SEM and SEO – What You Really Need to Know to Take Your Business to the Next Level

SEM and SEO – What You Really Need to Know to Take Your Business to the Next Level

If you are into content marketing business, you must have heard the words SEM and SEO around you. You might have been into conversations with your colleagues, whereby, these words may have casually sprinkled and freaked out at the thought that someone might be asking you talk about it too! Well, SEM and SEO are two very commonly used marketing terms, but do you really know what the words actually mean?

SEO and SEM do not have the same meaning!

The purpose of SEO and SEM is to increase the visibility of a website, but you cannot use these two words interchangeably. Speaking of the main differences between them, SEM is all about paid search tactics, whereas, SEO makes use of organic techniques to shape credibility for the search engines. Does that make sense? No? Let’s dive into the topic to clarify you regarding SEM and SEO.

So, what is SEO?           SEO, SEM, Intelligent SEO, Digital Marketing

The full form of SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It’s a process that makes use of different types of techniques to make a webpage appear in a higher rank in search results. The good thing about rising your search ranking will also raise the traffic to your website.

Basically, we can conclude that good SEO is equaled to more visitors equals to more customers and thus, more sales!

Bear that in mind that Google is always changing their algorithm. As a business, it is your duty to keep up with the top search engines trends. SEO is all about patience. It is a constant process that progresses with time.

And what’s SEM?

SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. The purpose of this is to bring in appropriate traffic from the search engines through sponsored ad listings. More often than not, SEM is about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising slash marketing. There are a lot of PPC platforms in search engines and social media, however, Google Adwords beats them all by becoming the most popular and successful platform. The purpose of SEM is to help online advertisers to gain more popularity in the search engines and push the right traffic without having to delay. Remember, if you want to be successful with SEM, it is important to have a strong and dynamic SEM strategy that would get the optimal return on your investment.

The Big Question; Where to Start?

Your expert marketer friend might have told you that SEO is the best and that’s the way to go because of the higher quality leads that it offers at a cheaper rate compared to SEM. It is not so simple! Your friend may have been talking about a business that is different and has its own unique needs. Your friend might have been talking about his startup, which is still a small business and may not have much of a big advertising budget. Plus, the business might also be lacking the proper resources needed for doing successful SEO.

It’s best for you to gain clarity as per your business requirements. Get a clarification as to what you should choose for your business and why. Build a strong online marketing strategy that is suitable for your business. Once you have the right marketing strategy, you can proceed with gathering the right information. You’ll know what your target audience is looking for and which is the best way you can reach them. Don’t worry if your business is still small and new. What matters is the type of audience you are about to reach and how you actually reach them.

Read ahead to know about the advantages and disadvantages of both SEM and SEO that will give you a better idea of what to expect from these two and channel that is meant for your business. 

Why Use SEO?

You may have come across a lot of online marketers who swore that SEO is the most effective. Since Google has upped their game, things are no longer so easy. Nowadays, it’s more about the kind of quality and the quantity of value that you’re capable of delivering.

Improve your website for search engines and get organic traffic instead. Here’s how:

  • More Branding: While your competitor brands are up to making commercial search terms, you can look for topics related to your niche. Making the topics more relatable to the potential customers. When they will find out that your content is much stronger, it will have an indirect positive effect on your branding. Google itself is used by numerous internet users as a tool for research that helps them make better purchasing decisions. No matter which market you are in, creating useful content will help you build a better brand.

 

  • More Trust and Credibility: Google will never let you down. They always work hard to bring you only the best websites on the first page. Google is undeniably highly reliable in terms of service. When you click on the first page, you are automatically transmitting credibility and trust points from search users. Admit it that most of the time you would be ignoring sponsored ads and be looking for organic search listings. If your business also includes more organic search listings, it makes it easier for you to stand against the paid and sponsored ads. Just another additional tip; if you are running a business that is very much dependent on reviews, try to be visible in Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). The bunch of positive reviews will enormously help your business gain credibility.

 

  • Lower Costs: As a business, these are the best words you can always want to come across. Plus, another thing you would willingly want to come across is having to invest very less but getting greater results. Yes, that’s what SEO is all about! Of course, there are costs involved when running a successful SEO campaign, but comparatively, they are much lower. If you’re already wondering how is that possible, it’s because the height of brand awareness that you are to create with SEO and the traffic that you can pull off will cost you with other marketing methods. Although SEO is not at all cheap, it’s reliable and most importantly justifies the costs. With SEO, it’s always a win-win!

What happens if you prefer to use SEM?

Most content marketers literally believe in SEM (or PPC). But before you rush into implementing SEM, look at these reasons and verify whether your business is suitable for SEM.

  • Better Control: With the use of SEM, there is no way you are limited in any way because SEM is more result driven and you have total control over your sponsored listings or PPC. Test and tweak every detail of your ad and you can improve the performance of the campaign in general if you feel it’s necessary to. Unlike SEO, SEM content can be more promotional and persuasive. To get the highest click-through rate, you are free to customize each and every element of your ad.

 

  • Get More Views: When you are doing SEO, chances are that the right people might not be visiting your website. SEM confirms that your ads are laser targeted towards the audience who are really looking for your product or service. And that makes you get more views, boosting your brand’s visibility. Don’t expect people to immediately click on your ads, but eventually, they will search for your product when they are in need. Therefore, in every way, paid ads are what taking your business places by filtering out people who are not a part of your campaign and getting potential target audience.

 

  • Keep your Budget Under Control: While SEO might be needing the least costs associated with online marketing, SEM or PPC is a bit different than that. Since you are investing money in SEM, you are able to control each and every cent at every step. This helps you save money in the long run. Using SEM, you are able to control your daily budget, whereby, you can start off with a very small amount. When you figure out which tactic is giving you the best return on your investment, ramp up your budget and make the most out it without having to worry about incurring losses.

 

Additional Tips for SEO and SEM;

The Dos of SEO:

  • Emphasize on creating high-quality and well-written content that is engaging
  • Study the right keywords and incorporate them appropriately
  • Include photos, videos and GIFs, which are thought to make content interactive. Ensure that the photos are resized to enhance the page’s loading time
  • Insert third-party links that are credible sources

The Don’ts of SEO

  • Don’t stuff your content with keywords
  • Don’t pay for links as they do not add any value to your content
  • Avoid repeating the same title and meta descriptions for different articles. Always come up with something new!

The Dos of SEM:

  • Make use of the SEM tools at its best
  • See what your top competitors are up to
  • Continuously keep researching your audience
  • Share your own content
  • Keep an eye on the details to find out what ad copy is the most effective

The Don’ts of SEM

  • Don’t overlook the power of ad extensions because it makes it easier for customers to interact with your website
  • Don’t just focus on one group of people. As an alternative, write different content for diversified demographics
  • Try not to use too much punctuation marks. If you think to add extra exclamation marks or capitalizing every other word would emphasize your point, it’s not right. In fact, it comes off as irritating.

What Do I Exactly Need to Know?

We’re absolutely sure that you now know the complete difference between SEO and SEM. Make use of these terms correctly and wisely. You may initiate a conversation about this topic at your dinner table. Okay, maybe not that far, but at least don’t be confused. Figure out how you can implement SEO and SEM strategies to improve your site.

If you already have a website and are puzzled about what to do next, we would suggest, start adding new content that combines keywords well, links and calls to action. And if you’re yet to start, you already have the guidelines to start constructing the most successful one so far.

Sources:

SEO vs. SEM: What You Need to Know, Express Writers

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): What It Is & How to Do It Right, Word Stream

 

The Flint Tech Solutions digital marketing team is expanding, and ready to help you move to the next level of success, Marketing, branding, social media management, content creation, and copywriting are the things we’re known for, and if you ask us about Intelligent SEO, you’re going to hear something that might surprise you. Hit us up at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat over there on the right!

8 Digital Marketing Platforms Entrepreneurs Love

8 Digital Marketing Platforms Entrepreneurs Love

Congratulations on launching your startup! Now that you have reached this far, you should be placing your brand in front of every single eye possible. There might be a hundred other launches, selling the same product as you, so what makes you stand out? Everyday consumers are bombarded with the same kind of generic marketing messages. Although you should be working to create a unique image for your brand, don’t stop there! You must simultaneously look for popular digital marketing platforms to market your brand.

Let’s Talk Social…    Digital Marketing, Social Media,

Undeniably, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to publicize your startup that will leave an impact on your audience. Not only that, it’s a platform that allows your brand to grow by offering an easier way for promotion and customer services.

Here are 8 affordable and valuable digital marketing tips and tricks for your startup, that are heavily recommended by entrepreneurs.

  1. Facebook

Most digital marketers use Facebook to advertise for their clients. In fact, Facebook is the most favourite platform of digital marketers because of its grainy targeting ability to find the perfect target market. Facebook is the only platform that allows such in-depth marketing capabilities. By 2018, Facebook has counted to have 1.9 billion users, 75% of whom spend more than 20 minutes on Facebook every single day! It’s the best platform to reach Millennials and Generation X (ages 18 – 49) as it has been accounted that they spend over 7 hours a week on social media. With the constant improvements to its algorithm, Facebook is becoming more and more user-friendly that gives a better user experience.

  1. LinkedIn

Did you know that LinkedIn is highly customizable? As a digital marketer, you can target your buyer persona as its unique features allow you to target your ad towards a person’s profession instead of making it available for a group of people, unlike Facebook. With almost a monthly user of 106 million, typical LinkedIn marketers are less likely to use other social networks. That’s because the new Lead Accelerator tool enables lead nurturing for marketers to show their ads only to the people who are targeted at the right time (depending on where they are buying and what they are buying). There, LinkedIn is very organized with their ad campaign strategy and optimizes the best way to move towards their targeted audience. LinkedIn has been accounted to help numerous companies all over the US by decreasing their costs-per-lead and increase their transfer rates by 50%.

  1. Google AdWords

Google AdWords is increasingly gaining its popularity and there’s no way you can embrace digital marketing without the use of Google AdWords. Whatever you learn from Google AdWords campaign will help you tackle your campaigns well on other digital marketing platforms. Google AdWords is an incredibly powerful advertising platform that you can use easily to almost every type of business. Don’t insist yourself on comparing Facebook Ads to Google Display Network because they are two similar platforms and show should be used in harmony, not in opposition.

  1. Instagram

Whether you believe it or not but Instagram has paved its way to the best advertising platform for sales. Instagram is all about influential marketing. Once you have your product and know your market, Instagram will help you target the suitable audience and increase your engagement. Plus, all the other platforms will require you to spend on huge ad budgets while you get very little in return. Out of 600 million unique users, 53% of them follow brands, whereby 90% of them are below 35 years of age. There you go! This is an amazing platform if you want to target the millennials.

  1. Quora

Whenever you type and search a question on Google, there are high chances that the first few results that appear are likely to be from Quora. That’s what Quora is all about! This question-answer social media platform is easy to navigate, making it a great way for companies to create a network with the industry influencers and boost their company’s image. Marketers use this platform to gain a reputation as a skillful industry expert by answering relevant questions that were posted by users. Not only that, they connect with other people in their space who can help them with word-of-mouth marketing about their brand. Just so you know, Quora has 190 million users monthly – and it’s growing more than ever. They launched their ad features in 2016, but only for a limited number of advertisers. If you combine Facebook and Google through remarketing, this will go a long way to fulfill your marketing needs.

  1. Twitter

How can we not mention about Twitter! Digital Marketers love it because of its ridiculously easy growth with so less effort. Since not many people are on Twitter, hence, it allows you to connect with the most influential people all around the world. Take advantage of Twitter Ads for letting your brand grow with the most influential people in your space. Twitter will give you the same visibility that you are looking for, but with a better return on your investments.

  1. Reddit

If you have heard about Reddit and never thought of it as a digital marketing platform, it’s high time you start considering it as one. Why? Reddit is digital marketers one of the best-kept secrets. With over 250 million users, this content-based social platform runs entirely on its user’s activities. Sounds strange, right? The user’s activities are separated precisely into content communities known as “subreddits”, where the users themselves can post their own content and “upvote” or “downvote” another people’s post to make it appear in a higher or lower place on the trending list. And there lies your advantage! Upvote your sponsored posts that turn up in different subreddits for effective branding for your own brand. This makes it easier for you to interact with potential consumers of your brand.

  1. Pinterest

Pinterest is on its way to achieving its position among the well-established social media platforms. It is said that people on Pinterest are 10% more likely to make online purchases via e-commerce than other social media users. From 18 – 64-year-old, Pinterest offers a huge collection of over 5,000 interests and categories that allows digital advertisers to be more specific, obvious and niche. You’d be surprised to know that Pinterest can be very effective in terms of advertising by increasing brand awareness, traffic, engagement and thus boosting sales for your brand. By clicking on your ad, users will land into your e-commerce page, making your campaign successful.

Additional Tips:

Here are some tips on how you can do your best with your startup in terms of Digital Marketing:

  • Influence your followers and keep them engaged

Make your followers feel like they are valuable members of your brand. If they have any complaints, don’t be afraid to approach them. Showcase your brand’s customer-service competencies. As a brand (or even a startup), strategically win your customers over with the best products and good customer services and you’ll go a long way!

  • Don’t go for big investments on social media yet

We know how keen you are about spending on digital marketing to get the best exposure for your brand. But don’t go for big investments yet! Take baby steps and make use of Facebook ads, LinkedIn Premium, and Sponsored Tweets. These will provide a higher engagement with lower investment.

  • Your content still matters

You may wonder, why is content so important? Well, it’s because, through your content,  your message is being conveyed to your audience. If your message is not well formulated, there are fewer chances for you to succeed.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram might be known as the powerhouse of social media, it’s still a good idea to make noise and connect with other potential customers via the lesser-known platforms alongside the most popular ones. Who knows, your competitors might not be using them and you could be the ruler of that platform? As a startup, you might have to worry about your budget, but keeping your marketing costs moderately low and financing proper digital opportunities are likely to bring you success. Improve your brand’s visibility without suffocating yourself on large budget campaigns.

Sources:

8 Tips for Bootstrapped Startups, Entrepreneur

8 Customer-Rich Platforms Your Marketing Efforts May Be Overlooking, Entrepreneur

8 Reasons Facebook Will Beat All Other Channels This Year, Entrepreneur

The Flint Tech Solutions digital marketing team is expanding, and ready to help you move to the next level of success, Marketing, branding, social media management, content creation, and copywriting are the things we’re known for, and if you ask us about Intelligent SEO, you’re going to hear something that might surprise you. Hit us up at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat over there on the right!

Flint Tech partners with ContentMX to present Odo, the most awesome content sharing platform ever!

Flint Tech partners with ContentMX to present Odo, the most awesome content sharing platform ever!

If your team is too busy or too inexperienced to manage your marketing, get excited because ContentMX and FlintTech have joined forces to offer you this unique storytelling platform that ensures your company or local franchise is sharing well-crafted content on a regular basis and growing your influence!

Allow me to introduce you to our newest tool for your success, Odo; a storytelling platform that is Prescriptive, Automated, Personalized, and grows your business. (Hit us up right now to find out how it can help your business grow!)

                                      WOW!

Often, franchises fail to leverage the power of sharing regularly with their community, the information they do share is inaccurate, or isn’t compelling.  Help your franchises share your story by providing them with a marketing automation solution that is content first and foolproof to use!

With Odo, you simply log in, select where you want that day’s media to be shared, click the share button, and enjoy the feedback from your customers! If you prefer the automated route, set it up once to perform those steps and it becomes a marketer for you, posting what you want, where you want it, without you lifting a finger! Watch this short video to see how simple it is to post, using LinkedIn as an example;

With a content and media management program like Odo, partners have reported the following results:

  • A 225% increase in sales leads;
  • Annual revenue attribute of 40%; and
  • Improved relationships and engagement with prospects.

Odo is localized yet ensures corporate branding, can be automated as we produce content for you to share whenever you’re ready, or easily managed by the franchise to personalize the messaging even more.

Any way you choose, this new storytelling marketing platform will help your franchises stay noticed and engaged with their customers leading to increased revenue. It’s Odo, say it with me…

Oh, dough!”

This is the most flexible and simplest content sharing platform I’ve ever seen! – Ken Barrett, Flint Tech Solutions CEO

Odo helps make you an expert marketer. Get in touch with us now at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat right other there on the right. Put this powerful, flexible, and simple platform to work for your company, and grow your company!

Be careful with your digital communication, because they’re forever

Be careful with your digital communication, because they’re forever

No one made it through the last year without hearing about emails. Did you think “Well, I’m safe, I don’t have a private email server” or “Well, I’m safe, I’m not privy to top-secret government emails.” In reality, no one is really safe and everyone should be more aware of the quality and tenor of their online communications.

From a legal perspective, all relevant written communication, unless privileged, is discoverable in a legal action. A legal action can include a contract dispute, a personal injury action, a criminal matter, a divorce or custody matter, to name a few. Discovery is the mechanism by which one party is allowed to request evidence from the other party, and that other party must comply.

 

Legal, social media, communication, consumer protection

 

 

But what is written communication? Letters certainly. Records, like medical records, logs, tax returns, definitely. That’s all pretty standard stuff.

 

What about emails, text messages, private messages, social media posts and other means of electronic communications? You betcha.

 

The very nature of these types of communication is informal. Email and text threads read like a dialogue, more like the transcript of a telephone conversation than an old-fashioned letter. However, courts have ruled that you have a completely different expectation of privacy with your telephone conversations than with written electronic communication.

 

Here are some examples of how careless electronic communications can come back to haunt you.

 

A company has a poorly negotiated contract with a vendor. The only way to get out of its contractual obligations requires the vendor’s failure of performance. Through an email thread, the company’s management team decide to “set up” the vendor for failure, and sabotage the vendor’s performance. In the ensuing lawsuit by the vendor for breach of contract, all of those emails would be discoverable by the vendor’s legal counsel and the company would be on the hook for breach of contract.

A person sustains a severe injury at work, requiring surgery which is successful. The person makes a full recovery but claims a residual disability that keeps them from returning to work. The person seeks worker’s compensation coverage for the money lost from work. At trial, you can be sure that the employer will be using the social media posts of the employee, post-surgery, vacationing in tropical locales, skydiving, surfing and otherwise performing some pretty physical activities.

Recently in Pennsylvania, private emails carelessly forwarded as jokes cost politicians and judges high scrutiny and in some cases, their positions. It is important to note that while some of the off-color emails went to and from official government email accounts, some of them went to and from private email accounts as well. While no criminal charges stemmed from these exchanges, the possibility loomed.

Camera, legal, communication,

People are recording crimes and posting them. Crimes. Criminal activity. Then posting it. Publically. Nothing can be said about them. You can joke around and ask Siri for good places to hide a body, but give it time and someone is going to ask her for real. And that search, as recorded by Siri, will be used as evidence in the ensuing murder trial.

 

Text messages between paramours become evidence in divorce and custody cases. Text messages between spouses become evidence in divorce and custody cases as well. Messages between parents and children. Geo-tags in social media posts together with the media time stamps are admitted as evidence. Pretty much once you end up in family court, everything is fair game.

Employers search your social media presence before making hiring decisions.

They also Google you. Although it hasn’t been tested in the Courts yet, what you post and share may legally be able to implicate hiring practices. It may not raise ethical implications if they are looking for evidence of trashing former employers or bosses or revealing corporate secrets and information. They may even have justification to base an adverse decision on posts evidencing alcohol and drug use or abuse (how about simply the poor judgment of making such posts?).

 

What about using search history research to gauge a candidate? There are studies that suggest it is on its way, or already happening. For example, if research shows a correlation of IQs to certain pages that are followed on social media, and lower IQs to other topics, this would give employers a barometer to measure IQ (and ostensibly job performance) based on what pages you like on Facebook.

 

And keep in mind that the line between work and personal gets blurrier and blurrier every day. People send work emails to their personal email. People fail to realize what account they are logged into and send personal messages from their work accounts.

 

So, how can you protect yourself?

help, unsure, businessman, don't know,

First of all, be selective about what you share on social media if you even choose to have a personal presence. Be even more selective about comments. Do not get into social media wars – nothing good can come of it. Keep in mind that what you shared could end up as lawsuit fodder or public scrutiny, even if you only share it with a small universe of “friends.” Everyone is a friend of someone, and one of those people is bound to not be your friend.

 

When in doubt, either err on the side of caution and don’t publish it or ask for feedback from a trusted friend or colleague. Same goes for emails. Write it as a draft if you must, and save it for a day. Go back and revisit. What may have seemed appropriate in the heat of the moment may not look as attractive 24 hours later.

 

Remember geotags. People can find you. It is fine when you are behaving. Are you comfortable with being locate-able 24/7? People will always find you when you don’t want to be found.

 

Be careful in your emails!

 

Keep them professional and business-like. Treat email like snail mail – if you wouldn’t write it and put a stamp on it and show it to your mother, don’t send it. If it is questionable at all, err on the side of caution. You can always text or email two simple words. “Call me” works wonders. It also takes conversations out of the unprotected realm and into a realm with the expectation of privacy.

 

Text messages may be instant and convenient, but don’t use them to discuss business or even important matters. Text messages, by their very nature, are meant to be quick communications. Tone, context, voice all get lost. Text messages leave a very real footprint behind. Most cellular service providers can (and will) provide a transcript of all of your text messages and a history of phone numbers that you are texting.

 

Also, consider revisiting your social media friend list. Do you really know and trust these people? Are they acquaintances, friends, friends of friends, colleagues, your clients, your bosses? While some content may be appropriate for consumption by some of these circles, is it appropriate for all of them? Do you even consider that before you post the pictures of your vacation in Punta Cana?

 

If you are actively involved in any sort of lawsuit, please have a frank discussion and disclosure with your lawyer. Trust me, nothing is worse than your client swearing that he didn’t know that woman, only to be confronted with posts of the two all snuggled up at a romantic dinner. Or having photographs of your disabled client carrying 50 pound bags of concrete up multiple flights of steps reproduced from his social media pages produced as evidence he is faking or at least exaggerating his injury.

 

We are living in this oversharing era. A time where people think that everything they have to say is worthwhile and that people want to know every little detail about them. A little caution, a little good sense and a lot of thought go a long way to keeping you safe. While this is always true in the real outside world, it is a good rule of thumb in the online virtual world as well.