Search is first.
What is the best way to generate sales online?
While the answer may vary slightly depending on the size of the ad budget, a Forbes study says marketers of all sizes should start with search.
Forty-eight percent of marketers said that search engine optimization (SEO) was the best method for generating conversions online. More than one-half of marketers with budgets over $1 million agreed.
The next-most-effective conversion tactic for smaller marketers was e-mail and e-newsletters, followed by pay-per-click and search ads, behavioral targeting and page sponsorships.
For larger marketers, the list of effective online tactics was nearly the same, except search and e-mail were flipped. Pay-per-impression ads were also more effective for larger marketers (presumably because they have the funds to experiment in an expensive medium).
To build, maintain or change brand perceptions required different tactics, however.
For both small- and large-budget marketers, site or page sponsorship and SEO were considered the most effective ways to build a brand online.
Pay-per-impression ads came next on the list for big spenders, while the more budget-constricted focused on e-mail newsletters, pay-per-impression and viral marketing.
Perhaps in anticipation of the end of the recession (see A Short-Term Marketing Focus), marketers are changing their spending priorities in the six months after March 2009 to feature more viral marketing, SEO, behavioral targeting and pay-per-click.
Overall, 57% of respondents said they still spend less than 25% of their marketing budgets online.
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