I was astounded to find that the company doing her web site was offering to charge her "x" amount for search engine optimization for 3 hours of work per month (and the dollar amount was way off), and made a brief mention of email marketing, but the proposal stated nothing about what they covered under the title of "SEO" and what they proposed for email marketing.
So I lend these thoughts - things to consider when searching for a "marketing strategist" for your web site. Plain and simple... find someone who knows what they are doing - and pay attention to the details they are providing you.
Internet Marketing has several layers to it. I will compare it to my favorite dessert - A Triple Layer Chocolate Peppermint Torte!
The bottom layer of the cake... What I consider the
"technical" pieces of your plan. This layer includes your search engine optimization, keyterm research, meta tags, page titles, image and file naming conventions, site maps and basically, the aspects that are addressed through your site's code/tags.
The middle layer of your cake... Your content. Know your customers and what they are looking for and provide the content, products or services in your content that will answer questions easily and help them make their buying decision quickly. Your content should also be optimized using the information compiled when building the first layer of your cake by building your keyterms into your content allowing the search engines to find it!
The top layer of your cake... Listening to your website and making the necessary adjustments to content and product offerings. Modifying keyterms, building new content, adding new documentation and information as people your customer are looking for. Work your site through email marketing, blogging and much much much more! What I describe here only scratches the surface of working your site and continuously modifying your strategy to marketing your site to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers.
And then there's the frosting... This outer layer is your brand, your persona, your online personality. Working your site by building your brand through Social Media and Social Networking. Think of it this way... The frosting on a cake is the first thing you see, and usually the first thing you taste on a cake. Relate it to your brand or persona - this is the first impression you make - the face of your business. Professional decoraters take great pride in the details of the impression their cake will leave (as it may result in more business for them in the beauty alone). The same should apply to you and the effort you put into to building your online personality through social media. (Cake image shown at right is a creation of Sincredible Pastries in Central NY)
The frosting does not refer to a flash heavy site with blinking images and glitzy appearances - remember that your site must function effectively and efficiently allowing your customers to find what they want quickly - AND allow the search engines to find your site as well. Flash has it's place and when used properly can be a very effective tool - but that is a whole separate conversation.
The whole cake... This is just a birdseye view of how I see internet marketing and the layers that lie within. There are many aspects of marketing your website most of which I haven't even touched on - I would simply encourage you to ask the questions to your marketing strategist and feel confident that you are working your site continuously and getting the desired results.
A note of caution - be sure that the baker of your cake is on the level... Recently I took on a client at work who was paying a third party company to manage their pay-per-click advertising. When I took over managing their AdWords campaigns I found that this 3rd party company was charging my new client a flat monthly rate for AdWords and my customer never realized that the amount they were paying was almost 3 times the actual amount being spent on their AdWords activity. Fortunately for them, we cut their AdWords budget by roughly 60% and they are still getting the same bang for their buck.
Find a strategist who is passionate about internet marketing and who will share your passion for success in YOUR business. That will surely be a recipe for success!