Is Google Adwords Still The Top Marketing Tool?

Another thanks to Mark Isherwood for submitting his Top 3 Online Marketing Questions.

His first two questions were:

Do Traffic Exchanges Really Work? and Can You Really Expect Good Marketing Results from Twitter?

Today’s question is:

Is Google Adwords still the top marketing tool?  What else brings good results (besides SEO)?

First off, I’m going to make a couple of assumptions about the question.  1. It seems to me that you are referring to online marketing tools, and 2) that you want quick results (don’t we all!).

I’m sure that we could assemble 100 people in a room and we would have about 100 different answers to what the top marketing tool might be.

Adwords is Google’s version of pay-per-click advertising, also referred to as paid placement.  The other major search engines, Yahoo and Bing, also offer paid placement, so I’ll lump them all together to answer this question.

Pay-per-click definitely has a place in your marketing toolbox, but in my opinion, it’s not the top tool.  From where I stand (and I’m a bit biased), Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the best ways to attract qualified visitors to your site, for the money.

In a recent article, Is Pay-Per-Click Losing It’s Charm?, I mention the fact that the percentage of clicks in the paid placement area of the search engine results page (SERP) has dropped dramatically over the last few years.

I believe this is because more and more people realize that they are ads and therefore prefer to click on the natural results that the search engines believe are relevant, not just the advertisers.

My approach to online marketing is a more holistic one, that includes small business websites and blogs, article marketing, link building and directory listings, email marketing, social networking, social bookmarking and local business profiles.

I believe if you focus your energy on providing good content that your target market can benefit from and you spend a little time each and every day in all of the areas mentioned above, over time, you will build a strong following and loyal customers.

My approach may not bring a million visitors to your site tomorrow, but it will certainly build a strong foundation so you can attract a million visitors down the road.

If anyone else has thoughts to add, please leave them in the comments below.

To your success!

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Can You Really Expect Good Marketing Results From Twitter?

Thanks again to Mark Isherwood for submitting his Top 3 Online Marketing Questions.

Yesterday I answered his question, Do Traffic Exchanges Really Work?

Today’s question is:

Can you really expect good marketing results from Twitter? It would seem that you are only marketing to those who follow you.

The short answer is yes, you can expect good marketing results from Twitter, but you need to learn how to use it properly.

You see, Twitter is just a tool and there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different tools available to you in order to market yourself and your business more effectively.

The great thing about Twitter is that it is a giant online conversation.  I’ve heard it compared to a cocktail party or happy hour at the bar.  There are different conversations going on around you, and based on your interests, you can step up and get involved in any of them.  If you’re shy, this might seem a bit akward in person, but it’s totally expected on Twitter.

You can find conversations you are interested in by using the Twitter Search tool.  Just type in the topic you are interested in and you’ll find people who are talking about it.  Then, all you need to do is follow them to keep up with what they are saying.

I think where people go wrong with Twitter is that they try to use it as a direct marketing tool by always promoting their own stuff.

Well, nobody is going to follow you for long if all you talk about is you and your business.

Treat it like a real conversation and listen to what others say and then help promote them to your followers, which addresses the second part of your question.

When you tweet about something, you’re not just talking to your own followers, you’re potentially talking to their followers and their followers and so on.  In essence you have a global audience.  If you are sharing quality content and information it’s going to get passed around.

People like doing business with people they know, like and trust.  Use Twitter to build relationships and the money will flow.

For more information about using Twitter for business, check out this handy guide created by Twitter called Twitter 101 for Business.  Be sure to read the Case Studies and look through the Other Resources for additional ideas about using Twitter for Business.

Tomorrow I’ll answer Mark’s third question, “Is Google Adwords still the top marketing tool?

To your success!

Follow Me on Twitter

Do Traffic Exchanges Really Work?

I want to thank Mark Isherwood of JMJ Web Services for submitting his Top 3 Online Marketing Questions.  His questions require a bit more time and thought, so I am posting them one at a time over the next three days.

His first question is this:

Do traffic exchanges really work?  If so, should they only be targeted to other marketers?

First off, let me say that I have no personal experience with traffic exchanges so I had to do some research in order to answer your question.

For some background information, view this article on Traffic Exchanges at Wikipedia.

After reading this and several other articles, here is what I think.

Traffic exchange programs may result in lots of hits and pageviews for your web site, but they will generally be very low quality visitors, many of whom are there just to get credits so they can get people to visit their own site.

It appears that traffic exchanges have been designed specifically for web site owners and other marketers, so I don’t see how you could target anything but other marketers.

There are times when you will want to team up with other marketers in order to expand the reach of your message, but I don’t think traffic exchanges are the answer.

It seems to me that traffic exchanges could take up a lot of precious time for very little bottom line results.

Here’s what I would recommend:

Instead of spending time clicking through other sites just to get other people to click on yours, find a small number of people who offer complementary products and services to yours and who are working to reach the same target market.

Create a sort of mastermind group with them and brainstorm for ideas that will help your target market solve their problems and ease their pain.

Create a list of keywords that your target market may be searching on for help and write articles that will meet their needs.  Optimize and add these articles to your web site.  Maybe even start a group blog and add the articles to it with a link back to the person’s site in your group who specializes in that topic.

This goes a long way toward establishing yourself and your group as subject matter experts who are knowledgeable and trustworthy and will attract those in need of your products and services.

As your target market begins to know, like and trust you, they will be more inclined to spend their hard earned money with you.

Mark’s other two questions:

Can you really expect good marketing results from Twitter? It would seem that you are only marketing to those who follow you.

Is Google Adwords still the top marketing tool? What else brings good results (besides SEO)?

To your success!

Follow me on Twitter!

The Benefits of Integrating Your Blog and Web Site

Our questions of the day today comes from Al Ferriulo of Ferriulo & Associates, a provider of Health Insurance Plans for people throughout Texas.

Here’s the answer to your question, Al.

What is better from an SEO standpoint, creating a blog with it’s own unique website, or incorporating it as a page within your current website?

This is a question I had to address for my own business.  For several years I had a blog separate from my main website.  About two months ago I relaunched my main web site as a blog on the WordPress platform.

The reason I did this is so I could have one domain where people could get information about our company and the search engine optimization plans we offer while still having the ability to blog and connect with our readers through their comments.

From an SEO perspective this accomplishes two things:

We are continually adding content to our main site, which the search engines love,

Any new links to our blog posts count as deep links to our domain.

Google puts a lot of emphasis on incoming links when ranking a page, while Yahoo and Bing, though they also factor incoming links into their rankings, they tend to put more emphasis on the content.

So, by having our web site and blog on one domain, it helps our own SEO efforts and helps to solidify our rankings.

I feel that incorporating your blog into your website is the best way to go from an SEO perspective.

To your success!

Ken Partain

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