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Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’

List of Online Marketing Lists: 316 Tips & Ideas

March 22, 2009 5 comments

online-marketing-planIn need of some online marketing inspiration? I’ve found these online marketing lists to be a great place to start for new ideas, research, and resources on hot topics.

1.  50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
Twitter for business? Yes, I know it all sounds so strange. You can become totally Twittertastic, but you’ll need ideas and a plan. Chris Brogan’s post can get you started on both.

2. Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blogs
Social Media is every where, there’s no escape. Use eCairn’s list of the top 150 blogs about social media as the ultimate resource.

3.  5 Tools for Keyword Brainstorming
I struggle with the keyword generation process in search engine marketing. If you need help too, Ann Smarty’s post offers great resources as starting point for keyword brainstorming. Also valuable for other types of concepting and brainstorming.

4.  101 Link Building Tips to Market Your Website
Awesome list of link building strategies for SEO from Aaron Wall. Advice on “30 Bad Ways to Build Links” is funny and demonstrates how not to implement these great ideas. While 101 actionable tips can be a little daunting, for you unorganized people I’d recommend:

  • identify the tactics that apply most closely to your website (save the rest for later)
  • organize into “quick wins” and “more difficult” buckets (for example, directory submissions will not take as long as writing an article or setting up RSS feeds)
  • create a timeline, including “one time” tasks and “ongoing”

Ok, there’s one more…

5.  Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Books
Books are not dead! And you really could use a break from your computer. Greg Jarboe offers 10 smart recommendations.

If you just can’t get enough, I previously posted another list of resources that will also keep you busy: Best Online Marketing Lists

4 Basic PPC Mistakes You Can Correct Today

January 10, 2009 6 comments

On a regular basis I have seen marketers make the same tactical mistakes in running their PPC (pay-per-click) programs. Why?
This seems to occur…

  • in the beginning due to inexperience or indifference
  • after the account has grown substantially and becomes quickly out of control
  • with too many cooks in kitchen adding junk and pushing buttons
  • when people panic and start adding junk and pushing buttons, hoping this will improve performance

By identifying and correcting the problems, you should see immediate and positive changes.

Account creep: Recently observed:  campaigns added upon campaigns, random keywords added, or text ads added in until there are half a dozen creative versions for one Adgroup.

Solution: with each addition to the account, you need to do an audit to find same or similar or complementary campaigns. Compare and contrast. Maybe the additions you need are simply an edit or enhancement to an existing campaign? For new ad texts, you really only need one or two versions unless you intend to test them. Delete the old ones when adding new.

Duplicate keywords: Have you heard: “Why is the wrong ad showing up when I type in ‘blah blah blah’?” Take a detailed look. Do you see keywords duplicated and all over the place? This can result in the incorrect ad showing up.

Solution: Understand each set of keywords should be associated with the exact ad you want to appear. Make sure the same keyword is not in multiple campaigns. Run a keyword report and sort to find any duplicates. Decide which ones are in the wrong place and delete ‘em!

Google says: “Avoid duplicate keywords across adgroups. Google shows only one ad per advertiser on a particular keyword, so there’s no need to include duplicate keywords in different adgroups or campaigns. Identical keywords compete against each other, and the better-performing keyword triggers your ad.”

This help file is excellent in demonstrating a simple account set up and how the keywords should look.

Keyword matching: The way keywords are matched up with search terms is extremely critical to performance. Recently, I witnessed an account capture 30% less traffic because the keyword match was changed from broad to phrase match in Google. Because phrase match is more targeted than broad match, the keywords were actually tightened up, thus limiting traffic. Google uses broad match and Yahoo uses standard match as the default.

Solution: Learn the details of how to make sense of keyword match types. Experiment in small amounts until you understand how your keywords will behave. Then expand.

Content and keyword campaigns combined: Even though this is the default setting for Google, you shouldn’t mix the two. The content campaigns will behave more like display ads with a lower click-through-rate than keyword triggered campaigns. This will skew the results and make it difficult to optimize.

Solution: In keyword campaigns, only select “Google search” and “search partners”. In content campaigns, do the opposite. See awesome illustration:

adwords-settings

Have you made the same mistakes? Don’t panic. Kick the other cooks out of the kitchen and simply set a plan to make corrections and then it will be smooth sailing. For now…

Interactive Copywriting: The Difference

November 25, 2008 2 comments

Deal with it, advertisers. Interactive copywriting differs from traditional copywriting. But how?

First: Don’t throw out the baby with the soggy diaper. Declaring yourself an interactive copywriter requires you to master the skills of traditional copywriting. If you’re going to enjoy success in this business, you still must be able to:

  • Concept with an interactive designer or art director
  • Come up with 9,003 big ideas and executions
  • Endure dirty looks from creative directors
  • Come up with better big ideas and executions
  • Write smart, compelling, conceptual copy

That’s hard. No matter what kind of copywriter you call yourself, chances are good you’ll need to attend an advertising portfolio school or take a concentrated, mentor-guided journey before landing that first job. Building up to interactive copywriting requires mastery of additional considerations:

1.    Your audience cares. (Hallelujah!)
Because online and mobile initiatives require active participation, people reading your bullet points, listening to your podcast or watching your spot hold you to a higher standard. You must be able to answer their questions and make them smarter. This means you must be able to weave conceptual solutions with meaty, often expletory, content.

2.    Your audience needs you to be good at Jenga.

Interactive copywriting is how we create choose-your-own adventure stories for corporate America. It doesn’t matter how well you can write. If you can’t create (or collaboratively understand) site maps and information architecture, you’re ignoring user experience. Your copy will fail. In other words, you’ve got to keep a beanie and a pocket protector in your soul.

3.    Your audience wants to be told what to do.
Yes, traditional copywriting includes calls to action. But you’re not trying for a point-something percent response rate. Part trail guide and part waiter, you must eliminate guesswork and name action steps clearly and compellingly. Tell them to open the e-newsletter, download the widget or bookmark for a time when their boss isn’t peering over their shoulder.

4.    But, your audience wants to tell you what to do.

As a wise mentor put it, interactive isn’t another media space for messages. It’s fundamentally changing the nature of branded conversation. Your audience wants to take part in your creations. Allow them to customize, personalize and navigate their own journey with your brand. Give them space to speak up.

5.    Your audience is ready to run with the message.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the term viral marketing? Or social media? Meaning your boss wants you to crank out a blockbuster right now? In order for someone to pass along your message, you must make it compelling (hilarious, unusual or somehow otherwise relevant), customizable and somehow better when shared.

Interactive copywriting adds distinctly new skills to the traditional bread and rum butter of Mad Men-esque copywriting. That’s cool. After all, geek is the new glamorous.

Related Post:

deal with it: interactive copywriting is different.

2008 Election: Who Won Online?

November 9, 2008 Leave a comment
Obama's campaign Facebook page
Obama

We all know who won the election, but both Barack Obama and John McCain relied on online media and social networking more than in any past election.  Who formed the best connections and communities online? Did this really have an impact on the outcome?

Consider the following:

According to Pewinternet.org, a record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the Internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views, and mobilize others.

Democrats are more active online than Republicans and are more likely to participate in online communities. They say they’re more heavily influenced in their voting decisions by information they find online, according to data released by Rubicon Consulting.

Perhaps the most interesting /disturbing of all to me is Google endorses Barack Obama.

Some Fun Numbers from the Internet

Google Searches: Obama-related search terms were used almost twice as much as McCain in the last 30 days, according to data from Google Insights for Search. Google has also has created a special 2008 US Election Trends page.

Website Traffic: According to compete.com, Obama’s website had twice as many visitors in the past year as McCain.

Link Power: Obama’s website has many more external links pointing to it than McCain’s website, according to Yahoo Site Explorer.

YouTube: Both candidates have YouTube Channels, but Obama’s channel has significantly more views:

Facebook: With more than 110 million active users, Obama had more supporters from this community.

  • Obama: 2.2 million supporters
  • McCain: 192,000 supporters

Even with this small snapshot of numbers from around the Internet, it’s clear to see the Web presence of Obama’s campaign has been significant and pivotal in the way it has rallied supporters and formed communities around the now president-elect.

And now, your moment of Zen:

Google hearts Obama

Google hearts Obama

Make Mine a Double: Google Double Serving in Content Network

July 30, 2008 2 comments

I recently wrote a post about the great Google content network and the new super campaigns available for advertisers in Adwords. The new features, flexibility, and transparency are expected to make the content network much more efficient for advertisers.

Unfortunately, today I captured a screen shot of Google double serving image ads on the content network. Double serving is “Displaying more than one ad for the same company or person at a time”. Google has a policy against double serving Adwords ads.

How does this happen? I am told it can occur because of contextual targeting and site-targeting in one account. I’m surprised Google’s technology isn’t smart enough to recognize this and prevent it.

But on the other hand, if you wanted to do this yourself, it would be pretty simple to get double exposure? You would just have to set-up two different campaigns. One that is site-targeted, and one with keywords using the new placement feature to target the same sites. Right?

Well, enjoy the technical error folks.

Double dipping? Google serves 2 ads on one page

Double dipping? Google serves 2 ads on one page

Google Content Network and “Super Campaigns”

July 10, 2008 1 comment

The Online Marketing Mavens love content. There have been a lot of improvements lately on the Google content network. I can tell you from my recent experience, there appears to be some major glitches with Yahoo’s content network (for example, campaigns not even running).

Search engines are different from the content network. In search engines, the keywords we use indicate our intent- what we want to research or buy. In the content network, Google matches ads with the content on web pages. We’re reading the content, not actively searching for anything when we see the ads. This can be accomplished by (1) contextual targeting or (2) placement targeting.

(1) Contextually targeted ads are keyword triggered (it is the default automatic opt-in). Google will show your ads on web pages where the keywords appear on the page. This is not just a straight-up keyword match, but also based on fancy linguistic processing technology. For example, if you sell coffee, Google will match it to websites about drinking coffee and knows not to show it for the Java programming language.

(2) Placement targeting is much easier to grasp because you simply select specific sites you want your ad to run on. I want to run on nytimes.com or something. You can identify placements by domain name, demographics, topics, or categories.

Early in the content network there were several problems. We couldn’t tell what sites we were served on, and had little control. Consider the previous coffee example. Targeting the content network can be a problem if you didn’t want your ad along side an article about getting scalded by coffee. So this can be a problem for the sophisticated marketer.

Recent improvements have made the content network a much more viable option for advertisers. Now, we have more advanced options:

  • placement reports lists the sites where the ads show up
  • pricing options of CPC or CPM
  • controls to exclude sites or categories (ie, exclude user generated content or parked domains).

Just when you thought it was heaven on Google Earth, along comes another new feature currently in testing. My Google rep calls it the “Super Campaign”. Now the worlds of keyword targeting and placement targeting combine. In the Super Campaign, you can target both placements and keywords in the same campaign. In a perfect application, you could target shopping sites and use keywords related to only to coffee. Only showing up for shopping content about coffee.

You can see in the screen shot how this looks within the Adwords interface. Can’t wait for his to be widely available to test on new campaigns!

The Super Campaign could obviously lead to an entirely new approach to content targeting. Think about targeting health sites, but only with keywords for exercise (not healthy foods). Or general news sites and targeting certain type of news with keywords, only content about “gas prices”.

The possibilities are endless…

UPDATE 7-21-08: The new option appears to be available to all advertisers now. It’s accessible by drilling down to the AdGroup level in Google Adwords.

Flash and Search: Best Friends?

July 1, 2008 3 comments

I love algorithms: “Google has been developing a new algorithm for indexing textual content in Flash files of all kinds, from Flash menus, buttons and banners, to self-contained Flash websites. Recently, we’ve improved the performance of this Flash indexing algorithm by integrating Adobe’s Flash Player technology.”

Late yesterday Google and Adobe announced a collaboration to make dynamic web content more searchable. Finally, millions of sites that use Flash technology will be searchable without the need for companies to alter them.

Search engines currently index very limited data about Flash sites which has caused major challenges for designers in marrying creative, dynamic content, and searchability.

What will be indexed by Google? Google says all of the text that users can see in the Flash file will be indexed and can be used to match query terms in Google searches. If the Flash site contains only images, they will not recognize or index any text that may appear in those images. These elements will be invisible to Google. Although they will be able to better crawl links in the site, they won’t be able to read the anchor text for Flash buttons which target some URL, but which have no associated text.

How will this impact PPC paid search? Will Google use this new algorithm for the Google AdsBot? Since the AdsBot collects only landing page information to apply to quality scores, it makes sense this technology would eventually be used to read Flash landing pages. This would allow advertisers to offer a more customized and dynamic user experience and better meet the needs of searchers. Fer sur.

Yahoo also plans to support searchable SWF. Hurry up, Yahoo…

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