Hitting the target: successful companies must develop an online marketing plan.

Author:Page, Russ
Position::Lessons Learned - Company overview

Take a moment to visit 1994 with me. I was sitting in a word processing class learning commands on a DOS-based computer with a green-colored screen. Smartphones have more power than that computer.

Bill Clinton was President of the United States, Schindlers List won Best Picture, Woodstock had its 25th anniversary and the NFL added the Jacksonville Jaguars to the league. It doesn't seem that long ago, but a lot has changed in 16 years.

This was also the same year a man named Tim Berners-Lee founded an organization called the World Wide Web Consortium, which would be the catalyst to our days of Facebook, YouTube, online banking and Google.

Google founders Larry Page (no relation to me) and Sergey Brin, two Stanford Ph.D. students, wouldn't even form the company until 1998, but would have $23.6 billion in revenue a decade later by capitalizing on context-based advertisements shown to Web searchers.

When you do a Google search today, or use most any search engine for that matter, you'll see sponsored results (alongside your other results) which are targeted advertisements delivered specifically to a searcher's interest. Many businesses are aware they can advertise online for products like legal services, dental work, plastic surgery, bicycles, travel, books or financial services, yet they still aren't doing it.

Search Marketing Opportunity

In December of 2009, people from around the world told search engines what they were looking for more than 130 billion times, and search engines showed them correlating advertisements on every search. That was a 46 percent increase over 2008.

Fifteen years ago, advertising consisted of billboards, direct mail, TV, radio and a handful of other things that sought to target individuals in a crowd, and for direct mail purposes, a hefty postal bill came attached to it. Google and other tools made it possible to reach crowds of targeted individuals who showed interest in a specific product. One of those tools is called pay-per-click marketing (PPC). Google's version of PPC is called AdWords.

PPC is a form of context-based advertising that allows companies to select and bid on specific terms that searchers type like "Utah family dentist" or "attorneys in Salt Lake." Instead of companies hoping they'll find a qualified buyer via traditional advertising, Google and other paid search platforms prescreen the buyers for companies, and companies don't pay for the ad unless users click on it, hence the name...

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