Finding Clients in An Ocean of CompetitorsThere is more business being done online than ever before. There are hundreds of thousands of new business web sites coming on every month. 70% of the US population (233 million people) are online. Over 1.2 billion people worldwide are online. The question is how do we find clients in an ocean of competitors?
Part of the answer to the above question is which number do you focus on, the number of people on line or the number of competitors? If you are focused on the number of people online, read on. If you are more focused on the number of competitors, read on.
Search engine marketing has been proven to have the lowest cost per acquisition of any other marketing medium. It is the only medium where people are actively searching for you. A successful campaign should include a web site designed around one question: "What are your clients looking for?" This is the starting point and may seem basic but it is surprising how many people have are just scratching the surface in their understanding of this.
Your clients are in need of solutions, answers or products. Do they know:
1.that you exist?
2.the unique value that you bring to the table?
3.the depth of knowledge and experience you can bring to bear in helping them solve their issues?
4.the passion that you have for meeting their needs?
SEO (search engine optimization), is the art helping people find what they are looking for, on your site". A well optimized website requires two elements the correct "on page" optimization so that the search engines can determine the relevancy of the information you are presenting. Yes, it is not as important as it use to be but it is still needed. Another essential piece of the puzzle is "off page optimization". This is having web sites linking back to yours. You may think that you are important and provide a great service to mankind but if no one else does you will not get ranked well. Quality links to your web site and an on going linking strategy is absolutely vital for good rankings. SEO optimization is not a onetime deal it is an ongoing process.
Pay-per-click is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your site from the major search engines. It can also suck your marketing budget dry in just a couple of days if not done properly. The goal of the search engines (and their strategies) is more clicks. The more people click on your ads the more money the search engines make. Their strategy is to get as many clicks as possible with in your budget and they are willing to do that all day long. Great for them bad for you.
The real goal should be more conversion with less clicks and lower cost. For lead generation sites this will mean lower cost per conversion. For ecommerce sites this will result in a higher "return on ad spend". It is easy to figure out: profit/ad spend=% and if that % is not over 101% you are losing money! The only way to do that is to track every thing from clicks to conversions; cost per click to cost per conversion; total revenue. PPC Management should be the process that is designed to make that happen.
Click Fraud Management
Click Fraud is a fact of life in the online world. The search engines are getting better at detecting and crediting their online advertisers. The key is to find a Click Fraud program that can track an IP address even if the go to another search engine and click on your ads and give them a warning that they are being tracked. It is amazing how bad behavior stops if the they know they are being watched and tracked! Also, some click fraud caused by our clients who find it easier to keep clicking on our ad instead of book marking our page. This will give them a gentle reminder to do that.
It is also important to examine as many roads to your site as possible. Find blogs where your clients hang out. Write articles and publish them on the web. There are hundreds of sites that will publish you articles for free. For a nominal fee some sites will push your article out to thousands of other sites looking for content, Isnare.com is a good example. This is great from three perspectives. One, you will get a tremendous amount of links back to your site. Secondly, this will lead to increase traffic and thirdly writing articles will help establish you as an expert in your field. There are newsletters, co-registration, affiliate marketing. The key is to research these and see what will work for you.
Hire or not to Hire outside help
"How do I know if I need help?"
You might need help if:
1.Your clients and customers are not able to find you on the search engines.
2.You do not know why your competitors are in the top ten search results and you are on page 10,001!
3.You can not keep up with the changing technologies and even the changes in the market.
3.You do not have the time to take away from what you do best, running your business!
If you do need help do your home work.
1.Get references and call them.
2.Get specifics about how they have helped their clients.
2.Find out how many clients they have and how many your account manager will handle.
3.Get a specific action calendar. Know what they are going to do and when it will be complete.
4.Make sure they understand your products, services and goals.
5.Do not be afraid to get another company to "audit" their work
This is serious business and one can loose a lot of money and time very quickly if you do not do it correctly. The bottom line is, if your customers cannot find you, they will find someone else. If you do not have someone in house with a passion to help grow your business. Find someone who knows what is important to the search engines and will not get you banned.
Terry Stanfield is a SEM consultant with over 15 years of sales and marketing experience. His company, Clickadvantage, http://www.clickadvant.com, manages PPC and SEO efforts for his lead generation and ecommerce clients.