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Showing posts from November, 2007

Helpful SEM Advice from MarketingSherpa

If you missed it, MarketingSherpa hosted a webcast on New Research: Top 5 Tests to Raise Landing Page Conversions earlier this week. Key findings from their presentation:

Marketing results are generally getting better—either marketers are getting landing page design down to more of a science, or the strong economy is fueling more buyer interest, or some combination of the two.
The most popular test was dynamic pages—changing the information displayed on the landing page to reflect the exact search term. Considering that half of the respondents don't or can't do even simple a/b testing, it's surprising that a sophisticated technique like dynamic landing pages would generate this level of response, but that's what their data showed. Here is MarketingSherpa's example of this practice, though it doesn't work quite right (I actually searched for "stratocaster guitar," not "stratocaster parts").
Other popular tests included registration forms (short…

SEO is Insanity

If you've been in the business world for any length of time, you've probably seen the following somewhere—in a building lobby, on a website, or on a nicely framed poster in an office:
The Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting different results.
Seems reasonable and intuitive, so if you accept that statement as true, you'd also have to accept the logical extension of that statement:
If you do the same thing, the same way, you should expect to get (roughly at least) the same results.
This holds true across many if not most areas of business and life in general: manufacturing, research, software development, teaching, cooking...but not SEO.

Before I began doing SEO work for clients, I'd done it for a number of other websites: my own, friends', and corporate employers. I coded, I tested, I read articles and blogs. I applied the methods learned to client websites, and got excellent results. Here's one example:
55 total search terms
Be…

Top 100 Social Media Blogs for 2007

The VirtualHosting blog just announced their list of the Top 100 Social Media and Social Networking Blogs for 2007. The list is divided into nine categories including Most Popular Social Media, Most Popular Social Networking, Web 2.0, Industry News, and Social Media and Marketing.

The list includes both obvious choices such as JD Lasica's Social Media, Social Media Club, Mashable, TechCrunch, BL Ochman's What's Next Blog, and Paul Gillin's Social Media and the Open Enterprise blog.

Overall, it's a great list and enough to keep anyone interested in social media and social networking busy for quite awhile.

*****

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Oh Canada!

Being the day before Thanksgiving, it's likely that few people are thinking about work, but many are thinking about travel. So, here's an off-topic travel post for the holiday weekend.

We took a family trip to Canada in August—six days of getting away from cell phones (no coverage), the Internet (no connections) and normal life in general. There was plenty of scenery on the drive up Minnesota's north shore and around the top of Lake Superior, as shown in the first two photos here (although, by the end of the trip, the kids had grown a bit weary of "rocks, water and trees").
There isn't much civilization between Thunder Bay and Sault St. Marie, leading us to spend one evening at a cabin that was "rustic" to say the least. Ah, but that's the kind of experience memories are made from. Also a lot of great hiking.

Among the most interesting Kodak moments, however, were some of the signs we came across.
First, there was the stop sign that was definit…

TechTarget Acquires KnowledgeStorm: The Impact on B2B Lead Generation

On November 7, TechTarget announced that it had acquired KnowledgeStorm for $58 million. The acquisition gives TechTarget--which gives them, in addition to their own huge opt-in base and network of portal sites, access to KnowledgeStorm's 800,000 subscribers, web properties and partners sites.

This is a clear win for TechTarget, and a loss for at least some KnowledgeStorm employees (a number of very talented people have already left the company, voluntarily or otherwise). It may also be a win for smaller players in the white paper and thought-leadership content syndication space, including NetLine and Insight24 (which syndicates webcasts, video and podcasts). Even TechTarget (reluctantly) concedes that there will likely be current KnowledgeStorm content partners seeking new syndication sources.

The same week, CNet announced its acquisition of FindArticles, significantly expanding its content network.

Around the blogosphere, Barry Graubart at Content Matters argues that "Tech…

How to Select an SEO Firm

Search engine optimization (SEO) is about as close to a no-brainer as any marketing investment gets: you've made a significant investment in designing and building an attractive, easy-to-navigate, content-rich website, so why not invest just a bit more to make sure it's easy to find? Or to put it in Biblical terms, quoting Matthew 5:15, "No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket."

SEO is relatively cheap, it brings prospects to your site when they are interested in your product or service, and it enhances your brand image by associating your company with the problem-solving terms your buyers use.

So, case made, how do you select an SEO partner? Jonathan Ashton offers Ten Tips For Choosing The Right SEO Partner in the Search Insider blog, including:
Don't respond to unsolicited emails from SEOs.
Prepare an RFP (good advice in any agency selection process).
Get references (of SEO firms from your network of associates, and of clients from prospective SEO prov…

Generating B2B Website Traffic Through Social Taggin

Back in May of this year, I reported the results of a test of the impact on B2B website traffic growth using Web 2.0 social tagging. That experiment showed that tagging B2B thought-leadership content on social media sites increased traffic growth for B2B websites by 50%, and on a B2B marketing blog by more than 100%, over 60 days.
So—how do the numbers look six months later? Can these traffic growth gains be sustained?
As shown here, on the B2B website, WebMarketCentral, traffic growth slowed considerably over the summer before posting a fall rebound, ending with a 12.7% monthly growth rate for the year—still a respectable monthly traffic growth rate, but well below the trend line following the social tagging activity.
The traffic change on this blog, however, showed a much different pattern. As shown below, after six months, the growth rate continued to show nearly a 50% increase even after six months, from 8.0% to 10.9%.

Three conclusions from this:
1) The effect of social tagging o…

How to Successfully Launch B2B Products and Services

A new survey produced by Schneider Associates and the Center for Business Innovation at Babson College details some very interesting findings on what makes for a successful B2B product or service launch. The free report, entitled Business-to-Business Launch Survey, profiles the ten key lessons B2B companies can use to improve their odds for launch success. The study investigated effective product and service launches to help B2B product and service managers improve their launch practices and success rate.

Among the most interesting findings in the study (and keep in mind, these are the successful launches):
Just 22% of B2B services companies and 37% of product vendors followed a formal, documented launch process—though another third of each group said they used "a general, undocumented repeatable process."
Planning most commonly started anywhere from three to 12 months before launch—though nearly 40% of B2B product companies didn't get started until within three months …

How to get a Bigger SEM Budget

In a recent Search Insider post, Gord Hotchkiss asks the question: "Will Agencies Get Search?" After making a convincing argument that search "blows away other channels"—because it makes your product service easy to find when buyers are actually looking for something like it, rather than interrupting them while they are doing some else (which is what most advertising is about), Hotchkiss identifies four reasons:
Search is small.
Search is measurable.
Search is hard ("You’ll never hit a search home run with one inspired brainstorm...You just keep plugging away, tweaking keywords and pulling in prospects").
Search is utilitarian.
And concludes by saying "And for all these reasons, I don’t think big agencies will ever truly get search." Maybe he's right, and big agencies won't get it (though smaller agencies, like the one I work for, certainly do). And the more interesting question to me, in looking at the four points above, is: why don…

New "Top 50 Marketing Blogs to Watch" List

EvanCarmichael.com just published its list of the Top 50 Marketing Blogs to Watch in 2008. The list of blogs is helpfully broken down into ten categories:

- Search Marketing
- Online Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Small Business Marketing
- Marketing & Advertising
- Business to Business Marketing
- Marketing & Technology
- Guerrilla Marketing
- Brand Marketing
- General Marketing

It contains several of my favorites, including the TopRank Online Marketing Blog from Lee Odden, Buzz Marketing for Technology by Paul Dunay, and John Moore's Brand Autopsy, as well as many more worth checking out.

EvanCarmichael.com describes itself as "the Internet's #1 resource for small business motivation and strategies. With over 240,000 monthly visitors, 1,600 contributing authors, and 35,000 pages of content no website shares more profiles of famous entrepreneurs and inspires more small business owners than EvanCarmichael.com."

*****

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WMC Interviews: Jared Reitzin

Last week I got an update from Jared Reitzin, CEO of digital marketing firm mobileStorm and creator of the Entrepreneur Success blog.

mobileStorm offers products and services that help any size organization—from small businesses to Global 2000 enterprises—quickly, easily and reliably create, deliver and analyze successful email marketing, mobile marketing, voice, fax, and rss marketing campaigns. The company's on-demand tools include Stun!, a hosted service that is a simple, yet powerful customer communications solution specially designed for small-to medium-sized businesses, and Bolt, a hosted service built to support the needs of large enterprises to deploy marketing, customer service and transactional messaging programs. Jared's blog covers topics such as the latest laws surrounding digital marketing, as well as multi-channel marketing and new marketing technologies.

Here's our conversation:

WebMarketCentral (WMC): So Jared, what did you do before starting mobileStorm? Wha…