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Posts Tagged ‘Search Marketing’

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

November 15th, 2013
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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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Inbound Marketing: 15 tactics to help you earn attention organically

June 28th, 2013
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Often, the best ideas for our content come from the MarketingSherpa audience,  such as  this note I received from Steve, “There was a very good graphic in a recent post from Rand Fishkin. I think it would be interesting for you to add some ‘quantitative metrics’ to this.”

Let’s take a look at that graphic …

 

I reached out to Rand, who is the CEO of Moz, to get a little background on the chart, which looked almost like a yin and yang of modern marketing to me.

“The items in red aren’t necessarily all terrible things you shouldn’t do,” Rand said.

“Interruption marketing can be well done, but as the graphic notes, there’s no flywheel effect generating momentum, and these channels/tactics, on average, lead to higher costs of customer acquisition. In some markets and for some companies, that may be a fine tradeoff, but it should always be a conscious one,” he explained.

Today on the MarketingSherpa blog, we’re providing a mixture of quantitative metrics, case studies, how-to articles and other resources to help you improve your own inbound marketing efforts by learning more about how your peers are effectively using these tactics …

 

SEO & PPC

Local search has had the biggest positive impact on marketing objectives, with 54% of marketers indicating so, according to the MarketingSherpa SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey.

How to Switch to SEO, PPC Strategies to Increase Leads: 10 Steps to Triple-Digit Lifts

Local SEO: How geotargeting keywords brought 333% more revenue

PPC Marketing: Two accidents reduce cost-per-lead 20%

 

Opt-in Email Lists

Only 39% of marketers maintain an opt-in only subscriber list.

Email Deliverability: How a marketing vendor with 99 percent delivery rates treats single opt-in lists vs. double opt-in lists

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Search Marketing: 3 common mistakes marketers make using Google AdWords

May 17th, 2013
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Through testing with our Research Partners, I’ve discovered a few common mistakes marketers make when crafting paid search campaigns using Google AdWords.

So, in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, my goal is to provide you with a few fundamentals  to aid  paid search marketing efforts and, hopefully, help you avoid a few pitfalls along the way.

 

Mistake #1: Grouping all keywords into one ad group

Keywords are the heart of your ads and relevance is their soul.

So, if you lump all of your keywords into one ad group, the impact will be some keywords become highly relevant to the ad group while others are not.

This is a common mistake marketers make under the guise that the tactic will boost impressions. It will – but this approach is more expensive and those less relevant keywords that boost impressions are also likely to underperform.

Think of it this way … would you run an ad for plumbing fixtures in People magazine with the expectations that it will perform like an ad for the latest celebrity perfume line?

 

Mistake #2: Not testing ads

Another common mistake marketers make is not testing their ads.

Although testing is something we live and breathe every day at MECLABS, it’s important to understand in digital marketing, there are no sacred cows. Speculation on campaign performance is for the birds – unless you test, you’ll never discover what really works.

So, my suggestion is that you test. With AdWords, having two or more tests running is ideal as there is no other way to effectively benchmark an ad’s performance efficiently.

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Search Engine Marketing: Navigating Facebook Graph Search

February 15th, 2013
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One aspect that makes digital marketing both exciting and challenging is always having something to contend with – such as new social media platforms, new technology and new ways to reach your target audience. Facebook Graph Search is one of the most recent of those digital marketing challenges.

Jonathan Greene, Social Media/Business Intelligence Analyst, MECLABS, said, “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has defined ‘graph’ as the network of one’s friends, relatives, favorite brands and products.  A ‘graph search’ therefore is a search that leverages one’s ‘graph’ or ‘network’ to provide more interesting, relevant results.”

He added, “The biggest implication for marketers is that Graph Search, if successful in stealing significant market share from Google, will flip SEO on its head. Links will be replaced by ‘likes’ in the SEO hierarchy, and building social capital will be the new optimization strategy for organic search improvement.”

Currently, Facebook Graph Search is only available in limited beta with a significant waiting list for platform-wide adoption.

Although Facebook Graph Search has not rolled out across the entire Facebook ecosystem, it’s certainly worth thinking about for a head start in creating a strategy to meet this new search engine marketing avenue.

To learn more on how marketers should approach Facebook Graph Search, and learn some tips and tactics to share with MarketingSherpa Blog readers, I had the chance to interview two SEM experts: Dan Sturdivant, Account Manager, Speakeasy, and Chairman, DFW Search Engine Marketing Association; and Rob Garner, Principal, Rob Garner Consulting, and author of Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing.

 

MarketingSherpa: Marketers have been told Facebook “likes” are much less important than Facebook clicks – to a landing page for example – or converting those “likes” to a database entry for the email list and other purposes. Does Facebook Graph Search change that equation a bit and make “likes” in and of themselves more valuable?

Dan Sturdivant: Yes, the equation changes with Graph Search; the importance of “likes” will be greatly increased. [For] some businesses, local retail in particular and restaurants especially, this is critical. Consumers will use Graph Search to research companies and services.  Businesses “liked” by their friends will reinforce an immediate connection with that business.

Taking that further, engaging consumers, asking them to “like” the page is important and then engaging them through a newsletter or other marketing tactic and pushing them back to the Facebook page is critical.

That last part is a big change, as well. It used to be you would want to drive folks back to your website, and while it goes against the “digital sharecropper” concept, driving people back to the company’s Facebook page is a good idea.

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Inbound Marketing: Content is everything in search and social

November 13th, 2012
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This week’s MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway features Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing by Rob Garner, VP of Strategy, iCrossing (a Hearst company).

This book is based on six years of columns for MediaPost Search Insider and Social Insider, along with Rob’s speaking engagements, blog posts and experience as a marketing practitioner. The depth of this experience and knowledge really shows in the detailed, actionable information Rob provides readers.

I had the chance to hear Rob speak on this material at a recent Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association meeting, and later got the opportunity to pick his brain a little on search, social and content marketing.

Here is the result of that conversation …

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Watching Concrete: YouTube channel saves time, drives revenue for Mid Atlantic Concrete Equipment

July 27th, 2012
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If you attend an industry event with Owen Blevins, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mid Atlantic Concrete Equipment, you better expect to hear the refrain, “Hey, Cretehead!”

It’s not an insult, just evidence that people are buying what Blevins is selling. As the founder and host of Concrete Answers, “the Internet’s most passionate show about concrete plants and equipment,” Blevins is becoming a concrete-industry celebrity, and, of course, he kicks off each episode with a resounding, “Heeey, Creteheads!”

Every other week, he introduces machinery and processes in direct response to the questions he receives from customers via his company’s website, events and sales meetings.

Even though the show is only about two years old, it has received more than 85,000 views.

“It’s not a bulldog on a skateboard, but we have a niche market. Our goal is to inform, educate and offer a little bit of entertainment. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, be sure to watch,” he laughs. “It’s highly technical.”

 

Hundreds of hours of work = Hundreds of thousands in sales

Every minute of the final product represents an hour of work – planning, shooting, editing and posting. However, Blevins says the hundreds of hours devoted to Concrete Answers are well worth the investment.

“We typically know exactly what brought our customers to us,” says Blevins. “This information allows us to justify expense, because there’s a lot of time, effort and energy that goes into the channel. It’s definitely been worth it; otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. I won’t reveal exact ROI, but I can tell you the show has ultimately resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment sales.”

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What is the Easiest Tactic to Improve SEO?

July 20th, 2012
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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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Social Media Platform Selection: Keep your eye on the bigger picture

May 31st, 2012
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The news of Facebook’s recent IPO has mostly focused on technical glitches at NASDAQ. But, one question sits in the back of many marketers’ minds: Is this a sign that the social network will not continue its market dominance?

After all, we’ve seen the rise and fall of sites like Friendster and MySpace, along with the constant emergence of new social media platforms like Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

So, in the midst of all this change, what is the biggest factor you should keep in mind when exploring social media platforms?

Not the social media platform itself, according to Kaci Bower, senior research analyst, MECLABS Content Group, and author of MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook. Kaci suggests you focus on your bigger inbound marketing strategy and architecture rather than relying on tying marketing to any one platform, even if it does have more than 800 million different users.

 

A strategic approach can give you a distinct competitive advantage

Integrating inbound tactics is the marketing equivalent of avoiding sugar and exercising every day, Kaci claims.

“The vast majority of marketers agree it’s critical, but a much smaller percentage follow through,” she says, citing MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report. “Seventy-six percent of marketers believe integrating SEO and social media is essential, but only 47% are actually doing it.

“A 30-point difference is huge,” continues Kaci. “It indicates the challenge of inbound marketing integration — it’s far easier to give it lip service than execute it.”

 

Lost in the noise

She suspects that is due to the massive amounts of information in the marketplace on SEO, social media and content creation. Consider this graphic that illustrates the complexity of the social media landscape by showing the huge amount of social media marketing and social networking tools and platforms.

Of course, you don’t have to use everything. Just use what works best for your company. As you can see in this chart from the Inbound Marketing Handbook, usage and effectiveness do not always consistently match. For example, two of the most hyped social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter – showed significantly more usage than effectiveness. Meanwhile, blogs may be more effective than many marketers realize.

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Mobile Search [Infographic]: 72% of smartphone users look for information on the go

May 11th, 2012
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I’m a fan of gallows humor. So, as a Borders shareholder (until it went bankrupt), I love the sign a Borders store employee posted as the chain was going out of business …

 

Sorry
No Public Restroom
Try Amazon.com

It’s hard to deny that e-commerce has significant advantages over the traditional brick-and-mortar store:

  • Lower overhead and inventory costs
  • Open 24/7, often to any customer in the world with a connection
  • High gas prices that convince customers to drive less
  • No sales tax (although that playing field will likely level in the near future)
  • The ability for customers to easily find what they’re looking for, comparison shop, and respond to offers

But now it’s time for B&Ms to fight back … at least when it comes to that last advantage. As this infographic created by Kaci Bower, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, shows, 72% of smartphone users look for information on the go.

 

Click to enlarge

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7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization

April 3rd, 2012
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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 …

 

Click to enlarge

 

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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