November 30, 2009 Program Summary
Best Practices for Turning Web Content into Search Engine Snack Food
Many tools, tips, techniques, and fads have come and gone in recent years, leaving many of us scratching our heads. What are today's best practices for writing content for the Web? What mechanisms will get the most laser-focused attention from Google and other search engines to ensure the fastest and highest rankings?
See the highlights and links to handouts below!
Part 1: Strategic Planning for an Internet Marketing Program
Polly Mertens discussed the online marketing process she uses with her clients to help them prepare a successful and integrated online marketing plan. It included deciding on smart strategies, choosing the best tactics, and tips for avoiding the most common mistakes when marketing online.
She also discussed an example of a one-year plan that touches on several strategies most marketers can employ.
Polly started off the evening by sharing with the group her 10 important “Tips for Avoiding Common Online Marketing Mistakes.”
Tips for Avoiding Common Online Marketing Mistakes
Mistake #1: No money or not identifying a budget.
Mistake #2: Not setting aside time for marketing.
Mistake #3: Not targeting your audience.
Mistake #4: Believing you are your target audience.
Mistake #5: Not contacting your audience enough or contacting them too much.
Mistake #6: Not tracking your lead sources.
Mistake #7: Trying to do too much.
Mistake #8: Not testing messages and methods.
Mistake #9: Reaching high and missing the low-hanging fruit.
Mistake #10: Giving up too soon.
To counter the common mistakes, Polly took a best-practices approach. She discussed a sample one-year online marketing plan to give people an idea of what a well-rounded online marketing plan should include. She also walked through the various aspects of an actual plan to explain the actions that could apply to a sample business.
Polly emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all online marketing plan out there. It’s important that people define the objective(s) for their business, define their target market and particular strategies, and eventually identify the tactics that they’ll employ that will allow them to reach their potential customers within their time and budget constraints.
Polly’s recommendations to the group, whether they are business owners, writers, or service providers — anyone who manages online marketing programs — were as follows:
Links to Polly's marketing plan handouts:
Polly received her MBA from Cal Poly after working for over a decade in San Francisco and Silicon Valley prior to moving to San Luis Obispo in 2001. She divides her time between teaching a 14-week entrepreneurship program entitled “Vision to Venture” for Mission Community Services, training and coaching small business owners around the country, and working with companies involved in renewables helping to change the face of business and the environment.
Contact Polly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 2: Writing Web Content that Search Engines Will Love
Our next presenter was Glenn Silloway, founder of TheNetSells.com. While Polly reminded everyone of the need to create a sound plan, Glenn shared with people a case study of one of his clients who is in the process of optimizing his Web site to increase the online sales and community engagement for his vintage surfing T-shirts and apparel.
Glenn’s talk, “Optimization 2.0,” focused on the extension of traditional search engine optimization (SEO) to include the new forms of social media, which are increasingly important tactics that even small businesses should use.
During this segment, he illustrated current tools you can use to discover and define the online conversations that are relevant to your clients or to your own business marketing.
The Evolution of the Online Marketing Environment
To help the audience understand the approach he took with his client’s online marketing plan, Glenn first set the context of the marketing environment:
These changes in the marketing environment do not eliminate the need for basic marketing work and strategic decisions. Glenn shared his client’s brand positioning as the basis for helping to choose and shape marketing tactics. The client has set measurable objectives for increasing sales, community members, and engagement with the online conversations about his products. These are the fundamentals that control all future decisions.
The Discovery Process
The next step in a concrete marketing plan is discovery, which Glenn broke into two components.
Once discovery is complete, the next step is to select tactics. This may include traditional advertising, search advertising, SEO, and social media mobilization in almost any combination. For the client's online e-commerce store only, all of the tactics chosen were online. They included:
Glenn noted that this is an exhausting and difficult set of tasks. Reminding people of one of Polly’s earlier tips, set aside a realistic budget for time and money and stick to it. People are spending hours online and not making them the best use of their time. Set aside 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon to do your social networking, and then get offline. Investing in your marketing can pay off, but you have to have a sound plan, a focused approach, and a commitment to pursuing your plan.
Ever since, Glenn has worked full time to drive value to customers through online marketing — primarily search marketing — and to try to keep up with the speed of Internet change. He has created Pay Per Click accounts that yielded as much as 30 times the advertising investment and delivered top-5 ranks on many keywords. Today, he is working to integrate the exploding online conversation into productive marketing platforms for a wide variety of clients. Glenn is also a member of our SLO STC chapter.
Links to Glenn's marketing plan handouts:
Glenn's presentation appears here: