Which Marketing Channel Will Give You the Best Results? [Infographic]

This is a very interesting study performed by Conductor.  We often here people, even other marketers, touting that, “SEO is dead” or “Email is dead.” According to this study they are both alive and kicking!

The study examined four areas:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Paid ads (Paid Search and Paid Social Ads)
  • SEO

They also looked at metrics such as:

  • Which marketing channel gets the most visitors?
  • Which brings in the greatest amount of qualified leads?
  • Which channel gets the most customers?
  • Which sparks the best engagement?
  • Are there different effects on B2B and B2C companies?
  • Which channel has the highest ROI (Return On Investment)?

The results may not be the same for every industry or company, but you may be surprised at what was discovered.  View the results in the infographic below.

Best marketing channels in 2014Want to use the infographic for your blog? Get the original here: [Infographic] Which Marketing Channel Gets You the Most Bang for Your Click?

Google Partners is Getting Into the Spirit of World Cup Brazil

Google allstars world cup 2014

Google is getting into the World Cup spirit. We received our Google Partners package today!

The package includes a mini World Cup Brazil soccer ball and three Caxirola - The official musical instrument of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The best part our clients and potential clients get gifts too!

During the AllStar promotion if you sign up for a new Google AdWords account and a Paid Search Management plan with Blackbird e-Solutions, you’ll receive a free $100 to spend on your Google AdWords!

The promotion runs until July 13, 3104

Click on the image below to get started!

 

Google Adwords offer Get $100

March Tweetup – Thursday 3/27/14

Lancaster Tweetups March Tweetup

Don’t forget this Thursday we’ll be co-hosting this month’s Tweetup at Commonwealth On Queen.

We had a small group at the February Tweetup, but it was a good start and great conversation.
If you didn’t make last time, come out and join us for some coffee and networking.
Hope to see you there!

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BbeS

Here are the details:

When: Thursday at 7:30am
Where: Commonwealth on Queen
Want to join? Let us know! Follow the link to RSVP: March Tweetup

 

 return on investment roi

3 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Landing Page Experience

Landing Page Tips with a bullseyeA key element of with internet marketing is landing pages. We follow the concept your website is the center of your online universe, so your online marketing should be driving traffic to where you do business online: Your website!

You don’t want to just send qualified traffic to a random page or just to your homepage. You may be asking yourself, “Why does it matter?” Let me give you an example.

Your company is running a sale on ski boots. So you set up an campaign to promote your boots, using paid search, social media and email marketing. A bad experience for users would be to send them to a page about skis instead of boots, or to the home page where they have to click through to find where the ski boots are that are on sale.  You really should send them to a landing page that is specifically about the promotion and creates the least amount of friction for them to buy the ski boots.

Below of 3 tips for creating the ultimate landing page experience that encourages visitors to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, download a whitepaper or whatever it is you want them to do on your website.

  1. Original and relevant content
    • The landing page should be directly relevant to the ad or social media post that brought visitors there
    • The purpose of your landing page should be clear
    • You landing page should offer something that other sites don’t
    • Add reviews that show real people that have used your product
  2. Be transparent
    • Your contact information should be easy to find
    • Be clear about what information you are collecting from visitors and how you will use it
    • Make it clear what will happen when visitors perform an action on your page
  3. Make it easy to use
    • The message on your landing page should be clear and concise
    • Keep the number of calls to action or links to a minimum (often this means just one call to action), you don’t want visitors to get confused
    • Make it easy for people to find answers if they have questions

Creating great landing pages by following these three tips will not only help win more conversions, it can help save you money with paid search campaigns too. For example: The price of your bids in Adwords can be directly affected by the quality of your landing pages.

 

google-adwords-offer-blog-ad

How to Follow Through on Your Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions

Internet marketing New Years Resolutions post its

2014 is in full swing and we all made our new year’s resolutions, but by now some of the novelty may be wearing off. How do you keep your marketing and sales goals from following the same path as that gym membership you bought? Yep remember, you swore this year you would go every morning before work. You’re still going, right?

Guess what, you’re not alone! Sticking with resolutions is tough.

Let’s take a look at what resolutions marketers have made for this year. In the recent study, 2014 State of Marketing from ExactTarget that polled 2.600 mid- to senior-level marketing managers across all industries. The study found that

  • 98% of marketers plan to increase or maintain the amount they spend in 2014
  • 67% of those surveyed, said their top priority is to increase sales directly tied to digital marketing campaigns
  • 64% are focusing on increasing engagement with emails (clicks and open rates)
  • 61% want to increase their return on investment

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

In general 2014 will be a more data driven year then possibly any before.

The top executives in most companies want to see the data that supports and justifies the money they are spending on digital marketing.

I bet that sounds familiar.

So it comes as no surprise that the area that most participants of the study reported they are planning to increase their spending is Data & Analytics (61%).

How can you make sure you follow through on your digital marketing and stay on track?

  1. Make a plan – If you haven’t already, you’re late… Do it right now!
    Do you think Olympic athletes got there because of a New Year’s resolution? No! They had a plan to get to the fitness level where they can compete, and so should when it comes to your online marketing.
    Lay out you plan for 2014, include a schedule for content creation, how you’ll respond to inquiries and questions, who will be involved and the best channels and platforms that work best for your company. Don’t forget mobile!
  2. Focus on your customer and what they really want.
    I know this one sounds too obvious, but so many companies miss this one. The objective is to increase engagement. Whether that’s “likes”, followers, discussions or clicks and open rates, always think from the customers perspective and what they want, not what you want to give them. Think about personalizing
  3. Analyze the data and set periodic goals for throughout the year.
    This doesn’t mean just set up website analytics and look at them every once and awhile to see how many visitors you have. You need to set up measurable goals and periodic milestones for throughout the year. To do this you need to define what a conversion is (a new client, a whitepaper download, a newsletter sign-up, a lead capture submission, etc.),   define what each conversion is worth to you in real money and calculate how many leads or new visitors you need to achieve your goals. This is the only way you can truly understand the ROI of you digital efforts.

The good news is that if you follow these steps you will know exactly where you stand with your digital marketing goals, because you’ll have the incremental data that supports it.

Now, to apply this to my gym membership…

We’re Co-hosting the Lancaster Tweetup This Thursday 7:30 AM

Lancaster Tweetups February Tweetup

Tweetups are back!

We’re bringing Tweetup back to Lancaster. This Thursday morning at 7:30 at Commonewealth On Queen, 301 North Queen St. Lancaster.

Special thanks to Mark Reinmiller for offering his cafe. For more info and to RSVP: Lancaster Tweetups February Tweetup

Join us for breakfast, coffee and good conversation from 7:30 until as long as the conversation keeps going!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BbeS

Ever Wonder How Google Really Works?

Google seems to have a magical way of finding things online. I mean you just type something into Google and “boom!”, there’s your answer.

Well, they actually have a process. Our friends over at QuickSprout created a great infographic that explains how Google really works in simple terms. Check it out!

How Google Works
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

5 Steps to a Successful Online Marketing Program

online marketing magnifying glass

  1. Be clear about your goals for the program. 
    If you don’t know your goals, you will never know if you are successful or not. Sit down and really evaluate what you want out of your online presence. Do you want more eyeballs? More sales? Are you trying to replace a channel you used previously.
    A good example of replacing a channel is with newspaper classifieds. Some time ago staffing companies realized classifieds were not as effective as they once were, so they needed to replace the channel with online traffic.
  2. Plan for the Long Run
    Marketing takes time. Moving your site to the top of search results doesn’t happen overnight. Connecting with your clients and potentials via social media takes more than setting up a Facebook page. You have to build relationships. Don’t look for a quick fix or always chase the hit “viral campaign.” That’s like throwing a Hail Mary pass ever play of the game. Plan to build a lasting online presence. Usually the quick solution is just as quick to die as it was to start.
  3. Be Creative in Order to Connect
    Think outside the box. The best way to stand out online in any field is to show your added value. Don’t do something just because everyone is doing it, leverage what your company does better than everyone else and get creative with how you present it.
  4. Follow the Numbers
    The proof is in the data. Make sure you have some sort of way to quantify your online efforts: Website analytics software, social monitoring tools, etc. If you aren’t tracking the response to your marketing you’re flying blind!
  5. Be Flexible
    Not everything is going work all the time. However, if you’ve established your goals, you’re in it for the long run and you’re tracking your progress, you should be able to adapt to any changes or challenges that come your way. With this you will be able to create a successful online marketing program. So, remember: Evaluate and iterate, evaluate and iterate.

Your Turn

Do you have any tips for creating the best online marketing plan? Let us know in the comments.

return on investment roi

Top 3 Ways to Get Punished by Google

Getting punished by Google can be tragic. It could not only slow down your incoming traffic,  but even worse it could halt it completely. Search engines are always looking for ways to improve their search results because they know that the search algorithm with the best results wins. In the past couple of years Google has made pretty big changes to improve their algorithm and stop people from tricking them for better rankings.

There have been several well-known companies that have recently fallen victim to Google’s wrath because of link building scams: iAquire, JC Penny and Forbes. Just to name a few. Some will argue that Google was too harsh or that these companies were punished for mistakes or not understanding what was considered a bad tactic. But, like it or not everyone has to follow Google’s rules, but for the most part though I think they have made changes with the idea of cleaning up search results to make them better for users.

google penguin update ninja

Below are 3 tactics to avoid so that you don’t fall victim to the Google search results ax:

1. Joining Link Farms and Bad Link Neighborhoods

When you include a link on your site to another site it is similar to a recommendation. You’re saying, “I think this is a quality site and I recommend it to my visitors.”

So linking to a bunch of low quality site can damage your reputation. Plus, on the flip side Google looks at outgoing as well as incoming links. If shady sites link to your site Google will start to think you are shady too. Start paying for links or use Link Schemes and you will start to hear the whistle of the ax as it chops down your site.

Unfortunately you can’t always control who links to your site, but Google does give you some recourse. Make sure you sign up for Webmaster Tools and links you can’t get removed you can notify Google and ask them to ignore them.

So the old saying “You’re only as good as the company you keep,” works online too.

2. Duplicate Content

This is a pretty old tactic, but many people still fall for it. In the old days black hat SEOs used to create multiple pages with the same content hoping that it would increase the chances of getting ranked for keywords. One typical use was to use a page for every city a company serves using the same content except for the name of the city. Google picks up this duplicate content before most of us get out bed in the morning.

A tactic like this will likely get you served to the back of the line in terms of search results.

One thing to note it is possible to inadvertently create duplicate content with your blog via categories, tags and archive pages. This most likely won’t ruin your site, but it might be penalized.

3. Writing Content with a Machine

Let’s face it, it would be great if we never had to produce our own content and it just appeared on our site. Lazy marketers love this one.

Usually this content is created by scraping content from existing sites and re-posting it. Sometimes it is modified slightly, and sometimes it’s not. Either way, Google will punish this sort of content.

 Conclusion:

The rules of online marketing can be tricky and using tactics like these or a variation can be a slippery slope that could drop you in the abyss. In the end is it worth the risk?

The best thing you can do is pay attention to any notices Google Webmasters account and produce unique and useful content.

return on investment roi

Net Neutrality – Oh Here We Go Again – FCC Please Keep Fighting!!

It’s been a long time since I wrote about this, and it’s unfortunate that I have to once again.

Today (Tuesday, January 14, 2014), a U.S. appeals court rejected federal rules that stated that Internet providers treat all web traffic equally. This once again raises the threat of broadband and mobile carriers charging content providers and internet companies for faster access to their websites and services.

“The Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet rules, also known as net neutrality rules, required Internet service providers to give consumers equal access to all lawful content without restrictions or varying charges.”

net neutrality image

If this isn’t appealed the providers will control the internet. They will have the ability tell us what sites we can visit and can’t visit. They will be able to force companies to pay an extra cost compared to the traffic they have to their sites on top of the monthly fee they already pay to be connected to the internet, which by the way is already based on how much traffic they use.

Let’s look at the scenario:

Currently internet providers:

  • Charge companies for an internet connection in which the fee is based on the amount of bandwidth
  • Charger consumers to access the internet and in turn to access companies that are being charged to be connected to the internet. Their fee is also based on the bandwidth

Without net neutrality internet providers could gouge companies and charge companies with popular more just because they are popular.

Internet providers like Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and others like to complain that they are being used unfairly because internet companies who are making money by using their services, so they should have the right to charge successful companies more money.

First, how is that unfair? You provide a service companies pay for it. It’s called trade.

Second, this would be equivalent to the electric companies saying, “Oh, you have a toaster from KitchenAid? They haven’t made a deal with us, so if you plug that in, we’re going to block the power to the toaster so it won’t work.”

Or the water company saying, “A roommate moved in with you? We’re going to have to charge you extra now. Never mind that you’ll be paying more because there will be two people using water and we charge for the amount you use.”

You see the pattern here?

Internet providers like Comcast, who already has a monopoly in many areas, have even more at stake. They are scared to death of companies like NetFlix because more people are cutting the Cable TV cord each day. They want to watch shows when they want to watch them. This takes money out of Comcast’s pockets. So instead of innovate to compete they want to block their competition.

“The largest providers on Tuesday pledged that they would not restrict how customers use the web.”

Do you believe them?

This is the second time that the rules have been struck down in court. The FCC could appeal it again and eventually it could end up in the Supreme Court. There is also another option. They could try to reclassify broadband providers and put them in the same category as traditional phone companies. They have resisted doing this because of strong opposition from Republicans and.. you guessed it.. broadband providers.

Take Action

This is where we come into play. It’s time again to take action. Call, write, Facebook, tweet, get in contact with your government representatives and let them know that this is unacceptable. Tell them that you want an Open Internet. Taking away Net Neutrality will drastically change the internet and give the power of who succeeds to the Internet providers.

Urge your congress men and women to push the FCC to make the appropriate changes and keep an OPEN INTERNET.

Read the original article about the court ruling.