Sunday, April 26, 2009

What your webmaster or advertising firm won't tell you..

Internet marketing, and in particular Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities using traditional and newer social media Internet tools, is an extremely specialized profession - and one that requires constant education, testing and a good deal of professional experience. Your webmaster or advertising firm may or may not know this, but certainly won't tell you they don't know.

We've provided outsourced, third-party Internet Marketing capabilities to many other Web technology and advertising service providers, and they generally fall into 4 categories of service capabilities you absolutely need for your business, but that don't actually provide effective Internet Marketing by themselves.

1 - Web designer/graphic artists - while these professionals are essential for creating your brand identity, attractive graphics and packaging, and all other visual, multimedia elements for use by your business; these folks or firms are "producers" of online content, not "marketers" of it - and typically spend no time learning or implementing search engine optimization for clients.

2 - "Traditional" advertising and communications firms - there are many advertising firms around our DC area who are experts at creating great campaigns that take existing or unique brands, create an advertising "story" and "look" with them, and then place buys in traditional media (like banner ads, tv, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc.). We've found, however, that many of these firms do not yet understand nor provide services that enable optimum exposure of these advertising campaigns on the Internet, and that can be easily found via search engines. In fact, we've seen examples of utterly wasted advertising dollars, when implemented without proper understanding of SEO and search engines - basically, advertisements no one will ever see or act upon.

3 - Web Programmers/Hosters - these professionals are obviously experts in their arena, programming and managing the actual web technology and web pages for clients; sometimes this service is provided by individuals or web programming shops, other times, the website hosting provider provides it. In nearly all the cases we've dealt with specialists in this area, who claim to also offer SEO/Internet Marketing services, it doesn't ring true, and no SEO skills actually exist or are supported by these outfits. This is especially true when seeking SEO skills via outsourcing forums such as "Elance"; we've found that about 75% of the time an opportunity is posted in technical forums seeking SEO/copywriting skills, the responses are (a) technically competent but (b) utterly rejectable from a copywriting and Internet Marketing perspective, especially if the job requires local marketing.

You'll get horridly-written responses from firms (many overseas) claiming to provide great SEO services, such as "You may surly ignore our resent feedback as we were close for renovation" or "We are a team of professionals having a fair understanding on Search marketing - our experience as a SEO company might be less, but our skill sets are unique & diverse". If their proposals and initial impression utterly fail from an English grammar perspective, how could their online marketing possibly succeed?

4 - Copywriters/Authors - these professionals are actually quite good at what they do, and their content is essential to be leveraged for online marketing - they simply don't know what to do with it, how to optimize it using HTML for search engines, and where on the Internet it should be placed, using which tools.

The key takeaway is that in order to absolutely succeed in promoting your business or organization on the Internet, driving more traffic and conversions to your site, and in general establishing a fantastic Internet presence - you do need the kinds of "content" these professionals listed above provide (and by the way, we offer all of these as specialty services). However, you ALSO need the kind of professional online marketing services and management that ONLY firms like ours provide - to pull it all together and smartly leverage for maximum benefit.

Build your site, create your images and write your books - but hire an SEO firm to make sure the Internet knows you exist.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ask Kelly & Ted - Advice on Selling a Website?

Here's a question we answered over at the very hip DC Web Women's Organization and Email List...

"Anyone have any advice on selling a website?"

Buying and selling Internet real estate and online digital assets is big business -you certainly can make good money from this, so long as you've got a good means of assigning current and potential value to the online property (i.e. "appraising" it, just like your home). Value doesn't have to only be about income-producing potential, either - sometimes websites are purchased simply for marketing, as a defensive move against competition, or for more altruistic purposes.

A quick online analysis of your site doesn't indicate much actual revenue-producing value or clarity in purpose, and there's much onsite work to still do, to make it ready for "prime time", in terms of online marketing, performance and usability from a conversion perspective. It probably wouldn't appraise for much - but that's only one opinion, without extensive research and competitive analysis, and the market ultimately decides value.

Regarding the market, and are examples of markets that cater to this...

Funny, we actually just finished helping someone evaluate and "stage" their site for sale (again, just like a house!) - and the site was a place for people to buy and sell other websites!

The best steps to take for your site are probably (1) get a decent appraisal of your site, (2) create some "sales copy", i.e. verbage about why the site is so great, (3) find a few outlets online on which to pitch it, that make the most sense, given your motivations and the site's theme, and (4) do a little online marketing and "buzz" creation of your own, pointing to your site from a blog or two, for example.

You could also simply "monetize" it a bit (i.e. add some ads), improve the seo a little, and let it "soak" a while (i.e. get its pagerank up from "0") - you might find it brings in just enough interest and revenue-generating "click-throughs" (i.e. from Google adsense) that it covers the hosting/domain charges, and basically just pays for itself.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Social Media for Your Business - Loudoun BizConnect

Be sure to check out our Social Media Overview for Loudoun County and Northern Virginia Businesses, in last month's Loudoun's the article:

"As the Obama administration settles into office this year, what’s described as the “most connected ever” group of leaders are quickly focusing on how to leverage the groundswell of “social media” use and expertise demonstrated by the campaigns. Social media, proven useful in politics, is rapidly being adopted by students and families, and is dramatically changing the landscape of traditional news reporting. But is it good for business, here in Loudoun and Northern Virginia?

Social media may be difficult to define, but you’ll know it when you see it. It’s about talking back to the web, sharing your opinion, and participating in a multimedia dialogue among interested people in public – anonymously or not. There are many styles of online conversation and tools – from those focusing on photos or videos (like “Flickr” and “YouTube”), to reviews (like “Yelp”), to those focusing on profiles, expertise or favorite bookmarks (i.e. “Facebook”, “LinkedIn” and “Delicious”).

For business owners and employees, the prospect of engaging customers in a public, un-moderated dialogue (that can’t be erased) can be daunting. Local businesses typically aren’t used to this – but it’s already an expectation of most online customers. If your digital assets, press releases and online communications about your business aren’t managed across social media, you’re at risk. Really great news or feedback might be developing, that you can’t harness - or your reputation may be quickly deteriorating, whether justified or not.

Loudoun businesses and organizations can and should learn from those already finding success in leveraging social media – especially in this difficult economy. Look online at the Loudoun Times, read local blogs like “Gateway to Loudoun County” and follow “Digg”, “Mixx”, “Twitter” and “Google News” for Loudoun business news. Join a LinkedIn group and create a “social media policy” (i.e. part of our “Internet Checklist” for starting a Loudoun Business, at (

Socialize your business online, though with purpose, restraint and professional guidance."

KME Internet Marketing's Internet Marketing and Technology Consulting staff are recognized leaders among Northern Virginia and Washington DC's Social Media Digerati/Goverati - contact us today for assistance with your online social media needs.