AdWords Alternative

Paid Search Marketing Jun 5, 2006

I often speak of Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing when discussing HitTail. Why is that? It’s because both of those were difficult concepts to grasp as well in their early days, yet today are a 7 billion dollar industry and growing. It was the Google IPO and the economics of the thing that make them so well known. But there’s another reason that goes something like this.

Mr. Executive one day decides to search on his company or product name in Google. Of course they’ll come up tops, he figures, because it is his company or product name, after all. Being missing from the first few pages of results, he calls down to marketing to find out whose job it was to make sure they were found there. Marketing goes into a panic, does some quick research, and realizes that the only quick fix is to pay Google or Yahoo. Everything they find about how to get into the most desirable part of the results is strange, indirect, and doesn’t follow the traditional model of a media buy. Keyword bidding doesn’t quite follow the traditional model either, but at least it’s a clear deal. This other thing, unfortunately named “search engine optimization” does not!

There’s no clear deal in getting into natural search. Some 200 factors may go into determining a page’s position. Some 20 are really understood by a talented search optimizer. And some 5 are really having the most effect. And that’s just Google. The rules are subtly different for each engine, and the rules are a moving target. What chance does a mere marketing department have? So, they investigate outsourcing to an SEO firm, and discover quotes that range from $2,500 to $250,000 to optimize a whole site with no actual guarantees. There has got to be a better way!

And indeed there is. But it won’t rocket Mr. Executive’s site to the first page of search on his company or product name overnight. But at least it’s a good start, and can be performed by any marketing department in any company in the world. It is the HitTail method, and it simply identifies where you at least have SOME results, and teaches you how to seize on that to secure the next little win. A mass of little wins will add up into a whole lot of traffic.

But will the average marketing department bite? Probably not. It’s a gradual build. BUT…

If the marketing department is tasked with conceiving the corporate blogging strategy, then HitTail has a chance because it answers the eternal question: what to write about. Yes, the company will have some ideas for the first few posts. It may become the company newsletter to the customers. The CEO might have a post or two to make. But beyond that, blogs can run out of steam. HitTail is the perfect way to line up an editorial calendar of super-charged content that is sure to speak to your audience AND drive traffic.

So HitTail kills three birds with one stone. First, it offers a healthier long-term alternative to keyword bidding frenzy with AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing. Second, it does this in an extremely simple fashion that any marketing department can perform once they “get it”. And last, it provides subject-matter to fuel and drive your corporate blogging strategy.

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