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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Search Marketing: Can your marketing team identify your buyer personas?

November 15th, 2013 2 comments

Developing a strategy to identify the personas of your customers can be daunting.

How specific do you get?

More importantly, how do you make these personas real to your marketing team?

In a recent webinar, Jacob Baldwin, Search Engine Marketing Manager, and Christina Brownlee, Director of Marketing Communications, both of One Call Now, discussed the important role of customer personas in an overall conversion strategy.

They identified four different personas applicable to a wide variety of verticals within their target audience: spontaneous, competitive, humanistic and methodical.

In order to make these characteristics identifiable for the team, each trait was assigned a “Star Trek” character: Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty, aptly called the “Spock Project.” 

 

The One Call Now team used an outside consultant to brainstorm different buyer personas.

During brainstorming, the team decided to map out all of their markets using these personas, and they discovered some markets shared personas. For example, McCoy, the humanistic customer, was found in both K-12 education and sports management markets.

 

Assigning customer characteristics to familiar television characters helped the marketing team design webpages and content tailored to each persona.

For example, competitive persona customers are likely more interested in information specific to the bottom line and which product or company offers more than the others.

On the other hand, a humanistic persona is more interested in testimonials and case studies – how the product affects a person after adoption. One Call Now packed each landing page with content that appealed to each of the personas.

In order to appeal to each persona, One Call Now created various types of content and calls-to-action. Although customers all come to the site for the same reason – to purchase a messaging system – the way that various customers decide to buy differs. 

 

For a spontaneous persona, a shiny green “BUY NOW” button beckons. But, for a customer that needs to do more research, testimonials, case studies and requests for a quote are readily available.

Introducing the marketing team to familiar characters helped them think about “How would I sell to Spock, the competitive, as opposed to Kirk, the spontaneous buyer?”

Testimonials and fancy buttons wouldn’t cut it for a buyer labeled as a Scotty, the methodical buyer, as effectively as strong content, numbers and being able to compare features build a better case.

Content development rapidly took off within the organization in order to appeal to different characters.

By generalizing four basic characteristics across the sub-vertical customers, One Call Now developed a strategy to appeal to decision makers in the way that they make decisions. The team is able to expand and fine-tune the way they approach customers on the Web, in a way that speaks directly to them and addresses their concerns.

To learn more about how creating customer profiles can aid your marketing efforts, you can watch the free on-demand MarketingSherpa webinar replay of “Search Marketing: Insights on keyword research and customer personas.”

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Social Media: Why Facebook’s new Graph Search will change social media marketing

May 10th, 2013 6 comments

When I was growing up, I remember a phrase my dad would use as a delay tactic on making big ticket purchase decisions that often frustrated my mother.

“I’ll ask the boys at work,“ he would reply.

My dad’s insistence on consulting people he perceived as experts before making a purchase is telling of human behavior – customers prefer to make decisions based on information, not persuasion.

I mention this because a shift to information over persuasion is coming to social media, driven by Facebook’s new Graph Search tool.

The way Graph Search works is simple … it filters our search results by what our friends and neighbors have previously liked and shared with us.

From a business intelligence perspective, the implications of this new function could be far reaching, given Graph Search allows users to formulate their perceptions of goods and services based on reviews from people they know and trust, potentially sidestepping most marketing efforts.

Here’s an example of Graph Search in action using the surroundings of our office here in Jacksonville Beach to put this into further perspective …

 

With Graph Search, relevance is king

Imagine you’ve just bought a beach cruiser and you’re searching Facebook to find the best spots for fun and entertainment in Jacksonville Beach.

Now, let’s say you search for “fun places to bike in Jacksonville Beach.”

Graph Search will present options your friends or other bicycle enthusiasts in a given geographical proximity have liked and shared.

From a customer’s perspective, this makes total sense.

Would you prefer to sift through a laundry list of options presented at random, or evaluate choices your friends and other biking enthusiasts are recommending?

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Lead Nurturing: 5 tips for creating relevant content

September 13th, 2012 1 comment

Attempting lead nurturing without strong content is like hosting a Monsters of Rock show during a power outage.

The results will be disappointing.

That’s because effective content is the power behind lead nurturing success, insist Toby Murdock, CEO and Co-founder, Kapost, and Chris Baggott, Chairman and Co-founder, Compendium.

Both companies are content software providers, and both leaders recently spoke about the value of content marketing: Murdock at Marketo’s Social Marketing Rockstar Tour, and Baggott at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012.

“The Internet has put buyers in control,” says Murdock. “Seventy percent of the buying is completed before Sales is contacted.”

What that means, he went on to explain, is that Marketing now has the greatest responsibility for guiding those opportunities through the sales cycle. However, traditional advertising methods no longer help leads move forward.

“The average clickthrough rate on paid Internet advertising is .01%,” he points out.

Baggott contrasts this with clickthrough rates on content that is meaningful to prospects. He provides an example: creating content that speaks directly to prospects’ needs and has strong calls-to-action.

“When we do this, we see clickthrough rates that exceed 20%,” he points out; it’s an observation they’ve made working with hundreds of clients.

“I click through because I am very motivated. I see something that will help me; I look at the content and say, ‘Yeah, these people get me.’ When you have a need and the content meets it, you’re very eager to move forward,” he explains.

Instead of pushing products or services, pull the right prospects through by providing information, ideas and solutions that will help them, advise Baggott and Murdock. (It will also help you rank high in search engines.) This is the essence of relevance, and without it, everything you consider content is just more advertising, they insist.

They offer these tips to create content with the power to move beyond advertising into relevancy:

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Lead Generation: Trends in 2012 marketing budgets

August 24th, 2012 2 comments

According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link), 71% of survey respondents indicated that generating high-quality leads was a top challenge.

So, in today’s blog post, let’s look at lead generation budget trends (hint: money is moving to online tactics) and provide some resources to help you make wise use of that budget.

To help you get the most effective use of your budget, here are several case studies and how-to articles for some of the tactics mentioned in the above chart.

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What is the Easiest Tactic to Improve SEO?

July 20th, 2012 10 comments

To help you improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, here’s a quick tidbit for your Friday from the MarketingSherpa blog …

 

 

SEO is usually seen as some complex, magical, always evolving formula you need to master. And, while the constant changes to Google’s algorithm (so there’s this Panda all hopped up on Caffeine …) is enough to make your head spin, Optimization Summit 2012 attendee Matt Brutsché of Austin Search Marketing advises marketers to start by focusing on the basics – meta tags.

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Site Search Solutions: 3 methods for implementing search on your site

July 17th, 2012 No comments

In looking to improve the site search on MarketingSherpa (the site is 13 years old, and we have 2,991 case studies and articles, so an effective site search is crucial to helping you find marketing industry information to help you do your job better), the tech team here at MECLABS has explored different site search tools.

The team identified three predominant site search methods:

 

Method #1: Install a search engine on your own server                

In our case, we were specifically looking at PHP scripts, since we use that on MarketingSherpa.

In general, there are two types of PHP or Perl search engine scripts. One will search your entire website for the relevant article each time your visitor invokes the search engine. The other creates an index of your site, and only searches the index when the visitor uses the engine.

The former is easier to configure and use for the newcomer, but it quickly becomes sluggish when your website grows big. The latter is more efficient, but often requires you to remember to re-index your site each time you change your pages.

Advantages:

  • Customizable page results
  • No third-party advertisements
  • Re-index as needed
  • Re-indexing your site does not increase your bandwidth utilization, unless the script accesses your site via HTTP

Disadvantages:

  • Need PHP support on Web server
  • Will need to be able to edit PHP to configure your site search tool

Some PHP Search Engine scripts:

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Personal Branding: 3 tips for personal SEO

June 22nd, 2012 No comments

If someone were to enter your name into Google, what results would they find?

Establishing your personal brand online has become increasingly important, as more HR professionals and hiring managers turn to search engines for information on applicants. Some reports indicate upward of 90% of recruiters regularly research candidates on Google.

Moreover, realize that your competition has already taken action to improve their search engine results. According to ExecuNet’s 2012 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, 67% of executives have actively worked to become more visible online.

These executives are working on their results, but what about you? In a best case scenario, you will earn a few results on one of the top search engine result pages (SERPs). Worst case scenario? You find that you share a name with a slew of more established, accomplished and published people — at least according to Google results.

So, what can you do to improve your search engine results? Here are three tips for boosting the search ranking of your name.

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Content Marketing: How scrapers impact your content strategy

May 22nd, 2012 2 comments

Content marketing is an important strategy for both consumer and B2B marketers, and it’s a major component of inbound and email marketing as well.

One issue that probably receives less attention than deserved is content scraping. This is a particular problem with easily digested material such as blog posts, whitepapers and articles.

Less than scrupulous website owners will go to your site, scrape your content and repost your work to their website.

This hurts your content marketing strategy in two major ways: one, it dilutes your brand awareness because some people will find your content on someone else’s website; and two, it essentially confuses search engines with the duplicate content and negatively affects your SEO.

To find out more about content scraping, and learn some tricks to combat the practice, I spoke with Rami Essaid, co-founder and CEO of Distil, a company that protects websites against unauthorized scraping.

As you might guess, this topic is near and dear to Rami’s heart, and he provides insight into how it happens and what you can do proactively to protect your content.

 

MarketingSherpa:  Tell me why content marketers should be aware of, and concerned about, content scraping.

Rami Essaid:  Marketing has shifted toward content marketing as the medium to drive traffic to websites. The reason it’s so powerful is because it provides valuable information to the end user, and allows marketers to brand within the content along with sending out the company’s message.

By having that content diluted and copied around the world, you are not able to capitalize on one hundred percent of the market reading your content.

When you think about any time you put something out there and it gets copied, scraped and duplicated, people are consuming it all around the world, but they are not consuming it from you, and you are losing the effectiveness of all of that hard work that you put into that content marketing.

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7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization

April 3rd, 2012 8 comments

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become such a giant buzzword, that even my non-marketing friends and family members discuss it. It seems that every person I interview for one of our job openings is an “SEO expert.” And I now see Danny Seo all over TV.

Jokes aside, let’s take a look at some research …

 

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According to Jen Doyle’s research for the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, 29% of B2B marketers consider search engine optimization to be very effective — more than email marketing, content marketing, and most noticeably, paid search.

But could that be a problem? It is human nature to overemphasize something that we think works well. (The minute someone tells me I’m funny – watch out! I’ll come up with every joke I can think of, and they’ll just keep getting worse.) And also, if we overvalue our investment in any one tactic, of course it will be more effective than the ones we’ve shunned.

With so much focus on SEO from every marketing blog on the Google-powered Web, I thought it might be worth your while to question if you’re overvaluing SEO.

So put the Google Keyword Tool down for just a minute, and for a contrarian viewpoint, see if any of these seven reasons that you’re a little too obsessed with search engine optimization / SEO / organic search / natural search / search marketing resonate with you:

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Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post

February 23rd, 2012 7 comments

What is the most powerful way to improve your search engine optimization?

“Content creation works the best, but takes the most work,” Kaci Bower, Research Analyst, MECLABS, said. Take a look at the data from Kaci’s research in the MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition.

 

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“Content creation stands apart in the cluster of tactics, both for its difficulty and its effectiveness. Good content creates buzz and attracts links,” Kaci said. “For this reason, marketers who commit to the effort required in creating quality content can improve their SEO positions.”

 

So what makes good and effective content?

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked by marketers. Keep in mind, mine is a skewed sample. If I made plumbing fixtures, I would probably always get asked, “What makes good and effective plumbing fixtures?”

So I was very interested by Kaci’s data that, yes, marketers really do struggle with this. I’ve noticed that, when they become aware of this opportunity, marketers tend to fall in the same common trap — they focus on things, like blog posts or Facebook pages.

Instead, let me suggest you …

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