Archives for posts with tag: SEO

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The Internet is great. If you like data, the Internet is perfect for you. You can easily get overwhelmed by stats, not understanding the metrics that really matter. All this data is worthless unless you count the numbers that really make a difference.

The Internet is enormous – you can achieve scale rather quickly and fairly easy. As easy as you might make the mistake to chase volume over meaning. If you want to attract a quality audience should you try to use every SEO trick in the book or facilitate an engaged community? If you want to make money with your site, should you deploy many slide shows and photo galleries with low value or engage through high value content?

People love to do stuff on the Internet. The best metrics are often those that relate to people doing what the Internet is best at – interacting. Unfortunately, humans are extremely complex, so the way in which we measure it can be over-simplified. Just look at click-through rates. The average is now 0.1% or lower. You could say that out of 1,000 impressions served, at least 1 person was clicking. Buy gazillions of impressions and you can get thousands of people to click. Or, you could say that 0.1% means, 99.9% of people didn’t care about ad and your work is an utter failure.

Some say banner ads don’t work at all. Or they are not working hard enough. Putting them in the right context makes sense, making them bigger and more intrusive definitely not. They should be more useful and relevant. When I see an ad that tells me the Hollywood Bowl will start individual ticket sales tomorrow at 10am, that would be useful. Good targeting works fairly well. Still, we are in danger of attributing everything to the last click, and very little to any other form of effect, or to any brand-influence or other communications the customer may have been exposed to. We tried solve that attribution challenge, the pace is too slow for my taste. Too many digital campaigns are measured on soft and unimportant metrics. It is not all about the click, and the last click is certainly not everything.

So, next time you report on campaign numbers, don’t go for the shiny number. Data tells a complex story. My guess is, you’re stopping at page three. Dig deeper.

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Let’s be honest here: Customers suck. They always want more, demand things you never thought about and expect too much. And it gets even worse: Those silly customers now have tools to connect with us directly. They expect you to explain flight delays of 2 minutes, share with their friends that the coffee they ordered was 2 degrees hotter than expected or just create sites that bitch about your hard work. Life would be so much better without any customers, wouldn’t it? No complain letters, no legal threats – just doing your job.

Your dream just came true: I’ll show you ways customers will hate you. And leave you for good.

No, it’s not a pipe dream, not some fantasy. Below are ways to make sure you never have to deal with customers again. Let’s get going, I want to make sure your dream comes true as soon as you desire.

1. When you develop communication for your company, make sure to include images like this.

meeting

It communicates clearly that you’re lying. You don’t respect the intelligence of your customers. Listen, we all know meetings like that never happen. But you claim your company is that haven of collaboration, creativity and empathy. Communicating to your customers you are a liar.

Perfect.

A bunch of customers will never come back. Saving you a lot of money for marketing and loyalty efforts.

2. Force people to watch your videos.

Don’t you hate it when you go to sites and you have to sit through 30 seconds of video before you can go to the real content? Your customers feel the same way. To lose customers by the thousands, make sure to increase the length of the video to 60 seconds, add a sign-up form and hide the “close’ button. You are a champ.

3. Upsell. Everywhere. Anywhere. All the time.

So, that silly customer of yours decided to buy your product. They researched, they filled the shopping cart and now they want to check out. Why would you make it easy for them by asking for minimum information to finalize the deal? Let them jump through hoops: Ask them if they want to bundle that product with something unrelated, force them to sign up for newsletters, gift wraps – anything to slow them down. Anything to make sure they’ll never complete the purchasing process. One less customer to deal with.

4. Make sure your keyword buys are not relevant.

Let’s say you’re selling expensive candles. They smell nice, they illuminate the room. You could buy relevant keywords like “emotional candles” or “beautiful candles” or “anniversary gifts”. Why bother? Just buy “cheap candles” and “lights”. Your bounce rate will go through the roof, your effectiveness drop and your sales vanish. Added benefit: You can proclaim “SEM doesn’t work” and fire that pesky SEM/SEO dude.

5. Work with ad networks that allow you to use pop-ups

You get a guaranteed impression that doesn’t work and annoy the customer for sure. Bingo. Oh, added benefit: You can proclaim: “Display advertising doesn’t work” and finally fire your agency. Thank me later.

6. Use your social media platforms as push marketing tools

So, your little Social Media boy worked hard to get you thousands of followers. The fool that he is. He’s all happy and full of himself. Kick him in the knee caps by enforcing the following policy: We will post sales messages every hour on the hour. We don’t answer any questions. We just use these platforms as another megaphone.

See your followers/fans count drop by the hour. Take that, Social Media boy. Added benefit: Well, you know.

7. Make sure to implement animated buttons

They will certainly be the most hated part of your customer experience. And make them pray to be blind. Make sure to use as many animated buttons as possible and you won’t have any customers left.

8. Make sure to force customers to register

To be really efficient in your customer-deletion tactic, make sure to force them to fill out a form before they purchase your product. Even better: before they can go to any content. As you know, customers can’t wait to be part of your CRM system, they want to be contacted based on your agenda. Not based on their desires and needs.

9. Advertise on a site that makes you sit through loading of ads until the real content appears

Some sites have more than 10 display ads. It takes time to call all these ad servers and load the ads. Make sure you’re the last in line because customers were waiting for content and now you made them wait for your silly ad. Perfect. Another customer lost.

10. Ensure that your customers become the slave of your media strategy

Your customers live in the mobile world but you force them to go through your site? Perfect. Make it even better by forcing your customers to have Flash on their mobile device: Awesome, all your iPhone customers will disappear. You’re the man.

When you followed all these steps, you should be left with no customers. You executed the plan flawlessly. Congratulations!

You’re on your own now. Good luck.

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Is it going to location-based marketing? Hyper-local marketing? Google+? Facebook’s timeline? Twitter ads? Social Search? What about the convergence of mobile and social? Touchscreen computing?

Clients ask me that question all the time and my answer remains the same:

Nobody knows what the next big thing is going to be. Nobody. More importantly, you shouldn’t be concerned about it. We haven’t even figured out the basics of digital marketing yet.

Let’s be frank here: The only working tactic working in the digital space is SEM. Measurable, scalable and tied back to your basic ROI. Once you leave the SEM area, digital marketers continue to work in the Wild West. We still haven’t worked out how to engage with customer through display advertising. Instead, we try to try work the attribution and measurement game:

“The metrics are all wrong.”

“It’s not about the last click.”

All true but it doesn’t instill any confidence in our clients when we sell our arsenal of digital tools with a major asterisk attached to them.

We need to fix digital marketing from scratch.

SEM/SEO? Check

Display advertising? Clearly, we need to start from scratch. We have optimized the delivery of ad units to customers but the creative side of the equation continues to be abysmal. The declining click-through rates are proof of that.

Social Media? Most companies have still not understood the power of Social Media. 95% of marketing efforts on social platforms continue to be megaphone-style, mass marketing efforts. Cutting down the power of Social Marketing to almost nothing.

Location-based marketing? Coupons are nice but they are not the be-all and end-all of location-based marketing strategies. By focusing on pure coupon play, you’re missing out in great opportunities.

The next big thing is already there.

Actually, there are many next big things. You’re just not using them properly yet. You’re not innovating enough using all these new platforms.

The majority of brands act like little children riding a bike on training wheels. After a few minutes, they get off the bike and ask: “When can I drive a car?”

Let’s try to ride the bike properly first.

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Let’s be honest here: Customers suck. They always want more, demand things you never thought about and expect too much. And it gets even worse: Those silly customers now have tools to connect with us directly. They expect you to explain flight delays of 2 minutes, share with their friends that the coffee they ordered was 2 degrees hotter than expected or just create sites that bitch about your hard work. Life would be so much better without any customers, wouldn’t it? No complain letters, no legal threats – just doing your job.

Your dream just came true: I’ll show you ways customers will hate you. And leave you for good.

No, it’s not a pipe dream, not some fantasy. Below are ways to make sure you never have to deal with customers again. Let’s get going, I want to make sure your dream comes true as soon as you desire.

1. When you develop communication for your company, make sure to include images like this.

meeting

It communicates clearly that you’re lying. You don’t respect the intelligence of your customers. Listen, we all know meetings like that never happen. But you claim your company is that haven of collaboration, creativity and empathy. Communicating to your customers you are a liar.

Perfect.

A bunch of customers will never come back. Saving you a lot of money for marketing and loyalty efforts.

2. Force people to watch your videos.

Don’t you hate it when you go to sites and you have to sit through 30 seconds of video before you can go to the real content? Your customers feel the same way. To lose customers by the thousands, make sure to increase the length of the video to 60 seconds, add a sign-up form and hide the “close’ button. You are a champ.

3. Upsell. Everywhere. Anywhere. All the time.

So, that silly customer of yours decided to buy your product. They researched, they filled the shopping cart and now they want to check out. Why would you make it easy for them by asking for minimum information to finalize the deal? Let them jump through hoops: Ask them if they want to bundle that product with something unrelated, force them to sign up for newsletters, gift wraps – anything to slow them down. Anything to make sure they’ll never complete the purchasing process. One less customer to deal with.

4. Make sure your keyword buys are not relevant.

Let’s say you’re selling expensive candles. They smell nice, they illuminate the room. You could buy relevant keywords like “emotional candles” or “beautiful candles” or “anniversary gifts”. Why bother? Just buy “cheap candles” and “lights”. Your bounce rate will go through the roof, your effectiveness drop and your sales vanish. Added benefit: You can proclaim “SEM doesn’t work” and fire that pesky SEM/SEO dude.

5. Work with ad networks that allow you to use pop-ups

You get a guaranteed impression that doesn’t work and annoy the customer for sure. Bingo. Oh, added benefit: You can proclaim: “Display advertising doesn’t work” and finally fire your agency. Thank me later.

6. Use your social media platforms as push marketing tools

So, your little Social Media boy worked hard to get you thousands of followers. The fool that he is. He’s all happy and full of himself. Kick him in the knee caps by enforcing the following policy: We will post sales messages every hour on the hour. We don’t answer any questions. We just use these platforms as another megaphone.

See your followers/fans count drop by the hour. Take that, Social Media boy. Added benefit: Well, you know.

7. Make sure to implement animated buttons

They will certainly be the most hated part of your customer experience. And make them pray to be blind. Make sure to use as many animated buttons as possible and you won’t have any customers left.

8. Make sure to force customers to register

To be really efficient in your customer-deletion tactic, make sure to force them to fill out a form before they purchase your product. Even better: before they can go to any content. As you know, customers can’t wait to be part of your CRM system, they want to be contacted based on your agenda. Not based on their desires and needs.

9. Advertise on a site that makes you sit through loading of ads until the real content appears

Some sites have more than 10 display ads. It takes time to call all these ad servers and load the ads. Make sure you’re the last in line because customers were waiting for content and now you made them wait for your silly ad. Perfect. Another customer lost.

10. Ensure that your customers become the slave of your media strategy

Your customers live in the mobile world but you force them to go through your site? Perfect. Make it even better by forcing your customers to have Flash on their mobile device: Awesome, all your iPhone customers will disappear. You’re the man.

When you followed all these steps, you should be left with no customers. You executed the plan flawlessly. Congratulations!

You’re on your own now. Good luck.


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Not a day goes by without a digital marketer complaining about their flying experience: delays, cancellations, lost luggage. Sure, flying is no fun. Being treated like a herd of sheep , forced to sit in cramped quarters – well, I don’t have to tell you the sordid details.

Running an airline is a complex venture.

It’s about maths and probabilities. An aircraft seat is the most perishable product of any commodity going: Once the aircraft takes off, the seat is empty, you’ll never recover it again. It’s gone forever. You have to deal with the economic climate, gazillion of vendors, thousand of employees, circumstances you can’t control (Weather, political environment – you name it).

Considering this complexity, it’s a miracle that United Airlines had an on-time performance of 91.4% in November 2010. (Yes, I know, they are padding the schedule. Still.) It’s amazing that only 1 in 8,000,000 aircrafts crash.

Running a campaign and Social Media initiative is complex, too.

But, it can’t be compared to the complexity of running an airline. And, how many things are going wrong each and every day? Wrong creative, creative that misses the target, trafficking nightmares, planning horror scenarios, failed banner campaigns, wrong success metrics for SEM campaigns, sub-par SEO, failed Social Marketing initiatives, mini sites more focused on showcasing the agency, not conversion, and, and, and…

How come we have these high expectations for complex enterprises (airlines, automotive companies, hotels) but we don’t expect the same from our work? Why do we live with all the things that are going wrong in our own area of expertise but tend to complain about minor problems of other businesses, using our Social Media bullhorn?

I’m all for constructive criticism. I’m for helping companies improve the customer experience. (And I’m not defending airlines at all. There’s a lot of work to be done on their end.) But we have stop feeling entitled to complain about every little detail. Or even use our “status” in the Social Media world to force companies to deal with us.

Too often, it reminds me of the boy who cried “wolf”. When the real wolf finally showed up, nobody listened.

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One of the keys to being successful in the marketplace is to be findable. For many companies that translates into trying to be everywhere. It speaks to the old broadcasting mentality of filling every empty minute, space and sound wave with messages. And so companies have presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Foursquare and and and. Mostly coupled with a weak infrastructure to support all these platforms, presences and initiatives.

These unfocused efforts often lead to deserted fad islands and empty bandwagons.

It’s more valuable to each stakeholder to identify first where your audience is and will be in the future. Join them in the best way you can. Take a long, hard look at your real capacity to add value to a platform. If all you be is mediocre, stay away. Build your infrastructure first and then join your audience. Not the other way around.

Your marketing shouldn’t be run by Google and SEO lords whispering in your ear to build more and more places and links. Your marketing should be run by the desire to provide something special and valuable.

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A few months ago, I caught the bicycle fever. I had to ride my bicycle, had to train other muscles in my body than just the brain. I looked inside the garage and saw my bike: dusty, flat tires and just not very happy being left alone for such a long time. Ok, time for a little bicycle spa treatment. Oh no, don’t get me start working on that stuff. I will mess it up. Two left hands can’t work miracles. So, I drove down to the bike shop and asked them for help. I was expecting a major bill: New tires, new brakes, tuning – the whole enchilada.

The owner looked at the bicycle and said: “Give me 20 minutes and I’ll have it ready for you.” I grabbed a cup of coffee and returned 20 minutes later. There was my new old bicycle: sparkling, oiled and ready to race the world. When I asked the owner how much I owed him, he said: “Nothing.” I said “No, I owe you something. You worked on it.” And he answered “Look, it took me 5 minutes to fix your bike and I’m not going to charge you for it. All I ask is that you think of me next time you have a major repair or intend to buy a new bicycle.”

That moment I became the biggest fan of this bike shop. And all of us can learn so much from his marketing strategy. He wasn’t looking to make a quick buck. He’s building a real business. A brand I want to share with everyone. His brand mission: Do the best work, be honest and trust me. The bike store next door can be 50% cheaper. I won’t even look at them. He has my loyalty for the rest of my life. It’s plain brilliant. We all have stories about handymen, small shops that survive by ripping you off. And we’ve seen the local news revealing the seedy business practices of small shops. He just stomped the competition with his brand positioning. We’re not going to screw you.

What does this have to do with marketing?

4 months ago, I had a meeting with a prospective client. They were interested in SEO, SEM, banner ads, some Social Marketing. Problem is, we don’t do SEO, SEM and banner ads. And, we don’t do the typical Twitter/Facebook Social Marketing. We want to understand business issues and help to solve them. We don’t believe in quick fixes, fancy campaigns to cover up problems. Still, some clients need quick fixes and can’t focus on holistic solutions right now.

That’s understandable. There are business challenges that need to be addressed now. There are shareholder and sales imperatives. And there are deadlines. We could do it. But we wouldn’t be the best solution for the immediate problem.

So, we offered them to help find the right partner for the immediate challenges. We gave business away. Money we could have used to reinvest in our company.

But, did we give business away?

We started to develop a real relationship based on trust. We invested a lot of time to help this client. Never saw a dime. And it felt so good.

We became trusted advisors and skipped the supplier/vendor stage. It’s a different relationship. We’re here to help you. Nothing else. They trusted us like I trust the bicycle shop.

Which is why they called us today. To talk about business strategy for 2011.

We’re building a business here. Not a short-term profit center.