Category Archives: Business

Google Analytics: Is your website hitting the (Bench)mark?

Just last month Google  released a new feature in Google Analytics known as Benchmarking. Needless to say, the geeks among the Brio team are excited.

Benchmarking allows Analytics users to compare data with other companies, under the same industry, that shares their data. There are over 1600 industries to choose from in the Benchmarking menu and the report can be further filtered.

Unfortunately it’s not automatically available and you do need to activate it because it affects your privacy settings. Check out the  steps here to enable Benchmarking in your account.

Reports

Reports are found under the “Audience” section of the Google Analytics reporting interface.
(Go to Audience > Benchmarking)

You are able to run reports by Channel, Location and Device and benchmark your website against its industry vertical, size by daily visits and geographic location with the six standard metrics to compare.

Whilst Benchmarking isn’t new to Google (it was an original feature that was removed in 2011 in lieu of a direct email), this is only the beginning of the latest Benchmarking tool. Google will be introducing additional capabilities on this feature soon and we are so excited to see what they will come up with.

Yours in analytics,
Brio Team

Dispelling the Myth of SEO

Like in any industry, SEO has its own our clowns and self-proclaimed gurus who take people’s money and do nothing. This, is surprisingly, not the worst-case scenario. Some “experts” will actually damage your website’s reputation with search engines by taking risky shortcuts which may show only temporary results.

It’s not surprising that many agencies, marketing and web professionals see SEO as black art surrounded by mystery, smoke and mirrors. Some claim that there is no such thing as “SEO”. If you write good content and structure your website well rankings will follow.

“Build it and they will come?”

Here’s one such example which made me laugh, not because the author is wrong but because it reveals a simplistic, child-like view, to something as complex as search engine marketing:

“If your site has been built properly, then there is no need for additional optimization.”

If you share the views of the author of above article then you’ve already lost touch. Read on however, and regain your faith in once strange and esoteric world of SEO. This time, however, with tangible facts and data. Yes, hard, factual, objective data and some pretty damn good ideas too.

Let me start with website re-design. This is where things go wrong all the time.

 

WEBSITE REDESIGN

A website with great organic traffic and search engine performance may go through re-design for any number of reasons:

  • Change in management (something to prove)
  • Periodic design refresh (keeping up with the times)
  • Kitty see. Kitty do. (keeping up with the Joneses)
  • Company structure or branding change
  • Customer feedback and user experience
  • Adding new functionality

 

That’s great but did you remember some of these things?

 

  • Has URL structure changed?
  • Have you 301’ed your old pages?
  • Can you still reach the old version of the website creating duplicate content?
  • Are there many links now pointing to non-existent content (404 pages)?
  • What’s in your title tags? Why?
  • Are words people expect to find you for part of your website copy?
  • Do you have too few pages? Too many?
  • Have you changed your robots.txt to allow indexing of the live site?

 

The above are not trivial issues and can seriously harm website’s performance in search engines if misconfigured or ignored.  OK, so we fix all this and more so does that mean that we’re done?

Nope.

 

WHAT GOES WHERE AND WHY?

Many agencies are capable of handling these appropriately, but fail to think strategically prior to website re-design. I’ll illustrate in the next few examples. Let’s take a look at this search result snippet:

Now compare it with Sony Australia:

 

As you can see one is treated as a local business and the other as a brand with fully expanded sitelinks. One has well-written description, the other shows random boilerplate content. This not only reflects the professionalism of the company but also aids with conversions through impact on click-through rate (CTR).

 

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE? 

  • Optimise Title
  • Add Custom Description
  • Manage Locations
  • Prioritise Sitelinks

 

 

All this and you still won’t get the desired results. Why? Because somebody made a decision to set up the site on various sub domains such as http://www.lighting.philips.com.au/ so search engines may treat each one as a separate website.

Ignoring the sub domain issue related to this specific case, things look fairly straightforward so far. Change the titles, descriptions and all the other elements and you’ll be fine. Once you start doing it, however, you realise that the website may have 12,000 pages. Should it? Recently I proposed a contemporary framework for handling enterprise SEO and I highly recommend you read it if you are involved in large-scale projects.

 

 

 

 

To decide what will be the focus of each page could take an enormous amount of time. To add to the problem, in order to come up with a really good title tag and meta description it can take an hour or more of brainstorming, especially for high value pages. It’s kind of like writing ad copy for AdWords. Suddenly you realise this is a monumental task. What can you do?

 

MEASURING DATE & ESSENTIAL TOOLS

In order to decide what goes where you need to dive into data and do a lot of drilling, filtering, selection and elimination. With data you derive you have a task of allocation. What goes to what page and are there any competing pages and resources that could be and should be merged. It’s time to turn to tools. Here are two bare essentials:

 

 

Taking a traffic and performance snapshot when starting SEO will not only help you benchmark later on but will also give you a solid starting point for moving forward and leaning from existing data.

Here are a few examples of items/metrics you want to measure:

 

Organic Traffic (Create your own or use existing advanced segment in Analytics)

  • Conversions
  • Landing Pages
  • Exit Pages
  • Keywords
  • Top referrers
  • Pages with referrers
  • eCommerce (where applicable)

 

Remember to annotate your timeline if you make any significant changes so you can link it with any consequent impact on traffic.In Google Webmaster Tools observe the following:

 

Search Queries Phrases

  • Impressions
  • CTR
  • Clicks
  • Average Position
  • Trend metrics

 

 

 

Remember to filter the data to your desired platform and geographic location.  Also retrieve the following data:

 

  • Crawl errors
  • Index status
  • Links to your site
  • HTML improvements
  • Social metrics (+1)

 

If applicable consider applying:

 

 

These are all measurable metrics which can be tied in with the performance of your SEO campaign. Remember there is no such thing as an absolute ranking position anymore. Users will see different results based on many different factors including:

 

  • Device / Platform
  • Geographic Location
  • Result Personalisation
  • Social Activity & Connections

 

Ultimate gauge for the effectiveness of any marketing activity is naturally the return on investment. Do not treat “SEO” in simplistic terms, however, as well-optimised websites contribute to a multitude of channels and aid conversion.The best thing you can do is set up tight attribution models in order to understand what contributed to what extend in the purchase/signup cycle of your customers.

 

PREDICTING RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Most of your clients want to see the following scenario:

X goes in, Y comes out.

You need to have an answer ready for them. This is generally not a problem when it comes to your PPC campaigns or affiliate marketing. What about SEO and organic traffic?We battled this problem for a while and finally developed a type of keyword targeting methodology which is capable of producing traffic impact and financial scenarios by observing the existing data available for the website.

Here’s what we’ve come up with:

 

 

As you can see, this is a heatmap indicating click-through rates based on ranking of phrases. What’s special about it though is that it was not based on hundreds nor thousands of general websites. We based this calculation on data available from a single website. This means the calculation is highly accurate to their own specific circumstances.

With this knowledge we can then start modelling and predict the traffic impact of each phrase based on its movement in results.

 

 

 

Next step is to assign financial gain with each phrase forming the final step in your ROI calculation. After this step you can prioritise work and set targets in line with the highest return and most immediate results.

 

 

To ensure the targets are realistic query qualitative parameters such as PageRank, MozRank or Flow Metrics to ascertain whether you’re going against a target too difficult to beat (e.g. trying to beat Amazon for books).

This type of report can really make a difference not only to the business itself, but can also make your life a whole lot easier when pitching to your management. Your client, COO or marketing director are more likely to understand the plain numbers and graphs instead of the usual SEO jargon.

 

THE FUTURE

We only just scratched the surface of what SEO has truly become, but hopefully this post opens up doors to more strategic thinking and new creative approaches to search engine marketing. Remember this – search engines are constantly evolving and new features are always on the horizont. In the last two years Google has integrated new layers into their search algorithm. The major search engine now features their own social network and a knowledge graph.

 

The key question is: Are you seeing the opportunities?

 

Written by: Dan Petrovic, Dejan SEO

Communication….. Then, Now and In The Future

As a baby boomer being in the workforce for over 40 years, I can say that I have seen some compelling changes in the way we communicate in business.

Before computers, email or faxes, one very early form of communication that was used in my workplace was Telex via a Teleprinter Machine similar to the one pictured below. The Telex network is a switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network and it was used to send text-based messages. It began in Germany as a research development program in 1926 and became an operational teleprinter service in 1933.


A Teletype Model 32 used for Telex service.

Image source: Wikipedia.

Over the past two decades, technology has transformed communication by making it more and more pervasive. Advances in computer and telephone technology have created an explosion in the ways we can reach each other: by fax, cell phone, e-mail, text message, blog, LinkedIn and Facebook.

A survey commissioned in the U.K. found that respondents spent an average of 3 hours and 45 minutes talking on the phone, e-mailing and sending text messages [source: BBC News]. Some of these communication tools allow us to work more efficiently; for example, a manager can send a meeting agenda to the whole office with one e-mail, a process that once would have required typing a memo, making copies, and distributing them to each desk.

We’ve come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876. Yet many of us still use telephones as well as mobile phones. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the car phone was more popular than the regular mobile phone. However, since the mobile phone boom in the 1990s, when mobile phones became much more affordable, the car phone became less popular as most people carry their mobile phone around with them, and the availability of hands free kits installed into many cars allow the driver to talk and listen to a call while driving.

Many people assume that the way they communicate is the way everyone communicates.

Here is a brief chart of communication preferences and communication obstacles for the various generations.

This information is part of an excellent article that helps explain the differences between the generations and the differences in communication styles. Source: http://bit.ly/a1kFKY

Yours in Communication

Angie Rapisarda

Closing the gap between the bosses and the employees.

Yesterday I read an article on Nextness about Emily Birks who is a Senior Account Manager at Pulse Communications, Ogilvy PR. Last week she participated in PRIA’s My Generation event as the representative for Gen Y in a panel discussion about how to can close the gap between bosses and the employees.  Here are her findings:

There are 4.5 million of us born between 1978 and 1994 and we are dominating the emerging workforce. And PR is one of the industries where it’s even harder to escape us.  To put it in perspective, 76 percent of Ogilvy PR’s current employees are Gen Ys.

We are the most labelled generation ever and the discussion kicked-off with a few of those labels being thrown around. The bosses described us as selfish and always thinking ‘what’s in it for me’, only caring about more money and job titles, and not being able to listen as we are constantly checking our phones or updating our statuses.

But in order to close the gap between bosses and employees you can’t label us with one big brushstroke.

Gen Y spans almost 20 years so it’s not sensible to consider this a target audience. Bosses should acknowledge life stages, career stages, professional needs, socio-economic differences when trying to motivate staff.

As employees we have a desire for customisation which I don’t think is unique to our generation. People of all ages want to know they can walk into a new job and carve out their own opportunities if they do well and are loyal to the company. It’s more about understanding expectations.

What ‘shiny’ things beyond salary attract us to a new job or keep us satisfied in a current one?

According to 2011 McCrindle Research one of the top priorities for Gen Ys when looking for an employer is a “great culture”. And I agree with this. We come to work at least 40 hours a week so it’s important that we enjoy being here each day and I think the people we work with play a huge role in that. All the Gen Ys in the room acknowledge the importance of great mentors in keeping us satisfied in a job.

Training also came out as being important to us.

We like to feel like it is a mutually beneficial relationship, Gen Y want something back and training and development shows that the agency is willing to invest in us. I know I always walk out of a great training session feeling reinvigorated and and grateful that I work for an agency that offers inspiring training.

Loyalty and Generation Y.

According to McCrindle Research on average Gen Ys spend two years with an employer versus the national average of four years. The bosses asked us what keeps us loyal to an agency.  As we tend to get bored easily it’s important to be presented with new challenges and we need to be able to see a future for ourselves at the company. Being rewarded for being loyal doesn’t hurt either. I just had my three year anniversary at Ogilvy PR and being rewarded with three extra days of Loyalty Leave is a nice little perk. It makes a difference.

As a generation we might be labelled more than past generations. But at the end of the day the same fundamentals of great management and leadership remain.

Follow Emily Birks on Twitter (@embirksy). This article was first published on Ogilvy PR’s blog.

 

Yours representing Generation Y,

Justine

Employer Branding – how Virgin added ‘Virginess’ to Virgin Active

I love employer branding and when done well it can revolutionise Government Departments, large and even small businesses.

Always on the look out for businesses doing this well, I was excited to find this fantastic presentation by Elaine J0bson, where she shares the principles on how Virgin successfully took the old Health and Raquet club brand and changed it to be part of the distinctive Virgin family.

The key take aways for me from this presentation that can easily be applied to your business or department are:

1. Good is the enemy of Great. You can have a good business but unless you do something different and push the boundaries you will never have a Great business.

2. Culture is everything.  People will be attracted to your business because of your culture.

3. Combine Employer Branding strategies. The service and people strategies need to be combined in order to create a great culture.

4. Create an over arching theme.  For Virgin, they started by having an overarching theme that they called their Love Strategy with a goal to be the ‘Worlds Most Loved’.  They then changed their language around each part of the employee process / experience.  All employees were refereed to as humans and the Virgin brand was in a ‘relationship’ with everyone of them.

• The recruitment process is called Flirting.
• Falling in Love with the brand is the first 90 days.
• The Being in Love phase is where the employees are looking for substance – asking themselves, is this somewhere I would want to stay long term.
• Staying in Love – 12 months plus – is the brand taking their humans for granted?, are they still helping nurture learning and growth?
• Happily ever Active – is a place Virgin have created for people who are scoring a 9 or 10 promoter score and have been with the business over 12 months. It is a place where things just happen – random acts of love.

Very inspiring and very achievable. All we need to do is stop and define the strategy that will take our employer brand to the next level.

Yours in Employer Branding,

Belinda

Using LinkedIn for Recruiting

If used to its full potential, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in your recruiting process. If you’re not already using LinkedIn for your company, why not?

Setting up a company page on LinkedIn allows another avenue for you to represent your company culture and employee brand. Once that presence is set up and running, you are already in a prime position to reach out to the employees that are already attracted to you and want to work with you. Having team members on board who actually want to work with you in your business because they have been following what you do makes everything so much easier and cheaper in the recruitment process.

One of the best things about attracting team through LinkedIn is you can see the details and interactions of potential candidates also. And if they are already ‘linked’ to your company page you have an opportunity to even choose someone to chase after before there has even been any advertising of positions. So there’s another clue for candidates, follow the companies you want to work for!

Don’t get me wrong, using LinkedIn will not magically solve your recruitment and employee branding overnight. There will still be the need for screening, phone calls, handshakes and interviews but it will make a noticeable difference to the way you ‘used’ to do recruiting.

So what do you need to do?

First step: Learn what LinkedIn is:

 

Second step: Create a Company Page

 

Third step: Visit http://talent.linkedin.com/ to see how you can best use LinkedIn to attract the right people.

Yours in recruiting,

Paul Vesey-Brown

 

Employment branding at its best

For those slightly unsure, employment branding is a key part of the equation for long term recruiting and talent management. It’s important that when dealing with any element of your brand that there is a clear and defined strategy to what your brand is and how you communicate this not only to customers, but also to those you will employ. After all, these people are extensions of your brand and at times can act as the face of the brand. With a clear employer brand you can ensure you are attracting not only the best people for the job, but also for the company.

In today’s ever developing world, it’s important to think about the ways in which you can recruit and show your employer brand. Recently here is Australia, IKEA, one of the world’s 20 most attractive employers in 2011, worked with an agency to come up with this brilliant recruitment campaign. The result sure is outside the box and had some amazing results.

In short, they had a new mega-store opening in Sydney and needed to hire quite a number of staff, as you can imagine. A simple ‘career instructions’ was developed and placed into all of their flat packs. Customers literally delivered the mailer to themselves. They could then also share it with friends and family. What I love about this concept and what works so well, is the fact that straight away IKEA are targeting those that already love them. After all when you’re looking to hire employees that live and breathe your brand then it’s essential to ensure that your recruitment process identifies who will be a brand advocate and great hire and that is what IKEA has done. I also love how this simple flyer plays on the IKEA brand at the same time. We all associate IKEA with assembling the furniture with their instruction flyer and this continues the brand essence in a quirky and fun way.

With $0 spent on media and 4,285 applications, resulting in 280 hires, the results speak for themselves.

 

 

Yours in Employer Branding
Dawn

Cut

Recent findings from a number of large scale studies of consumers and their habits suggest that less choice equals more sales.

Interestingly, secondary conclusions for this hypothesis suggest that less choice converted to quicker decision processing and therefore greater sale conversion.

Could these findings be due to the time poor nature of consumer habits or that branding and advertising has reached saturation point for consumers and there is now a need for desaturating by keeping it simple.

Take a look at the following link: Sheena Iyengar: How to make choosing easier.

Yours by choice,
Amber van Sloten

Writing on the iPad

So we want to eliminate needing to take a notepad and pen with us everywhere to write and sketch our brain farts, when we have our trusty iPad at hand.

There are various apps available from iTunes which have note-taking and sketching functionality as well as pens that sync to an iPad.

Apps for download:
• Studio Basic
• Notes Plus
• Notetaker HD

Pens compatible with iPad:
• Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad and iPhone
• EFUN Digital Pen for iPad
• Stylus Touch Pen

The most superior product I’ve seen on the market to date would have to be from Byzero. It comes with a receiver which clicks into the bottom of your iPad and runs on infrared and ultrasound technology, and works with the Studio Pen. Byzero offers palm rejection and precise and detailed handwriting. There’s plenty of demos of Byzero’s Studio Pen on youtube.

Also Click on this link to read through a review of: Drawing on the iPad: 12 touchscreen styluses reviewed.

The critics are still waiting for better advances with the writing capabilities for the iPad which we might see in the iPad 3?…

Yours in new toys,
Amber van Sloten