Archive for the ‘SEM’ Category

7 (Seven) Ways Market Research Can Feed Into Business Activities

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Most commonly, market research is viewed as a method to improve advertising and marketing initiatives and to develop products that are friendlier to specific markets. However, the true range of uses for market intelligence is much larger than most businesses think. The results of surveys and opinion polls can also be used to inform various company departments to support their diverse activities.

Moreover, advances in technology have brought about sophisticated do-it-yourself (DIY) research products, which means that businesses have more control over the costs, reach, and timing of research solutions. Those DIY offerings also deliver the advantage of instantaneous results that can be monitored in real time, offering a competitive edge when time is critically important.

The distinctive characteristics of DIY market research solutions give businesses an impressive ability to influence operations across multiple departments, especially in the following seven areas.

1. Language and Tone of Communications
In the many ways companies engage with their consumers, language plays a crucial role. Market intelligence can be especially useful in shaping the tone and content of marketing collateral and company communications to appeal to specific groups of consumers without being irrelevant or offensive.

Research can also help organizations working in highly sensitive capacities, such as hospices or charities for terminal illnesses. For example, gathering opinions from a panel of leukemia survivors can help the marketing department of a leukemia awareness organization to focus on the issues most important to patients and to employ appropriately sensitive, supportive, and inspiring language in its communications.

2. Media Buying and Placement
Market intelligence can be used to discover the best arenas in which to disseminate messaging and launch marketing campaigns. Insights into the minds and media habits of consumers can help create a strategy using the most appropriate venues for marketing, public relations, social media, search engine optimization, and other campaigns.

Also, when businesses move into unfamiliar territories, market research can play a vital role in determining the best approach. Surveys could be conducted to learn more about the consumers in this new market. Do they use social media sites or news sites more often? Do traditional print publications still outperform those online? Is one social network more popular than another? The results of such reports could then assist in choosing the best strategy for media buys, article placement, social media content, and so on.

3. Crisis Management
Being able to access immediate results and observe reactions can be critical to proper crisis-response activities. Whether a business is coming to terms with a sudden drop in public opinion, grappling with an event that hurts consumer confidence, facing something that causes a publicity catastrophe, or responding to a natural disaster, the advanced capabilities of DIY research solutions allow for swift deployment of online surveys, improving a company’s image while providing information vital to the formation of the most appropriate response.

Although such application of market insight might not be commonly employed, they can be as valuable as the traditional uses for market research (such as others in this list of seven uses) and should definitely be taken into account.

4. Advertising Campaigns
Market research has traditionally been used to help agencies craft targeted messages in their advertising programs to ensure they are appealing to the right demographics.

Although the subjective nature of advertorial response is hard to measure, surveys and opinion panels have long been used effectively to pinpoint the specific aspects of a product or campaign that will resonate most with consumers.

5. Product Development
Another traditional use for research panels and target audience surveys, product development can be greatly enhanced via market investigation and input from key demographics.

Learning what the consumer believes, needs, and wants can help to create tailored products that satisfy demand. Conversely, maintaining a conversation with current users of a certain product via a managed research panel can help a company become aware of any issues that need improvement or product aspects that should not be altered during product upgrades.

For example, a car manufacturer wishing to update a popular model could deploy surveys to current fans of the car to gauge their opinions on various aspects. Perhaps most people think the car is visually appealing but they are frustrated by the way it handles. Those results could feed into the development process to ensure that the new model will perform well without alienating anyone.

6. Brand Perceptions
Brand outreach, too, has often drawn upon market research to inform strategies. Businesses can conduct investigations into the marketplace to determine which aspects of their brands are being properly communicated. In this way, they can avoid wasting time and money emphasizing brand characteristics that are already common knowledge.

On the other hand, examining a target audience’s opinions of a brand can reveal areas for improvement. For example, a luxury brand might discover that consumers affiliate its products with convenience rather than indulgence, highlighting an area of current brand messaging that possibly needs altering.

7. Service Improvements
Surveys have often been use to gauge whether consumers are satisfied with a company’s services. Now, technologies moreover enable companies to create their own consumer communities, forming a direct and constant source of feedback.

For example, a business could post information and a link on its website for consumers to join its research community. Those who sign up and participate in such a forum can form a valuable source of information for monitoring service performance. Moreover, owning a research panel can extend other customer service areas to enhance overall response to consumer needs.

18 Tips to Accelerate Social Media and Digital ROI

Friday, August 24th, 2012

1. Align your SEO efforts with cross functional marketing team strategies.
2. Focus on measuring quality, not just quantity.
3. It’s not always about the sale.
4. Claim and optimize your Google+ Local page.
5. Align social data with CRM.
6. Collect and leverage social data to make more intelligent, data driven decisions.
7. Build a social media command center.
8. Harness multi-attribution modeling with web analytics.
9. Think email series, not email blasts.
10. Deploy triggered email and dialog tracks.
11. Create landing pages that seduce and convert.
12. Take control of your data.
13. Be smartly efficient about campaign testing.
14. Connect to the search psyche of your potential buying customer.
15. Always test your landing pages.
16. Develop a video marketing strategy.
17. Secure proper budget for digital campaigns.
18. Focus on the right social media metrics.

4 (Four) Tips for the Perfect PPC Landing Page

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Five years ago, Joel Chudleigh’s team managed to boost a client’s online conversion rate by 11% over a six-week period.

“After seeing those results it is fair to say that I have been interested to the point of obsession in how much difference the right layout, the right copy, and the right design can make to a website’s performance,” he writes at Deep Footprints.
He offers this advice for creating the perfect PPC landing page:

Understand your audience’s needs. Your landing page shouldn’t try to be all things to all people. Why is someone clicking on an ad? Your landing page should respond to that, and only that.

Be very specific. You have—at most—five seconds to make your case. So don’t lose a visitor’s interest with vague language about unspecified savings. Instead, intrigue her with a concrete reason to learn more: Save two hours per week, $500 per month.

Provide a credible reason to work with you. Why should someone choose you over a competitor who sells a similar product or service? Establish social proof with testimonials, case studies, and a list of impressive clients.

Create pleasing copy and design that complement each other. “We make snap judgments based on the way things look,” notes Chudleigh. “I have walked out of plenty of restaurants after taking a look around and just getting a bad vibe about the place before I am actually presented with any food.” Always remember that visitors will judge your landing page just as severely.

The Point: Make it a happy landing. Your ad has done its job; now it’s time for your landing page to urge a visitor onward.

PPC Ads Don’t Cannibalize Organic Search Listings

Monday, August 13th, 2012

One theory that some search marketers hold is that purchasing Google AdWords does not make financial sense because the ads will cannibalize organic listings. The theory supposes that the two forces, AdWords and SEO, are killing each other, and it is a bad strategy to spend money on both at the same time.

As an experiment, Google “paused” search ads to measure the effect that such a cessation had on organic search result clicks. What the study found was that users did not suddenly start clicking the natural results in the absence of AdWords results.

Those findings prove wrong the notion that any significant increase in clicks on organic listings would result if marketers were to decrease spending on PPC ads, with Google deducing that 50% of the time ad clicks are incremental when there’s a corresponding natural listing in the top rank.
Pay-per-click is here to stay

In 2011, when Google claimed that 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused, it may have been a bit hard for the Internet marketing community to believe that statistic. After all, Google would say something like that to protect the reputation of AdWords, its main money spinner.

Cutting costs on advertising does not increase natural clicks
What the Google experiment tells Google advertisers is this: If you reduce your ad spending to zero, you can’t expect for 89% of those clicks that would have gone to your ads to now be redirected to your Web page results in the natural SERPs.

Also, a Google report a month later showed that, most of the time, paid ads and natural listings seldom appear on the same page together anyway.

How often do paid and natural appear together?

A follow-up Google analysis in March 2012 found that 81% of the time, when there is a paid ad being displayed, no corresponding organic listing is on the first page.

The chances of finding a top-ranked listing paired with its paid counterpart on the same page is very slim. The possibility of the organic listing’s appearing on the same page at all as the paid listing is still a very rare occurrence.

If you have the top-ranking natural result, your chances of having a corresponding ad on the same page is just 9%, but that drops down to only 5% if you’re in positions 2-4, or a measly 4% in cases where you have a low-ranking site.

So, if you have a high-ranking website, you have a better chance of having both an ad and an organic result, but that may be related more to bigger budgets than anything else.

Averaging all of the different rankings, the study found that 66% of clicks were not associated with a related organic result.

We need both paid and unpaid results
The lesson to take away from these studies by Google is that search engine advertising is still a vital part of your online marketing portfolio, even if you are ranking highly for your keywords in the natural listings.
As both results (paid and natural) are very unlikely to ever appear together, you will be covering both bases by spending time and money on both.

Generate Leads With LinkedIn Announcements

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

If you’re not using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool, argues Shelly Kramer at MarketingProfs Daily Fix, you may be missing out on a very good thing: “According to data from HubSpot, LinkedIn is the most effective source of new business leads among the three leading social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

And a study of some 3,000-plus B2B marketers indicated that LinkedIn’s visitor-to-lead conversion rate is four times higher than that of Facebook and Twitter.”

With LinkedIn Announcements, you can send email messages straight to the inboxes of likely prospects. Sound good? Here’s the right way to do it:

• Ditch the default subject line. If you don’t take the time to write an original subject line, why should anyone take the time to read your message? Treat this like any other email campaign—intrigue your recipient with a subject line that compels further investigation.

• Make your copy irresistible. Grab your reader’s attention with a relevant case for action. “This is a great place for stats—not only can they present a compelling case in a short amount of space,” she notes, “but they can also help readers visualize a particular topic or subject matter, which will help pique their interest.”

• Include a call to action. Don’t expect anyone to read your mind. Make your call to action, and the pathway to conversion, perfectly clear.

• Don’t be a jerk. Would you want an endless stream of irrelevant LinkedIn Announcements? Probably not. So treat this access to a prospect’s inbox with respect.

The Point: With a strong LinkedIn strategy, your lead gen program can generate the high-quality leads your sales team craves.

Is Outsourced PPC Right for You?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Have you considered using an agency to handle your PPC campaigns? “Knowing what to expect, and what not to expect can help you judge whether or not outsourcing this work is a good fit for your organization,” writes Nathan Pabich at the Renegade Search blog.
Pabich offers nine points to consider as you explore the option.

Here are a few examples of an outsourced PPC manager’s added value:

• Up-to-the-minute industry knowledge. A dedicated manager has a better view of the PPC landscape than an in-house employee who has multiple focal points. Why is that so important? Pabich offers an example: “Just within the last couple of months,” he notes, “AdWords announced two major changes that will affect the implementation of PPC strategies for the foreseeable future.”

• Broad experience in PPC campaigns. Because agencies manage so many campaigns across so many industries, they can often suggest solutions that might not occur to an in-house specialist whose experience is more limited.

• Cost savings through intelligent spending. Many default settings are designed to cost more than you actually need to spend; an experienced PPC manager can indentify and eliminate unnecessary expenditures.

Pabich also highlights a few things you should not expect from an outside agency. For instance:

• Even the strongest PPC campaign won’t compensate for a poorly designed site, or glitches in your merchant services.

• When you introduce new products or services, you’ll need to alert your PPC provider.

The Point: Know what you need to know. Asking the right questions up front can help determine whether an outsourced PPC manager can bring added value to your search marketing efforts.

Source: Renegade Search. Dramamine

5 Quick Ways to Lower Pay-per-click Costs

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

In a perfect world, we’d never have to worry about the cost of our pay-per-click advertising campaigns. We’d be making money on every sale, and we’d have an unlimited budget.

Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world. There are times when we have to lower PPC costs to stay within our budget.

In this post, I’ll address five quick ways to lower PPC costs and help your business profit from PPC advertising.
Before I address those five tips, however, there are two rules that all PPC advertisers should follow, whether they’re trying to reduce costs or not.

Rule 1: Set Budgets
All PPC search engines allow advertisers to set budget caps on their campaigns. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to set the budget caps very high, or even do away with the cap altogether. But if you’re looking to lower your PPC cost, it’s crucial to set daily budgets that you’re comfortable with. This will undoubtedly reduce your traffic from PPC. If your campaign isn’t as profitable as you’d like, that’s acceptable. Set a budget you can live with, and focus on getting as many conversions as you can for that budget.

Rule 2: Track Everything
One of the best reasons to use PPC is that you can track your results in near real-time. Take advantage of that by using, at a minimum, the free tracking offered by the search engines — see explanations for Google andMicrosoft. It’s quick and easy to install the tracking codes on your site, and you’ll be rewarded with useful information.

If you’re not tracking sales, leads, or conversions, you might hurt your results while trying to lower costs by pausing the wrong ad groups or keywords. Don’t fall into that trap. Track everything so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

Now that you’re following these rules, here are five quick ways to immediately lower your PPC costs.

1. Take Away the Bad Performers
When you need to lower costs, you probably should make a few changes immediately. It’s important to prioritize. Find the campaign with the highest cost, and look at the ad groups in this campaign. Are there any ad groups with a high spend and no conversions? If so, pause them. I’ll discuss how to fix them later in this article. Your goal right now is to cut costs as quickly as you can.

From there, work your way down. Have you reviewed your ad copy tests? I addressed those tests here previously, at “PPC Basics: Part 5. Ad Copy Development and Testing.” Is there one ad variation that’s pulling down performance? End that test and keep the ad that’s doing well.

Do the same thing with keywords. Are there keywords that are costing a lot and not converting? Pause those too.

Once you’ve stopped the bleeding by pausing poor performers, add some controls to your account that will help improve results.

2. Use Negative Keywords
Negative keywords — see “PPC Basics: Part 4. Keyword Match Types” — are keywords for which you do not want your ads to appear. For example, for ecommerce merchants or online service providers, the word “free” is a good negative keyword, since you don’t want your ads to display to people looking for free items.

If you’re over-spending on PPC, a good way to get things under control is to add negative keywords. Even with careful keyword research — see “PPC Basics: Part 2. Keyword Research” — it’s common to discover that you’re getting significant traffic for irrelevant search queries.

To quickly find negative keywords to add, run a search query report — see Google’s explanation. Find all the terms that don’t apply to your business and add them as negatives. This will keep you from spending precious funds on irrelevant clicks.

3. Identify Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases of at least 4 to 5 words that specifically describe your product or service. The more words in a search phrase, the more specific it likely is – meaning it can be highly relevant to your business.

Shorter, broader terms are helpful for generating awareness and high traffic volume. But they’re not helpful when you’re trying to conserve cash. Instead, focus on longer, more specific terms. You’ll get fewer visits, but the visits you get will be far more qualified.

To find long-tail terms, you can use a keyword research tool or the search query report mentioned earlier. To use the search query report, find longer phrases that are relevant to your business and add them as keywords.

4. Restrict Match Types
Keyword match types — see “PPC Basics: Part 4. Keyword Match Types” — offer a great deal of control for advertisers. To cast a wide net and generate high traffic volume, it’s best to use “broad match” or “modified broad match.”

But if you’re trying to control costs, it’s better to stick to “phrase match” and “exact match.” Take a look at your keyword list, and change any broad or modified broad terms to phrase or exact.

5. Focus on Brand Terms
If you’re desperate to reduce costs quickly and dramatically, a good way to do it is to pause all non-branded keywords and focus solely on brand terms. This is a drastic measure, so use it only if needed. But if you need to make a sweeping change quickly, this will definitely help.

Summary
The best way to lower pay-per-click advertising costs is through systematic testing and optimization. But if you need to make changes quickly, try some of these tactics to lower PPC costs and increase your return on investment.

6 Ways to Improve Your Online Presence and Visibility

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

According to Nielsen, roughly 274 million people in the U.S. now have Internet access. In another study by TMP Directional Marketing, 80 percent of US adults under 35 consider the Internet their main source for local information. A third study shows 97 percent of all consumers use online media to shop locally.1 The point is, if your business still isn’t online yet, you’re missing a wealth of new, qualified and highly motivated leads.

Getting found. Considering online is primarily where you’ll find most of today’s local shoppers, having a strong online presence is extremely important for promoting visibility. Even 58 percent of those buying offline will research products and services online before buying. That number rises to 87 percent among college graduates and those earning over $75,000.2 If your visibility is low, so are the chances of consumers finding you when they’re ready to buy. Here are six ways to increase your online presence and increase your visibility.

Have a website. In today’s world, many would say your business may as well not even exist if it doesn’t have a website. And given how consumers are searching for information these days, it may not exist through the eyes of potential customers if you don’t have one. A website is a basic building block of an online presence and, for many consumers, essentially validates your business. It is the place your business will ultimately be found and chosen. But as many entrepreneurs have discovered, just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ll get found. A website is an essential tool that should be part of any integrated marketing solution. And since Google reports that 1 in every 3 searches from mobile devices are now local, having a mobile version of your website can only help increase your findability.

Pay for search engine marketing (SEM). This type of marketing improves a business’s online and mobile visibility through paid ad placement. SEM uses a pay-per- click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) model, where businesses select key phrases relevant to their line of work. The business will appear in a search result ad when users search for that key phrase. If they click through to the business’s website using the ad or sponsored link, then the business pays for that lead. SEM offers businesses many benefits including the ability to:
• Maximize online exposure by placing you in the paid search results near the top of the page
• Tailor your ad message and keywords to suit your needs
• Track results with greater precision
• Establish a monthly spending cap
• Pay only to reach consumers who show an interest in your product or service

Use search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is all about figuring out key search phrases customers would use to find your business and incorporating them into your site. The more your website content matches up with the specific searches people do, the more relevant your site will be considered by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. As a result, your business page will rank higher than others and you’ll appear closer to the top of a search results page. SEO allows you to:

• Improve the rank of your website in the free search results
• Raise your position on the page
• Increase your visibility for free
• Grow the traffic to your site

Add custom videos. A video link found online is 52 percent more likely to be clicked than a standard text link.1 In the U.S., we are the number one video consumers in the world. In fact, Alexa ranks YouTube as the third most visited site on the Internet behind Facebook and Google. Consumers like to be able to see your business, your store or office, your staff, and your products in living color and full motion. Plus, videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to show up on the first page of search results.4 Some of the many other benefits of using video on your site include the ability to:

• Tell your story visually
• Increase chances of your content going viral
• Differentiate your site from competitors
• Get 18 percent more viewer attention than TV commercials

Use online banner advertising. Most Internet users have probably seen plenty of banner advertising while surfing online. Typically, they’re the small, rectangular ads seen across the top, bottom or along the side of a page. If you click on one, it immediately takes you to the advertiser’s website or their landing page. Just a few years ago, banner ads looked to be fading in popularity. But, thanks to technology centered on how they are bought, sold and targeted, banner ads are making a big comeback. Today’s banner ads get exposed to the most relevant target audience by strategically advertising on websites that would appeal to the site’s users.

Targeted banner ads reduce wasted coverage and bring in more qualified leads for less. Some of the other benefits of banner advertising include the ability to:

• Guide prospects along the purchase path
• Provide up to a 27 percent lift in online sales5
• Offer up to a 17 percent lift in offline sales5
• Increase brand awareness
• Easily measure results
• Compete with national brands
• Build credibility with future customers

Reputation management. In the world of reputation management, knowledge is power. You can’t manage what you don’t know about. Reputation management is the process of tracking what is being said about your business. It provides an omnipresent electronic ear to the ground so you know what information is being said about your business and allows you to check for accuracy, share the good stuff, and respond—if needed. Reputation management benefits businesses by:

• Ensuring consumers find only the best version of your business
• Allowing you to keep tabs on what is being said about your business
• Providing the opportunity to address any damaging information in a timely manner
• Listening to social buzz about your business
• Helping to keep an eye on the competition

More visibility, more business. Increasing your online presence is one of the best ways to increase your visibility for customers trying to find you. Local businesses need to develop a coordinated offline and online marketing program to reach across the myriad of ways today’s digitally savvy and mobile buyers search and shop. Test your business’s visibility right now for free. Take a few minutes to get your Findability Score by answering five simple questions about your business.

1 – Source: Kelsey Group, Mobile Market Research, 2010
2 – Source: Pew Research Center
3 – Source: YuMe and IPG Media Lab, April 2012
4 – Source: GigaOM 2009
5 – Source: comScore 2008

3 Digital Marketing Initiatives That Complement Your SEO Program

Monday, July 16th, 2012

“While SEO will always be a good bet for generating long-term value,” writes John-Henry Scherck at Renegade Search, “it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only aspect of a good digital marketing campaign.”

There’s no reason to sit around waiting for SEO to take effect when you can bolster your burgeoning optimization program with short-term creative initiatives.
Scherck offers a number of actionable suggestions, such as:

Improve your website. All the traffic in the world does no good when your site—which is, in effect, your online salesperson—can’t close the deal. “If your website looks dated, disorganized, and sloppy, first-time visitors may associate those qualities with your actual business,” Scherck notes. Conversely, a well-designed site with logical navigation and valuable content will reflect well on your brand’s capabilities.

Create linkable assets. You probably have link-building campaigns, but outstanding content will also generate natural links—in other words, unsolicited links from people who liked what they saw and wanted to share it with others. By definition, the blog post that inspired this newsletter is a linkable asset.

Hire a public relations expert. The best PR professionals have established relationships with the media who cover your industry—in other words, direct access to editors who can offer the most coveted backlinks. Even better, PR teams tend to create natural-looking backlink profiles.

The Point: Accessorize. It may take some time to see results from your SEO campaign; in the meantime, build on those efforts with complementary digital marketing initiatives.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

With smartphone’s taking the majority share in mobile phone usage in America this year, it’s easy to see that the future of Web is mobile. No one can afford to ignore it.

Astute advertisers, developers, and brands are creating experiences that connect, convert, and engage their audiences before the mobile revolution consumes them.

Still on the fence regarding whether to make the move to mobile? We at AD:60 have compiled an infographic that lists 10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site. The list should obliterate any reasons against putting mobile at the top of your digital must-haves.

Here are a couple of stats from the infographic:
8% of all digital traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
60% of smartphone users make more than $100,000 per year—double the US household income median.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site