Marketing in the Downturn – Part 1

Online Marketing

With Australia’s likelihood to ride out the global economic crises now looking bleak, the belts are tightening and marketers are starting to feel the pressure to deliver more results with fewer resources.

So just how can you get more from less? This is a 2 part series designed to provide online marketers and business owners with some food for thought to get more from less.

Part 1 features tips within the digital advertising and promotional space.

1. Changing The Advertising Model

Faced with a downturn, many organisations look to cut spending in areas that they see as “non essential”. One of the first areas to come under scrutiny is advertising. As however approximately 1/3 of companies cut their spending during a downturn, this is one of the best times to increase spending to win market share.

Stephen King, a pioneer in the area of online advertising found “businesses that cut their advertising expenditures in a recessionary period lose no less in terms of profitability than those who actually increase spending by an average of 10 per cent.” In other words, cutting advertising spend to increase short term profits doesn’t seem to work.

How can organisations leverage advertising in this climate to get more from less?

1) Negotiate Everything: Publishers will be feeling the pinch and will be looking to offload inventory. This is therefore the ideal time to be negotiating hard as rate card prices are slashed.
2) Pay For Response; Google is driving the demand from marketers to move to a pay per click/response model. If you need to ensure your spend is going to deliver results then seek out advertising solutions whose pricing is based on a response or options that guarantee some sort of return..

2. Anyone for Contra?

With businesses feeling the pinch, many companies will be looking for new opportunities to achieve their marketing and business objectives. Partnerships can open up new opportunities for promotion at a low cost. Identify firms that offer a service or goods that would complement yours and then approach the organisation to discuss promotional opportunities that can be exchanged – whether that be promoting the partner through your newsletter, a small ad on your site or any other opportunity you may be able to offer.

3. Web 2.0

Content MarketingThere are numerous free promotional channels on the internet which can be exploited – from social and professional networking sites, micro-blogging sites and business forums.

If your organisation is in the B2B sector consider how you can build your profile through the array of networking sites. Use LinkedIn’s Q&As section to build your/your business’ reputation in a given specialisation through answering questions. Or if you provide services to small businesses, there are an array of Australian forums dedicated to this segment – why not write an informative piece and post it on the relevant sites.

If you are in the B2C market, consider if your brand could benefit from providing regular updates via twitter. Sectors which are experiencing a strong following include;
• Publishing sites like SkyNews, News.com.au & TechWired all with nearly 400 followers,
• Not for profit sector like WWF (over 800 followers) & Amnesty International
• Travel and leisure segment like Tourism Queensland (734 followers) and STA Travel (177 followers)
• Education sector seem to be having some early success with RMIT having over 300 followers.

Alternatively you may feel that a blog can provide useful content to engage your prospects & existing consumers and also assist your SEO efforts. Best of all you can download free blogging software from both www.blogger.com & www.wordpress.org

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5 Biggest Search Marketing Trends in 2009

SEM Trends

In 2008 it is believed that Google made over 400 changes to its algorithm, keeping all of the search marketers out there on their toes.  But just when you think you may have cracked the big time with your search results, the search landscape is changing.

So what may Google and other search engines have in store for us in 2009?

  1. Semantic Search –It seems the next big trend upon us in search is semantic search. Recently Google’s search results have shown preliminary signs of deploying semantic search, and both MSN and Ask have made their intentions in this area known.
  1. Blended Search – Whilst blended search has been in use for sometime it is becoming more and more mainstream. At the SES conference in Chicago in December it was identified that nearly a third of all search results contained some kind of blended result. This had nearly doubled since March 2008.  With web 2.0, interactive content is exploding and it will be those who can optimise video, maps and images for search who will benefit in 2009.
  1. Local Search – The importance of local search results and reviews is more important than even. This is partly being driven by the rise in smart phones to search for on the fly information such as restaurants and entertainment. Optimising for local search should therefore have a greater focus by marketers.

Trends such as localisation as well as personalisation are not only changing the optimisation process, but are changing the way in which we measure SEO.  Localisation and personalisation make rankings less important and results in an even stronger focus onto measuring traffic and conversions.

  1. User Behaviour Metrics – Site relevancy & quality will play an even greater role in search rankings. Click-through rates and bounce rates will be taken into consideration and overtime poor performing sites will be affected.  A natural progression to utilise these metrics seems obvious given Google already utilises these metrics in their quality score for paid search.
  1. Popularity – Link popularity will begin to take a backseat as Google will focus more on the intelligence gained through personalisation, search wiki’s, chrome and social media to determine real popularity.
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5 Digital Marketing Tips For Those On A Budget

Digital Marketing Trends

If you have worked for an SME you will know doubt understand the frustrations of a lack of budget.  And with the economy becoming tighter, it will be survival of the fittest. So when it comes to marketing professionals we must become more resourceful with the already limited financial/manpower resources we have.

Here are 5 of The Best Tips For SME Marketers On A Budget

Paid Search Engine MarketingPaid Search Marketing

Paid search is not new to the Australian market, but many businesses are still yet to benefit from this cost effective and measurable form of advertising.   Google AdWords provides the ability to set up a free account, and will step you through the process of creating a campaign.  With however the vast proportion of companies advertising on Google, much cheaper paid search opportunities exist on the Yahoo & Ninemsn network through Yahoo Search Marketing.  With 11% of all Australian searches conducted on this network and only 3.7% of total search advertising conducted on this network it can provide a lower cost alternative channel for promotion.  And the best bit is that you can set your daily budget on these networks to control your costs.

Prepare A Press Release & Distribute It Online

Distributing a press release online can be an effective way of increasing traffic and bringing engaged users to your site.   There are many tools available online to distribute PR releases.  One such company providing PR distribution to Australian media channels is www.seekingmedia.com.au.  For as little as $100, seeking media can distribute press releases to a plethora of media channels including Google News Australia.  This site also provides tools to assist you to prepare a release which is informative, newsworthy and is likely to be published.  And the best bit is that any online PR conducted will also assist you to improve your SEO rankings.

 Blogging

Another free tool available to the masses is that of blogging.  When it comes to blogging you also have a few options available. If you have a lot of valuable information to provide to users, why not consider setting up a blog on your site.  You can obtain a free blog from wordpress.org and place it on your domain. The added benefit of a blog is also that search engines love content so by having a blog you may also improve your search rankings.

The other opportunity is to find other sites which you can blog on.  If you choose this route it is important to understand that plastering your message on every forum and blog you can find is not the most effective way to leverage these sites.  Use your expertise to help people and as part of this subtly include your company contact details.  This will help you to position yourself as an authority on a given subject.

Social Media AdvertisingSocial Networking Ads

As nearly half of all Australians have a profile on a social network, and the average time users spend on these networks at nearly 30 minutes per week this is another low cost opportunity to exploit.  Both MySpace & Facebook offer pay per click advertising opportunities as low as USD $.15 cents per click.  Best of all both the MySpace & Facebook networks offer targeting options to ensure your advertising reaches your desired audience.

Article Distribution

In the digital age where content is king, sites are always on the look out for new content. On many community/networking based sites organisations have the ability to upload articles/resources on a range of topics.  In addition articles can be loaded to article specific sites which can be listed on the site as well as can be re-printed on other sites.

If you have any other low cost tips share them below

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