donderdag 30 september 2010

The 3 major forms of Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

Besides the organic search results there is another way to get potential customers to your website. If you are having trouble gaining a higher rank in the search results or just want to boost your campaign these forms of advertising could come in handy!

There are many different ways of paid search engine marketing or search engine advertising (SEA). The three biggest are
  • Pay per Click (CPC or PPC)
  • Pay per Mille (CPM or PPM)
  • Pay per Action (CPA or PPA)

There is one thing they all have in common: you have to pay to get your ad showed. A paid ad campaign can be a valuable way to amplify or complement your natural search engine campaign.

There are several advantages of using paid ad campaigns

  • You can test new products relatively quick, you don't have to wait till they reach top-positions to test if the product or websites catches on.
  • Paid search engine ads have the advantage of being able to choose the keywords you want to be found on.
  • You can promote temporary campaigns, when the campaign is done you can easily remove the ads.
  • You can customize the uptime of your ads very precisely (example: on week days or on the weekends)

Pay per Click
With the pay per click system you pay according to the performance of the ad. You don't pay just to get added to some list or webpage like with PPI (Pay per Inclusion). You pay for every click someone has made on one of your ads. Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and MSN adCenter are the most known PPC-offerers at the moment.

How does it work
Basically it goes a little something like this:
  • You design your ad, this mostly consists of a title, a short description and an url to which the ad will direct the clickers (potential customers).
  • You choose the search keywords/terms you want your ad to show up to.
  • You choose the region and language in which you want your ad to be shown.
  • You decide how much you are willing to pay for every lead you get via these ads.
  • You set a maximum amount of money you are willing to spend every day
  • The amount of money you are willing to spend for each lead compared to the amount of money other competitors (for these search terms) are willing to pay will decide the position your ad will be appointed in the list of paid search results or ads.
  • You don't pay anything if the ad or paid search result doesn't get clicked
  • Your ad wil be displayed under some kind of section, usually 'sponsored links' or 'sponsors' or 'paid results' until your daily set budget is depleted.

Postive about CPC:
  • Maximal controle: you decide the maximum budget, you decide the maximum cost per click, you decided the ad placement.
  • Quick entry: in most cases your ads can be up in a matter of minutes.
  • Results or ROI (Return on Investments) are easily measured.
Negative about CPC:
  • There is a big chance a click fraud: of course there is an easy way of committing fraud. You have the ability to raise the cost for your competitors by clicking on the paid ads and not buying anything from them.
  • It can take up a lot of time to monitor all your ad campaigns.
  • It can get pretty expansive.

Pay per Mille
Pay per mille is a form of advertising where you have to pay to get your ad shown. Mille is a french word which stands for thousand. Usually the prices for CPM are measured by a thousand views. For example the CPM rate could be 10 dollars, you would have to pay 10 dollars if your ad got viewed a thousand times. Traditionally this form of advertising was used for banners, say you would buy banner space for 100.000 impressions for a CPM rate of 10 dollars you would have to pay 1.000 dollars.

Positive about CPM:
  • You pay a pre-determed amount of money for the amount of views. Not per click
  • CPM usually consists of banners, which would mean you would have more visual room to display better graphics in your ad.
Negative about CPM:
  • It is less related to actions of viewers, if a users refreshes a pages 3 times he takes up 3 impressions.
  • Your ads will not display in search results but in ad networks.

Pay per Action
Pay per action got introduced by Google mid 2007. You set the goal (desirable conversion) and what you are willing to pay for letting users achieve this. This form of advertising is the ultimate form of paying for performance or achievement. For example: you pay for customers to opt-in on a newsletter or to leave behind there zip-code.

Positive about CPA:
  • It lowers the risk, you only pay if the users has achieved his/your goal.
  • Because of the last reason you could get a higher ROI and lower costs.

Negative about CPA:
  • Obviously the prices are higher then those of CPC.
  • The ads will only appear in ad networks.
  • Not all ad company's support this kind of advertising.

So there you go, this information should give you an idea of how to utilize paid advertising in search results and in ad-networks. These are the basics to Search Engine Advertising (SEA), very important stuff to keep in mind when are starting a new campaign.

8 basic tips to get you started with search engines

The most basic form of internet marketing is search engine marketing. It can make the difference between 10 visitors a month to your web-shop (or other online project) and 10,000 unique visitors a month.

There are a few basic steps you wanna keep in mind while starting your new project.

1. Don't start with a new domain name google values the 'age' of a domain name. If the domain name is younger then 6 years it will be seen as less important then older domain names. Google sees it like this: the older the domain name, the longer it will probably have offered information the more important it will probably be. So it will be a great advantage to start with a older domain name. If you don't have a choice and you will be using a new domain it could take a few months before you will be able to see some changes because google will place you in the so called Sandbox.

2. Optimize for your target visitors not search engines. This may sound strange because you obviously want to score high (otherwise you would be reading my blog posts right ;-)), but this could easily be the most important tip I could give you. Google's search engines become smarter constantly, so they will be able to recognize sites that are solely based on ranking high. On the other hand they will also be able to recognize sites that are valuable for people searching these search terms and they will reward this site with a high ranking in the results. Makes sense right?

So what do you do?
There are some easy guide lines you can use like looking at the contents of competing/rival sites, check out forums on which your target area is active to find out what they like and what their age/sex/interests etc are. Also you can check out blogs from people active in the same field. All the information you receive from these investigations will help you with our next step.

3. Research the keywords you want to use. The standard keywords which you think might be important for your target may be totally wrong. To find a good group of keywords to focus on use tools like the Google keyword tool or Yahoo's Search Engine Marketing data. With help from these tools make a selection of useable keywords. On these keywords you want to focus your optimized pages. Make pages that are optimized for these keywords (write text that involves these keywords a lot. Also include words that are related to the keyword, google will notice that as well).

Do not choose keyword that are too general, these keywords are often hard to score high on because there have been thousands of websites optimized to these keywords before you. Also you might attract a too wide audience with these keywords. Example: lets say you have a bicycle store. Optimizing for words like bicycle will not deliver you any good leads. A smarter choice would be to focus on the area your store is located. Something like "[location] quality bicycles".

This brings me to the last point. Use multiple words per optimized page, preferably in sentences because people often use more then one word in their search query. Try to get in your targets mind and try to imagine what search query you would use if you would be searching for the product/service you are offering on your website.

4. Build your website "search engine friendly". Using complicated javascript or flash elements on your website may look nice, but in the eyes of the search engine they are just complicating the task of indexing your website which will most definitely damage your ranking in the search results. Search engines can't read flash or get sidetracked by complicated javascript. So if you use any of these methods in your navigation it could very well mean the crawler/spider (this is what it google uses to index your website) will not be able to find its way trough your entire website meaning some pages might not even get indexed at all.

Make your website using semantic html and use css to style the website.  I'm not saying you can't use flash or javascript at all, just be aware of what you are using it for and keep in mind that it could block google's spider if its linking to another page.

5. Label your links (anchor text) and images (alt tags) as clearly as possible. Besides text google will also read the anchor text you give your internal links and alt tags you give your images. This is supposed to give google an idea of what images your website is showing, because it obviously cant see and read the image. The spider will also be looking at the text inside the anchor tags (<a> ... </a>) so simply using "Click here" or "Go to page" will not really help you. Instead you could use the info of the page you are leading to, for example "More mountain-bikes". Do not stuff your anchor tags or alt tags with keywords because google will catch on to this and punish your website rankings for this. Keep in mind this is supposed to help the visitor in the first place, so if its useful for the visitor google will award your for it.

6. Write usefull articles relevant to your target audience. Write clear articles about subjects that relate to your target audience. In these articles its also important to use all the right keywords. It is also important that keywords you use in your description and title meta tag return in the articles on your site. As I before keep in mind you are writing for your audience not for the search engines. So make good formulated sentences and don't just try to stuff your text with keywords. Make good logical sentences using the keywords (and words/terms relating to these keywords).

7. Write unique title tags per page. Search engines place a lot of value in the websites title tag. Mainly because this is the first thing your potential visitors see when they type in the keywords you rank high on. So it is important your title tag reveals the right information about what the web-page is about. Also writing a good title tag helps attract the attention of potential visitors, you basically need to lure them into your site with a catchy or informational title.

8. Make sure your website is "link-worthy". Getting linked to from other sites is crucial for a good search engine ranking. If your get a lot of links from other sites google will presume your site must contain good information worth getting high in the search results. This factor is called 'link popularity' the more websites link to you the higher it will be. This doesn't mean you should get your site added to some kind of link-directory where you will receive about a thousand links to your site. This doesn't work any more. Your link popularity will get highest if the sites linking to you contain information which relates in some way to your sites information.

If you keep these steps in mind your website will eventually reach a good position in search engines. But remember: the most important thing is to cater to your visitors, make the website in way visitors want to come back to your website or tell people they know about your website.

A way to keep track of your users behavior on your website is using Google Analytics. This is a free tool provided by google itself. It can show you where your visitors came from, which page they visited the most or longest or how long they stayed on your website. The only thing you need to do is add a little javascript code on the bottom of your website, its that easy! (more information about Google Analytics)

woensdag 29 september 2010

Mobile marketing for beginners (the basics)

In this post I will give a small introduction to mobile marketing. This is a rather new market and its growing rapidly! Some researches have shown this market could very easily become the next big thing. With this I mean it has the potential the undergo an equally explosive growth as internet has had in the last 10 years.

There are several forms of mobile marketing.

Mobile marketing using SMS
This way of mobile marketing has grown a lot over the last couple of years. It usually consist out of an 'opt-in' option for customers. After they have opt-in they receive special items like ringtones etc. Because of the overflow of spam and misuse of this form of mobile marketing the Mobile Marketing Association set guidelines to prevent spam.

Mobile marketing using MMS
MMS mobile marketing can consist out of all sorts of multimedia from image-slideshows, text, audio or video (mms stands for Multimedia Message Service, which explains a lot). This is becoming increasingly popular because in this time nearly every mobile device has a color screen and is able to send and receive these messages.

In-game mobile marketing
Gaming on a mobile phone as become more and more advanced. Remember when we were all excited we had 'snake' on our mobile phones? These days the mobile games look more like the games we played on our computers only a few years back. Newest and most popular trends in mobile gaming are: interactive real-time 3D games, massive multi-player games, and social network games. So the focus is on creating a more complex and richer game play. But on the other side very casual games are also very popular. Brands are now starting to advertise using promotional messages within these mobile games and applications.

Mobile web marketing
These days mobile internet is almost available on every telephone. This function is so widely used by people because of its ease to use. Imagine sitting in the train and you want to check your e-mail, within seconds (presuming there is a decent internet connection where you are at that moment) you could be reading through your inbox.

Mobile marketing on applications
With the introduction of phones like the iPhone, Android and Blackberry also came the introduction of mobile apps. These are application created for these types of mobile phones. These applications are often regularly used by customers, I am talking about applications to check your social networks or email for example. These applications often have a build in ad system.

Personally I think this form of mobile marketing is the best. Its easy monitored and with the rise of apps this will be the most valuable.

There are several major services which you can use for mobile advertising. Beneath i will list the most popular ones (in random order):

1. AMob
Admob is one of the biggest ad providers for mobile phones. Their ads have had over 250 million impressions over phones like the iPhone, Android phones etc. Which is amazing.

2. Apple iAds
Apple iAds is a rather new service by apple. It got introduced with iOS 4.0. Ads are managed with iTunes.

3. Google Mobile Ads
Google Mobile Ads is very similar to AdMob (both owned by google).

4. Burstly
Burstly has the ability to run ads in your app coming from the major providers. Their networks consists out of: Admob, Quattro, Google, Video Egg, Smaato, Millennial and Greystripe.

5. Mobclix
Mobclix also provides advertisements from multiple networks. It has a built-in analytics system so you can easily track your ad statistics.

This information should give you enough information to start your own mobile campaign, good luck!

donderdag 23 september 2010

Introduction to web and mobile marketing

Hello visitors,

today I decided to share all my knowledge on the subject of Mobile and Web Marketing. This market has become more popular and valuable then anyone ever imagined. The skills I will be able to teach you will have the possibility to land you an 5 figure monthly income if used correct.

There are a lot of sites that tell you they will be able to teach you how to utilize internet (or mobile) marketing and make big money within several day/weeks.. These are lies, it is impossible to gain this level of success (legally) this fast. It requires commitment, honest interest and the usual amount of time to learn these marketing techniques.

But if you are fascinated and interested in learning these skills and can show the commitment necessary, the chances of you succeeding in this business are pretty high.

Good luck and have fun!