Friday, January 31, 2014

Twitter Campaigns of 2013 - Memorable Success

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm happy to report that many brands are not only identifying the components of a successful social media campaign, but are executing in a memorable way. It appears that brands have discovered that the "secret sauce" relies heavily on a dash of clever and a heap of listening to what their customers care about.
As we close out 2013, let's time to take a look at some of the most memorable social media campaigns that tickled our fancy and gave a little extra zing.

Super Bowl Blackout Leads to a Touchdown for Oreo

While you may think it's been talked to death, it's undeniable that Oreo's quick and witty response to the Super Bowl blackout is one of the most memorable social campaigns of the year.
Many people may not remember, but Oreo paid millions of dollars to run an actual ad during the Super Bowl. However, the most memorable thing from the cookie company that day was their quick and playful Twitter ad.
Why it's Memorable: In only one hour Oreo's message was retweeted 10,000 times. Weeks after the Super Bowl was over, more people were talking about Oreo's clever campaign than who won the game.
 #FML | TMI | Sharing is Caring

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Time for Guest Blogging With a Purpose

This is an awesome article over on SEO MOZ :

Dear Readers, before getting to the meat of the post about how to make guest blogging work for you and not end up looking like a spammer, I'd like to tell you a little story. A story about when Matt Cutts single-handedly changed the course of my day. The story goes a little something like this...
It was a chilly, yet calm Monday afternoon in the Moz office, as I was having lunch at my desk and watching over all the Moz social channels (a task I rarely do these days, as we have a team of awesome ladies who usually does it). As I was checking my personal Twitter feed though, I saw a tweet from Matt Cutts pointing to his latest blog post, "The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO."
Quickly I jumped over to read the blog and… BOOM, this was the first paragraph:
Okay, I'm calling it: if you're using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it's become a more and more spammy practice, and if you're doing a lot of guest blogging then you're hanging out with really bad company.
"Oh dear," I thought to myself. "My day just got a whole lot more interesting."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Microsoft moved 3.9 million Xbox Ones, while Surface sales soared

The company's search for a new CEO is still the dominant narrative surrounding Microsoft. But if you're able to get past the quest to replace Ballmer, you'll find a company that's starting to get something of a second wind in its long life. For one, its new Xbox One console is selling quite well. After getting off to a slightly rocky start and trailing the latest PlayStation in initial sales, it outsold its rival in the US for the Month of December. All told during the last quarter Redmond pushed 3.9 million of the next-gen (now-gen?) gaming rigs out to retail channels. That's in addition to 3.5 million Xbox 360s, which are still selling well and are quite a bargain compared to the new systems.

Another unit that struggled early on, Surface, seems to be righting the ship as well. (Though, its rough patch lasted a ways longer than the Xbox One's.) Revenues from Surface sales more than doubled from $400 million last quarter to $893 million. And let's not forget, that $400 million dollars represented a 47 percent increase over the quarter before that.

Obviously, things are not all rosy. Its desktop consumer Office and Windows 8 offerings continue to see revenues fall. But, the growth of its device division and increased income from Bing (which, stunningly, now accounts for 18.2 percent of searches in the US, according to Microsoft) are beginning to compensate for the "softness in the consumer PC market."

Loads of comments :

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Search Engine Optimization Outline

Select Keywords
Keywords form the foundation of an effective online marketing strategy. If you don’t take time to select the most relevant keywords to your campaign, you’ll never attract the right kind of traffic.
Start with a nomination list – Don’t be afraid to start with hundreds or thousands of potential keywords. Keyword ideas can be found anywhere from keyword tools and website analytics to competitor sites and marketing collateral.
Refine the nomination list – find your most important keywords by asking how easily a potential keyword can convert into revenue, how much traffic the keyword has, and whether or not your site can compete for it.

Get Traffic
Search engine rankings can be affected by more than 200 different factors. These factors can be grouped into onsite, offsite, and technical categories.
Onsite – You won’t start gaining traction in your SEO campaign until you create relevant, keyword-rich content on your website.
Offsite – The quality and quantity of offsite links are two of the most important factors Google considers when ranking sites. Boost your rankings by earning quality links from strategic keywords.
Technical – Poor web coding not only affects usability, but it can also hinder Google from reading your site properly and hurt your chances of ranking.

Convert Visitors
Traffic is great, but unless your new visitors complete an action, increased traffic will never translate into increased revenue. A great SEO campaign places a strong focus on improving the sales funnel.
Focus on calls to action – effective calls to action tell your visitors what to do next. Know your audience and use the calls to action that speak to them directly.
Streamline forms – The more hoops your users have to jump through, the more business you’ll lose. Create forms that are as straightforward as possible.

Measure Results
SEO is not a one-time fix. To get the most out of your efforts, you should constantly update your campaign based on results. Metrics to consider are covered in ascending order of importance.
Rankings – By getting your keywords to rank above the fold on the first page, you can grow your traffic exponentially.
Visitors – Measure not only how many visitors come to your site, but how they got there and what they did once they arrived.
Conversions – Assign a dollar value to all types of conversions on your website to make tracking and measure ROI possible.
Revenue – Increasing revenue is a combination of attracting new visitors and converting those visitors into customers. Thorough analytics that tie revenue to specific actions are invaluable for evaluating and improving a campaign.

Top ten tips for local optimization
Best keyword tools
Best link building tools

Search Engine Marketing Outline

10 tips for improving online advertising results
Select Effective Keywords – keywords are what causes your ads to show up to people that are searching. If you use the wrong keywords you may pay more than is necessary for click through traffic and/or get the wrong people to visit. Be sure to spend time with the Google Adwords planner or third party services like Word Tracker to identify good keywords.

Strong Headline – you need a headline that will get attention. This should be where at least 80% of your effort is at in preparing an ad, next create a strong offer. The ad must be clicked on to have any chance of working and not be deactivated for failure to generate clicks.

Persuasive copy – your copy is extremely limited in online advertising you need to make every single word count. It must be an offer so good the prospect can’t resist. Once your prospect reaches your landing page you have the ability to use more copy, remember to follow the motivational sequence and FAB pyramid when writing copy.

Call to action – your landing page must have a call to action to be successful. Without a well-defined and easily spotted call to action your landing page and hence entire campaign will be a failure.

Enticing Offer – an offer is simply what you are promising them and what do they have to do to get it. An offer is tied to your call to action, but must be enticing to be acted upon. If your offer is dull. Boring, or has no appeal to your target market you campaign will likely fail. Your offer must be very enticing to motivate your visitors to do the call to action.

Consider video – video is a powerful tool in today’s online marketing world. Consider including a video on your landing page to assist you in selling the offer. Statistics suggest that visitors that go to a page with video will watch the entire video.

Unique Landing Page – every pay to click or campaign should go to its own unique landing page. Never re-use landing pages and never cross contaminate your campaigns. A unique landing page assures that you track all prospects from beginning to end and know the exact amount of conversions a given campaign produces.

Google Analytics – make sure your landing page has Google Analytics installed on it so that you can track both visitors and conversions. If you are also using Google Adwords for advertising you can tie the entire campaign together by using Google Analytics.

Test and Refine – Test and refine all of your ads and landing pages by using A/B splits, multivarient testing. Remember to only test one element each time you run a test. Be sure you test something every time you run an ad to insure you are always collecting data for analysis.

Measure costs – be sure you measure the cost of every click and the total cost of your campaigns so you can ultimately measure the cost per lead or cost per sale, which are vital to determining your success as a direct marketer. You have only two ways to produce more profit in any campaign, sell more stuff or reduce costs. You can’t effectively reduce costs if you don’t know what they are.

Advertising Cycle Elements Model
Be found, find business and manage your brand

Print advertisements like yellow pages and yellow book
Local online searches like classifieds, google places, and yellow pages / yellow book
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing

Web Sites
Video Ads
Audio Ads
Text Ads
Ratings and Reviews
Social Media
Reputation Management

Local online display
Internet Mail – email blasts
Direct Mailing
Social Media

Direct Mail
Gift Certificates
Reward Program
Social Media

Consumers want their info available anytime and anywhere. Businesses want to be available to consumers.

Buyers know you…
Recommendations by other customers
Advertising influenced
Passers by
Former Customers

Buyers don’t know you…
Emergency Buyers
Dissatisfied Customers
Infrequent Buyers
Competitive Bid Shopping

You must target your market, create headings for those markets, display ads for those markets, landing pages for the ads to land on, and analytics to track the results.

Memories are very short
1 Day – 25% forget what they saw
2 Days – 50% forget what they saw
4 Days – 85% forget what they saw
7 Days – 97% forget what they saw
81 / 100 customers are lost in 10 years and in the first 3 years you lose approximately half of customers ( 50 ish ).
68% of people leave your services because of neglect.

Successful campaigns consist of a consultation with an expert, customized campaigns for your business and market, connecting with a landing page, AB testing and optimizing, tracking and reporting, and integrating media and interactive elements.

A display ad is a graphical advertising on the World Wide Web that appears next to content on web pages, instant messaging, applications, email, etc.  These ads often referred to as banner ads come in standard sizes that allow developers to prepare format specific pages. Ads can include text, logos, pictures, and media.

Search Marketing
Online display Advertising
Email Marketing
Social Media marketing
Mobile marketing
Interactive total
Interactive % of total ad spending
*from Forrester Research – Numbers in the millions
Sale revenue increased 250% from customers exposed to both online display ads and search ads!
These ads also increased offline (in-store sales) by 18%!

Monday, January 20, 2014

10 Trends in Mobile

Macro Trends

1. Content + Context

In mobile there was a big focus on creating and serving content that was appropriate given a user's context. Context in mobile includes, time of day, location, device, keyword, or site. This can include responsive design, click-to-call, or many other tactics.

The key is to understand and consider that even if a user is searching for “running shoes” they may react differently to that same keyword search at 6 p.m. near your store as opposed to 9 p.m. at home on their couch.

2. Google Now

Google Now iPhone iPad
The power of Google Now as a movement toward predicting a user's needs, rather than reacting to them, is a big shift in 2013. Google Now will show you the time it takes to get to work without inputting the address, or pull flight information for scheduled events in your calendar. A key advancement in how we interact with our devices.

Friday, January 17, 2014

How to Build Links to Social Profiles

Now that you know a few reasons why, let's look at a few ways you can build links to your social profiles.

Website Links to Social Profiles

If you don't already, you should definitely link to your main social profiles from your website. There are tons of different ways to do it:
  • Simple text links in author bios on your blog.
  • Links using small social icons in the header, footer, or sidebar of your website.
  • Official follow, like, circle, and connect badges (not necessarily great from the link building aspect, but makes it easier for people to follow you).
Not only will these help increase your social following, they will create official links connecting your main online platform to your social networks.
Also, don't forget about other opportunities to link to your social profiles, such as in author bios on sites you contribute to, forums that ask for your social profile usernames, local review sites that have the option to add your social profiles, and pretty much any other chance you get to link to your social profiles.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 Web Analytics

Google Analytics LogoWith multiple updates each month, 2013 was a huge year for the Google Analytics team. The changes included several improvements to the user interface, the introduction of several real-time reports, new APIs, and a plethora of reports to help you understand visitor behavior through new segments and acquisition reports.

Visually, Google Analytics received a few design changes.
The Analytics team kicked off 2013 in January, creating a new interface for widgets in dashboard reports and in the main navigation. Search functionality returned and keyboard shortcuts were introduced as the entire Google Analytics UI received an overhaul.

Google Analytics Admin Panel
Just a short few months later, Google announced Administration area changes that led to better access controls and ultimately led to a streamlined admin panel redesign.

New Google Analytics Reports

The user interface changes were merely the tip of the iceberg for Google Analytics in 2013. Tracking visitor acquisition became a major deal. Starting in March, the Google Analytics team released Acquisitions Reporting. The Traffic Sources report category was renamed to Acquisitions Reports, adding new attribution reports in the process. These reports included overviews for acquisitions and channels.

Borrowing from Webmaster Tools, a new Speed Suggestions Report was also added to Google Analytics in November.

To help make more sense of these reports, the Analytics team added 19 new filters, streamlined how you set up goals, and completely revamped advanced segments adding new segments, cohort analysis, and sequences all rolled into a new user interface.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Linkbait: The Only Future-Proof Link Building Strategy

SEO always comes back to link building, doesn’t it? The only problem with that is the fact that the whole process can start to feel more than a little bit artificial, even dishonest. Indeed, even Google has begun to frown on a number of link building strategies that had been considered above-board for quite a while now.

So what’s the answer? Are there any organic ways of accomplishing what traditional link building set out to do? Thankfully, there’s a possible answer, and it may not be what you expect.

Google Is Changing. So is SEO.

Like it or not, Google accounts for a great deal of the driving force behind SEO strategies. Every significant change in Google’s search algorithm has introduced new features along with new challenges. Take, for example, the company’s latest update, Hummingbird. The biggest changes brought about by the update indicate that the emphasis will be placed on keyword context, rather than density, for the foreseeable future. It’s all about anticipating the intent of the user.

Less-publicized shifts in Google’s SEO philosophies have marketers everywhere wondering where the line is between legitimate link building and so-called “black hat” practices. It’s usually a very gray area.

Linkbait: The Secret Behind Organic Link Building

With social media now firmly entrenched into the very fabric of our society, the marketing world is learning to utilize it in new and exciting ways. In fact, it may be the missing link that helps marketing teams build their backlink profile legitimately and naturally.

Quite simply, linkbait is a piece of content that was designed to entice users to share it on social sites, personal websites and blogs. Chances are good you’ve come across some great examples of linkbait in your travels, but there are a few core principles required in creating perfect linkbait content.

Among these principles are timeliness, usefulness and humor. If a particular person found a piece of content to be inspiring, or it made them laugh, they’re quite likely to share it with their networks.

So How Do You Do It?

You could say there’s a certain artistry involved in creating linkbait. It definitely takes a great deal of skill to intuit what people are likely to share with their friends or readers.

One increasingly popular option is the infographic. Their popularity is surprising, given that learning statistics in school is about as much fun as a root canal. That said, people love reading numbers. To that end, infographics are a great way to provide a wealth of valuable information in a package that’s not only easy to digest but also thoroughly shareable.

Another great option is crowdsourcing. If you’re not familiar with the idea in the context of SEO, it involves fielding questions either to your reader base or to other experts in your field. People are usually very willing to chime in with their own opinion (just look at any post like this one on Lifehacker), providing you not only with traffic, but also free, quality content.

What Else Is There to Know About Linkbait?

Frankly, the list goes on and on. You could post a GIF, a testimonial, an interview, or just go on a rant about something that matters to you. People love a good controversy, after all.

At the end of the day, just try to imagine what sort of content or headline would entice you to click on it. Chances are good that you have a readership that has a great deal in common with you; it’s probably not too difficult to imagine what sort of content they’d be willing to share.

Above all, remember this: sustainable link building needs to be organic. With Google’s ever-shifting opinions on SEO practices, one of the very best ways to ensure that your link-building strategy is future-proof is to embrace social networking and quality linkbait.

Outline for eCommerce Comparison


The stability of Magento as a company and product is still in question. In 2011, Ebay had acquired Magento and has been using its staff to create X.Commerce - a platform that will rival Magento itself. In my opinion this could mean that the stability behind the company is dwindling and a new direction will be taken.

Magento is:

In-depth Reporting
Open Source

Slow unless you have a dedicated line and server.
Cumbersome to update

Robust Community that may or may not lead to X.Commerce

Very Polished

Templating system seems like it could be limiting
No Reporting
No Gift Certificates

Account Manager
Multiple Shipping Points
Cart Always Displayed
Custom Reporting
Gift Certificates
Product Import from Excel Sheet



Who will do fullfillment?
Multiple shipping locations?
Multiple locations to ship to?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why Not To Get Broadband

The media has been telling us for years that dial up internet is a dying technology and that the age of the dial tone connection has, at last, come to an end. So what of those who still use dial up technology? No – these people aren’t a myth, they’re out there and there are a lot more of them than you might think. Just six years ago 35% of the population still used dial up, 60% of these expressed clearly that they had no interest in switching to broadband and while it is true that the numbers have dropped there are still a number of dial up users out there.

So – why are there dial up users? For many of us it isn’t so much a case of preferring dial up, it is slower, it is a little inconvenient, but it’s cheap and its easy. 20% of people in the UK don’t actually use the internet that much at home; checking emails and looking at news sites, particularly in age groups over forty. Most other internet use is becoming more and more hand-held, using 3G and 4G internet which is cheaply acquired with most phone packages at a much better rate than the cost of broadband, despite similar if not sometimes faster speeds. Why pay for broadband if you’re only going to be using the internet for ten minutes a day? There’s no reason to.

Cost is one of the biggest reasons that people make the choices they do, so in this aspect dial up internet should be a basic choice if you aren’t going to take advantage of broadband. When does broadband internet become cost effective? When you’re using it every day, downloading files, uploading files, streaming music and videos, loading twelve website tabs and having Skype conversations with four friends – yes, you probably need broadband, and decent broadband at that. However, reading emails and the latest news articles for a few hours a week – no, I seriously doubt broadband is an actual requirement here.

It’s a bit like paying your water bill; you can either go on a meter and pay for what you use, or you can go on a set plan which charges you for a nice big vat of water which you may or may not actually use, but that doesn’t matter because you’ll still pay for a new one next month. If you’re outside of your home working all day and use very little water when you are home then paying for unlimited water you’re not using is probably a bit less than cost effective, of course if you have an active family and someone is always home running the tap and leaving it going then yes – save yourself some money and get a nice unlimited supply of water at one set price.

The myths surrounding dial up internet makes it seem much less desirable than it actually is of course. So many people are lured in by the promises made by broadband companies, “you could be getting 30MB/ps download speeds!” I heard this one on my internet package when my family moved to a new home in the countryside, but of course when we were actually getting a 0.05 MB download speed (no, that’s not a mistake, that was the actual speed £32 a month was getting us) we complained, to which the company simply stated “we said you could be, we didn’t promise you would”. Of course this happens when you live in a rural area as so many in the UK do, and you don’t get much of a chance to test out the service before you end up signed into a 12 or 24 month contract. At least with dialup we could get 56KB of reliable internet connection.

Yes; 56KB does sound small, but it gets the job done. Most websites only use 15KB – 25KB to view a page, which on a dial up internet connection loads in about four seconds. 80% of the time your additional broadband speed is just sitting there, not being used for anything. Did you know that the average charge for dial up internet is 1p a minute? Most people using dial up end up paying less than half of what a majority of broadband users do, and they still have access to the internet and all the important things that they’re looking for there. Not to mention they quite often have a more reliable and secure; reports of people ‘piggybacking’ WiFi are getting higher, which can send the cost of your broadband way up (thieves don’t care about the fair usage policy you signed, and companies don’t care if it was you or a shady man outside your house with a laptop that did it). However, name the last time you heard someone’s dialup was cracked and stolen. You can’t – it doesn’t happen, dial up is secure and requires a direct connection. This makes it much harder to steal.

Author Bio:

Kate is a keen writer who is extremely interested in the internet. Her preferred topic covers the use of dial-up internet and its benefits.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Measuring Success with Social Media

#1: Quantify Your Social Media Listening

#2: Create a Rating System for Your Social Engagement

#3: Add Tons of Value, Then Sell and Measure

You have to define how you want to attribute conversions to different referrers. For example, is it the original referrer (i.e. first touch attribution) because that’s where they first heard about you? Or is it the referrer of the visit where the conversion occurred (i.e. last touch attribution), because that referrer may have somehow convinced them to convert?

You have to deeply understand your business model and campaigns to make these kinds of decisions. Will it give you perfect data? No, of course not. Will there be exceptions? Yes, almost always. But regardless, it will give you an understanding of the impact social is having so that you can make informed future decisions.

While it does vary by business and campaign, here are two quick generalizations that can help simplify the process for you.

First Touch Attribution: Originally Referred by Social

Last Touch Attribution: Conversion Visit Referrer Is Social

Using custom reports, you can even more directly understand the impact social is having on your business. You can build out a report that gives you the exact stats you’re looking for.

For example, we can create a report that shows us each original referrer type with a column showing the average order value for each. This allows us to quickly compare the kind of customers we’re getting from each type of referrer.

Similarly, you could break this down further from “original referrer type” to each referrer host, as shown in the screenshot below. Getting more granular with your data will help you uncover insights that are easy to miss with a higher level view.


Friday, January 3, 2014

(Don't Fear) the Google Reaper

Some have concluded that the best and safest response to Penguin is to stop link building altogether. That's a bad idea.
Here's a reality check: the best way to improve visibility in the SERPs, in 2014, is still link building. Links are still believed to be the most important part of the algorithm, according to the most recentMoz search engine ranking factors survey.
Google's own Matt Cutts confirmed the same in an interview with Eric Enge, stating:
"Links are still the best way that we've found to discover (how relevant or important somebody is) and maybe, over time, social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that."
That statement has some pretty important implications, when it comes to planning and budgeting for a digital marketing campaign.