Allow me to offer a preemptive caveat—I own a successful search engine marketing (SEM) company. Like most business owners, I am constantly trying to expand our client base—via the same search-engine and Internet-marketing methods that we deliver to our clients.

A quick search for terms such as "search engine optimization company" or "Internet marketing company" on Google will demonstrate that we practice what we preach. As I write this, on a "clean machine" (one with all browser settings reset and cookies removed), my SEM company ranks No. 1 on Google for both phrases and the plural forms of those phrases.

Based on your past search tendencies, your specific location, and whims of the Google gods, your mileage may vary, but you should find us near the top of the search results pages for those and hundreds of other related terms.

The Value of Integrating Different Internet-Marketing Methods

The point here is not to boast—those results are because of the collective efforts of my expert team, not solely my own expertise. The point is to support my contention that we practice what we preach, and that the vast majority of our leads come from the Internet-marketing methods we apply to our own site.

Yet there has been much debate over the years in the SEM community about whether it is proper or even hypocritical for an SEM company to use other forms of advertising unrelated to Internet marketing.

The naysayers generally have a common argument: A quality SEM company "shouldn't need" to engage in any form of offline marketing. Depending on the company's goals, that may be true for some.

A smaller firm or an independent consultant may have more than enough leads from its Internet-marketing methods. It may even be turning business away while blogging about how companies such as mine shouldn't need to look offline for additional business opportunities.

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image of Scott Buresh

Scott Buresh is founder and CEO of Medium Blue, an award-winning search engine optimization company.

LinkedIn: Scott Buresh