Social Media Optimization & SEO: A Cowley Success Story

Gold

Call it insomnia, a crazy passion for internet marketing and/or blogging, and/or all of the above but I am officially staying up all night to get work done and decided to open up the magic “Blog Ideas” list I have for Cowley and am going to try to take down all 27 on the list before the sun comes up.  Don’t worry; I’m not doing any illegal drugs, just massive amounts of coffee.  I’m gonna sleep great tomorrow night.

[Author’s note: I got about 7 of the 27 topics done that night.]

First topic.

A while ago (a hate having to do’s from “a while ago,” by the way), my VP, Gail Cowley, suggested I blog about our SMO (social media optimization) and SEO success as a case study to inspire people to hire us (I mean, come on, that’s common knowledge right?).  I put it on the list.

About Two Years Ago

…I came on the team.  I admit to knowing, up until then, basically nothing about marketing and/or advertising.  Pretty much thought the two were the same thing, and you can bet your life I didn’t know anything about SEO.  (Oh God, a computer just turned on in the other room [you know that Windows jingle?], and no one is here but me.  A little darkness and the imagination…  I’m alone in the office right now.  I think.  I’m also a screenwriter: starting to think of a great movie right now…)

Michael MyersAnyway, I didn’t know anything except how to write and figure stuff when I got here.  Fortunately, I had a great team to work with.  We’ve got Paul and Gail who have 35 plus years’ experience in the marketing gig; Tracey, who keeps things all together; Jesse and Chris who are masters of their crafts; and the newer people – Zach who’s always cooperating; and the interns who are eager to as well.  We make a great team.  I digress, again.

We had a pretty good website when I got on.  Chris and Jesse did a fantastic job.  However, I was tasked with ramping up our SEO (search engine optimization).  So I got to work figuring out what that meant.  (I’ll spare you the gory details, I already wrote about it – click here and here.)

SEO takes time, and in the meantime, I learned a lot about social media marketing and started experimenting with a few ideas.  It was slow in the beginning but I watched what other people were doing and got suggestions from Gail and the team, until I officially was promoted from “SEO consultant” (a.k.a. “guy learning about SEO”) to “Internet Marketing Manager” (a.k.a. “dangerous man who knows something about what he is doing”).

Let the Games Begin

For anyone who doesn’t really get what I’m talking about, internet marketing is basically getting people to your website to buy your s[tuff].  That’s all.  There’s a lot more to say about it (read my article on the 5 types), but that’s it in a nutshell.  That’s what I do.

How to get people to Cowleyweb.com?  More people – and the right people!  That was the question.

Consistent and innovative work – that was the answer.

I downloaded and subscribed to and tested every SEO tool in the planet and read every “Social Media Marketing” book and blog out there until I patched together something of a campaign strategy for us and a client I was managing back then.

Peter GibbonsThey say “SEO takes time” and “social media marketing looks like you are playing on the computer to your bosses.”  Well, yeah – definitely true.  But the fact was, after about 3 months of labor (and when I say labor, I mean labor), we started to move up in Google rankings!

I think we were on page 3 or 4 for almost everything, and pretty soon we hit #1 for “Syracuse ad agency” and the first page for “web design” related words.  And then the phone calls and form fill outs started happening.  Up until then, internet marketing was a great idea, a really nice thing – “Hey we’re number one on Google for…” – but when you start to get serious amounts of cash out of it, well, it’s a great feeling.

The Next Step

Paul had the ingenious idea of partnering with a company who did SEO around the clock to make us more efficient and increase our capacity for handling accounts.  The product became more sellable and the deliverables we could offer clients (i.e. 150 back links submissions per month, etc.) became more concrete and guaranteed.  And I became more of a Project Manager.

We even hired them to do our SEO, as a compliment to my own efforts, and it’s turned out great!  We’ve seen continued growth in rankings across the board!

I developed a pretty cool social media campaign too, if I do say so myself; and have collaborated with the best in the business both online and in town through the “Social Media Breakfast Syracuse” and various other networking events.  There’s always more to learn in the internet marketing world, and it’s great to collaborate with other bright people to do so.

I’ve kept track of all our social media accounts since the beginning and in all cases, either I’ve started us from scratch and we have a decent or outrageously awesome number of followers right now; or I’ve multiplied what we’ve already worked with.

Content Marketing: The Blogging Boom!

NewsiesWhen I got here, (you can check the archive) we wrote about a blog post a month.  That’s more than most, but not enough to really get dangerous online.  I took a stab at it once my SEO reading brought me to the mandate: “Thou must blog to get more SEO.”

The concept is simple: create content people want to read, share the links online (via social media mostly, the SMO overlap), and you’ll get visitors followed by Google noticing (increased rankings), which means even more visitors, and hopefully – if everything is set up right – conversions!  (A.k.a. money!)

I started a blog rotation (that’s how Poe came along, read about it here) to get everyone in the office involved, and blogged weekly myself.  And then I blogged more.  And then I challenged myself to blog daily – which more or less has been happening, okay less – and then it happened!  We were getting about 20-30 visitors a day to Cowleyweb.com; but with daily blogging, that number went well over 100 every day that we blogged daily!  And the conversions went up too (naturally, as statistics will tell you).

Since then, we’ve been refining the topics of the blog posts (in process now, actually) so we get the right people on our website: mainly, people who can decide for their companies that they want to hire Cowley.  Pretty da[rn] smart, right?  You bet your life it is!

I love content marketing.  There, I said it.

So What?

A good SEO friend of mine once brought up the example of the dentist, which I use in conversation quite a bit.  Imagine you are a dentist.  Now, the average value of a new patient over his or her lifespan comes to about 30k.  That’s a lot of money.  And it’s just one patient.  If you invest in SEO, for instance, as a dentist with a website – and got just one new patient out of it – you would probably make your money back at least five to ten times over, just with the one.  Just that year.  Obviously, these things depend differently for every equation, but the process is the same.

CarIn a world where 97% of people are Googling stuff before they drive anywhere (me too – I mean, why spend on gas?), you’ve got to have an awesome web presence.

Well, I hope you liked the story.  It’s not over.  We are taking it to the next level as we speak with email marketing our blog to our targets.  Let the cat out of the bag?  I beg to differ.  It’s that strategy that says, “Tell them what you are doing and you’ll look real smart.”  I kinda’ made that up.  Me and Kit Lawson, my cool, ingenious Sales Manager.

This one’s for you, Kit.

Knocking it out of the park.

Goodnight/morning all.

-          the IMM

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