Internet Marketing Consultants – SEO and SMO

Search Engine Optimisation and Internet Marketing have changed dramatically over the last few years with the arrival of Social Media and Social Networking. Although SEO’s have adopted it and used it to enhance their existing practices, SMO and all it stands for, is undoubtedly the future of internet marketing…

Its time to make your content count and start building natural authority in your market place by actually connecting and reacting to your customers and sharing with your peers. Find out where Social Media Optimisation and traditional Search Engine Optimisation are heading and what it means for your future online strategies.

What is Social Media Optimisation

Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media sites, online communities and niche/community websites. Popular SMO techniques include

RSS Feed Syndication
Article Marketing
Blogging
Contributing to online forums and communities
Sharing content through social bookmarking
Incorporating 3rd party media such as video and images
Press Releases

Social media optimization is related to search engine marketing, but differs in several ways, primarily the focus being on driving traffic from sources other than direct search engine results, though improved search ranking and authority are direct benefits of successful SMO.

Social Media Optimisation is essentially a form of viral marketing where ‘word of mouth’ is duplicated through networking in social interactive sites.

The real trick is wiring these accounts together, produce fresh content and use it to leverage your online exposure, ultimately attracting streams of targeted visitors to your main site. This is where the Search Engine Optimisation techniques come in to play -but generally the focus is on content promotion and reputation building.

interaction is the key here, there are no instant results to be had(are there ever?), social media is about networking with your peers online, as you would do at an offline industry event. Business forums are a great place to start by answering questions and sharing your experiences with like minded people Don’t try and promote your self straight away (or leave tacky irrelevant links everywhere- its bad taste!) Just be …yourself and share what you know.

If you have articles, conference materials or research papers stashed away, these are a great way to publish content, promote your business and generate authority for your company site. Fresh material encourages natural linking and helps with your search engine rankling. You can use this to expand your keyword range to incorporate a wider range of phrases and thus attract more traffic.

Social Media Optimisation enables you to attract quality, relevant traffic without worrying about your Search Engine Ranking which Google likes as it cuts down spamming and promotes natural good content.

Social Media For Marketing and Customer Interaction

Consumers are so bombarded by marketing and corporate jargon they no longer pay attention to mainstream advertising and why should they? How often do you take on a new product or service only to be disappointed by the customer service/support as soon as something goes wrong. We are all sick of cold calling and blanket mailing campaigns and as a result, our friends in Direct Marketing have seen a rapid decrease in conversions from traditional mediums.

Social Media Optimisation allows companies to connect with existing and prospective customers on a neutral platform whilst gaining invaluable insights into how they are perceived and where they need to improve. Think of it this way…which are you more likely trust…a corporate campaign telling you to buy something or a recommendation from a trusted friend?

The internet moves at a frightening rate and most marketing decision makers don’t have the time to keep abreast of the latest Web 2.0 developments let alone separate whats a fad,and whats going to show you a good ROI and generate long term business. This also means internet marketing consultants are having to evolve at a rapid pace to keep abreast of the most effective techniques so its worth knowing a thing or two when seeking suppliers.

Common SMO Questions

-How do I find prospects online?
-How do I attract prospects
-How do I engage them and keep them interested?
-My ‘Decision Makers’ are not going to be using Face Book or Myspace so how can it help me?
-How do I use it Social Media to to generate local leads?

Interaction is the key here, there are no instant results to be had(are there ever?), social media is about networking with your peers online, as you would do at an offline industry event. Business forums are a great place to start by answering questions and sharing your experiences with like minded people Don’t try and promote your self straight away (or leave tacky irrelevant links everywhere- its bad taste!) Just be …yourself and share what you know.

If you have articles, conference materials or research papers stashed away, these are a great way to publish content, promote your business and generate Authority for your company site. This authority and fresh material encourages natural linking and helps with your search engine rankling. You can use this to expand your keyword range to incorporate a wider range of phrases and thus attract more traffic. This include long tail phrases and geographically targeted keywords.

Social Media Optimisation enables you to attract quality, relevant traffic without worrying about your Search Engine Ranking which Google likes as it cuts down spamming and promotes natural good content.

Summary

SEO is often split into ‘white hat and black hat’ otherwise known as the ‘good’ and the bad. However, the end goal of all SEO tactics are to fool search engines into achieving higher search engine ranking which has led to a spamming of the internet. What do we mean by spamming? Joining a forum and leaving pointless unhelpful posts with the sole purpose of gaining a back link to your site is a prime example

The search engines are wise to this and with this in mind, the way to optimise your site, improve search engine ranking and connect with your market will be to create useful content that serves your market creating loyal and genuine followers. Optimisation will be a more personal and tailored process where the company will focus on using there internal marketing documents to leverage web side authority.

We could even see a shift in the traditional job roles associated with internet marketing consultants as internal departments take control of their SEO content production and design. This would certainly provide give them more control whilst rewarding visitors with more relevant material.This move could spell the end for factory style seo and the spamming we are all so sick of.

Market Research on the Cheap – How to Do It

In these days of perpetual negative news about the economy and the stock market, one runs the risk of getting caught up in the bad news and foreseeing the same for your business. Yes, business will likely drop, perhaps by double digits if it has not already. However, a declining business in a declining market is not a death knell if you do not let it become one. Now is the time to focus in on your customers. Do NOT cut your prices. When you cut your prices you risk commoditization of your service and product offerings. What you should focus on instead is in adding significant value to your goods and services.

What “value” you could add depends on who your customer is. For B2B companies, the value depends on whether your customers are public works entities or other government entities, large corporations, industrial installations, retail developers, property managers,… and the list goes on. Although these customers appreciate some of the same things, each of these customers have nuances for which certain activities or offerings would resonate more strongly with them than it would another customer in a different category. The key is to determine WHO your customers are, then determine WHAT your customers want.

If you have a large customer base of satisfied customers, start there. Determine what they like and why. Sit down with a few of your top customers and ask them why they keep coming back, what you are doing well and what you could do differently. Are they fully clear on how you differentiate your company from other similar companies in your target geographic area? If not, what can you do?

If you are not in touch with your customer base, then you need to start anew. If you have traditionally pursued the “low hanging fruit” – any prospect who is relatively easy to obtain -, you may not know who your real target customer is. Nor will you know how to access that customer. If this sounds like your company, then you have probably been garnering business based predominantly on price. Now is the time to conduct the research to find out who your real customer (the best customer for your product or service offering and your strength in that area) is and craft a strong value proposition that will help you weather the construction industry downturn and position your business for serious growth when the economy recovers.

Here are some recommendations for conducting that market research affordably:

1) Get back to basics. A lot of the most valuable market research comes directly from prospective customers, not from a 50-page industry research report. Identify who your target customers are, build a list of people or businesses to call, craft a questionnaire to get the answers you seek and dial for dollars. Enlist the help of employees, temporary staff, or use a virtual assistant if the list is lengthy.

2) Use Hoovers.com or similar website to determine who the larger companies in your industry providing a similar good or service are. Many of those companies are public which means they must publish detailed quarterly (10-Q) and annual (10-K) financial reports. You will find these in the investor information section of the companies’ respective websites or on the SEC website at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml These reports are filled with significant current industry and market information that is often directly applicable to your company.

3) Some of the best research involves competitors. Obviously, no direct competitors in your area of operation (i.e., construction companies in Georgia) will freely share information with you but often direct and indirect competitors in completely different regions of the country will willingly answer questions that could help you assess the market, identify prospects, and avoid pitfalls. Find out who they are and call (preferred) or write.

In an economic or industry downturn, many times business as usual doesn’t work. So many industries – the construction industry, the automotive industry, the real estate industry, the heavy goods industry – are cyclical. During a down cycle those companies that focus on good fundamentals – which includes identifying and keying in on the most appropriate customers and ensuring your company has an excellent value proposition for them – continue to do well relative to their peers and ultimately position themselves to excel when the market shifts.

Maximize Your Marketing Buzz – Channel Your Communications Into One Integrated Marketing Plan

The concept of Integrated Communications stems from Integrated Marketing Plan, but taking it to a different level. Let’s just say this is the “Art” of marketing and Integrated Marketing Plan is the “Science” of it… Or put it another way, Integrated Communications is like the art of cooking, planning all the right ingredients to be put into the cooking pot. Integrated Marketing Plan is the reality check presenting you with a budget which restricts the amount of ingredients.

This is seen as a reality check for enthusiastic marketers with the planning phase allows you great creativity in applying your marketing mix. It helps you to apply your rational thoughts to justify your marketing spending. It helps you plan your budget by guiding you to match your financial and manpower resources, gives you a time line for achieving your goals and helps you monitor your progress.

Integrated Communications is a term which defines a concept which consolidates and reiterates through one focused & unified message across all the marketing mix of advertising, public relations, direct marketing as well as all marketing collaterals.

The concept works well for both the traditional as well as internet marketing. Large brick and mortar corporations will manage theirs via synchronizing their TV, radio & press ads, publicity with direct sales initiatives with one single message. Past experience suggested that great effort must be executed to ensure that all marketing mix activities are aligned throughout with one single message. This is especially so when the corporation is large and adopts a decentralized business model.

By contrast, with regards to Integrated Communications for Small business Internet Marketing, there seems to be lesser alignment problems. You can standardize and focus your keywords in your scripts, online display ads, emails, newsletters to enhance search results via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), do your social book-marking, networking and viral marketing all within your control.

Successful campaigns almost without fail (don’t mind the pun) consists of at least 4 aligned marketing tactics, namely extensive exposure advertisements, direct marketing, website, email marketing.

Hence, “Integrated” takes on a whole new meaning when you examine the various potential communications tools you can used, match it with your marketing budget plan, time it for implementation and review it over time for enhanced effectiveness. This effectively speaking, forms the Integrated Marketing Plan.