Customers! I Need Customers! (part 2)

I hope everyone in America had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I’m sure you spent a great deal of time discussing Search Engine Marketing over Turkey and pie.  At night you dreamed of great search rankings, when you were able to sleep at all.  Well let me put your mind and ease as I finish up my two-part article on Search Engine Marketing looking at Link Building and Pay-Per-Click search engine advertising.

Link Building:
Alright, you’ve registered your website with the search engines, and optimized each page, but you weren’t able to compete for some of the more popular keywords that you wanted to, or, even if you were able to optimize for every keyword you wanted to, you want to further expand your online visibility.  Link building will help both with your website’s online visibility (how easy it is for people to find your website) and with your website’s search engine strength.  Want to compete for more competitive keywords?  You need more inbound links to your website.  An inbound link is a link someone else places on their website linking back to your website.  There are many ways to get inbound links, including registering with directories, posting in relevant forums, and contacting other webmasters, especially “authoritative” websites, and asking them to link to you.  You can offer to link back, but a one-way link is more valuable.  Also, you want to get links from websites relevant to yours.  Non-relevant links can be nice in that they will increase your online visibility, but may not have the same impact on your search engine results as relevant links.

When building your link network, don’t just think about what that webmaster can do for you by putting a link on their site, think about what you can do for them.  You need to give a reason to link to your website.  That means having content or resources on your website which are valuable to others.  Maybe you have a great selection of products or maybe you have articles about the field your products are related to.  You need to have something of value on your website if you want people to link to your site.

Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Advertising:
If you’ve done a Google, MSN or Yahoo search, then you’ve probably noticed the “Sponsored” links at the top of the page of results or on the right side of the page.  The way it works is that you bid for a spot in the search results for a particular keyword.  Then when someone searches for that keyword, your website is displayed in the sponsored results.  Your position in those sponsored results depends on whether other people bid higher than you.  When someone clicks on your link, you are charged for that click whatever you bid.  So if you bid 35 cents on your keyword, every time someone clicks on your sponsored result, you are charged 35 cents.  If one hundred people click through, then you are charged $35.

The good thing about Pay-Per-Click search engine advertising is that it enables you to get your website in the results for keywords which you could not naturally rank well for.  The negative side is that you have to pay for every click and those clicks can add up really quickly.  This differs from optimization in that, when you optimize your website to rank well in the search engines, you only pay for the optimization.  Whether your optimization gets you a thousand visitors or a million, you don’t pay any more.  If you average one sale per every ten customers and that sale averages you $10 in profits, you can spend 75 cents per click and you will still be making a profit.

Every business needs to market itself and every business’s website needs to be marketed as well.  However, this is not just for businesses.  Churches, schools, ministries, and anyone who wants others to know about them to broaden their outreach needs to market themselves.  I know I get my news online, so I don’t receive a newspaper.  I prefer to shop online, rather than wasting gas and time going to stores.  I Tivo my TV shows and skip over the commercials and I could probably count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve used a phonebook in the past year.  More and more people are doing the same thing.  With more and more people using the internet to find and/or buy things search engine marketing is becoming more and more necessary for every organization.

What do you think of this article?  What ways of marketing have you found effective?  Post your responses below:

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

5 Responses to “Customers! I Need Customers! (part 2)”

  1. Any quality link building plan should include plenty if research on the competition. You can learn a lot by determining who is linking to them. Good resource for quality links.

  2. A few comments on pay-per-click advertising:

    1) On Google, it’s not entirely true that your position depends on whether other people bid higher than you. Google takes into account the click-through rate and recently, the quality of the landing page. If your click-through rate is higher than your competitors and your landing page is better aligned with the content of your ad, you can jump ahead of your competitors even though they are bidding higher than you. With Yahoo’s move to a new sponsored search platform, click-through rate and landing page quality should come into play in their rankings as well (reportedly after the first of the year for all advertisers and already for some who have opted to switch to the new platform). MSN AdCenter (which I have not used yet) also apparently takes into account click-through rate and landing page relevancy.

    2) To minimize the “negative side” of too many (irrelevant) clicks, it is important to write your ad headline and text carefully so that the searcher clearly knows what’s in store for him/her if they click on your ad. For example, if you’re selling something, make sure (through carefully crafting the headline and ad text) that the searcher will know you are offering something to buy. Many people who click on paid ads are simply researching a topic or are in the research phase of their buying cycle. By writing your headline and ad well, you can minimize the number of clicks from people who are just doing research and (potentially) direct people who are in the research phase of the buying cycle to more informational pages.

    3) Churches and ministries who want to use pay-per-click advertising should be careful to identify what will constitute a “conversion” for their purposes. Usually, a church or ministry is not looking for product purchases, but they do want a “conversion” of sorts (“conversion” in the direct response advertising sense – not conversion to Christ, at least not initially!) – they want unbelievers to attend a church gathering for the first time, or they want believers to volunteer for their ministry. It’s important for a church or ministry to put tracking systems in place to know if their pay-per-click advertising efforts are successful.

    One ministry I work with seeks believing volunteers. It was fairly simple to set up a signup form on their website and track the signups back to paid search engine ads. Recently, this ministry paid a very small amount and had over a hundred volunteers sign up in about 3 1/2 weeks. As I said, tracking that performance was fairly easy.

    Tracking response from unbelievers is not so easy because we’re not looking for them to signup, only to make contact with us (preferably in a face-to-face gathering). We want to be careful not to treat a new visitor like a number and dehumanize them, so it’s important to track response from unbelievers in a more informal way.

  3. Frank,

    Those are some great tips for pay-per-click advertising. When properly researched, prepared and tracked pay-per-click can be a very effective means of adveritising, especially if you are having difficulty getting natural results for a particular, desired keyword.

    Thanks for the tips.

  4. As a man of the LORDS first, then a Master Copywriter, (DM) Web Copy,
    research is vital ! If your “landing page copy is weak” this is going to directly
    impact your “conversion” rate. I have been to many sites that had optimized
    their homepage.

    In any e-commerce endeavor, if your landing page copy needs much work,
    the major search engines operators ARE going to consider click throughs!

    It only takes a few seconds to give your prospect that “first impression”.
    If that first impression is the wrong one, they will reach for the “back button”!

    What makes any copy “work” is always the emotional chord that is struck in
    the heart of the reader!
    If you want to improve conversion, DO NOT write your own copy! There are
    proven and tested methods that can improve them by 100 to 800 %!
    Need help? Email me at stepmonday@aol.com
    URL http://www.truth-witness.com (this is all about HIM).

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