How a business can benefit from Search Engine Marketing?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of online marketing that involves the use of search engine result pages to promote business websites. Search engine marketing increases the visibility of websites through search engine optimization (SEO) or through paid advertising with the intent of increasing traffic to the website.

SEM is a broader term than SEO. SEM refers to all marketing activities that use search engine technology for marketing purposes. These include SEO, paid listings and ads, and other search engine related services and functions that will increase reach and exposure of the website, resulting in greater traffic.

Search engine traffic consists of consumers who are interested in and searching for a particular term that is associated with the website. To leverage this tool and draw traffic to a company’s website, marketers must understand how to effectively use both paid and organic SEM and determine the potential exposure they can gain through both approaches.

Advantages of Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is advantageous in the following ways:

  • Unlike other major sources of online marketing, SEM helps businesses connect with consumers at a time when the consumer is interested in purchasing the product or service. Email marketing, for example, involves sending emails to a database of consumers with the hope of inciting some of these consumers to purchase. However, the consumer receiving the email may not be interested in the product or service being sold, or the consumer may be interested in the product or service, but he or she may not be interested at that precise moment. Furthermore, email marketing can be seen as invasive to some customers and may lead to a loss in reputation. SEM catches the consumer at a time when he or she is actively looking for the product or service, resulting in a more engaged consumer and typically a more receptive response.


Learn How to Structure Your Site for Optimal User Experiences

When building a website, one of the first things to be considered is its structure. This is fundamental to the success of a site and, if planned properly, can avoid many issues further down the line. Website architecture design involves planning the layout and design of the website, identifying the pages to be included, determining how consumers will navigate the site, and planning how these pages will link together. Based on the learning from market research and competitor website performance, the marketing team—along with subject matter experts, such as website developers—is responsible for ensuring the optimal website architecture design.
One of the factors that the marketing team must consider when planning the website architecture is click-depth. Click-depth or crawl-depth refers to the minimum number of links a website visitor must click in order to get from the “root” web page to a particular desired web page. The root web page is the page that displays when only the domain is in the URL (no path information). Businesses must ensure that the click-depth is kept as low as possible, so that users and search engines can reach any point on the site within a minimum number of clicks.
The marketing team analyzes how each page will be linked internally and externally, creating categories and subcategories within the site. While creating the website, search-friendly URLs should be used to increase the relevance of the links and help the organic ranking for the website. As well, duplicate meta tags, meta descriptions, and titles should be avoided to prevent confusing web crawlers.
In short, the website design architecture should assure visitors they are on the right page; ensure visitors can easily find what they are looking for by providing a clear navigation path and search feature; properly link together and by ensuring the various pages; and ensure that the website is easy to navigate not only for customers, but also for web crawlers, so that they can be detected by search engines. 

The article has originally been posted at
SMstudy is the global accreditation body for Sales and Marketing certifications. For more details visit
Important links:
Visit to download the Digital Marketing Body of Knowledge for free
Visit for free Digital Marketing Associate certification and course

What are the technical skills required for developing a mobile app?

Generally, a company assigns a dedicated team to develop mobile applications for the organization. This team might be in-house, or the company may choose to assign the development work to an external firm. In either case, it is essential that the team has the necessary skills to develop mobile applications with the features that the company has determined are required.
A company may have fewer features in its first few apps, but it should ensure that the application development team has the requisite skills to create apps that have more advanced features as well, in case the company decides to add features at a later time. Given increasing mobile usage among customers across all industries, companies will, in all probability, need to constantly adapt to consumer needs and create more advanced mobile apps to keep up with mobile app trends and changing demands.
Also, several mobile application development platforms exist, and the team should ideally be able to develop applications across those platforms. However, if the team is able to identify and create apps for the most popular platform used by its target audience, then the company can test customer acceptance of its apps on the most frequently used platform before developing similar apps for other platforms.
The performance of mobile apps even on the same platform may differ based on the device type (tablet or phone) or the device model. Thus, the application development team must create apps that can perform equally well across device types and device models.
Some of the specific skill sets that a mobile app development team must have are as follows:
  • User Interface (UI) design—This skill refers to the ability to design an app that has an attractive, easy-to-navigate, and responsive design. It requires both creative skill and knowledge of best practices in UI design for mobile apps.
  • Database and hardware computing—This knowledge refers to the ability to create databases with an optimal data structure, specify interaction of the app with the device hardware, minimize power requirements, ensure security of the app against external threats like viruses and hacking, and allocate memory efficiently.
  • Programming—Programming languages translate business logic into a machine-readable language. It is important to write programming code efficiently and in modules so changes to the code can be implemented easily. The team should have knowledge of using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for various mobile application platforms. These APIs allow programmers to create apps without requiring access to the proprietary underlying code developed by the mobile application platform companies. Preferably, the team should also know how to use interfaces that allow one to create mobile apps that can be deployed across different mobile application platforms.
  • Business understanding—The app development team should have a basic understanding of the business’s overall Marketing Strategy and how the app fits into this strategy. This understanding will give the team a sense of the target customers, which may further enable them to create an optimal UI and ensure the final product supports the intended positioning of the app in the mobile app store. 

    The article has originally been posted at
    SMstudy is the global accreditation body for Sales and Marketing certifications. For more details visit
    Important links:
    Visit to download the Digital Marketing Body of Knowledge for free
    Visit for free Digital Marketing Associate certification and course

Learn How an Effective Website Can Boost Your Business

An effective website is a critical component of a company’s overall online success. Company’s website serves as the central hub and foundation for its online activity. With a plethora of available website designs, the digital marketing team must determine the appropriate and optimal design and message.

Besides having a basic understanding of the technology on the website, the digital marketing team must also consider the following facets of creating a website.

Consumer Perspective

  • Relevancy—Age, cultural nuances, geography, and other demographic factors of the target audience will influence the type of content on the website.
  • Usability Design—The digital marketing team must take into consideration how technically savvy its target customer is. If the target customer does not generally have the appropriate comfort level with technology, the team should design a simple, text-based layout with easy navigation and basic features. If the target customer is comfortable and familiar with the Internet and computer use, a more intricate, interactive, and information-rich website can be implemented. The design of the site should depend on the expectations of both the users and the company. In some cases, the development might focus on consumer engagement, while in other cases, the design might be oriented toward supporting task-oriented behavior such as the ability to make changes to one’s account, purchase a product or service, and so on.

Site Development Perspective

  • Purpose—Companies maintain a web presence for a variety of reasons. While some companies use websites as their main method of selling their products, other companies have an online presence just to support their business, message, and brand position. There are companies that use websites as a public relations (PR) tool, to enhance brand value in the minds of their customers, or to evaluate product feedback from customers that may help in understanding customer needs, general communications, product updates, and sales. The digital marketing team is responsible for ensuring that the website is designed to meet the overall strategic objectives outlined in the Marketing Strategy.
  • Planning—The digital marketing team must work with the website development team to plan the execution of the website, beginning with creating a storyboard for the website; listing functional requirements; building the database structure; developing wireframes; and determining hypermedia linkages, search engine key words, graphical design components, user interface designs, audio/video sources, animation, and text requirements and formats.
  • Performance— The digital marketing team also must consider the logical design of a good website, compare the performance of competitor websites to identify best practices, check for effective performance across browsers and operating systems, and perform usability testing of the website to ensure that it is easy to use.
  • Maintenance—Websites create an online presence for a brand, so the marketing team must ensure that the website is maintained and tested regularly. Downtime on a website may adversely impact the direct online sales of products and may also taint brand reputation in the minds of consumers.

The brand messaging on the website has to be in-line with the overall brand message and must stay relevant to the target audience.


The article has originally been posted at
SMstudy is the global accreditation body for Sales and Marketing certifications. For more details visit
Important links:
Visit to download the Digital Marketing Body of Knowledge for free
Visit for free Digital Marketing Associate certification and course

Mobile Devices Playing a Key Role in Planning Marketing Strategy for a Business

Since the demise of newspaper’s great hegemonic grip on advertising, news media minds have been banging their big brains together, trying to come up with ways that not only monetize their content, but also generate some of the sweet ad revenue they used to have the luxury of enjoying. This is, of course, much harder in the infinite space and freedom of the internet. (limited space and information gatekeeping was a true friend to print news)

It’s been a bit of a slog and news outlets have been in “trial and error” mode for a while and still haven’t quite gotten it fully figured out. That being said, over the last year or so, user trends have been offering great nuggets of insight that are changing the way marketers and news sites are adapting to trends in mobile news consumption.

The landscape for mobile news outlets was important enough to make it to the front page of The Pew Research State of the Media 2015. What was the big deal? That 39 out of 50 legacy news outlets get more traffic from mobile devices than from desktop computers!

Full list (stats provided by comScore)…

In the digital-only “newsscape,” a similar trend was noted.

The report states, “similar to the larger list of top 50 digital news entities, just a minority of these digital-only sites, 11 in all, had audiences that spent more time with them via a mobile device than a desktop.”

Here’s the complete list of digital native sites…

This preference for mobile news consumption is only mildly tempered by the fact that longer times were spent on news sites when being read on desktop computers.

Nevertheless, it matters.

Believe it or not, tracking consumer behavior has been one of the main problems with news outlets and marketers alike when considering ad dollars for mobile. Now we know that people are preferring their mobile devices for their news both while in on-the-go situations as well as in the down time of “Netflix and chill” moments.

In addition, we appear to be in a “mobile ad desert” where despite a rapid increase year over year in mobile advertising spending, there’s still a gap between advertising dollars spent on TV and other marketing channels and those spent on mobile. It seems that marketers haven’t quite picked up on the huge leap mobile viewership has taken. As an example, Adobe Digital Index reported in July 2015 that media has risen by two hours a day over the last five years, but advertisers have been slow to respond.

The article states, “Just as internet advertising once experienced a lag between the number of unique users and advertising spend, a gulf now exists between the growing amount of time consumers spend viewing content on mobile devices and the relatively small investment brands are making in the channel. But it’s just a matter of time until the numbers match.”

When confronted with new information, a new approach is often required. And this positive mobile news usage data begs for new solutions.

One of the more interesting examples of calculating an accurate measure was put forward by the Financial Times. The FT has switched to a time-based metric, one that places attention front and center in their value assessment. Other news outlets are also recognizing the truer value of an attention-based metric, as well. I’ve begun calling this the “after the fold” ad as it appears when I’ve stayed on a story long enough to show I’m committed. This strategy bets squarely on the contents ability to hold attention. And so far, so good.

Although various solutions abound, no silver bullet has yet been discovered (and perhaps never will). Serious impediments to accurate metrics (and hence, the flow of ad dollars) include bots that inflate the numbers and the easy accessibility to, and preference for, ad-blocking. This trend is particularly noted among millennials.

But even so, a new approach based on time as opposed to volume (number of clicks) could be the way forward for news outlets. Getting a handle on what they have to offer marketers may be the thing to lead news outlets out of the red and back into the black.


The article has originally been posted at
SMstudy is the global accreditation body for Sales and Marketing certifications. For more details visit
Important links:
Visit to download the Digital Marketing Body of Knowledge for free
Visit for free Digital Marketing Associate certification and course

Learn How You Can Increase Online Reach of Your Business

As a seller, your website or ecommerce webstore can bring you a good amount of traffic and sales. It offers a great way to attract new customers and increase the reach of your products and brand. However a small company typically may not have the resources to create a comprehensive website, set up a payment gateway, or invest on online marketing efforts. Even an existing seller could face a roadblock when it comes to increasing reach, as online marketing spends become progressively higher. This is where alliances or relationships with online marketplaces can help.

Strategic alliances or relationships with online marketplaces are very effective for increasing reach. An online marketplace is a type of e-commerce website where product and inventory information is provided by multiple third parties, and the transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. The product offered could be a physical product, such as clothing, furniture, books, or electronics. Or it could even be an intangible product, such as an online training course, downloadable game, or streaming video.

The marketplace processes consumer transactions and the participating retailers or wholesalers fulfill and deliver the products and services; thus, the online marketplace or site is really the middle-man. Some marketplaces may also handle order fulfilment and delivery management services, for which they typically charge a premium. Because marketplaces offer products from many providers, they offer a wider selection and more competitive prices than those offered by the e-commerce sites of individual businesses.

For a small manufacturer that does not have a large enough brand to attract brick-and-mortar retailers and does not have sufficient money to gain and manage a critical mass of visits on its own website, partnering with an online marketplace makes perfect sense. It helps the manufacturer save the costs involved in online marketing and enhancing customer experience. For the online marketplace, it means an additional product or brand available for its customers to choose from, thus becoming a win-win relationship for the marketplace operator and the small manufacturer.

These companies benefit by paying a small percentage of their revenue to the marketplace operator who can provide those services. Since the marketplace operator typically has multiple—sometimes thousands of associated parties promoting their products on the website, it is cost effective and scalable. These online marketplaces are often the primary destination people choose to purchase a particular product. If you’re looking to increase reach, marketplaces offer you a quick and easy access to new markets.

Small publications and authors often use the online marketplace (companies such as Amazon) to sell their books. These small publications do not have the resources to reach a global audience on their own. Thus, strategic partnerships with online booksellers or websites that have a huge reach will help them promote their books effectively.


The article has originally been posted at
SMstudy is the global accreditation body for Sales and Marketing certifications. For more details visit
Important links:
Visit to download the Digital Marketing Body of Knowledge for free
Visit for free Digital Marketing Associate certification and course

What Architecture is right for your Mobile App?

To determine the right mobile app architecture, a company needs to understand the following:

  1. Categorization of Key Features—The company can employ use cases in this process to determine the key features that customers require from the app. Then, the key features should be classified as informational, transactional, or device-oriented.
  • Informational features are those where information is being consumed by a user, such as reading news on a subject.
  • Transactional features are those where a user carries out a transaction with the application, such as sharing, buying, or downloading.
  • Device-oriented features are those that enable a user to utilize device-specific features, such as using the camera or the gyroscope.


If a mobile app primarily has informational features, such as consuming news, then a web app might be sufficient. If, however, a mobile app primarily uses device-specific features, such as scanning codes using the camera, then a native app or a cross-platform app may be necessary.


  1. Type of User Experience Desired—If the type of customers a company is targeting for its app demands a high-quality user experience from the app, the best approach is native app development, followed by cross-platform development. The best user experience generally comes with utilizing the best that the operating system and the mobile device have to offer, which is what a native app can deliver. For customers who are fine with basic functionality, even a web app may suffice.


  1. Need for Multiplatform Compatibility—If the target market uses a wide variety of mobile devices and operating systems, it is important for a company to develop apps for each of the mobile platforms. Unless complex features are required for the apps that will require native app development, a company may be better off developing apps using a cross-platform framework or developing web apps. Where the target audience uses a limited range of devices and/or operating systems and requires complex features, native apps are the best option.


  1. Need for Offline Usage—If the target market has intermittent Internet connectivity, or does not use mobile Internet very often, it may make sense for a company to make an app, or important parts of the app, available for offline usage. If the app primarily acts as a means for a user to stay updated on news, offers, or other real-time information, then the need for offline usage will be much lower.

Once the mobile app development method is decided, the company then selects a specific mobile app development tool that should ideally fulfill all of the following criteria:

  • The mobile app development team should know how to use the tool. In the absence of in-house knowledge, external resources should be easily available to use the tool for the company.
  • Developers should be able to use the tool to create all the features desired by customers.
  • The cost associated with the tool should be within the budget specified by the digital marketing team.
  • The time taken to create an app using the tool should be within the timeframe specified by the digital marketing team.
  • The tool should not be based on technologies or languages that are likely to decrease in popularity or become obsolete in the near future. 

    The article has originally been posted at
    SMstudy is the global accreditation body for Sales and Marketing certifications. For more details visit
    Important links:
    Visit to download the Digital Marketing Body of Knowledge for free
    Visit for free Digital Marketing Associate certification and course