Creative yet detail-oriented, search marketing strategists are individuals that focus on electronic media and find ways to improve a company’s online presence. Virtually every business has a web site. Years ago, this effort was enough to increase sales and attract new customers. Now, most customers and families not only have a home computer but also regularly use cell phones and tablet computers to conduct business. A web site that cannot be found and used on a mobile device is of little value to a company. Search engine optimization is the key to a company’s success in the digital age, and is the specialty of this type of marketing professional.
Search marketing is based on the constantly changing algorithms by which search engines find and rate information on the Internet. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Ask use a number of criteria to determine which information will appear on the front page and in what order depending upon the keywords used for the search.
Using computer programming language, a strategist works with a company’s marketing team in order to create a fully-functional site that accurately portrays the company. He or she also works with the marketing team to design a new public image for the company. A strategist then presents this information to the company or other stakeholders in a series of marketing proposals. A strategist turns the information and images on the web site into information that appeals to search engines. He or she researches the keywords that customers are likely to use when searching for a company’s product or service and then places those keywords in strategic locations throughout the site. A strategist gathers information on current search engine optimization algorithms, tests the information on a company’s web site to see how well it conforms to the algorithms, and regularly runs web site analytics to test the effectiveness of his or her keyword choices.
In addition to the “passive" promotion of a company’s web site through search engine optimization, a strategist designs and implements a company’s paid online advertising. Using the keyword research, he or she writes and purchases advertising space on related web sites and maintains the correct links back to the company site. An analyst also maintains unpaid links with blogs on related web sites and encourages those sites to link to the company’s site.
Successful marketing strategists must have excellent communication skills, both oral and written, in order to create web sites that appeal to the public and to convince a company that their proposal will suit the company’s needs. He or she needs strong analytical skills to translate web analytics into practical applications for the web site. Finally, individuals who thrive on meeting deadlines will enjoy the challenges found in this career.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education level required for this type of profession. Common majors are marketing, computer science, and business administration. Marketing courses train a strategist to think creatively while designing a web site that meets the practical needs of a company. Computer science courses enable a strategist to write computer code for programming, to determine which platforms best fit a company’s needs, and to troubleshoot any problems that arise during and after the testing phase of a new web site. Business administration courses hone a strategist’s ability to accurately diagnose the needs of his client and create viable solutions within budgetary constraints.
DeVry University offers undergraduate coursework leading to a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a specialty in Emerging Media Communication. It also offers graduate coursework leading to a Master’s Degree in Electronic Commerce Management, as well as certification in Business Administration and Electronic Commerce Management. With 95 campuses across the United States and Canada and a robust selection of online courses, DeVry University allows students to choose the on-site and electronic classes that meet their needs.
Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida concentrates on providing a creative environment in which students can pursue a number of degrees relating to computer programming, animation, marketing, and web site development. All levels of education occur both on campus and online. Students at Full Sail University can pursue a bachelor of science degree and master’s degree in Internet Marketing.
Kaplan University offers students a traditional, campus-based education at one of its 11 sites spread across the United States. Non-traditional students interested in pursuing their education online can choose from nearly 200 certification and degree programs. A student interested in Internet marketing can choose either a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration of a Bachelor of Information Technology with a concentration on New Media and Internet Marketing, and continue his or her education to achieve a Masters of Business Administration degree in Marketing.
Most often, a strategist works in an office setting, since much of his or her work is comprised of creating, testing, and implementing online marketing efforts. He or she may also work in a computer laboratory setting with other team members. A strategist may work directly for one company, or he or she may work for a consulting firm that works with many companies at once. Regular office hours are common for a strategist, though he or she may need to work an alternate schedule when testing or launching a site so as not to interfere with the company’s daily business routine. He or she may work additional hours as a deadline approaches or new computer glitches occur.