Keep the online work away from the advertising agencies!

Im sorry to jibe all the advertising agencies out there but you really have no idea when it comes to online marketing. Let the online agencies in because we know what we are doing. I appeal to all clients out there using an advertising agency for their online to turn a new leaf this financial year and hire an online agency.

Even the American government’s ecommerce senator has no idea what he is talking about.

Online marketing

Online marketing in Sydney content requests

I want to tell you a story about how this blog came about. I was jumping around on the web looking at our competitors (as you do), and I kinda came to the conclusion that I have a lot to offer the online marketing industry and needed some way to get it out there. At the time I also was speaking with Des Walsh a blog guru. I attended a talk by himself and some of his other colleagues. I wanted to understand this blog phenominon and get into it. After attending this talk and being shown the way of the future I was absolutely convinced to get myself a blog happening. I tickled around with Blogger at first and put my toe in. My old blog is a bit of a relic hibernating on Blogspot (link). I decided after blogging for a while to get some search engine optimisation happening on it. I totally dig search engine optimisation. Its kinda my hobby and also my profession. I like analysing Google and seeing how it reacts. I create little experiments and trials and test what happens. I have started to blog about the changes I made to the site in actual entries. I was super happy when the blog got listed in the search engines and just recently was given a pagerank of 4.

Ever since I started getting some traction and traffic in the engines I have doubled my efforts with the blog and tried to make it a superior resource for online marketers in Sydney.

Following are the current issues I am running into with this blog:

  1. What content do you want to read about? – Even with my best judgements I have really not had very much feedback about the blog and I am struggling to know what direction and part you would like me to write about. I strongly encourage you to post a comment or email me and I will dedicate myself to a topic area for 12 posts.
  2. Signups to my mailing list – I am not sure if people want to receive the blogs in a newsletter format or if they would prefer to just browse in and read the blogs. Let me know what you would prefer.
  3. Any other feedback – I am also keen to hear what people think of the blog. I am trying to help and educated online marketers and will do my utmost best to figure out what you want to hear about and which direction you want me to take.

Keen on suggestions,

Fred Schebesta

Online marketing

What do the search engines say about John Howard…

If you have been wondering what people are thinking regarding this big who haa with John Howard and Peter Costello. Lets take a peep as to what the search engines say. I always feel its easy to guage peoples reactions to things based on search volumes and types of keywords being searched for.

John Versus Peter in

Source Google Trends 14th July 2006 (link)

This graph shows the volume of search traffic by city in Australia.

It can be seen from this that Johnny boy is very popular in Wollongong?!? Well that reason is simple he just visited the great city (link)!

Now if we look at Canberra we can see that John Howard is winning this category although Peter Costello has his strongest search volume coming from this city. This hot contest between the two men is definitely controlling the agenda and its showing in the search engines.

What do people think about Peter Costello?

Above is the current search keywords that people are searching for relevant to the keyword “Peter Costello”.

927 searches for “Peter Costello Australian values” is quite a lot considering there would be 3 times this in Google. It seems Peters views on telling migrants to assimilate to Australian ways has sparked some interest with the people (link) are going to be used for good not Voodoo!

Put Peter’s Picture on you wall

21 searches for “Peter Costello Picture” are people looking for a great happy snap. I hope these photos (link) are going to be used for good not Voodoo!

If I were a keen politician I would create pages and start targeting the interests of what people are searching for. Keeping in tune with what traffic and people are searching for is the basis for good search engine optimisation. There is little point optimising for a keyword if no one is searching for it, unless you know a change is on the horizon and its key to get in before everyone else does.

Fred Schebesta is a Director of Freestyle Media and heads up the Search engine optimization department. Freestyle Media are an online marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing and online marketing production. You can contact via email or call (02) 9818 7300 about the article. Or you can request a quotation on your search engine marketing directly from Freestyle Media.

Banner marketing

How to choose an online marketing company

A guide to choosing an online marketing company

By Fred Schebesta

All marketing managers are beginning to embrace online marketing as a core element to their marketing activities. When choosing an online marketing agency to work with, there are many pitfalls that can be easily avoided. This whitepaper goes through the main elements in your selection process:

What are the 5 key steps when looking for in a full service online marketing agency?
A specialist online marketing agency vs an advertising agency
Online marketing agency vs specialist online marketing services providers

The 5 key elements to look for in a good full service online marketing agency

1. A full service offering from a full service agency

Many agencies propose to provide a full service although cannot actually provide it. A full service agency should provide the following services inhouse:

Online marketing strategy – There are many digital agencies out there that don’t have the online marketing smarts. If you’re a marketer work with a online marketing agency not just a digital agency, you will get better strategy and ideas and you wont find yourself briefing them on simple marketing concepts.

Search engine marketing
– Both search engine optimization and pay per click search marketing are key tools in your online marketing exploits and you need your agency to provide this.

Online Copywriting – An online copywriter is different to a print copywriter and you are going to need the online type here.

Website Design and Development – An inhouse production team of designers and developers. Video production is also key for producing webcasts although does not need to be inhouse

Email marketing – Email is the underpinning on any good online marketing campaign and your agency needs to be proficient in creating, sending and reporting on email campaigns.

Flash Production – Macromedia Flash is the key to making your websites look funky, agencies usually have very good flash developers but just check that they do.

Banner Advertising – If you want to raise your brand awareness banner ads are a good way to go, you are definitely going to need an agency to build these for you.

Content management system – every agency has a way to manage a websites content but make sure that their CMS is decent.

Usability and website auditing – Your going to need to review your website every now and again and your agency needs to give your website a good audit to do that.

The above services are all key from a full service online marketing agency. As a corporate business it is essential to have an agency that can provide all of these services. These are fundamental elements to your online marketing and it is imperative at a selection process to ensure you have these requirements met.

Other services depending on what the company you work for is may include:

  • Ecommerce setup and management
  • Web Hosting
  • eCRM systems integration

2. Latest trends in online marketing

Online marketing is still quite a new field of marketing and hiring an agency with the knowledge and experience of the best techniques and tactics will put you in good stead.

Right now there are some key trends occurring in online marketing:

Social networking and blogging – Social networking is going to a new level as more and more people go online. People speaking with other people online on your website is the key to building up a community.

CSS vs table layout development – Website development has evolved and good web developers use CSS to separate the content from the visual display of their website.

Big Daddy and other search engine algorithm changes – The algorithms are always changing you need your agency to be up to date with this and change your websites search engine optimization to cater for this.

Website Usability trends – Marketers have now realized that getting traffic to your website is one thing but getting someone to have a good experience with the website is now invaluable. Usability analysis is becoming the next big wave like search engine marketing is now.

These trends are always changing and the above suggestions will be old hat very soon. Although a good online marketing agency will be able to answer and demonstrate implementations of the new trends and smarts online marketers need to compete and deliver outcomes.

3. Read their thinking and view their past work

A good online marketing agency practices what it preaches and does online marketing itself. Here are key ways you can review or understand their level of thinking:

Blogs – Read the agencies blog. See if it’s up to date. See who contributes what and if you like their thinking

Portfolio – Look at some of the portfolio works of their clients. See what you like about them. Remember that each piece of work is different and each client wants a particular need met. Some pieces of work they have done may not look spectacular although may have met the budget requirements or timeline and delivered what the marketer needed.

Client list – Who are their direct clients. These are usually the ones that they have done the best work for since they get to harness all of their best skills. Many agencies work with other agencies to deliver work for clients, although this third party can either add value or drastically reduce the outcome. The best agency to agency model is where the online agency is left to do and recommend work and the offline agency provides brand and customer insight.

Search for them on Google – See where they have been published. See what other places they spring up. Sometimes there is more to a company than meets the eye e.g. you might find some of their charity work they are involved in.

4. Invite them to present to you and meet their key staff

Once you have short listed some of the agencies you like invite them in to present to you. Meet the following people and look for these qualities:

Online marketing strategist – This is the guy with the online marketing smarts, the ideas guy. He will guide you through the mess of online marketing and consult to you as to what is feasible and what the low hanging fruits are.

Technical director – This is the person that will oversee all of your technology, development and coding. They ensure that websites are built correctly and that they last. It is all well and good to design and think up pretty pictures but you need a good technological platform and specialists to ensure that it works.

Creative director – This is the person with the creative genius to make your online marketing and websites look good and get the special attention your marketing needs. Usability and site architecture also need to be the lifeblood of a good creative director.

Account Manager – Invite the Account manager that you might be working with to the meeting. You don’t want to hate who you work with day to day.

When hiring an agency you are looking for a team of specialists to work with you. This harmony of working together produces the best results for your marketing and makes it easy to deliver the marketing outcome you requir

5. Match your company with the best agency

When selecting an agency it always comes down to matching. Matching your business to the other business. Key elements to ensure match include:

Size – What size of business do you need to deliver your online marketing? Big agencies are more costly but can produce more work and have better people

Requirements and specialities – An independent online agency tends to have more specialization and do more things inhouse. An advertising agencies offshoot tends to have ok people although you wont get the raw experience that a specialist will give. The offshoot generally is strong in banner advertising and flash production although weak in web development, CMS and search engine marketing.

Companies fit together – Look at the culture of the agency, look at its staff and where it is trying to go. Does that work with what you are trying to achieve. If you need to conquer new territory in your company perhaps a more adventurous agency would be good. If you want to do very vanilla web development and nothing more perhaps a more vanilla agency.

Choosing an agency is an expensive process and sometimes very difficult.

If you would like to review Freestyle Media when considering the appointment of your online marketing agency please call 02 9818 7300 or email to arrange an appointment.

Download a copy of this article

Comparison Shopping Optimisation

Comparison Shopping Optimisation

I like this new term, it describes improving your chances of being clicked on and purchased from a comparison shopping website.

I found a good white paper on it (link) and thought I would share this little find with you.

I personally have struggled with comparison shopping websites and have seen very little ROI. Member based websites where members get rewarded for purchases are instead delivering great ROI for our clients. Perhaps these tips and strategies will improve that ROI.

Let me know how you go implementing the ideas.