Why A Conversation?

The next part of our SEO Liverpool series on changing the PPC mindset to Pay-Per-Conversation.

When you think about online marketing strategy, you think of PPC and organic. I don’t think PPC should stand for pay per click, it should stand for pay per conversation. The purpose is not the clicks, but rather the goal is to turn them into business. We are also going to change SEO to searcher experience optimization, rather than search engine optimisation so the searcher has the best experience leading them to convert.

What matters in terms of getting the sales is communication. The biggest challenge is that most of people’s budgets are focused on just driving traffic – not doing anything except for getting people to the site.

There is a huge discrepancy of driving traffic vs. analytics, testing, etc. the budgets are almost none, so people are not getting the returns they are expecting. Think about your typical customer. I think of them as toddlers with money. What do toddlers always ask… why? Your customer does not have as much patience. We need to address the issue of why conversations are failing. It’s because users don’t have confidence. So getting through trust is a big thing. The second thing is relevance. People will look for something very distinct – if we don’t give it to them the second they want it, they leave the site.

10% of traffic drops off after the first click to your site. OK, that’s untargeted. But say 55% drop off after the second click! Something is wrong – the user got distracted, lost confidence, lost relevance, lost the scent. This has not changed since the early to mid 1990’s! So we must focus on scent. Nielsen has said that people are so goal oriented that they ignore everything except what they are looking for – so that’s what costs you money.

Example: “pink roses” – the first site landing page shows red roses! So the searcher leaves. The second and third ones – also no pink roses! So I finally go to the fourth ad – and there are finally pink roses. So the first 3 out of 4 failed. People are missing the basic point of conversions. They are missing the landing pages. Over half of customers leave a site because the site does not provide enough information. It’s because we are not continuing the conversation, and just burning the money.

Marketing is about understanding people’s needs. So we must re-think the conversation, the path of conversion. Different people come in with different needs. Our job is to figure out what needs to be in that conversation in the moment they come to you. Start thinking about optimisation in a conversion point of view.

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Igniting your Viral Campaigns

Online marketing strategy will usually involve Viral marketing.

What is viral marketing and social media? Which methods work, and what typically goes viral?

Viral marketing: A top SEO will tell you it’s to spread information quickly. At it’s essence, word of mouth marketing online. Supercharged. The web allows things to move quickly.

What is social media? In short – a giant conversation online. So many different avenues, networks – places for people to talk online.

Who has a company blog, who has a personal blog?

Blogs and microblogs: Check out Technorati directory. Blogs are highly consumable. Easy for people to read and they get it. People are used to it. Good place to put message. Allows comments, discussion, linking. On the other side, you want bloggers to link to you and talk about your stuff. You have to look at it from both ways.

Social networking: Ask most people – they will say Facebook and Twitter, once upon a time it was Myspace. Just one component. These are the big ones. There are more niche ones – like myartspace.com which is for artists that share a common interests. Look and see beyond the big ones – look at the ones in your niche – the ones you should build a presence on.

Online video: More than uploading and telling friends. A place where people can comment and respond. A quick way to spread message. A good video like ‘will it blend’ spreads easily. Youtube makes it easy for people to link directly.

Forums and groups: Often most overlooked. Forums are most powerful for expert advice and groups. Strong and passionate communities. One key take away regarding forums is a site called Bigboards.com which ranks forum sizes. The biggest ones are niche – Paintball, Volkswagens, Bodybuilding. Look at the forums in your niche and build a presence. Get involved. Talk to people. Look at logs of a viral campaign to see the forum activity.

Social news and bookmarking: The big guys are Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious (although some on this list may close soon). They’re more than just bookmarking. It’s about allowing people to see what your interested in. With Digg there is a large barrier to entry because its competitive. In any niche, there’s a social news site for you.

Our SEO training If your content gets to the top of Mount Digg, it will result in millions of viewers. The traffic is good. But most important is how it influences other sites. Bloggers need Digg and social network to find content and information. Gets popular and people bookmark it, IM, email it. Reporters also use these sites to find content. It’s a way to get people who know nothing about you to find out about your company. Lots of eyeballs and info spread.

What is good content that goes viral?

* Lists – Lists work. Shows 10 commandments which started the trend.
* How To’s – People love how to’s. “how to tip like a gentlemen”, etc.
* Surveys – “top 25 best nights out “. Don’t have to interview thousands of people to get this content.
* Comprehensive – Something that’s comprehensive, that will be a strong resource – that a .gov will want to link to.
* Strong opinions – It can backfire – if it’s controversial it can go viral bot not in the best way.
* Best of lists – People love best ofs. Best of the Beatles. They love it.
* Calculators, tools, anything that helps people do something better. Great ways to get people excited about your stuff.
* Video: Must be interesting and makes people go “wow”. Will it blend is the classic example of a boring product made interesting in a video.
* Widgets – great for people to put things on their site and builds links.
* Quizzes, badges – makes people put them on their site or pages, and spreads.

Ending tips:

Have clear goals and objectives. Lots of people come to Summit Online Marketing asking to do something on Facebook – but why? What’s the goal? Promote great content. Don’t do something half-baked. Do something great – take extra time. Contribute to communities. Find the right communities that make sense to you. Build relationships on these sites. Give back. Make the sites work better.

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Adwords Quality Score Help Part 2

The second part of our series on Adwords quality score. Here at Summit we’re not all about getting the best search engine placement possible for a budget. We’d also like to inform our clients about the why and How around online marketing strategy.

You will now get as close to Google SEO level knowledge as possible today!

Talking specifically about Google. Their Quality Score permeates everything in the account about what it affects. Your bids. Your position. Your placement targeting. Ad rank.

So we will walk through how the Quality Score factors affect everything;

* Why is Quality Score important? It affects your ad rank, where your ad appears.
* Ad rank = keyword Quality Score x maximum CPC.

So often you don’t want to change your bids, you want to see if you can raise your Quality Score rather than your bids.

First Google determines your minimum bid. The minimum you can pay to have your ad shown. And if your bid is higher than the minimum then you can show on search, but if its lower you can’t show up in search but you can show up in content network.

Minimum bid is determined by:

* Historical click through rate on Google.com – not on the content network.

* Relevance of keywords.

* Landing page (goes into the minimum bid calculation).

* Other factors.

What to do;

* Don’t get caught up in other factors.

* So viewing minimum bids: you can see them right away. Take your minimum bids and export them into Excel so you can see them more clearly.

* Quality Score factors chart: look at particular factors as a reference when you start diagnosing issues.

* The higher your minimum bid, maybe you have a landing page problem. Start playing with them and see what’s working. Go into your Adwords accounts to see more information. Load time of your landing page and other factors.

* Account organisation is the number 1 factor to get a good jump in quality score. The more granular the campaigns, the more relevant everything will be.

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B2B Paid Search Success Part 1

A successful online marketing strategy, paid search campaign is contingent upon three fundamentals: Keywords, Ad copy, and Landing pages. Together they equal success. Right?

Wrong.

The fact is, those fundamentals are only part of the equation. There is another key component entirely. Namely, Analytics. Or more specifically, tracking, and understanding the quality of a visitor. In fact, not only are these other elements fundamental, they also take on increased importance for the B2B set. Why? Because of the complexity of buying cycles for this market.

Let me explain.

When it comes to web seo and search, there are many similarities between marketing to consumers and marketing to businesses, such is the need to understand your audience and speak their language. However, when it comes to buying cycles, the similarities end.

In fact, B2B buying cycles are inherently complex. Consequently, marketers need to be mindful that prospects can be in very different phases within the buying cycle. And because it’s your job to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and think about what they need, tracking and understanding the quality of a visitor can be instrumental in helping you do just that.

Tracking: why digging deep on keyword data matters

To be sure, tracking offers marketers a myriad of benefits, not the least of which is keyword data. It’s a rich source, and analysis of it can yield highly valuable information that is both immediately actionable, and has the potential to significantly impact campaign performance. It can also help marketers avoid shooting themselves in the foot.

For example, many web marketing services providers, hastily ditch keywords that appear to be non-performers. This is a mistake. Instead, they should take a closer look at their tracking data. Here’s why.

A few years ago, comScore conducted a study that quantified the number of searches leading up to a purchase, by category. For example, the research revealed that computer hardware buyers searched an average of 4.9 times before ultimately making a purchase.

The implication of this finding should be obvious. Just because a keyword doesn’t yield immediate conversions, doesn’t mean it’s not contributing. It could very well be highly effective at moving a prospect through a particular phase of the buying cycle.

To capitalise on this behavior, marketers need to leverage tracking to better understand their customers and prospects. The first step in doing so is to make sure you don’t discount the keywords with a sub-par conversion record. In fact, before you remove a keyword that isn’t producing conversions, or reduce a bid, thoroughly review the query reports that are available through the search engines and/or your search vendor.

Regularly reviewing these click chain reports will help you understand the searches your customers actually conducted, and that ultimately led to their executing the call to action. Then use this data – whether manually or with a bidding agent – ensure that certain keywords maintain their positioning regardless of their direct conversion value.

And as you review these reports, pay attention to your inclusion window. This is the time allocated for a click and the subsequent conversion event to happen in order for it to be considered a result of a particular paid click.

It is critical to appropriately set your inclusion window within your tracking solution, otherwise the learnings gleaned from the data will be faulty. For example, if someone types a keyword, and then sees your ad and clicks, but doesn’t immediately convert, and then comes back to the site 10 days later and converts, it would not count as a conversion against the originating paid search click unless your inclusion window was set to 10+ days.

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