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Posts Tagged ‘Digg’

5 Online Marketing Resolutions for 2010

Posted Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Resolve to give your online marketing efforts a boost this year by recognizing areas for improvement and putting in place a plan to make positive changes.

online marketing, Jan 8 2010

1. SEO:
I resolve to focus more on maximizing visits and conversions from organic searches. With SEO efforts, it’s easy to get caught up in one goal: getting found via the search engines. But ranking in the search results is only half the story. If potential customers aren’t clicking through to your web page – or other piece of digital content – the ranking doesn’t mean much. Plus, due to variances in what each of us sees in the search results for the same query, rankings as metric are no longer as useful. Personalized search results according to location and web history means your site might rank high for one person, but not another.

Maximize the success of your online marketing efforts by analyzing your metrics report to determine which pieces of digital content are highly visible but producing less than ideal traffic results. Then take some time to ask yourself these questions:

What competitive search results are your potential customers seeing? Assess the title tags and meta descriptions of competitive search results. Are competitors offering customers a free case study or a complimentary product sample? Then consider ways to make your own title tags and meta descriptions out-entice the competition.
Does your content live up to the promise put forth in your title tags and meta descriptions? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: When you first visit your web page or other digital content from an organic search, is the content you find relevant? Potential customers don’t want surprises; they want a solution to the problem that caused them to search in the first place. And they want it as promised.
Not only will searchers respond more favorably to customer optimized titles and meta descriptions, but the increase in clickthroughs will, no doubt, be noticed by search engines and may influence subsequent rankings.

2. Social Media:
I resolve to set goals and track the results of my social media efforts.
There’s no denying that social media is more difficult to justify in terms of ROI compared to other online marketing strategies.  But that’s not to say it’s impossible – or that tracking results should be placed on the back burner. And without goals, it’s pretty difficult to measure success. In 2010, put forth even more effort to set goals for social media participation and tie results back to specific tactics.

There are a host of free or near-free tools available to gauge brand mentions and traffic from social media channels.

Tracking results via social media monitoring tools is just a start. Those results must be tied back to business goals. Potential goals might be:

Develop better customer relationships
Reputation management
Identify and energize brand evangelists
Increase brand awareness
Increase relevant visitor traffic
Improve standard and social search engine visibility
Build up a list for email marketing
Increase leads or sales
Without setting specific goals upfront, social media efforts can’t be definitively quantified so be sure to implement a Social Media Roadmap and all or social bases will be covered.

3. Email Marketing:
I resolve to integrate my email marketing with other online marketing channels. Regardless of what the naysayers may say, email marketing isn’t going to disappear as a result of social media in 2010. In fact, email will continue to play a significant role in most online marketing mixes this year. A study from Silverpop found nearly half of marketers surveyed plan to increase email marketing budgets in 2010.

That’s not to say email marketing efforts shouldn’t evolve with the times. Integrating email with social media is on par to be a popular resolution for 2010: A recent eMarketer report found 40% of executives surveyed willmake integrating the two tactics their top marketing initiative this year. Another 25% of respondents have already implemented an integrated strategy.

Pledge to take email marketing to the next level by encouraging email subscribers to not only forward content via email, but also to get social with email and share it via Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other sites. Conversely, conduct a poll on Twitter or your blog, and encourage followers and readers to subscribe to your e-newsletter for the results.

4. PPC:
I resolve to maximize conversion rates by testing different versions of my ads and landing pages. Most companies using self-serve pay per click programs fall victim to “set it and forget it” habits. They’re busy with numerous other marketing activities or don’t have the time to really get to know the native bid management platforms and test/refine campaigns. Even if PPC efforts are reaching set goals in terms of conversion rates, there’s always room for improvement. You’ll never know until you try.

Consider these three ideas for testing different elements of your PPC campaigns:

Test multiple ad versions that highlight different benefits of your product, service or company. For example, one could tout cost-savings benefits, while another emphasizes a convenience aspect.
Use A/B testing to try out two different headlines on your landing page. Again, each could speak to a different benefit (i.e., cost savings vs. convenience). Google Optimizer is a great tool for this.
If you’re targeting a competitive search term with many competing ads, consider launching two different campaigns simultaneously. Each could offer a distinct piece of fulfillment – a free case study and a product coupon, for example.
A few tools for testing include:

A/B Testing resources: (Google Website Optimizer, 7 Free Resources)
Multivariate Testing service: (Omniture)
Heatmap & User Testing tools: (CrazyEgg, Clickdensity, Clicktale, userfly andEyetools)

5. Mobile:
I resolve to rethink my website design for mobile users.
If your site isn’t already optimized for handheld devices such as cell phones, now is the perfect time to re-assess your site design and how users find your site through mobile search – particularly for B2C companies.

In October, ABI Research forecast that mobile sales of physical goods in North America would reach $750 million by the end of 2009, a 117% annual growth rate. Consumers are doing a lot more than purchasing downloadable cell phone ringtones and games from their mobile devices. These days, clothing, electronics, books and a host of other items are being purchased through mobile commerce. Additionally, social network participation through services like foursquare, Facebook and Twitter are growing dramatically, creating additional opportunities for promotion and traffic to the mobile version of your company web site.

When optimizing web pages for the mobile web, consider a few tips:

Keep fonts in their most basic format
Eliminate advertising to conserve screen space
Take out images unless they are absolutely necessary
Remove Flash, Java or any plug-in content unless absolutely necessary


How Social Media Has Changed Us

Posted Monday, January 11th, 2010

Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen social media galvanize thousands over politics, create as many industries as it has destroyed, and offer an abundance of visual and audio entertainment. But has all this incredible change actually changed us, or just the world we live in?

Mashable, 6th January 2010

Child Literacy

It stands to reason that children who read and write more are better at reading and writing. And writing blog posts, status updates, text messages, instant messages, and the like all motivate children to read and write. Last month, The National Literacy Trust released the results of a survey of over 3000 children. They observed a correlation between children’s engagement with social media and their literacy. Simply put, social media has helped children become more literate. Indeed, Eurostat recently published a report drawing a correlation between education and online activity, which found that online activity increased with the level of formal activity (socio-economic factors are, of course, potentially at play here as well).

Ambient Intimacy

Lisa Reichelt, a user experience consultant in London coined the very pleasant term “ambient intimacy.” It describes the way in which social media allows you to “… keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.”

Consider the many communications technologies through history — the telephone, Morse code, semaphore, carrier pigeons, smoke signals — they are all fairly inconvenient and labor intensive. Lisa has hit on the idea that communication has become so convenient that it’s actually become ambient around us. It surrounds us wherever we want it, not necessarily when it wants us. We dip into it whenever we like.

Knowledge Was Power

From his Meditationes Sacrae, published in 1597, Francis Bacon was paraphrased as saying “knowledge is power.” Fundamentally, the more you understand about life, the more chance you have at success. But these days, Wikipedia (Wikipedia) and Google (Google) have democratized information to the point where anyone is able to acquire the knowledge they may want.

As a case in point, I had never even heard of Meditationes Sacrae until I looked up the term “knowledge is power” on Wikipedia. In Bacon’s time, the only people that had access to books and the literacy to unlock the wisdom within were the wealthy with the time and inclination to learn.

Of course, books weren’t the only source of knowledge. Consider blacksmiths, dressmakers, cobblers or sailors who passed their skills and techniques from mother to daughter, from father to son. Back then, the friction that held people back from learning was low literacy, a lack of access to books and very little time. Now, that friction is almost non-existent. That is because of both the ability of computers to replicate information for distribution, and the the way that Google, Wikipedia and blogs have empowered people to share what they know. Now, the only real friction that exists is our own desire for knowledge. It’s there for you — if you want it.

The Reinvention of Politics

A recent report by PEW found signs that social networks may be encouraging younger people to get involved in politics. You only need look at Twitter’s (Twitter) recent impact on the Iran elections, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and even the election of Barack Obama to see that more and more people are getting involved in politics and are feeling they can make a difference.

One of the most popular blogs on the web, The Huffington Post, is mainly political. Politics has a fast pace, and that lends itself well to social media. UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said in June last year that because of the Internet, “foreign policy can no longer be the province of just a few elites.” Twitter even postponed an upgrade because of the important role it was playing in the Iran (Iran ) elections.

These are all signs of both social media’s growing influence in politics, and the growing interest in politics from users of social media.

Marketing Flux

Marketing and advertising is transforming itself from an industry reliant on mass market channels to one which must embrace the power of the consumer and (attempt to) engage in conversations. The traditional approach of wide reach and repetitive messaging is now being replaced by many much smaller, niche and people-centric activities. Advertising isn’t dying, it’s merely changing form. We now have more power and more choice.

News as Cultural Currency

We’re no longer lazy consumers of passive messages. Instead we’re active participants. We now get news through the network we’ve created, and the news we pass to one another says something about us. It tells others what we’re interested in and what’s important to us. We used to call this gossip — and to a certain extent it still is — but unless you were a journalist at a local daily, the amplification that’s now possible through the likes of Twitter, Digg (Digg) or StumbledUpon hasn’t been experienced before.

Conclusion

Clearly there are skeptics. Susan Greenfield thinks that social networking is turning us into babies, shrinking our attention spans, our ability to empathize, and eroding our identity. She even suggests a correlation between the rise in prescriptions for drugs used to treat ADHD with an increase of time spent at computers. Similarly, Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster recently suggested that social networking causes increasingly “transient relationships,” is “dehumanising” community life and, as a consequence, we are “losing social skills.”

I think they couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone with the slightest experience of using social media knows that it’s about being more social. We are more engaged with friends, we are more literate, more connected, more open to creating new relationships, and generally more interested in the world around us.


 
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