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Email Marketing Tactics – Drip vs. Blast

July 16, 2014 Leave a comment

email marketingEmail marketing is still a viable and effective strategy to get sales, referrals and stay in contact with clients. The key is to have a strategy and stick to it. There are two main types of email marketing – drip marketing and blast marketing. Let’s take a look at what they mean and how they can be used in your business.

Blast marketing is designed as a one off, or part of a small campaign to promote a product or service with the singular idea the recipient will take action because of the message. Think about retail sales emails as an example. Email blasts can be sent to your existing database, a purchased list or even a joint venture with another business.

Drip marketing is very different in its execution, but can have some of the same desirable effects of blast marketing. Drip emails are designed for prospects or clients as a stay in touch method. Ultimately drip emails are designed to increase sales, but before that happens, they can be used to generate referrals, build traffic to your website and grow your social media channels. Drip emails are designed to be sent to people who know you – clients, referrals, prospects. They also take more time to create and execute since you are NOT directly selling.

What most small business owners don’t realize is email marketing has to be multifaceted. The goals of email marketing are to:

  1. Get sales
  2. Acquire clients
  3. Get referrals
  4. Stay in touch with existing clients
  5. Increase traffic to your website
  6. Increase your social media channels
  7. Build your drip marketing list

Did you notice the last item on that list? How do you build your drip marketing database? The answer is to get more clients or customers and you do that by making more sales.

Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you ask your customers to join your list. You can do this at the point of sale or when you do post close follow up.
  2. Acquire databases for your list.
  3. Make sure you’re collecting emails and sending them something!
  4. Leverage your social channels to build your list.

Now that you understand the difference between blast marketing and drip marketing, you’ll be able to start utilizing them as part of your strategy. In a future article, I’ll dive deeper into drip marketing.

 

The 10 Commandments of Social Media

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

The most interesting man in the world gets a new calling.

I’ve been feeling guilty about all the changes taking place in social media without throwing in my own thoughts. Here I present the 10 commandments of social media:

1. Thou shalt have no other significant media presence than online – Sure you can throw a few bucks to placate your ad rep, but know real tracking, real engagement and real results are happening online.

2. Thou shalt not communicate drunk – Don’t tweet, blog or Facebook drunk. There will be fewer faux pas and you won’t be slizzerd to your next meeting, update or post.

3. Thou shalt be transparent – Real engagement takes place when people feel a real connection. Faking reality won’t get you anywhere.

4. Thou shalt obey thy client – Never forget your client knows their product, their service and their client better than you. Embrace it as an advantage. Don’t discredit your client.

5. Thou shalt remain professional and not steal successful campaigns – Copy, borrow and perform homages to successful campaigns you didn’t pull off, but to your own self be true. Don’t be derivative…unless it’s clever in a way the world has never seen before!

6. Thou shalt remain on topic – If you’re talking about your client, then talk about them! Not your other clients, not you, not your beefs with the world…

7. Thou shalt not cross promote clients – If client Y is paying you to talk about client Y, why are you actually talking about client Z, temp project B and pet cause J? Unless you have specific permission from all interests mentioned to cross promote, keep things as you contracted. Talk about client Y and Y related subjects on their channel. Form a separate campaign for client Z. Find the proper alliances for temp project B and leave pet cause J to the proper channels.

8. Thou shalt not disparage competitors – Your client may be the greatest iteration of sliced bread since, well, the first iteration of sliced bread, but social media is not the medium to put down chunked bread or torn bread or pre-chewed bread. All are worthy competitors to your client. Let your client’s audience form their own opinion.

9. Thou shalt not lie…about your client – If your client wants to lie about themselves, let that be on them. You’re the social media expert! Lying is not part of your game, or is it? The simple truth is situations thrown into the light will develop their own answers. You can not lie with social media…for long. So don’t do it.

Eventually, you will be found out. That’s what I teach anyway. Hiding things in this age only invites closer scrutiny. My biggest fear is the person that exposes all for a temporary sense of freedom and release.

10. Thou shalt schedule posts for your day off. – I worked retail for many years. One of the best lessons I learned was that of delegation. With social media, it may seem a day off isn’t possible. I suggest delegating to technology what we have to work for now and that is providing content.

Tools like HootSuite and Twitter allow users to schedule posts in advance or retweet other good content that can be made to show up on a blog. If you want to get real creative with syndicating content, use the Posterous bookmarklet to add a comment to an article you’re reading and then publish the quote of the story and your comment to your site as a new post! Posterous even provides a link back to the original source.

I’m sure this is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s certainly a start. Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Black Hat SEO Will Cost You

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s not often that SEO makes the news. However, in the last two weeks, SEO has been a big topic in several mainstream media publications.

Two weeks ago the New York Times wrote how JC Penney used scammy link building to craft a successful online holiday shopping season. When the reporter contacted Google about the tactic, the top rankings disappeared.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal wrote how Overstock.com paid college students for inbound links to their site in another questionable SEO campaign.

Finally, today Google announced it was changing the way its search algorithm works in an attempt to delist “content farms.”

What is important about this recent news about SEO? It’s a clear message to the spammers and scammers of the online world black hat SEO tactics won’t be tolerated. The fact the SEO industry even has a recognized “black hat” category is quite telling. There are rogue operators in any industry, but they keep a low profile and operate in the shadows to avoid detection. Black hat SEOs like to brag.

If you hire a black hat SEO, you may benefit for a while, but eventually you will pay…maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your domain’s life. It worked for JC Penney during a crucial time -

Kate Coultas, a company spokeswoman, wrote to a reporter in January, “Internet sales through jcp.com posted strong growth in December, with significant increases in traffic and orders for the key holiday shopping periods of the week after Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas.”

Today Penney’s has lost significant position on its ill-gotten rankings.

The situation with Overstock.com wasn’t as blatant as JC Penney’s. Rather than buying links from the dregs of the online world, they offered a discount to people who would link to them. These were namely tech savvy college students who blogged from high authority .edu domains. The end result was the same…a significant drop in search rankings for top keywords.

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon…

These high-profile cases beg the question, “Are paid links legal in the search algorithms?” The answer is no. Google’s search algorithm won’t consider paid links. The only legal paid links are those that have a “nofollow” tag or those that go to an interstitial page that has the robots.txt file blocked.

Penneys and Overstock haven’t been banned, they’ve simply had the “link juice” or Page Rank removed from their links. The results have been devastating.

Content farms are another concept altogether. They involve low quality articles written purely to attract the attention of search engines and gain rankings. Human visitors to these sites are typically bombarded with an array of ads and the site owners hope to gain advertising income. The largest organized creator of such content recently had an IPO worth millions of dollars. Google has decided to change how these sites are ranked.

The aftermath for these companies is up in the air. JC Penney fired its SEO consulting company and blamed the entire fiasco on them. The Overstock situation is still playing out and Demand Media claims their rankings haven’t been affected.

Perhaps the better question relies on strategy. Was JC Penney duped by an SEO company? They’re in a tough position; either admit they went black hat on purpose (it was effective after all) or claim ignorance (something a multi-billion dollar company should never do.

Overstock obviously adopted a grayer hat approach, but still knew their tactic was wrong and could have consequences. Paid links that pass Page Rank are never legal. NEVER.  Demand Media and its ilk also chose the path they went down. The search engines allowed it. Now they don’t. Adapt or become extinct.

My policy has always been white hat. Over the years I’ve been passed by temporarily by black hat tactics or black hat SEOs only to find out later their results didn’t work long-term. I don’t worry about algorithm changes, because I produce good content. I’m not in business to test the gray/black line. I’m here to create good content and get good, lasting rankings for myself and my clients.

How do you choose a good SEO?

Ask them. Ask their clients. Ask their former clients. Find out what their link building strategy is. While certain tactics may be proprietary, it’s easy enough to find out where inbound links are coming from by searching for an inbound link checker.

Online marketing is now about transparency. Anything underhanded, shady or gray will be found out. There is no shortcut to creating good content. Outsourcing your content generation to countries where English isn’t their first language is not an effective strategy. The same applies if you’re creating content for a non-English website.

Bottom line: Black hat SEO isn’t good strategy. Your site’s search results will pay and pay dearly.

Change – Sometimes Waiting is a Good Thing…

June 3, 2010 6 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve “updated” this blog with a real article.  It’s not from a lack of trying.  I have two drafts sitting in queue that I never published and in the light of day, don’t know if they’re worth publishing.

Part of the reason is I’ve had to make a few reassessments on strategy and because there is so much reliance on third parties (Facebook) that seem to be reversing course as quickly as a feather in a hurricane, it’s actually been worthwhile to step back and watch.

This is not to say I haven’t been active or working.  Nor is the blog stagnant.  Anyone who follows the Twitter feed that posts on the right side knows it keeps moving.  So do the images.  In real life, I’ve been speaking regularly on Fridays and had two big events I presented at in May.

At one of them I actually said if I were starting this blog today, I wouldn’t do it.  I’d work more on my Facebook fan page than a blog.

Heresy!  I know.

Here’s what’s changed.

1.  Facebook “like” becoming ubiquitous.  This is a game changing development.  While it has created a privacy backlash, what it does is allow easy sharing of things like-minded (friends) people, well…like.  I compare it to watching Superbowl commercials during the big game.  Everybody looks forward to it.  If you were only shown commercials that interested you, wouldn’t you watch more of them?  That’s the like button.  It’s word of mouth on steroids and I recommend everybody install the button on their website.

The average Facebook user has 130 friends, so instead of speaking to one person with your message on a website, email or blog, you can speak to more by using Facebook.  On average, I see somewhere between 120 to 160 people on this blog.  If I published on Facebook, with the number of “fans” I currently have, I have a reach of 13,000.  It’s a multiplier effect.

Besides, pulling in the RSS feed of this blog to my Facebook page, each article is pulled into the “notes” feed which creates a separate, search engine optimized page, plus the multiplier effect.  I’ll let you know how this goes, but I suspect it will go quite well.

2.  Curating information is almost as important as creating information.  One of the really great things I got to do last week was meet in real life one of my online mentors Pat Kitano.  We both spoke at REbar Camp SLC and wound up sharing the stage all afternoon.

Pat has a great project he’s working on regarding local, breaking news.  He creates blogs that are essentially completely automated that develop an audience and search engine rankings in a very short time.  The site owner doesn’t have to do anything to keep it running and Pat has some great ideas on how to monetize them.  Meanwhile, the site owner, typically a real estate agent, gains great credibility because the sites are so informative and relevant on a local level.

A few months ago, Pat made a prescient observation about Facebook fan pages.  I’ve been playing around with FBML and really took his post to heart.  He said that within a year, stores would be putting their weekly circulars on Facebook.  That prediction inspired this page which I created using existing graphics or RSS feeds.  With the graphics, I have to manually update, which I’ve stopped doing.  I’ll soon dump those vendors or convince them to convert to RSS.  For Smith’s and Fresh Market, the feeds update automatically.  With Smith’s, the feed even sends an update automatically to Facebook when it updates.  I don’t have to do a thing.  I’m supplying great information that every local person should be interested in.  We all have to eat, don’t we?

3.  Automating social media in a meaningful way is actually possible.  At the same time Pat was presenting his breaking news idea, I was actually testing another idea that utilizes Google alerts.  By tying keyword sensitive alerts to my Twitter account, over the last 12 days, I’ve been able to automate my Twitter updates with useful information and gain new followers, i.e. build my audience.

I can actually create a second Twitter account that will update to a Facebook page with a lower frequency to match that platform.  The end result is I have an automatically updated social platform that people like and value.  I actually get more followers and retweets from this method than painstakingly creating and promoting my own content.  Of course I mix in my foursquare updates and personal content to create my own personal and authentic “voice.”

In the mean time, I’ve been anxiously waiting, but I still get to “update” this blog through Twitter and I update my fan page on a daily basis too.  You don’t have to “be everywhere,” but you need to be where the people are.

I love writing original content, but in a regular week when I’m finding content, posting it and creating in person live content, the ability to automate part of it is extremely valuable.  The fact that it’s shared and increases my audience is further proof of its’ worth.

Speaking of automation, Pat shared a semi-automated way to blog that I’m going to try out.  Until then, it will be slow, but steady….

How to Create an Online Radio Show

February 10, 2010 1 comment

Step 1 – Find a co-host.  Thanks Janet!

Step 2 – Brainstorm domain names and purchase it.  Thanks GoDaddy!

Step 3 – Find a web host.  Thanks Brian!

Step 4 – Design the site.  Thanks WordPress!

Step 5 – Find a radio hosting platform.  Thanks Talkshoe!

Step 6 – Find an audience.  Thank YOU!

Web Marketing Weekly Show starts today at 2 pm MST.

Utah SEO Presentation – Article Marketing

January 20, 2010 2 comments

Article Marketing Class

January 17, 2010 1 comment

I’ll be teaching a class on article marketing this Tuesday at BetaLoft in downtown Salt Lake at 2 pm.  It’s free to attend, but space is limited.  If you’re interested, please RSVP on Meetup.com or Facebook.

Here’s what you can expect to learn:

The “what,” “why” and “how” of article marketing.

Topics covered include:

How to title articles for maximum impact.
Which article submission sites to use.
Is there a duplicate content penalty?
The quandry of quality vs. quantity.
How to write interesting articles that will get published through syndication.

Plus much more. Don’t miss it!

For those that can’t attend, I’ll publish the Powerpoint afterwords.
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