Archive for June, 2011

New Google Fonts and Colours

Thursday, June 30th, 2011


Not quite sure how new this is but seeming how I’m the only one in the office to mention it so far : Google home screen changes : Google old home page : Google New Serps with Red Text ( hmmmm not sure about that! ) New Google Fonts and Colours is a post from: [...]

New Google Fonts and Colours is a post from: Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.


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Social Media Tips and Best Practices From PR Pro @PRSarahEvans [@Inbound Now #27]

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

sarahevans2Sarah Evans joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s social media and inbound marketing podcast!

Sarah, @PRSarahEvans on Twitter, is the owner of Sevans Strategy, a public relations and new media firm. She’s been mentioned in Forbes magazine as one of the top 14 women to follow on Twitter, she has a great blog over at PRSarahEvans.com, and she’s really the go-to girl in the online PR game.

In this episode, we chat about:

  • Creating a cohesive social media strategy
  • Making your company stand out online
  • Social media best practices for companies
  • Customizing the social ask
  • Twitter chats
  • Press release tips
  • Building in a promotional work flow

See the full transcript of the episode here: Press Release Best Practices and PR Pitching advice with Sarah Evans

To Subscribe to Inbound Now, Click Here

Creating a Cohesive Social Media Strategy

“You can look to see what already exists, and if nothing exists, then put something together before you start working because there are a million and one tactics, a million and one resources. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. You need something that you’re driving toward.”

The first step in creating a social media strategy is to make sure you have an overarching goal in place. You have to have something you’re aiming for.

Making Your Company Stand Out Online

“Sometimes it’s not about standing out, it’s just about connecting or making an impact with where you’re trying to reach, where your consumers are, where your customers are.”

Companies can stand out online by doing a variety of things — being innovative, launching a new tool, releasing a whitepaper, creating an infographic, etc. But the most important thing is to get connected with your customers.

As a side note, if you’re looking to hire someone to be in an engagement role (like an online community manager), make sure you hire someone who is naturally engaging. They engage with people all the time already, and they just use the computer or a mobile phone as an extension of what they already do.

Social Media Best Practices for Companies

“We’re in the trenches, and when I get to talk about these things, they’re usually because of things that I’ve learned from either making the mistake already or things that people hire me to tell them because we’re not afraid to jump in and learn them.”

The first thing you should do is create a media list. The media list should contain three groups of people: traditional media, bloggers (people with an online space where they share their thoughts), and influencers/enthusiasts (active online conversationalists). Cision is a good resource to check out when you’re building this list.

Also, research and see where else people live online. Does a journalist have a personal or hobby blog? Do the bloggers have Twitter accounts or Facebook Fan Pages? If one blogger has a blogroll, check that out for other targeted blogs in the same niche.

Then you want to interact with and follow the person. Tweet with them on Twitter. Read their blog posts and comment on them. Get to know their style and their interests. When it comes time to pitch something, you can draw upon your knowledge and past encounters to customize the pitch.

Customizing the Social Ask

“‘Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook.’ It’s okay to let your consumers know you’re there, but why do they need to go there to interact with you? What are you offering them that’s different or unique?”

Instead of flat-out asking for a “follow” or a “like,” make it clear as to what you’re offering on those different platforms, whether it be early access information, special coupons, or something else.

Don’t forget to capture your customers’ information via your home base (website or blog), too. Get them on your email list.

Twitter Chats

#Journchat has inspired something like 300+ (maybe more now) live industry Twitter chats since its inception. I’ve done a lot of work talking to the people who run the chats or are being interviewed about what works for #journchat.”

Creating a Twitter chat is a relatively easy thing to do. You’ll need to use a third-party application (like TweetChat or TweetGrid), as Twitter wasn’t created for chats. The most important thing is to make sure there’s a need for the chat topic. Do some research, and see if people would be interested in participating.

Press Release Tips

“We’re making things more multimedia friendly. In my company, we’re thinking of ourselves as a resource, almost as a producer for the media that we’re targeting. So when we’re crafting a release, it’s something that would benefit the journalist or blogger or influencer who wants to write about this, but it’s also being written for the forward facing consumer.”

When you’re creating press releases with the intention of reaching out to bloggers, the press release shouldn’t be as lengthy or filled with industry jargon as old-school press releases. Make sure that the first 250 words of the press release are optimized for the web with relevant links and keywords.

Another thing to do is create 140-character soundbites from the press release text. Make it something that customers and bloggers would want to share, and make it easy to share.

Sarah recommends PitchEngine (she’s on the advisory board) for press releases. Another good tool for recognizing PR opportunities is HARO (Help A Reporter Out).

Building in a Promotional Work Flow

“It takes, on average, five different tactics to drive people to your website or blog. So you write that blog post, you want to get people there to see it. So that’s one portion of your promotional work plan.”

Make sure to create a promotional work flow for after a blog post goes live. How will you get people to the new content? How will you repurpose the content? How can you link back to or pitch the content? This also includes having a plan for what you’ll do if the content is picked up elsewhere.

Connect With Sarah Online

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @PRSarahEvans, on Facebook, and on her blog. Also check out Sevans Strategy, and a cool resource for PR folks called Commentz.

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Google Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics Integration

Thursday, June 30th, 2011


Near the beginning of June I signed up for the Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics integration pilot. Today I got an email telling me I could now integrate Google Webmaster Tools into my Analytics, so I thought I would share with you some of the features. Setting It Up Setting up was relatively straightforward, [...]

Google Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics Integration is a post from: Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.


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The Ultimate 8-Point Checklist for Remarkable Content

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

HubSpot Link Bait(2)We say it all the time: the foundation of inbound marketing strategy is remarkable content. Why? Because remarkable content gets consumed and shared, which ultimately helps to achieve your business’ marketing goals.

But wait a minute. Isn’t remarkable somewhat of a subjective term? I mean, a fisherman might think an article about ‘the top ten fishing poles for catching flounder’ is pretty remarkable, but for someone like me who doesn’t really go fishing, remarkable isn’t exactly a term I’d use to describe it. So what exactly is it that makes content remarkable?

Your content doesn’t have to espouse everything on the below checklist, but the items on this list can serve as great indicators of remarkable content.

The Ultimate Checklist for Remarkable Content

1. Would your target audience share it? Sure, not everything on this list has to be true for every piece of content you create in order to make it remarkable, but this one is the exception. Think about my earlier example of the fishing article. To me, content about fishing isn’t remarkable, but maybe I’m not the target audience for the author of the fishing pole article. The point is, your content doesn’t have to be remarkable to everyone. It just has to be remarkable to your target audience. Before you publish your content, ask yourself if it’s something you think your prospects will want to read and share with others. Is it something worthy of their remarks? If so, it’s probably remarkable.

2. Does it offer a unique — or even controversial — perspective on a topic? Being unique and offering a different perspective on a topic will definitely earn you points on the remarkable scale. Furthermore, people love to add their two-cents to controversial topics, so if you write an article on a given topic that challenges the viewpoint of another, chances are people will talk about and share it.

3. Does it contain original data? Incorporating data that supports the points you’re making in your content is a great way to make it remarkable. Bonus points if the data you’re including is derived from your own, original research. Data helps to support the credibility of your content and make the case that it’s a trustworthy resource.

4. Is the way you present information different than the norm? If your competitors are all presenting content in the same boring way, does your content break the mold and make you stand out because it’s presented in a different format? Some great examples of under-utilized yet exciting content formats include infographics, cartoons, videos, slideshows, or other multimedia elements.

5. Is it thought-provoking? If someone read your article or looked at your content, would it make them think? Does it help them to challenge their own way of doing things and offer helpful ways for improvement? If a reader can easily walk away from your content without it impacting them, it’s not very remarkable.

6. Is it timely? Steer clear from topics that are outdated. Focus on creating content around topics that are specifically top-of-mind for your target audience. Even better — keep track of industry news for content opportunities. If you can be the first to break news to your audience about an issue they should be concerned about (and tell them why), that content will be remarkable to them.

7. Is the idea conveyed in a way that is easy to understand? You might have the most remarkable content idea in the world, but if you can’t convey it in a way that is easy for your audience to understand, it’s not going to do much for you. Remarkable content should be clear and concise.

8. Does the overall content exemplify a high standard of quality? Piggy-backing on Point 7, make sure that your content is not only easy to understand but also high in quality, whether that be in design (if it’s an infographic, cartoon, or other visual element) or in writing (if it’s an article, ebook, or whitepaper). People are less likely to find content remarkable if it looks unprofessional or it’s littered with grammatical errors and typos.

The term linkbait refers to content created for the purpose of generating links from other websites or blogs. To us, remarkable content is linkbait. After all, who wouldn’t want to link to content they thought was remarkable? And who doesn’t want more inbound links?

Now go out there and make all your new content simply remarkable!

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Quick Guide to Smartphone & Mobile SEO

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

mobile SEONeed to learn more about smartphone and mobile SEO best practices? Let’s start with a few statistics:

According to an infographic from Microsoft Tag, 51% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from a retailer with a mobile specific web site, however: only 4.8% of retailers have a mobile web site.

A recent study by Google, “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users” reports 77% of smartphone users visit search engine websites followed by social networks. And nine out of ten smartphone searches results in an action (purchasing, visiting a business, etc.). Mobile use is growing faster than all of Google’s internal predictions, with YouTube seeing 200 million mobile playbacks a day, according to Eric Schmidt.

To capture the market, marketers and advertisers are increasingly allocating budget to mobile. In fact, eMarketer estimates total mobile advertising spending in the US will reach $1.1 billion this year, which is up 48% over 2010. Mobile search is forecasted to account for up to 10 percent of search budgets with Google capturing 97% of that market.

How can marketers take advantage of the opportunity with mobile search & optimization?

Of course there’s paid search advertising on mobile as there is on the web, but our focus here is on content, social and organic search, so the following tips will emphasize what you can do without advertising.

Fundamental SEO Best Practices – Effective site optimization applies for mobile sites as they would for desktop websites. Search engine accessibility, keywords, content and links all matter with mobile. Keep in mind screen real estate is smaller for keyword use in titles and descriptions. As a primer, check out this post from the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Making Websites More Mobile Friendly.

Mobile Friendly Website – First, decide if you need a dedicated mobile site or if you will present mobile users with a mobile friendly version of your existing site.  If you happen to know that a significant number of your customers use traditional mobile phones, then a dedicated mobile site may be warranted.  See the “Mobile Filters in Google Analytics” tip below for info on determining your website’s mobile activity.

mobile friendly website

A custom CSS file can usually accomplish a mobile friendly site for traditional, internet enabled mobile phones or it may be necessary to develop mobile specific pages.

Smartphones can view most websites as a desktop browser would, only smaller and may not need such customization. Another consideration is that some features, such as Flash content, will not display on an iPhone. Hopefully HTML5 adoption will address that.  While smartphone use is rapidly rising, there are still a very large number of traditional mobile phones in use. A “mobile friendly” site isn’t exactly a SEO tactic, but if people can’t view your site, there’ not much use in it attracting search traffic.

Mobile URLs & Content - Because of advice given by search engines, many Webmasters have their mobile sites detect user agent access via a mobile device and serve up a mobile friendly site using a different URL such as

  • m.mywebsite.com
  • www.mywebsite.com/mobile/

That is no longer necessary and website owners can present the appropriate content using the same URL. rel=canonical can be used for desktop content.  In all instances, the same content must be served to Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile as what a user would see.  Advantages to a single URL include a single destination for link building and also to facilitate social sharing of pages via mobile phones meant for desktop consumption.

Mobile Keywords – When researching keywords, it’s worth considering that mobile search query strings, on average, are 25 percent shorter than desktop searches. As for mobile keyword research tools, Google’s keyword tool provides a mobile filtering option and the stats you see for Competition, Global and Local Monthly Searches, and Local Search Trends are all specific to the device filter you pick.

Google mobile keyword research

Mobile Formatting and Layout - There are many resources for mobile website development. If you want to test how your mobile friendly website will appear, then Mobile Moxie offers an array of handy tools for testing websites on mobile devices. Tools include: Keyword Research, Mobile HTML Code Grader, Mobile Search Engine Indexing & mSEO, Mobile Website Emulator and Phone Comparison, Mobile Search Engine Simulation and Results Comparison.

Mobile Content – In addition to testing the mobile user experience, it’s also important to test the effectiveness of your mobile content. Delivering mobile search traffic to pages is just the beginning with effective mobile marketing. Make sure the content users are interacting with resonates and inspires desired outcomes. Achieving mobile content effectiveness draws on content marketing best practices by knowing customers, their pain points and interests, keywords and social topics. Then apply that insight to your mobile content strategy. There are numerous mobile marketing case studies to draw ideas from to see what’s worked.

Mobile Site Map – Websites that serve only mobile content can provide Google with an XML sitemap.  Non mobile URLs should not be included, but URLs that return both mobile and non-mobile content can be included.

mobile sitemap

Mobile Filters in Google Analytics - On mobile analytics, Lori Ulloa says, “You can use Google Analytics to track your mobile visitors without creating a separate, filtered profile. You can get info such as those coming from mobile operating systems, mobile devices and even mobile carriers. If you do decide that an app is the right way to go, the Google Analytics for Mobile Apps SDKs make it easy for you to implement Google Analytics in your mobile apps.”

However, if you do want to use filters to extract mobile data (arguably to see if you have a mobile audience in the first place) then Google Analytics offers options in both standard and beta. Filters will inform you how much of your organic traffic is coming from mobile, how they interact with your content and if they’re converting.

Google Analytics Mobile

By 2012 mobile searches will account for 25% of global searches (Google Smartphone User Study). Consumer use of smart phones and tablets has skyrocketed and in keeping with best practices for changing customer information discovery, consumption and sharing needs, mobile marketing warrants serious consideration by companies of all sizes, industries and locations.

You’ve read my take on determining where to allocate search marketing resources before: If it can be searched, it can be optimized. That certainly means mobile search as much as it does search on the web. The question is, how and when your business will approach mobile marketing and more specifically, mobile SEO?


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What Every Marketer Needs to Know About Google +1 for AdWords

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Google recently launched the +1 button – a new way for content publishers to let their readers vote for content they think is high quality. Just yesterday I received an email from Google announcing that they are rolling out the Google +1 button across Google AdWords as well.

Here’s what every marketer needs to know about Google +1 for AdWords…

How Google +1 for AdWords Works

Here’s an explanation taken directly from the email I received from Google:

Let’s say you own a hotel in Madrid. Brian had a lovely stay at your hotel last summer. When Brian starts researching accommodations for his next trip to Spain, he searches on Google while signed into his Google account, and sees your ad. He clicks the +1 button on the ad to recommend it to his contacts.

google plus 1 for adwords 03 clicked ad with mouse

When Brian’s friend Ann plans her trip to Spain, she signs in to her Google account, searches, and also sees your ad – plus the personalized annotation that Brian +1’d it. Knowing that Brian recommends your hotel helps Ann decide where to stay during her travels.

google plus 1 for adwords 04 annotation

 

Every +1 Is Like Getting a Personal Recommendation of Your Ad

The +1 button seamlessly ingrates an element of social approval in to your search campaigns. Every time someone +1’s your PPC ads on Google it’s like receiving a personal recommendation. Even better, the personal recommendation is only seen by the users Google contacts and friends, which give the recommendation even more credibility.

This is not just good, it’s GREAT! As your customers and fans of your brand conduct searches on Google, they can vote for your ad which increases your credibility when someone is making a decision on what ad to click on. The more credibility you have the greater the chances are that someone will click on your ad.

+1’s can impact how your ad is served and how much it costs you

According to the AdWords Help Center, the addition of the +1 button to PPC ads does not change the way advertisers are charged or how ads are served. However, it’s important to note that +1’s can indirectly impact the quality score of your ads. The higher your quality score, the more efficient your ads become and the less Google charges you to display your ad. Thus, +1’s can impact price.

Since your ads gain more credibility the more they are +1’ed, it increases the likely hood of other users enaging with your ads. This extra level of engagement can increase your ad’s CTR (click through rate). Although +1’s are not part of the quality score of your ads, the historical CTR of your ads is. So, +1’s can most certainly impact the quality score of your ads.

Be Careful…It Is Possible to Lose Your +1 History

When someone clicks the +1 button next to your PPC ad on Google, that +1 does not give credit to your ad, but rather to the destination URL of that ad. If you change the destination URL of your ad, you will lose all the +1 history of that ad. So, think twice before changing the destination URL in your ads. Never delete ads. Pause them. If you want to optimize your ads, only change the ad copy and never change the destination URL. Always create a new ad if you are introducing a new destination URL to the mix and you will not lose your history.

The addition of the +1 button to AdWords is only the beginning of rewarding advertisers who are providing quality content with better placement and advertising rates. In the future it will be harder and harder for advertiser to pay their way to the top, which makes it easier for competitors and smaller business to have skin in the game.

What do you think of the Google +1 button for adwords?

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7 Effective Ecommerce Applications of Twitter

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

twitterTwitter, the popular micro-blogging service, can be somewhat of a quagmire for marketers. Many have yet to really nail down the specific value that they can bring to consumers on Twitter as well as understand the methods they can use to engage with potential customers without drifting into the realm of SPAM.

Here are a few tactics you can use to leverage the amazing volume and openness of Twitter for your eCommerce marketing:

1. Create Category Accounts

Most eCommerce marketers have inventories that are too large to simply set up an RSS feed that broadcasts our products on Twitter – nor is there any real value in that anyway. Instead of managing one account that broadcasts every product in your inventory, create separate accounts that focus on different segments, such as  @MyStoreTelevisions and @MyStoreApparel, for example. Use each one of these accounts for a balance of engagement and product tweets.

Many eCommerce companies focus on acquiring huge followings, which is a mistake. It’s far better to have a targeted network of engaged followers than a large network with a disparity of interests. It’s not the size that counts; it’s how you use it!

2. Run Contests

Twitter users love contests and discounts, and they are highly responsive to time-sensitive promotions. “ReTweet” contests (“ReTweet this for a chance to win x product!”), for example, are very popular with Twitter users and are excellent for identifying potential connections as well as creating activity amongst your followers.

Time- or quantity- limited promotions keep your Twitter following highly engaged. You don’t have to constantly offer giveaways and promotions in your feed, but if you offer great value consistently, then followers will be paying closer attention when you share special products or items you want to feature.

3. Engage and Support Consumers

Be sure that whoever is managing your different category accounts is well-versed in those products. Account managers should constantly be using tools like Search.Twitter.com to scan conversations on Twitter for appropriate keywords and people asking questions or talking about problems related to their category. Once they pinpoint these conversations, they’ll be able to bring real value to customers by offering helpful feedback and solutions. They can also leverage customer evangelism on Twitter by sharing the experiences of happy customers with other followers who might be potential customers. Product recommendations prospects get from their social network can be highly influential in their purchasing decisions.

In addition, being engaged in social media allows you to identify customer service issues and turn angry customers into evangelists by actively solving their issues in a highly visible way. A number of successful companies use Twitter very effectively for customer support. Customers who may not use your existing support system may use social media to voice their complaints, so being engaged and aware in social media will allow you to identify issues and provide support in the medium where the customer feels most comfortable.

4. Identify Potential Prospects

Twitter’s openness is one of its great advantages for eCommerce. The vast majority of tweets is publicly available in search and will appear in social media monitoring tools. Therefore, you can keep an eye out for people expressing an interest in your product or related products, and actively engage with them.

You can also pay attention to who is saying what about your company (e.g. “Has anyone bought from this company before?” is a common question people ask that demonstrates interest) or even your competitors.

5. Create Brand Affinity

People feel more comfortable when a seller’s personality shows. Have some character! Feel free to be funny. Engage with people about personal issues or topics of common interest. When people realize there is a real person they can actually relate to behind the Twitter account, they’ll be more likely to convert –- and reconvert.

To further emphasize the personal touch of your account, consider making your Twitter profile picture that of a person, not a logo. You can always include a logo badge on your profile picture, and it’s always a good idea to use your Twitter background as prime real estate for branding, but don’t be afraid to give your site and your brand a little personality!

6. Conduct Market Research

Twitter followers are phenomenally valuable for product and offer feedback. Are you considering carrying a new product? Are you considering adding a new feature to your website? Twitter followers are usually happy to share their opinion with you, so think about leveraging your community for feedback and research.

7. Engage With Influencers

A key benefit of Twitter is the ability to socially engage with product influencers. Whether they be people who professionally review your type of product or current customers who are influential within their networks, Twitter allows you to identify influential people and engage with them. Actively solicit their feedback about your product, site features, etc. When influencers feel involved, engaged, and empowered, they’ll be more likely to become evangelists for your brand.

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78% of Executives Say Having a Social Strategy Is Critical to Future Success [Infographic]

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Social enterprise software company Jive just released a new study called the Jive Social Business Index, which surveyed 902 U.S.-based executives at large and mid-sized companies.

A few interesting stats from the study include:

  • 53% of executives believe they must adopt social business or risk falling behind.
  • 70% of executives and 51% of millennials have downloaded at least 1 web-­based application for work use, either on their mobile device or personal computer.
  • 89% of executives, 88% of millennials, and 76% of general knowledge workers believe they and their teams would be more productive if they could dramatically reduce the time spent writing and reading emails.

jive social business index infographic 1 resized 600

Marketing Takeaway

Yes, executives understand that having a more social business and marketing strategy is important, but few feel good about their current one. As a marketer, it is important to offer guidance to your management team as they develop and plan their social strategies. Also note the data about the desire to reduce time spent on email. This survey shows that as companies adopt social technology, they will be looking to reduce email usage. Email will still be an important component of marketing for years to come, so start planning to diversify your marketing strategies today.

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Tasks to Help You Establish Your Brand on Facebook

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Post image for Tasks to Help You Establish Your Brand on Facebook

Starting a fan page on Facebook is easy, but how do you get it to grow and become successful? It’s much harder than many people realize; this is why you often see dead and abandoned fan pages. Establishing your brand on Facebook and creating a successful fan page actually takes some time, dedication and hard work. If you’re not ready for the long haul, then you may need to put it on the back burner until you are ready. However, if you’re ready to do what it takes, here are some tasks that you’ll need to complete in order to get it done.

Do Your Research

There are some things that you will need to know beforehand like who your target audience will be, what your audience wants to read, who your competitors are, etc. You also should be keeping up with the latest buzz so that you can provide the type of information that your audience wants to read. Also, if you’re not targeting the right audience and demographics, then you definitely will not get the results you’re looking for. Your intended audience needs to be able to find you so that they can “like” you.

A tool like CheckFacebook can give you in-depth demographics, statistics and reports about Facebook. Knowing this kind of information will help you setup your page for success.

Get Organized

There is so much to include here. Before you even get started, you should have a some kind of plan and strategy mapped out. Set goals for your page as far as what you want to accomplish. Create task lists so that you can complete everything in a timely order. Get help from colleagues and even friends if needed. Trust me, your fans will be able to tell if your page is unorganized and if it’s not, they won’t be fans for long.

You will then need to figure out the specific products or content you’ll be targeted and know exactly how you’ll use your page. Some companies choose to use their Facebook fan page as a customer service center, while other are used as a resource of information and discussion board. Doing both can get messy and confusing so it’s a good idea to stick to just one.

A good marketing strategy is also important. How will you promote your page? What methods will you use to continuously bring in new fans? How will you integrate your page into your other social media profiles? Will you have frequently contests and giveaways? How will you measure the effectiveness of your efforts? These are all important questions that you need to answer so that you can be sure that all of your hard work won’t be in vain.

Spice It Up

A dull looking page is sure to be a dead page. All Facebook fan pages come in the same default design and layout. Many companies choose to leave theirs in default mode, but if you really want to stand out then you have to spice it up. Be creative and do something different with your page. Add more tabs and interactivity to make your fans want to get involved. Find some applications for contests and giveaways and see what other kinds of Facebook apps your fans might enjoy. A nice touch is to change the landing tab of your page; when visitors first arrive, show them a stylish welcome tab instead of just having them go directly to your page’s wall.


Get Social

Lastly, you have to make sure that you are constantly publishing quality wall posts, sharing relevant links and engaging with your fans. Don’t just have your company’s RSS feed automatically imported into you’re wall. While this is a good starting point, you need some personal interaction and fresh content mixed in there as well. People are less likely to join a page that is dead: without interaction or quality content.

Also be sure to integrate some Facebook social plugins into your website so that your customers can interact with your page right from your site. Also be sure to remind your friends and the fans of your page to “like” and share your content. A simple “please be sure to share this with your friends” can help spread the word quickly. Also, using Facebook’s tagging system is a great way to promote your page on your own personal profile.

While most of these tasks are ongoing, you still need to complete them a first time in order get your brand properly established on Facebook. While you may want to rush so that you can have your fan page up as quick as possible, you should really take your time to complete each task. In the end, you’ll see much better results and progress using a slow but steady process, rather than with a rush job.

This was a post by Lior Levin who works for iAdvize and also acts as a marketing consultant to a neon signs store that sells neon signs and led signs.

photo credit: Photospin

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3 Ways to Track Offline Lead Conversions With Call Tracking

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

HubSpot Mongoose Call Tracking MagnetThis is a guest blog post by Kathleen Colan. Kathleen is director of marketing and content at Mongoose Metrics, a call tracking solution provider, and has written dozens of blog posts, guest posts and whitepapers on the topic of call tracking. You can follow her on Twitter @mongoosemetrics or her blog at www.mongoosemetrics.com/blog.

To maintain a successful inbound marketing campaign, marketers have to effectively track and record all lead conversions and associate them with specific marketing activities such as PPC advertising and lead nurturing campaigns.

Platforms like HubSpot and Google Analytics make it is easy to track online conversion data (i.e. contact form completions), but what about when a lead picks up a phone and calls? To capture these offline conversions, and complete the lead conversion picture, marketers need call tracking.

How to Integrate Call Tracking

There are two main ways to integrate call tracking, both of which should be used if you’re driving visitors to your website.

1. One-to-One: In your call tracking platform, assign a unique call tracking number to a certain marketing initiative, such as an email newsletter, online webinar, or PPC ad. Every time a call comes into this number, the platform will register the conversion and associate it with the proper initiative.

2. Javascript Snippet: Your call tracking platform will provide you with a Javascript snippet that you can install in the code of your website. As a visitor arrives to your site, source information will automatically be captured, and he or she will be shown a unique tracking number. If the snippet is installed throughout your site, the tracking number will follow him or her from page to page. As a call comes in, the referring site (i.e. search engine), the landing page, and the last page he or she visited before calling will be collected and associated with the conversion.

Using these two forms of call tracking integration, you can accurately track offline conversions, and use this information to improve inbound marketing campaign performance. The following are three examples of how this can be done:

1. Keyword Optimization

With the Javascript snippet installed on your site, you can collect highly useful source data, including which search engines drove visitors and which keywords those visitors used to find your site. As a call comes in, the platform will capture the conversion and associate it with the specific keyword that was searched.

You can then combine this information with online conversion keyword data to fully understand which terms are driving the highest quality traffic to your site. Armed with this insight, you can more effectively evolve your SEO efforts, focusing on-page optimization and content development efforts around the terms that have proven to generate leads.

2. PPC Campaigns

To effectively evolve PPC campaigns and maximize ROI, you need to evaluate campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keyword bids based on conversion rate. To track offline conversions, integrate tracking numbers directly into ads and landing pages.

For ads, Use the one-to-one integration by associating a tracking number to a specific campaign, ad group, ad, or keyword bid, and then put the number in the corresponding ad.

There are a several options for how you can include the number:

  • Within ad copy: Keep in mind Google and Bing allow a maximum of 70 characters in PPC ads, and a phone number with area code and hyphens (555-555-5555) will use 12 of these characters.
  • Google Call Extension: Google offers a Call Extension feature, which allows you to add a phone number to your ad without consuming valuable ad space. This number is then prominently featured below your ad. 
  • Image Ads: If you have a graphic or display ad, you can feature a tracking number directly within the design.

For landing pages, use the Javascript snippet to integrate tracking numbers into your landing pages. By doing so, any calls will automatically be associated with a specific campaign, ad group, ad, and keyword bid.

You can also manually add tracking numbers to landing pages on a one-to-one basis, but if a visitor should leave your landing page for another page on your site, your ability to associate the conversion to the PPC campaign will be lost. With the Javascript, the tracking number follows them, enabling you to accurately track PPC conversions no matter what page the lead calls from.

3. Lead Nurturing

If you use lead nurturing email campaigns to progress leads through the sales funnel, repeat conversions is a clear indication a lead is motivated enough for your sales team to contact. To track offline conversions from these emails, add tracking numbers.

Within the email: There are a variety of ways to integrate tracking numbers into your emails on a one-to-one basis. Make sure to experiment with the placement to see which works best. Some options include:

  • In a graphical banner
  • In the right- or left-hand column
  • In a call-to-action button or image
  • Directly within content

Within Landing Pages: If you direct recipients back to a landing page, make sure this page is solely used for your lead nurturing campaign. Within your call tracking platform, you can tag visitors to a landing page as coming from a specific marketing initiative (for example: a lead nurturing email). As a call comes in, the platform will associate the call with the page on which he or she first arrived and report the conversion appropriately.

Do you use a call tracking platform? If so, how have you used it to improve inbound marketing campaign performance? 

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