Internet Marketing to Make Businesses Grow

Why should you do Internet Marketing?

  • Is Internet marketing right for my company?

    Internet marketing is right for most companies and organizations who seek a cost-effective way to build better relationships with customers. But it’s not one size fits all. Depending on your product or service and the kind of market you serve, your Internet marketing strategy may use a different blend of tools. B-to-B businesses require somewhat different tactics than B-to-C businesses. For example, if your niche is a really small B-to-B market, your major investment might be in an email newsletter for an opt-in house list, with links to a confirming, authoritative website. On the other hand, if you are looking for immediate visibility to a large number of prospects you don’t know yet, search engine marketing may be the way to go. The Net Sells Internet marketing consultants can show you the options for your unique needs.

  • What is ‘search engine optimization’?

    Search engine optimization (SEO) means tuning your website to get the best possible ranks in ‘natural’ search engine results for your selected keywords. In other words, if you run a toy store on the web and specialize in safe toys for toddlers, you want a top rank in search results for the keyword ‘toys for toddlers’. We call this ‘natural’ search results meaning that the results are based entirely on the information in the search engine’s database, and not at all on whether you pay for placement on the keyword (paying for results on a search is called ‘search engine marketing’). SEO is ‘free’ traffic in the sense that you don’t pay any advertising fee for results. Our optimization work makes sure your website and its content are attractive and included in search engine databases so search results on your keywords make you visible to surfers.

  • What is ‘search engine marketing’, and how does it differ from search engine optimization?

    Search engine marketing usually means using pay-for-performance (or, pay-per-click) search engine products to advertise your product or service when someone types in your keyword on a search. In this example, a toy store website might purchase an advertisement to appear whenever someone types in ‘toys for toddlers’. You pay only when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website or landing page. The most common ad networks are from Google and Overture (owned by Yahoo) and they reach over 90% of search traffic, but there are many other options for specialized traffic (like business.com or kanoodle). Search engine marketing is a good option when immediate visibility you can control is required, to ensure you are promoting your brand, or competition for your keywords is so stiff you can’t easily maintain a high rank otherwise. The Net Sells will evaluate your situation to determine whether pay-for-performance marketing will contribute value to your traffic-generating campaigns.

  • What is a ‘directory’ and how is it different from a search engine?

    A directory is a catalog of websites compiled by human editors and organized under subject categories and sub-categories to help make searches easier. There are many directories, but the two best known ones are DMOZ (the Open Directory Project), which is a free submission, and Yahoo Web Site Directory, which charges an annual fee for commercial websites. Unlike directories, search engines do not routinely have human editors scan websites to approve them for inclusion—although they may sometimes review a website if someone complains about it or if it is flagged for some other reason. Search engine databases (sometimes called ‘indexes’) are created by automated software known as ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’ that follow links between and within websites gathering (or ‘indexing’) content. This content is what you search when you use a search engine (and it is a crucial part of search engine optimization to make this content relevant on your important keywords). Directories feed information into the search results you get from a search engine like Google or Yahoo, and provide an important source of links to your website.

  • How do you get a search engine to include your site?

    The best way is to make sure your website is listed in a few relevant directories or lists in your industry, or in the local online directories and search engines for a more local business.

    Most important search engines provide a place on their websites where you can submit your URLs to try to get the search engines to index your site. In most cases, this is a free submission—search engines want to be as relevant as possible, and that means they need to get all the sites possible in their indexes. Submitting a page is no guarantee it will be included in the database, and in any case it may take several weeks to be spidered for inclusion (the major search engines are now indexing over 4 Billion web pages—even with fast computers, that takes a while to review!).

  • Which search engines and directories should I aim for?

    Over 90% of (American) search traffic on the Web goes through Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, or Ask (in that order). In fact, recently Google has been delivering over 2/3 of all search traffic, with the others losing market share to them.

    Beyond these general SEs, a very important source of traffic are vertical portals, or ‘vortals’. These are specialized directories that serve specific industries or activities. Finding these can make the difference between highly qualified traffic that turns into business and not.

  • Wouldn’t it be easier to pay someone $49 to submit my website to “thousands” of search engines?

    No. You absolutely need to be in Google and Yahoo, and they don’t require a fee for submission. You are better off spending the $49 to improve your site to get better rankings in Google and Yahoo.

    Why should I purchase ads (aka sponsored listings) on Google, Yahoo, Business.com or some other pay-for-performance (aka pay-per-click) search engine? Search engine marketing yields fast results. Since the Google AdWord, Yahoo Searchmarketing, Microsoft AdCenter and other pay per click programs are competitive auctions, you can pay to get a highly visible listing in search results, TODAY. For intermittent campaigns, or to make sure you are visible on a wide range of keywords that you cannot optimize for, this control and rapid impact make a lot of sense. With today’s tools, you can watch the results of these expenditures almost in real time, and spend your money only where you get a good return for it. The Net Sells routinely tracks this kind of feedback to make sure the return on advertising spend is strong.

  • What are keywords? Where do they come from?

    Keywords or keyword phrases are the words someone types into the search bar of a search engine. The keywords are the connecting point between you and your customers—it’s hard to overestimate how important they are. The idea in Search Engine Optimization and Marketing is to make sure we find and promote the right keywords that our best customers are using. If we can learn their language and respond to it, we increase sales and leads. Keywords come from your customers—we do research to find out what they think of you, and then we put those keywords to work for you.

  • Why is it important to have opt-in email lists? What about list rental?

    Opt-in email lists are golden. If someone chooses to receive emails from you, you have a qualified lead. If they do not, you have a crap shoot, and maybe an enemy. An opt-in in-house email list will drive your highest conversion rates. List rentals, even if they claim to be 100% opt-in, are dicey (lots of gambling allusions here). An option to a list rental is email advertising: you place a small ad in the email newsletter of a trusted source that reaches your market, and include a link to your web page with an offer and/or contact form. Then, build your own list.

  • Why should I hire The Net Sells (or some other consultant) instead of doing my own Internet marketing?

    Time is money. Internet marketing takes both creativity and persistence. We work with you to share the creative work to make sure we are on target with our messages and choosing the most fertile channels. Then, we supply the daily persistence to monitor, evaluate, change, and monitor again. Firms make the decision to use outsource or in-house online marketing all the time, and they go both ways. Do you want to hire expert, experienced full-time staff for this work?

  • How much should I pay?

    As little as possible, obviously. The bottom line matters. At The Net Sells, we estimate the time needed for one-time consulting projects and charge $85 per hour. For on-going retainer-based engagements, we negotiate a much lower rate. But the bottom line IS what matters—we persistently measure results to make sure you are getting a strong return on your advertising spend. We cull out losing ads or campaigns, and follow up winning ones. Our goal is to continuously lower total online marketing costs while increasing leads and sales.

  • How long will it take to get results?

    The “results” depend on your whole marketing and Internet marketing package. Specifically, is the website friendly and compelling? Is the offer clear and valuable? Is the message on target? Are we in the right markets? Yes, Search Engine Marketing, using a pay-for-click strategy, can generate results almost overnight (it takes a little time for setup). It takes longer for ‘natural’ Search Engine Optimization, and all strategies require constant attention to the shifting conditions on the Internet and in your markets. “How Long?” should be measured in weeks and months, not years. But our perspective has to be long-term to find ways to drive continuously improving traffic in more and more cost effective ways.