Google Instant & Place, New Algorithms, New Technology, and Search Alliances: Did We Forget the Basics?
About The Author:Daniel Laws, Jr. is founder and president of DaBrian Marketing Group, LLC (www.dabrianmarketing.com), a leading Internet marketing company since 2008 that specializes in search engine marketing & web analytics in Reading, Pennsylvania. He has over 10 years of internet marketing experience in the Philadelphia area. He is a Google AdWords Certified Individual, Google Analytics Qualified Individual, member of SEMPO, and has M.B.A. with an emphasis in Marketing.
The environment of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Social Media Marketing (SMM) will continue to change and make advances with new technology. The on-going changes to Google search and Bing, as well as the ever-eventful rumor mill of mergers or acquisitions of Yahoo! by AOL and private investors, will periodically distract us from improving our results. The distractions are endless with those guys at Apple, Google, and Adobe rolling out something new every 3-6 months. Don’t worry; I have the solutions to our entire search engine marketing and social media marketing challenges. They’re called fundamentals, and it seems like advertising agencies and business owners threw them out the window once the recession hit.
The Marketing Fundamentals
Every business plan or marketing plan includes setting goals and objectives, identifying the target audience, testing marketing tactics, and measuring return-on-investment at some point in the process. Regardless of the new technology, modifications to the search engine or merger talks, the core fundamentals of marketing are still applicable to search engine marketing and social media marketing. Testing, Measuring, and Reacting to the information will always lead your agency or business on the path to enlightenment!
Testing Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing
Most of the Search Engine Marketers test landing pages, ad copy, and keywords. But, not all of us test search engines or social networks’ pay-per-click for optimum results. Just because the search engine or social network seemed broken last month doesn’t mean that it will stay that way forever. Social media marketing has been the latest among a long history of “buzz words”, but not every business owner or agency has tested the value of social media as it relates to them achieving their goals and objectives. If I’m not mistaken, understanding your customers, target markets, unique differentiators, and positioning were, and still are, all part of the fundamentals for marketing plans. By testing social media marketing and social media monitoring, it could provide us with the basis to testing and collect qualitative data.
Measuring Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing
We’ve measured the impact of SEM and SEO for years through web analytics, but social media marketing has a few more wrinkles than SEM and SEO. The impact of social media marketing may, or may not, be as simple as adding a few lines of code. Depending upon the key performance indicators, the impact of social media could take months. Social media requires that you be specific with your key performance indicators. I would suggest that you identify short-term and long-term metrics to evaluate your efforts. If you are proactively testing the value of social media marketing or monitoring, you should be able to collect enough information to develop a hypothesis and test it to improve the customer experience, product, or services offering.
Reacting to the Testing and Measuring of SEM & SMM
If you are testing, the challenge has been extracting actionable information from the results. Again, keep it simple stupid (KISS)! You don’t like a particular search engine’s pay per click test results for a particular vertical, then explore an alternative search engine and test a small campaign. Just make sure that you’re confident in the data, you’ve determined the necessary sample size, and you’ve collected enough data to justify making a switch. As for social media marketing, react to what your customers and prospects are saying about your brand or business. Sometimes it’s enough to simply acknowledge their questions or comments and show that you’re taking their feedback into consideration. If not, it is generally the foundation to test solutions or differentiating factors from your competition. Either way, the continuous cycle of testing, measuring, and reacting to the results will take on a new element.
Let’s get back to the basics of looking for online marketing solutions or strategies that work. Undoubtedly, it will require a few testing failures, but from these failures we will be able to identify what works and we can’t get to that point without testing. As marketers, we should continue to push the envelope of success because what is considered to be successful today may be mediocre tomorrow. Our clients and businesses will continue to demand more from us as internet marketing professionals. It is our responsibility to continue to deliver value, results, and solutions to the ever-changing environment of search engine marketing and social media marketing.
Take a hard look at the history of advertising and marketing. Over the years, we have implemented numerous marketing tactics from direct mail to yellow page ads to communication products and services to the masses. For years, people have been saying the direct mail and print will no longer be effective. It is my opinion, that these tactics can still be effective for specific verticals and segments. The point is that we have continued to test and evolve these tactics to improve our marketing. We should continue to test search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing to continue to improve results regardless of changes in technology or algorithms. These changes are inevitable!
“Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly, and finally, by a test campaign”-Claude Hopkins, author of Scientific Advertising (1923).
“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” - David Ogilvy