May 15 2008

Internet Advertising Strategies 2

INTERNET STRATEGIES – Part 2

North America has a population around 334,538,018.  234,788,864 of those people are Internet users.  That’s over 70% of the population. That’s incredible! Basically, almost everyone is on the Internet. Where is the one place we need to be found? On the Internet.  The vast majority of new home consumers do not know the name of the builder or the builder website address. They do know where they want to live and for the most part, how much they can afford.  So what do they do?  They go to the Internet and they start looking.  A popular way of finding new homes on the Internet is going to Google, Yahoo!, or MSN and typing ‘new homes’,  ‘new homes San Diego’,  ‘new condos Miami’, or ‘active adult communities phoenix’. You get the gist of it. Consumers type into the search box a search term relevant to what they are looking for.

INTERNET STRATEGY #2 – Be found on the Internet

I remember the first website I ever had.  Once I got it, my first thought was ‘How are people going to find my website?”  So I proceed to print up some flyers and magnets with my website address on it and walked the entire neighborhood hanging them on doors.  After three, eight hour days, I thought ‘There’s got to be an easier way’.  That’s when I discovered search engines.

The Internet is made up of billions of pages.  Over the years, many companies have made attempts to organize the chaos into a place where we can find what we want (i.e. Search Engines).  Many have tried and many have failed.  Without a doubt and thankfully, Google has done an excellent job providing relevant results to our searches.  Currently Google has about 60% of all Internet searches with Yahoo! holding a strong second.  For the most part, MSN and Ask bring in the rest.

That tells me that I need to make sure I am found at least in Google, but preferably in Google, Yahoo!, and MSN if I want to cover the majority of the Internet.  So how do I get found on Google, Yahoo!, and MSN? 

4 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO BE FOUND ON THE INTERNET

  1. Get a website. If you don’t already, this is the easiest way to be found on the Internet. Promote that website address on every piece of marketing materials that you have.  Everything should display your website address.
  2. You can pay for a sponsored listing in the search engines.  Google, Yahoo!, and MSN all have a Pay Per Click fee model whereby you can set up an account, and pay to be the number one results for any search term you choose. 
    1. Pros – You can get immediate traffic to your website
    2. You can become the number one listing for any search term you choose.  
    3. Cons – It can be costly. 
    4. You will pay a fee each time someone clicks on your ad.
    5. You must bid on the cost you are willing to pay to be the number one result.
    6. Others can out bid you in real time.
    7. Click fraud will always be a part of sponsored listings.
    8. You must have a person manage the sponsored listings; so that costs also.
  3. You can get your website to display in the non-paid results.  To do this, you will need to understand the complex algorithms that Google uses to displays its results. Then you will need to understand the same thing for Yahoo! who uses a different algorithm. Then you will need to understand the same thing for MSN who uses yet another algorithm.  Algorithms are mathematical formulas used to calculate relevancy in a search engine.  When a website is found in the natural results, it’s called an organic listing. 
    1. Pros – Organic listings are considered of great value to consumers.  I have spoken with numerous consumers that do not like sponsored advertising. 
    2. Getting an organic listing for a competitive term such as ‘new homes’ is very difficult, takes a lot of time, and costs a great deal of money.  
    3. The most difficult of all; you will need to find someone with the skill that can actually do it.  I have met many “Search Engine Optimization” people claiming they can ‘get your website to be found in Google’.  I have found that most of those people are hacks.  
    4. List your homes on targeted consumer websites.  Targeted consumer websites are websites that entertain consumers looking to buy what you are selling.  Good ‘New Homes’ websites include NewHomesDirectory.com, NewHomeSource.com, and Move.com.  All three of these sites serve thousands of targeted new home consumers each day.  NewHomesDirectory.com is found for most ‘new homes’ search terms across all three search engines including Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.  Search terms include new homes, new condos, new home builders, active adult communities, and master planned communities.
      1. Pros – You don’t have to pay for sponsored listings
      2. You don’t have to pay someone to manage the sponsored listings.
      3. You don’t have to spend the time, money, and risk of getting organic listings.
      4. Cons – Your ads aren’t always viewed.  Bigger isn’t always better.  Do you remember when Google was just a speck next to Yahoo! and MSN as a search engine?  Most are aware that people don’t like to search through too many pages whether it is on a search engine or another website.  If you are on page 5, let alone page 19 of anything, your ad most likely will not be seen by the majority of consumers.  So make sure your ad on the targeted consumer website is found easily.
        e. It can be challenging to keep all the websites you’re advertising on updated. No consumer likes outdated pricing.

Here is a list of questions to ask when choosing ad sites.

  • How do consumers find the site I want to advertise on? If you can’t find the website it’s probably not worth spending money on.
  • Can consumers find my ad on the site I want to advertise on? If not, it’s a worthless expenditure.
  • Am I paying for Traffic or Leads?  Both are viable but have different ways of measuring success
  • Am I paying for Impressions or Clicks? Impression advertising is popular on high traffic but not so targeted website such as the local newspaper website.  Remember, Impressions are displayed ads and Clicks are people to your website.  Clicks turn into clients, not Impressions.
  • What is the cost?  What is the effective cost?  The paper cost and the effective cost are rarely the same.  Effective cost is what does it really cost with all things considered.

Internet spending can deliver a tremendous return if spent strategically.  If you do your homework, you can do some powerful things using the Internet. 

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com

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