You probably know this already, but there's a lot more to inbound marketing than just keywords and blogging. The paid search experts who are really worth your time and money should understand good marketing itself, and how that should be applied to the Internet.
So, while there's undoubtedly a lot of different opinions on the best ways to go about marketing on the Internet, we wanted to give you our list of the top 5 “Must do's” for any paid search experts worth hiring.
They must use a branding campaign. Branding is still the best way to help your business stand out from the pack and distinguish yourself from your competitors. This goes beyond just having a logo; you need a coherent personality, focus, and mission that your customers can come to recognize.
They must be familiar with rich snippets. This is a relatively new feature Google has implemented as an attempt to replace metatags. Have you noticed in search results how sometimes listings have ratings attached to them directly, or even thumbnail pictures? Those are snippets. These snippets let you embed information into your webpage and make it stand out among Google's search listings, letting Google do a lot of the hard work for you. They're an absolute must for inbound marketing going forward.
They must work slowly and build up. With some marketing firms, if you show them a fistful of bucks, they want to blow the proverbial wad early with an immediate splash of ads. The problem is, what if it doesn't work? You need paid search experts with the patience to start slowly and test the waters, seeing what works and what doesn't. Once you've got a strategy in place, then it becomes time to ramp up the campaign and start trying to push harder.
They must use multiple ads with small variations. This is, in our opinion, the best way to find an ad campaign that works. Figure out a direction, then put out several ads which are variations on that theme. Once they're out there, your marketeers can watch the response and figure out which ones are resonating. This lets you fine-tune your strategy.
They must understand proper ad placement. It's all too easy to use a “shotgun” approach to ad buys, or use blind keyword-based contextual targeting without real human oversight. In the worst case scenario, you can get gaffes like these, which while funny, are hardly amusing if it's your ad being mis-placed. The landing pages they're on have to line up with the ad, and with your audience.
Now, how about you...? What strategies do you think are essential for Internet marketing in 2012? What about Social Media strategies? We'd love to hear what you think!
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