Month: May 2014

Blogging: An On-Page SEO Checklist


The structure of a blog, as well as the content, is key to making it work in SEO terms. Even the most engaging and well-written blogs can get lost in the vortex of the digital world without the essential SEO markers to ensure that they end up in the right place and reach their full potential. Below is a guide to the ideal SEO blog structure that you can use to hang any kind of content on so that it will stand out and work effectively as a digital marketing tool.

Your page title is key. While the content itself is the most important element on the page, the title comes in a close second. Fifty-five to 60 characters is the ideal length for a blog title, enough to be descriptive but not verbose. Make sure you choose a title that is relevant, eye-catching, and contains your target keywords.

Use the meta description. The meta description is a block of text that offers a great opportunity to sell the page contents and alert users that this is what they were looking for. It’s a description for humans, not robots, and should be worded to encourage someone reading it to click through to the rest of the blog.

Check the URL. This tactic is useful for both search engine and human users. Make sure the URL is relevant to the page and also correct (i.e., no spelling mistakes or inaccuracies). Keywords should also be included if appropriate and you should use hyphens, not underscores, between words.

Keywords in the content. You can make good content into great, highly effective content with the use of keywords. It’s important to make sure that they read like they are occurring organically in the text, otherwise the whole thing will feel clumsy. Choose blog topics that naturally incorporate these keywords and you’re more likely to become identifiable with the areas you want to online. Remember - write for humans, not robots.

Related Class: Introduction to SEO

High-level header tags. The H1 tag is a powerful tool, so don’t overuse it. Use one per page so you don’t confuse search engines (at the top preferably) and use it to describe exactly what your page is about.

Sub-heading tags. H2 to H6 can be used multiple times and are essentially sub-headers you can use to divide up the text part of the content. It’s useful to include keywords in your sub-headings and try to structure them so that they give insight into what the article is about – they should make a user skimming the content want to read it in detail.

The right images. Images must be used in the right format, such as JPEGs for higher quality images (save in Photoshop at less than 60 percent resolution to avoid slow page load times as a rule of the thumb), GIFs for those images with fewer colors, and PNG format for graphics. Remember to save the images with the right file name – one that describes what the image is about – and use hyphens between the words.

Descriptive alt tags. Use alt tags to communicate to search engines what the image is about, which will help with your SEO. Make it descriptive, as this is what will pop up if the image does not load.

Blog categories. Chronologically ordered blog archives give nothing to a user and don’t encourage browsing. Using blog categories instead helps the reader find what she is looking for more quickly.

Forge internal links. You can increase the effectiveness of your blog for your site as a whole by hyperlinking to other pages on your site that are relevant. Use keyword-rich, branded, and normal anchor text to do this.

Claim authorship. Claiming authorship of content and linking it to a Google+ account offers another degree of visibility and will make the effectiveness of that one piece of content stretch even further. In addition, author rank is predicted to become even more relevant as Google continues to understand the authority of each publisher.

For more information on what Google Authorship is and why it’s so important for your website, from a SEO and content marketing perspective, enroll in the Online Marketing Class, How To Implement Google Authorship for SEO Results.

This article has been edited - but originally appeared on Klood and has been republished with permission.


The Facebook Mobile Advertising Opportunity: What Marketers Need to Know


In Q4 2013, Facebook’s mobile advertising business surpassed the$1 billion mark at $1.37 billion, making mobile account for 53 percent of Facebook’s total ad revenue that quarter.

Facebook boasts an impressive 556 million daily active mobile users and counting on its platform. The fact is consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices - both tablets and smartphones - and these devices are becoming powerful touch points to reach consumers in more than just “on-the-go” mentality. Marketers must seize the opportunity to capture and engage potential consumers across mobile devices, and the opportunity is prime for Facebook mobile.

Here’s what you need to know about Facebook mobile advertising.

Format Basics

Take advantage of the ad types that can run on the mobile news feed, such as: page post, page like, event, and offer ads. During 2013, Facebook made many enhancements to its ad formats, increasing consistency and improving visual engagement. The top ad types for mobile now all feature larger images to entice people to click in the mobile newsfeed so ensure your creative is relevant and engaging. Follow the recommendations for character length and image size, and as you spend more time analyzing your program, develop your own best practices and optimize your images and messages to strike an optimal balance.

Related Class: How to Market on Facebook: Expert Tips and Best Practices

App Opportunities 

Beyond the basics, there’s a world of opportunity when it comes to mobile apps. There are more than 100 million apps available in the Apple App Store alone, so how can you gain visibility, installs, and interaction? Facebook reported that in 2013 its mobile app ads helped drive more than 145 million installs, helping brands drive discovery on mobile.

Driving installs gets consumers to a branded app, but it’s a challenge to keep users coming back and engaging with the app once there. Facebook offers mobile app ads that promote more “down the funnel” conversion events such as signups, video views, or in-app purchases. To find success with these ads, deliver clear and powerful calls to action and provide deep links to specific content that correlates to a desired action.



The introduction of mobile video app ads opens up tremendous new potential for engagement and virality. Facebook reported that early testers of video creative in mobile app ads achieved higher install rates and decreased cost per install.

Powerful Targeting

The rich account information available on social networkers gives companies like Facebook a big advantage in audience targeting, delivering ads based on the personal profiles, likes and interests, and social behaviors. 

On Facebook mobile, you can target specific operating systems and device types. You can even get as granular as targeting by minimum OS version to ensure you’re reaching users whose software is compatible with your app and define whether the ad should be shown only when the device is connected via Wi-Fi.

Leverage Custom Audiences to get even more granular to reach specific users. You can use existing customer lists to drive mobile activity from your current customer base. Or you might use mobile custom audiences to target specific users that have taken certain actions in a desired time period - like those who have made a purchase in the last 30 days.

By knowing your way around Facebook’s mobile environment, you’ll be poised to win big on the mobile advertising front in 2014 and beyond.

Enroll in this Facebook marketing class, Optimizing for Facebook Cost per Click, for best practices on how to get the most out of a social media advertising campaign on Facebook.


5 Tips for Taking a Stand on Social Media (and Doing It Well)


How much money would it take for you to post a comment about healthcare or the most recent presidential election on your company’s social media profiles?

The mere thought might make the hair on your neck stand up, but what if $3 billion was on the line?

It just might be.

Because fear of a media circus makes most brands back down, here’s some news you might have hoped to avoid hearing: your company needs to take a stand on controversial social issues to stay relevant to your target market.

If you do it right like Starbucks’ stand on same-sex marriage, you might be in the running to rack up a profit similar to its two-year revenue gains of 27 percent - a cool $3 billion.

Why Your Brand Should Be a Social Beacon 

The Internet is a well-known hotbed for enraged commentary, and you’re probably thinking just how much is at stake by associating your brand with a polarizing social issue. Simple gaffs often are skewed out of proportion, leading most brands to post innocuous tweets for fear of an epic public fail. But if you look closely, most of these monumental fails were completely inappropriate and piggybacked on tragedies like the Colorado movie theater shooting or Hurricane Sandy.

The truth is that your brand’s stance on controversial issues is important. Consumers make all kinds of inferences when discerning the personality of their favorite brands. When they can’t pin down that personality, especially on core emotional issues, they assume the worst: that your leadership is government-grade bureaucratic nonsense hamstrung by timid PR people and uncaring executives.

Don’t make consumers guess your personality. Instead, determine what your company’s stance is, and don’t look back.

Related Class: Branding 101: Defining Who You Are

How to Determine Your Message

The secret to taking a stand that benefits your brand is to invest thought and planning into your position and follow through wholeheartedly. Here’s what you need to know to take a stand on social media that will end with a flourish, not a fail:

  • Make sure your view conforms to your corporate culture.

If your corporate culture is built on your values, most of your employees will likely agree with you, and it won’t be a surprise to the media when you speak out.

Chick-fil-A is a well-known supporter of traditional biblical values. When its CEO came out strongly against same-sex marriage, it wasn’t shocking. Contrast this announcement with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s surprising stance against Planned Parenthood, which caused its contributions to plummet by 22 percent.

  • Consult first- and second-level segmentation reports.

It’s vital that you have a clear understanding of your brand fans’ values and attitudes toward issues, but you should also consider other closely engaged users in case they hold opposing views. Very large, established consumer brands, such as Coca-Cola or Cheerios, can often have a mishmash of far-right and far-left media and celebrities. In this situation, choosing one side over the other may irrevocably damage your brand.

  • Don’t be creative with marketing data hunches.

Although brilliant marketing is often about conforming data to your hunches, this isn’t one of those times. The emotions that drive social issues tend to obscure points of view. That premise should be your only experimental factor, so you need to move forward with a facts-only analysis.

  • Start slow.

Taking a stand on hot topics such as gay marriage, abortion, or healthcare requires confident leadership over time. When you choose an issue, warm up the media with small, slow tweaks that lead the way, such as Cheerios’ commercial from May 2013 that included a multiracial family, which led up to its 2014 Super Bowl commercial featuring the same family.

  • Don’t look back.

When you’ve asked your ardent fans to defend your point of view on social media platforms, you can’t go back on your stance without making them feel betrayed. Brands that reverse their opinion or back down, like Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s wobbly stance on funding Planned Parenthood, will enrage and embarrass loyalists and fuel the fervor of loudmouths on both sides of the issue.

Staying tight-lipped on controversial issues that are central to your brand’s fans is more than a missed opportunity; it’s a perplexing behavior that can make you seem cowardly.

Don’t be a chicken, but don’t be foolish, either. Use these tips to take a stance that will result in the passion, engagement, and loyalty of your die-hard fans. 

For more information on how brand marketers, like you, can further understand the influence that brand advocates have on digital marketing strategy, watch the Online Marketing Institute class, The Marketing Power of Brand Advocates.


Why Digital ROI = Clarity + Learning


3 Compelling Examples of Major ROI Pivot Moments

Whether you are a hard-core digital marketer, general marketer dabbling in digital, or small business owner using digital to drive business, we all have moments of insight that are pivotal in driving success. These are moments where you discover customer motivations, under-current trends in your industry, or simple false assumptions that kept you from reaching your maximum potential. Allow me to explain.

Google Analytics Moment of Clarity

As we all know, moments of clarity come when we allow the mind to relax (e.g., the shower) and drift into a place that is not forced to react. As marketers and especially business owners, it is critical to ensure we have time for this as 100 tasks completed will never come close to one great moment of clarity. Let me give you a hard-core example.

Enter Google Analytics. Like many, every week I look at our dashboards, dive into a few ad hoc reports, and try to make sure all is well in our ability to convince folks that digital marketing eLearning is a great way to improve results and advance one’s career. In other words, our site and marketing efforts are working. And like most, not much ever comes of it. A few questions here, a “Man, that was a good week” there, but not a lot. Then one day. I had a moment of clarity.

Google Analytics New Navigation


Sadly it came at 9pm on a Friday (sadly for my personal life that is), where for some reason my iPad video play was not working and was giving me an error. I wondered if the video issue was iPad related or connection related, so I clicked on one of OMI’s videos called Google Analytics Dashboards…and got sucked in. I listened to simple things smart folks we’re doing and soon forgot about catching up on “Game of Thrones” and started logging in to my own analytics. Secondary dimensions, reverse goal paths, and attribution modeling all started to make sense. Understanding what page on my site was driving the most conversions (not just the last page to conversion action) showed me some amazing things. But it was the understanding that customer behavior from folks who went to our blog vs. directly to a class page was drastically different and the value of blog readers (I know, sacrilegious) was about 50 percent less valuable than that of those who stayed on a class page for more than 10 seconds. I also learned that all my energy in blogging needed to be deprioritized and my focus shifted to creating great class page write-ups. Let’s just say that a) conversions went up big time, b) my staff felt the stress of blogging and posting lifted like a mountain off their shoulder, and c) the lifetime value average is trending up in the 3x range.

A relaxing open brain moment on a Friday night…I may never go out again!

Content Marketing New Paradigm Thinking

Not too many days later, I saw a note I wrote a friend months back while looking for another old email. As a fellow CEO, I told him, “Don’t rush your showers.” This meant to take your time in the process of the day to let your mind settle into some good, open-minded thinking…so my shower that morning was long. 

This had me reflecting back on the blog post revelation above. I couldn’t shake the idea that blogging less was good for my business being so contradictory to all that I’ve been taught. Then it hit me. - less is more. Readers don’t want more content. We all have plenty of that. They want a small dose of great content. Yes, I realize this is something quite obvious if you boil it down to quality over quantity, but I assure you that most marketers are in the same boat. We all are so busy doing, we aren’t stopping to think. So, my new mantra above my desk at home is “Do Less, Think More.” Content marketing has taken a whole new strategic shape for me that has alleviated a lot of work and stress for all OMI staff and self.

Retargeting Epiphany Stimulus to Act

Finally, I saved the best for last. Spending a Saturday morning catching up on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I noticed one of OMI’s ads in my Facebook newsfeed. I thought, “Cool, retargeting is working. Let me click on my own ad to see what page it sends me to.” I bounced around on my own site for a bit and suddenly realized that I just clicked on my own ad, not just because it was compelling but because it was compelling and got me at the right time! Time, eh? Like trying to tell your 5-year-old son it’s time to take a bath when he is having the time of his life at the park with friends; or like asking a girl out with the most compelling, smooth lines ever created when she’s just found out that her dog died. Right timing + good content = ROI.

It’s brilliant because so many folks come to the website and say, “Ah, pretty cool, but I need to get on my next call or clear out some emails so I’ll check it out later.” And they never do. So now when we retarget those who visit and hit them with a timely ad on a Saturday when they are just kickin’ it, they explore, find a few classes of interest, and subscribe! OMI gets nearly three times the number or registrations on the weekend than it does on any workday. Can you say ROI? I can!

Learning in example one with a class; freeing the mind up for clarity on its application in example two; and just simple wandering of the mind in example three are all proof that stimulate your mind with new ideas and learnings. Give yourself the time to think about it (or anything for that matter) and ROI will ensue.


Building a Mobile Attribution Framework Doesn’t Have to Be Scary


Mobile analytics can be tricky. After years of working with clients on their mobile framework, I’ve seen major advancements in the mobile analytics field. A solid mobile attribution framework will help you gather mobile data to improve the user experience, generate personalized content, and even build a retargeting program to improve conversion. I’m going to help you break down the approach logically so you can not only fully understand your mobile channel but also build your own mobile attribution framework.

But before you start to think about attribution across mobile devices, you first need to wrap your head around the difference between mobile and traditional web analytics. I recently wrote about how to implement analytics tracking for mobile devices here.

Knowing Your Game Plan Before the Green Light

You’re probably thinking, “Great Bill, I have to track the actions…now what?” If you’re going to build a solid attribution framework for mobile apps, you need to have a game plan. Here are some preliminary questions to help you get started:

  • How does a visitor identify herself within the mobile app?
  • What actions are available within the app for a user to complete?
  • What actions can only be done on the web (website or mobile site) and thus would require someone to jump out of the mobile app to complete?
  • What investments are being made to promote the app or drive conversion across multiple devices?
  • Do you have a sound strategy for tracking all of your digital campaigns?

An important thing to know about your mobile app is that people will naturally feel more comfortable remaining signed in or even having to log in in the first place since it is their mobile device. Don’t be afraid to push users to identify themselves when they set up the app for your future use. If you’re not doing that now, then that should be in your next release of the app. Highlight the benefits of creating an account, make it easy to set up an account (social login options, etc.), and then reap the benefits of being able to collect the right information going forward.

Next, don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel with your analytics tracking within the mobile app. It doesn’t matter what screen the user is on within the app, all that matters is what actions she performs within your app. When you’re building an attribution framework, it’s as simple as tracking the following:

  • Users: Track individual users based upon a login or loyalty account
  • Device: Identify the device, OS, and app version
  • Actions: Track the actions within the app as they happen or simply collect them if the device is offline and send the data later

Tackle the Tech: Look for Resources Already Available to You

When it comes to the technology for tracking, you have several options. Your web analytics vendors should offer a mobile software development kit (SDK) to help make it easier to develop. Tag management systems (TMS) also offer SDKs, and then you also have the mobile-specific analytics vendors such as Flurry (free) and Localytics (Enterprise) to provide channel-specific information. If you pick a new technology vendor to track just your mobile channel, there are also several options for exporting that information out of that system and into your web analytics vendor. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which route you take, provided you vet out your business requirements up front and ultimately pick the solution that gives you the most flexibility going forward.

Be Realistic, Linkable, and Likeable

At this point, attributing conversions to the users for the events happening within your mobile app should be easy if you’ve taken into account and completed all of the things I’ve discussed thus far. However, the more difficult hurdle will begin to emerge - tracking the same person across her mobile device as well as your other channels.

Here are some final bits of advice:

Mobile Analytics Is Not an Exact Science

First things first, remember that this will never be an exact science and if you’re looking for 100 percent accuracy you came to the wrong place. The whole point here is to do the best possible job at collecting information so you can be confident in the decisions you make based off the story the data is telling you. After all, this is the only reason we collect this information in the first place.

Related Class: Mobile Search Trends and Best Practices

Be Linkable (and Likeable)

You already have the user identified within your mobile app (hopefully). So, if there are actions that can only be completed on the web then include those links within the mobile app. This makes it possible for a user to easily jump to the site, which will pass along identifiers via the link to ensure you can track that activity from start to finish.

If the user doesn’t jump from within the mobile app and just simply comes to your website from a laptop or a mobile browser, ensure you are tracking those actions appropriately within your web analytics solution:

  • If the action requires a login first, then you’re all set
  • If the action doesn’t require a login, then you have to track those actions as they happen and tie it all together down the road once that user provides identifying information (which may happen in a future visit)

If you break down the approach logically like I did in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to not only understanding your mobile channel but also to building a solid mobile attribution framework. Have you started working on or maybe even completed your mobile analytics framework? What is/was your biggest challenge? Start the discussion now!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help as best I can.

To master what you need to do to create successful mobile experiences and learn the most effective measurement and optimization techniques for mobile, enroll in the Online Marketing Institute Mobile Marketing Certification Program today!


What You Never Knew About Repeat Customers (and What to Do Now)


A user who buys from your site once is a first-time customer. When this first-time customer comes to your site for a second time and makes a purchase, she becomes a returning customer. And if she comes back over and over again to buy from you, she is termed a repeat customer – the bee’s knees of all customers!

Many retailers, startups, and service providers still seem to need convincing on the value of a repeat customer and pour most of their resources into new client acquisition. If you’re one of them and “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” doesn’t seem to ring true to you, here’s a humble attempt (backed by data and research) to sell you on the idea.

Repeat Customers Spend More Than First-Time Customers

The fact that repeat customers have bought more than once from your store probably puts them at a higher lifetime sales and revenue number than a brand new customer who’s just bought once from you.

Bain & Co. studied the online shopping habits of 522 users and found that in the apparel category, a given shopper’s fifth purchase was 40 percent larger than his or her first purchase, and the 10th purchase was a whopping 80 percent larger in value than his or her first one.


Research by Adobe shows that average revenue per visit increases exponentially with each repeat visit, and repeat customers already account for significant chunks of revenue for online businesses worldwide.

·       41 percent of total online revenue in the U.S. (even though only 8 percent of U.S. customers are repeat customers)

·       26 percent of total online revenue in Europe

·       16 percent of total online revenue in the U.K.

Repeat Customers Are Less Price Sensitive

Most of us assume that all online shoppers are typically bargain hunters and will switch services for the teeny-tiniest drop in prices. While this does remain true in the case of first-time shoppers, once a customer has had a few good experiences shopping with you, price stops being such a big issue.

To test this statement, John Dawes from the University of South Australia conducted a study among long-tenured and short-tenured customers of an insurance company to see how they responded to pricing changes (in their premium amounts in this case). Dawes found that customers from the long-tenure group (i.e., customers who have been with the company for a long period of time) were half as sensitive to a change in price as compared to a newer customer.

This is a very important characteristic that allows you to make pricing decisions based on the length of your relationship with your customers.

Repeat Customers Are Your Most Staunch Brand Advocates

We all like to be regarded as “Walking Wikipedias” by our friends and family. It’s basic human psychology. Respect from peers makes us feel good. When we stumble upon something that we like, we tend to share it with our friends to gain their approval – a result of this behavior is the social media phenomenon that has engulfed the planet over the last decade.

Once customers have used your services a few times and had no problems with it, the likelihood of them spreading a good word about your business goes up exponentially. Without any effort from your end, a satisfied repeat customer will happily tell their social circle about how wonderful your product/service is and how they had a great experience with you. Certain industries like technology and restaurants enjoy higher levels of advocacy than others; but in general, having a customer “market” your brand for you free of cost is the most utopian scenario for any business owner.



Related Class: Inside the Mind of a Social Influencer

Repeat Customers Lead to Lower Marketing Spends

This might seem a little counterintuitive to you. Here I’m telling you why you need to focus your marketing efforts on existing customers, while in the same breath I’m telling you that repeat customers reduce your marketing spend.

Well, it’s simple. Once a customer has shopped with you a few times, that person requires a lot less convincing to come back to your store and shop again. The award-winning textbook Marketing Metrics says that the probability of making a repeat customer buy a product are between 60-70 percent, whereas the chances a new customer will buy your product range between 5-20 percent.

Boston Consulting Group carried out a study where it found that the cost of marketing to existing customers is about $7 whereas the marketing cost per new customer averages at around $34.

Less convincing required = less marketing expenditure.

Now That You Know...

So hopefully you’ve abandoned your bush-chase and are considering marinating the bird in hand. Here are a few tangible, sales-focused ideas on how to keep the joy of retention going and customers coming back.

1. Know your customers. Be obsessive about data. Collect every actionable data point with respect to the transactional and behavioral aspects of your customers, mine data submitted by customers on forms, and ask them to update their profiles to give you a better idea of who your customer is.

Use readily available CRM tools to analyze the data and identify patterns from it, and take relevant action to keep the customer sticky. There are advanced e-commerce tools (such as Shopify) available now that help integrate your CRM process with your point of sale software for synchronized online and offline operations.

2. Make someone accountable for retention. Most organizations have teams and clear responsibility flows for the key functions that keep the business going. Now that we recognize and acknowledge that retaining customers is important and a full-time job, get a team or at least a dedicated staff member to manage customer retention for your business, full-time. This will do three things:

·       It will create a sense of accountability in the team/person and they will take customer retention seriously.

·       It will force the organization to set aside a respectable budget for customer retention.

·       It will ensure your repeat customers get the pampering they deserve with someone working ‘round the clock on keeping these valuable folks coming back to you.

3. Set up a loyalty program that rewards repeat purchases. Having a dedicated loyalty program is like having a readymade market for your future sales. It could be in the form of reward points that can be exchanged for future purchases, it could be discounts on future purchases based on past purchase activity, or it could be tangible things like free products bundled with a paid purchase.

Loyal customers do not just buy more from you; they buy less from your competitors. In a study by Zendesk, 54 percent of customers said they would increase the amount of business they do with a company in return for loyalty rewards. Forty-six percent claimed to have already done that.

The airline and credit card industries have purified the concept of building successful loyalty programs into a fine art.

4. Let repeat customers be the first to know. Whenever you come up with a new product, event, or distribution channel, make sure you inform your repeat customers before the launch. Prep them to spend on the upcoming event and you have a ready sales funnel waiting for you. Offline retailers do a great job of this with exclusive preview sales for customers who are members of their loyalty programs.

5. Create referral schemes. We spoke earlier about how people enjoy being perceived as disseminators of valuable information among their peers. A referral program feeds into this need for people to be seen as offering value. The Zendesk study mentioned above also substantiates this fact – 78 percent of loyal customers spread the word about their favorite brand and influence others into trying it, too.

When a repeat customer refers a friend to buy from you, reward both parties – the customer who did the referring as well as his or her friends who bought from you via the referral, a la Dropbox.

6. Explore subscription programs if it suits your line of business. The benefit of subscription commerce is that you only have to spend once to lock in the customer for a set of repeat purchases. The amount spent on customer acquisition is well covered in the price, and the model ensures that the customer does not lapse before a pre-defined period of time.

JustFab and Dollar Shave Club are great examples of successful subscription e-commerce models.

Over to You

With so much data available in support of customer retention, you would think companies would be falling all over each other to pamper existing customers. But in reality, this is how global marketing spends are currently skewed:

Source: McKinsey

Just about 12 percent of marketing budgets are dedicated to customer retention. If repeat customers are such an important part of your business, shouldn’t you focus a lot more on how to keep them happy and shopping with you for as long as possible?

The numbers are right here in front of you!

For more on how to implement customer-centric marketing, watch the Online Marketing Institute class, Four Ways Marketers Can Be Customer Centric


The Renewal: How to Solidify the Client Relationship


The agency-client relationship is often short-lived, with most estimates falling around the three-year mark. In 2012, only 36% of marketers were firmly committed to their agency of record, and that likely remains true today.

There are many factors that come into play when evaluating why clients churn:

Agency Side:

  • Over promise, under deliver
  • Focus on outputs, not outcomes
  • Talent turnover
  • Weak processes
  • Financial instability
  • Stretched too thin
  • Stagnant business model
  • Siloed services

Client Side:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Weak foundation
  • Poor management
  • Lack of vision
  • Bad product
  • Financial instability
  • Short-term focus
  • Marketing technology deficiencies
  • Conservative culture/budgets
  • Personnel weaknesses

Make account retention and growth a priority at your agency by taking on the right clients, aligning expectations and focusing on performance.

Make Sure the Shoe Fits

Minimize your risk upfront with a thorough assessment of the prospect’s business and marketing cores, including, but not limited to:

  • Corporate culture
  • Financial stability
  • Competitive advantage
  • Growth goals
  • Leadership team
  • Brand
  • Website
  • Marketing mix
  • Marketing team
  • Technology utilization
  • Historical marketing performance

Use the information uncovered to better align expectations, dictate strategy and establish budgets. For example, you may need to invest in heavy foundational work upfront before you can guarantee results for the client. Have those conversations early to avoid surprises later.

You may also discover during your assessment that the prospect is not a good fit overall for your agency. Trust your instinct and be willing to walk away in those types of situations. Bad relationships can drain your agency of valuable resources, cause financial pains and lead to employee burnout and turnover.

Commit to Performance

Use data to measure your agency’s value to the client.

Through the smart use of analytics tools, agencies can measure how their campaigns tie to real business results (i.e., leads and sales). This type of closed-loop reporting makes it easier to justify your agency’s budget and value.

Permeate performance metrics into everything you do; examples include:

  • Tie all campaigns to performance metrics and target audiences. List primary and secondary key performance indicators (KPIs) and target goals when making strategic recommendations.
  • Put analytics tools in place to monitor what is and isn’t working.
  • Build custom scorecards to track campaign progress against goals.
  • Adapt strategies in real time based on performance metrics. Emulate top-performing campaigns; stop or update low-performing ones.
  • Work with client sales teams to ensure the smooth handoff between departments, and that leads are high quality and ready for outreach.
  • Create a client in residence, an internal senior consultant responsible for assessing campaign performance and challenging account team strategies.
  • Continue testing and learning. As new technologies and strategies emerge, don’t be afraid to test them and evolve what you’re doing. Just be sure that you have the tracking systems in place to measure the investment.


Use Data to Grow Accounts

An ongoing commitment to performance sets the stage for account retention and growth. Win repeat contracts and service package increases by demonstrating value and ROI through results-driven strategies and campaigns.

How does your agency approach client retention and growth? Share your experiences below.

Designed to help you strategically approach digital and successfully relay its value to clients, the Agency Digital Strategy and Planning Certification will help you capitalize on opportunities to grow and retain your accounts. Enroll today!



5 Reasons Your SEO Strategy Needs Google+


Getting found in Google is a top goal for any local business. And rightly so. Google is still the top search engine, with 67 percent of all monthly searches happening there, according to comScore. But some businesses remain mystified about how they can get found by more local searchers using Google.

An active Google+ page that’s linked to your optimized Google+ Local listing is an important part of your SEO strategy. Not only does Google+ make your Google Maps listing more robust and useful for searchers, it’s also a great place to share content and connect with your audience and influencers, who in turn can help share your content. Plus, it can help boost your website’s SEO. Here are five reasons Google+ can improve your visibility in Google search.

1.  Your pages can rank well in search. Having a claimed and optimized profile on Google+, along with updated content, can help your business get discovered on the search engine results page. In addition, your optimized Google+ Local page can perform well in local search. But, it’s not enough to have your pages claimed and optimized; you also need to post engaging, shareable content on Google+ that will tell Google that your page is an active, useful resource. And, asking your connections to share your content increases your activity as a business, helping your page become more visible in the search results and driving traffic back to your website.

Related Class: Introduction to Google Plus for Small Business Marketing

2. Google+ drives personalized map results. As users search Google Maps, add places to their “favorites,” and leave reviews, Google Maps will start to suggest similar or complimentary local businesses they might enjoy. In addition, the new Google Maps is furthering integration with Google+ by allowing users to filter searches by those in their Google+ circles. This means the more active you are on Google+ as a business, the more opportunities you have to influence local search results by boosting positive fan engagement. You can also help your local search results by encouraging your best fans to add you to their Google+ circles and favorite your business. Plus, the more active your customers are, the more they can help others discover your business when they search in Maps.

3. Social signals may impact your website’s visibility. While there is no definitive proof that social signals like +1s can do anything to boost your page or your website’s visibility on search engines, some studies have noticed a correlation between these signals and your site’s position on the search engine results page. That’s because these virtual “props” on your social media content can tell Google that your content is relevant and authoritative. And, when this content links back to your website, it can signal to Google that your site is relevant and authoritative as well.

4. Positive reviews help you stand out. Reviews for your business on your linked Google+ and Google+ Local page are extremely valuable because they appear along with your map listing on the search results page. But, nobody wants one-star reviews prominently feature on their web presence. So, ask happy customers to leave you positive, thoughtful reviews to make sure consumers new to your business see great things about you and want to visit your website or contact you to do business. Plus, the more reviews you have that include your target keywords, the higher your map listing may display in the search results.

5. Google authorship boosts your site relevance. Authorship is a feature of Google+ that lets you link content you publish on another domain directly to your personal Google+ profile. When you do this, your Google+ profile picture will appear directly next to content you have written in the search results, emphasizing your content and helping increase clicks to it. This is great for building your personal brand, which can help you build credibility for your business by establishing yourself as the expert in your field. Plus, using your personal Google+ account is a great way to spread the word about your business to drive interest and shares among your personal network.

To learn more about how Google+ helps you express your brand, create deeper connections with your audience and get discovered across Google and the web, enroll in the Online Marketing Class, Build Your Brand Across Social with Google Plus. You'll hear real world examples from brands will show you how Google+ help brands meet their marketing objectives — such as building awareness and influencing consideration.


10 Tips to Boost Your Performance Using Facebook Advertising


Facebook is a great advertising tool, but you have to know how to strategize its use in order to get the maximum benefit out of it. Here are some Facebook advertising and marketing tips that you can use to boost performance in a scalable way. Learn how to choose your campaign objectives, the benefits of making use of a variety of Facebook advertising formats for different needs, and more.

1. Take advantage of Facebook ads but don’t forget about your page. Many businesses focus so much on Facebook ads they actually overlook their own page. However, if you generate clicks via ads it is fundamental to not forget about page updates. This will increase the credibility of your overall marketing efforts.

Your ads will perform much better if you have an excellent timeline. Keep in mind that social media is about engaging people, and having a perfect page is a great way to do that.

2. Bring creative rotation into play. Refined Facebook marketers make use of creative rotation inside the newsfeed to refresh their message, increase the click-through rate (CTR), and keep up with the impression amounts. Newer creative will be of great help to generate better performance thanks to continuous A/B testing. Facebook advertisers looking to rapidly boost their campaigns and make the most of their Facebook efforts should set up a system based on a steady refresh of advertising messages.

3. Choose the proper page post format. If your objective is to generate site conversions or sales, choose a “page post link” ad. If your campaign goal is to compel brand connection, make the most of a “page post photo” ad. Page post link ads enjoy a higher percent in terms of conversion rate as opposed to page post photo ads. On the other hand, page post photo ads generate a higher CTR as opposed to page post link ads. You can now combine the two to get the best out of both worlds!

Extra tip: Test what post type works best for you using hidden posts. This is the best way to find out what engages your audience the most.

4. Desktop and mobile ads separation. En route for optimizing newsfeed ad spend, it makes perfect sense to divide targeting into detached desktop and mobile levels, as an alternative of making a single campaign for the two separate devices. This allows you to segment costs and performance and evaluate all advertising strategies with a more professional approach.

You can do that by creating different campaigns or at least different ad sets. Also, make sure to have the proper tracking in place, such as the conversion code, in case you are promoting on-site sales.

5. Keep separate geo-location and test new ones if applicable. Many companies tend to forget that they need to test markets outside of the U.S. for their products or services. These clients will have a lower cost per acquisition and will also open up to new markets in the future. Make sure to consider all potential clients while planning your strategy!

It is also best practice to allocate one ad set per geo-location in order to be able to optimize the ROI in a better and more segmented way.

6. Set objectives and prepare your line of attack. Facebook provides many diverse ad opportunities that help to accomplish your goals. If you're trying to manufacture brand awareness and cultivate your fan population, you may want to begin with standard marketplace ads. Standard marketplace ads direct to your Facebook page and allow Facebook users to like your page straight inside the ad unit. If you have a considerable fan base, you might also attempt to use a sponsored story, wherein the ad comes up to friends who have liked your page.

Targeting with Facebook ads allows you to promote to the correct users based on their actual interests. You can also target users who are friends with Facebook users who have previously liked your page.

If you would like to advertise a specific post from your page (for example, a unique offer or significant news story), you can make use of page post Sponsored Stories to switch your post into a newsfeed piece.

This line of attack isn't restricted to your personal posts; you can also utilize Sponsored Stories to float up the referrals and recommendations regarding your company that are already in your newsfeed. For instance, you can produce Sponsored Stories regarding users liking your page and/or people checking in to your location.

No matter what your objectives and methodologies, make sure that you are positioned to calculate success.

7. Allocate half of your budget to your newsfeed placements, since they are the most effective. Allocate at least half of your Facebook ad budget to newsfeed placements. They are not only more visible but they also deliver more than a few supplementary advantages thanks to a bigger mobile reach.

I have noticed a much bigger CTR and conversion rate in newsfeed ads than right-side ads.

You can distribute the rest of your budget between a like campaign and sidebar ads!

Related Class: Mastering the Facebook Sales Funnel

8. Select text and photos that are simply superb. While creating your ad, Facebook suggests that you write targeted ads with short and snappy text that speaks unswervingly to the fans and users you will reach. Make sure to draw attention to any extraordinary offers or exclusive features that distinguish you from the competition. If your objective is brand and company name awareness, Facebook also recommends making use of your business name in the ad title or anywhere in the body of the ad.

Just because your ad can consist of up to a 135 characters, you should not feel like you have to block up the whole ad. From time to time a shorter line is much better. Use a call to action (CTA) that persuades fans and users to click on your ad and enlighten users as to precisely what action you expect them to perform when they get to your landing page.

The photos you select for your ad are also significant, considering that this is what will seize people's attention, and you ought to consider looking outside of your company logo. Characteristically the most excellent images for conversion are well-cropped headshots. You should stay away from archetypal stock photos and as an alternative try to make use of more natural images with colors that are distinguishable from the blue color format of Facebook.

9. Targeting. The Facebook ad interface makes it extremely simple to choose the demographic profile of a Facebook user you would like to target, counting age, sex, geo-location, education attainment, and interests. However, it is also the only one of its kind in its capability to finely target very precise Facebook audiences.

It's much better to have a few very targeted Facebook users than millions of users who are indifferent and ignore your business. Focus on an extremely precise targeted user with your ads, even though it signifies dropping the volume of your Facebook fans. For instance, if you're using Facebook ads to endorse a sale or a discounted offer, you may like to merely target your present fans, who may be more prone to act in response to a pressing promo.

While targeting local Facebook users, gaze further than self-reported locations and make use of all likely approaches to discover the users that actually live in a given place. Place the names of trendy local companies, institutions, and destinations into the ad manager to better target people living in a given city.

10. Produce and experiment with several ads. Don’t simply run a single ad within each campaign. The smallest alteration in the words you select or the graphic you utilize can have an outsized effect on the CTR for your ad, so it's best to make numerous adaptations of your ad and experiment with them to find out which ad gets the most excellent response.

Facebook makes this course of action effortless. As soon as an ad has been finished, you have the opportunity to “Create a Similar Ad” and just swap in a different image or text. Create five different ads for the similar campaign, use them for a day, and afterwards look at your ad statistics on Facebook to find out which ad performed the best. You can subsequently produce a fresh ad that is comparable to your top-performing ad, but revamp it just a little to observe if you can outdo the preceding performance. Don’t fail to remember to change ads following a short period to trim down ad exhaustion.

For more best practices and tactics to improve your company's Facebook page, watch this Facebook marketing class, How to Market on Facebook: Expert Tips & Best Practices.


How to Maximize Returns from Twitter Ads


Social media advertising and business strategies have increasingly become intertwined with each other. Business promotion cannot attain success if the message is not spread through social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on.

Twitter can be a very good promotional tool for businesses across the world. Posting ads on Twitter help you gain new followers, engage prospective customers, and generate leads. But, do Twitter ads always work for you? How can you get effective results from these ads? How can the ads reach your target audience and promote your business efficiently? Check out the section below to get answers to all such queries.

Integrating Twitter advertising with marketing campaigns has proved very beneficial, even helping maximize the profit of the business. Experts from brand advertising agencies in Leeds have made a research project of the relationship between advertising and marketing and the results are quite fascinating.

Here are a few helpful tips for you…

Twitter is a Great Social Media Platform for Business Promotion

Targeting followers of particular accounts. You can promote a webinar for any of your social customers by targeting some of the followers and other similar relevant accounts. You will find that in a week’s time it will generate a considerable number of clicks. You will get a good return even by investing a small amount. You will also gain around two replies, two retweets, six new followers, and 9,500 impressions.  According to advertising experts, targeting the prospective audience results in greater B2C marketing.

Related Class: The Secret to Business Success on Twitter: Creating a Microblogging Culture

Targeting by device. Suppose you want your target audience to fill out a specific signup form but this form is not easily accessible on mobile devices as it should have been. This leads to a serious challenge when using Twitter ads. Since people these days are more likely to use mobile devices for almost everything, it is not wise to target only the non-mobile groups. Switch on to Android or iPhone users and you will start getting more signups.

Do not go by the bidding price on Twitter. Whenever you create a campaign in Twitter, it will suggest a maximum bidding price that you should offer. This is your “per engagement” fee that you have to pay for follows, clicks, replies, and retweets. You can fix this engagement at a lower price than suggested by Twitter. Twitter might not get the bids for the niche inventory you are making, but this can be a great opening for some.

Do not anticipate beforehand. When you use Twitter ads, two alternatives will be open to you – Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets. With the former, you will have engagement, but the latter will effectively attract followers. You can try the opposite of this, which means you can promote your personal tweet, such as your blog. Experts opine that within a week, you will achieve several clicks and followers. Although you might have to pay for the clicks, the new followers will be worth your investment. You will find that using Twitters ads becomes much easier.

Try these few tips to start using Twitter as the best social media platform for promoting your business ideas!

Summary: Social networking sites are extensively used for business promotion. Twitter has turned out to be a great option for business professionals in this regard.

For more on how to optimize your presence on Twitter, enroll in the Online Marketing Institute class, Fundamentals of the Tier 1 Social Platforms.