by John Eberhard
At this time of year I usually try to look forward into the coming year and predict or make a statement of what I think are going to be the most important Internet marketing strategies for the coming year.
While it is impossible to know what new technologies will be developed in the coming year, here’s an overview of my take on Internet marketing into the new decade.
1. Pay Per Click Advertising: PPC advertising continues to be a dominant aspect of Internet marketing, partly because you can directly control it, whereas with some other website marketing actions, you can only indirectly control them. PPC is a great fit for local companies of medium to large size. Google AdWords is the major player. Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN Ad Center merged in October, now both under the banner of MSN. Facebook also has a pay per click advertising program. In some industries it does not work well because of excessive competition. I think it’s best to work with an experienced consultant.
2. Google Maps: This is a relatively new offering from Google. When they detect that your search is local in nature, i.e. you are searching for a local business such as a pizza restaurant or a dentist or a home improvement company, they will display a map showing where the local businesses are. The map is shown in the right hand column, with balloons marking where the businesses are. Then in the left hand column, the listings for those businesses appear, with balloons to show that they are associated with the map.
You have to go through a specific procedure to get your business on Google Maps. Just because you have a Google AdWords or Google Analytics account does not mean you will appear on Google Maps. It also helps to put up accounts on about 8-10 other specific sites, which Google recognizes, and that helps to push your Google Maps listing toward the top.
With local businesses, getting a listing on Google Maps is vital, because if you can get near the top of the Google Maps listings, it immediately puts your listing on page one of Google results.
3. SEO and Link Building: SEO and link building remain a vital aspect of getting your web site to rank well for your targeted keywords. SEO or search engine optimization means to select keywords for your business that have good traffic but not a ton of sites competing for them, then putting those keywords into specific areas of your web site.
Link building means to create links to your web site, on other web sites. Google says that the number of links to your site from other sites is the number one criteria they use in how high to rank your site for your keywords.
Many companies used to do what is called reciprocal link building, where you contact owners of other sites and offer to trade links. Google downgraded the value of these links about two years ago, so I don’t do this and don’t recommend it. But a lot of people still think this is what you do when you’re talking about link building.
The best methods for link building, in my opinion, continue to be article marketing and optimized press releases. These methods can be used to build your links up to 2,000-3,000 in just a couple months. I have heard of some new link building methods on the horizon and we’ll see how they shake out in the new year.
4. Blogging: Blogging continues to be a vital part of website marketing. You write anything from a short post (100-200 words) up to a full article (400 words or more) or a press release, and post them to your blog. The key is to write and post things on your blog regularly, i.e. once a week or more. Then you must notify the blog search engines that you have new content, using www.pingomatic.com. WordPress sites allow you to do this automatically. You can also link up to 3 keywords in your post back to your main web site, which creates links.
5. Social Media Marketing: Facebook and Twitter remain the top social media sites. The trick in marketing your business through these is two-fold: 1) get lots of friends or followers, and 2) engage with your friend or follower group via regular communication. On Facebook, as an example, you can post things about your business, but you also have to post personal comments occasionally, like about your family or your vacations or whatever. If you only post things about your business, your friends will get bored with you or even remove you from their friends list. This is especially true if you are constantly asking people to buy your book or attend your webinar or sign up for your teleseminar. It is also vital to view the updates of other people and make comments about them occasionally. That’s part of the social media interaction or engagement. For Twitter I use a software program called Tweet Adder to build up followers. With this product I have built up my own Twitter account to 6,800 followers.
6. Email Marketing: This is still a very relevant and valid way to market your company. But in my opinion rented email lists no longer seem to have much punch. So I’m talking about developing your own in-house list of prospects and customers. You have to have some offerings on your web site that will entice people to give you their name and email address, such as a free email newsletter, free reports or white papers on topics related to your products or services, or free tools or software demos (for software companies). Then send them regular emails offering your services. Also, use one of the online email services like Aweber or Mailchimp.
That’s my summary of Internet marketing in the coming year. May the New Year be your most prosperous yet.