Want More Traffic to Your Site? Invite Google Over.

Have you been looking at your site and thinking where has all of the traffic gone?  Or perhaps you are thinking about all of the great things you could do if you were able to increase your traffic by 20-30%.  Stop wishing for this type of jump and start making it happen by leveraging the power of Google and some basic  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques.

While the concept of SEO may be confusing if not scary to some out there, the truth is that SEO is all about doing the things that you are probably pretty good at anyways.  It is about creating content that addresses what people are searching for and keeping that content fresh. But here is an SEO twist that you need to be aware of.  Make sure you know how prospects are searching for information in your industry or market.  The information is free and easy to find, simply go to Google (www.googleadsense.com) to identify the popularity of specific search terms.  And remember, one word can make a huge difference.   For example did you know that more than 5 times as many people are seeking “job opportunities” over “career opportunities?”  That 5 times translates to another 23,000,000 searches.  Make sure that you are not missing a similar opportunity with your site.

Now that you are a pro at understanding how people are looking for information, jump in and start addressing the market on a regular basis.  Perhaps one of the best ways of keeping content fresh – from both a user and Search Engine perspective is to provide a regular blog (have you notice that the MediaSolve team does this on a regular basis?  There is a good reason for that.).  Blogs not only provide a fresh perspective on an issue, but they also allow you to link your site to other thought leaders and when others link to you, you are provided with a big SEO boost.  Consider seeking out and joining conversations on social media sites like StumbleUpon (www.stumbleupon.com) and Digg (www.digg.com) to make sure you are building exposure for your site and its content.

For maximum SEO exposure you will also want to consider the tagging techniques that you use on your site.  This is a science in and of itself, and it may pay to bring in an expert.  Here it will suffice to say that you do not have to worry too much about meta tagging, but should consider using the meta description tag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta_tags#Meta_element_used_in_search_engine_optimization) which is often shown in Google results to those searching a specific term.

While so much of Google’s secret site ranking formula is hidden from view, it is important to know that advertising with Google does not impact your search results.  So if you are looking to get more traffic to your site, you are going to have to do it by demonstrating your content expertise and making sure that Google is invited into your site with open arms.  MediaSolve applies SEO best practices on all of our programs and we believe the extra effort is well worth the additional traffic payoff.

-Dan Hirsh, Partner, MediaSolve

Going Too Far? Remember The Past But Let Marketing Strategy Drive Your Future

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times, “Our marketplace is not that advanced.”  What is often the subject of this discussion is the type of marketing vehicles that can be used in an industry.  And what is often being discussed at that time is using marketing techniques like social media, virtual events or even developing white papers and videos.  It is time for all of us to realize that our prospects are not single dimensional.  They have a life outside of their industry and that life often includes Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and even gambling sites with high resolution graphics and ecommerce.  If you feel like your industry has not yet adopted these techniques – then consider yourself lucky.  You can be among the first to bring these ideas and solutions to your prospects and believe me, others will be quickly following your lead.

Don’t get me wrong, while I believe that the use of these tools is now engrained in most B2B prospects, I still believe there are ways to go too far with the application of these solutions.  Thankfully, there are well understood boundaries that have been documented in easy to find best practices.  If you are not getting SmartBrief email updates on social marketing, then it is time to subscribe (http://www.smartbrief.com/socialmedia/).  Smartbriefs, and many other similar products help keep marketers up to speed on what is and is not working out there.  With a short read, you can be brought up to speed on the advantages and biggest pitfalls of today’s marketing mix.  This type of insight, connected to a well thought-out marketing strategy will keep you on the path to terrific marketing results.

Another consideration is getting the mix right.  For most companies there is a list (or at least a corporate memory) of the programs that worked really well for your business.  Taking time to think about why these programs went right and possible ways to extend that success needs to be a part of your marketing strategy as you move forward.  Can adding a microblogging solution to last year’s runaway successful sweepstakes help you reach more people or perhaps help get those that participated last year to do something new like send you a video to address a challenge?  The answer is probably yes, and the stakes for being wrong are too low not to give it a try.  I recently started receiving a series of emails from a long standing vendor of mine asking me to submit a photo of their products in action at my location.  This material is collected and used as a super light case study on their site.  The company posts hundreds of examples of their product being used across the globe and for what the content lacks in technical description, it more than makes up for with interesting photos and a large quantity of them.  Whoever said that “Pictures are worth a thousand words” was not only very clever, but was also predicting the impact of photos on social media programs.

The moral of this short story is to get past what you or your competitors have or have not done in the past.  Focus on the future and the development and refinement of a strong marketing strategy.  Let that strategy dictate the vehicles that are right or wrong for your particular situation, application and industry.  Consider a more traditional marketplace a unique and wonderful opportunity to be first with well executed, tightly-focused, multi-media programs.  Learn from the lessons that other’s can teach us and be prepared for stellar results and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your prospect and what is possible.

Written by:  Dan Hirsh, Partner at MediaSolve

Location Marketing in Business to Business

Access to everyone all the time has posed a critical problem for marketers that are grasping to reach anyone that might be buying in this economy.  With social media and online communities, in addition to traditional media from billboards to TV, it is often overwhelming for marketers‘  budgets and time.  The strategy quickly leads to targeting which medium is most effective in reaching the most number of people, when in fact; it should become more about targeting the right person in the right location with the right content.

A more conventional, yet understood analogy is billboard advertising.  If you are selling healthier, less expensive grain, it is better to be in Kansas on a community traveled road in the spring vs. in Times Square.  Unfortunately, many marketers often get caught up in the numbers of reach versus being in front of their target audience in a premium position with a compelling message.  Following your competitors on search, social, or traditional media is one approach, but it would be much better to be exclusively in front of your customers when it matters most-when they are deciding what to buy.

With the growth of mobile-marketing communities such as FourSquare, it is clear that consumer marketing is utilizing location as a strategy.  “Beyond targeting audience by keywords, brands can now access potential customers not only away from the computer screen – but also as they’re mere feet away from their physical stores,” Gina Gotthilf, Social Media Strategist states in “The New Age of Targeting—Real-Time Location Marketing.” In addition, Inc. writes about how “Real Time Marketing Technologies Boosts Business” in small consumer companies.

However, in business-to-business it is not only about location, but about placement and understanding the right time within the buying cycle that the potential customer is looking for education, product information, or where to buy.  (In the b-to-b space) “You have to listen very closely to where the conversation is happening—about your products, category and brand—and who those influencers and advocates are,” Tom Hoehn, Director Interactive Web Marketing.  Kodak has also shared its Social Media best practices for consumer and b2b marketers at http://www.kodak.com/US/images/en/corp/aboutKodak/onlineToday/Social_Media_9_8.pdf.

As a result, it is important to not only generate leads, or to be present at the location where the buyer makes the final decision, but to also present your solutions at the beginning of the buy cycle as they are understanding thought leading solutions mapped to leaders in the industry.    When establishing a relationship with a customer vs. a transaction, it always helps to act as a trusted advisor, which requires not only sending the invoice, but educating, interacting and leading the customer through the buy cycle.

Marketing Evolution: Gold Rush or Fool’s Gold?

The recession has hit everyone in different ways.  The next generation of marketing has spawned interesting innovation, new businesses and evolving marketing techniques as talented, well-educated, multi-experienced businesses and professionals look for a way to either make an impact in their current budget-challenged positions, or to find their next career path.  In many ways it feels like the Wild West, where new marketing businesses are taking stake in web properties claiming web addresses and then digging for marketing gold.

Success or failure of these initiatives is most likely determined by the value of the content that marketers use as they prospect for the best ways to reach targeted and interested audiences.  Technology and user behavior is changing the way audiences consume information and that changes what marketers and companies require from their support agencies.  The American Marketing Association, AMA, did a report that studied the three key needs that agencies will need to address for their clients:  ideas, interaction, and intelligence topped the list.  It stated that “After decades of specialization, none of the traditional types of agencies are well-positioned to deliver on all of these needs.”    It goes on to say that “agencies need a framework for how they will listen to the online discussion, identify and connect marketers with participants in the online social community, and build brand experiences that allow for interaction.”

Content and interaction are the keys to audience engagement and that is the gold that marketers are seeking in this digital Wild West.  In this Wild West, programs without high-value content and an audience experience based on bi-directional communication merely fool’s gold.

Marketing Leap Frog – Putting What Works Best To Work For You

Did you ever play leap frog as a kid?  The idea of it always seemed fun, but for me the game never lasted longer than a few hops.  I never really appreciated the game until much later in life when I understood its implications to business.  The capability to catapult ahead of your competition based on the experience and learning of others seemed like a great way to save time and money while getting better business results.  The trick to playing leap frog in business is to look for places where the game’s simple rules (http://www.playgroundfun.org.uk/GameRules.aspx?gameID=54) apply, and for me that is in the area of marketing.

In marketing, “Leaping” ahead comes from two major areas – either being a fast follower (learning from the mistakes that a first mover makes and improving on them) or by leverage technology advances to achieve something that others simply couldn’t have done earlier.  A smart leap allows you to differentiate your company or offering and ultimately achieve better results faster.  A perfect example of a leap can be seen in China’s telecommunication strategy.  Rather than investing billions in land line technology, China leaped to new technology and is creating a state of the art cell infrastructure.  Interestingly, China imported its first mobile phone telecommunication facilities in 1987 and it took a decade for the number of subscribers to reach 10 million. Four years later, in 2001, the country has the largest number of mobile phone subscribers in the world.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_the_People’s_Republic_of_China)  In addition to providing a substantial financial benefit, the move allowed more Chinese to have access to phone service faster.

As I have an opportunity to work with companies in a wide array of industries, I find it fascinating that what is a standard marketing practice in one industry may not be used at all in another.  Case in point is white papers.  In the IT space, text based white papers are a common means of educating and communicating with prospects.  Readers spend hours with white papers in an attempt to glean useful information.  In the Industrial Automation space, very few have invested in whitepapers.  Many ask if they should and I advise them to leap instead.  Without the tradition of text based whitepaper engrained in automation prospects’ minds this is a great chance to leap ahead and leverage video technology.  Done well, a short video can educate and entertain as well.  Searchable video makes access through search engines fast and easy and allows prospects to find relevant material quickly.  Once identified, viewers can spend less time reading and more time absorbing critical information.  As marketers we must always be searching for ways to make it easier on our prospect to move ahead more quickly through their buying cycle.  Leaping ahead by watching and enhancing what others have done or leveraging technology in a new way to make it easier on prospects is the responsibility of every marketer.  So get out there and get hopping!