By Lisa Wehr
RISMEDIA, Jan. 28, 2008-(eMarketing + Commerce)-OneupWeb recently polled people on the front lines — project managers and team leaders — to see where they will be helping clients focus their attention during the first quarter of 2008. We’ve assembled their results and organized them into a Top 10 list that should prove helpful to any online marketer.
1. Test your ads
Testing ad creative and placement is vital to your ongoing success. Here’s what needs to be done:
– Conduct focus groups and A/B testing of your ad creative.
– Try freshening existing copy, changing headlines and text. Then test.
– Try using short sentences and more keywords, and test again.
2. Track offline conversions
The first quarter is a perfect time to re-examine offline sales promotions with an online connection, developing meaningful metrics that can lead to greater integration and better overall sales and conversions.
Collect online-generated sales data from call centers and brick-and-mortar locations.
Offer extra incentives for buyers who come from the Web, and measure the results.
3. Add social media
In a few short months, social media marketing has gone from a viral curiosity to a competitive necessity. The first quarter is a good time to develop or upgrade your social media marketing strategy. Try these tactics:
– Add compelling video content to your Website.
– Test podcasting. Or consider sponsoring an existing podcast.
– Look for vertical or micro social communities reaching untapped markets.
4. Review usability
The holidays are over, so your website probably has just experienced its greatest traffic of the year. You undoubtedly have identified a long list of complaints about how your site failed to work as intended or as consumers wanted. This might be just the tip of the iceberg. It’s time to re-examine usability.
5. Examine local search
Local search engines are helping marketers eliminate waste and pinpoint their audience geographically. Initiate the following:
– Optimize your website for your town and/or region.
– Search relevant regional keywords to see if local or outside competitors show up.
– Check popular online directories to see if and/or how you’re listed.
6. Assess your keywords
Look at your top-converting keywords for the fourth quarter and consider the following:
– Support low-traffic, high-converting keywords with more natural optimization and paid search.
– Analyze relevant landing pages to see if they need improvement.
7. Look at search engine results pages
Take a current look at where your company name and your products are positioning on search engine results pages. Specifically:
– Gauge your competition.
– See who is on the first results page for variations of your company name.
– Look for natural links to negative publicity.
– Look for competitors bidding on paid search space and possible trademark infringement.
8. Review return customer data
This is vital, particularly for business-to-consumer sites, because loyal customers are much easier to reach than new ones. A few things that are worth examining right now:
– Determine how much of your business is being generated by return customers.
– Build customer loyalty with non-purchase conversions.
– Offer returning customers an incentive to give feedback on your site/products.
9. Ramp up pay-per-click spending
For business-to-business marketers, the first quarter is a great time to ramp up paid online advertising. In the case of seasonal marketers particularly, rates are generally less expensive. It’s time to experiment.
– Try different search engines, including new vertical ones.
– Compare different promotions and messages.
10. Initiate intelligent integration.
Finally, the first quarter is an excellent time to assure that all your marketing activities work together — online and offline. Look at the following:
– Make sure you’re using similar language across various media.
– Try converting existing offline elements to online content.
– Make an effort to leverage all your online and offline marketing initiatives to create a solid, cohesive message that will reach a larger audience.
For a copy of Oneupweb’s “10 Top Ideas for a Quarter – The Top 10 Things Online Marketers Should be Considering in the First Quarter of 2008,” visit www.oneupweb.com/whitepapers.
Lisa Wehr is CEO and founder of Oneupweb, a Traverse City, Mich.-based integrated online marketing firm.