Those of you who read our recent article ‘Marketing Tips for Techies (Part 1)’ will already know how to produce marketing literature, write effective press releases, tackle updating your website and execute successful email marketing campaigns.
As promised in the last article, this time we will provide useful tips on Search Engine Marketing including Search Engine Optimisation and paid search marketing, Social Media Marketing and we will be giving you some advice on how to make the most of your resources. So let’s get started.
The world of ‘Search’
Search Engine Marketing (SEM), for those who understand how to use it, can be one of the most effective advertising platforms currently available.
Although a comprehensive review of search marketing activities could fill multiple articles I’d like to cover two options available to you – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and paid search marketing.
SEO is the process of managing the content and structure of your website to deliver more relevant searches to your site in the ‘free’ or ‘organic’ search engine results pages. Load up google.com in your browser and search for the phrase “wholesale broadband” and you’ll see our corporate site listed. This is an optimised entry in search results.
SEO sometimes feels like more of an art than a science and to be exceptionally successful at it will take a heavy investment of time and is better left to the professionals. However, there are some basic things you or your web developer can do with minimal effort to notably improve the performance of your site in search engines.
- Check that your site is built to be search engine friendly using correct and clear coding. Your web developer should cover this for you
- Get links to your site from other, relevant sites to help improve your site popularity and ranking. However, be careful to avoid paying for links as this can negatively affect your listings
- Update your site content regularly and be sure that you include words that reflect what your potential customers might be searching for
- Monitor the visitor volumes and their usage habits through software such as Google Analytics (which is free). Your web developer can add the tracking code for you
- Expect SEO to take time before you start seeing results – months, not days or weeks
So that’s SEO, what’s paid search marketing? Paid search marketing can provide a quicker route to market, especially pay-per-click services such as those provided by Google Adwords and Microsoft’s adCenter. With over three quarters of all searches being performed through Google you might want to consider starting with Adwords and then review the other programmes at a later date.
With Adwords you can control your budgets, only pay when someone clicks on your ad, deliver ads to highly focussed searches and measure the cost and return of every single enquiry or order you receive. Its no wonder that paid search marketing gets a larger share of marketing budgets each year, and continues to grow (albeit more slowly) during the recession.
You can either outsource your Adwords campaigns to a specialist such as a Google Adwords Qualified Professional or, for bigger budgets, an authorised agency. For a nominal fee Adwords professionals can effectively manage your campaigns and quite a few will provide some basic up front research to help set your expectations before you commit to anything.
Alternatively you can manage Adwords yourself, often a preferred option if you are working with a smaller budget. Take some time to read a few primer’s on starting a Google Adwords Campaign (here’s one to get your started at Search Engine Watch). Also be sure to read through Google’s own learning centre which is an excellent resource for beginners.
As the back end to how Google administers Adwords changes fairly regularly you might want to keep an eye on developments at some of the Adwords forums as well such as over at Webmaster World.
Now that you’re armed with plenty of information it’s time for some basic tips. In search engine circles the perceived wisdom is that your Adwords campaign should incorporate some of the following elements:
- Set your maximum daily budget and plan to work within it, even if your Ads don’t appear in the top position every time (they won’t, by the way)
- Target well researched and highly relevant keywords (sometimes called ‘key phrases’)
- Provide clear and relevant adverts and, depending upon your objectives, a call to action encouraging searchers to click your advert
- Send searchers who click your ads to pages where the content is highly relevant to the keywords they have used and the copy of your ad content
- Pay attention to what Google tells you – keep an eye on the quality score of your keywords and follow the guidance it provides where possible (checking with experts in forums along the way to get a second opinion)
- Incorporate conversion monitoring to track actual leads, orders and enquiries
- Test multiple adverts, sometimes within highly focussed ad groups
- Test, monitor and adjust as you go
Social Media Marketing
As previously mentioned unless you have been stranded on a desert island for the last year or so you must have heard of social media in one form or another, even if it’s just from your kids.
Social networking is growing up, and social networking for business provides the smaller ISP with new opportunities for promotion, new ways to develop business contacts and engage with customers and in some cases provides access to the collective knowledge of thousands of individuals.
If you haven’t already done so consider setting up a Linkedin or Twitter account. Most social media services offer comprehensive guidance to help you make the most of their services and if you get stuck, ask your kids!
Making the most of your resources
You may not realise it, but you already have access to a wealth of resources. Think about the companies you buy from and the customers that buy from you. As already mentioned talk to your suppliers and see just how much marketing support they can give you, you might be surprised.
What about your customers? Do you have any that have been particularly happy with their service? If so ask them if they would be prepared to give you a testimonial or even a case study. New customers will believe them a lot more than they will believe you.
Let’s get started!
So how does all that sound? Are you ready and raring to go? Just remember you don’t have to do it all and you definitely don’t have to do it all at once. Try a couple of the smaller, less intimidating tasks first, see how they go and if there successful use them again in the future.
If you want to ask a question or would like a particular topic expanding tell us and we will see if we can help.
If you want to share your experiences or have some additional tips and advice let us all know by adding a comment. We’re interested to hear what marketing activities you think a technical minded person should try.
Rate our article...