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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.

 

Images for SEO – 2014 Edition

July 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Images for SEODespite Google’s never ending algorithm changes…think Hummingbird and Panda…there are still search engine optimization tactics that continue to work. One of these is image optimization through tagging. Taking the small step of naming your images with your keywords used to have enormous benefit.

It still does. If you click on the image in this post, you’ll notice several things. First of all, I found this in reviewing my web stats. The photo is sending me traffic from Pinterest. Pinterest links to my article that contains the photo and it even shows other photos that are found on this blog.

Secondly, the photo was found on Google image search and then posted to Pinterest. What was the reason it was found on Google? I renamed the image with the keyword I was using for the article! So parts of the article title were repeated in the image and even four years later, the image is still ranked in the top five of Google images.

Now this is the part I find really interesting. The searched image was then pinned to Pinterest so it can be found using social media channels as well. I’m entirely convinced social media will decrease the influence search marketing has. However, examples like this show how complementary social and SEO can be. Social is impacting search in a major way. It’s up to online marketers to survey the landscape and make adjustments as necessary.

It seems to me image tagging is still an effective tactic for search and social.

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.

Old Spice Parody Slide Show

August 27, 2010 2 comments

Download the slide deck to see the animations…

Custom Search is Changing SEO

March 12, 2010 1 comment

I’m not sure it was a premonition, or a lucky guess, but I’ve shifted my business model to move from search engine optimization.  That seems like a strange statement from an avowed SEO guy, but the truth is, the rules of search are changing faster than anyone can keep track.

One day I’m doing a search for a keyword relevant to my business and my competition that I follow on Twitter shows up on the results.

Recently, tweets related to my keyword showed up in search results on Google.

If I perform the same search on Explorer, Firefox and my mobile phone’s browser, I get three different sets of search results.

Search has become personal and that creates a headache for SEO guys that think SEO is all about meta tags and inbound links.

Internet marketing is about findability and more than ever it means more than search.  It means local search through Google Maps and Yelp and Foursquare and social search through Twitter and Facebook and relationship search through LinkedIn and Facebook and every other tool we use to find what we want and need online.

At the beginning of this month Google introduced “stars,” a function that places your favorite search results at the top of what shows up for relevant search terms.  This should scare the crap out of any old school SEO.  SEO experts don’t control search results any more, people do.

For businesses and SEOs willing to adapt, the strategy needs to change from SERPs to influence or “findability.”  I can’t promise, suggest or command a front page listing from Google for my desired result, because somebody may use a filter to exclude it.

What I need to do as a web marketer is use every tool in my arsenal including Twitter, Facebook and other industry relevant social media platforms to create a profile that can be found.  More importantly, I need to be searching for the connectors in my target industry that will talk about me or my client’s business.

With social media, search has literally been turned on its head.

I really don’t mean to criticize my competition, but I’ve recently seen first hand how Yellow page turned web marketing businesses are using the old models of Internet search to pursue business.  I don’t blame them.  They really don’t know any better.  I really think tools like SEO and PPC are losing influence in the wake of social media.

Pay per click or PPC is a tool I’ve seen get drained in effectiveness.  Ten years ago, I could make a business using PPC.  Today, I can see businesses be broken by the same tool in the wrong hands.

As much as we’d all like to be able to apply the same solution to every marketing problem, to be successful, we have to be creative and be unique.  For example, I was recently presented with a client opportunity that I realized couldn’t be solved with social media.

The potential client’s target audience simply doesn’t use it.  Regardless, I can still use social media effectively by identifying who talks about the potential client’s services and connecting with them.  The effective “social” method may indeed be face to face.

In the last three months, I have literally seen a transformation in the online marketing space.  SEO and PPC have become questionable methods of increasing quality traffic and conversions.  A revolution in search marketing is underway.  Findability is more important than search engine results.

Web Marketing Weekly Show – Press Release

February 22, 2010 2 comments

Salt Lake City, UT Feb 19, 2010 – Janet Thaeler and Nigel Swaby interviewed 3-time Olympian Devon Harris on the Web Marketing Weekly Show.

The “Web Marketing Weekly Show” podcast airs each Wednesday at 2 pm MST (1pm PST, 3pm CST, 4pm EST). This was a special broadcast on a Friday – so the hosts could interview Harris live from the Vancouver Olympics.

Since competing, Harris has become an author and a public speaker. His childrens book “Yes I Can” tells the story of the Jamaican bobsled team and what they overcame to make it to the Olympics.  He shared what he’s learned about marketing starting from this experience.

3 Tips to Gold Medal Marketing

1. Train like an Olympian.
As a public speaker he studies other speakers to see how they express themselves. He practices his speeches over and over again even if he knows the material. “Study your craft like an Olympian,” he said.

2. When business is slow, create more value.
There are seasons in a business and during slower times, create something new. Harris applied this concept when he had less speaking engagements. He wrote a book during that time which he now sells at his speeches. When work returned, he emerged more marketable.

3. Forget perfection – get it done.
Harris explained that Microsoft ships product then creates patches to address the problems. You don’t need a book publicist to market a book – he went to book stores on his speaking trips and arranged book signings. You don’t need perfect video of your speaking – have a friend take footage of your speaking for your web page. You can always improve it later, but have something ready now.

Find out more about Harris online at http://www.devonharris.com

The next episode of the Web Marketing Weekly Show will feature author Josh Peters who will give tips on using Twitter taken from his book, “TwittFaced.”

Listeners can interact via IM during the show and submit questions online. Questions can be emailed, submitted online or phoned in and will be answered on air.  Or, submit questions on Twitter at @Newspapergrl or @seobyswaby.

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About Janet Thaeler
Janet Thaeler is an Online PR professional. She’s the author of the book, I Need a Killer Press Release Now What?? that shows small businesses how to create news and get to the top of search engines. She blogs at http://www.Newspapergrl.com and http://www.OnlinePRBook.com She’s a regular contributor to Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends and The American Express Small Business Forums. She has presented at major universities, PR associations and on numerous other occasions.

About Nigel Swaby
Nigel Swaby is a Salt Lake City Web marketing specialist. He founded an Internet marketing business called Swaby Online Media and has 12 years of industry experience. He has been featured in USA Today, taught a class on blogging at The University of Utah, was recently featured in Utah Pulse Magazine and is the business insight examiner for Examiner.com. In his free time Nigel enjoys writing, golf and college football. His Web site is http://www.seobyswaby.com.

Utah Real Estate – Press Release

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Salt Lake City, UT, February 12, 2010

With new home sales off from the peak, Utah’s home builders are looking for every advantage in selling their products. Garbett Homes, one of Utah’s top homebuilders, is positioning itself as Utah’s “Greenest” Builder. Without increasing prices for environmental efficiency, Garbett is producing comfortably sized solar powered and thermal powered homes at Daybreak in South Jordan, aptly named the Solaris collection. More information about Garbett’s green building techniques can be found at http://www.garbetthomes.com/buildinggreen.html

In today’s economic climate, people are more conscious of conserving energy and money. “Garbett Homes is pleased to be contributing to the community and environment by building homes that use less energy and produce less waste,” said Rene Oehlerking, Marketing Director. “We’re focused on providing this technology and these benefits without having our customers have to pay a premium,” he continued. All Garbett homes are also built to the 100% Energy Star specification that dramatically decreases monthly energy bills for homeowners.

The technology behind the Solaris collection at Daybreak is the result of a collaboration with California based firm KTGY Architects and PVT Solar. Featuring contemporary designs, the Solaris collection boasts finished space of 2200 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, a two-car garage and fenced yard. Powering these ideal homes for first time buyers are built-in solar panels that automatically convert sunlight into electricity even on a cloudy day. Unlike other “green” homes on the market, Solaris is built economically and doesn’t cost any more to the buyer than homes that are less environmentally friendly.

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