Month: August 2012

[Video] Todd Wilms on SAP’s Global Social Media Strategy

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Recently, OMI Founder Aaron Kahlow sat down with Todd Wilms, Senior Director of Social Media at SAP, to get a behind the scenes look at SAP’s global social media program. Check out this video interview below where Todd discusses:

  • How to leverage social media on a global scale
  • Why a passion for social media should permeate your organization
  • How Todd and his team at SAP develop social media best practices
  • How to evangelize brand ambassadors and respond to brand detractors

Catch Todd this September at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit on Social Media Integration Day (Sept 17, 2012)—he will present “Competitive Social Media Strategies for 2013”. You watch his session from the comfort of your computer. See full agenda.

Not the video type? Read the full transcript below.

Aaron: We're back at Online Marketing TV with Todd Wilms, Todd, welcome to the show.

Todd: Thanks for having me.

Aaron: So, give us a little background on who you are and what you're all about.

Todd: Sure. So I'm part of one of the greater social media teams of SAP. SAP as you know, 53,000 employees, 128 countries around the world. So we have vested interest in social media, and we have a wide group of people that are all engaged in helping SAP come to market through social.

Aaron: Got it. And your mission at SAP is to…?

Todd: We've got a couple different missions, right. I mean we've got all these different products and solutions and so we're trying to reach audiences on different levels.

Aaron: But yours particularly, what is your original occupation?

Todd: Yeah.

Aaron: Yeah.

Todd: So mine is to sit down and work with the 47 different products and solutions around the globe, and help those people become better at social media. So it's a small team, we've only got four or five people, and if we were to try to try and do that and scale it, we'd have a team of about 600.

Aaron: Got it.

Todd: All right, so the way we go about those, we try and create best practices. We get in deep, we work with teams, we help them develop their social skills and then we complement those with playbooks and centers of excellence and then I go out and speak at different conferences and get to hear what other people are doing, bring that back in-house and make it all better for everybody.

Aaron: Cool. So you're kind of the educator, the best practice implementer and the maybe standard bearer for social at SAP.

Todd: Absolutely. Yeah.

Aaron: Love it. Great.

Todd: Standard-bearer? I'm going to use that.

Aaron: Yeah, there you go and carry the torch up for social?

Todd: Ah, absolutely.

Aaron: So, easy to talk about all the great things you're doing at SAP when it comes to Social. Talk to me about the things you just aren't doing so well and you need to get better at, and what your plans are to fix those things.

Todd: Right. Well, it's one of the things I actually talked about in one of the sessions that I gave this morning. It's really about the cultural shift. Social media is not a marketing tactic; it's a cultural phenomenon.

Aaron: Right.

Todd: And if we look at social media, as how companies should be using it, it should be something that permeates the entire our organization and entire infrastructure. Now for a small company, if you're talking about five people you've only got four people to convince. And that in and of it's self can be difficult. You think about fifty-three thousand people in all of these different languages around the globe, and they're all coming out there from a different perspective. Getting all those people to think about Social the way you do, and have that same fire in your belly, that same passion for it, is really challenging. So the thing that we always struggle with is how do we bring people along with us.

Aaron: Right, right.

Todd: It's not just four or five people trying to pull you like a big glacier.

Aaron: Right.

Todd: It's how do we get people along the lines to start getting, thinking about social the same way that we do.

Aaron: Yeah.

Todd: So it's not so much it's a problem, it's just a natural evolution and trying to get better and better and better with it as we go. Cool?

Aaron: Love it. So, let's get into the harder parts of social rank, because we all are still very challenged in measuring everything in marketing, but social still seems to be particularly difficult about how it's pushing the ball forward.

We know we need to do it, we know it's getting the brand out there.

Todd: Yeah, absolutely.

Aaron: We know we're getting more engagement. But what are the metrics you guys are looking at to understand that, yeah, this is working and maybe this isn't, and we need to take a different path.

Todd: Right. The places we've run into problems is when we've tried to do one size fits all, right, where you just come in and say ‘we're going to measure all social by likes, we're going to measure it by comments, et cetera’. What we started to do is we sit back at the very beginning when we're developing our strategies with these teams and we come up with the goals that we want to measure, or we want to measure a set of goals at the very beginning. So one of the things we'll do is, if a team wants to look at just reach, right? We'll set up the goals and metrics that we want to measure at that point, and then we'll evolve those over time. So, we try and, I don't know, do, 'ready, aim, fire,' instead of ‘ready, fire, aim,’ which is what most organizations end up doing.

Aaron: So what are some of the neat things you guys are experimenting with that would be on the verge, maybe ‘ready fire aim’ but you know just kinda pushing the envelope to try to get a sense for what's worth your time.

Todd: Right. So I think one of the things we've tried to do is, you know, everyone approaches social from a very democratic democratized standpoint. Everyone's equal in social's eyes. And what we decided to do is say, we can't invest in the same way in all people across all channels across all parts of the organization territorial social media, huh?

Aaron: Dictatorship in social?

Todd: You know it, baby.

Aaron: Yeah.

Todd: Well I know we like to laugh about it, but it's limited resources. Everyone has a difficult time in trying to make sure that, you know, you're giving the right attention to people that really deserve it. So, we've started to come up with some ways to look at how do we invest in certain people across the infrastructure? How do we make ambassadors, how do we give them the right tools and technologies that they can then go in and become torchbearers for their respective areas.

Aaron: Are you identifying the influencers outside the organization, too, and spending more time courting them, or is that part of the strategy as well?

Todd: Yeah, absolutely. I think SAP has always done a really good job of dealing and interacting with influencers and bringing those people into the fold.

We have huge influencer summits. We work with people that are, you know, very positive, we also work with people who are detractors, and we try and engage and have conversation with them. That's the one really nice thing about Social Media is, even if someone is a detractor, even if someone is saying something that you don't particularly like about your brand, at least you've got the ability through social to hear what they're saying and to react accordingly. Before, they could be saying all sorts of negative things about you and you never had the opportunity to interact with them. There were only a very limited number of people that could do so. Now they're very public about it and you can come in and respond accordingly. You may not like what they have to say, but at least you can interact with them and help change their behavior, even just a little bit.

Aaron: Got it. So if I caught you at the beginning when you were talking about what you do, you have a global reach when it comes to Social Media strategy for SAP.

Todd: Right.

Aaron: And SAP is a very big global company. What are the local nuances you found to be just interesting and representative of how we need to think? Like, what are you doing in, say, Shanghai versus even Hong Kong, right? Let alone Shanghai versus Germany. And how does that all impact kind of the thought process to unify this social strategy under one, kind of set of standards?

Todd: Yeah. Now it's really good. I think one of the things we've run into is, if you try and do a kind of U.S. centric approach. And then say, we'll just take that and roll that strategy, that process, that program out and do it across the globe, you're going to run into those cultural nuances.

Aaron: Yeah.

Todd: All right, so one of the things we learned is, if you go and run a program, even if it is an event or world tour in Turkey, and you put stuff on YouTube, well, YouTube is blocked. It has to be video.

Aaron: Yeah.

Todd: And most people don't realize that, so if you develop a YouTube strategy in that particular area of the world, you're, you're gonna fall short.

Aaron: Kind of like your Twitter strategy in China, right?

Todd: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely, right. After that one, and I think that most people know that by now, and they realize that there is a nuance, but they don't, they look at, like, China, and then there's the rest of the world.

Aaron: Right.

Todd: And what we've looked at is that, you know, we may do a lot of tweeting here in the U.S., but it's not as endemic and in the same way as it is in Europe.

Aaron: Yeah.

Todd: We blog about business issues here in the US, but in New York they tend to blog more about personal issues. And those cultural nuances they may be stereotypes, but those cultural nuances really play into how you develop a social program.

Aaron: That's right. But China everybody is fascinated with, right? Because just in the size in the internet population has already surpassed the U.S. that's right.

See, there's a lot of potential, a lot of marketing dollars that can be floated in. What are some of the nuances on social that you've learned? Any of the other things you might be able to share that you know you've learned from in trying to figure out the Chinese market and what the new odds are as it relates obviously to social media?

Todd: Yeah, so the couple of things that we learned is, again it goes back to the same answer before. Don't try and force Western ideas on an Eastern culture, on a culture that you may not understand.

Aaron: Yes.

Todd: So we've gone in, when we've done events, we've done programs, we've done interactions there. We use on the ground resources. We use local teams to help us. We come in with a strategy and idea of what we want to accomplish, but we let those people really help steer, guide us so that we've got those feet on the street to help localize the effort. And then the last thing is, we speak in the local language. So if you come in and say, 'Well, we're going to speak in English, because the world understands English,' you've already missed a vast majority of your populace. So when you come in and you kind of meet with those local cultural norms and local cultural standards and develop those programs, you know, you've got to win almost right off the bat.

Aaron: Got it. So you have more feet on the street locally to help you guide that strategy, as opposed to just guiding it from corporate headquarters?

Todd: Yeah, absolutely.

Aaron: Is that a fair way to look at it?

Todd: Yeah, absolutely.

Aaron: With that, thanks for joining us on the show and hope to see you back soon.


 


5 Tips for Landing Page Optimization Success from Tim Ash

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Tim AshI'm thrilled that one of my favorite experts on landing page optimization, Tim Ash, is joining us this September at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit on Conversion/Analytics Day (Friday, September 21). Tim will conduct live landing page reviews for attendees—so sign up and submit your landing page URLs early. Tim Ash is author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners, a firm that specializes in improving website conversion rates for clients large and small, including Canon, Google, Expedia, CBS, Sony Music, Facebook, Nestle, Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, Cisco, and Coach.

To give you a taste of the great conversion advice we have in store for you at #OMISummit, I picked Tim's brain on landing pages, copy, calls-to-action and more. Here's what he had to say:

1. What are some of the most common landing page mistakes marketers make?

That's easy - in the 2nd edition of my book Landing Page Optimization I have a whole chapter devoted to the "Seven Deadly Sins" of landing page design. They include too much text on the page, visual distractions, lack of overt trust symbols, asking for too much information, too much choice, and unclear calls-to-action.

2. How long should landing page copy be?

Most copy should be short and hard-hitting. People don't read on the web. They skim and scan - mostly looking for visual cues or links to click on. If you need to include supporting information, you can often hide it under a "more details" link. However, if you have a single product direct response situation, long-form sales letters can still work online. But there is a very specific formula to make those kinds letters work - so work with a specialized copy writer.

3. How many calls-to-action should you include on a landing page?

Ideally just one. What I mean is that the visual priorities on the page should be clear, and the call to action should be prominent and obvious. The easiest way to accomplish this is to tone down the rest of the elements on the page so that the call to action can arise naturally out of this quiet.

It is possible to have multiple conversion goals and calls-to-action, but make sure that you give them the appropriate visual emphasis. The important stuff should be prominent, and secondary calls to action should be appropriately muted.

If you have a long page, remember that the viewer is looking through a little window on their browser. So make sure that as they scroll, the call to action is always visible. Repeat it several times as you go down the page. But don't use those annoying jittering overlays which pin the call to action to a specific place on the screen.

4. What question do you wish people would ask you?

"What should the balance be between driving traffic and converting it?" Unfortunately most online marketers focus on traffic acquisition. That is where they are spending the money. But they neglect to do anything to improve the actual experience of the visitor once they get to the site or landing page. Converison rate optimization will turbo-charge all of your traffic sources, so it should get a lot more attention.

5. How did you get started in landing page optimization?

My company was running large-scale pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for clients. Then we decided to add a division to be a super affiliate. We would by PPC traffic with our own money and send it to landing pages. Unfortunately the landing pages were awful. So we would improve the pages with the agreement of the affiliate program, and would then make a lot more money. Over time we realized that this was the big opportunity. Since then we have jettisoned the PPC completely and have become an acknowledged expert in conversion rate optimization. We have worked with over 1000 clients worldwide over the last decade.

 


AdCenter: PPC’s (not so evil) Step-Sibling

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Microsoft AdCenterWhen talking about PPC, it’s not uncommon to constantly reference Google, AdWords, Google Places, Google Analytics, etc. - you get the idea. After all, they’re the big players in the PPC industry and have continually been a successful source for client’s PPC efforts. As a result, search marketers generally recommend starting with PPC campaigns in Google and gaining momentum before eventually launching into MSN. When taking the leap from Google exclusive PPC campaigns to MSN campaigns there are a few things to keep in mind.

Before shifting all your eggs into the other basket, start with duplicating your top campaigns from Google into AdCenter. AdCenter actually provides one-click upload capabilities for such a task. Download your top campaigns from Adwords Editor and upload that exact file to your account.

Speaking of bulk upload tools, AdCenter also has a version of Adwords Editor allowing for fast, bulk optimizations or campaign builds. If you decide to run campaigns on MSN I highly suggest downloading the Microsoft AdCenter desktop tool.

Not all features in Google are available in MSN. And if they are, it’s safe to say that you won’t be able to implement it yourself. It will require the use of an MSN or AdCenter support person. Take for instance Remarketing in Google. Often times, Remarketing is the top performing campaign in Google. In order to get the AdCenter equivalent (called Remessaging) you’ll need to work with the help center in order to get it activated in your account whereas Google you can experiment and set it up yourself. Remessaging also requires a minimum spend.

UTM codes will save you in AdCenter. Because AdCenter isn’t a Google product, it isn’t fully integrated into Analytics the way your Google Adwords campaigns are. Meaning if you want to attribute any sort of goal, lead, or sale back to an MSN campaign, you’ll have to tag the campaign’s landing pages with a UTM code that labels it ‘MSN’ or ‘AdCenter’ or whatever label you want to use to distinguish it. Yes, the AdCenter interface includes conversion tracking by adding a small piece of code on specific pages, but in my experience, it’s easier to see all leads in one place like Analytics and report from there.

The resulting traffic from AdCenter will vary. Bing and Google are used by very different users. Historically, a majority of MSN/Bing users skew older. Keep that in mind when looking at results and bear in mind your product or services.

For the most part, many of the Google best practices and tricks of the trade can be applied to AdCenter. Daily optimizations like bid management and ad copy refresh should be performed on a regular basis just like you would with any other PPC campaign. Moving forward, we’ll likely see AdCenter take larger strides at making the user interface more manageable and more efforts with customer service to increase user satisfaction with MSN/Bing products.

 


How to Use Images in Social Media to Drive Engagement

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Photos going viral
Pictures are a hot topic in 2012. From Instagram to Memes, they resonate with users and quickly engage them while being easy to share. Both businesses and personal social media users have been spending more time incorporating images into their social media playbook to stay connected with friends and fans.

Instagram & Pinterest
With the vast number of people having smart phones with cameras and internet access, people can take a photo and post online immediately. You can also upload charts and graphs for sharing as well. Many of these images have then been pinned to Pinterest boards and expanding the reach of the photos just from Instagram throughout the web. Pictures are incredibly popular because a person can quickly see the image and share it without having to read a long post or article. Two words: Instant gratification.

Memes
A meme is a photo with either a caption or additional image inserted into to make a point. Thanks to the Olympics and McKayla Maroney in the now popular “McKayla Maroney is not impressed”, memes are the new hot visual social media topic. What does that mean for social media and business use?

With memes businesses can add a little fun to their social media to help engage users and encourage them to share with their friends. As they get passed around the internet they get changed with new slogans and pictures as people think of other ways to change them to fit their life.

What can I do with a Meme?
Below are two options of memes.

The first is a photo which can be of almost anything with a slogan laid over the top. Ask your friends and fans to write their own caption to get them to interact with your page.

The second is a photo overlaid another photo often with a caption below it. In this case it’s “McKayla Maroney is not impressed” and fans have added her scowl to literally hundreds of photos. It can encourage your fans to upload photos and in the process tell you a little about what else they like.

Add a slogan Add a photo

Adding more images into your social media campaigns can help create larger engagement with your posts. By reviewing your social strategy and your voice you can find a way to add them in without changing your overall voice and strategy.

 


What are Promoted Tweets?

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By now you have probably seen some promoted tweets or promoted trends on your Twitter feed. Advertising on Twitter is unique in that it can target multiple objectives; not just brand awareness but also promotions and gaining followers.

Promoted Accounts are a feature of the Who to Follow section on Twitter. An advertiser will promote the account which will then be shown to users who follow similar accounts. These account promotions can be set at the country level or DMA level.

Promoted Tweets are a way to increase your message across many users. They can be targeted to search results or timelines. When targeting timelines, you can target specific users or users like your followers as a way to gain momentum and brand awareness. In this case, I was targeted as a current follower of Fidelity and was encouraged to view their video.

Promoted Trends provide users with the opportunity to get major exposure. Trends appear on Twitter at all times and are changing depending on the conversations. Promoted Trends gives you the opportunity to be one of those ongoing conversations.

If your business would benefit from this type of promotion now is a good time to get familiar with Twitter and your followers. In order to get started with any of the Twitter promotion capabilities, you will need to fill out this form and wait to be contacted by a Twitter sales rep.

https://business.twitter.com/en/advertise/start/

 


18 Tips to Accelerate Social Media and Digital ROI

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In advance of the upcoming Digital Marketing Strategy Summit, I asked a few of our speakers to share their favorite advice for accelerating digital and social media ROI in 2013. Here's what they had to say:

1. Align your SEO efforts with cross functional marketing team strategies.

"In a recent online marketing industry report, one of the interesting findings was that search marketing continues to grow worldwide and that search marketing represents a key channel for digital marketers. Search spend in the United states grew by 13% while ROI steadily improved. Additionally growth rates for search spend are strong in the UK and Germany representing an 18% and 12 % increase respectively YOY. This highlights that that there is a significant potential ROI opportunity for companies to align SEO with cross functional marketing strategies, especially between SEO and paid search.

During my session, 'Google Ranking Factors: Live Critique and Demo', I’ll explain how Adobe used an advanced customer segmentation strategy that aligned with SEO strategy to drive 350% ROI increases. Plus, I'll also preview participant submitted websites and SEO best practices."

- Warren Lee, SEO Manager, Adobe

2. Focus on measuring quality, not just quantity.

"It’s a common pitfall in digital marketing– success is often measured by the old direct mail perspective of eyeballs, rather than level of engagement with the right audience. Companies will commonly judge social media success by the raw number of friends or followers they have, harkening back to the days of high school and wanting to be the most popular person in the class. Social media is about creating better ways to engage with the people who have an affinity for your brand. Not everyone on social media sites is going to LOVE your brand, but through authentic engagement, you have an opportunity to give them a positive perspective on it. Don’t focus on how many, focus on the conversation and type of people who want to let you into their personal community."

- Ryan Phelan, VP, Strategic Services, BlueHornet, @RyanPPhelan

3. It’s not always about the sale.

"Think about your favorite company or product. Now, mentally list out the top 3 reasons you love that brand. I am betting that none of the top 3 reasons were “because it’s cheap.” If this is true, why do we believe that the only message we have for our subscribers or customers is “It’s on sale!”? If you’re only communicating a sale or promotion, then you have a very limited relationship with your social connections. But if you start to have an authentic conversation with your social connections and form a real relationship, you can occasionally mention a sale or promotion, and also start to talk about the really cool things that are going on with your brand and company. Being that loved brand with your social fans and followers is work, but it has more long-term payoff than sales or promotions alone."

- Ryan Phelan, VP, Strategic Services, BlueHornet, @RyanPPhelan

4. Claim and optimize your Google+ Local page.

"Local search is growing fast and it's important that your Google listing is claimed and optimized so your business can be seen in the local results. When you optimize your page by adding categories, a keyword-enhanced description, photos, store hours, etc. you make it more attractive to search engines as well as your potential customers. Add an Offer to grab the attention of consumers and help you stand out from the rest of your competitors. According to comScore, 60% of a local searchers use offers and most return to businesses they've visited in the past. Also, encourage your customers to leave reviews. Good reviews help your rankings and inspire new customers to try your business."

- Steve Yeich, CEO, Local Splash

5. Align social data with CRM.

"Social marketing will continue to gain focus into 2013 and brands will face increasing pressure to (1) differentiate themselves across social channels and (2) demonstrate a repeatable social marketing ROI. Differentiation is difficult because on the social web brands don’t only complete with their direct competitors but with every other brands competing for the attention of the audience. Brands that will truly stand out on social channels will be those who leverage data to target and drive meaningful interactions with their audience. Aligning that data with CRM (or other customer management systems) will become a requirement to demonstrate repeatable and provable ROI across the social web."

- Mike Lewis, VP of Sales & Marketing, Awareness, Inc and Author of Stand Out Social Marketing (McGraw-Hill 11/2012), @bostonmike

6. Collect and leverage social data to make more intelligent, data driven decisions.

"The concept of social CRM is finally able to come to life with the technology advances over the past couple of years. There is so much data that can be collected from listening, social login and by monitoring the behavior on your website. All of this data can and should be analyzed to better understand your customers so that you can enrich their experience and ultimately build a better relationship with them. For example if John Smith connects to your site via social login you can pull down his social graph information and leverage his likes and interests to personalize your marketing messages. You can also broaden that view by brining in conversations he's having on the social web to better understand his interests and mood which can help build a better rapport."

- LaSandra Brill, Social Media Marketing Manager, Cisco, @LaSandraBrill

7. Build a social media command center.

"If you're still struggling with getting executive buy-in consider a social media command center. The visualizations bring the customer conversations to life in a way that no executive can ignore. For whatever reason when they see it in lights something clicks and they want to understand more."

- LaSandra Brill, Social Media Marketing Manager, Cisco, @LaSandraBrill

8. Harness multi-attribution modeling with web analytics.

"Multiple customer touch-points before you close a lead or sale is the rule not the exception these days. Are you using multi-attribution modeling with your web analytics so that you have a full picture of your sales funnel? You already understand what digital channels directly bring in sales/leads. Now understand how each digital channel serves to assist in that conversion. Knowing this will allow you to create an integrated digital marketing strategy and spend your money more wisely."

- Jamie Duklas, Director of Social Media, Booyah Online Advertising, @jduklas

9. Think email series, not email blasts.

"If you're structuring your email marketing program as a rapid-fire deployment of one-off communications, you're hindering email ROI on at least two fronts. First, conventional marketing wisdom tells us it takes at least seven touches to convert a cold prospect to a customer, and whether the magic number is seven or not, it's definitely true that new prospects need multiple chances to familiarize themselves with a brand, gather information and build trust before buying. Basically the more touches you have with a prospective customer in as many ways as possible, the more likely you are to build strong relationships and in turn sell your product or service. Email can play a major role in this process.

Second, not only should you think in terms of matching email messages to customer life stage, but structure your email program as a series of messages per stage rather than a single "blast". For example, new subscribers should be welcomed, and while one welcome message is better than none, an onboarding series of emails that welcome, educate and invite new prospects to make a first purchase (or advance the relationship toward purchase) is up to three times more effective than a single welcome message. For better email ROI, structure your program as a series of email "conversations" vs. one-way messages, and your subscribers will be far more engaged, confident and loyal in the long run."

- Karen Talavera, Synchronicity Marketing, @SyncMarketing

10. Deploy triggered email and dialog tracks.

"While you're thinking in terms of email series vs. single messages, it also pays to think in terms of email conversations. One size does not fit all when it comes to your list, so "blasting" everyone the same message without customized follow-up leaves money on the table. True, some subscribers will convert instantly (especially if they are existing customers who've bought before), while others need coaxing and incentives in the form of further messaging - or "conversations". Designing triggered follow–up email sequences for different response actions (open, click, or conversion) becomes a key way to continually nudge the undecided toward a clear yes or no response, nurture prospects into customers, and encourage customers to buy again."

- Karen Talavera, Synchronicity Marketing, @SyncMarketing

11. Create landing pages that seduce and convert.

"Landing pages are a critical component to the generating quality leads from PPC. You want to direct potential customers on their next steps. Do you want them to order? Contact you? Download more information? This is achieved by having a strong call-to-action (CTA) on the landing page that matches the messaging on PPC ad the visitor just clicked on. Make the primary CTA stand out visually with the use of a button or other eye-catching graphic. Think size, color, and placement of the CTA graphic for maximum benefit. It's amazing how many advertisers miss this important step, and it can make or break a campaign!"

- Lisa Raehsler, Big Click Co, @LisaRocksSEM

12. Take control of your data.

"Understand what data you have access to is good. But what is great is to appreciate all the data collected on your site. From widget companies to free analytics tools, there are many companies that collect data and which you don't necessarily can act upon. Run an inventory of data collected on your site and try to see what value they can bring to your web site and campaigns"

- Dax Hamman, Chief Revenue Officer, Chango, @daxhamman

13. Be smartly efficient about campaign testing.

Test only those elements which will net you the maximum ROI of time, energy and money. For small companies and/or those with limited resources, I'd focus on headline and calls-to-action testing (both copy and design.)
Roberta Rosenberg, Director of Marketing, Business Resources and Education, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), @CopywriterMaven

14. Connect to the search psyche of your potential buying customer.

"Digital Marketing often becomes about speaking and communicating to robots, the search engines and the algorithms. My session is going to re-connect your marketing efforts, whether you are a small business or an agency, to the search psyche of your potential buying customer in Social Media Sites. You must know them first, write content to what they want and only then will conversions show up one tweet, follow, like or comment at a time!"

- Heather Lutze, CEO and Founder, Findability Group, @HeatherLutze

15. Always test your landing pages.
"Testing pays off. No matter how much you “think” you know your audience, always challenge what is working. Testing can be as easy as a multi-step page versus a single landing page – and the results can be significant. Know your results. They will sometimes surprise you."

- Sally Lowery, Director of Revenue Marketing, ion interactive, @sallymacnc

16. Develop a video marketing strategy.

"Video offers greater retention and recall: up to 5 times greater than the written word. So how to get started? Below is a list of recommendations to consider when developing a successful video marketing program, from strategic planning to measurement.

  • Benchmark the competition (analyze profile design, overall content and level of interaction)
  • Based on analysis of existing videos, the ideal duration to maximize engagement is 30-120 seconds
  • All videos should include a closing call-to-action (visit a website, subscribe, comment, share, etc.)
  • For trademarked or copyrighted content or improved measurability, consider digital watermarking
  • Create a text transcript for all videos (good for search engine optimization and ADA compliance)
  • Create an audio-only “podcast” for distribution on iTunes and other audio websites
  • Create still images from HD videos to post on Pinterest, Flickr, Facebook and other profiles
  • Don’t forget to set default sharing option to “public” or “allow all”
  • Use Comments, Hot Spots and A/B Testing as your virtual focus group (to determine future content and format ideas)
  • Based on new posting rules recently released by YouTube, be sure to use your Google+ profile when commenting on videos"

- Kent Lewis, President, Anvil Media, @kentjlewis

17. Secure proper budget for digital campaigns.

"So you’ve struggled to secure digital marketing budget to optimize your website, build out a pay-per-click advertising campaign or build a social media presence. Fear not. Even if you shared the benefits of digital marketing outlined above without success, there are three effective sales strategies you can use: appealing to logic, ego or simply begging for forgiveness."

- Kent Lewis, President, Anvil Media, @kentjlewis

18. Focus on the right social media metrics.

"While social metrics like growth in # of fans, followers or likes can certainly help set a baseline and provide trending for general reach and frequency, they can be misleading or misinterpreted as absolute values. One way to minimize the limitations of these metrics is to track them as ratios instead. The benefit of a ratio is that it focuses on relationships and relativity. For example, marketers shouldn’t care as much about the total number of Likes on Facebook; rather, they should care about the level of quality and engagement with those individuals. One way to do that is by looking at relationships like the average number of comments or shares-per-post."

- Kent Lewis, President, Anvil Media, @kentjlewis

 


Email Copy That Converts: 5 Tips for Success from Roberta Rosenberg

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Roberta RosenbergWe're just 27 days away from the start of the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit—the leading online event for accelerating social media and digital revenue. To give you a taste of the great education we have in store for you, I interviewed #OMISummit speaker Roberta Rosenberg.

I've been lucky enough to know Roberta for the past few years. Not only is she a brilliant copywriter, but she's a savvy marketer as well. Currently, Roberta is the Director of Marketing, Business Resources and Education at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). You also may remember her popular Copyblogger series on landing page makeovers. Anyways, you don't want to miss her Summit session, 10 Tips for Writing Killer Email Copy, on Email Marketing Day (Wednesday, Sept 26). Here's a sneak peek of what she'll talk about:

1. What are the elements of a great email headline?

I think the same rules that make a great headline for a direct mail letter, landing page, or blog are pretty much the same:

  • One clear, strong, easy-to-grasp idea crisply and uniquely presented
  • Focus on inherent and direct benefit to prospect
  • Be clear, not clever

2. What makes a great email call-to-action?

From a copy standpoint, making a strong connection between the click, what happens when you do, and if possible, a taste of the benefit. For example, "Get your instant download now!" does a pretty good job of connecting the click to the expectation. "Click to get your Instant Registration Discount!" connects the click to the expectation and the benefit.

3. What is the most important piece of advice you can give to marketers that need to improve their email communication?

Think of it as a conversation between two people - you and your prospect. An email is not an article, a speech, or an essay. It's a letter, an intimate exchange between two people. When you keep this in mind, your copy will always have a genuine, authentic tone.

4. Copy vs. design? What do you think is more important in email marketing?

Great copy can get the job done with minimal design - think of the traditional direct mail letter. It's not fancy and mostly words. The importance of design for email copy is about how well it supports the words. Clean, easy to read fonts ... white space ... generous margins ... what have you. The best designers know the seamless, 'invisible' design is about keeping the reader engaged, not oohing and ahhing about the color thematics and font choices. Design that calls attention to itself fails the message.

5. What are some ways to develop your tone and voice in B2B?

It's important to match the tone/voice to the expectations of your market. Having said that, I do believe that "business conversational" is a great foundation for all B2B. Warm, friendly, but professional works across all verticals. From there, use the regular vocabulary of your audience. If you're selling financials/insurance, you'd have one tone - serious because we're talking about people's money, but not stuffy. Selling to ad agencies? You can get a little more "crazy" and still be taken seriously. You want the tone/voice to be familiar to your audience to get them to trust your message and drop their guard just a little to take in what you're saying.

6. If you weren't a marketer, what would you do?

Oh, that's easy. I'd go back to stand-up comedy/comedy writing which I explored in my very early 20s ... or become a life coach for mid-life women ... or get my masters and teach about marketing, entrepreneurship, etc. Maybe I'll do all three. :)

Catch Roberta live this September on Email Marketing Day (Wednesday, Sept 26) at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit (online). She'll share "10 Tips for Writing Killer Email Copy". See Agenda.

 


Is Affiliate Marketing Right for Your Business?

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Affiliate marketing is a traffic driving practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's own marketing efforts. That sounds simple enough.

From a business standpoint affiliate marketing is advantageous because it uses a "pay for performance" model. Meaning, the merchant does not incur a marketing expense unless results are accrued (excluding any initial setup or ongoing costs).

Some quick facts:

  • U.S. affiliate marketing spending will reach $4.1 billion in 2014, up from $1.6 in 2007. (Forrester Research)
  • Affiliate marketing was used by 28% of all marketers (DMA Digital Marketing Practice and Trends)
  • 46% felt the channel was very cost-effective, 48% felt it was quite cost-effective, Only 6% thought it was not cost-effective (lowest of all channels) (Econsultancy and R.O.EYE)

If it is so easy and low cost why wouldn't everyone be on board? Managed correctly, affiliate marketing can be one of the most effective tactics in your interactive marketing toolbox. However, too many people jump into a network or buy the software without having an affiliate marketing plan. Slightly editing a famous movie quote they go under the assumption of “If we build it, they will come.” Like any other interactive tactic, resources and commitment are the keys to being successful. When educating clients on the potential of affiliate marketing we use the 4 P’s; Plan, Prepare, Promote & Protect.

  1. Plan: Before launch you need to consider the bandwidth necessary to run the program.
    1. Contractual costs and commitments
    2. Management resources (Agency, Internal, or Consultant)
    3. Base Creative Development
    4. Accounting
  2. Prepare: Once the contract is signed there are a number of steps before launch.
    1. IT Network / Software implementation
    2. Affiliate rules of engagement
    3. Resource assignments
  3. Promote: You need to ‘sell yourself’ and provide Affiliates the resources in order to make them successful.
    1. Your Value Proposition (Bio, best-selling products, promotional plan, key metrics)
    2. Base Creative assets (Text links, copy, keywords, banners)
    3. Advanced assets (Product catalog, rich media, coupons, video, offline, etc.)
    4. Affiliate recruitment
  4. Protect: Your brand and products now have more exposure.
    1. Affiliate approval method
    2. Establish brand guidelines around keywords
    3. Network and SE monitoring
    4. Reporting and analytics

If done right, Affiliate marketing can draw customers in and be a low-cost incremental source of revenue via a “Virtual Sales Force”.

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How to Create an Effective Landing Page Funnel

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What is "The Funnel?"
A successful landing page funnel will have a simple, easy navigation path that drives visitors towards your objectives. Like an actual funnel, you want to lead your visitor through the landing pages to complete the ultimate goal.

What Does an Effective Funnel Look Like? Let’s take a look at the Netflix example below.

  • The call to action is clear. You're interested in movies? Netflix has movies for you.
  • There is a clear, easy way to get started. You only have one option – "Let's do this."
  • Easy sign up. The form is short and sweet. Netflix leaves you with little reason not to fill out their form to get a free trial.
 

How Do I Create an Effective Funnel

  • Keep it simple. It’s important that your navigation and overall layout be simple. The last thing you want is to have a visitor hit your landing page and be confused to what they are supposed to do next – make it clear and concise. If your page contains a form for users to fill out, make sure that your form is short, ideally less than 5 questions. Only ask for the minimum of information that you need.
  • Eliminate distractions! Distractions will sway users from your desired path. Distractions you can eliminate from any of your landing pages can include: Excessive links (even internal links!), long videos or excessive graphics, blocks of text and any Flash content.
  • Know your customer. The Netflix example works best when you already know your visitor is interested in renting movies, whether that comes from targeted e-mail campaigns, PPC keywords, remarketing, etc. Custom landing pages based on referral source is an important start. The more you know about who will be visiting your landing page increases the odds that your funnel will work.
  • Content is still important! Simple, effective content that highlights the benefits to your visitor will be a big part of your “funnel”. Keep your copy short and to the point so it’s easy to quickly read and digest. Images are convincing too so choose carefully. Consider your landing pages as an online version of your “elevator pitch” to get visitors to convert.
  • Test, test, test! Try different layouts and theories listed above. Change your content and try new visuals. Look at your own landing pages and ask yourself – “Would I fill out my form?” If you aren’t sure, you can definitely be sure that your visitors won’t.

Want to learn how to boost conversions with better landing pages? Join us September 21 at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit—our 100% sponsor-free online event. Sally Lowery, Director of Marketing at ion interactive, will share "How to Create the Perfect Landing Page" during Analytics and Conversion Day. See Full Agenda.

 


The Future of Search: 10 Questions with Larry Kim of Wordstream

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Larry Kim, WordstreamOver the past few years, I've had the pleasure of getting to know the team at Wordstream, a provider of search marketing tools. Not only are their search marketing solutions smart, but their marketing and product development team is equally as smart and awesome, as well. So I thought you'd like to get to know Wordstream's Founder and CTO, Larry Kim. In advance of Search Marketing Day at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit (Sept 17-28), I picked Larry's brain on the future of search, common PPC sins, marketing metrics, and more. Here's what he had to say:

1. What changes do you think we'll see in the engines over the next 12 months?

I’ve visited Google and they’ve already shared some of the 2013 plans with me – they’re basically focusing on a few key areas: Mobile Search, Display Advertising, and Google+ (no surprises here!). Beyond that is just speculation, but anyway, here’s what my crystal ball says:

  • Google will make SEO increasingly difficult, by making it un-measurable, by crowding out search results with larger paid ads and ad other formats, and rolling out algorithms that actually punish SEO, and other shenanigans. I think that Google CEO, Larry Page views SEO clicks as theft and has basically declared a War on SEO to drive Google revenues.
  • With SEO under attack, look for the ratio of organic searches to paid clicks (often cited as being somewhere around 70% organic, 30% paid) to shift increasingly in favor of paid clicks. In fact, for keyword searches with high purchase intent (searches where the ads take up all of the above-the-fold screen space); I estimate that paid search ads already get the lion’s share of the traffic!
  • I think that companies, burned from Panda updates, or stumped by the increasingly complex work required to successfully do SEO, will look to Paid Search as a way to stabilize and diversify their lead flow. Don’t get me wrong here - SEO is still very important, it just that more and more people will realize that it’s important to have both PPC and SEO in the mix.
  • Microsoft Bing desperately needs to partner with the likes of Apple, Twitter or Facebook in a big way, soon. They’ve lost Billions and will need to change the game in some way, or exit the business.
  • Look for Remarketing on the Google Display Network to see big growth. Many marketers still have bad experiences from advertising on the Content Network from back when it was a waste of money and somewhat of a deceptive product offering. But it’s come a long way, and is definitely worth a second look!

2. What are some easy ways that our readers can improve reduce their cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition?

On one hand, we’re seeing that even the most basic and important PPC advertising features aren’t being used: for example, we recently found that over half of small and medium sized businesses don’t even use conversion tracking!

But if you’ve already covered the basics such as campaign targeting options, then some powerful yet under-utilized AdWords features that come to mind include the use of negative keywords, modified broad match, long tail keyword selection & grouping, ad extensions, etc.

Since every AdWords account is in a different state of greatness (or shambles?), the low-hanging fruit is different for everyone. Recently, we developed a Free AdWords Grader , which conducts an audit of your PPC account, quickly identifying any problem areas.

3. What are some of the most common PPC sins marketers commit?

The most common sin (by far!) is that of sloth (i.e. laziness and indifference). This is more a sin of omission than of commission. We’ve analyzed the results of thousands of accounts of people who ran our AdWords Grader, and we’ve found that around half of small and medium businesses don’t even do any account optimization work in the last month – meaning, they haven’t added any new keywords, or new ads, or changed bids or anything, period!

Like anything else in life, you get out of PPC marketing what you put into it. Meaning – you can’t just set it and forget it! That’s not a viable strategy. To succeed at paid search, you need to periodically, spend some time on stuff like:

  • Adding relevant keywords that you might have missed out on
  • Replace poorly performing ads and landing pages with new ones
  • Doing negative keyword research to eliminate wasteful spending
  • Optimizing your Keyword Bids
  • Reviewing and potentially pausing poorly performing keywords
  • (etc.!)

4. What would say is the most important metric for marketers to measure?

I usually track the basics: Impressions, Clicks, Cost, and Conversions. There are hundreds of other metrics in your AdWords account (like CTR, CPA, Quality Score, etc.), but most of them are based on some ratio or trend involving these basic metrics. The cost metric in particular can help you in prioritizing where to focus your time and energy (just follow the money!).

We recently surveyed 17 experienced PPC marketers what are their most important PPC metrics - we published the results in our Ultimate Guide to PPC Metrics.

5. What are your top 3 favorite features of AdWords?

It would have to be Remarketing in the Google Display Network. (And, I’ll pick this as my #2 and #3 favorite feature as well!). We’re finding that it is a way to both drive conversions and brand awareness to a highly targeted audience.

6. How much do you think marketers should automate in their PPC campaigns, vs. execute manually?

Marketers should focus their efforts on setting PPC objectives and strategy, as well as certain tasks that are harder to automate because it requires creativity or a deep understanding of the business, such as keyword selection, and writing great ads and landing pages. Marketers should try to lean on tools and automation for repetitive, time consuming tasks such as data analysis, report generation, etc.

7. What has been your greatest work challenge recently? How did you resolve it?

One big work challenge has been in coming up with the WordStream “elevator pitch” – meaning, trying to define what exactly what WordStream’s PPC Platform does and how it’s different from other things out there in as succinct a way as possible.

We recently came up with an easier concept that we’re calling The 20 Minute PPC Work Week and it seems to be far more easily understood concept. The idea is that if you use WordStream PPC Advisor, then we’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting in figuring out what you should be doing in your AdWords account, and present it to you in a way that you can move the ball forward and be on a path to success in just 20 minutes each week.

8. What is one thing marketers can do today to improve their PPC results?

I’m biased, but I would recommend that marketers run a free AdWords Account audit on your account then try to figure out where’s the leverage in the account. For example, it doesn’t make sense to be leveraging advanced call extension options, if you haven’t covered the more basic issues, like campaign targeting options.

9. Is it possible to integrate your PPC and social strategy? If so, how?

There are several points of overlap between PPC and Social Media Marketing, for example:

  • You can link your AdWords account with your Google+ company page. This way, the friends of people who have +1’d your page will see annotated ad impressions.
  • Social marketing strategy often involves driving visitors to some content asset, like a blog post, or infographic, or video. By placing an AdWords remarketing cookie on whatever content asset you were trying to promote, you can keep the conversation going even after the user leaves your site, even if they don’t fill out some form.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter offer various PPC-like advertising options, and in some situations, it may make sense to co-ordinate search and paid social campaigns - for example, a Facebook advertising campaign could be targeted to get more followers.

Beyond these rather small overlapping areas, I have found that PPC and Social Media Marketing are typically different roles in a company, and that Social Media is usually more aligned with SEO and content marketing.

10. What’s is your favorite part of your job?

Helping companies grow their business! I firmly believe that Pay-Per-Click Marketing is a powerful marketing channel for almost every company; however, it can be quite challenging to do well, especially if PPC marketing isn’t your full time job!

About Larry

Larry Kim is the founder & CTO of WordStream, a provider of  tools and software for PPC.

Learn how to rank higher in the engines this September at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit. The flexible, online event includes sessions on The 8 Elements of Highly Effective Search Marketing, How to Rank Higher In Google (live critique), Selecting and Managing a Search Vendor, and more.See Full Agenda