It's 2012 so surely we've moved past the humdrum of basic search. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) are yesterday's news when it comes to strategic Internet marketing, right?
If you judge by what everyone's discussing, then you'd be right. Mobile advertising is the cool kid on the block now that smartphones out sell cell phones. And Facebook has nearly one billion users, so surely social media or mobile must be where we should focus our attention for strategic Internet marketing. Maybe, because those are still in the how-to-use-them-and-get-results incubator.
SEO and PPC -- referenced together as "search" -- have settled in as the new "traditional" media. They're no longer the cool thing to chat about around the marketing table.
But if you forget these tactics when you're planning your marketing and booking your new media advertising, you may be leaving behind some of the most strategic Internet marketing options available.
In Webmarketing123's October 2011 State of Digital Marketing Survey, B2B marketers cited SEO and PPC as the most effective lead generators (82 percent), with social marketing a distant 18 percent.
The reason search should be used for strategic Internet marketing may not seem obvious until you consider the frame of mind we're in when searching versus socializing. Excluding homework assistance for the kids, tracking the latest news, and seeking how-to's, when we search we are either in research mode (pre-buy), buying mode (brand selection/sale), or repeat buying mode (loyalty sale). Not so with social. There, we "hang out" with friends or get entertained by YouTube's latest viral hit. Unless we're trying to tell the world about our most recent bad customer service experience, it's not common that we mix social networks with our purchasing cycle.
Search -- NOT social -- is still the most common place we start when we need to buy something. Even if the eventual sale is made at retail, our minds are now conditioned to research, compare, and confirm we found the best deal available. And search is a much easier way to browse on a mobile device, even when we know which site we'd like to visit. This is why SEO and PPC should be viewed as strategic Internet marketing tactics.
Most Innis Maggiore clients have best-practice SEO integrated into their websites and are using PPC campaigns to generate leads and create sales. Most of them plan to increase these efforts in 2012 due to some unbelievable business results. Proven results driving smart business decisions -- make sure that's your tactic in planning your marketing in 2012.
Like all media, search has found its place in the world. While it hasn't supplanted other media, it certainly has transformed every other medium and changed the way we all shop and buy products, whether for personal or business use. It is one of the most strategic Internet marketing tools available. If you leave SEO and PPC behind, you ignore the first and last place most of your customers begin and end their purchases.