If you’re about to embark on an online marketing campaign, have you actually thought about what you want to achieve?
Last week, I was reading Patricio Robles’ excellent article 10 reasons people criticise SEO. Among the many comments left on the post was one suggesting that many clients don’t really know what it is they want to achieve from search engine optimisation before they start.
I think this is surprisingly true. At SEOptimise, we always encourage our clients to outline what they would consider to be success, to make sure we’re targeting our efforts. Not everyone’s goal is a straightforward commercial one.
Surprisingly often, they don’t really know and SEO is now just one more aspect of online marketing. Many organisations dutifully sign up and spend a great deal of cash of an array of web-based promotional efforts without a clear picture of what they want to achieve.
Considering how easy it is to analyse and measure online marketing success, this is an inexplicable waste of money.
This is the most obvious reason for any online marketing effort – to increase traffic to a commercial website in order to increase sales; to boost a brand’s reputation and mindshare in order to increase sales; and to encourage customers to return and make further purchases.
SEO is a key factor here; it’s the equivalent of renting a shop in the middle of a busy shopping centre – increasing footfall is key to success.
If this is your sole ambition then make sure you analyse the success of different marketing tactics, so that you can divert your budget into the most successful streams.
Recommended: Organic SEO, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, competitions and giveaways, press engagement
If you’re a commercial organisation then you want to increase visitor numbers in order to boost sales. However, some websites simply want to increase visitor numbers – they don’t then need to convert them into anything other than repeat visitors.
This is often the case for online news sources or blogs that rely on advertising revenue.
Recommended: Organic SEO, pay-per-click advertising, press engagement
There are many organisations that exist in order to capture people’s information and consent to future marketing or surveying activities.
Whether the business makes money from carrying out surveys and market research, or collects addresses for other companies to use for marketing, there’s a difficult line to tread when it comes to promoting these sites.
Often, standard marketing like SEO falls down here. These businesses must turn to more subtle efforts, like viral promotions, competition marketing and giveaways.
Simply increasing traffic will not necessarily be a cost-effective way to promote these kinds of sites.
Recommended: viral marketing, competitions and giveaways
Okay, if you’re a pressure group or a political party, what is it you want? To boost your online publicity and make sure people have heard about you and understand what you’re about.
This is my favourite kind of marketing. Really careful use of paid advertising around searches for current affairs and relevant contentious issues can help this kind of group achieve incredible visibility.
Press releases, an authoritative and charismatic blog, a forum – there are some really fun and effective ways to boost a pressure group’s audience, whether they are a major political party or the Village Green Preservation Society.
Recommended: Pay-per-click advertising, blogging, press engagement, social media marketing
If you’re a charitable organisation, then you want to raise publicity but also revenue. In many ways, you’re more like a commercial organisation than a pressure group. Increasing footfall will help boost revenue, so SEO is a key element here.
However, increasing revenue also relies heavily on the content of your site – since there’s no product for your visitors to take home. So, the tactics outlined under ‘more publicity’ come into play – blogging, aligning yourself with current affairs and social media marketing.
Charities want reliable income streams more than anything, so much of your marketing will be directed at people who’ve already donated, to keep them giving and to increase loyalty. That means email marketing can make a big difference to your success.
Recommended: Organic SEO, Pay-per-click advertising, blogging, social media marketing, email marketing, press engagement