SEW Live Recap: This Is Getting Personal

    May 10, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

At the end of the day, it’s about sales, not traffic. And if it’s about sales, then it must also be about people, not clicks. This seemed to be the focus of yesterday’s one-day SEW Live in Columbus, OH (you might call it SES Lite), as marketers explore the transition from search engine marketing to social media marketing.

SEW Live Recap: This Is Getting Personal
SEW Live Recap: This Is Getting Personal

SMO (Social Media Optimization) includes, not precludes, SEO/SEM, in case that’s what you were thinking. 

Search Engine Watch’s Elisabeth Osmeloski says the tastes-great-less-filling version of SES is part of a larger effort to reach the heartland, as online marketing begins to bleed in from the coasts. Though the event is trimmed down, it’s certainly not dumbed down.

Since the desired end is a sale, the means is building relationships. This goes beyond generating grand influxes of traffic – or what you might call drive-by marketing – more important metrics these days involve time visitors spend at a website, how many pages they viewed, and how those things relate to conversions.

For that reason, there seems to be a growing consensus that baiting the crowd at is over – unless you are targeting that specific young, male, geeky demographic. As SiteLogic’s Matt Bailey notes, the end result of a popular Digg story is spikes in traffic and crashed servers, but not visitors who stick around or make purchases.

Traffic not being the ultimate goal is new. This a sea change in the industry, as Sage Lewis, of suggests in his WebProNews video. A lot of traffic is good, as long as it’s the right traffic. What hasn’t changed though, is the importance of linking, or so goes the, um, Sage-like advice.

So ignore the Digg crowd if you’d like more control of your message and who sees it.  

Instead, Bailey and Search Engine Guide’s Jennifer Laycock suggest utilizing YouTube, where marketers have more control of their messages, a free platform to broadcast, and a well-populated area in which to demonstrate.

Whatever medium you choose for your viral campaign, the pros at SEW Live advise to ask these questions before you begin:

1.    What sparks passion in my customers?
2.    What has not been done before?
3.    How does my idea benefit my users?
4.    Will my audience risk their own reputation to spread the word?

The most important ingredient in your campaign, though, according to Laycock, is common sense. It’s not about buying clicks, it’s about buying customers. In line with the common sense approach, is an integrated strategy that involves an amalgam of paid and organic search, vertical search, social media, and web analytics.

Analytics in SMO is another rather uncharted territory, but careful analysis of social data will become increasingly important as marketers strive to know who is interested, what motivates them, and how consumers behave.

It becomes, then, a matter of getting to know the customer on a highly personal level as sellers seek to fill the consumer’s needs more effectively. As the user profile becomes more apparent, the more a marketer can tailor their campaign to accommodate a wide range of customers.

The visually impaired, for example, will benefit from the marketer’s knowledge of their needs and efforts to make the online shopping experience easier for them.