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Your Web Design is your global presence. What do you look like, globally that is?
I love Google. I really do! Despite what you are about to read, know that I have been a google-ite for well over 15 years! If only I’d bought some stock, I’d be quite well-off nowadays. This being said, Google is an absolute digital pioneer and though I’ve seen plenty of experiments that failed, they came from the same brains of experiments that prevailed.
I do a lot of Long Island Web Design and Search Engine Marketing. I spend more of my time lately implementing the various “points of contact” that Google has created. From Google Places for Business, implementing Google Ad-Words campaigns and making sure my clients show up on Google Maps, YouTube and yadda-yadda. I refer to these digital destinations as “points of contact” because in the world of business, you want to try and be visible on every front. If company xyz is listed on 10 different locations on the web, it’s 10 times better than being listed only on xyz.com. And the locations I mentioned previously are just Google-centric, they don’t even begin to delve into the social media realm. Geez… Bottom line is if you are not seen, you are not heard, and if you are not heard, your products don’t get purchased or your company does not get hired!
If I am working with a new client who hasn’t much more than the business itself, it is a lot of work to get them where they need to be digitally. I used to spend weeks designing websites alone. Now I get websites done in a few days and spend weeks getting companies setup on all the avenues of Google town! Then tailoring search engine rankings and keywords till I am blue in the face. Then social media thereafter. It is what it is. Having a presence in the big fish bowl is way more important than a presence in the 20 smaller fish bowls. Google is the big fish bowl, and in that big bowl is more fish looking to bite.
Google is always around the 67% market share for search engine traffic. The Juggernaut, as I refer to it. And as smartphones take over the world, that means more android devices, which is owned by, yup, Google. So, what do you think will be in 5 years when everyone has a smartphone. That much more Android out there, that much more “ingrained googling”. People joke about Google taking over the world, but if you begin to understand all the things Google is working on, implementing, and the way they work, you may be more awe struck than giggly.
Get your business “Googling”, if you don’t, you may die a digital death which unfortunately can carry over into the physical realm as well…
When talking about setting up web pay-per-click advertising campaigns, this is the most common response I get when I am working with a new client. Most of my work comes from referrals, but when I am approached by a new client or I approach a company which I feel can use my services, the most important things I stress are an updated website, and web advertising driven to it.
More often than not however, people are always interested in getting a new or updated website up, but are not necessarily in love with advertising it. I feel the two go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive. An updated website is a must. Websites are so affordable nowadays, even high quality websites using templates or open source platforms. A professional looking website gives potential consumers the confidence that your company is just that, a professional company with a professional website. If your website looks like it was built in the 90’s, your site looks outdated, so your company looks outdated. This does not promote a feeling of confidence in your company, which is what your site should be giving your potential client.
Just as important however, is driving potential clients to your professional website. This is where Google, Bing, Yahoo and all search engines come into play. The most common response I hear when I begin to discuss a marketing campaign is “I don’t need web advertising, when I search for my company, I come right up!”. I have devised a little exercise to get these people thinking differently. When I get this response I ask the client what is something they currently need, whether it be at their home or office. One recent client told me they could use a new printer. So I said, ok, lets say you’re on the web and you need a new printer. What would you do. He immediately opened up google and typed in “buy a printer”. This exercise makes me laugh every time because its effectiveness is so immediate. I said, “now you understand why you need advertising dont you?”. He was a bit confused. So I explained my statement. “You needed a printer, so you typed in buy a printer. And all these office stores show up. You didn’t type in staples, office max or other known stores that sell printers. You relied on these suppliers to advertise the fact that they sell the product you need. So why should you work any differently. You need to show up when people search for the services you offer. Your company showing up when searched for specifically should be a given. But your company showing up when the service or good you offer is searched for is the ultimate goal, as you just demonstrated to me.”
He was blown away. And in hindsight, it seems like such a simple concept. But this is the most common rebuttal to any discussion of web advertising. The internet is breaking down global barriers every day. And using it to your advantage is a must. Be sure to highlight not only your company name and location, but just as important, highlight the goods or services you offer. Try it for your company now. Do a google search for your company. Does your company show up in the first page results? If so, great, if not you have work to do. Now do a search for a good or service you offer. Do you show up on the first page, second page, tenth page….You have work to do here also. Especially when your market is heavily saturated.
There is many things you can do to improve both sets of results for free or for minimal cost. Adding keywords to your site, optimizing your site and submitting it to search engines,etc. These options can take months to begin yielding results. But if your company is buried on the internet, there is a way to dig yourself out immediately. This however isn’t free, but you can specify what you spend, be it daily, monthly or annually. And these advertising costs can be measured to determine effectiveness of each campaign, and return on investment, or ROI.
They say you have to spend money to make money, and advertising is a prime example.
One thing I love about digital marketing is the track-ability. You can get as in depth with your analysis as time and resources will allow you. Sometimes I will create certain little campaigns and tests just to watch the power of the tools that are at all of our disposal at all times for very little investment. I tinker. Most of Googles tools are free, easy to implement and when used in conjunction, they are incredibly powerful. But Google is not the only provider of tools with value. And the tools that they are not YET making available are HTML Email Marketing Campaign Tools.
When we used to create web marketing campaigns, we would decide what we were promoting, make a dedicated webpage or pages for the the product, and then we would post that url all over the world, digitally, in print and wherever we could put the www info. Then, we would wait a week and go to our reports and say, 5,000 times that page got hit. A rough idea of traffic was our gauge to our success. We would look at our investment, see what sort of buzz it generated, then hope it translated to the stores. And while that is still in practice, there are so much more sophisticated ways of getting a message out there and seeing what is working and what isn’t. Enter HTML Emails.
HTML emails are so typical nowadays that people don’t seem to understand just how powerful they are. See, an HTML email is an email that downloads images from a server. The benefit to HTML emails are, for starters, they are pretty. Who doesn’t like pretty? But as a marketer, they are pretty and more importantly, powerful. Extremely powerful. See, by downloading the pretty picture in the email (you did click “always show pictures from this sender” right), you just created an action measurable by the senders server. If the sender sent out 100 emails with one image in it, and he sees that image got downloaded 75 times. He can safely assume that email was viewed 75 times. Now, that is pretty interesting right. A 75% read rate. But I know what you’re thinking, what if I read the same email 70 times. While on certain systems, this may cause a statistical problem. But HTML email services take this download tracking a step further.
If I sent out an email to 100 people with an image located at www.atdny.com/prettypic.jpg, this can cause the problem of multiple downloads by the same person. And this definitely can skew my reporting. I could make 100 images, and use on in each email and this would give me a little bit more detailed info, right? If I sent out an email to 100 people, and had the main image named //prettypic.jpg, then prettypic2.jpg, then prettypic3.jpg this would give me some accountability. I sent an email to clientxyz an email with the image prettypic65.jpg and I see that image was downloaded. I can assume, the client did read the email. This is similiar to how email marketing services work.
So, when you send that same email out to 100 people, you specify the main image, and the service creates dynamic links that serve the image and track who it was that viewed it. You also now know when they viewed it, as the server knows when the image was downloaded. So how do you take this tracking and utilize it. It should be painfully obvious to any marketer by now.
Manufacturers and suppliers can use these emails to see who of their clientele is interested in what of their products. Here is a great example by The Home Depot. If you clicked the link, you will see a nice newsletter The Home Depot sent out. Now keep in mind, html emails track not only images, but also links dynamically. So in the email you see a bunch of offers very nicely mixed in with helpful hints. Lets say you decide to click on the build a fence video. You’re not interested in the “sales” they are offering, but you are curious the steps it takes to build a fence. Well, by making that click, The Home Depot now sees you as a potential opportunity to sell outdoor upgrade products. Decking, Fencing, general outdoor diy materials. So guess what their next email to you may be tailored towards….”Hey Jim, Check out these great deals on fence supplies, decking supplies, hammers, screws, nails, etc. We can help you get that summer project done, today”.
Now, The Home Depot has a huge selection of merchandise. I subscribe to their emails just to see how finite their marketing department is. You see, I will click on something just to see how well they follow up on me. I am a working on a bathroom remodel, so when I started the project I received an email about a vanity that was on sale. I clicked on the link, took a look at their stock, and went about my day. No purchase made. But I gave them a tidbit of info, I am interested in bathroom vanities. Who, you might ask, would be interested in new bath vanities? Why, someone working on a new bathroom reno, right? And yes, the following email was a much more bathroom-centric email. I went from a general customer, to a bath remodel customer with one click. Now for the past year, all I receive are bathroom emails from the home depot. Not because I haven’t started any other projects, only because I haven’t clicked on any other emails.
HTML emails are extremely effective if you use them properly. They tell you who (J.R.), clicked on what (bathroom vanity), when(June 6th, 2012 @ 7:58pm), where (8pm, he was probably home and definitely reading his personal email) and the why (he is probably renovating a bathroom). This can obviously be translated overt to a service provider to specify who is interested in what service they provide. How about using this technology to find out demographic information, gender, age, even cross marketing ideas. If you have a parent or sister company, slip in a link to a product somehow related and if they clicked, they may be a candidate for that companies newsletter also!
I love tinkering with All Things Digital, and HTML Email campaigns are one of them. Now, if you implement a marketing campaign with dedicated and analytically tracked social and web presence, search engine advertising and then put out a trackable email and follow up on your results. That is not only marketing, but effective marketing! Or, I guess you can just sit on your email list you’ve collected and not give these people any of the carrots they signed up to have dangled in front of them…