Ron Spinner, CEO of AIMS Internet Marketing in Israel has been in the industry since 1998. Moving fast with the market is one of AIMS' hallmarks and Ron has the Google hat to prove it. He received it in the mail from Google because he was one of the first 100 people worldwide to pass the Adwords Professional test.
Multi-lingual SEO is another strategy AIMS has years of experience in. However, what really sets AIMS apart is creative thinking. Linking, social media campaigns, conversion optimization and Adwords all need creativity to ensure success.
You ran an AdWords ad writing contest a little while ago. How did you come up with the idea?
We came up with the idea of the Adwords creative writing contest in one of our weekly meetings because we see this as the most important part of running a campaign. Any good company can do all the technical aspects of keyword research, organization, implementation, etc. It is very time consuming and you need to know the system very well but it is not rocket science.
However, we have seen in the campaigns that we run that a great ad can improve a campaign exponentially. Coming up with great ads is the most challenging aspect of any campaign.
What benefits did you get from the campaign besides seeing great ads and getting inspired? For example, did you hire new staff from it?
We had a lot of fun reading all the entries. There are a lot of creative writers out there -- not necessarily in the ad business. The most important thing we learnt is that it is worthwhile to approach different sources for new ad ideas.
What were the first two hires you made in your business and why?
If you had to do it over, would you hire for those two positions again? Why/why not?
Since we have been in business for 29 years this question is a memory test. Back then we were a traditional marketing company as it was before the Internet started so it is not that relevant. We started designing websites in 1995 and did on site SEO optimization free as it was fun to do. In 1998 one of our clients came to our office to update his website. He told us 2 important things:
1. "There is a new search engine you should try---it's called Google.
2. "By the way, we are getting a lot of leads through our web site"
That is when I realized that search engine marketing was important. I decided to phase out our traditional marketing activities and focus on Internet marketing. I even changed our name from Vista to AIMS - Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies.
You recently tweeted that mobile usage was on the rise - how much mobile business does AIMS do?
This varies greatly by client. Some clients have as much as 15% of their visitors from mobile and others only have 3%. However it is on the rise for everyone. Conversion also very greatly depends on how the website renders on the smartphones. We are encouraging all our clients to update their sites for mobile.
What trends do you see emerging in internet marketing? Are there any Israel-specific trends you see?
As major economic trends continue, multi-lingual websites will become more important. For example we have been marketing in mainland China for the last few years and it is a totally different marketing environment, to say the least. Here in Israel we are probably more adept at marketing multi-lingual sites since our local market is so small.
Social aspects to marketing is going to get stronger. Google just came out with the +1 button for SEO and Adwords. Many Google innovations don't catch on but I believe that this one will. Google says that it will use the SEO button as a ranking factor. If it is an important factor we will all be adding this button to our websites.
For Adwords it is a little trickier. Since the person clicks on the button before seeing the landing page it may encourage people to write more entertaining ads which are not necessarily good for ROI. This seems to go against the original intent of search engine ads. We will just have to see how this plays out.
Israel SEO trends come a little later even in this digital age. But they sometimes play out differently. We are on social media sites (http://www.globes.co.il/
serveen/globes/docview.asp? did=1000652763) more than other countries. I expect we will get more group actions like the cottage cheese boycott in the future.
What can internet marketers do to take advantage of them?
Optimize your website for different languages and countries. Become more social. But be aware of the pitfalls. Go mobile.
What specs do you look for in hosts for your customers?
A good host is very important:
- Reliability is not trivial. Many people don't realize that 99% uptime means your site is down 7 hours every month.
- Support is also extremely important. That is where the big companies usually fail.
- We also like to have access to raw log files. Although Google Analytics is now the de facto analytics package, it has many shortcomings. It can't easily show you actual keywords used by Adwords visitors, comparison of ads with the same title, pdf file downloads, etc. We run the log files through our analytics program to fill in these important metrics.