Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am an online marketing specialist with a focus on organic traffic generation and the strategic use of web analytics. I’ve been heavily involved in both SEO and Analytics since 2003 following years of experience in site coding and have worked in both in house and agency-side positions which I think gives me a unique perspective on the site optimization process. Presently I serve as SEO Specialist at Agency.com where I work with companies such as Nike, Hewlett Packard, and Vonage to develop comprehensive natural search programs. Previously I served as SEO/SEM Product Manager for Hostway, a leading worldwide web hosting provider where I developed search engine marketing solutions for clients such as Ebay and Costco.
Describe your approach to online marketing:
I think my approach to online marketing and just marketing in general has always been to focus on quality rather than quantity and to look at things from a long term perspective. Aggressive short term tactics absolutely have their place in marketing but without a solid strategy and a mentality that values continuous improvement you will never be a true contender in your industry for long.
Tell why it is important to you to be a part of IM Think Tank.
IM Think Tank is a unique group of professionals who each look at marketing through a different lens and bring a unique perspective to the table. I continue to find there is nothing more valuable than surrounding yourself with intelligent people who have diverse backgrounds and experience.
What is your favorite internet tool or application?
There are so many great free and paid tools out there for online marketing and in particular search marketing. However, for me there is still nothing more powerful and important for building and expanding a web presence than the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. It offers an unmatched look into Google’s “database of intentions.” (a phrase John Battelle coined)
That said it’s important to realize that anyone can do basic research using this tool, but it is completely useless unless you have the experience and market intelligence to both identify the keywords most valuable in your niche and profitable for your business and take action to increase the visibility of your web properties for them. A very close second for me is a properly set up modern web analytics package (i.e. Google Analytics, Omniture)
Any tips for people just getting started?
I think the opportunities for people to work in Online Marketing are only going to increase in the coming years (problems with the economy aside) and thanks to companies like Google, Yahoo & MSN a lot of the tools of the trade (that were only previously available to big corporations able to invest in them) are now freely available to anyone willing to invest the time and work hard to learn them.
Take advantage of this and start out by building your own website from the ground up to experiment with. Get your own web hosting account, learn html, install Google analytics, and experiment with some of the great keyword research tools out there. Most importantly build website about a topic you are passionate about.
What are you excited to see come about in the future of integrated marketing?
I continue to be excited about the increased accountability that I am seeing from all marketing channels over the last few years. Business owners and clients today need to know that the dollars spent on marketing activities are truly delivering for them. The more accountable we as marketers become the more successful we will be.
One trend particularly relevant to integrated marketing I’ve been keeping a close watch on are innovations in attribution tracking. Knowing if a visitor clicked on a banner and then visited a search engine before they make a purchase and vice versa is powerful information that today is not being tracked in most cases.
Recommend a product or website (other than your own) related to business on the internet:
John Battelle, who I mentioned earlier wrote by far one of the best and most exhaustively researched books on the early history of the search engine called “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” I think this is a must read for anyone who works in search or is even just interested in the business of search.
Who do you admire in the SEO or Internet Marketing industry?
A couple writers/pundits in the SEO industry that I particularly admire are Todd Malicoat and Aaron Wall. In my spare time I play ice hockey and of course one the greatest players of all time is Wayne Gretzky. He was once quoted saying “A good player skates to where the puck is. A great player skates to where the puck will be.” Marketers like Todd and Aaron are people so in tune with their craft that can anticipate what will become important before anyone else. Of course just writing about marketing and actually delivering quality work are two very different things, but Todd and Aaron excel on both of these fronts.
What is your idea of success?
My idea of success is finding something you are truly passionate about and then doing it for a living for a sustained period of time. I work every day with the hope of achieving this.
Any final thoughts?
I’m definitely looking forward to the first IM Think Tank event. I think it is a great group of marketing professionals and I am honored to have been asked to participate.
Chris King – Chicago SEO & Web Analytics Specialist