Online marketing may not be quick, but it’s effective

Alice

As the recession deepens (and all those BNI types who still testify that there isn’t a recession, wake up and smell the coffee), businesses are starting to appear a mite desperate. This is when marketing gets a raw deal, especially if the CEOs don’t really understand what marketing is all about.

Looking around and reading the signs, it is beginning to be obvious that companies are waking up that they need to market more online. But their lack of understanding shows that although they furiously update their websites with fancy new designs, they omit to think about the content or how they can communicate better with their customers, namely by interacting with them and getting their feedback through social networking.

If your company is still bogged down in the dark ages, the difference between marketing and sales will still be hazy, muddy and out of date. There is a new concept going about now that may not only confuse, but worry CEOs and Marketing Managers. There is this thing called customer relationship marketing (CRM), and the worst thing is that it happens over a long period of time!

But their balance sheets and cash flow statements are crying out, and the Accounts department report doom and gloom. What to do? The immediate response is to bombard the online marketing world with PPC projects, sales objectives and buy-now strategies. Money is pumped in to make a fast buck – and yes, it works! But only for the immediate future.

But they have forgotten about this CRM thing, which is apparently a real bind because it takes so long to happen. It’s may be really boring, but it is proving to be necessary. Gradually it dawns on them that marketing is a long-term affair, and communicating with prospective clients to really get to know them, understand their needs and desires, work out how they can help them, so that the company becomes a benefit rather than another faceless corporate identity, will have long-term results that can be worked on for many years.

And another thing, it doesn’t cost that much either. Certainly cheaper than a quick blast of PPC when they don’t really know what they’re doing. The ROI may be slower, but the graph is constantly rising, with no signs of those drastic peaks signifying boom and bust, or as Chantal puts it, feast and famine. CRM with its cousin data management will allow further marketing endeavours for future objectives.

And if you know more about what your customers are doing, thinking, saying or whatever, isn’t it easier to adapt your marketing strategies around this? And when the penny drops about social networking, Marketing Managers will begin to realise that here is a place to find out this data with the minimum of fuss and expense, with marketing research tactics at their fingertips and somewhere where people can exercise their natural tendency to chat, communicate, strike up a conversation and create a relationship. With all this at very little cost (except the time taken to monitor it), perhaps this online marketing lark isn’t so far fetched as it previously seemed.

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How to use pay-per-click properly

Alice

Not all Google Adwords work properly because the campaigners don’t know what they’re doing, and I often sigh when I think of how much money is wasted.

Let me give you an example. I wanted to get a galvanised metal watering can for my husband’s birthday, a big sturdy one rather than one of those delicate versions you daintily water your house plants with.

So I typed in ‘metal watering can’ into Google and surveyed the screen in front of me. (Please bear in mind that entries on Google continuously change, so if you do this you may see something different.) The top five links seemed likely possibilities.

How annoying! Amongst small dainty examples that I didn’t want, there were some sites that didn’t even have ordinary watering cans available. Eh? I didn’t want to buy discounted garden furniture or a 100 ft hose. And further investigation revealed the company didn’t sell watering cans because their search mechanisms didn’t bring any up.

So I looked at the paid for links in the shaded areas, and started to receive the same treatment – and this struck me: why did they compose these pay per click adverts that didn’t deliver what they said on the tin? Surely it would be a waste of money if the visitor ends up being confronted with something they didn’t ask for?

Pay per click advertising is only effective if it is properly targeted. If your ad mentions metal watering cans then you should be directed to a page with metal watering cans in it. The index page of the garden centre is not the answer, as it is not what the clicker wanted.  A webpage offering another special offer is a complete no-no! And if your company’s website doesn’t bring up watering cans via searching, then there is definitely something wrong with your search engine optimisation.

I did find a website that had the watering can I wanted. Their concisely written pay per click ad directed me straight to a page that offered three metal watering cans. I made my selection, paid through an efficient shopping cart system, and received confirmation of my purchase plus tracking information for my watering can’s delivery progress. The watering can arrived before the time specified, and I have a happy husband.

That’s the way to succeed through PPC.