Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Google Certified Advertising Professional

Congratulations, Alan Vickery on passing the Google Certified Advertising Professional Exam.

Google Certified Advertising Professional

What is Google Adwords?

—David Blizzard

Email Marketing

Email marketing has been much maligned in years past due to the proliferation of spam by unscrupulous marketeers. There are few things more frustrating than sitting down to check your email only  to wade through countless profane and inane messages sent to you without a single thought. So does email marketing have a legitimate purpose? Sure it does! In 2006, United States firms spent $400 million on email marketing and President Barack Obama would likely be heading back to the United States Senate  if it weren’t for the shrewd use of  email marketing in his 2008 campaign.

One of the  primary roadblocks to effectively using email marketing is compliance with a federal law which can mean an $11,000 fine for each non-compliant email. Luckily this obstacle only takes a bit of common sense and an appropriate dash of technology to overcome. Compliance means conforming to the prescriptive methods of permission based email marketing set forth in the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. A summary of the federal law can be found in the CAN-SPAM article on Wikipedia. The statute places restrictions on how email is sent, the content it contains, and prescribes methods for opting-out or unsubscribing from the email.  One of the quickest and most cost effective methods of sending out massive amounts of email without getting blacklisted is to use a reputable email marketing service like iContact or Constant Contact.  Prices for these services vary on the size of your email list and the features that you would like to use, but basically all these different services let you create custom forms for your website where your users signup to receive your emails. The user is then sent an automatic email to make sure they want to sign up, this is known as “double opt-in.” The client is then placed in your email database on the service which can be centrally administered. You then have a single place to track the performance of your email marketing campaign and see if you need to make any changes to your strategy. The dashboard shows how many people opened your email and also how many took action and clicked through to your website.

Getting back to the original premise, using an email marketing service like iContact can keep your customers, vendors, and friends aware of new products, services, or specials that your company may be offering. Studies have shown that customers that are consistently “touched” or contacted on a regular basis are more likely to make a purchase. So take advantage of their trial period and take your email marketing to the next level.

Good luck!


Google AdWords Conversion Tracking

Everyone wants to stretch their AdWords budget to get the best ROI for their money, but how do you know that you are performing at your best? Google includes a tool in standard Adwords accounts called conversion tracking. Put simply, conversion tracking allows you to monitor a user’s actions on your website and links that data to your AdWords stats in terms of budget. You can setup several different types of actions, which are goals that you want your user to accomplish, such as signing up for a newsletter, clicking on a button, completing a purchase, or submitting a form. The action types are:

  • Leads
  • Signup
  • Purchase / Sale
  • View of a Key Page
  • Other

Setting up the conversion tracking is relatively straightforward. Once you create and name your action you are provided with a snippet of Javascript to place in your page. Results are tracked immediately and can be monitored at the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels. Once enough results are calculated, you will be able to see how much it costs you for a user to take an action. For example, in a week if you have 100 clicks at $2.00 / click and 15 conversions then each conversion will have cost you $13.33. Using this information can become a metric for performance. You can work on  decreasing your cost per click, increasing your Quality Score, and reducing you cost per conversion.

Good Luck!

[What is AdWords]


Does Size Matter for SEO Consultants?

Bigger is better, right? Not necessarily when it comes to internet marketing companies and SEO consultants.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a team of 20 employees to put on a project and a million dollar budget just for office supplies. But would the results produced for my client  be that much better? I doubt it. Two of our clients have had remarkably similar experiences with large SEO consultants and internet marketing firms and both have had less than stellar results. One of our customers discovered a large, well respected California firm and contracted them to perform search engine optimization, Google AdWords management, press releases, and other services with a large down payment and a healthy monthly fee. Several months elapsed with no results for the customer. There was no increase in traffic, PPC was going nowhere, and 1 press release had been issued and forgotten. The “project manager” for our client was unavailable by phone  and many times would not even respond to repeated emails. There was a response, however, when the bills stopped being paid.

Fast forward two months. The  client came to us  for “AdWords Managment only”  due to the state of the economy, a tight budget, and the natural reluctance to fork out more money for SEO services. In the past two weeks we have doubled his click through rate and now have a PPC campaign that is pulling its weight. As a smaller firm we are able to provide the type of constant contact and reassurance that somebody who has been burned by the big boys needs. Communication and realistic expectations will go far in any internet marketing project to help it go smoother and make the client feel like they are using their dollars effectively.


Online Advertising in 2009

For many industries, things are going to get worse in  the first half of 2009, but that might not be all bad. Companies will have to get leaner and meaner which could mean more competition and subsequently more innovation and maybe some better prices.  Getting leaner means controlling cash flow and one of the areas that will see the largest paradigm shift is advertising. Many business owners that we have met recently are finding it difficult to justify bloated budgets for traditional print, radio, and television advertising in these uncertain economic times.

One of the questions that we get most often is, “How can I get my message to my target as cheaply as possible?”.  We typically have to answer the question by asking a series of questions designed to figure out what they are looking for, who are they targeting, and, of course, what is their budget. The answers to these questions will dictate a plan of action that will most likely involve online advertising. Some form of advertising will always be needed to reach target audiences, but the smart money is advertising online. Why? Because it is rapid, measurable, and affordable. Shifting dollars from traditional ad budgets to online advertising is like taking dollars to Mexico ten years ago; you would have some serious purchasing power.

Does this mean that print, radio, and TV are dead? Far from it, but they are changing. Google has made a foray into traditional advertising by creating the infrastructure for ad creation and campaign management right in your Google Adwords account. Take , for example Google TV ads. Using the same Adwords interface that you use for your pay-per-click campaign you can schedule a TV ad to run literally within minutes. Using the Google Ad Creation marketplace you can request bids on your project from Specialists in Production, Script Writing, Video Editing, and Voiceovers. These are powerful tools that simply were not available to small business owners before, and can be used to reduce advertising costs and make companies more competitive.

Good Luck!

Read Charles Hugh Smith’s article The Web Dismantles Old Media.