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SEM SEO Expert by Nima Asrar Haghighi: To Brand or To Measure: That is the Question, or Is It? - Toronto SEO, SEM, SMO, Web Analytics Consultant .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

SEM SEO Expert by Nima Asrar Haghighi

SEM SEO Expert” is a blog written by Nima Asrar Haghighi. Nima is an Internet Marketing Specialist with expertise in SEM (PPC Advertising), Organic SEO, RSS, Social Media and Web Analytics (Google Analytics IQ Certified). Nima holds an MBA in marketing, B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering, Project Management Certification, and CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) in E-commerce. Contact: nima @ sem seo expert.com.

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Welcome to Nima Asrar Haghighi's blog covering Internet marketing topics such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, Web Analytics, RSS and online marketing industry as a whole.


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Saturday, July 01, 2006

To Brand or To Measure: That is the Question, or Is It?

As I mentioned in my earlier post (Interactive Marketing Speaking Engagement), I had a presentation on the topic of search engine marketing in Canada. The event topics were more targeted toward direct marketing and direct response. However, among attendees there were some very sharp people with branding background.

Not surprisingly, a debate was going on about weather the Internet is a reliable medium to build and reinforce brand names. Some believed that online brand marketing should be an integral part of corporate branding strategy while others were skeptical about the role of Internet in their brand marketing strategy as there was less control over the message online.

Interestingly enough, both groups were united in their opinion that direct marketing and branding do not necessarily mix and match. Of course they had compelling arguments. The whole debate intrigued me to write this article.

In my opinion, Marketing is not black and white. It is possible to practice branding and yet measure the results. The results might not be as tangible as selling a product online and calculating ROI. However, there is always a way to set a goal and measure the success against it. It is just a matter of finding the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

When a company runs a website, it has to have a clear objective not only for the site but also for each and every single page on the web site. To make it easier to manage, site owners can segment their sites into categories based on where the visitors are in the sales cycle. Visitors’ mindsets can generally be categorized as follows:

* Information Gathering
* Evaluation and Comparison
* Buying and/or Decision Making

Then based on these categories they can develop customized contents to satisfy their visitors and meet their objectives. However, the key to success here is to choose the right KPIs. Some of metrics to consider are:

* Direct Visitor Traffic – If your traffic from direct visitors (people who enter your URL directly or have your site bookmarked) increases over time, it can be an indication of improved brand awareness.

* Depth of Visit – In addition to good navigation and rich content, depth of visit can also represent the level of visitors’ engagement with your brand.

* Repeat Customers – An increase in number of repeat customers can be an indication of customer satisfaction which could lead to brand reinforcement.

* Branded Search Terms – even the search terms visitors use to find your site can be an indication of how your brand is performing. An increase in the number of branded search terms can be a good news.

By not letting "branding" be a convenient excuse for them not to define other site performance metrics, companies can incorporate Internet marketing and search engine marketing into their corporate branding strategy.

Nima - SEM SEO Expert

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