By Rachael J. Mercer, Contributing Editor
Scott Orth, director, Internet Marketing Strategies, began his “Internet Marketing Strategies” course by informing attendees about statistics concerning the World Wide Web and its use.
“Fifty-nine percent of consumers begin looking for local business listings on Google, Yahoo!, or MSN, according to the findings issued by The Kelsey Group in March 2006,” said Orth. “Only around 33 percent of consumers begin by looking in the Yellow Pages, and even fewer – just 8 percent – rely on word-of-mouth to discover local businesses.”
Orth moved through his presentation by discussing search engines and the Internet, usability and site design, and pay-per-click (PPC) sponsored ads.
Today’s participants learned:
• Think about your user first. How will someone use your Web site?
• Think like a search engine when writing content and designing the layout of the site.
• Use analytics to track successes and opportunities.
“Most people tell me that they never realized there was so much involved in Internet marketing. It’s not just about keywords and placing an ad on Google,” said Orth. “There’s a ton of market, customer, and competitive research to be done before one can get started. Even with the research complete, there are still numerous steps in setting goals and building a strategy before you launch into Internet Marketing.”
Orth stressed Organic Optimization and how to set goals and track progress, while covering industry statistics and providing valuable information on how to build effective campaigns. “I want attendees to be flooded with information to think about while planning and setting up appropriate tracking methods,” said Orth. “I want them to be able to prove the success and profitability of their online campaign.”
Orth used a complex PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate effective and ineffective marketing strategies. Attendees were able to view actual Web sites, their home pages and search engine results as well. He encouraged participants to “plan, plan, plan.”
“Do your research, know your audience and plan your campaign,” he said. “This includes testing numerous variables throughout your campaign, tracking success and testing again. This allows better usability and will keep you ahead of your competitors.”
Along the lines of Web site design, Orth emphasized that attendees should be aware of how someone will use their Web sites, and where their sites fit in with the users’ research or shopping process. Once those things have been determined, attendees were urged to “think like search engines” paying particular attention to a simple and logical layout with content that uses key terms effectively.
In closing, Orth stressed “Don’t launch head first into an online campaign until you’ve talked to a professional. Making a few minor mistakes could cost months of lost search engine presence and online business.”