Online Marketing Goals

Know what you want…

Seems simple right? In my experience, dealing with hundreds of clients over the last 12 years, very few can actually quantify what they want.

Some tell me they want marketing help (far too vague), but when I ask about success metrics, they almost invariably cite traffic as their primary success measure. Now, not to discount traffic, but that’s not what pays the bills is it?

ROI shouldn’t be calculated on traffic*, but by counting other other measures. If your aim is engagement, count comments, reviews, buzz. If your aim is sales, count overall revenue increases, direct conversions, increase of average sales…

In an SEM campaign in particular, knowing what you want is vital, because every click costs you. Your campaigns should be highly segmented, helping you know where each dime goes, how each ad performs, how each keyword you’re buying contributes to the goals you’ve set.

Search Engine Guide has an excellent post up today about segmenting your keywords:

There are four distinct keyword segments each representing a different phase of the searcher’s buying cycle. After going through the process above you should be left with one or more groups of keyword that can be optimized into a page or several pages. The next step is to take each group and segment them even further based on those keyword segments.

Once you know what you want, you can do A/B testing to determine where your money’s going and whether or not your plan is working.  Know what you want and you have a heck of a lot better chance at getting it.

*there are a few, rare exceptions to this rule

NetworkSolutions – Solutions Stars Videos

At BlogWorld Expo, I was interviewed by Network Solutions to answer a few questions that their customers might have. There are a serious of almost a dozen videos up now, with some major big names in social media, but with my ego being monstrous, I’ve only linked to the ones I’m in 😉

The whole series is pretty good though, and if you have a few minutes, I recommend them.

Start with Listening
Strategy Drives Outreach
To Blog or Not to Blog
Rising Above the Noise

Amazing Ad For Wii On YouTube – Minor FAIL in WOM Execution

UPDATE: Wow! Take a look at the views now. 1.1M Nintendo seems to have fixed the sharing feature. As the below commenter, ellenb, mentioned, facebook, myspace, email, etc is now working. Even embed is now not falling below the other boxes, which allows me to embed below 🙂

Nintendo is using YouTube in a very unique way to promote WarioLand and the Wii. As he bursts through blocks and rocks his way through tunnels, the actual page layout of the YouTube site falls apart piece by piece. Innovative, interesting but unfortunately not quite perfect.

Rules of good word of mouth marketing are simple, and they ALWAYS include a sharing feature. Normally on YouTube I can share via embed, url or email. Obviously I see why embed won’t work, but the other sharing features are important. Viral stuff spreads easier with actual mechanisms that encourage virality.

So, I grade this one at 85%. Sad, because it’s so close to 100%.

Affiliate Marketer Advertises On Adsense Via Twitter Ad

I’m a pretty heavy Twitter user, with the wealth of my communication going there lately, rather than to this blog. This is not due to any aversion to blogging, but more because of the time constraint I’m under right now. Apparently Gmail knows this, as any good email program/big brother should, and it recommends appropriate ads for me on a regular basis.

Today’s recommended ad had me doing a double take:

Twitter Affiliate Marketing Adsense Ad

Clicking this takes you to this Twitter user’s page:


Looks like he’s running some sort of contest to increase his Twitter followers. God, I hate that… Anyway, if you take a look at the link on his account, you’ll see his actual ad’s landing page (not linked because I don’t want to contribute to this guy’s Google juice): http://www.hexatrackdotcom/

So, the story is that this guy has found the Revolution in Search Engine Marketing and wants to let people in on the amazing news. Of course, membership is limited (damn the rules!) and you need to get in on this by some vague date in the near future because after that the price is going to go up. Whether or not they throw in a few ShamWow!s remains to be seen…

Apparently, they recognized that their audience was people who are looking to Uncover the “honeypots” of affiliate marketing. What’s not apparent is why they thought that Twitter sign-up ads would appeal to this crowd. I’m thinking they were too lazy/too uncreative to come up with good ad copy and they thought this was a very easy way to lend legitimacy to their product/personal brand (ie Twitter put up an ad and used this cool guy as their example Twitter page).

Do they really think that affiliate marketers are that stupid (ie marketers who can’t tell the difference between an ad for Twitter and an ad for a particular user’s page)? I’ve yet to meet an affiliate marketer that wasn’t savvy enough to see right through this. What I have met, in affiliate marketing and internet marketing in general, is lots of people who are interested in raking in easy cash and will shell out $50-$500 for that get-rich-quick, answer to world hunger, guaranteed to lose money, affiliate marketer tool. It appears to me that affiliate marketers aren’t really their target. The people they hope to fool with this ad will be ignorant enough to think that their product has value as well.

Doesn’t Google have some ‘branding’ guidelines that would take care of this? Where would a user go to report this?

Give Them Value and They Will Buy

I won’t spend a great deal of time on this, but I want to give you a good example of useful marketing. Let’s say you wrote a book on organizing your home, as this woman has done.

Your goal is to get your book in front of the people who are going to buy it. Where do your potential customers go to find information on your topic? In this example, some of the potential readers search for organizing related information and some are regular readers of organizing related sites. To reach both of these potential customers, this author has written a piece on her topic. This is not a fluff piece, but a helpful and feature packed article.

Plan to Succeed: Teaching Kids The Planner Habit

Of course, I think I should say that in this case, the site came before the book, but for this example, let’s pretend like it’s a guest article on someone else’s site.

In her article, she’s linked to her book at the end, which gives this piece credibility and the author credibility (hey, she’s an expert on this topic, I should read her book!). In addition, this reaches the reader at the perfect time, when he/she has admitted a need for knowledge on the subject, via regular visits to the site or even better, via searching on that topic. The customer is at purchase point, because they are actively searching for the tool to fill the need.

This is a great example of smart marketing. Want bad examples? I can think of two that rarely help and usually hurt the credibility of your product.

Link exchanges – There is only limited value in dropping your link everywhere. Sure, you’ll have loads of links and that may be good for SEO, but it won’t get your message in front of your customers. At best, a well placed link may bring you a few good leads, but there isn’t enough of a call-to-action in a link to give you enough value to waste your time getting them where you want them.

Ezine/Article Distribution – These sites may show up well in search, but they have limited value in that people don’t trust them. Heck, I know some fabulous writers that use these and even though I know that I still have a hard time taking anything there seriously. Don’t agree? Check out this article and this one and tell me which one you trust more. Same article, same author, one feels slimy and marketing-ish and one just gives you the information you desire. I think the subtle, dirty feeling I get from the ezine one is because there is just so much crap found in article distribution. People use these types of sites just to market their goods, which are often smarmy in themselves, so there is no real feeling of ‘hey, this is great knowledge’. Instead, every article I read there makes me think ‘what are they trying to sell me’.

If you are using ezine articles and link drops, you are spending too much energy in the wrong places. You want your message to appear on sites that your potential customers use and trust. And, you want you message to be written without any sales pitch, because just by being an authority you are ‘selling’ your product.

The first author has really done her work efficiently and expertly. Her article answers the ‘is she credible?’ question implicitly and inspires confidence in her advice. These types of articles have so much more credibility AND likelihood of reaching your target audience than article distribution sites. She didn’t have to say, ‘if you want to learn more, check out my book on Amazon’. Her readers will make that leap on their own, because this article gave out much knowledge on the subject but still only whet their appetite for more.

It’s really a great example of giving your customers (or potential customers) really useful information to give yourself credibility and exposure. Smart move!

…and yes, I’m writing this because went through this process myself and ended up purchasing her book.’s Public Release Is Coming Up

Yan was nice enough to let me play around with Buxr a week or so ago and while I’ve only skimmed the surface, it warrants your attention. I’m not supposed to leak screen shots or anything, but if you do a little research you can see that some people have been a little more open on the subject already 😉

Yan talks specifically about Buxr’s differing approach here, but I still don’t feel comfortable giving you more details until it releases. Anyhoo, you can just wait til tomorrow and check it out on your own when it goes public.

Good luck to Yan as he attempts to make a dent in this crowded market. He’s been a pal for a while and he’s got a good idea of how online advertising works, especially from the publisher’s point of view, which is very important for those of us who are publishers. I’m looking forward to seeing more about Buxr tomorrow when all of you have had a chance to take it for a spin. Let me know what you think!

An SEO Christmas Present – Giveaway

Update: Contest is open to all. This contest is not US only. Yay!

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to do something special this Christmas for my readers and for some kids. While I’ve still been pondering what to do, I got a cool email from a friend over at one of my fav magazines and an idea was born. Boris over at Search Marketing Standard has graciously offered to give away a 3 year subscription to his magazine for the winner of my little contest (more on that in a second).

In the spirit of Christmas giving though, he’s also offered to sweeten the pot with a discounted rate for my readers and a charity match to one of my favorite charities. You’ll get a 67% discount off the price of a year’s subscription. It’s usually $15 per year and for the next 15 days you can get it for $4.95 US ($6.60 Intl) by using coupon code HOLIDAY67. (subscribe here)

Bonus: He’ll match each subscription that comes through with this coupon code with a dollar to Toys For Tots.

The Contest

So, how do you win? Well, it’s actually fairly easy. I want to know what you are doing this Christmas to change the world. No, not the whole world, just your little part of it. Just post it on your blog and ping back here to enter (trackback). At the end of next week I’ll go through the trackbacks or comments and compile a list of all the entries and make one big list. I’ll post the full list here and will choose the winner. Of course, if you have one that you think really shines, I’ll take that under advisement. I don’t really want to try voting on this one, but if there’s one that just really amazes you please let me know.

So, if you are doing anything special, from soup kitchens to Operation Xmas Child, please let me know. I want to be inspired. How are you changing your corner of the world?

Kindle Looks Cool, No Really I Mean It

OK, first thoughts on Kindle.

1. How long before this gets ‘upgraded’ and you piss off the early adopters? (a little Zune frustration is coming out here)
2. $400 is high. How come this doesn’t come with a few public domain books on there for fun?
3. Battery life looks awesome, as does weight. Think this is too late to ask for this for XMas?
4. Did they really just advertise blogs on there? That is cool (no, not being silly, really I do think that is cool).
5. Any audio? Will it read to me? Can I podcast newspaper subscriptions (ie Audible) on this device?
6. How long before this gets hacked like the jukebox? I mean the fact that it’s not wifi but mobile (ie like a cellphone/modem or aircard), makes this really cool for a hacked web tablet. Then again, the N770 is less than the $400 that this costs though it’s only Wifi capable out-of-the-box, but the potential is so darn fun…

Amazon Kindle

… and, PS to Amazon. Tsk Tsk, the only ‘share’ option is via email. Not very WOMM friendly. Also, when you ‘work three years’ on a product, make sure it’s ready to sell via your Associates store on launch day. Argh!

UPDATE: OK, another thought… Could this solve the sagging backpacks problem in school? I mean, I know you’re thinking, ‘she acts like she’s never seen an e-reader’, but I can’t help but think this is an almost must have for a traveling reader (erm, like me).

Optimizing Your Site For Speed

A thorough run down of of some great ways to quicken your site. Most are for heavy-traffic sites, not really blogs, but if your site is 1-heavily trafficked or 2-subject to heavy traffic at times, more advance optimization may be in order.

While some of this is common sense (reduce number of HTTP requests, make JS and CSS external, avoid redirects, etc.), some are a bit more advanced and will require time/monetary investment (CDN, assets hosted on diff domains, image sprites, etc.). If this is your cup of tea, that’s cool. If not, promise not to geek out on you too often. (via)