That’s great! You and everyone else, but we need to dig deeper to get any meaning out of this.
In 1900 Michelin created the Michelin Guide. This is an actual book of content that was used to inform and educate customers. They created a value to customers and potential customers, which in turn created trust. The books included ways to maintain your car as well as travel tips and help. In 1906 it was Jell-O.
So, what’s different about today’s “Content Marketing?”
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” –John Wanamaker
Nearly half a century ago John Wanamaker made this comment. Sadly many businesses still feel this way. However with today’s technology including Marketing Automation and visitor tracking, online marketers have the tools to “close the loop” so they can effectively tie every lead and sale back to the dollar amount to the marketing initiative that produced them.
There are also lots of excuses for why not to do regular a SEO audit; you need to close that sale you’re working, training new hires or staying on top of customer service, whatever the reason, often the website audit gets postponed. Plus, many companies subscribe to the “do it once and forget it” plan, but just like your car an SEO audit is important part of a long-term success plan.
We also showed that we have a sense of humor throughout the year.
Looking back we hope everyone had as good a year as we did and we wish you a happy successful New Year!