Advertising Strategy Snags My Attention

January 15, 2007

For those of you that read this blog often, you know I tend to write more about online advertising than print advertising. Online advertising comes in so many forms and is so easy to track. I do plan plenty of print advertising each year, but mainly use the medium for branding – keeping our name out there in front of our audience that prefers magazines.

I’m an avid reader of personal finance and small business magazines and over the last year I’ve seen a rise in print advertisements in which advertisers make their one-page ad look like an article or case study of sorts. An example is shown below from Kiplinger’s magazine. On the left side is the last page of an article and on the right is an advertisement for long-term care coverage.

Now, why am I writing about this? Well, for the last year, I’ve shook my head and moved quickly past these ads figuring that this was a wasted effort by the advertiser – until I came to the page shown above. They tricked me and it worked! I recently had a conversation with relatives about long-term coverage and when I saw the page I thought it might be an informative article I could pass on. I breezed right over the small “Advertisement” tag at the top. The article was somewhat informative but got me thinking about the topic again.

So, I stand corrected. Print advertisements like this may have a place. I was so intrigued I actually searched the small print at the bottom and found MetLife was the advertiser. I went to Google and searched on ‘long term care coverage’ and sure enough, MetLife had a paid search ad there offering quotes on coverage.

Now, I’m not in the market for long-term coverage, but I have relatives who are. With many aging baby boomers, this is a hot topic and the ad provided a reason to look for more information. MetLife did a good job of throwing information out and then backing up the ad with a paid search ad offering a quote. Good strategy!


Check This List Out if You Haven’t Already

January 5, 2007

I thought most everyone in the search marketing world had seen or heard about this list, but I’ve corresponded today with two people who had not. So, I’m posting this in case any of my readers have not visited Lee Odden‘s Online Marketing Blog to see his incredible list of search marketing blogs. He and his team put a ton of work into this – the list is definitely worth a look!

I’ve already found a few blogs on the list that I didn’t know about that contain great content for the small business marketer.

Search Engine Land Discusses Small Business

January 3, 2007

The ever popular Search Engine Land blog managed by Danny Sullivan got even more popular in my eyes recently with the post – SMBs, Paid Search And Self-Service. The post, by Greg Sterling, highlighted how important small businesses are to the paid search industry and how they can be under-served by Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

I think paid search is a great marketing tool and I spend plenty every year on it. But, I was completely amazed at how little support I received from Google and Yahoo until I started to spend more. Now, I have great account reps who are very responsive. Was it the money or did they beef up their service?

Very Informative Interview on SEO/SEM for Small Business

December 29, 2006

I came across a great interview with Matt McGee of Small Business SEM. The interview was conducted by Gradiva Cousin and Jennifer Grappone, co-authors of Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day. The interview was focused on how small businesses can compete in search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

I thought Matt’s answers did a great job of highlighting how small business can move faster than large business but also can be restricted by budget and resources. He also outlined some simple tips and thoughts on how small business marketers can begin understanding and implementing optimization and marketing for search engines.

I couldn’t agree more. Many small businesses can learn enough to get started and do the basics. Taking the next step of attending conferences, networking, and reading up on the topic are keys. In my current position, we’ve even tried to get larger, well-known SEO/SEM firms to come in and either validate what we’re doing or give us advice on how to improve, but often they have bigger fish to go after. We’ve taken the stance of learning and getting the job done ourselves and I couldn’t be happier with the choice. SEO/SEM work is challenging and fun at the same time.

Use Search to Grab Those Last Minute Holiday Shoppers

December 21, 2006

How many of you marketing managers out there are dealing with trying to grab the attention of last minute shoppers? There are quite a few this week. I came across a good article written by Kevin Ryan on iMedia Connection about the use of Search Marketing immediately before and after Christmas. Its worth a read even if you’re not trying to push sales over Christmas.

Search Arbitrage Defined

December 20, 2006

I just came across a good outline and commentary on search arbitrage. Jeremy Luebke at Marketing Pilgrim outlines the different definitions and methods of search arbitrage. If you’re doing PPC search marketing or optimizing your site for search, you’ll want to check out this post.

He raises a great point – is Google not putting an end to this because they enjoy the additional revenue? My experiences at my company lead me to believe that Google can end some of this, but they’re not.

Blog Links Need to be Earned

December 18, 2006

I recently had some friends and readers review my posts and offer their opinion. I’m thankful for their input! But, a consistent question from them was, “What are you doing to get links into your blog?” and “Have you started emailing everyone for links?”. I don’t have two feet to stand on in the link discussion – there are others with much more experience at linking for SEO purposes, but I can offer my thoughts from a blogger standpoint.

A salesperson rarely gets business from walking into a brick-and-mortar company they’ve never talked to before, displaying their product and a smile, and leave with a purchase order. Rather, some of the best relationships built between salesperson and customer is one where much effort has been made to build a relationship. Over time the salesperson can show how their product or service can help the customer.

I feel this is the case with blogging. My goal is to provide useful content that readers enjoy and come back often to read. Hopefully, over time, they’ll find reason to link to my blog – and vice-versa.

In the meantime, please take the time to read Danny Sullivan’s post on Search Engine Land. He breaks down the details of a recent Google post.