Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ask Kelly and Ted: Why do I need Internet Marketing?

We get this question a lot, especially from smaller businesses who have had fairly reasonable and consistent returns on their paper-based advertising.

For example, here's the latest:

"What keywords are people actually using for xx service on the Internet in this area? I am not sure I want to spend $xx a month if there is not enough demand on the Internet for xx services in the Northern Virginia DC Metro Area. I need to see how many potential customers we actually have out there that are on the net searching for xx companies before making a decision to spend this kind of money."

Here's part of our answer -

That's a good question to be raising; it's essentially the "why should I use Internet Marketing" question we hear so often from local businesses. Simply put, there's a whole market segment of potential customers that you're missing, if you don't address them. A rule of thumb is that at least 15% of your total marketing budget should be focused online. What you do with that budget will require expert assessment and advice, as well as frank evaluation of your online competition and what it will take to "catch up". There's a lot of competition in this particular area, judging from the proliferation of PPC ads and organic listings for things like "Fairfax xx Service". Getting on the board is one thing (if you've got a low level of Internet presence), getting to the top of the heap is another....for example, searching for "Fairfax xx" gives oodles of results, but the guys on top are recent clients of ours - and they were utterly invisible on the Internet a year ago.

We'll also point out, that this kind of "service" industry lends itself extremely well to highly-qualified conversions - meaning, when people are searching for "xx service" in a location, chances are extremely high they're ready to purchase, and purchase quick - so your ad needs to be front and center right there on the Internet.

Do you know the conversion rate for your offline advertising, i.e., what percentage of the number of print ads/flyers you've distributed, multiplied by the approximate amount of "impressions" they've generated (i.e. people who've seen the ads), resulting in (1) contact and then (2) actual contracts? And then, what was the per customer cost of this marketing activity? (a.k.a. "CPM", or "cost per thousand of impressions"). You could compare these statistics to industry averages, and then against averages for your type of business using Internet Marketing. This is the biggest benefit of Internet Marketing - the extremely low cost per customer for marketing - and the relatively low cost of investing in services to get this going.



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