Financial professionals talk endlessly about the need to diversify your asset portfolio. Having all your eggs in one basket may fill up that basket but it will leave a lot of wicker sad and lonely. The same analogy is true in describing the state of paid search advertising.
According to an article in eMarketer, PPC search marketers are increasing their advertising presence on social media. 52% of global companies stated that social channels had either a moderate or huge impact on their search initiatives in 2010. And with more social networks tapping into paid search advertising, it makes sense that PPC campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube would be on rise. After all, clicks still matter and finding your target audience where they live – on social networks – will likely produce more clicks and conversions. But adding PPC to Social Media Optimization (SMO) shouldn’t be the only way you diversify your search portfolio. Make some room in your PPC wicker basket for SEO.
Coordinated PPC and SEO programs combine the results-driving immediacy of paid search with the long-term brand and traffic growth of organic search. For instance, PPC search experts can drive organic keywords and improve landing page conversions while simultaneously boosting paid and SEO click-throughs . And with social search gaining traction, PPC, SMO and SEO can work together to drive brand awareness and customer acquisition.
Diversification of any assets, whether financial or search-related, is a sound, strategic approach. Search marketing, in particular, is continuously changing and evolving. PPC, SEO and even SMO are not what they were even a few years ago. By leaving all of your eggs in one search basket instead of sharing them with the other two, your plans to maximize ROI growth may get scrambled.
Actually don’t call it a comeback. Blogs have been here for years. But they kind of got lost in the social media shuffle. Companies and individuals have been burning the midnight oil trying to drive the best possible results through their social channels nearly forgetting what a valuable resource a blog is.
A few weeks back, I wrote about the social and affiliate benefits of blogging. Today, I want you to think of your blog as your number one growth asset. It is one part branding tool and one part thought leadership vessel enabling you to showcase what you do and your unique authoritative point of view on relevant topics. By posting a regular blog chock full of compelling, engaging information, you will be building your brand and attracting links to your site from within without relying on external advertising. If you doubt the effect of blogging, chew on this little nugget:
85% of web pages have less than 7 incoming links
That means a blog that generates a few inbound links puts your website, blog, social presence and business 85% ahead of the competition in terms of awareness and potential revenue. Not too shabby. So after you are finished reading this blog, do some blogging of your own. It may not be a comeback but the right blog will keep readers and prospective customers coming back time and time again.
I was playing Angry Birds the other night (the original not the Rio version) getting a sick thrill out of trying to get three stars on every level 5 stage when something strange happened. I thought I captured an egg only to discover that I had been captured by Facebook. In order to continue playing, I had to “Like” Angry Birds. Now I love Angry Birds but I also like democracy. There was something very off-putting about being given the “Like” mandate. Thankfully, I was playing on someone else’s iPhone (why buy the iPhone when you can beg and borrow) who didn’t have a problem with liking Angry Birds on her Facebook page. Still, the process left me feeling uneasy but in fairness to Angry Birds the ploy is not unique to them.
Last week, The New Yorker pulled a similar gotcha on readers by posting exclusive content on its Facebook page. In order to read a featured Jonathan Franzen piece, you had to “Like” it. I understand the rationale of both Angry Birds and The New Yorker. It’s all about that million dollar word – engagement. But what has made Facebook such an undeniably powerful and popular platform is the freedom of personal expression factor. Angry Birds has over 2 million Likes. I’m pretty certain that the majority of those were not forced from users. As a long-term subscriber of The New Yorker, isn’t my loyalty Like-worthy enough?
Companies considering implementing a “Like” mandate simply to boost user activity on Facebook need to weigh the pros and cons. Yes, it’s easy to fall under the Like spell but by forcing potential consumers to give you the Facebook thumbs up you run the very real risk of broken engagement.
Last week, Social Media Examiner released its comprehensive 41 page 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. In it, blogging was listed among the top four social media tools used by marketers. At least 73% of marketers polled planned to increase their blogging efforts. I knew I was doing this for a reason. This is not only good news for bloggers, it is also good news for affiliate marketers. Blogging for dollars is back!
The report also stated that 69% of marketers want to learn about blogging and how it can impact social initiatives while 72% of these marketers cited increasing traffic as a major social media benefit. For affiliates interested in expanding their reach, leveraging every social media channel – not solely Facebook or Twitter – can drive traffic to user blogs translating into increased affiliate sales. StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit are growing networks that can help your blog improve its social standing. More eyes on your blog, the better your chances of driving sales opportunities.
The integration of social media and search seems to be at a fever pitch. Likes and Tweets are having an enormous impact on search engine rankings. Though Facebook and Twitter are each important to the search landscape, the former appears to be more immediately in tune with the evolving nature of social search. Facebook pages are complex and well-optimized making them rank higher on the social network and in the search space. But at the end of the day, social search must abide by similar best practices to maintain long-term success. Here are a few best practices to consider:
- It’s OK to be Vain – The vanity or customized URL is more appealing and readable to the search engines. It is important to choose one wisely since it can not be edited at a later date.
- Pay Close Attention to Your Profile – Facebook users should input as much categorized data as possible to increase their chances of being identified in searches. Also, continually revising and updating your profile will do wonders for your search results.
- in-Likes – It really is good to be Liked. The more users that Like your page, the better your chances of having incoming links point to it.
By putting your own Face on search, you will ensure that you get positively noticed in the SERPs.
SEO is a long term investment for driving traffic and ROI growth. Achieving these goals begins with sound link building. Leveraging link building expertise is essential for implementing advanced link baiting techniques, navigating aggressive markets, and ensuring your backlinks are healthy and compliant. This strategy can optimize your link building into link branding.
Link baiting increases your backlinks or incoming links, drives more traffic to your site and improves brand awareness through content creation. The latter of these benefits is rapidly becoming most important when you consider the power of social media and the influence a user opinion has on brand value. Link building experts understand quality trumps quantity. Effective baiting utilizes relevant, engaging, high-quality content that social media users will endorse. When done correctly, link baiting delivers more organic links, improves SERPs rankings, increases traffic to your site and enhances its visibility.
If SEO marketers had their own cheerleading squad, the captain might lead the team with the following cheer: “Be Aggressive… But Not Too Aggressive.” Link builders need to be able to approach the organic landscape from a marketing perspective. They need to recognize opportunities to build link popularity and search rankings that don’t set off red flags.
Healthy backlinks are happy backlinks. The more relevant backlinks your site receives, the more likely it is that it will rank highly on the SERPs. Continuously monitoring your backlinks to ensure relevance and domain authority is important for generating positive rankings. This brings to mind another cheer the SEO cheerleading captain should lead – “Be Proactive!” By building your own backlinks, you will create an organic roadmap to drive relevant, authoritative traffic to your site.
Establishing a positive brand reputation online is critical to customer acquisition and retention. Trust between companies and consumers is more important than ever in the age of social media; therefore, continually monitoring your online presence by way of social user comments and blogs should be a priority. But let’s be honest, there will be times when a negative post or two will crop up. View these instances as opportunities to connect with your detractors and bring them – and others – into the fold.
Social media makes you an active participant in the brand conversation. Sure, you want to hear the good news but the bad news can end up ultimately driving great results. By reading negative posts, you don’t have to assume where the fail occurred. It’s right there in front of you. The immediacy of social media enables you to rapidly react with special offers or promotions designed to appease your angry customer and hopefully win him/her back. Taking this step will not only get the consumer back in your good graces, it will likely flow into the overall social conversation. Best case scenario – a few negative reactions could drive many positive returns.
Leveraging advanced technology is considered to be of the utmost importance in digital marketing. Yet, more often than not technology’s role in driving results is often relegated to metrics, data and algorithms. Not in this blog post! Today, the technological infrastructure of an online performance marketing agency gets its moment in the sun.
If a major client demands immediate turnaround on an email marketing initiative reaching 200,000 subscribers, online marketers have to be ready to deliver. Suppose a client makes an immediate request for new servers. What if you are out of the office – on the road in between calls or relaxing on the beach? Remember, being an online performance marketing leader means always being available.
Expertise in a given channel is important. But developing and maintaining a strong, centralized technological infrastructure can be a performance game changer. This can transform email management into the equivalent of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) able to generate upwards of hundreds of millions of emails per day. A robust infrastructure can also provision new equipment immediately from any remote connection. The impact on client management is massive; immediate response times are improved and the ability to meet client needs at granular levels is enhanced. It will set you apart in the performance marketing space.
All this talk of infrastructure might be confusing and intimidating but forward-thinking technology is extremely valuable to your overall operations. So let’s hear it for infrastructure! The right mix of expertise and technology will keep your performance ahead of the pack.
Here’s more evidence that this is Mark Zuckerberg’s world and we are all just living in it. Facebook is essentially giving privacy advocates and members of Congress the finger by insisting it will continue sharing user home addresses and cell-phone numbers with third-party developers. Users will be given the opportunity to opt-out of the sharing but many remain unhappy.
If this is Planet Zuckerberg, online performance marketers are pleased to be its inhabitants. Facebook is the dominant force in social networking. It has changed the digital game making social media a necessary performance channel, one that when properly leveraged can significantly increase leads and improve ROI. Social media is driven by information sharing. The Facebook Like feature has revolutionized brand building and buyer awareness. If people were truly wary of sharing information, Facebook would be inconsequential.
The privacy debate is an old one. For privacy advocates and politicians looking to garner favor with constituents, it is a hard argument to win – especially when advocacy groups like the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation, not to mention Washington politicians, have Facebook accounts.
Online performance marketers understand that targeting the right offer to the right consumer is the name of the game. By leveraging performance-based media across a variety of channels including display advertising, search, affiliate, email marketing and social networks, advertisers and marketers can help brands better locate relevant customers. This brings us to digital couponing.
According to Kantar Media, digital couponing increased across key CPG websites in 2010 by close to 60%. This includes a 23% increase in digital coupons offered to consumers by over 260 manufacturers. Unlike their paper forerunners, they offer consumers a convenient, and dare I say even trendy means of saving money. Perhaps more importantly, they create brand awareness and drive results for advertisers and marketers at the all-important local level. Local is so “of the moment” I expected it to be working the katwalk during Fashion Week.
Still, some doubt digital couponing has legs. They believe it to be nothing more than a way to grab the attention of the fickle deal seeker at the expense of true relationship building with consumers. And though that might be the case, how’s that working out for Groupon?