Online Marketing 101

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Email Marketing, Search, Search Engine Optimization, SEO | Comments Off on Online Marketing 101

Written by Charles Benisch
Consultant at Steckler eMarketing, Watertown MA 02472

Not much is certain in online marketing; there are no guaranteed solutions.

Certain things, however, are certain. Consider these two certainties:

  1. Online marketing strategies that were successful ten years ago will not be successful online marketing strategies today.
  2. Online marketing strategies that were successful ten years ago will be detrimental online marketing strategies today. 

Evolution in SEO Strategies

Consider Google’s original Page Rank algorithm. Ten years ago, Google ranked websites based largely on their number of backlinks.

What happened?

Online marketers tried to scam the system with link exchanges.

Then what happened?

Google responded. After Panda and Penguin updates, it has become detrimental to have backlinks from link exchanges and other untrustworthy websites.

What else happened?

Social media exploded. Web user’s online activities changed. People stopped providing backlinks and started “sharing,” “re-tweeting,” “liking,” “pinning,” “re-posting,” “endorsing,” etc.

How did Google respond to changes in web user activity and social media?

Google created new algorithms that consider social interactivity in determining rank. The more shares, re-tweets, followers, fans, likes, re-posts, pins, endorsements, etc. that a blog post has, or that an author related to a blog post has, the more highly rated the blog (and thus the website).

Try as they may, online marketers today will never achieve top search engine ranks these if they rely exclusively on backlink strategies.

So how do online marketers generate re-tweets, followers, fans, likes, re-posts, pins, endorsements, etc.?

They provide content that is useful, interesting, valuable, engaging, exciting, and share-worthy.

Companies that exclusively generate self-promotional materials will not be shared, liked, re-posted, re-tweeted, pinned, etc. and will not climb search engine ranks. Companies that offer web users something of real value, that motivates the anonymous web user to share, will climb to the top of the search results page.

Evolution in Email Marketing Strategies

Consider Email Marketing Strategies. Ten years ago, the ability to store and retrieve data started to become more affordable – exponentially more affordable. Data warehouses began popping up everywhere. Email lists were aggregated, sold, and marketed to.

What happened?

People’s inboxes became overwhelmed by spam – so overwhelmed by spam that the country signed into a law the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

Then what happened?

Email systems became more advanced. The ability to identify spam improved.

What else happened?

People’s behavior changed. People set up spam email boxes, folders and subfolders in their email directories to sort their emails, companies established subject line protocols to identify relevant emails. People began providing false email addresses to websites in order to prevent more spam. People stopped reading unsolicited emails.

What else happened?

Company A continued to rely on the old techniques of buying email addresses, renting email lists, downloading user-provided email address reports, etc.. Company B embraced a new opt-in email generation culture rooted in social media, blogging, and content marketing.

What happened to Company A and Company B?

Company A:
The number of spam complaints, unopened emails, and not clicked-through emails generated by Company A made it harder for them to get through spam filters. Company A reached fewer people by trying to reach everybody. Company A did not offer anything motivating to any particular recipient because the content of each email was broad enough to send to every possible recipient.
The employees at Company A continued to delete spammy emails from their inboxes while sending spammy emails in an attempt to cultivate leads.

Company B:
The number of spam complaints, unopened emails, and not clicked-through emails generated by Company B was comparatively non-existent. Company B’s emails were recognized by spam filters to be not-spam, and Company B successfully delivered more and more emails. Company B used the data collected in their opt-in process to identify key characteristics of the users behind their email addresses. Company B sent only relevant emails to each email address, and, thus, Company B developed quality Email Marketing relationships built on trust and value.

The Intersection of SEO Strategies and Email Marketing

These narratives of SEO Strategies and Email Marketing Strategies intersect at a simple, yet crucial point: in order to execute a successful online marketing strategy, a company needs to provide useful, engaging, interesting, share-worthy information to web users.

If they do this, then web users will opt-in to their email marketing systems to receive more of the useful and engaging information, and they will also share it among their peers.

Jean Steckler
Steckler eMarketing
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