Luckily, you can become knowledgeable enough in about 10 minutes to prevent this situation from happening again. All you need to do is understand 3 basic concepts and how they relate to one another.
How much are you spending to acquire leads/customers across all your marketing channels and what is the lifetime value of a customer to your business? These figures are simple to calculate and every business should be doing it. The reason you need this information is to determine if any marketing initiatives you undertake are actually making a difference in either increasing revenue or decreasing costs. Your knowledge of your firm’s historical costs are how you decide if your Internet marketing campaign is a success or not. If someone started working on an Internet marketing campaign for you without asking for these numbers, then they were just plain incompetent. If you couldn’t provide them with these numbers, well that’s your problem. Now that you know they are essential, you won’t make that mistake again.
Concept 2: How people search the Internet
When prospects search the Internet during the course of their purchasing cycle, they are either using direct brand/product related keywords, indicating they are close to a final purchase, or they use generic/category keywords and phrases that are associated with a product you sell. This indicates that they are at the beginning of their research cycle. Sometimes you might hear Internet types throw around terms like “Head of the Search” and “Long Tail”. These terms relate to how people search for information on the Internet. “Head of the Search” refers to the 10 to 20 brand or product related keywords of phrases that drive 50 to 60 percent of a websites traffic – these are often used by people who are close to making their purchase decision. The “Long Tail” refers to generic words and phrases that are associated with the category or type of products you sell. For the average website, there can be 1000’s and 1000’s of long tail keywords and phrases (most of which you could never come up with yourself) that send traffic to your site.
This is a pretty important concept to grasp, so let’s use a practical example, say video display systems.
Let’s say I am just starting out in my search, so I am going to use some pretty generic keywords or phrase, like ” video display system”. (See figure one, in order get a grasp of some basic information.)
Now let’s say I am near the end of my product search, I am going to get a little more specific, maybe use a brand name or product specifications like “IP67 LCD display”. (See figure 2.)
The implication of the difference of search behavior is that you can utilize two different Internet marketing tools to target people during different phases of the purchasing cycle. The goal is to convert the prospect near the end of their search into a buyer (in fact if you have structured your Internet marketing program properly, hopefully they are already in your sales funnel) and turn the Internet surfer at the beginning of their product research into a prospect.
Concept 3: The two main types of Internet Marketing
At the most basic level, there are two main types of Internet marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). To make it simple, SEO is when you pay someone to use various techniques to make sure your website shows up well in the organic or unpaid search results. Although you still paid for someone to do the work, this is still considered unpaid as you are not paying the search engines (GOOGLE, BING, YAHOO) to show your site. If you look at figure 3, these results are highlighted in yellow. SEM is when you pay the search engines directly to show an ad related to your site. This is paid search and the results are circled in red in figure 3. If you remember one thing from this article, it should be that SEO and SEM do not accomplish the same task. THEY ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. (Figure 3)
The take away point here is that SEM should be used to target Internet users who are searching using category related keywords and phrases (the Long Tail) while SEO should be used to target prospects who are near the purchase phase and using brand/product related keywords to search for your product offerings.
Making sure 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 3
Anyone who actually understands Internet marketing knows how to link these 3 concepts together. The bottom line is when you do hire someone to run your Internet marketing campaign, you want to make sure they are not blowing the budget trying advertising for keywords or phrases that are directly related to your business or product offering. You want them to use SEM/PPC advertising to capture new prospects. You then want to relate the costs of your Internet marketing to your other marketing channels to make sure your prospect and customer acquisition costs are within expectations and are generating a decent ROI of your marketing budget.
Josh Kerbel is Managing Director of Sales Funnel, a digital marketing agency that specializes in lead generation and prospect management systems. To get a copy of the free white paper, 8 Steps to Internet Marketing Success, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Concept 1: Customer Acquisition Costs
Selling Online – Do you push or pull? – Josh Kerbel
Taking the Foreign out of Foreign Exchange – Mark Borkowski
Copyright Modernization Act permits interoperability development – Alexander Anishchenko
5 signals that alert you when your career is off track – Mark Borkowski
RIM jumps ahead of Apple and Motorola in cell phone market – Tina Teng