Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
The Best Online Marketing Strategy
Tips for Starting a New Online Business
One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses online and offline make is that they do not have a plan for success. Even though it is an online business, you should still have a business plan and you should have a search marketing strategy and know that you are targeting a large enough market. You should do searches online on Google, and Yahoo, and MSN, and see which of your competitors come up for that search term.
You should also do some market research analysis so that you know which search terms people are searching for the most. Some search terms might only produce a couple, 10 or 20 searches a day, and other search terms might have several thousand a day. You will need a big enough market to target because you will be sharing that market with your competitors.
What it all comes down to in the end is that you have about 10 or 20 competitors on the front page of Google, Yahoo and MSN. You need to do the following well, to compete with these competitors.
1. Your website needs to have a better presentation than your competitors. This means a more engaging demonstration of the products and services you sell.
2. You need to come up as high as possible in the search engines either through search engine marketing or paid sponsored ads also known as pay-per-click.
3. Optimize your website so that search engines can find you organically. This is also known as search engine optimization.
Common Mistakes Beginners Make
1. They start targeting and promoting keywords before they know the value of the keywords they are promoting.
2. When using pay-per-click advertising, they direct everyone to the front page of their website. As much as possible, direct your ads to a detailed web page which matches up to your prospective customers search term.
Tips for a Successful Online Advertising Campaign
1. Have a customized landing page, which takes the prospective customer to the exact product, or service page for which they are searching.
2. To have a cost effective online marketing strategy there needs to be enough people searching for your product or service.
For example, if someone is searching for a particular type of guitar, your ad should feature that particular type of guitar. The more specific you are and the less searching the perspective customer has to do once they get to your web page, the more likely they are to contact you, buy your product, or take the action you want them to take.
You will need to research which search terms or keywords are searched on more frequently than other search terms so that you can make sure that you have the largest audience possible. You can do this using Google's keyword tool. Doing just this small amount of market research can make the difference between success or failure of your online business venture.
For example, if you're selling Widget A and there's only ten people a day in your area searching for Widget A, you are not going to be very successful. If however, there are 100,000 people a day searching for a Widget A and you only have two competitors who also sell Widget A, then there is room for you in that market.
Google's Keyword Tool and How to Use it
The first place to start with researching your keywords is the Google keyword tool, found here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Below are some useful features of Google's keyword tool:
1. You can enter various phrases describing your businesses products or services into the search box. The tool will give you results on different phrases and synonyms matching your description. It will also tell you which search terms produce the largest amount of traffic on a monthly basis.
2. If you are targeting the entire United States then the monthly traffic column per keyword is very accurate. If you are targeting a particular state within the United States then you would need to divide that number by the percentage of population in that state.
3. Google's keyword tool also has a column that indicates the average cost per click for each search term. This can be helpful for forecasting how much to price your product or service. For example, if you are selling something for $10.00 and it costs you $10.00 to get enough people to your website before anyone buys your product then you need to rethink your pricing model. If however, your product sells for $20.00 and it only costs you $5.00 in advertising before someone buys your product, then you have a cost effective marketing campaign.
Other Search Engine Marketing Strategies
In addition to pay-per-click, you can pursue search engine marketing techniques such as:
1. Article Marketing
2. Directory Marketing
3. Community Forum Marketing
4. Channel Partner Marketing
The goal of all of these marketing techniques is to get a higher search engine ranking for the search terms you are targeting. All of the methods above include backlinks to your website. Backlinks to your website is the number one criteria used by search engines to rank your website.
Online Market Penetration
After you have done your market research, the next thing you will want to do is to determine if it is a growing market.
One of the ways you can discover if you are in a growing market is by using Google Trends. When using Google Trends, enter a search term which describes your business or industry into the search box and view the trend line in the results. If the trend line is moving up then you are in a growing market. If the trend line is moving down, then you are in a declining market. This will give you a good indication if it would be worthwhile for you to launch your business.
Another way to tell if there is room for you in a particular market is to look at your online competitors. Often times if their websites have not been updated in a while, it can indicate they are doing a good business. Also, if you have to scroll down to the second or third page of the search results before you find a decent looking web page, that can indicate a large market.
If you want a successful online business, follow these steps:
Do the market research, do a competitive analysis and research the market trends for your industry, then you will be successful in your new online business.
About the Author: Kevin Kielty writes for Internet Marketing Advantage in Raleigh, NC. Online marketing, and web design are his areas of expertise. Internet Marketing Advantage specializes in bringing together web design, and Raleigh Online Advertising.
Source: Entireweb Newsletter * February 17, 2009 * Issue #519
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