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SEO or SEM?

Have several thriving Roku video channels. We are revamping those as well as our websites (which didn't support our videos, mostly marketing) which we intend to blow up, to equal and enhance our "lean-back" roku experience with bonus features that OTT presently can't accommodate such as extras, incentives for engagement, etc.

While we had no trouble gaining traction on Roku, going literally from New Apps to Most Popular Apps section in a matter of months, I anticipate a much harder challenge of discovery on the web for my channels. Driving my Roku customers to the enhanced web experience should be a good start but I wonder what is the most cost-effective way of driving customers on the web with our beta or present MVP sites which are hardly getting any traffic.

For a site at this level, should I expend all my energies on SEO or should I begin spending some dollars on SEM? Also, does it matter if the site is primarily positioned as a video streaming site?

Thanks for any feedback.

6 Replies

David Schwartz
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David Schwartz Entrepreneur • Advisor
Multi-Platform (Desktop+Mobile) Rapid Prototyping + Dev, Tool Dev
I have no idea what you're asking about, or even what this has to do with other founders and starting up a business. It belongs in a specialized marketing forum somewhere.

The vast majority of people here seem to be trying to figure out how to get a one-page website built for their fledgling business and how to hire someone to do it for them economically (or for equity). You already seem light-years ahead of where most startups are.

Not to mention, when I think of Roku, I think of a device like Apple TV and the Amazon FireStick that delivers content like what the cable companies carry. How do you get your own "thriving channels" on Roku? I'm curious, but that seems way off-topic for this forum.
Michael Hong
1
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Michael Hong Entrepreneur
CEO / Co-Founder of Digital Media Rights LLC
David,

I may be wrong, but I don't get the impression FD forums are mostly for people trying to create one-page website. If it is, as a newbie to FD, I am in the wrong place. And while I may be more established as a content aggregator and Roku channel operator (which are apps at the end of the day) I am at the very early stage of my web buildout.
Simon Abushaban
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Simon Abushaban Advisor
IT Projects & Program Manager | IT Delivery Manager | Technologist
Hi Michael,

I have barely minimal experience on video streaming platforms.

Have you tried to get brand ambassador? have a look at www.getambassador.com

For other options:
http://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-between-ReferralCandy-and-Curebit-and-other-referral-marketing-software

Let me know your feedback if used any of those
Geoff Schwarten
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Geoff Schwarten Entrepreneur
Growth Marketing at IDEO
Hi Michael,

Good question. I see it as relevant to founders and start-ups because a key question for start-ups is where to focus your limited resources - time and money.

If you are starting from zero traffic from paid or organic, I'd start with paid search. With paid search you can try out all sorts of keywords and direct traffic to different video properties and get immediate feedback and results. If you set up goals and conversions, then you can understand which terms are the most effective at hitting your goals (your business objectives). Those successful keywords are the ones you'd want to go out and optimize for. If you start with SEO, you may optimize for keywords that aren't valuable to your business.

Not sure if that makes sense, but that is how I would approach it.

Geoff

Blair Austin
2
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Blair Austin Entrepreneur
Director Marketing at H. D. Smith, a national healthcare products wholesaler
Hi Michael,
Good question indeed. I agree with Geoff ^^ but take a slightly different schedule.

My recommendation: start SEO so you have content on your pages and a Call to Action (CTA) plan to convert them from a visitor to a quote requester/buyer. A very close second step is to add SEM to test keywords. Make content adjustments based on audience behavior with paid keywords; start to own these so you can migrate away from those keywords to new ones (hopefully having growing revenue to maintain this paid method). *Tip* Seek insights from a rank tracker in your Marketing Automation (MA) platform or use Google tools to identify what keywords your competitors rank for & the difficulty rate for your site to rank for each word.

Why: You need relevant, contextual content for SEO to work, with (as Geoff states) keywords that your audience uses. Paid search (SEM) is a great way to test keywords with your audience, but you must have the content on the page you send them to so they engage/stay and a solid way to convert them / for them to take action. This also requires testing via best practices, A/B testing, and managed trials + resulting changes to adopt the winning conversion methods. If you only have money for one - spend it on SEO so you have content working for you and a little $ left over to continually improve it with the results of your response testing.

It's great that you have an audience to send to your site.
Idea: If you have ANY keywords currently that give you a page 1 response rate on google - give your contacts 2 ways to visit: 1) click the link you provide (easy breezy), and 2) ask your audience to type "x keyword" into google to find you in the middle/end of the first page of results. This will instantly help you rate for that important keyword.

It's a maddening discipline and it's constantly in beta, but even the free side of it pays big.

I welcome other marketers to add to or oppose this advice. It's simply what I've collected in the past few years and applied successfully with a small budget.

Best,
Blair Austin
Michael Hong
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Michael Hong Entrepreneur
CEO / Co-Founder of Digital Media Rights LLC
Thanks Geoff and Blair for these thoughtful comments. This is exactly the type of feedback I was seeking. How best to drive initial traffic with a modest budget. SEO, while it may not require any out-of-pocket expense to an ad platform, still requires expertise while SEM often requires both. This is crucial for me to develop my next phase of development for the site.
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