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Now, the rules are fairly loose - we have a separate link purchase budget, but if a nice PR 8/9 link crops up for £10k / month, we could justify that as SEO, especially for the new site, for instance, as a way of priming the pump.
We also have separate budgets for new creatives, outsourced agency work, SEO tool purchases, a small budget for directory submissions, and a conference attendance budget, so no need to take from them, unless the costs are high.
I've got several hundred thousand pounds to spend by the end of this financial year. So long as it shows a return, and is strictly whitehat (we have branded domains to protect here), it'll be considered, no matter how wild and wooly.
All suggestions gratefully recieved
>> You didn't mention PPC but I would assume you've covered that already! ;)
Hmmm, you could say that... Some targetted PPC for very specific purposes may be supportable, but probably no more than a few tens of thousands, total
>> Viral (e)marketing campaign?
Counts under the paid links budget, but high value ones (over the 5k / month mark) might well have to come out of the SEO budget
>> Setup / implementation of an affiliate scheme?
Funny you should say. It's already happening... PM me if you more details
>> Give it all to me for the "consultation" we just had?
LOL, I talked to you first... you OWE me, and if you don't want to be counting the fingers you haven't go, I suggest you get me those guns! (been watching Lock Stock too much recently...)
> Sponsorships - was thinking more along the lines of one off, media type events rather than purely for IBL / PR purposes. Potentially could tie into viral marketing campaign to generate some organic IBL growth (media, blog, forum, etc), media buzz, etc.
Also how about considering new media for your site. Presumeably you have plenty of resources in house and a budget for outsourcing if required, so how about embracing new techs - mobile surfing for example - SMS alerts - interactive support - etc.
Potentially consider portal advertising - Y!, MSN, etc? Starting to see some awesome creatives these days that are really beginning to stand apart from the old "banner ad" stigma.
> Affiliate programme
Yeh fire your details to me via PM and I'll take a gander, but if it's your profile site I may have not long ago signed up to one of your competitors! ;) Although I'm always open to new markets! :)
I would say a comprehensive overview of your current "branded domains to protect here" would be the first order of business..
You would want to know all the variables relating to how the search engines view your site (keywords, pages indexed, link relationships)...you can ask these via a number of special command line entries into the search boxes of the major engines..
Once you know these variables...then you will know how best to strategize your spend..
You can't lose building out customized targeted content that addresses your targeted audience(s) for your various sites.. (and I am not talking about low balling this...get some good solid professional writing that adds real value to your site...not the $.02 cents per word crap)
Carefully researching link relationships is critical...but you must approach these first from the benefit of the link relationship, FIRST, and then the benefits of this relationship, OVERTIME, from the eyes of the search engines...if you start out buying links ... this could lead you down a path that can do more harm then good..
Build out real business relationships that benefit your brand for the long haul...(and so you can get the funding again next year!)
Another starting point is to determine your conversion rates for whatever your sites are designed to do....if you acquire new traffic and your conversion are poor you will not be gaining anything ... in fact...if you work on improving your conversions as a first front ... through some usability testing ... your gains for the long haul will be substantial (wouldn't that look good for refunding your efforts next fiscal year?)
* Affiliate programs
* Revenue Partnerships
* Email Marketing (data mining your existing customer base)
* Targeted PPC campaigns
* Selling Ad space on any of your sites
* WAP/WML Mobile Marketing
* Comparison Shopping Feeds
So much to consider...so much time to implement..(for the long haul..white hat style)
*cough* profile site *cough*
>> and without knowing the current state of your site in the eyes of the search engines
For our main keywords, pretty good, plus good performance in the tail. We could ALWAYS expand our keyword reach though
>> and what type of usability issues you site may face from a conversion point of view
Our conversion rates are good now, and we are working on some enhancements
>> Affiliate programs
On the way...
>> Revenue Partnerships
Hmmm, a good thought
>> Email Marketing (data mining your existing customer base)
We already do a fair bit. New ideas for sources of quality, demographically qualified subscribers always welcome though
>> Targeted PPC campaigns
We already do a fair amount...
>> Selling Ad space on any of your sites
You could say that that is all we do
>> WAP/WML Mobile Marketing
Thats come up before, and is an excellent idea
We are making some very tentative moves into this type of thing. If anyone has advice on what kind of thing has worked for them, or they would like to have done if they had the budget, I'm listening
>> Comparison Shopping Feeds
Again, it's fair to say we do this....
Thanks to everyone so far, keep the ideas coming
We do significant work offline too, but that's not my area, and they have their own budgets ;) I'm just thinking about SEO and related stuff, pretty much purely online spend
>> the real gold is found in improved conversions
We do OK; regularly over 50% conversions. However, I agree that there is always room for improvement, and we are looking seriously at improving the value per conversion. Any ideas there would be good too (not exactly SEO, but hey, there are other budgets in the business too)
Also, review the logs with a good analytics program. Where is the customer coming in, why are they exiting at certain points, examine shopping cart abandonment, and absolutely know the various sales funnels or paths customers are taking to final purchase.
With some of the money, have an outside company develop personas of your typical customers - and then build sales paths to accomodate those personas.
If you have several hundred thousand pounds, then you might convince management it is time to go shopping. Study your competitors, there size, length in business, strengths and weaknesses, and how you would improve their company if you acquired them. Buying out second or third tier competitors is a great way to help you catapult above your fiercest competitor. After all, competiting with yourself (your current site vs. newly acquired site) grows your market share, while eliminating redundancies and other costs.
conversions divided by total visitors, I believe
>> As for improving conversions, there is nothing like knowing your customers,
Yup. We are in a VERY price driven market, so we find it works best to match landing page content to buying cycle stage
>> Also, review the logs with a good analytics program.
Grrr, sore point. Being addressed
>> With some of the money, have an outside company develop personas of your typical customers
Hmmmm, another good point
>> convince management it is time to go shopping
LOL, as well as we do, I SERIOUSLY doubt we could afford a straight cash buyout of any of our major competitors. A fair few of them are owned by IAC, who have a market cap of around $16 billion. But, Barry, if you are reading this, we'll make you a fair offer, LOL
One other idea...you could focus your SEO efforts on major event driven traveling spikes ...for example (and by the way...congrats on UK London snapping up the 2012 Olyimpics...I predict there will be a travel boom that year...giggle
So you could use some nice data minig techniques against your own recent trends and then go after this type traffic with package deals and the like...
You are data mining your logs aren't you? if not you are definitely leaving money on the table...
---Thanks, I'm glad I could at least make points!
>> convince management it is time to go shopping
LOL, as well as we do, I SERIOUSLY doubt we could afford a straight cash buyout of any of our major competitors.
I didn't say major competitors, minor ones. It is easier to catch one fish in a bowl when there is only one fish... Did I just say that? I like it! What I really mean is that teaming up with competitors by acquiring them is the Achilles heal to the giants (this is the single fish in a bowl). Why are we able to squeak out a living, even when we have major competitors? We work harder, faster, smarter - and we attend WW conferences when they don't..
The only problem with this is that our minor competitors are actual PROVIDERS - holiday companies, small airlines. We specifically, DON'T do this, we do price comparison. Kelkoo might have been a logical choice, but Yahoo kinda beat us to the punch... Most of the other price comparison sites suck a bit, at least Kelkoo were competent spammers, LOL