Search engine optimization

Marketing shoppingContent marketers want you to believe that content is everything in marketing now. Same thing with the in-bound marketers, mobile marketers, database marketers, SEO (search engine optimization) marketers, social media marketers, and so on and so on…

Marketing has embraced every new channel and technology that it changes at the speed of light. And, with those changes, comes specialists who claim that theirs is the best on the block for your small business or nonprofit organization.

How can anyone in marketing claim that one channel or one method is the “be all and end all?” 

Let’s say that you are planning a dinner party that includes your boss and your immediate team. What’s your objective?

Is it to impress the boss so s/he considers you for a promotion? Is it to prepare for requesting a raise? Is it to show your appreciation?

Whatever your goal is for this dinner party, your menu, table décor, room ambiance, and appearance will affect the outcome. You prepare a shopping list and hit the stores.

Everything you select has to be ‘just right.’ The combination of every element must blend well. You wouldn’t serve meat loaf if you set a formal table. On the other hand, you wouldn’t serve foie gras if it’s a casual backyard dinner. You’d look for a good balance of components to set the tone. It’s the same thing in marketing.

Why would you rely on one marketing channel at the expense of the others?

What was the most important part of the dinner party story? If you guessed the shopping list, you were right!

Every business and organization needs to create its own marketing shopping list based on its overall objectives. The list cannot be plucked from anywhere. It needs to rely on science.

Got a few bucks? Hire a marketing researcher.

Short on cash? Read up on conducting online surveys and how to construct questions.

Run a couple of informal focus groups. Ask your existing (and prospective) customers — clients, patients, patrons, donors, volunteers, students — pertinent questions that help you understand what motivates them to use your products or services or support your nonprofit. Discover what their preferred communications channels are. Ask them if they have referred your organization to others and why.

Once you understand what makes them tick, where they get their information, why they like you (or don’t), and more, only then can you create your marketing shopping list — your marketing strategy and tactics.

So, if you’re feeling pulled in multiple marketing directions, take a pause. Make sure that every strategy and tactic you employ helps to reach your objectives.

Why waste time, effort, and money on things that may, or may not work? Wouldn’t you rather make better informed decisions?

Do you feel pulled and influenced by multiple marketing directions? What are you going to do about it?

LinkedIn-endorse-meDoesn’t it seem like everyone you know on LinkedIn is adding endorsements to people’s profiles? And, have you noticed how many of them have never worked with the people they’re endorsing?

As with any new technology or feature, it takes time for an etiquette to develop. Having a lot of endorsements is good for your search engine optimization and the brand perception that visitors will have when they review your profile.

But, let’s try to keep these endorsements authentic!

1. If you know the person who endorsed you, you can reciprocate IF you can vouch for any of their skills. It’s not a numbers game, so if you can only check off one or two, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be tit for tat.

2. If you don’t know the individuals, or haven’t been privy to their skills and talents, you can still reciprocate. Look at their profiles and check their education and background. If they have a degree or a background in something specific, you can bet they have some knowledge in that field. So, it’s safe to check off those skills. What you don’t want to do is endorse skills for which you have no proof or experience. That defeats the purpose.

3. When you endorse someone, you are giving her a thumbs up. If one of your connections goes on to hire her, and she doesn’t work out, are you to blame? Of course not! But, there’s always a risk - even if small - that your endorsement helps contribute to someone else’s decision to hire or contract with her. If you look at it that way, you may be less liberal with the check-offs.

Get this…18 million users have given LI endorsements and 58 million have received them!

What do YOU think of LinkedIn endorsements? Have you been endorsing people?

Investing in marketingWomen business owners get it - marketing is bound to make a big difference in their businesses. According to a national survey of women business owners (WBOs) conducted by Group, Inc. and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), nearly three quarters (73%) of WBOs plan to invest more in marketing in 2013.

Specifically, they will invest in social media marketing (36%) and search engine optimization (SEO) (36%). In fact, nearly half (44%) predict that social media and SEO are the future of small business marketing.

Interestingly, WBOs anticipated that traditional outreach approaches, including print and direct mail (1.6%), online advertising (4.4%) and email marketing (6.2%), will have less impact on small business marketing in the future.

When considering what marketing tactics currently have the greatest impact on a business’ bottom line, more than half (52%) of respondents indicated that website design and maintenance was very important, followed by social media marketing and SEO (38%) and email marketing (25%). WBOs also indicated that LinkedIn (27%) is the most valuable social media platform to them, followed by Facebook (26%), YouTube (18%) and Twitter (17%).

If you’re a woman business owner, do you agree with the majority of respondents in this survey?

If you could advise these respondents about marketing their small businesses, what would you say?


If your small or medium size business spends a good part of its digital marketing budget on the Web, you are in good company. The $202 billion spend in 2012 includes such services as:

  • Web hosting (63%)
  • Design and maintenance (35.8%)
  • Social media management (0.4%)

According to Borrell Associates, in an October 2012 report and reported on MarketingCharts, all other online marketing services hover around 12% share of the $390.5 billion market. Online ad production takes 12.9% of the dollars, with online agency and exchange fees representing about half that spend.

“Another 12.1% (or $47.3 billion) goes to online consulting and research, which, as the researchers observe, is more than is typically spent on radio and newspaper advertising combined. Online public relations grabs 12 cents off every online marketing service dollar, and includes services like press release distribution and managing and nurturing opt-in lists. Finally, 11.3% goes toward online marketing support, almost entirely spent on search engine optimization (SEO).”

Interesting to Note:
Contrary to what we may have thought, a very small part of the digital marketing spend goes to social media management.

“The average US business is far more interested in spending on online services than online advertising and promotions. On average, they spend $17,000 on online services (or 72% of their average online marketing spend). Online advertising accounts for just 12.4% of their spending, and online promotions 15.6%.”

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