Internet Marketing 101

Monday, November 29, 2010 Posted by John Tabita 2 comments

My dad has been experimenting with search engine marketing and Google AdWords. The other day, he called me with a question. He wanted to know how to create an ad that would appear on Google…not the top or right section where the paid ads appear, but in the main center portion of the page.

Dad was confused; he was trying to do something that’s not even possible. Most small business owners are equally confused about search engine marketing. A recent survey revealed that the majority of small business owners feel that Internet marketing is very important. Yet, 59 percent of small businesses with web sites don’t use paid search marketing... and of those, 90 percent have never even attempted it! So if you want to know more about search engine marketing, but you don’t know a PPC from a SERP, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s my Internet Marketing 101 Primer.

(I’m going to use Google in my example, because they are currently the 1000 lb. Internet marketing gorilla. But the information here applies to all search engines.)

When you type in a search phrase in the search box, Google serves up several pages of results. This is called the Search Engine Results Page, or SERP. (There’s one acronym down.) The search results come in two varieties, paid and natural, and they appear on different parts on the page.

Paid Search Results

The search results at the very top and on the right are paid ads, as shown below:

These are called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads because the advertisers pay Google money each time their ad is clicked on. The advertiser who is willing to pay the most for a particular search term (such as “fishing lures” in my example) is the one who will appear at the top.

Natural Search Results

The search results that appear on the main body of the page are not ads. These are called the “natural” or “organic” results.

Where my dad got confused is that, appearing under each website listed in the natural search results, there is a short description, which looks similar to the paid ads on the right. But this description is not a paid ad… it’s a snippet of code that Google and other search engines pull from the HTML code of the website:

As I said, these are not ads. You cannot pay Google to appear in the natural search results. Google’s complex (and highly secret) mathematical algorithms determine who gets well-ranked and who doesn’t.

To achieve a top ranking (especially in a highly competitive field), you must either be very smart, or you must hire someone who is very smart to do it for you. These very smart people are known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists. Part art and part science, Search Engine Optimization is the process of making a website’s code, structure and content as “search engine friendly” as possible in order to get the search engines to rank it as high as possible on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

When I ran my web business, I helped clients get good search engine ranking by sub-contracting the services of these very smart SEO people. But in order to explain the benefits and pitfalls, I also had to be able to talk about it in non-technical terms. Here’s as non-technical as it gets: search engine marketing is only successful if you get a return on your investment.

Some companies choose to exclusively use Google’s Pay-Per Click to sell their products online. Others use search engine optimization. And still others use both. What you choose to do depends on many factors, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. So it’s not a question of which is best, but which is best for you. In my next post, I’ll outline the pros and cons of each to help point you the right direction.

Using Your Voice for Maximum Impact

Saturday, November 20, 2010 Posted by John Tabita 0 comments

You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” As a telemarketing manager, it used to baffle me how two telemarketers could deliver the exact same pitch and yet one would set five times more appointments than the other. I’ve come to believe that how we say it is at least as important as what we say.

The reason for this lies in the physiology of the brain, so here’s some Science 101. But don’t worry… I’ll keep it simple.

Your brain is made up of many parts, but for our purposes, I’m only going to talk about two. The first is the outer portion, or the neocortex.

The neocortex is our “Thinking Brain.” It’s primarily responsible for things like:

  • Rational thought, Logic and Language
  • Reasoning and Problem solving
  • Judgment and Impulse control

The other portion is the limbic brain. This is our “Feeling Brain.” The limbic brain is the first part of our brain to react to anything we see, hear, feel, etc. In other words, the first response we have to any situation or event in an emotional one… because all sensory input hits the limbic brain before the neocortex. This means we feel before we think.

Now that you know a thing or two about the brain, which part do you suppose controls decision-making?

Is that your final answer?

If you picked the limbic “feeling brain,” then you answered correctly.

Does it surprise you that the feeling brain is what drives decision-making rather then the thinking brain? It doesn’t if you’re in sales, because you’re probably familiar with this well-know quote:

“People usually buy on emotion and then they justify it with logic.”
- Zig Ziglar

Science is now confirming what salespeople have known for years – and the physiology of the brain explains why it is so.

This means that, as sales people, business owners and marketers, if we want to persuade and influence others’ decisions, we must communicate to the feeling portion of the brain more than the thinking portion. It’s not that people don’t want logic, facts and figures when making decisions – they do. It’s just that logic doesn’t drive behavior and cause people to take action… emotions do.

Need more proof? Let me channel Cliff Clavin for a moment. The word emotion comes from the Latin word emovere. Here’s a word picture:


It’s also where we get the word motivation. The bottom line is, we don’t move or make any decision unless our emotions are involved.

So what does this have to do with using your voice more effectively? Well, everything… because the limbic “feeling brain” also processes vocal intonations or “tone of voice.” This means that your tone of voice is the direct link to the “emotional mixing board” in another person’s brain. Your tone of voice has a huge impact on the other person’s emotional response – for better or for worse…

Creating Value Propositions That Sell

Friday, November 12, 2010 Posted by John Tabita 1 comments

In a SpongeBob SquarePants episode, Mr. Krabs sees a group of tourists outside his restaurant, the Krusty Krab. With dollar signs in his eyes, he hurries out to entice them inside. As they scurry past, he shouts:

“Don’t you want to give me your money?”

Needless to say, they continue on without giving him so much as a moment’s notice.

Whether it’s busy tourists or busy decision makers, no one cares about what you want or what you’re selling. That’s where a strong value proposition comes to the rescue. Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, defines a value proposition as:

...a clear statement about the tangible business results customers get from using your product, service or solution.

She goes on to say that a strong value proposition “always includes movement,” and describes that as:

increasecutimprovesavefree uprevitalize
strengthen improvegrowbalanceminimizemaximize

So what types of things can you increase, enhance, shrink, improve or revitalize? That depends on what you’re selling, and to whom. Since my company sells advertising, we can increase, improve, strengthen and grow things like:

  • revenue, profit, sales
  • prospects, leads, customers
  • customer base, market share
  • return on advertising investment

So a “winning value proposition” for us could be:

We help businesses acquire new customers and increase their market share, without wasting money on advertising that doesn’t work.

Once you’ve created a strong value proposition, use it in your phone calls, emails and voice mails, in your print and web copy, and at your networking meetings. Go ahead, you give it a try.