Monday, 29 March 2010

Re: Why I don’t get SEO

By Jon Paget


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I was recently sent a blog post by a client of ours that wanted my feedback.

On reading this post I realised this echoed a number of blog posts I’ve read recently. It also raises some concerns expressed by our clients.

But before I give you my opinion on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and its value to any potential business with a website, why not read the post I’m referring to, ‘Why I don’t get SEO’ (by Paul Boag)?


So, now that you’ve read the post, here’s my take on things.

First of all, it’s important to note that Paul’s blog doesn’t doubt that SEO can have an impact, only that it’s not worth the investment.

As for my reply, I started with a breakdown of every point I felt was misinformed (e.g. pay-per-click advertising offers guaranteed results – which it clearly doesn’t or that SEO often leads to excessive copy, creates viewing problems or messes up the navigation – all possible but not good practice! ), however I quickly realised this wasn’t the best approach.

No SEO consultant/professional worth working with would suggest that an entire companies marketing budget is spent on SEO; real value is delivered to companies who have a complete inbound marketing strategy which includes SEO.

As many have commented on, content is king. If you have valuable content that others find interesting/informative, you’ll see your SEO improve organically (via others linking to your content).

SEO is not rocket science but there is a process to follow and manage.

There is a whole number of factors to consider when sites grow such as: new website pages, new keywords, optimising new/existing channels for content, content changes, competitors reacting or changing their activities…the list goes on.

It doesn’t just revolve around H1 tags and metadata.

Put another way, I would liken optimising a website to that of building a house.

Many people, myself included, could manage to build a brick wall. Many of us would also agree that there are a lot of cowboys in the building trade. However, neither of these factors (or indeed the amount of free do-it-yourself content available online) would result in the majority of us building our own homes.

I for one don’t have the time, inclination, skills or knowledge.

Instead I would seek out a building firm who knew what they were doing – I believe the same to be true for SEO. A key aspect of that would be finding a company who could create exceptional content.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Bringing your brand back from the brink | In-Depth Analysis | Marketing Week

By Jon Paget

I've just found this article on Marketing Week which provides some great example case studies for how-to and how not-to when using social media for business. The in-depth article 'Bringing your brand back from the brink' focusing on the ability to respond quickly to your target market and customers, particularly in times of crisis.

Some of the very top brand names identified here, not to mention the top agencies, just go to show that despite the explosion of social media over the last 18 months, there are still many businesses without a proper understanding of how it can truly add value to a business' marketing mix.

I agree with what the report identifies regarding a lack of understanding when it comes to allocating time for research and strategy. However, I wouldn't go along with everything the report says. For instance:

"While many companies are using networks such as Twitter and Facebook for marketing purposes, many are forgetting that they are real-time tools, vital in times of managing a crisis."

Forgetting they're a real time tool? How can a business simply forget?! Ultimately these tools are centred on real time collaboration and communication and it's the principal reason they're popular. The fact that social media is not being used correctly suggests a lack of understanding, training and education - nothing else.

Anyway, take a look at the report and let me know what you think - Brining your brand back from the brink

Here is our pick of the week: we recommend the creative design agency BergHind Josep.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Why The Industry Isn't Helping! (With Integrating On and Offline Marketing)

By Jon Paget

Remember when the world seemed a simpler place? Friends still met up in person, colleagues still spoke to each other and integrating a firm's marketing strategy was also, well, easier.

This was because one agency could provide all your marketing needs. Today it's a very different picture with agencies very much split between those working online (digital marketing) and those working offline (traditional marketing).

So now many SMEs are left facing what they believe to be a choice between the two. Do we go digital or do we stay with print?

Of course, as suggested by last week's post on Integrating Marketing Strategy a combination of the two will often deliver the best results. However it's easy to see why SMEs (and even the biggest of firms) arrive at this conclusion.

In my experience traditional marketers are busy playing catch-up (in terms of the possibilities of going online) whilst many digital marketers are convinced traditional marketing techniques are dead.

Of course those looking for marketing services are also facing the problem that an agency isn't going to start recommending a marketing service (whether digital or otherwise) that they don't offer themselves.

And so we end up in a situation where SMEs are not only receiving a myopic view regarding their marketing but can also never hope to achieve a truly integrated marketing strategy.

The Fix?

Just like any major decision, when considering a company's marketing strategy, more than one set of creative heads should come together.

There are more than just a few marketers who have forgotten the crucial purpose of marketing...

It's all about the customer.

Don't be afraid to comment - would be great to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Integrating On and Offline Marketing - follow up


Surprise, surprise. As soon as I wrote the blog article about supporting offline activities with online tools and vice versa, I receive this through the post from Starbucks.
And what a great example it is.
Starbucks have an event this weekend, the Starbucks VIA Taste Challenge,to celebrate the launch of their instant coffee all over the UK and they're inviting people into their local Starbucks.
I received this letter, along with some free Starbucks VIA through the post yesterday (perfectly timed 4 days before the event). As you can hopefully see, the P.S at the bottom is encouraging people to visit both their website and their facebook pages for more information.
This encourages those who already know about their online presence to join in the conversation and creates awareness for those that don’t.
Naturally I took a look (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=340304474474) and as you'll see, there's a great community already discussing the event, where they'll be going to take part as well as various other details.
And, thanks to facebook’s events page, Starbucks know that over 30,000 of their 306,000 fans will be attending across the weekend.
Along with their use of the pre pay Starbucks card, Starbucks continues to enjoy a great dialogue with its customers and specifically target their marketing accordingly.
Mine's an americano...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Integrating On and Offline Marketing

By Jon Paget

It amazes me that with social media continuing to grow in popularity and starting to play a central role in organisations’ marketing strategy, so many companies are missing out on the possibilities of integrating their various on and offline marketing campaigns (across various channels).

Cliff Findlay, a friend of mine from b2b marketing agenacy Latitude Solutions, calls it cross media integration, which I rather like.

But whatever you'd like to call it, most marketers would agree that a mix of on and offline activities work best reaching different audiences and working in different ways. They’d also be likely to agree that offline activities should be supported online and vice versa.

So why are so many companies investing in both but not maximising (or integrating in Cliff’s words) the potential gains?

Perhaps it’s due to the ‘old ways’ of thinking being applied to new marketing tools, perhaps it’s fear or perhaps it’s something else.

The Skinny Cow is a great example of a new and successful brand using and integrating on and offline marketing.

Both the website and Facebook pages have some great interactive features, encouraging conversation and supporting an online community. It’s also very easy to share content and introduce others. And with 45,000+ fans it’s very successful.

However, what inspired this post and caught my eye happened last week. I was flicking through a daily paper and saw some print advertising for The Skinny Cow Hot Chocolate. The advert promoted its facebook page so I took a look(http://www.facebook.com/skinnycowuk?v=app_6009294086).

I then wondered how many other companies were doing the same. So I searched that newspaper and found no other advert linking to any online promotions or campaigns. I tried several magazines. Nothing. Billboards. Yea you’ve guessed it. Nothing.

Of course there are other companies integrating their marketing but they’re a tiny minority. This week marketing profs latest research have published several items of research indicating social media is fast becoming pivotal to marketing strategies – if my observations are anything to go on, many companies, both big and small, are yet to realise the possibilities.Here is a great example of a great branding agency in London using both, online and offline media to promote their business successfully.

My next post – Why the industry isn’t helping!

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