Ten years ago, hiring a good search engine optimization firm was enough to get great search engine rankings and relevant traffic.  Since then, the internet has evolved and become saturated with millions of websites.  Everybody now fighting for the 1st page of Google, trying to either move above their competitors or maintain their high organic rankings.

From a paid placement standpoint, their are more advertisers than ever before, all trying to outbid each other for top ad positions.  For a keyword that use to have a max CPC of $ .80 is now $3.40.  For an industry that had 8 PPC advertisers, there are now 25…all wanting a percentage of the search traffic.

On top of the cost of online advertising increasing and having more competition in virtually every industry, web users are becoming smarter.  The average user is immune to banner ads, PPC ads, video ads, adsense ads, and basically anything that is trying to get you to buy something.  If a user sees an email from someone they don’t recognize, the odds of them opening it are very unlikely.

The bottom line is that the internet is becoming a cut-throat marketing environment.  However with that being said, the internet is a rapidly changing environment.  There are new opportunities to market and reach your audience every day.  Advertisers are becoming smarter with their budgets, by leveraging new technologies that allow you measure and analyze data from your marketing campaigns.  We are seeing a shift in marketing dollars simply with the rise of social media.

social media spend

Becoming Smarter with Your Marketing Budget

Now that companies are investing more of their advertising dollars into the internet, the cost to reach your target customers has increased.  However the fact that the internet is always changing, allows for marketers to find new and innovative ways to connect with your customers. By using tools like Google Analytics for analyzing site traffic, website optimizer for A/B and multivariate testing, various competitive intelligence tools to better understand your competition, internet marketers are making data driven decisions.

Using Various Internet Marketing Tactics

There is no point in changing what works, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with other types of marketing tactics. There may be another way to reach your market in a more efficient and effective way.  Of course, certain marketing strategies will take more time, resources, and money to accomplish, but there certainly other alternatives you can try that does not require a large investment.

Here is a list of different tactics you can try:

  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • PPC
  • E-Mail Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Re-targeting
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Microblogging
  • Online PR
  • Polls & Surveys
  • Paid Placement
  • Click-to-Call/Online Chat/Phone Tracking
  • Reputation Monitoring & Management
  • Webinars & Podcasts
  • Video Marketing
  • Web Analytics Analysis
  • Viral Marketing
  • Ecommerce
Merging Online and Offline Marketing

Clients sometimes forget or don’t realize that off-line marketing can significantly impact your online marketing efforts. Attending conferences, speaking at local events, networking at a local chamber event, connecting with other people in your industry can all help in building your brand and can lead to new clients.

Avinash Kaushik, a leader in web analytics, wrote a fantastic post about tracking online impact of offline campaigns.  With different techniques like redirects, unique coupon/promo codes, and identifying correlation in traffic patterns he describes multiple ways you can effectively track how well your offline efforts are impacting your online efforts.

What’s Next for SEO?

I believe that SEO is beginning to change into a strategy that encompasses a larger range of internet marketing techniques.  Companies that only do SEO will start to notice their ROI will decrease dramatically.  With the announcements of personalized, real-time, and social search, the Google search results are pulling in not only website, but social/microblogging sites, blogs, video sharing sites, images, news sources, etc…  It will be important for agencies to educate clients on developing a marketing strategy that includes various online and offline strategies.