Have you ever wondered what to do first while developing digital strategies for your business? Should you redesign your corporate websites and rewrite all the content for search engine purposes? Or should you start display advertising programs on Adwords and AdCenter?
It’s amazing how the usage of the Internet has evolved over the past few years. Two or three years ago, search engine optimization could be examined separately. And people would argue that improving website meta tags or adding detailed title tags could be a long term win compared to bidding competitive keywords on Google, Yahoo (when its online advertising program still existed) and Bing. Nowadays, no matter whether you are an individual business owner or a corporate employee, knowing the relationship between organic search (often related to search engine optimization), search advertising (related to search engine marketing or paid search) and social media is just as important as identifying business opportunities.
Search engine optimization (SEO), in my opinion, is mostly considered as “the meat.” It includes any bits and pieces of information you place on your website or blog to help visitors (or Google algorithms) find what they are looking for easier and faster. You can identify different keywords for each page, add alt tags for images, and use different codes such as H1 H2 to emphasize certain content. Whereas search engine marketing (SEM), is more like “the bait.” Whether the format is text, images, or multimedia, the purpose of search engine marketing is to boost awareness or to increase sales. However, as consumers become more and more complicated and picky, given the amount of information they can easily find online, the companies who want to utilize SEO, SEM and social media have to make all three work as a seamless process to acquire and nurture relationships with their customers.
For example, business-to-business companies who have low brand awareness can use SEM to promote their products and services, getting new customers to take some sort of action (fill out a form, request a demo, or call a number…etc). After new customers become prospects (or leads), the company has to keep informative content on its website (SEO) to develop a long-term relationship with their customers rather than a one-time interaction initiated from paid advertising.
For business-to-consumer companies, social media usually plays a role during the customer relationship management process (and beyond), serving as another channel for information and interaction. Companies can easily outsource all their SEO, SEM and even social media projects, but they have to understand the synergy between all these concepts in order to have effective campaigns.
If you live near the Detroit area and would like to dive deeper into how different businesses can utilize SEO, SEM and social media, the Social Media Club Detroit is presenting a panel discussion on the subject on Nov 30, 2011. Four industry evangelists of SEO, SEM and inbound marketing will be sharing their experience how to look beyond tools and algorithms to tailor best practices to business needs.
Last but not least, no matter what campaigns you are planning, have a goal first. Too often companies get sidetracked by all sorts of tools and metrics and forget about the funneling process of business acquisition, retention and management. I recently attended search engine strategy summit and listened to an amazing talk about marketing strategies versus different attribution models. To learn more about what I learned there, please read my blog post at evyfindstheway.com.
Guest blog post by Evelyn Chou, Social Media & Digital Marketing Specialist