This guest post by Simone Schuurer was first posted on the Microsoft adCenter blog on 3 March.
Last week the Microsoft Advertising Community team was at SES (Search Engine Strategies) London to keep an eye and ear out for the latest trends in search. If you’re running a small business, it can be hard to spare the time to attend a seminar for several days. This is why we thought we’d bring you the highlights of the event and some useful tips you could implement to the benefit of your business today!
One remarkable trend our blogging, tweeting, snapping and filming team spotted this year was the large amount of sessions which touched on social media. A few touched on PPC and SEO and obviously there was a presence from both Bing and Yahoo! to give an update on the Search Alliance.
It emerged from our time at the event that clever marketing strategies don’t have to equal large marketing budgets or large businesses. One example that I particularly liked was of an entrepreneurial burger van man who really gave himself an edge on the competition by setting up a Facebook page and Twitter account. He updated his Facebook page with the latest offers and his clients could tweet him their orders from the train (which actually happened!). I could just see this work and marvelled at how this very small business had used social media (free) to earn publicity and customers.
To have a successful social media strategy you should first understand what your objective is:
· Traffic generation
· Link generation (helps your SEO!)
· Conversions – or a mix of them?
Determine your target audience and what channel should be used to reach them. A great first start for a smaller business could be a blog. If you are still hesitating whether social media is for you, you should maybe turn the matter on his head and wonder what the cost would be of not interacting this way. It could mean more customer service calls, the cost of an advertising guru to get you page views or simply the missed opportunity of creating customer goodwill. The main rules of social engagement are: listen, engage and be honest.
PPC or SEO?
After all the talk about social media, some people in the audience deemed a conversation about a choice between PPC or SEO a little old-fashioned. Like social media, the majority argued, they should both be part of the ideal marketing mix as both have their specific use.
The benefits of PPC
· Get new customers at a low cost
· Increase brand awareness
· Compliment on- and offline
· Generate immediate visibility on keywords
· It is highly measurable.
The role of SEO
SEO is cost effective, good for long term results and usually brings in engaged visitors. When optimizing your site for SEO keep the following in mind:
· Crawlability: eliminate spider roadblocks (such as long links, hashtags etc)
· Contextually relevant content is king! Rich content brings users to your site, generates extra content to be indexed by search engines, and gives additional opportunities for people to link to your site.
· Keyword density and frequency.
· Metadata title description.
Also read our tips from a recent event on SEO, PPC & Social Media.
So if you haven’t done so already get creative with the art of Search Engine Marketing!
The Yahoo! and Microsoft Alliance
Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board & Head of Account Management, Yahoo! UK & Ireland and Mark Richardson, Yahoo! Search Alliance Lead, Microsoft, UK spoke about how Yahoo! Search and Bing are coming together for advertisers and consumers as a new choice in search and gave tips on how to prepare for the transition.
It was clear that, should smaller advertisers have shunned Yahoo! and Bing to concentrate on the biggest search engine before, it could be interesting for them to reconsider. Conversions on Yahoo! and Bing are higher and they could be reaching a large audience which exclusively searches on Yahoo! and Bing. Read more about the benefits.
You may also be interested in learning more about how the Microsoft Advertising adCenter features you use may differ from features in Yahoo! Search Marketing and Google AdWords in France and in the UK.