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FEATURE: Internet Marketing Optimization: Understanding How the Disciplines Drive ROI

by Jessica Lee, July 18, 2011

Back in the beginning days of Internet marketing, businesses were offered a limited, albeit potent, way to market their sites online consisting of few disciplines - search engine optimization being one of them. Today, the disciplines within Internet marketing have multiplied, and with the resources available to a business, Internet marketing campaigns are now more powerful than ever before.

Depending on the level of knowledge of Internet marketing within a company, some may not fully understand all the assets available to them to market their businesses online. Changes and trends move quickly in this fast-paced industry, so it's not always easy to stay abreast of them. It's also not always apparent how the various disciplines within Internet marketing can work together to maximize ROI.

Here at Bruce Clay, Inc., we call the merging of all the disciplines, "Internet marketing optimization." No longer is it just one type of Internet marketing that's important to a business website. We are now in an era where all the disciplines work together to offer a truly integrated online marketing experience, making online visibility and targeted reach stronger than ever before.

Internet Marketing Cycle

Let's examine some of the common disciplines in Internet marketing, their benefits, how they can work together and what's in it for the business to subscribe to the concept of Internet marketing optimization.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is essential to ensuring a website is best set up to be crawled by the search engine spiders, indexed and served up in the results for queries people are using to find content, products or services.

The discipline of SEO can:

  • Expose opportunities and weaknesses of a website.
  • Remove barriers to search engine ranking.
  • Fine tune a website to not only achieve rankings, but top rankings.

Why you care: Ranking leads to Web traffic and online traffic leads to revenue. Plain and simple.

Website Architecture

How a site is built, from the code to the layout to the navigation and other important factors, can either help or hinder SEO and conversions. In many cases, a site's performance can be improved through redesigned site architecture.

Proper site design can:

  • Make search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization less expensive and more effective.
  • Improve user experience and engagement on a website.
  • Yield better rankings and traffic by positioning websites as authorities on any given subject matter.

Why you should care: Decrease the cost of Web traffic by building in sound architecture from the beginning, plus improve a website's relationship with the search engines and users.

Paid Search

Paid search is a great way to reach a precisely targeted audience through various types of online advertising with the content, products or services a business offers.

The paid search discipline can:

  • Ensure advertisements are properly targeting the right personas in the right community for a given business.
  • Quality match keywords to landing pages to improve the relevance of ads.
  • Control the return on investment of the business's advertising spend.

Why you care: Maximize ROI on your company's ad spend through the proper management of paid search.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Every brand has a public to serve. Finding where this community resides online is essential to creating more meaningful relationships with its stakeholders.

Social media marketing can:

  • Ensure focus in outreach efforts, so a business is not wasting time with inefficient channels of communication.
  • Allow a business to truly serve its community's needs, in real time.
  • Improve brand reputation, and send online traffic to a site plus foot traffic to a business.

Why you care: Reach an audience who later becomes customers by strengthening relationships through brand awareness and public relations.

Web Analytics

Web analytics gives essential data about countless facets of Internet marketing campaigns. This data is key in making well-informed decisions about the direction of the online marketing strategy and its tactics.

Web analytics can:

  • Ensure a business is no longer flying blind and guessing within its Internet marketing campaigns.
  • Gives insight into where the website and its campaigns were, where they are now and where they are headed.

Why you care: Allows you to validate or modify programs to ensure you reach your goals within your Internet marketing plans.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Understanding a website's user once they come to the site is essential in offering what they want in order to facilitate a conversion. Without conversions, Internet marketing campaigns have not completed a full cycle.

CRO can:

  • Minimize wasted traffic to a business' website.
  • Tailor a site's content to the intent and reception of the audience.
  • Create better call-to-actions to improve conversions.

Why you care: Conversion rate optimization maximizes the return on hard-earned traffic.

Blending the Disciplines for Holistic Internet Marketing

In a perfect world, companies would blend all the disciplines and resources available to them to suit their campaign goals and maximize presence online. This would include building fundamentals like website architecture and search engine optimization into the site to kick-start the Internet marketing campaign, and then integrating disciplines as needed, such as paid search, social media marketing, Web analytics, testing for conversion rate optimization, and so on.

Holistic marketing is a cyclical, often layered approach. Once a business has reached the end of a cycle, it can take the data and lessons learned to apply it to the beginning of a new round of strategy. Where one starts and ends in the Internet marketing optimization cycle is based on specific goals for that business.

When thinking of holistic online marketing, keep in mind not only the use of each type of discipline, but also how each discipline can be applied to the other to improve it. Some examples of this would include:

  • SEO and SMM. You can optimize social media content to try and improve your search engine rankings. One such instance is with Google's Universal Search, which includes real-time results that presents Twitter feeds for certain keyword queries.
  • CRO and site design. Even though conversions are the end goal of Internet marketing plans, they can be built in from the start and applied to everything from site architecture to paid search all the way through to the end of the experience for a user.
  • Web analytics and paid search. Analytics allows a business to see traffic and conversion activity for PPC efforts. Businesses can then use that information to make decisions on how to convert more visitors into customers and track important metrics.
  • Optimizing for mobile users. This one layer can be utilized across various disciplines, including a business' website, its paid search tactics and social mediums such as location check-in services.

How Internet Marketing Disciplines Work Together

There are countless ways in which specific Internet marketing disciplines can work together. The important thing to remember is that integrated online marketing gives a business more control than ever before on their Internet marketing strategy, and the ability to reach goals and improve the return on investment.

For permission to reprint or reuse any materials, please contact us. To learn more about our authors, please visit the Bruce Clay Authors page. Copyright © 2011 Bruce Clay, Inc.