Category Archives: marketing

Global Digital Statistics 2014

Here’s the 2014 Global Digital Statistics, Stats & Facts SlideShare presentation from the guys at We Are Social. It features digital stats like:

  • 2.5 Billion People are Online
  • 1.8 Billions are on Social Networks
  • Top Social Networks added 135 Million users in 2013
  • Facebook now has 1.184 Billion Users

It may be 183 pages, but well worth the look, grab a cuppa and enjoy!

Gamification in the future?

I recently did a 10 week Gamification course and right at the end of the course we discussed this video that shows an interesting and a little scary insight into how Games could be integrated into our lives in the future.

We already have easy access to considerable amounts of information on people that if you think about it, there really are no ‘blind dates’ anymore. Who in todays world wouldn’t do some research on who they are meeting before meeting them the first time. The internet and technology around how this information is distributed is always changing and this video gives us an interesting perspective.

I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Belinda

Putting the “FUN” back into theory

The Fun Theory (a Volkswagen Initiative) argues, “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better”.  They held a competition for people who had fun ways of encouraging good behaviour.  For example: a ‘bottle bank arcade’ to encourage recycling, ‘piano stairs’ to encourage exercise, ‘the world’s deepest bin’ to encourage people to properly dispose of litter and ‘The Speed Camera Lottery’

 

 

 

The theory is obviously a bit of fun and good marketing but it did have impressive results.  For example, the Speed Camera Lottery ‘game’ reduced the average speed of cars on that road by 22% and the piano stairs meant that 66% more people than normal took the stairs over the escalator.  This gamification of everyday things seems to ‘nudge’ people’s behaviour in profound and measurable ways.  This begs the question, how far can you nudge people and in what ways?

 

 

The Fun Theory: that “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better” seems to have some solid foundations and is becoming more widely accepted and made use of.  Gamification seems set to be a common feature in our lives and one that may make our lives much more fun.

 

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

Social Media… not just a fad.

Social network sites are growing popularity every day. Businesses can no longer ignore this social media trend. Instead, we should embrace these opportunities as affordable marketing tools for both online and offline businesses.

 

 

Here are some important ways that social media can benefit your business:

  • Create and maintain awareness of your brand
  • Drive qualified traffic to your website
  • Nurture qualified leads
  • Increase your online presence – thus increasing the number of times your brand will appear in search results
  • Monitor online conversations about your brand so that you can manage your reputation quickly and efficiently
  • Learn about your competitors and their activities
  • Publicise your new innovations, awards and business successes
  • Find new business partners, vendors, suppliers and business opportunities
  • Build trust and credibility because it’s an open and transparent communication channel
  • Increase your position as a thought leader with articles and commentary
  • Increase your search engine rankings – social media generates back links and site traffic
  • Support other paid marketing and advertising activities, online or offline
  • Identify customer’s needs, wants and issues and communicate directly with them as to how your products or services can address these
  • Provide a complimentary customer support platform due to the ease of use and real-time updates
  • Find and recruit new staff

Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.

Yours in Social Media,
Tanya.

Leveraging Mirror Neurons in Sales and Marketing

I love learning new things and was excited to be introduced by a client to Marco Iacoboni and his book Mirroring People. This was my first introduction into Mirror Neurons.

What are Mirror Neurons?, well quite simply as Wikipedia have put it ‘A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.  Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behaviour of the other, as though the observer were itself acting”.

To give you more of an insight I have found this video with Alan Alda which is part of The Human Spark series to give a great basic understanding of what Mirror Neurons are.

Click here to watch the video.

 

What has really excited me is how we can build on this idea in the sales and marketing we do. Mirror Neurons it has been found form the basis for empathy, social behaviour and even language and go a long way to explain how and why we react with certain emotions when interacting with someone or something.

As marketers we can leverage on this idea by telling a visual story about the product or service we are selling.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Isn’t it exciting to have a present at Christmas that you are unwrapping. By unwrapping that present in front of someone they too are experiencing the excitement with you. In a marketing sense if we can show an action happening, the person watching has a sense they are performing that action along with you.

We have all seen those beer ads where the bottle is opened and a refreshing sip taken. We hear the cap popping off and then some drinking sounds followed by an ‘ahhhhh’. As observers we are experiencing a sympathetic reaction from Mirror Neurons because we have performed the same action many times ourselves. We relate to it and we remember it. We want one.

As Marco Iacoboni says “Psychological studies started with the idea that a solitary mind looks at the world in a detached way. Mirror neurons tell us we’re literally in the minds of other people.”

As marketers it is critical to be thinking about the visual branding content we are producing to be sure we can leverage the idea of mirror neurons as much as we can.

Yours in Neuroscience Marketing,

Belinda

CMO’s Guide to Social Media Sites

The social-media landscape has grown since last year with an additional 5 more communities/platforms added and a quite a few of  them are already booming. So, which social media tools and channels will work best for your business?

This years largest growing community is Pintrest, which reached 10 million monthly visitors in less time than Facebook or Twitter did. It’s demographics include mostly women and it is quite popular in the Midwest. The concept behind Pintrest is that members can post images of whatever is of interest to them. From there, followers can then ‘like’, or ‘repin’ those images, which is then pushed out to their followers. Pintrest is a bit different as it offers a way to reach a group that is not usually considered a part of the ‘digerati’ and can be most useful for brand exposure and driving traffic to your site if your material gets ‘pinned’ by others.

This year, Google launched Google+, which offers some unique ways to interact, including Circles and Hangouts (group video chats) which make customer communication a breeze. Unlike Facebook ‘Likes’, positive ratings on Google+ can influence your brand’s search ranking. This channel has become a “must have” for social marketers, as it has more than 90 million users (though, there are questions about how active they are).

Three other communities that have recently been added to the social media pool are  SlideShare, Quora and Instagram.

SlideShare is similar to YouTube for slide shows. It is a great way to promote your brand / products and communicate with customers, however it is pretty much a one way conversation at this stage.

Quora was founded by two former Facebooker’s and is based on questions for community members to answer. It’s an ideal place to share your expertise as it is a perfect addition to your content marketing efforts.

Instagram is an iPhone app that lets you take photo’s of your products or services, apply interesting effects and share them, which can also be pushed out to your Facebook page and Twitter.

Is it time for you to re-evaluate which social media tools could work for you? Gone are the days where having a Facebook page is the only option. There is a continuing amount of other channels that have different capabilities and purpose, and used together can connect with a massive amount of people. For an analysis of which social medial tools are the latest and greatest, CMO have, for the third consecutive year, turned to 97th Floor, an SEO and Social Media Firm for their perspective of the different social media channels and ones that could definitely be worth your time.

You can view 97th Floors take on 10 Social Network Choices on 2012 CMO’s Guide To The Social Landscape.

Yours in Social Media

Angie Rapisarda

Addicted to Pinterest

I admit it, I’m getting addicted to Pinterest. If you feel the same or, better, if you’re trying to take advantage from a marketing POV of people’s addiction to Pinterest, then you should check out this infographic that the guys at Flowtown recently put together.

 

What Makes You Shop?

Image Source: Kathleen Noonan, CourierMail.com.au

Kathleen Noonan’s Last Word article titled “Things That Make Us Shop”, in the Queensland Life section of the Courier Mail last weekend caught my attention.

Kathleen was referencing River Clegg’s writing of “Buying This Thing Will Make Me Happy”, from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the literature site founded by author Dave Eggers.

Noonan’s article refers to Cleggs writing about people’s shopping behaviours and the reasons that I’m sure most of us can relate to.

I observe my own daughter who declares herself “bankrupt” at least once a week, however, she always manages to afford at least one pair of shoes and a dress or two that she “just had to buy because they were soooo cheap”. I don’t know how she does it!

In a quote from Clegg’s writing, he says “It’s really cool. They just started making it and not many people have one yet… Other people will look up to me because I own this thing and use it frequently, which will make me very happy. When I’m at a party, for instance, I can wait for a moment when people start talking about how cool it looks from the latest advertisement. Then I can stroll over and take it out and start using it”

Noonan also refers to the thoughts of evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller who wrote in his book Spent, that “humans evolved in small social groups in which image and status are very important, not just for survival, but for attracting mates, impressing friends and rearing children. Today we ornament ourselves in goods and service more to make an impression on other people’s minds than to enjoy owning a chunk of matter.”

My daughter, however, will state that she always shops for “survival” as she never has any clothes or shoes to wear!

The Role Consumerism plays in our lives has gone from something we did out of necessity to something we did as a little treat, once in a while, to today, a replacement for life’s meaningful pursuits.

So, what makes me shop? Obviously, clever marketing and merchandising play a big part, but most of all, great customer service!

Yours in great shopping
Angie Rapisarda