Articles written in April, 2011

April 29 2011

Local News And The Impact of Mobile Technology


In a recent Pew Internet study, it was revealed that “Nearly half of all American adults (47%) report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer.”  I have written multiple blogs over the last few months regarding mobile technology’s impact on search marketing, and this recent examination by the Pew Internet and American Life Project illustrates my strong belief in mobile marketing.

The simple fact that 47% of all American adults disclose they use their smartphone or tablet to get local news and information does not bode well for the traditional print media companies.  Newspapers, for example, can not be happy to see their subscriptions dwindle, and many of them have been late to the party in establishing a prominent online presence.  Even the New York Times, one of the most respected news organizations in the world has struggled with declining paper subscriptions and recently implemented a “pay wall” to help recoup their losses.

While nearly half of all Americans access their mobile phones and tablet computers to get news and local information, it is how they use these digital devices that marketers need to better understand.  Conventional wisdom would lead many to believe that the explosion in the app markets for Android and Apple are driving forces of this migration to mobile devices and news consumption.  However, according to the Pew findings, “Just 13% of all mobile device owners report having an app that helps them get local information or news, which represents 11% of the total American adult population. Thus, while almost half of adults get local news on mobile devices, just 1 in 10 use apps to do so.”  This is an extremely important statistic for anyone looking to take advantage of mobile marketing.  While I believe serving ads within apps will continue to grow, if you want to reach the vast majority of mobile device users, mobile search marketing is the area of focus.

If someone is using their phone to access news and local information, and they are not using installed apps on their phone to do so, it is safe to assume a large majority of those people are conducting searches on their phone’s browser.  Here is where business owners and paid search marketers can take full advantage of a largely untapped market.  Mobile search marketing is still in its infancy stage compared to the maturity of the standard paid search via stand alone computers.  As people migrate to mobile devices, they are carrying over their traditional online habits, such as using Google to find everything from pizza parlors to general contractors.  Now is the time to execute a marketing strategy to position the product or service you promote, to a growing mobile community still relying on search queries to find what they need on the go.

April 22 2011

Search Engine Marketing 101: Budget vs. Strategy


Can you live on the beach for a $1 day? Can you buy a brand new Rolls Royce for $10?
Probably not, but when it comes to search engine marketing, many businesses have the impression that they can spend a little money and take over the entire internet marketplace. It is important in any area of businesses to set a realistic marketing strategy based on your budget.

Let’s start with your search engine marketing budget. How much money will your business allocate to your search engine marketing strategy? What type of return is your business expecting to get from these advertisements? Many times businesses do this backwards and come up with a search engine marketing strategy that will cost $25,000 a month to execute, but their budget can only support a $5000 monthly budget.  Once your business determines a budget, then it is appropriate to think about the strategy.

The search engine marketing strategy ought to include the overall goal and then steps on how to reach your goals. Make sure to set realistic goals. Sometimes, companies look at competitors 10 times their size and say, “I want to do everything they are doing.” That won’t work because their budget is probably 10 times greater than yours. However, if your business will set reasonable goals and pace itself, then results can come quickly; which will allow your business to expand its reach and increase the marketing budget.

Part of setting realistic goals is realizing that your business shouldn’t bid on every keyword that is related to your business. Focus your keywords on your top products and/or services.  It is not practical to run 6 campaigns with each one containing 25 keywords, and each campaign set at a $5 daily budget.  Even if each keyword has an average cpc of $0.20, based on your daily campaign budget each keyword could only get one click and then your campaigns would be shut off for the day.  However, if your business runs 2 campaigns, with each one containing 15 keywords and each campaign set at a $15 daily budget, using the same avg cpc of $0.20; each keyword could get at least 5 clicks each. This would give your keywords more frequency and the opportunity for even greater reach which would benefit your business.

Every business should determine their budget before they start thinking about a grandiose strategy. By putting a budget in place, and working your strategy around your budget, a business may reach their goals quicker than expected. It’s always good to think practically when setting a search engine marketing strategy. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised than sadly disappointed.

April 20 2011

Not All Searchers Think Like You


One of the biggest hurdles business owners and marketers face in creating marketing campaigns is bias.  It is human nature, I suppose, that we believe our ideas and viewpoints are held by the majority of the public.  However, it is important to remove your bias from the discussion when developing an ad campaign.  Not all web surfers think alike or use the internet the same way to find information.  More importantly to consider and understand…not all people think like you when it comes to finding information online.

For small and medium size business owners, this seems like one of the hardest marketing lessons to accept.  It is understandable to expect a business owner, who built his or her business from the ground up, to have their pulse on what makes the business grow.  When it comes to internet marketing and paid search campaigns, many business owners simply apply the same logic that helped build their business to the web.  This is often a failing strategy, because of the bias inherent in the business owner’s thought process on what drives people to their website.  It is this bias and inexperience from most business owners that lead to poorly created and managed paid search campaigns.  Many of the fixes needed to restructure these campaigns are technical in design.  For example, the business owner wasn’t aware of the proper way to build out and structure the campaign, which is to be expected.  They have enough on their plates running their business, and probably never took the time to earn their Google AdWords Certification.  Getting a business owner to agree to technical and structural change is relatively easy when providing paid search consultation, it is exactly the type of help they need and want to hear.

Where it gets challenging for the marketing consultant, is educating the business owner on how to drive higher quality traffic, when the recommendations are in stark contrast to the preconceptions of the business owner.  I do not think many business owners like to hear their ideas on traffic generation are flawed.  As a marketing consultant, educating the business owner on how to look past their own bias by showing real-time statistics to support your recommendations is imperative.  Using Google Analytics (GA) is the most effective way to demonstrate the concept that not all searchers think alike and not all keywords are equal.  Website visitors and their engagement with the site determine success for any campaign.  As a business owner, learn to leverage that data to educate yourself and break down the walls of bias when creating and optimizing an online marketing campaign.  Don’t assume you can just build out keywords based on how you search the internet.  This will only limit your campaign’s effectiveness, because not all searchers think like you.

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