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Last time we covered selecting marketing tactics. It is important to use research and historical data, as well as common sense, when selecting the methods you use to get your message out. We also discussed making sure you have your priorities straight. Sometimes we put great resources into crafting the right message and image, and then put little effort into selecting the best methods and techniques to get that message to the right people.
In modern history, advertising and marketing have been economically slanted. A big audience meant spending big bucks, whether you employed TV, radio, or periodicals. In a way the Internet has changed all that. With the right approach, you can have an international audience of millions without spending millions.
Its Not Your Grand Father’s Marketing Method
It is said that broadcasting and publishing are really just modern day medicine shows. Most of you are probably familiar with these legends of the past; travelers who went from town to town to put on a small show that could include music, magic acts, comedy skits, or even a freak show, all with the purpose of gathering a crowd in order to hawk something to them. (Yes, frequently it was some kind of elixir, but not always.) Television, radio, magazines, and even newspapers serve that role in the modern era. Attract an audience by whatever means possible, and then try to sell them something.
While Internet pop-up ads still follow that model, Internet marketing is a completely different paradigm. Millions of people use the Internet everyday, and not just to be entertained, they use it to get information. They search for information about products and services they want and need; products and services that you can provide. When they search the Internet are they going to find you or your competitor?
The Internet, in fact, presents a great opportunity for small and medium size businesses. Instead of having to continually cast a wide net in hopes of catching the attention of a few fishes, now you can throw out a small hook and wait for the fish to swim to you. The Internet gives you opportunity to market narrowly to those who are not only interested, but who are already actively looking. To make sure people and businesses searching on the internet will find you takes an intelligent and reflective approach. Instead of using demographic breakdowns to find target audiences, Internet marketing is all about the effective use of keywords and phrases.
The Two Aspects of Internet Marketing
Internet marketing can be divided into two very distinct areas, and any business that is serious about success should be making efforts to effectively employ both of them. Let’s call one approach organic Internet marketing and the other inorganic Internet marketing. Essentially, one is a natural or unpaid campaign, while the other is a paid one. Although there will be a significant amount of overlap between the two, how you apply keywords in Internet marketing for the two approaches will be different.
Inorganic Marketing involves the concept of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. Most well-known search engines and directories allow companies to bid on words and phrases. When Internet users type these terms into a search engine or directory, your business name and a brief ad will appear. (On most search engines, paid listings are displayed in a separate frame or area than the organic or unpaid listings). But effectively employing PPC is not just a matter of buying up some keywords and letting the money roll in.
Getting the most value out of your PPC budget means creating a coherent, intelligent plan based on research, history, and even a little intuition. How effectively you monitor and improve your on-going Internet PPC plan, however, should not be left to chance. Effectively using PPC means constantly monitoring metrics and results, reflecting on what the results mean, and them making improvements based on what you have learned, and then once again measuring results. Most PPC services will provide you keyword data such as impressions and clicks, and you should be using web logs and analytic software to tell you what happens from there with leads and sales.
Organic Internet marketing is about integrating keywords and phrases into your in order to make your web page appear at or near the top of the search engine results list when users search for certain things. Equally important here is the collection of inbound links that link external sites (like referrals) into your website. Unlike PPC, where budget constraints can affect what “keyword property” you own along the information highway, conducting organic Internet marketing doesn’t really cost anything above your already existing Internet overhead (such as computer equipment, Internet service provider, and web programmer). The only costs are your efforts to create an effective plan, monitor results (where do you appear when you conduct searches using certain terms?), and enact improvements.
Sales and Marketing is a Business Process
You may notice a recurring theme in the above discussion. It is the concept of making a plan, executing the plan while measuring key performance indicators, then reflecting on what the measurements mean and using them to find ways to improve. This is the continuous process improvement philosophy that Bizmanualz uses as a lynch pin for all of its business improvement line of products.
This approach is also applied to topics such as Marketing Planning, Marketing Tactics, and Sales in the recently released Bizmanualz Sales and Marketing Polices, Procedures & Forms manual. The Sales & Marketing manual also includes a special supplement on Internet Marketing that covers key topics such as organic and inorganic Internet marketing, lead generation, website design, and security concerns. For the most bang for your buck, the Bizmanualz CEO Management Series of Policies, Procedures and Forms, now includes the Sales & Marketing Manual.
In our next article we will discuss the importance of planning and measurement in the sales process.