Close The Loop on Marketing and Sales With Marketing Automation

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” –John Wanamaker

Nearly half a century ago John Wanamaker made this comment. Sadly many businesses still feel this way. However with today’s technology including Marketing Automation and visitor tracking, online marketers have the tools to “close the loop” so they can effectively tie every lead and sale back to the dollar amount to the marketing initiative that produced them.

closed loop marketingAs I often say, “Your website should be the central hub of your online universe.” All your online marketing efforts should be driving traffic to your website: social media, search engine traffic, paid advertising, even your offline campaigns should send visitors to your site. You can see this in an our Online Marketing Flowchart. Once someone has come to your website you can give them a cookie which will track their activity on your site.

As each visitor browses your website you’ll be able to see from which avenue they came. You can see where they entered the site, what pages they viewed as well as where they exited the site. With this knowledge you can begin to shape visitor’s experience on your website, including taking actions to keep visitors engaged with your site.

The next step is to turn visitors into leads and start to close the loop. This is where you begin to monetize website traffic and send qualified leads to your sales team. One way to do this is to drive traffic to landing pages where you make an exchange. An exchange that can be in the form of a piece of your knowledge (a whitepaper, a case study or some other form of information) for more insights about the visitor (name, contact information, company, etc.).

So, not only will you know where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your site, but you’ll be able to tie this to actual people. Plus, you’ll be able to contact them!

The last step of the process is to track these leads to see who becomes a customer and how much they purchase. This will give you the ability to tie your sales all the way back to the individual marketing efforts. So now you’ll be able to determine which marketing channels contributed the most sales, which brought in the least and then make informed decisions for where to put your marketing dollars.

The World Has Gone #Hashtag Crazy – Justin Timberlake Video

It seems these days everyone is jumping on the #Hashtag bandwagon. The phenomenon was started by Twitter users. Essentially it started as a tag on a post to signify what the post was about. This created a way to tag your post so it would come up in search even though you didn’t explicitly mention the search term for which you wanted your post to be found. So to tag a post to show it is about social media, you would add the hashtag: #socialmedia

After it became widely used on Twitter, Google+ started using it. Now even Facebook has added the functionality. Facebook becomes Twitterfied People are now using hashtags for everything.

Hashtags can be a very useful, but overuse can just be ridiculous. This video shows just that. Enjoy!

Facebook Security Settings Are Under Your Control

There seems to be another chain post on Facebook that is misleading people about how Facebook security settings work.  Here’s the post:

“Hello to all of you who are on my list of contacts of Facebook. I would like to ask a favor of you…. You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”. During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following and comment “DONE”. Those of my friends who do not maintain my information in private will be eliminated from my list of friends, because I want the information I share with you, my friends, to remain among my friends and not be available to the whole world. I want to be able to publish photos of my friends and family without strangers being able to see them which is what happens now when you choose “like” or “comment”.
Unfortunately we cannot change this configuration because Facebook has made it like this. So, please, place your cursor over my photo that appears in this box (without clicking) and a window will open. Now move the cursor to the word “Friends”, again without clicking and then on “Settings”. Uncheck “Photos”, “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. This way my activity with my family and friends will no longer be made public. Now, copy and paste this text on your own wall (do not “share” it!). Once I see it published on your page, I will un-check the same for you. Thanks so much!”

 

This does not accomplish what it is saying it will. If someone takes these steps they will only stop your “Photos, Life Events, Comments and Likes” from showing in their feed. If you want to share things with your friends and family this will stop them from seeing them, not protect your content from being seen by the public. Those settings are under your privacy settings and you control that!

In the upper right corner is an image of a lock. Click on that to get the dropdown shown below. Then click on the “See More Settings”

Facebook privacy dropdown

Now you’ll see “Privacy Settings and Tools.”

facebook privacy settings see more settings

The first choice “Who can see your future posts?” This is important for how things show up in the future.  You have several choices.

  • Public
  • Friends
  • Friends except Acquaintances
  • Only me
  • Custom
  • Close Friends
  • Limited Profile

These are pretty straight forward. If you only want your friends to see your posts choose “Close Friends.” You can also create a custom setting to include only specific people. Or exclude certain people.  Also remember you can do this for every post.

facebook privacy who can see me stuff

There two other choices in this section. “Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in.” – This is a manual way to go through everything your are connected to to make sure someone hasn’t posted something they shouldn’t have. The second is “Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?  This will change all your old posts that you may have shared with Public and friends of friends to just friends.

facebook privacy how to limit posts

The last option that is import for controlling who sees your content is “Who can look me up?” – “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” If you turn this off then other search engines like Google will not show your timeline in their search results.

facebook privacy who can look me up

So, please don’t re-post the instructions above because the result will be that the people that follow your instructions can’t see your posts. And always remember, nothing you post online is 100% private.

The bottom line is: If you’re worried about some one or the public seeing what you post… Don’t post it to Facebook! 

Simplified Blogging – Blogging Before the Internet Age

Think blogging is new. This is what it looked like before the internet age.

simplified blogging

Do Business Like a Shark – Outsource Company Weaknesses Focus on Strengths

I just read a post from one of our clients, TriStarr Staffing: Like A Shark – Focus On Your Companies Strengths – Outsource Your Weaknesses In his post Scott explains how sharks outsource their weaknesses so they can focus on what they are good at, hunting.

outsource like a shark

A shark “outsources” its weaknesses: keeping itself clean, and protecting itself from disease, to other fish.  Remoras clean parasites from the shark’s teeth and perhaps skin. Remoras eat the parasites off the underside of the shark to keep it healthy and alive. This allows the shark to remain healthy and focus on what it does best – hunt.  The Remora gets “paid” as well; they get a free meal and “protection.”

This concept can be related to your online marketing plan too. As I mentioned TriStarr Staffing outsources what they don’t understand, and yes it is true even large companies like Adidas, Armstrong and Verizon outsource their online marketing to agencies. Sometimes they even use multiple agencies!

We also work with a company in the industrial sector that is run by brilliant engineers, but when it comes to getting found online they’re at a loss. Your company may be very good at breaking down your client’s problems and delivering great solutions, but getting the word out about your services and successes… maybe not so much.

What’s the take away from this? Be a Shark and concentrate on your strengths and we’ll take care of your online marketing.

To learn more about how we can help, fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you.

I want to learn more about your services!

 

 

 

Content Marketing: The Evolution of Online Marketing

Content Marketing BillboardWe are at another turning point for online marketing. In the past year Google has reaffirmed the old mantra “Content is King” by updated their algorithm to penalize sites that were using SEO trickery to gain higher placement in search results. Think Panda and Penguin Updates.

The advice coming out of the Googleplex has been “Produce great content to get better rankings.” With this new or renewed idea of producing content, there have been many cries that SEO is dead. If you’re familiar with us, you already know we don’t believe this. It is not dead, but evolving.

Out of all of this the term “Content Marketing” sprang up. What is Content Marketing? Is it some new-fangled way to advertise? It’s more like combination of old techniques all rolled into one plan. Let me break it down for you…

Content marketing is a technique that combines many different aspects of online marketing. This can include all or some of the following aspects:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Paid Search
  • Website Analytics
  • Lead Tracking

As you can guess because of the name, at the heart of it is your great content. This might include any number of the following things:

  • Blog posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Etc.

content marketing wheelUnfortunately many people will stop there, but if you do you miss the underlying reason for creating content: To engage potential new customers as well as clients.

The great thing is there are plenty of tools to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. When visitors come to your site you can track what they do on the site and how engaged they are using tools such as the following:

  • Website analytics
  • Lead capturing
  • Lead tracking tools

Put all these techniques and tools together and you have Content Marketing. It is non-interrupt and instead of preaching to customers, content marketing is giving your potential customers something that can make them smarter or can make their lives better.

Want to learn more about Content Marketing? Fill out the simple form below and we’ll set up a time to talk.

Content Marketing Contact

Facebook Honors MySpace, Adds Mood To Posts

Out with the old, in with… no wait how does that goo? If you don’t have something new, use something old??

Anyway, Facebook has added a throw back to the MySpace mood. You remember MySpace right. “Bryan is feeling happy.. is feeling sad …feeling bored….”

add mood to facebook

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Actually there’s a bit more to it too. You can post what you’re listening to, reading, watching and everyone’s favorites; What you’re eating and drinking.

facebook adds mood what you're eating and more

What do you think, good idea or just noise? 

LinkedIn Skill Endorsements – Are You Providing Value or Gaming The System?

Some time ago LinkedIn added “Skill Endorsements” to their profiles. This is a way for others to validate you for your skills. Or perhaps it can be taken as a vote of confidence. I think this is a great idea. However if you were waiting for it, here comes the “but.”

It seems with every system people find ways to try and game it. With SEO there was keyword stuffing. This was the practice of repeating keywords on a page, normally in a way that they were not visible to visitors, in order to gain better search rankings. This is now widely known and penalized by search engines. There is also link trading and link farms. These practices have been slammed by the panda and penguin updates.

linkedin skill endorsementsOn Facebook people and companies trade “Likes” in order to increase their numbers. This is unfortunately not openly punished by Facebook. The practice is typically accomplished by posting in a forum or social group, “Like my page and I’ll like you back.”

Twitter also has social collectors. They are usually the ones that say, “I follow everyone back” or “Follow me and I’ll follow you back.”

Now let’s look at LinkedIn Endorsements. I recently received a connect request from a marketing professional with which I have had no contact prior to the request. I decided to accept because I believe it is good to connect with like minded people and social media is an opportunity to meet people I may not ever meet in everyday life.

After the accepting the connection I received and email where he talked about his business. That was a good thing. It’s always disappointing when you connect with someone and never hear from them again. But here’s where I have a problem. He ended his message with following:

“P.S. – I just did a Skill Endorsement on your Profile to show you the value of my network. If you would like 10 Skill Endorsements, please visit my profile and endorse my Skills & Expertise”

The endorsement was for SEO Skills. For me this raises several questions.

  1. I just connected with this guy and we’ve never done business together. As flattering as it is, how does he know that I’m any good at SEO?
  2. To show you the value of my network.” Again refer to number 1. How does this show the value of his network.
  3. This one is the kicker.  “If you would like 10 Skill Endorsements, please visit my profile and endorse my Skills & Expertise.” What? The first one is free but have to pay after that? Also, again we go back to #1. How do you know I have 10 other skills for which you, or people in “your network” can endorse me?

This guy is trading endorsements.

Here’s why all of these practices are inherently bad for the system and devalue the value of an endorsement, like, follower, etc.

The purpose of social networking is not to be a collector. Social networking is about engaging and providing value. When someone endorses someone else solely for the purpose of receiving an endorsement in return, what is the value? (The same goes for followers, likes, connection, etc.) Here’s a scenario:

If need someone that is good at web development and John Smith has 50 endorsements from people he doesn’t know because he trading endorsements and since he has web development in his profile these strangers endorsed him for it. Does this mean he’s good at web development?

Now let’s say Jane Doe has 20 endorsements for web development from her clients. They have done business together and received the endorsements based on her merits not because of trading.

Hands down I would rather hire Jane than John, but the bad thing is I may spend my time spinning my wheels talking with or even worse hiring someone like John, who turns out to be really bad at web development.

The bottom line is the value of social media is about building relationships. It’s not about being a collector…

Clarifying Facebook Graph Search

facebook graph searchWith all the talk this week about Facebook Graph Search I decided to break from the Killer Marketing for 2013 series to talk a bit about this new search tool. Although understanding Graph Search will certainly play a part of your success in 2013, so maybe it is not that big of a break after all.

Over the past couple of years we’ve heard a lot about the Social Search. This is the idea of using information from your social media to help you find what you are looking for online. Google has tried to tackle this with Google+, where Facebook is trying to break into the world of search with their new service Graph Search.

Ok, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

What is Graph Search?

Think 6 degrees of separation.

Graph Search is Facebook’s attempt to really use their platform to find information. So, you can search for things like:

  • Restaurants in Philadelphia my friends like
  • Music my friends like
  • Photos of my friends that live in Lancaster
  • Cities my family has visited
  • Friends who like soccer
  • Etc.

Facebook is using what is called the Social Graph to accomplish this. Social graph is the graph that represents the personal relationships of internet users. Think 6 degrees of separation.  So it is feeding off what you and your friends have done on Facebook, as well as friends of friends.  Which creates one of the main differences between Social Graph and regular search; each person sees unique results.

ask questions about social media

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Great, what does this have to do with online marketing?

As with search engine optimization, understanding Graph Search is going to be important to your business for the same reason your company is online in the first place… To get in front of more sets of eyes!

I love the expression “social media is like word of mouth on steroids.” Well this has the potential to make it possible to organize that word of mouth and easily find out what the best restaurant in town according to your friends without even having to ask them the question.

One area that Graph Search will be helpful for online marketing is finding out if your target market is on Facebook. As Mashable discovered Engineers like “Big Bang Theory”, “Friends” and “Games of Thrones”. This might save you money if you’re target market is not actually using Facebook.

OK, what should I do now?

Mastering Graph Search will take mix of engagement, outreach and old fashioned sharing. Actually this doesn’t change what businesses should do to promote their brands on Facebook. Here are a few tips:

  • Engage: Keep writing thoughtful relevant posts. Make it a point to personally engage with every fan who comments on your page and don’t just go through the motions. Really talk with them.
  • Build your community: Let people know that you’re on Facebook. Add it to your literature, emails, website, etc.
  • Develop your page: What is on your company page will help people find you and Graph Search builds from this. Make sure everything is up to date and accurate. Use, the About section to really talk about your company. Try sub-categories here too.
  • Share: Photos of your business, products, people and services.  This gives people something to interact with and “like.”

social graph searchGimme Some Graph!

Ok, we know. You want it now. Yes, right now! Well, Facebook is in the process of rolling out the beta version to the USA. This may take some time so be patient.

You can join waiting list for the Graph Search Beta right now.

While you wait for your invite to come make sure your ducks are in a row by continuing to follow the tips above.

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Killer Online Marketing for 2013

So your New Year’s Resolution was to have a killer online marketing plan for 2013… Now what?

Great online marketing doesn’t happen by accident. You need to have a plan. There also isn’t a one size fits all solution that can be copied.

Over the next few months we will help you achieve your goal with a series of blog posts, whitepapers and other materials. We’ll look deep into topics such as onsite SEO, website analytics, blogging and social media.

So, whether you’re a single entrepreneur or the marketing director for a corporation we’ll help you lay the groundwork for your strategy, including choosing the platforms that are best for you brand and help you find where your audience hangs out.

After that we’ll assist you with developing your plan and share tips and tricks for great sustainable execution. Plus, once you’re implementing your plan like a pro we’ll give you the tools to track your success.

Then to wrap everything up, you’ll also learn how to report your results. This way you can share your success with the rest of your team.

So, stay tuned and we can make 2013 a stellar year for online marketing.

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