Internet Marketing in 2016
by Brian Rideout • November 13, 2015
Internet Marketing has changed over the years. This Video blog post discusses in detail, 5 pieces of the Internet Marketing puzzle including pros and cons of each. The full text of the video is below if you'd prefer to read than watch.
Thanks for watching. I’m Brian Rideout, the Chief Pixel Pusher of BANG! Web Site Design. BANG has been helping our clients succeed on-line since 1996. For those of you that know your Internet history that’s well before Google even existed. While we feel that a core part of any Internet Marketing Strategy is a Website, today it can take more than just a website to succeed and certainly to outdistance your competition on-line. In this video I’m going to share what we feel the other pieces of a successful Internet Marketing strategy are.
The text version and narration of the video... Internet Marketing in 2016
But before we dig in… let’s define what Internet Marketing is? My definition is pretty short, and to most business owners very sweet. Using Technology or Internet Based Media to Increase $ales. Assuming for a minute that you aren’t a not-for-profit?… does that definition work for you? Ok, so what are the pieces of an Internet Marketing Strategy today? Websites for sure? But what else??? And most importantly… Do you have all the pieces of the Internet Marketing Puzzle in place?
I truly believe that it is a puzzle… and we need to get all the pieces in the right places to wind up with the right picture for your strategy. I say yours because everyone’s strategy might not contain the same pieces. While looking for some images for this presentation I came across a cartoon that pretty well sums that up…
The caption on the cartoon reads... "So far, we only have one piece of the Internet Marketing Puzzle!". Regardless of who I talk to though, most don’t feel they have everything they need in place. So here’s my list of what BANG! feels the pieces are, and I’ll go into the pros and cons of each.
The Pieces of the puzzle...
#1 - A great Website or for some multiple sites – Naturally enough for a web design company, we put a companies website at the top of the list. But having a website is just the start. We’ve also got to get...
#2 - Google and the other search engines to bring us some Traffic
#3 - We can use Content Marketing to help make that happen AND to provide enticement to prospects to contact us. We can also use...
#4 - Social Media to reach some of our prospects, and depending on the platform you use, that will also get Google’s attention. And last on my list is something a little more proactive...
#5 - E-mail Marketing… Let’s dig a little deeper now.
Starting with websites. Do you have a smartphone on your hip right now? Thought so… and because of that, the website you NEED to have today is one built using a technique called Responsive Web Design. It’s Google’s preferred method today for building a site because it creates one URL for each page of the site as opposed to one for mobile devices and a different one for desktop computers. Google also believes strongly in delivering traffic to sites that best benefits their users… those people searching on Google, that will be the best fit for them. How many of you heard the word “Mobilegeddon” in the spring of 2015? That was the phrase coined when Google on April 21st, 2015 decided they were going to prioritize mobile search rankings for sites that were optimized for mobile devices. Google is sharing that there are more searches run on mobile devices than desktop or laptop computers. That’s why I say you NEED a RWD site today. A site using the responsive technique responds to the size of the screen being used by the site visitor and delivers them a page formatted to be “Mobile Optimized” for the device.
The site just “works” regardless of whether the site visitor is using a tablet, a smartphone or a laptop or desktop computer. They are automatically given the site formatted for their device. Here’s a quick example from one of our clients sites.
This is an ecommerce site we built for the 12th largest Amazon seller. They sell household goods from ironing boards to storage boxes. This is how their site looks on a desktop or laptop display. But on a smartphone, we are going to reduce the size of the pictures, but increase the size of the text so it’s actually readable.
We’ve hidden the menu to save space when it’s not needed, but everything else is still here… it’s just been formatted into a single column that can be easily scrolled on a phone… something like this. This is a full blown ecommerce site and you can buy anything on the site from your smartphone. Ok, that’s a quick overview of Responsive Web Design.
But the other area where websites have really got to perform is with a Clear Call to Action. Sites in the past tended to be on-line brochures. Lots to read but very little happening after that. As Web designers… and business owners that want their website to be a revenue generator, not just an expense we’ve got to make it easy for site visitors to engage with us. Put your phone number at the top of the page to make it easy for them to call you!!! If they’d rather reach out to you via e-mail and have you contact them, provide a form for them to quickly and easily fill out.
Here’s a project we are working on right now. Note the prominent phone number and a form… that will be on most every page of the site, to make it CONVENIENT for site visitors to fill out. Remember, make it as easy as possible for prospects to reach out to you. On the mobile size version of the site that phone number at the top becomes a clickable button. Real handy when site visitors can call you with a click. We want the phones to ring right?
So some pros and cons of a website. First they are relatively inexpensive compared to a lot of other marketing vehicles. I often tell eCommerce customers they are opening a shop in every city in the country. How many brick and mortar stores could you open for that amount. Next, websites are comfortable for prospects. They are very familiar today with clicking around a site and gathering information. Prospects expect you to have a website and it should be easy to use and stick to conventions. Sometimes an Artiste type will design a site and get creative with the navigation… might be arty… but not helpful for the site visitor just wanting to get some information. Websites today are easy to maintain. Back in the day we edited the HTML by hand, now it’s point and click simple using a CMS or Content Management System. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can edit your website today. Last, for our E-commerce clients, a website can be a revenue generating machine. It will work night and day and take orders on-line while you sleep. It will be your hardest working employee and never asks for a day off!
I’ve got to admit I struggled a bit with the cons of having a website but I did come up with a few. #1 they do show their age and from time to time just like us old guys they may need a facelift. Things like the recent Google mobile update will cause you to pull out the wallet and update things or you’ll get left behind. Once your site becomes visible…. Which we’ll talk about next, you will get contacted by everyone from India and even Google pitching improvements to the site or advertising. You’ll also receive a higher number of calls from vendors to your industry. Kind of the price for becoming successful. The last con is probably the biggest. Web sites are passive… they sit and wait for someone to click on a search result or an ad, or for someone to look at your business card and type your domain name into their browser. They aren’t actively “out there” searching for sales without some help. Which leads us to…
Google Traffic. Now when I say Google I’m not intentionally leaving out Bing!, Yahoo, Ask, AOL and hundreds of other search engines. It’s just that Google has so dominated the search space that they drive over 2/3 of all traffic from search. Regardless of which of the major 3 search engines we are talking about there are 3 ways to get traffic from them. #1 – is PPC or Pay-per-Click ads… in the Google universe it’s their AdWords program. Those ads at the top and right hand side of the page you’ll see on most every search you make. #2 is SEO or Search Engine Optimization that results in your site appearing in the natural or organic results. These are the listings you don’t pay for, at least to Google, to show up. #3 is Retargeting & display ads. I’ll show you a perfect example of one of these in a minute. To better understand how this all works I’m going to show you a search query on Google.
This is a site we redesigned about 3 years ago for a Caterer… Nice little slide show of his work on the homepage... When the client came to us his site didn’t rank for anything! So we redesigned it, threw in some SEO magic… and BANG! we got his phone ringing off the hook. Because his domain already had a site on it for about a year we saw results within a couple of months of the site going live. If your starting from scratch with a brand new domain. Expect a year of next to nothing happening. Google does not “trust” a brand new site and rank it well until after it’s first birthday without a lot of extra expenses. Let’s look at a typical Google search results page.
Here’s a search for Catering in Phoenix. Ads across the top and down the right side. Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret Google isn’t going to tell you! 80% of people when they search, skip right past the ads! That means you’ve lost 4 out of 5 of your prospects if the only place you are visible is in the ads. Local results below that… notice the little Catering Near Phoenix text… most of the time you’ll see a little map with these results and then the Natural or Organic Results…. Both the local and natural results are influenced by SEO work. And this is why our client’s phone rings. He is #1 in both the local results, and the natural results That’s #1 out of 14.6 MILLION results for that keyword phrase search!
So let’s dissect these “get traffic methods. PPC or Pay-Per-Click ads first. First one of the great things about PPC advertising is we can get a campaign up and running quickly, under a week quickly. Next is that we can easily geo target, or only show the ads to people within the city or cities you want the ads shown to. So you aren’t paying to show the ads to somebody in New Jersey if you don’t want to. Next is we can easily turn these on or off based on your needs. Got more work than you can handle? We can turn them off. Work dries up… we can turn them back on. You only pay for them when you need them. Now even though we are paying per click, we can still budget it for you. We simply tell Google we’ll only pay X amount per day and then they shut the ads off for us. Last on the list it’s very easy to measure whether or not these are working. We know what keyword phrases people are clicking on your ads, how many people are clicking, and we can tell when they convert meaning filling out a contact form or buying a product from you. We can even swap out a phone number to track calls from ads. Nearly everything about Internet Marketing is easier to track than traditional marketing.
On the cons side of PPC, we already mentioned 80% of people ignore them… not good. That means you’ve lost 4 out of 5 prospects right off the bat. #2 if you stop paying for the ads… they go away… you must pay to play. And last, there is a bit of click fraud going on. Meaning if you are running ads, and your competitor sees them, they can click on your ads, and have the occasional click cost you. I say occasional as there are provision in place that prevent the competitor from clicking 10 times a day and draining your whole budget, but you should still know that you’ll got 10-30% of clicks that may be fraudulent. These 3 reasons are why PPC is not our favorite way to get our client’s traffic.
SEO or work we perform to get our clients’ ranked higher in the natural search results is. #1… we can capture the other 80% that won’t click on an ad… so you’ve just reached 5x as many prospects. #2 – And I was reminded of this last week talking with a business owner, people trust the natural results more. She said “I never click on the ads… just don’t trust them I know they are paying to be there”. #3 and probably the best reason is long term, you’ll spend less on SEO than PPC. The results tend to last longer too. The work we do up front may well carry you into years of great rankings… But to be fair we do have some cons for SEO too.
It takes longer to see results from SEO work. From a couple of months for a site that’s been around for awhile, to a year or more for a brand new site. Google just won’t trust a brand new site and give it great rankings. #2 it can be expensive. For some highly competitive industries it can take a lot of SEO work to compete with established players. And last… you are at the whim of Google and their changing Algorithm. Basically we play a game with Google… and they won’t give us the rules of the game. So they are constantly making changes to their systems that determine exactly what deserves a #1 ranking. And we have to play nice with them. We are a white hat SEO firm meaning we don’t do anything to trick Google. That can work temporarily, but eventually they’ll catch on and punish you, sometimes permanently. Be very careful who you buy your SEO services from.
Retargeting… I expect you’ve all been exposed to this but may or may not know what’s going on. Essentially you are being served an Ad, based on a previous action you’ve taken. Generally that action is visiting a website, looking at a product or service… but not continuing through and buying or contacting anyone. Think of it as a 2nd chance to reach a prospect. I’ve got a great example for you.
I shop a lot at Amazon and they do A LOT of retargeting. Yesterday morning I checked out some new heads for my toothbrush and over the past week or two I’ve been researching camcorders. So when I went to my Yahoo e-mail… what did I get yep, an ad for both of them. Now if I’d purchased either of these items… I wouldn’t have gotten those ads served to me. No point in paying if I’ve already bought. But because I hadn’t… ads. My wife hates it when I use her computer and she gets ads for computer parts for the next month. So what happens if I click on one of these ads?
I get taken back to Amazon to purchase those toothbrush heads…. And Amazon loses a little bit of money. But hey, they are losing Millions a year what’s a couple of cents. Yes, retargeting can be had for well under a dollar. BUT… you’ve got to get the prospect to your site first… before you can retarget them.
So retargeting… Inexpensive. We can still cap the maximum spend per day so we don’t exceed your budget. It builds brand awareness even if your prospect doesn’t click on the ads… and there aren’t any real cons to putting it to work for you.
Next up Content Marketing. Things like blogs where you, or someone you hire to write for you, share stories about product and services, how your helping other businesses or consumers. Articles, including case studies or white papers. Those articles can appear on your website or on other websites with links back to yours which is good for SEO. The white papers can often be used as an enticement to get some contact information from your prospects. Videos… which technically could have had a category of their own but the end goal is the same. Provide something of interest or value to catch either a search engine or a prospects attention. And as a subtle reminder… that’s how you came to watch this video. Podcasting or audio marketing if you will, would also fall under this broad category.
Pros for Content Marketing. Google sees “freshness” as a sign of a good website. So a weekly blog post can go a long way to convince Google you are worthy of their link love. I already mentioned that articles don’t have to be on your site. Posting them on other sites across the Internet and getting a link back is still a win especially from an SEO perspective. And since YouTube is a Google platform… you can count on videos you post there getting Google’s attention. If you do things well… you can even take up 2 or more of the search result spots on the first page.
Here’s an example of Google putting YouTube videos within the first page of the search results. A couple of years ago this was very common, today videos seem to be pushed to page 2 of the results most of the time. This was for a search on that camcorder I was looking to buy. Anytime you can get 2 results of your own in the results, your pushing a competitor off of the 1st page. And yes, I’m kind of a competitive guy. I like putting my clients in a position to succeed.
Of course there are cons to content marketing the biggest of course either finding the time or coming up with the dollars to produce it. You can overcome this though by a combination of outsourcing some of the content development and by repurposing the content you already have or are regularly creating. This video originally started out as a PowerPoint presentation to a group of business owners before it found it’s way to YouTube as a video on Internet Marketing. Repurposing a PowerPoint to video is as easy as File Export and choosing create video. Export it to your hard drive then upload it to YouTube. Pretty straightforward and that’s how I created this video. Also it’s not as expensive as you think to have videos created for you. This video clip your watching is about 60 seconds and we can get these put together very inexpensively.
The 4th piece of our Internet Marketing Puzzle is Social Media. If you choose the right platform you can reach the right audience. For instance, if your are a B2B marketer put LinkedIn at the top of your platform list. B2C look to Facebook. If your in the home improvement world, be sure your on Houzz. If you’ve got a very visual product or service spend some time on Pinterest. These are of course generalizations… but a good place to start.
The Pro’s for Social Media. Again Google loves fresh content and some Social Media gets their attention… Google+ being at the top of that list. Twitter being #2 as they are once again indexing tweets. Social Media allows you to Fish where the fish are… Again, a generalization… If your marketing to Mom’s look to Facebook and Pinterest… that’s where they are hanging out. And of course Social Media is Free… as long as your doing it yourself and have the time to post regularly. However, if you need help, this is probably one of the easier things to outsource. We have recommendations for social media agencies who will become your voice on the correct platforms and take care of your posts and responding to potential customers on the platform.
The cons look a lot like the cons for content marketing. That time and or $ to produce. You’ve also got Customer Expectations to worry about. If your going to be on a platform… your clients may very well reach out to you on that platform and you have to be quick to respond. I’ve got a travel agency that uses Facebook very effectively. You are also going to get some customer rants on your channel… you can’t please everyone and those you can’t will be quick to let you know. BUT! this is going to happen with or without you. Better you monitor and stay on top of it so you can do damage control.
Ok, last piece of the puzzle… E-mail marketing. And by e-mail I’m talking about e-newsletters or drip campaigns where you send a series of e-mails to a customer or prospect. I like e-mail as it’s Proactive! Your actively sending messages out to your list, not passively waiting for them to come visit your website or social media. It’s a fantastic way to stay in touch with existing clients and new prospects that you’ve identified… AND gotten permission to send e-mails to. I’m not talking about SPAM… unsolicited commercial e-mails. That’s a big no-no and against federal law.
E-mail Pros… Proactive… you are delivering your marketing message right to your client’s and prospects inbox. E-mail gets you a direct connection and Solves the “He’s Not Available” challenge you get on the phone. It’s actionable. Your message can include Calls to Action such as call me or hit reply for more information. It’s a time multiplier… you compose once… carefully, don’t forget to spell check, then send to many. It really doesn’t matter if you have 10 people on your list or 10,000 the effort is the same. And frankly I’ve found it to be very effective and inexpensive. Depending on the size of your list and the frequency you send at you might get by for as little as $25 a month once your setup. I do a monthly e-newsletter and it’s extremely rare I don’t’ get at least one client replying and say hey, let’s talk about that!
There’s are time and money again… it does take time to write a great e-newsletter or pay someone to do it for you. And you need a good well written message, preferably with visuals to get people engaged. You also need to be delivering content that your audience is interested in or you are not going to connect with them. One more thing to do every week, every other week, or at least once a month. You should come up with a schedule and stick to it. To start with I’d suggest monthly and if you find your connecting and getting results, think about stepping up the frequency and see if that increases or decreases read rates. You are only going to get some of your customers and prospects to read your message. Industry standard is about a 20% read rate. I manage to do better, somewhere between 35 and 50% of my messages get read. It’s going to vary based on your customers, your message, and how invested they are in what you have to say. But you won’t reach everyone, every month. The other potential con is you get labeled a spammer. This is easy to avoid if you only send to opt-in subscribers, meaning people that have said yes, I want to receive your e-newsletter. And, always honor unsubscribe requests.
So there you have it… the Pieces of the Puzzle to Internet Marketing. Many of these tasks can be done yourself or be delegated to staff. However if you want professional help, BANG! Is always looking for one more great client.
Ok, real quick… I do practice what I preach. If you would like to sign up for the BANG! E-newsletter of how we are helping our clients succeed just head to www.BANGwsd.com and you can sign up there. If you’d like to ask a specific question you can hit the contact form there as well. Thanks for watching!