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Web Marketing Today:  Jupiter Media SE Strategies Conference
Internet Marketing Tools for Small Business

http://www.wilsonweb.com/art/tools/ses050812.htm

Content generation. Many small business sites struggle because they don't have much content on their sites -- or in their e-mail newsletters. I found InfoSearch Media (www.infosearchmedia.com) from Marina Del Rey, CA. For their ContentLogic service they employ about 250 content writers, specialists in various fields, who will write a 250 to 300 word webpage for you -- targeted to the keywords and keyphrases you are trying to feature. The cost is $10 per webpage per month, or $150 if you buy it outright. When you consider the cost of good writing in time, creativity, and research, you know this is a good deal. Not cheap, but fairly priced with small businesses in mind. Content is king, you know. When you have good content, other sites will actually want to link to yours and search engines will find grist for their mill.

News Feeds. Need to add clout to your site? Consider adding news feeds from sources that represent your industry. Two of these might be Topix.net (www.topix.net) and industry leader Moreover.com (www.moreover.com). Topix.net offers a free service to small sites that don't yet carry advertising. For local sites it offers news keyed to ZIP code as well as various industries. Take a look. This could help you become a destination site in your niche that others might want to link to because of your depth of content, though a news feed by itself won't help you with the search engines.

PPC Management Tools. I found various tools for use in managing and optimizing all your PPC campaigns on a single platform. Along with industry leader Atlas onePoint (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/atlas.htm), I looked at SearchRev Optimize (www.searchrev.com), which is priced based on a small percentage of your PPC ad buy amount. Inceptor BidCenter (www.inceptor.com) is newly launched, but is price-competitive and offers a lot of nice features. Pricing ranges from $49.95/month for 50 keywords up to $495/month for 500 keywords. Another tool at the show was Direct Response Technologies' BidDirector (www.keywordmax.com/bid_director.html), which starts at $99 per month to track up to 75,000 click-throughs a month. Each of these is quite attractive since managing a large number of keywords across several PPC ad companies intelligently and wisely can be a nightmare without such a tool.

Cost-Per-Action Search Networks. There were many ad networks and second tier Pay Per Click search text ad services at SES this year. But here is a relatively new idea -- Cost Per Action (CPA) second-tier search networks. I spotted two: Revenue.net Search Network (www.revenue.net) and SNAP.com (www.snap.com). You select the business result you want -- sale, download, click, subscription, or lead. Advertisers only pay if a lead is generated. This is similar to an affiliate program, but is usually focused on actions other than sales and is triggered by keyword searches. The advantage over PPC is no click fraud or bid management. Unlike affiliate programs, these systems generally require no long-term commitments or set-up fees.

Ad Revenue for Publisher Sites. Yahoo! Publisher Network (beta, http://publisher.yahoo.com) is similar to the Google AdSense program (https://google.com/adsense/), where various Yahoo ad products appear on publishers' sites. Currently by invitation only, Yahoo is picky about its partners, which will benefit both advertisers by greater responsiveness and publishers by better prices. Like Google, Yahoo! doesn't release what percentage of ad revenue they're sharing with their "partners." I guess they're big enough to get away with such a blind partnership. Nevertheless, the resulting competition between Yahoo! and Google will be good for both publishers and advertisers.

A/B Split Testing. Kefta (www.kefta.com) is now on my radar for companies that use A/B split-testing and Taguchi method multivariate testing to both optimize a site and segment visitors to the site, showing them content (based on previous visits) that will increase their likelihood of making a purchase. Kefta is looking for clients who will spend $6,000 to $12,000 per month and up -- not exactly the core of the small business market, though the concept is exciting. What concerns me, however, is Kefta's contention that their software will do all the work. I know better. To get good results with split-testing you need to offer intelligent choices to test. Two companies I like and am watching are Offermatica (www.offermatica.com) for larger sites and Vertster (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/vertster.htm) for small to medium business sites.

Search Engine Optimization Certification. When you're looking for someone to do organic search engine optimization for your website, who can you actually trust? SEO organizations provide no policing of their member companies. Now Bruce Clay, Inc. (www.bruceclay.com) is offering both SEO and PPC training services and a certification that requires both knowledge and ethical standards -- and is audited! I've known Bruce for several years and admire him for bringing his SEO Code of Ethics to the industry. His company has a reputation of being able to get top rankings for the most competitive of keywords (for clients who can afford the effort it takes to achieve this). So in my book, Bruce is an ideal person to both teach the skills and the ethics, and to audit certification. He also offers an annual update course. There have been some good SEO training courses available for several years. Bruce's course adds certification that actually means something. If you're an independent SEO firm, this kind of certification could help you build credibility. If you're an in-house SEO specialist, this can hone your skills and make you more employable. If you're seeking to hire an SEO specialist as a contractor or employee, I'd encourage you to look for this certification.

Keyword Research. If you're developing a PPC ad campaign, you'll need a comprehensive list of keywords -- particular the little-used ones. I've always recommended Wordtracker (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/wordtracker.htm), the free version of which comes integrated in WebPosition Gold (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/webposition.htm). The stand-alone version costs about $8 for a day of research. But if you're a consultant or professional PPC service provider and are researching keywords every day for clients, you might consider KeywordDiscovery (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/keyworddiscovery.htm) from Trellian Ltd. for $49.95 per month. They claim a larger set of keywords.

Keyword Campaign Tracking. In the past few years there's been a revolution in web analytics software, the software that analyzes what's going on with your website,  These days an analytics program can tap into your ordering system to track sales and helps you the study keywords that bring paying customers to your site. I was quite impressed with Urchin on Demand (www.urchin.com) at $199 per month -- down from $495 per month before Google acquired Urchin in May 2005. Why the acquisition? I asked. Is Google now trying to compete head-to-head in web analytics? Probably not. Google apparently acquired Urchin to help its advertisers track keyword-triggered visits to their sites, so they can improve their sites and become more successful. Greater success means more advertising dollars in Google's pocket. Very nice!

Pay Per Phone Call is now becoming more common. Pioneered by Ingenio (www.ingenio.com) and, more recently Miva (www.miva.com/us/content/advertiser/overview.asp), it is now offered by Verizon for their SuperPages.com customers (www.superpages.com/about/pressrelease/123.php). The Verizon service will begin in September with minimums of $2 to $6 per call (even higher were bid up by competitors). This is particularly attractive for your small business clients who don't really get what the Web can do for them unless it makes the phone ring. With Pay Per Call, they only pay when the phone does ring. Another local search approach I saw at SES was Insider Pages (www.insiderpages.com), a review system gaining strength in a number of US cities. Your clients rate your business online with short testimonials or reviews. If your business receives a phone call as a result, then you pay, but only then.

New Marketing Periodical. BtoB, the Magazine for Marketing Strategists (www.btobonline.com) is a new trade journal published monthly by Crain Communications. It looks pretty similar to periodicals of yesteryear, but the name is different this time around. The current issue has articles on keyword selection, pay-per-call, integrated marketing, and marketing to meeting planners and hotel managers. It follows the trend of considering both online and offline marketing. You can subscribe to one or more free e-newsletters that send you slices of the magazine's content.

 

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