A few weeks ago, I sat in a marketing conference session for web marketing and I’m not going to say that people had to breathe into paper bags as digital acronyms were flung at them by the techie-types in the room, but it was close.
Thank God the conference provided free water and chocolate. It could have gotten ugly.
It’s an icky feeling to be “the marketing person” and know that you will be expected to know something about digital marketing when you went to college before the Al Gore invented the internet. But the age of the web is upon us and there’s just more and more about marketing that we have to know or at least pretend to know well enough to have an opinion.
I’m no digital expert myself, but here’s a handy lexicon so you can fake your way through the next meeting or at least know what to punch into Wikipedia.
SEO—Search Engine Optimization
What it means: This means that when someone uses a search engine like Google or Yahoo, your website comes up high in the list of results and not buried 15 pages back.
Why it matters: This is important because most people seldom venture past the first page of search results.
How it works: God knows…or actually Google knows. Actually it’s a complicated algorithm that changes all the time. However, there are a number of important things you can control to improve your SEO is to make sure that your web content has words in it that people are likely to use to search you; change up your content often, get lots of inbound links etc. Check out this useful blog post of SEO tips.
How much it costs: Technically, it’s free. Just watch your analytics and adjust often to make sure you’re still at the top of the list.
SEM—Search Engine Marketing
What it means: Search Engine Marketing might include SEO, but probably also includes a strategy of paying search engines to promote your website when certain keywords are typed into the search engine.
Why it matters: This is a way to make sure your website is getting out there and “seen” by likely customers.
How it works: Say for example, you have a chocolate business in Colorado Springs. You could pay Google for the words “chocolate recipes” to come back with your website at the top of the search results. Right now, those terms put Cool Whip competitor “Reddi-Whip” at the top of the list which means that Reddi-Whip has paid to make sure their site shows up whenever a chocolate lover wants a recipe. Sneaky Skittles has also clearly bought some words as they have a “Desserts Candy” search result that shows up.
How much it costs: It depends on how hotly contested your search words are—If you run a business in an uncontested market, you might get cheap words. If, however, you’re considering SEM precisely because you need to pull ahead of those mangy competitors, you’re going to have to pay.
What it means: It means doing advertising on-line. Unlike print, TV, or outdoor advertising which hopes your customer will tune in, digital advertising gets fancy because your ad can follow your customer around as they surf the web.
Why it matters: Digital ads are a way to get a traditional ad in front of your market while they’re on the web (and metrics show that they are on the web more and more). And, unlike a lot of traditional advertising, digital ads allow you to track the results so you can measure the impact.
How it works: Rich companies put their ads everywhere. I just saw one for a movie about bikes—like I care about bike movies; that was money wasted on the wrong audience. Other companies are more focused and make sure their ads show up in front of the right people. For example, I have a shoe problem; I love them. As a result of my problem, I now have shoe advertisements following me around the web. If I did a search on “Born shoes” (which I did), I will have ads for Born shoes following my online searching for a week. Even when I’m logged into Yahoo’s celebrity news looking up the recent Bristol Palin news (wish I had those two minutes back), there are shoe ads lurking off to the side of my screen. If I click on the shoe ad, it takes me to the sponsoring website. In fact, if I click on a specific shoe, it takes me directly to the shopping page for that specific shoe.
How much it costs: Here again, it depends. Cost depends largely on size and complexity of the ad, and where you place it, but plan on many thousands of dollars for just a couple of months. This is where you’ll need a media buyer. They know how to advise you on the best way to spend your digital ad budget, where to place it, and how to watch the results.
What are the digital marketing terms or questions dogging you?
Kyndra Wilson, KW Brand Translation, LLC
Culture geek. Proud Colorado native.