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A stepped approach to e-marketing

aa30-oct-nov-2008-a-stepped-approach-to-e-marketingAs you are no doubt aware, Google celebrated its 10-year anniversary in early September. The company has achieved much in a decade.
As digital media commentator and author Nick Carr pointed out recently, “The many businesses that see the young company [Google] as an actual or potential competitor include software houses, advertising agencies, telephone companies, newspapers, TV networks, book publishers, movie studios, credit card processors, and Internet firms of all stripes.”
Given its reach across multiple industries and geographic borders, is it perhaps not surprising that the company chose Australia to trial an educational digital marketing tool aimed at the SME market. And given Google’s penchant for pioneering new approaches, it’s probably not even surprising that it chose to launch with Anthill readers.
So, that’s what we did in late August, offering Anthill blog readers the opportunity to test a new online tool before anyone else.
As the name suggests, 10 steps to promote your business online, or 10Steps for short, assists business owners and marketers new to online marketing by leading them through ten steps to identify, refine and create a suitable online marketing strategy.
Anthill Editor-In-Chief (and our principal blogger) James Tuckerman, perhaps intoxicated by the fog of exuberance that enveloped him on hearing that Anthill had been singled out for a Google exclusive, omitted to stress to blog readers that “10 Steps” was very much an introduction to online marketing and likely to be too formative for savvy digital marketers.
For the record, this one was aimed at the great silent majority who are not currently marketing their businesses online – not fellow New Media fans, many of whom can be affectionately classified as members of the noisy minority. We know that you understand the difference between SEO and SEM. But we also know that for most of the Australian business community, Pay- Per-Click advertising remains a mystery.
So, thanks to everyone who tried out “10 Steps” and left feedback. In a snapshot, many of you liked elements of it. Some of you said it was exactly what you needed to get started. Some of you thought it was a complete waste of time (one of you actually equated it with “a quiz in a women’s mag you find in a dentist’s waiting room”).
However, the overall response was constructive and positive toward the goal of educating SMEs. While most of you thought it could be improved by being less obviously structured to promote Google’s own offering, Adwords, it was nevertheless acknowledged that Google’s self-promotion, while present, was tastefully restrained.
Getting a new product right is an evolutionary process and requires constant input. Here is a sample of the comments generated by our readers:
“One of the other superb tools within 10 Steps is to be found in Step 5 on the twelfth page – Google’s Keyword Tool…. Keywords are king – they are quite literally the ‘passwords’ to your site – without these it would surely remain top secret and hidden away from the very people who you want to find it.”
Sally Romano,
Publicity Queen.
“While the structure didn’t really suit my business, as a media company and directory (it was better suited to a store, manufacturer or online shop), I nevertheless find it amazing how some businesses don’t even know that you can bid on words! Anyone in business who is not 100 percent on how Google works should go through this tool – it offers basic knowledge for doing business.”
Katie Patrick,
Green Pages.
“It seemed to be simple and straight forward. The questions were thought provoking, and I liked the way it kept referring back to previous inputs to get you to reconsider and refine your marketing approach. But it did seem heavily focused on product-based businesses.”
“One of the things I really like is the added benefit of taking ad copy and headlines which strike a chord in the online space to use in the offline world. If you’re planning to do a mail drop to 10,000 prospects, I would strongly recommend testing a few headline options using Google’s free rotating ad feature to see what works and what does not.”
Jasmine Batra,
Arrow Internet Marketing.
Some items of reader feedback have been edited for reasons of space and clarity