I spend a considerable amount of time speaking with clients and prospective clients. The insights I gain are invaluable to me. What I am collectively hearing at the moment is a sigh of angst over the number of variables that need to be considered under the umbrella of “Internet Marketing” and as a result the time commitment involved with operating a successful program.
For a very long time in the early years of the internet, the largest pain points centered around SEO, as that’s pretty much all there was (marketing-wise). Companies debated internally its merits and relevance. What now are fundamental elements of site construction, like meta tags, site maps and appropriate keyword densities, were unchartered territory for most companies. This isn’t to say that every company has the basics of SEO handled correctly today, but most businesses have accomplished these kinds of tasks or are at least aware that they need to be addressed.
Three areas seem to be confounding most marketers today, they are Paid Search (SEM), Analytics and Social Media. Each presents unique challenges.
The biggest issue with SEM is getting a campaign to run in a consistently profitable manner. This was much easier to accomplish when competition was slimmer and bid prices were lower. Today, a much keener focus on details is required in order for programs to be cost effective.
Next is Analytics and the increasing importance it plays in all aspects of online marketing. The first hurdle most companies face is getting a site coded correctly, so that the information reported is accurate. This is a significant obstacle for many businesses. Next is customizing the reporting (dashboard) so that the most pertinent information is front and center. Lastly, scheduling the time to review the information and make campaign changes as a result, is difficult to do.
Now if things weren’t complicated enough, Social Media is totally gumming up the works. Is it necessary to participate? Is it a fad? Are new business opportunities actually going to come from Tweeting??? There is no clear-cut answer to these questions, although I believe that Social Media is in its earliest stages and that it is going to become more, not less pervasive in our lives. If my assumption is accurate, then the early investments some companies are making in their Social Media Marketing efforts will pay big dividends as a result of the experience they are gaining.
The pace at which the internet has and will continue to evolve poses challenges for everybody involved. The upside is the incredible efficiencies and targeting opportunities that are being created. Now is an ideal time to revisit your SEO, SEM, Analytics and Social Media initiatives to make sure they are as effective as possible.