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Author’s Contest Creates Best-Sellers – Press Release

February 4, 2010 1 comment

Salt Lake City, UT, February 3, 2010 — Would you like to become a best-selling author? That’s the prize authors win by getting the most votes in the Wake Up Celebrity Author contest. Last year’s winner, Kurt Philip Behm, won $12,000 worth of promotion and wound up number 83 on Barnes & Noble.com’s best-seller list. Authors can enter the contest at www.wakeupcelebrityauthor.com for a nominal entry fee of $50.

Contest promoter Phil Davis says, “The contest is valuable even to authors who don’t win one of our five top prizes. It’s much easier to promote a book by asking people to ‘vote’ for it instead of ‘buying’ it.” Many of the authors who participated in last year’s contest found the experience to be invaluable because of the way the voting structure was organized. Voters must leave feedback on the book cover, title and book excerpt in order to cast their ballot.

Kurt Behm won last year’s contest with his book The Death of the Playground. Like other authors, he found the feedback from voters to be the most valuable. “People took the time to leave several paragraphs of comments or even email me personally. I thought if people read the review I had a pretty good chance of them buying the book. I can’t tell you how many responses I got where people said they had just called and ordered the book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I heard that over and over again,” said Behm. The contest began a soft launch in mid-January and will conclude on March 31, 2010. Winners of this year’s contest will be announced in early April.

Utah SEO Company Issues 90 Day Social Media Challenge – Press Release

February 3, 2010 1 comment

Online PR News – 01-February-2010 – A Utah search engine optimization company is saying a website isn’t necessary to be successful on the Internet. Swaby Online Media has issued a ninety day challenge to drive traffic and sales to a credit card processing company using only social media sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Merchant services executive Lisa Wise will record amateur videos and use social media to drive traffic and sales to her business. More details can be found on her Facebook page – http://bit.ly/CCPFacebook.

“Social media is going to be a driving force on the Internet this year,” says company owner Nigel Swaby. “If you don’t believe me, ask Pepsi why they pulled their Superbowl budget after 23 years and shifted it to social media,” he challenged. In today’s economy, many budding entrepreneurs don’t have the budget or technical knowledge to develop a website, but they are adopting social media tools like Facebook and Twitter in droves. More and more businesses are interested in tapping into the commerce aspect of social media.

One of the big benefits of a website is every activity on the site can be measured to determine an accurate return on investment. Since social media sites are third parties, adding tracking code is impossible. Swaby says, “While adding tracking code is impossible, it is still possible to measure the success of the 90 challenge by counting Twitter followers and Facebook fans. We’re also using bit.ly to shorten URLs and the service adds a tracking component many people are unaware of. Ultimately we’re going to measure the success of this campaign by the number of sales and new customers that come on board.” The success of this challenge would be of benefit to individual sales people and franchise owners who have limited access to websites as marketing tools. Interested viewers can follow the success of the project on Facebook, Twitter (http://bit.ly/CCPTwit) and the Swaby Online Media blog (http://seobyswaby.com).

How To Write Google Ads – The Perfect Formula

January 15, 2010 2 comments

It’s not often I give away a piece of information as critical as this, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Twice this week I was called into consult with clients by my SEM partners who only sell paid search.

They needed to know why their campaigns weren’t working.  A successful SEM campaign has three components:

1.  Keyword research

2.  A compelling ad

3.  A compelling landing page.

Today I’m going to discuss the three components of a killer Google ad campaign.  You’ve already done the keyword research, so now it’s time to write that ad.

Google ads are tricky because you’ve got 75 characters to capture the reader’s attention, build trust, make an offer and get them to click through to your landing page.  That’s about half a tweet!

Here’s how you do it.

1.  Capture attention by using capital letters at the beginning of each word.  You can’t use all caps.  You can also use punctuation like a ? or !, but not bunched together.

2.  Build trust by repeating the search term in your ad title.  Google automates this for you.  Use it.

3.  Make an offer that capitalizes on the why of your business.  You’ve got two to four words to explain.  Be brief.

4.  Specific call to action.  Do you want your visitor to click through to your landing page or call you?  Let them know!

Here’s an ad I just found:

801 Phone Finder

Search Free Any 801 Number
Cell, Landline, Unpublished & More.
www.Intelius.com/ReversePhoneLookup

Does it meet the criteria I mentioned? 

It repeated my search term which included 801.
It gave the “why” or unique selling proposition – cell phones, unpublished, etc.
It gave a call to action – search free.

I would have changed the link at the bottom to make the URL simple, but that’s just me.

There you have the easy and effective way to write pay-per-click (PPC) ads for Google!

Bonus:

Writing ads is trial and error, so multiple testing has to be put in place.  What kind of ads are your customers going to click on?  I don’t know!  Let’s test.  Google makes it easy and shows the best performing ads more frequently.  Be sure to write multiple ads and let your customer tell you which ones work the best.

The Evolution of SEO

January 9, 2010 4 comments

A few weeks ago, technology blogger Robert Scoble asked if 2010 would usher in the death of SEO.  He has some good points on why it might, but ultimately I think he’s not asking the right question.  The better question is whether 2010 will bring about the death of gimmick driven SEO, the type of “black hat” chicanery that gives SEO a bad name.  The short answer is “no” because scammers and cheaters will always exist.

The better question Scoble raises is why more SEO companies don’t expand their service offerings to encompass more than just SEO.

No longer is it about optimizing search engine results and the new breed is going beyond just search engines to provide holistic systems that find and track customers not only on search engines like Google and Bing, but on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

It is this holistic approach I’ve offered to clients since I started this business.  When I talk to a potential client, I ask questions about tracking, design, navigation, contact forms and marketing expectations long before the phrase “search engine optimization” passes through my lips.  Once I do mention SEO, I talk about Facebook, Twitter and blogging as other ways to engage visitors and further the marketing cycle.

As I finalized forming this business into a legal entity at the end of last year, the thought weighed heavily on my mind that SEO by Swaby wasn’t really an accurate description of what I do.  Neither is Web Design by Swaby or Social Media by Swaby, though I can perform all those services.  Hence a LLC was formed called Swaby Online Media.  I’m still keeping the SEO by Swaby as a DBA, but you’ll begin to hear Swaby Online Media more often.

Further, my mission and value proposition has evolved.  I make websites successful and I do it through design, navigation and marketing.  Do I still do SEO?  Absolutely, but it’s not the only thing I do.

Let me give you an example of just one way I’m different from any other Utah SEO company.  I provide tangible results within 30 days of being hired because I use press releases.  I use them for my company and my clients.  Worst case scenario I get the press release ranked on the search engines and it serves as effective social proof for my client.  In a best case scenario the release gets picked up by the news media, an interview is scheduled and a story gets published.  That’s what happened this week for my client Personal Family Physicians.

No other Utah SEO company can do this.  There’s only two that even try.

Returning to Scoble’s thesis whether SEO is no longer needed, I must disagree.  The components he says are replacing search, namely Twitter and Facebook, still help with search.  I do believe we need to move beyond the concept of search and develop the concept of being found.  As SEO becomes more competitive, it’s natural businesses will need to be found on other sites besides Google.  Thus the concept I’ll be using is findability. 

The concept of findability was introduced in 2005 by Peter Morville and references the ability for a user to find the information they are seeking within a particular website.  I’ve discovered a movement exists in the Internet marketing community that is advancing the concept of findabilty as the next evolution of SEO.  As social media becomes more prominent, I think we’ll see it included as part of this movement.

Is SEO dead as Robert Scoble suggests?  No.  Is it evolving?  Definitely yes.  If your online marketing strategy consists only of SEO or paid search, you’re definitely missing something.  Take a step back and figure out all the steps that transform a curious searcher into a valued customer.  Once you have that plan in place you’ll see better results, more sales and higher customer loyalty.

The One Question All Your Advertising Should Answer

December 30, 2009 4 comments

For years advertising has tried to answer the questions of “what” and “how much” and that’s been a fine way to advertise.

However, we’ve reached a level of marketing saturation that has made those methods that used to work obsolete.

To be really successful in today’s highly competitive marketplace, we need to start answering a different question in our advertising…”why.”

Consider the fast food hamburger as an example.  There are a lot of different foods competing for our dollars when we’re in a rush.  The super easy choice is a hamburger.  The big three are McDonalds, Burger King and Carl’s Jr.  They all make and sell hamburgers.  They all cost about the same.  So how can they gain market share?  By answering the why.  Of the three places, I admit I eat at McDonalds and Burger King more than Carl’s.  Of those two, I like Burger King the best.  Why?  Because of the flame broiled burger.  I think BK makes the best mass-produced hamburger in the country, if not the world.

I drive by a tune up place in Murray fairly frequently that has a message on its marquee saying, “Follow us on Twitter.”  Every time I think “why?”  I can’t think of a reason.  Maybe they’ve got one.  They probably wouldn’t go to the trouble if they didn’t, but it’s not being communicated.  A better message would be “Follow us on Twitter because you can get a free tune up.”

I tell people to read my blog because they’ll learn how to use Twitter and Facebook and blog in a profitable manner.  More importantly other people say the same thing. 

The key to answering the “why” question is to include the word “because.”  I got this idea from Copyblogger, but I’ve heard it from other sources too.  Your because can be anything, just use the word because it answers the question “why.”  I like Burger King burgers because they’re flame broiled.  The question of “what” is answered by the product and the question of “how much” doesn’t matter because it’s the best tasting burger out there and the price differential between my other burger choices is nominal.

Answering the question “why” removes the price question altogether so long as consumers are clear on what your product or service is.  Your “why” should be your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition.  Price doesn’t have to, nor should it enter into your advertising, if you answer the question why.

Last year I had the opportunity to test drive a Bentley.  I always wondered why someone would spend over $200,000 for a car when a perfectly good BMW or Mercedes costs a fraction of that price.  Once I drove the car, I understood why.  Other than the fact I couldn’t afford it, price didn’t come into play at all.  From the massaging seats to the powerful engine to the hand stitched interior that looked so well put together it could never fall apart, I learned the “why.”  I would have bought the car on the spot if I had the money.

We’re not all out there selling Bentleys, but if we answer the question of “why” in our advertising, we’ll never have to answer “how much.” 

What is my “why?”  I make websites successful.

Ten Fearless Predictions About Internet Marketing in 2010

December 28, 2009 8 comments

It’s that time of year when predictions, goals and lists dominate the media.  Who am I not to oblige?  Here is my top ten list of Internet marketing trends that will dominate the year:

10.  Mobile media – The introduction of the Android operating system is going to create new demand for smart phones from the world’s largest manufacturers.  Gartner research predicts Android will be the number two operating system in the world by 2012.  That’s a lot of new phone hardware and a lot of people who will use the mobile web that haven’t in the past.  When Motorola’s Droid phone went on sale last month, it sold 250,000 units in the first week.  Most of those buyers were not iPhone deserters.  Ignore the mobile web at your peril.

9.  Bing becomes the number two search engine – Since Microsoft’s purchase of Yahoo! earlier this year, the perennial number two search engine has continued to lose market share to Google and now Bing.  I can’t help but think it’s because of the heavy TV advertising that was done.  Instead of building a stronger brand to challenge Google, Microsoft has simply cannibalized its most recent acquisition.  Expect to see more of that and make the effort to be found on Bing.  New Internet users and those easily persuaded by TV commercials are there.

8.  Businesses are going to make concerted efforts in social media – I’m seeing more and more companies creating business pages on Facebook.  I fanned a page for Grey Goose vodka the other day because they were running ads there.  They’ve got nearly 100,000 fans and a vibrant community on Facebook sharing and discussing drink recipes.  That’s the way to do it.  Pepsi is withdrawing all its Superbowl advertising in favor of a social media campaign with a charitable partner.  That’s 23 years of Superbowl commercials and millions of dollars being shifted online.  Pay attention.  There’s a reason.

7.  Non-commercial applications and uses will drive online commerce – Besides Pepsi’s alignment with the non-profit arena, government’s are using technology more to create engaged citizens.  CNN tells how mobile apps allow users to point out potholes and graffiti in larger cities.

If the inconvenience had happened a few years ago, Newmark said he would have just gone on with his day — maybe complaining about the temperature to a friend.

But this was 2009, the age of mobile technology, so Newmark pulled out his iPhone, snapped a photo of the train car and, using an app called “SeeClickFix,” zapped an on-the-go complaint, complete with GPS coordinates, straight to City Hall.

If government can engage citizens, businesses will have to as well.

6.  Relationships will mean more, social media will be the gateway – Over the past decade, two events have changed our country.  The first was 9/11.  It made us fearful, but also cognizant that anything can happen, any day.  When I first read about those towers coming down on the Internet, I couldn’t believe it.  I had to turn on my TV for proof.  It was that inconceivable.  The attitude that developed post 9/11 was one of staying home, remodeling and not travelling.  Many people made a lot of money staying home and remodeling their homes and the Gulf War brought the country out of recession.  Now we’re in a bigger recession, our homes have lost all their pumped up value and we’re realizing its people, not posessions that are important.  Social media is making it easier and easier to connect with people.

5.  A company will implode due to social media – I have no insider information, just a feeling that some big company out there is going to take on a social media campaign and screw it up so badly it either damages the company for years or takes it down completely.  We’ve seen hints of this in the past with AOL and Best Buy, but this is going to be a very special mistake.  Here’s why it’s going to happen –  most of corporate America doesn’t understand the Internet.  Here’s how – people online act like they’re yelling at their TV’s at home.  Social media is like turning up the volume on that TV, but with it becoming two sided.  It’s if Elvis was shooting the TV and the person on the other side had some danger of being hit.  They do and I believe it will happen in 2010.

Corporate America thinks they can still lie and misrepresent and set up patsies in this age of transparency.  They can’t any more, but it will take a gigantic implosion before the rest of them catch on.  Social media will be that catalyst.

4.  Blogging is going to make a comeback –  Over the past year, blogs have seemed to become passé.  Twitter (microblogging) and Facebook have become the brand names of social media.  Meanwhile the old standbys; forums and blogs keep chugging along.  The reason I think blogs are going to come back stronger is the emergence of Posterous as another platform.  It doesn’t replace existing platforms, even though it can.  It complements them and makes it even easier for bloggers to blog…by simply sending an email.  Posterous showed its getting serious when it recently added multi-author capability, a feature that prevented business adoption of the technology.  I think we’re going to see a new form of blogging I’m dubbing “mini-blogging” that will be longer than Twitter, but shorter than a blog like mine.  Posterous is going to help make that happen.

3. Twitter gives control back to consumers – I think quite possibly the most annoying thing about the Internet is spam.  I get an email from the Chicago Cubs a few times a week in an email I don’t use very often.  I probably got on their list when I created a March madness bracket five years ago, but I can’t seem to be removed.  It’s an indignity I’ve learned to ignore…and delete every time I get an email from them.  On the other hand, if all they had was my Twitter address, I retain control since I can unfollow them any time I want.  This is the direction smart marketers are heading.  If you’re starting a new site, use Twitter to build your list because it will build trust and a loyal following.

2. Advertisers will ask for less, but know more – Along the same vein, smart marketers are asking for less information on contact and landing pages.  When I first read this article suggesting not to ask for a full name, I was a little flabbergasted.  Any email marketer knows personalized emails with the prospect’s name in the subject line have a higher open rate.  Mark was right, you’ll get the rest of their information…when they buy.  Then you can personalize to your heart’s content.  In the meantime people who Twitter would rather give up that information, even though it can supply much more than an email, because they know they can unfollow at any time.  Are you using Twitter and Facebook on your landing pages and contact forms?  You should.

1.  Coupon sites will rule the year – It seems technology and the economy have combined to create an amazing opportunity for consumers through the old standby – coupons.  Who doesn’t like to save money?  In some of the email newsletters I still subscribe to, I’ve seen the word coupon pop up more and more frequently and I believe 2010 will produce an amazing winner in that vertical space.  There’s no doubt demand exists.  “Printable coupons” gets searched over 100,000 times per month according to WordTracker and SmallBusinessNewz wrote,

Of course big-name brands were often accompanying the keywords, but the fact that people are looking for printable coupons should tip you off that it is a good idea to offer them if you run a brick and mortar store. I guarantee that not everyone who is searching for coupons is associating them with a specific brand.

Online coupon businesses are doing very well.  Groupon.com has experienced explosive growth this year and just received a 30 million dollar capital injection that could make it the break out coupon site of 2010.  Whether or not it’s Groupon, I do think at the end of next year, coupon sites are going to be very top of mind.

There are my ten fearless predictions for 2010.  Any thoughts…agreements…disagreements?  Let me know by leaving a comment.

WordPress SEO – Don’t Make This Fatal Mistake

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

The other day I wrote about a challenge I was facing with a client of mine who was using a WordPress site

Their web designer had possibly nefariously tagged the entire site to be invisible to the search engines…like a vampire unable to see its own reflection.

While I worked for a while on unravelling this mystery by looking into the deepest, darkest corners of the code and then the web that encased it, I found no solutions.  I tried a work around that failed, even though sucking the blood out of other methods succeeded.  Ultimately, getting my hands dirty in the cobwebs of WordPress found success.

As I suspected, the culprit was a simple checkbox with a universal application.  Unfortunately I didn’t know where to look.  The WordPress gurus I consulted had no idea.  To be fair, I fired off questions.  Channa is awesome.  I was looking for answers, not explorations.   

While setting up a new WordPress site last night, I discovered the answer to my question.  I’ll save the screenshot for another time.

Settings-Privacy-I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers.

If you have this checked, your website is golden.  If not, your website is dying an anonymous death.  Like a rare disease, nobody but the experts knows why your site is dying from a dearth of traffic.  I do.  Let’s fix it.

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