3 Ways to Boost Your In-House Internet Marketing in 2011: Part 1
Many small businesses and even large corporations have not yet harnessed the power of Internet marketing to its full capacity. And even if you have sort-of focused on online marketing as part of your traditional marketing plan, how do you tackle the beast to stay ahead of the curve and your competition? These are all issues I will tackle in this two-part post on how to boost your in-house Internet marketing in 2011.
1. Actually Focus on Internet Marketing
That might sound shocking to some of us who are in the industry. But, it’s a fact that some companies don’t yet have it as a main focus in their marketing plan.
Before you small businesses and corporations start feeling down, don’t worry. Even if you started focusing on Internet marketing in 2011, you’d still be ahead of the curve.
In fact, many companies that started SEO in the past couple years have had to rethink entire strategies based on all the changes to search that have been occurring, like the move to social and local.
At industry conferences in the past year, BCI has seen a huge shift in more traditional businesses wanting to learn about SEO. We see this in the types of professionals attending the one-day SEO training we offer.
From small companies to large corporations, some businesses in some sectors are just now making Internet marketing a priority.
Internet marketing consultants: If you’re looking to boost your client base in 2011, keep in mind that there is an untapped market of people who need your skills, expertise and guidance to jump start their Internet marketing efforts. Go find them.
2. Get Buy-In
If you’re in a company that doesn’t yet have a solid Internet marketing strategy, but you know it’s the future of marketing, go to the people in charge and start educating them.
If you already have a strategy in place, but you know it needs updating, start talking. You might literally be holding the online success of your company in your hands.
Of course, you’ll need to do a lot of research to form a strong case. Put yourself in “lawyer mode” and start doing the legwork. Collect all the materials you can on how Internet marketing positively affects ROI and the bottom line. This is where you’ll show value.
Find white papers, case studies (highlighting success for businesses in your industry, if you can find ‘em), articles and blog posts. Study them and put together a strategy that addresses the key goals for 2011, before they even ask you for it.
Some won’t receive buy-in right away. Many business leaders know about the Internet marketing buzz, but still have to be taught why it will be valuable to their business success and how it works.
Some might be fearful of shifting focus from what they know works (traditional marketing) to the unknown (online marketing). Many industries still rely heavily on face-to-face marketing, traditional print, e-mail campaigns and more.
This doesn’t mean Internet marketing will replace this (at least not right away). What usually causes the fear is a perceived lack of resources, value, budget and the unknown.
Again, this is where it’s important to teach them not only the value but what’s involved, how it will work and the ROI.
Internet marketing consultants: It’s your duty to educate these businesses that are starting out on the importance of Internet marketing. Create valuable content that these in-house people can use to fuel buy-in. Perform more outreach to your potential target market, not just the people in the industry. I think we’re all a little guilty of sometimes spending too much time talking about Internet marketing to Internet marketers (or is it just me?). How can we increase the value in our communications to help those starting out in Internet marketing? This is one of my goals for 2011.
3. Start Training
If you’re just starting out, you could literally spend thousands of hours learning tactical execution from books, blogs and more.
And while I don’t doubt the value of an education via these disjointed sources, if you’re really new to it, invest in some training.
Even if you’re, say, the Internet marketing manager with years of experience, continuing education is key within this fast-moving industry.
There are several ways you can get an education on Internet marketing and stay abreast of changes:
a) Training Courses. Many of the experts out there (and even the not-so-well-known experts), have online or classroom training courses on how to get started with SEO, social media, analytics, conversions, paid search and more.
- Market Motive training by Avinash Kaushik, Bryan Eisenberg, Greg Jarboe and others. This online training led by industry experts covers social media, PPC, SEO, conversions, analytics and more. It offers access to instructors via phone and certification.
- Standard and advanced SEO training by Bruce Clay. This hands-on, face-to-face classroom training from SEM industry veteran Bruce Clay offers in-depth East Coast and West Coast Internet marketing courses for beginners, in-house custom training or one-day SEO training at industry conferences. Advanced courses offer certification.
- Search Engine College. These online courses are offered through Jordan Consulting Group, and teach basic-level SEO, copywriting PPC and more, with tutorial help as needed. Certification is also available.
- SEMPO Institute. This online education created by the nonprofit Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization offers the ability to take one or more courses, as needed, by topics such as search marketing, SEO, copywriting and more.
- FanReach.net. This online training course consists of many hours of video that covers all aspects of Facebook marketing for business, from setting up a Fan page correctly to fan acquisition and much more.
b) Industry Conferences. Conferences are not only a great way to dive in head first, but also a valuable way for experts to brush up on their knowledge directly from industry leaders. Attending a conference can be like finishing a mini master’s degree in Internet marketing, and is a great place to network. The big conferences for 2011 will be:
- SMX West: March 8 to 10.
- PubCon South: March 8 to 9.
- SES New York: March 21 to 25.
- ad:tech San Francisco: April 11 to 13.
- SMX Advanced: June 7 to 8.
- SES San Francisco: August 15 to 19.
- SMX East: September 13 to 15.
- SES Chicago: November 14 to 18.
- PubCon Vegas: Dates TBA.
c) Online Self-Education. E-books, industry blogs, news sources, leaders in their fields. These are all valuable resources to learn from and stay on top of trends and changes. But it’s a big job. Not only because there are so many opinions out there, but because it’s so fast-paced. In fact, my job as a blogger is to stay on top of these resources and it’s hard for me sometimes. Best piece of advice is to dedicate a little bit of time every week to catch up from these resources to see what you might be missing. Some blogs to watch out for include:
- Search Engine Land. This news source has multiple reporters talking about all facets of Internet marketing.
- Search Engine Roundtable. Reports from the most interesting threads on SEM forums.
- aimClear blog. Marty Weintraub heads aimClear Internet marketing and is a great source for how to use Facebook for business.
- Facebook live and Facebook blog. Facebook is the company to watch for online marketers. There’s lots of gems within its company news.
- Matt Cutts. Head of Google’s Webspam team. He doesn’t post that often, but when he does, listen up.
- Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik. Analytics evangelist for Google and co-founder of Market Motive (the Internet marketing training I listed above).
- ReelSEO. Tips on how to maximize online videos for business success.
- Bryan Eisenberg. Conversion optimization pro. (Note: CRO is multidisciplinary, so this is just one resource on a large topic.)
- Official Google Blog. News, products and events from Google.
- Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. About Google crawling and indexing, and Webmaster Tools.
- Google Places with Hotpot Community Blog. A blog for the Places community. Think local.
- Google LatLong blog. From Google Earth and Google Maps teams. Also good for local search info.
- Inside AdWords blog. Good for paid search and PPC information.
This is not a complete list by any means. This is literally just a high-level sampling. Countless Internet marketers contribute value to the community through blogs, videos and social media every day. If you have others you feel should be added to the list, please comment with your feedback.
d) Hire consultants. Sometimes the best way to get a tailor-made education in-house is to have the experts come to you. If you can fit consulting services into your budget, then this can be a very valuable experience for your organization. Many of the leading experts in Internet marketing are available for consulting.
Internet marketing consultants: Is there a better way you can culminate your knowledge into a one-stop place for someone to learn the basics of what you do? Having a great blog or offering training can not only help the business community, but also generate revenue for your business and position yourself as a thought leader. Or, maybe this is the year you should speak at a conference to share your knowledge with people gearing up for Internet marketing. Also, what are some other ways you can better assist in-house Internet marketers through your social media efforts?
In tomorrow’s Part II post, I’ll give you another three areas in-house Internet marketers simply cannot ignore in 2011. Stay tuned!