March 23, 2016

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Your Needs and the Flavor Choices

SEO is one of those abstract needs where the return is difficult to quantify, but we know we need to do it because that's what everybody says (?#?#).

Here is my bottom line on this - if you have a need, learn to do it as the return is high (assuming you have the need).  The cost of good SEO is also high and since it is very much abstract, you want to know you are getting what you pay for.  Watch out for the snake oil salespeople - they are on every corner in every town.

SEO comes in many flavors and levels.

The first, and least expensive, is that tuneup you may hear about frequently ($149 - $499). My opinion on this - if your website was built correctly in the first place it is already done. If you are being sold this, you probably don't need it.  But then again, its 500 bucks - it may be worth getting someone elses opinion.  You will hear people say things like relevant page name, page titles, page descriptions, meta tags, keywords, backlinks and search engine submissions at this level.

The next level comes from those service providers who do monthly SEO service - it's kind of like getting maid service for the first time - a start-up fee (like $499) and then a monthly fee of anywhere from $39 - $199 per month.  Here we begin to move in the right direction as SEO is not a snapshot, but a process.  Regretfully, customers rarely see a return fast enough and terminate the service as this becomes apparent.  When this group is selling you, you will hear all the same words from the previous paragraph plus "content" and "relevance"...

Finally, for those people who can actually benefit (financially speaking) - learn to do SEO as the process (yes, a process) needs to be continuously worked.  Think of it like marketing - it's not something you do once.  Add to that, people who know what they are doing with SEO are either doing something themselves or charge BIG $$.  Test your need with PPC (Pay-Per-Click (or CPC - Cost-Per-Click); it is not abstract.  If PPC provides a return, so will SEO and you will want to do BOTH - this, is not an either/or.

Finally, Finally :)  there is Pro-active SEO;  Read more about it in my article The Importance of Tweeting in Your SEO Plan.

Good SEO is like a good salesperson - they (you) live it.

Bob Leonard
561-371-4113 (Call My Cell) 
512-593-8830 (in Austin) 

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March 16, 2016

Get Your Timing Right!

How critical is the timing for direct mail campaigns? Hitting the right window can make the difference between recipients saying, “That’s me!” and the piece being rejected out of hand. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this tale of two campaigns.

Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B: 

•    Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
•    Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.
•    Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.
•    Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.

Here is where the campaigns differed:
Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.

Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.

To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.

How well do you know your target audience?