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Showing posts from September, 2007

Off Topic: Who Does MyHeritage Think You Look Like?

After coming across Web 2.0 - Your Inner Celebrity on Harry Hoover's blog, I had to try this out the Celebrity Collage from MyHeritage.com. Amusing, but how it's possible for anyone to simultaneously resemble Usher, Helen Hunt and Johnny Damon is beyond me. I have been told before that I look a bit like Glenn Frey, but never any of these people.



If you've got a few minutes to waste, try it out.

*****

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

WMC Interviews: Sharat Sharan

This week, I had the opportunity to learn more about how Sharat Sharan, president and CEO of webcasting and rich media platform provider ON24, has built this company into a leader in online lead generation and communication. ON24 provides a hosted platform to help B2B marketers and other business professionals produce webcasts, podcasts and rich media presentations for prospects, customers, employees, analysts and investors.

ON24 is also the company behind Insight24.com, a hosting service for thought leadership rich media B2B webcasts, podcasts, videos and demos from leading B2B vendors.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before ON24?

Sharat Sharan (SS): I was Group Vice President of Hearst New Media Group in New York. Before that, I was responsible for business development for Wireless Networks at AT&T.


WMC: How and when did you get started in this business?

SS: When I joined ON24, the company had a different business model. During the downturn, the business model was challenged.…

New on WMC: Guide to Web-Based B2B Lead Generation Programs

The web marketing plan development section on WebMarketCentral continues to expand with the recent addition of a Guide to Web-Based B2B Lead Generation Programs. An overview of online B2B lead generation tactics, this page provides an overview of the most common types of Internet advertising and online B2B lead generation programs, including:
Search engine marketing
Advertising on Internet ad networks
White paper syndication
Email marketing
Webcasts and podcasts
The goal of all of these B2B lead generation activities is to make it easy for your prospects to find you when they are looking for a solution to a problem that your product or service provides, then guide them through the process from information-gathering to purchase. Research shows that 75-80% of B2B buyers and influencers use the Internet to find information about vendors rather than responding to outbound efforts.

Web-based lead generation programs supplement and complement offline efforts such as trade shows, direct mail an…

Google AdWords Average CTR and Best Practices

A previous post here covered average click-through rates for email newsletter advertising, email campaigns and website banner ads. As noted, DoubleClick provides fairly reliable data across those media.

It's surprisingly difficult, however, to get meaningful data on the average click-through rate (CTR) for Google AdWords ads. This discussion on Webmaster World reports various experiences: 0.6%-1.2%, 1%-2% and 3%-5%. PayPerPost puts the figure at 0.5-1.5%; and Hochman Consultants pegs the average at 0.7-1.5%. Across all of the sources I was able to find, the average fell into the range of 1.1-2.2%. That range includes both B2B and B2C ads (the latter tend to generate higher CTRs). On the B2B side, I'd place the average Google AdWords CTR in the range of 0.9-1.4%.

So—how can you optimize your Google AdWords CTR to beat those averages? Recently added to WebMarketCentral is a list of 14 Best Practices in Search Engine Marketing. These best practices include:
Use free online tools su…

Book Review: The New Rules of Marketing and PR

There are two kinds of readers who won't like David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Marketing & PR; fortunately for the author, both groups are small. The first is that small group of ahead-of-the-curve web marketers and PR professionals who have already figured out how to integrate online efforts between optimized news releases, blogs, social media sites, podcasts and all of the other content distribution and promotional tools now available online (though the ranks of this group will be swelled by the readers of David's book).

The second group is the diminishing number of old-school PR and marketing practitioners, those who still believe that press releases are only for the media, that you have to interrupt people with your marketing message to get their attention, and that campaigns aren't real unless they are on TV. This book explodes their old view of the world.
Scott performs two important services with this book, one tactical and one strategic. Tactically he p…

MarketingSherpa Releases 2008 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide

MarketingSherpa recently published its Search Marketing Benchmark Guide for 2008, providing data on cost per click (CPC), conversion rates, SEO and other key online marketing metrics. The study is designed to help online marketers set PPC and SEO budgets, forecast results, test online marketing programs, and even (toughest of all)—explain search marketing plans to your client or CEO.

Among the key findings:
Search marketing continues to grow at an incredible pace, with spending up 39% globally in 2007.
A third of respondents anticipate double-digit spending increases on both SEO and Google PPC programs in 2008.
Marketers rate SEO second and search engine marketing (PPC) ads third in terms of ROI, behind only house-list email marketing. Online banner ads and print advertising receive the lowest grades for ROI. The return on PR spending is viewed as the most difficult to measure.
Thinking of bringing SEM and SEO in-house? Nearly a third of corporate respondents said that finding talented…

Podcast Promotion vs. Blog Promotion

While there are several similarities between blog and podcast promotion, as an audio medium, podcasts offer several addition avenues for distribution. So, podcasts are somewhat of a different animal when it comes to promotion.

Blogs use RSS feeds to get indexed by search engines, as well as promotion tools such as Technorati, TruthLaidBear, Pingoat, BeeTooBee (for marketing blogs) and social media sites like BlogMarks. RSS feeds can be distributed through numerous sites; Robin Good still has one of the best lists ever.

Podcasts also use RSS feeds for distribution and are indexed by search engines based on the surrounding content—podcast files are generally placed on blogs or web pages along with text describing the subject and participants in the podcast. However, podcasts can also get added distribution through services such as iTunes, ODEO, Yahoo Podcasts, Podcast.com, Podcast Alley and Podcast Pickle. Want to really go nuts? Check out podCast411's directory of roughly 150 podcast…

WMC Interviews: Jonathan Treiber

I recently had the chance to interview Jonathan Treiber, CEO and co-founder of loyalty rewards marketing provider OnCard Marketing and the man behind iBakeSale.com. iBakeSale is an innovative "painless fundraising" program that allows consumers to save money through cash-back rewards from popular merchants while supporting their favorite charities. The program has signed up hundreds of popular merchants such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, 1-800-Flowers, Nordstrom, Lillian Vernon, Old Navy, GAP, PetCo and Linens-N-Things. Any charity can sign up and ask supporters to join.

iBakeSale is a great opportunity for shoppers to do well by doing good, and has been written up in numerous blogs including The Parent Bloggers Network, midwesternmommy.com, The Mummy Chronicles, The Karianna Spectrum and Phat Mommy, as well as Jonathan's own blog. Here's our conversation:

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before OnCard Marketing?

Jonathan Treiber (JT): I worked at Citigroup in New York …

PR Through Bloggers

To add a few of my own thoughts to the last post by Cece Lee, "blogger relations" are becoming as important as media relations in PR strategy. Connecting your content with bloggers is increasingly important for several reasons:
Bloggers have increasing influence. As previously reported, when making purchasing decisions, B2B buyers spend more time with social media than any other content except vendor materials, and trust social media more than any other source. Blogs are a key component of the social media B2B buyers are reading.
Bloggers tend to be subject matter experts (although some might point to this blog as an exception to that rule). After all, it's difficult to write on a regular basis about a topic outside of one's expertise. That's why, for example, you'll find few Minnesotans who blog about surfing (okay, Graeme Thickens being an exception).
Bloggers are passionate about their subjects. They have to be, to write about it week after week, when ther…

PR and Blogging Outreach: Practical Tips