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Interview With Tim Gibbon, Web Marketing

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 22 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Internet Marketing Web Marketing Search

Tim Gibbon has been working in the digital communications sector since 1997. Working for a wide range of organisations from E-commerce businesses to print and radio enterprises, Tim founded Elemental PR in April of 2001, that rebranded as Elemental Communications in 2005. Tim’s keen interest in digital communications is supported with a detailed insight and forward thinking attitude to business and marketing.

Search marketing seems to have come of age over the last few years. Do you think that smaller businesses can now take advantage of what was until recently the province of larger businesses?

"Yes, they most certainly would be more flexible and proactive in continuing to deliver successful search marketing campaigns if they focus their efforts in integrating their communications. With search marketing, and especially Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) it is often the most simple and straight forward steps that drive intelligent campaigns that reap the results that all search engine worshippers aspire for. Large organisations have huge sites, many still employ Content Management Systems (CMS) that are not search friendly and can be a hindrance delivering a successful search campaign."

What advice would you give to a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) that wanted to use search marketing for the first time?

"There are simple and basic rules that a SME should adopt in running a search campaign for the first time. The first and most critical is understand your Website, the audience that arrive it at, what they do when they get there (now they navigate the site) and how they leave.

"The most effective way as in with most marketing, PR and/or sales initiatives is careful targeting. This can only be achieved by knowing the audience, understanding their behaviour, knowing why and how they surf.

"Having the ability to benchmark search activities allows businesses to progress and further target their products, services and/or organisation on a day-to-day basis. We use the products and services by Web analytics company ClickTracks provides are flexible and accessible; enabling us and clients to alter, tweak and manage their marketing and promotional activity quicker and more accurately than before."

Do you think that it's important to view your search marketing as just one channel of an integrated marketing strategy?

"It's important to be aware of your surroundings and the environment, seasonal demand and trends that effect a business, therefore, its marketing, PR and sales initiatives. Solid search strategies work when all facets of a business are understood and they contribute to the common goal in driving consistent, qualified and relevant traffic to a website.

"The paid for models can make certain sectors extremely difficult and competitive to operate within as search engines seek new revenue models, but they obviously come at a cost. Certain keywords and key phrases are out of bounds to some SMEs because of their cost (cost of click-through); this means that they need to be more creative. Creativity comes at a cost i.e. this experience and knowledge may not be in-house, so it will need to be outsourced. Search engines constantly evolve, the competition is fierce. Therefore, website owners constantly need to keep a check on the industry and who the main players are and how to work with them.

"Promoting a website online shouldn't be restricted to paid search and even SEO, especially when there are a number of avenues to be pursued e.g. blogs, forums, newsgroups, online PR and social media. To drive relevant and consistent traffic to a site on a limited budget SMEs should be looking to employ the following:

  • Employ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and address meta tags (title, description and keywords). Some say that these are not useful and don't have an impact, but at Elemental we know that they do.
  • Online PR and integrate strategic linking into that. Look to address ethical reciprocal linking manually and avoid software to carry out the communications because the two-way ratio works better.
  • Write good copy that is search friendly, but doesn't read poorly and is hyperlinked through pages to assist usability, but also supports SEO.
  • If the site is more comprehensive then Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a decent news / media section / newsletter is going to provide more natural content for search engines to index.
  • Social media is a buzzword in our opinion because in our view online communities have always existed in this manner, it's just the environments and marketing technology that has evolved. Creative online campaigns which can even be low budget cannot only drive traffic back to the point of origin, but also have an interesting impact within search engines, if the right meta tags and content (yes they use these as well) are employed.
  • Once SMEs have considered the above, look into paid search models and how this can be married into their organic approach. If they have limited budgets the budget to allocate to this, then they will have to work with natural (organic search) better than your competitors do. It all starts and ends with the website, this needs to be ready and kept in good condition."

Can search-marketing campaigns succeed on their own?

"Integration is key, due to how an audience experiences a campaign. Above-the-line and below-the-line approaches need to be carefully measured and connected, so an appreciation of how they work together is essential. We are currently seeing a great return from using traditional and digital communications with News Engine SEO. A new discipline to most (but a service we have been delivering since 2001) that combines PR, online PR and SEO. It's basically writing for audiences and engines and making a connection with news engines (e.g. Google News, MSN News and Yahoo! News), news sites and news portals. Much news has an immediate impact and you can see results within the hour, but if managed correctly can create longevity in online resources for a brand, product, service and/or organisation."

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