ReveNews http://www.revenews.com Discussion of Online Marketing, SEM, Social Media, Mobile and Video, Micro-Content, and Affiliate Marketing Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:07:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Using Analytics To Motivate Consumer Interaction Across Devices http://www.revenews.com/online-marketing/using-analytics-motivate-consumer-interaction-across-devices/ http://www.revenews.com/online-marketing/using-analytics-motivate-consumer-interaction-across-devices/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:07:38 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17598 Rowan Atkinson, star of the “Mr. Bean” movies, said that, “marketing is what gets you noticed.” That may be enough for the film industry, but any executive of a company that sells products knows that marketing needs to translate into …

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Rowan Atkinson, star of the “Mr. Bean” movies, said that, “marketing is what gets you noticed.” That may be enough for the film industry, but any executive of a company that sells products knows that marketing needs to translate into sales. In this day of mobile technology, WiFi everywhere, and unlimited data plans, metric tracking is simple. What you do with the information is another matter.

Website traffic tracking

Marketing Analytics Versus Financial Metrics

Marketing data draws on the number of times that a prospect sees a particular marketing message. It focuses on brand recognition and awareness. The use of marketing metrics has been criticized as unrealistic and impractical. A new suggestion coming out of the business world is to blend marketing metrics with those of finance. By doing so, the marketing information can be strategically honed to yield tangible sales and sales opportunities.

What researchers are finding is that the metric orientation, which gives consumer patterns that are specific to the company, are more useful that general managerial characteristics of sales. Make sure that you are collecting data that is useful for your industry and business. Knowing the number of website page views means nothing; your analytical tool needs to help you to understand the value of each page view, which will then translate into sales or service delivery.

Get Sticky

The age of technology has made the consumer more and more active in the supply and demand chain. More importantly, the consumers do not know how active they are. Mobile tech does things that we once thought was the realm of science fiction. Looking at smartphones and tablets, many contain functions that users do not understand or use. While applications on tablets offer a great way to market and track analytics, pulling behavior data from applications that are kitsch can be dangerous. With unlimited data plans, a user can allow an app to run indefinitely without actually engaging with the product.

Instead of looking for stagnant data like page hits, analyze your brand’s stickiness across mediums. Stickiness is the longitudinal strength of a change in the attitude of a consumer towards your company. If your company is sticky, then a small amount of advertising will easily remind a consumer of your brand appeal. The stickiness metric translates well into long term sales.

Get Them Moving

Metric analysis must show causality or a definitive lack thereof. Marketing’s goal is to move people towards a cause. This relationship is best seen in the film industry where marketing has a rapid pre-release/release phase and a protracted digital sales phase. Name recognition for movies is simply not enough. The film industry, relying heavily on social media advertising, uses nodal transaction analysis. Each node is a user or potential consumer and each connecting line is the media message being delivered. In some cases, the lines go in the opposite directions, indicating that a conflicting media message is being sent. This metric analysis allows filmmakers the ability to track the flow of positive response versus negative and change the marketing mix accordingly.

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Doing Business That Matters http://www.revenews.com/internet-marketing/business-that-matters/ http://www.revenews.com/internet-marketing/business-that-matters/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:52:00 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17573 Ever since 1974 when Carr & Associates International, an organization owned by John Carr, started the first popular case of Cause Marketing, this phenomenon has continued to grow in leaps and bounds all around the world. Cause Marketing is simply …

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Ever since 1974 when Carr & Associates International, an organization owned by John Carr, started the first popular case of Cause Marketing, this 122020phenomenon has continued to grow in leaps and bounds all around the world. Cause Marketing is simply explained as any marketing effort made for the purpose of social and charitable causes. It is also referred to as Cause-related marketing and it involves the mutual cooperation between a profitable and non profitable organization to promote various causes and business that matters.

I incorporate both Cause Marketing and Corporate in my company, Affiliate Mission.  The difference is that the former covers a lot besides money donation while the latter is based on specific donations which are tax  deductible. The benefits of this type of marketing to both the company, non-profit organization and the general populace are numerous. Below are convincing reasons that will encourage your company’s participation in Cause Marketing.

Very Positive Public Relations

The impact of a very good perception of your company by the general populace is something money alone cannot buy. This is because both your present & potential consumers and even workers will all be drawn from this general populace. In fact, a study in 2006 by Cone Millennial found out that more than 80 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 & 25 would pick a brand which is associated with a good cause out of different of such with the same function and cost. The same research also revealed that a large percentage of people covered by the survey would also prefer to work with a company with a well known good cause.

Improved Customer Relations

Relationship between people is always stronger and better improved when they tend to have more in common. Cause marketing by your company will give you the opportunity to have more than a seller-buyer relationship with your customers. You will give them more utility, by them having it in back of their mind that a proportion of their spent money is used on a good cause. Your company can even motivate your customers and engage them directly in these causes especially in ones that involve direct human participation. You will be surprised at how the graph of your company’s customer relations and satisfaction will soar in a very short period of time.

Additional Marketing Opportunities

This type of marketing also creates a very effective channel to market your business, products and services. Most times companies pick a cause which is related to the products or services they render. For example a packaged water manufacturing company can partner with the government agency responsible for water resources to help in constructing water plants in areas suffering from water scarcity. By this you can easily increase your brand awareness and visibility. You could use the organization’s name, logo and other insignia in your campaigns while the organization could use your own in their events, press releases, websites and lots more.

More Profit

More returns to your company will come as a result of the improved public perception, better customer relations and the use of the additional marketing opportunities. Cause marketing might cost you a lot but it will sure gain you lots more. The American Express can testify to this, they recorded 17 % and 28 % increase both in new users and card users respectively as a result of their Cause marketing.

With all the points raised above, there is never a better time to engage your company in Cause marketing for business that matters. Tomorrow might be too late, the benefits are right there waiting for you to come and get them.

 

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Two Mistakes that Will Derail Content Marketing http://www.revenews.com/internet-marketing/two-mistakes-will-derail-content-marketing/ http://www.revenews.com/internet-marketing/two-mistakes-will-derail-content-marketing/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:55:01 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17501 “Having good content on your website is an important factor in gaining credibility, trust and ultimately sales from the people who visit your site.” This statement provides the lead for a story on The Guardian’s Small Business Network and sums …

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Don't derail content marketing“Having good content on your website is an important factor in gaining credibility, trust and ultimately sales from the people who visit your site.” This statement provides the lead for a story on The Guardian’s Small Business Network and sums up what every business should be looking to achieve with their content marketing strategy. The problem is, too many small businesses get all jazzed up over content marketing without really knowing what it is or what it can accomplish for them. They read about it on the Internet, there is no lack of “content” that covers content marketing; they see the statistics and they see the potential it has but then they go ahead and take a wrong turn somewhere and their strategy falls apart. So let’s take a look at some of the most common ways small-medium sized businesses sabotage their own content marketing efforts.

The wrong people creating content for marketing

There was a time when content creation followed the “more is better” mantra. If you could crank out blog posts and guest posts everyday you were doing a good job. This provided a steady stream of income for content mills to crank out 300 word posts provided by writers who were making as little as 5 to 15 dollars per piece of content. These writers might know next to nothing about your business or products but they were providing your business with content that was supposed to strengthen your brand and educate your customers.

Instead of looking to create content on the cheap, businesses need to look to create content that works. Some businesses find themselves dedicating people who are current employees towards content creation. They are familiar with the products and they know the business. This works rather well in many cases, but not everyone who knows your business can write well. To avoid poorly written content businesses can work with a reputable service to have content written and created. They will charge a great deal more than five dollars for a blog post, but they will get it right. Make sure that they either have an expert in your field writing for them or they are willing to spend time with someone on your staff to learn what they need to know about your brand and products.

No call to action

The other reason the wheels often fall off a content marketing campaign is that when the visitor is done consuming content they aren’t directed anywhere. In one study it was found that 72 percent of small business websites don’t have any calls to action on their interior pages. That is unacceptable but it is understandable.

Businesses are often warned that content used in content marketing should not be advertorial in nature. It should inform the reader, thus building the reader’s confidence in the brand so that they will become a customer.

A call to action doesn’t have to be an advertisement, it can be a subtle nudge to register for additional information or connect with a business through a social network. Calls to action can even point to products in the catalog without lessening the quality of the content like Water Damage Defense does. They simply mention some of their products that contain the feature their content is talking about providing the reader with an easy way to make a purchase without losing trust.

Content marketing works because it helps decision makers and customers make better decisions about what they are buying, but it only works for your business if you take the time and dedicate the resources necessary to be successful.

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Don’t Overlook Images in Content Marketing http://www.revenews.com/internet-marketing/dont-overlook-images-content-marketing/ http://www.revenews.com/internet-marketing/dont-overlook-images-content-marketing/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:25:15 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17561 Mention content marketing nowadays and you can safely assume that people are thinking of articles and blog posts. That is because these are the tactics most often used by businesses as a part of their content marketing strategy.

According to …

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eyes-overlookMention content marketing nowadays and you can safely assume that people are thinking of articles and blog posts. That is because these are the tactics most often used by businesses as a part of their content marketing strategy.

According to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks report these are the five most commonly used tactics:

  • Social media, other than blogs – used by 87 percent of all respondents
  • Articles on the company website – used by 81 percent of all respondents
  • eNewsletters – used by 80 percent of all respondents
  • Blogs – used by 76 percent of all respondents
  • In-person events – used by 76 percent of all respondents

Unfortunately, with the exception of infographics, images and pictures did not make the list. Could it be that most people don’t think images work as content marketing? It’s quite possible, but when you consider the fact that videos, infographics and games all made the list it is hard to make a case for images to be left out in the cold. It’s easier to assume that people just forget about images because they are just a part of written content.

The worth of a picture

We all know that a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but let’s take a look at some more quantifiable statistics to prove the point.

In a blog post on his site Jeff Bullas provides six reasons why images should be incorporated as part of the marketing strategy:

  • Articles with images get 94 percent more total views
  • Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent
  • 60 percent of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  • On an ecommerce site, 67 percent of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • Customers shopping in an online store think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63 percent), a long description (54 percent) and ratings and reviews (53 percent)
  • The engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37 percent where text only is 0.27 percent (this translates to a 37 percent higher level of engagement for photos over text)

So if you are still not using images as part of your content marketing strategy, then quite frankly you’re doing it wrong.

Doin’ it well

It’s relatively easy to slap a picture into the middle of a blog post’s text, but is that really more effective?

Images should be used to compliment, and break up, long form content. If the piece of written content exceeds 700 words two or more images can really help keep the reader engaged; if the images are relevant that is. Longer content would obviously benefit from more images; and if a chart or graph can be used to represent the data mentioned in the content all the better.

But what about images as a stand-alone marketing tactic, can that work? Take a look at this page on the smokeymountains.com site and see how effective their collection of nighttime images is.

So the next time you are preparing a piece of content for publication, remember these simple words from Jeff Shjarback, an Internet Marketing Consultant/Manager, “By placing one well taken, well conceived, and well thought out picture, a piece of content marketing can draw in many more viewers and potential customers than a simple article or word laden ad may.”

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A-B Email Testing Basics http://www.revenews.com/e-mail/b-email-testing-basics/ http://www.revenews.com/e-mail/b-email-testing-basics/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 22:15:16 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17505 With spam emails being such a problem you would think that email marketing should be dead by now. Not only are the nice shiny email appliances that IT departments install blocking out emails that look like they are advertisements, but …

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Email TestingWith spam emails being such a problem you would think that email marketing should be dead by now. Not only are the nice shiny email appliances that IT departments install blocking out emails that look like they are advertisements, but the recipients themselves are becoming immune to the noise that an abundance of email email creates.

But consider these facts:

      • Email marketing spending grows 10% year over year.
      • For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
      • 82% of consumers open emails from companies.
      • 27% of consumers were more likely to say their favorite companies should invest in more email marketing

When you see statistics like this you might wonder why more businesses aren’t using email as a marketing strategy.

One thought is that small-medium sized businesses don’t quite know what works when it comes to building a list or sending out effective marketing emails. This can be addressed through some basic A/B testing. Not only will this exercise help a small business fine tune their basic email marketing strategy, but it will give them a foundation on which they can eventually build on.

To get started with A/B testing it is best to undergo an extremely simple test to get your feet wet. One way to do this is to test which type of call to action will work best for your email campaign.

The simple approach

Building a list can be as easy as including a call to action on the bottom of a piece of content on your website. Take Trophy Central as an example, a small graphic with a link to their sign up page is all they use to capture contact information. The reader knows exactly what they are signing up for so the lead is already going through a basic pre-qualification. There are no promises of free gifts, discounts or anything else that might convince someone who isn’t interested into signing up.

Dressing it up with incentives

Other companies opt for a more glamorous approach to their call to action. They offer incentives that are delivered immediately in return for the visitor’s email address. Maybe they enter the visitor into a raffle or they provide them with a report or white paper that can provide useful information. Others use coupons and savings as an incentive to sign up. The drawback to this you have to wonder how many people are signing up because they want to hear back from you in the future or if they simply want what you are offering as an incentive.

Email testing

The simplest way to find out which method works best for your business is to perform a basic A/B test. First, measure how many emails you are able to obtain with each method. To keep the results a pure as possible, find a tool that allows you to rotate the two different calls to action so that they are both displayed an equal number of times on the same content.

Once you have your two lists segmented, one captured from the basic call to action and the other that used incentives, begin pushing out your newsletter or other emails. Now start measuring the following from each list and compare:

      • Number, or percentage, or subscribers
      • Open rates
      • Unsubscribe rates
      • Conversions

Once you are comfortable with the method that works better for your business you can start thinking of ways to increase your sales using emails. Different A/B tests can be set up to track the performance of sales and incentives in the newsletter, different newsletter formats or even different types of content. The key is to get comfortable with a couple of easy tests before you move on to the more sophisticated ones.

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Declining Facebook Reach and What it Means for your Business http://www.revenews.com/social-media/declining-facebook-reach-means-business/ http://www.revenews.com/social-media/declining-facebook-reach-means-business/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 16:29:18 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17519 Even though you may not realise it, Facebook’s organic reach has been constantly falling since the arrival of the site in 2007. However, in the last 12-18 months there has been a considerable fall in rank, far more aggressive than …

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Even though you may not realise it, Facebook’s organic reach has been constantly falling since the arrival of the site in 2007. However, in the last 12-18 months there has been a considerable fall in rank, far more aggressive than any period prior.

According to Valley Wag, Facebook is about to snip organic reach of posts to followers to 1-2%. To place this in context, Facebook Reach according to the company itself was around 16% in mid – 2012 and at the time that was considered astonishingly low. Since then reports have shown considerable falls, with reach at just over 6% in February 2014.

Facebook thumb

Declining Facebook Reach

Needless to say this is quite irksome for companies who have put a lot of effort into growing their Facebook fans in recent years. In essence, it means that unless you’re willing to spend money on promoting posts and advertising your posts will only reach around 10 people per 1,000 of those you have as fans.

All this is quite daunting – to be honest we’d imagine most people who have heard of this significant reduction in reach may ask the question, ‘what’s the point?’ Why spend a few hours a week pursuing followers when only a minimal percentage will actually see what your brand is up to?

Facebook’s Argument

Needless to say Facebook has come out all guns blazing. Zuckerberg and co have defended the drop in reach saying that although organic reach is lower, you can still reach plenty of people via the new model. Industry experts also justify it, arguing Facebook has to make money somehow.

The fact of the matter is that those who are willing to spend money promoting to their fans will reach them and those that won’t pay wont. There’s no doubt that initially at least a lot will go against the grain and refuse to advertise on Facebook – seeing it as the company taking advantage after people have spent so much time and effort growing their social media reach.

The Early Adopters Benefit

However, because it’s inevitable that the majority will pay for posts eventually, those that adopt early will be the ones that will benefit when there’s less competition for ads. In turn, these companies will be the ones that will benefit from reach, social signals and see their posts come up in even more newsfeeds.

In fact, according to Moz’s blog a company that spends around $1 a day on advertisements will be positioned in front of 4,000 people that otherwise wouldn’t even know you existed. Now, if you’re willing to spend a little and your competitors aren’t, then you’re at a significant advantage.

In addition, Facebook adverts are by far the cheapest way to reach people – especially where newspapers and other traditional forms of media are concerned. The same Moz blog shows that while it costs $32 to get in front of 1,000 people via newspaper and $7 on a cable TV channel; Facebook costs a mere $0.25c for the same exposure. The figures speak for themselves to be honest.

Pay to Play

So, the answer to the question is becoming clearer. The situation at the moment is, Facebook organic reach is soon almost negligible and soon it’s going to be a pay to play option for business. And though that might seem unfair, that’s the way it’s going to be. However, the saving grace is that if you’re willing to pay a little it can work to a positive degree.

Targeted advert campaigns from Facebook’s increasingly advanced system can really work well if done even reasonably correctly. And though Facebook adverts seem like an extra cost, they’re an investment in the vast majority of cases and result in you making money overall. In short, those that don’t spend are going to miss out and those that are willing to pay even a little are going to win.

Needless to say the traditional advice that goes with organic posts applies for paid options too. There does tend to often be a habit of people believing that just because an option is paid for success is inevitable. However, this is not the case.

The Same Rules Apply

In recent times we’ve seen a number of Facebook mishaps hit the stage on a very public level – some were organic, some were promoted. In addition, there tend to be a number of mistakes that companies and people make time and time again – also to be noted and avoided.

Of course, this sort of reach can also be of great benefit as it allows you a large audience to get creative on and make more of Facebook with. However, beware the caveats of taking too many risks too.

Facebook’s reining in of organic reach was inevitable, however with a little social media savvy and a plan of action you can make more of it.

So, grasp the opportunity.

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Using Data to Create Content http://www.revenews.com/internet-strategy/using-data-create-content/ http://www.revenews.com/internet-strategy/using-data-create-content/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 21:05:20 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17495 For years the mantra, “Content is king,” has resounded in the ears of every online marketer. Content attracts traffic and customers, it drives social sharing and it builds/strengthens a company’s brand. It is what makes online marketing move.

Every great …

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Content is kingFor years the mantra, “Content is king,” has resounded in the ears of every online marketer. Content attracts traffic and customers, it drives social sharing and it builds/strengthens a company’s brand. It is what makes online marketing move.

Every great leader has someone working behind the scenes that takes the leaders ideas, strengths and charisma and molds it into the public face. For King Content that person behind the scenes is data. How so? Let’s take a peek at how data can impact this reign.

 

Building a better blog post

In post from SingleGrain Digital Marketing titled “5 Simple Techniques to Improve Lead Generation” shows how a simple and free tool for measuring data can be used to improve the foundation of content marketing, the blog post.

Using the metrics provided by Google Analytics businesses can find:

  • Which blog posts are capturing more views
  • Which posts are converting visitors
  • Which posts are engaging visitors, and for how long
  • Where the visitors are coming from, and which ones are converting at higher rates

With this information at hand, marketing can easily craft future posts to meet specific goals. If social shares are the goal and posts with embedded video have the highest metrics in that category, then they know what type of content is needed. If an educational post converts at a higher rate than a list, then more in depth content might be called for.

Trends

Trends vary from platform to platform. What catches traction on Twitter might not be as appealing on Facebook or Google +.  So if traffic from Google + converts at a higher rate than the other social media sites the type of content created should match these trends, if conversions are the end goal.

Steve Rayson from Social Media Today showed how this type of data can be captured, and analyzed using BuzzSumo. This research tool allows marketing professionals to not only see what the hot topics are across the different platforms, but also information that can help them:

  • Create and curate content
  • Research articles and content
  • Develop headlines
  • Analyze the competition

Marketers often find themselves asking what type of content is the most effective and which kind doesn’t work?

The reason data is so important, and effective, at giving businesses the edge in content marketing is because there is no clear-cut answer to that question. Every business, brand and product is different. What if effective for company A selling widgets might turn off customers that buy gadgets from company B.

Rusty Frioux, managing principal of DataClear explained how to best use data analytics to drive the right type of content, “Look at your content publishing as a way to test ideas. Use analytics to understand which content has the greatest readership and why. Then let that insight guide your strategy.”

Marketers should view every piece of content as a test. If the content fails to achieve the desired goal, let it guide future content development as a non-example. If it knocks it out of the park, use that information to help mold content in that vein. Once it is no longer effective, the data will let you know and by then you should already have metrics on the type of content that will take its place.

 

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The Worst Marketing Campaigns of 2013: Why They Failed http://www.revenews.com/viral-marketing/the-worst-marketing-campaigns-of-2013/ http://www.revenews.com/viral-marketing/the-worst-marketing-campaigns-of-2013/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:33:42 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17480 With so many advertisers competing for our attention across so many platforms, it’s little surprise that in the race to stand out, a few brands will go over the edge of edginess into the uncharted regions of alienation and even …

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With so many advertisers competing for our attention across so many platforms, it’s little surprise that in the race to stand out, a few brands will go over the edge of edginess into the uncharted regions of alienation and even offensiveness. Here’s a look at four marketing campaigns who launched Titanic-level disasters throughout 2013:

the titanic marketing campaign disasters of 2013

Don’t lean on mean: Pepsi Max

A little schadenfreude can go a long way, when used sparingly: advertisers can whip up a sense of identity among audiences by gently poking fun at a common foe. Unfortunately, Pepsi buried the needle to the max when it unfurled a series of World Cup tie-in ads in which Portuguese football villain, Cristiano Ronaldo, is about to be killed in voodoo-doll effigy.

Although Pepsi pulled the ads, it was too little too late for damage control (it didn’t help that Ronaldo’s team won the match the ads were anticipating). Lesson learned? Playful teasing is one thing, but even a truly mean spirit may alienate audiences. If Pepsi wanted to push the envelope that far, it should have used its deep pockets to get Ronaldo on board in the spots.

Sometimes there IS such a thing as bad publicity: Ford Figo

If Pepsi pushed the envelope, JWT India’s commercial, for the new Ford Figo, gave the envelope cement shoes and threw it into the East River. Riffing on Ford’s “Leave your worries behind” slogan, the spot featured notorious Italian Prime Minister, media mogul, and scandal sheet regular Silvio Berlusconi laughing over his shoulder from the wheel of a Figo — onto a triad of bound and gagged women sobbing in the trunk.

Where to begin? Even had the entire concept not been utterly tasteless, regardless of the “star” cameo, but inviting a man prosecuted for underage sex solicitation to appear as a kidnapper (at best)… What were they thinking? Skipping over “the White Knight”’s tax evasion indictments, wheeling out a contentious politico for surprise can give a product mileage — think of Louis Vuitton’s print ads featuring former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, despite minor controversy — but this is one ad that should have been scrapped on the factory floor.

Next time, try a dentist’s drill: K-Mart

K-Mart has done a crack job at elevating itself above its dogged status as Target’s older poor relation, successfully walking the line between sophomoric swagger and true humor with its previous “ship your pants” campaign. However, its holiday blitzkrieg “giffing” ad was a clear case of Cleanup in Aisle Seven.  The basic concept was as good as most: one understated suburban couple gawks as another are so excited by their K-Mart haul that they short-circuit into a loop of simulated gif file inane glee. So what went wrong?

Repetition, repetition, repetition. And also repetition. The central gif-loop was inexorably annoying to begin with, a water torture of reiterated titters (the fact that a real gif would have been silent doesn’t further K Mart’s marketing campaigns to seduce its marginally younger and techie-r target audience away from Target). To make matters worse, however, the K-Mart secured the ad to run on a number of internet-streamed programs, which meant that viewers were bombarded by an already bombastic bit.  By the time an episode of, say, The Daily Show rolled the titles, audiences were ready to confess to any crime. Next time, K Mart, remember that “infectious” isn’t always a good thing.

The Emperor’s New Chair: Facebook

You’d think Facebook would know how to reach out to people and be especially adept at talking about people reaching out to people. However, Facebook’s first-ever branding campaign was as socially savvy as a blonde joke at a NOW rally.

You’ve seen the set up in countless other commercials: a montage of burnished precious moments rolls out to the measured cadence of a pseudo-Satie piano etude. And all of the buildup is meant to climax with the campaign’s torture-rack extended metaphor: “Facebook is like a chair.”

Here we have a dictionary definition of style over substance. Strip away the familiar conventions of meaningfulness, and we’re left with a concept… An excruciatingly bad concept. When advertisers want to mount a campaign on a single idea, they’d better make sure its a good one.

Of course, we can all think of wildly successful brands and products whose very existence were decried as not-ready-for-prime-time upon their release. But provocative strategies and high-concept pushes must be coupled with clear messages and aimed at potentially receptive audiences. When advertisers turn up the volume for its own sake, the results can be disastrous.

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Link Building: Friend or Foe? http://www.revenews.com/seo/link-building-friend-foe/ http://www.revenews.com/seo/link-building-friend-foe/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:40:38 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17492 “When I first started (my) site nearly 3 years ago, my mentor told me lots of things I was doing were wrong. I should use my keywords more in creating content, I should use lots of color in creating my …

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chain-218900_640“When I first started (my) site nearly 3 years ago, my mentor told me lots of things I was doing were wrong. I should use my keywords more in creating content, I should use lots of color in creating my posts, and I shouldn’t worry about what I said, as long as I put up a lot of content. Luckily for me, I didn’t listen to my mentor beyond his technical advice because soon the world of Internet search changed dramatically.” Dr. Angela Hausman, marketing professor at Howard University and owner or Hausman & Associates.

Most anyone who has tried to improve their site’s ranking with the search engines have heard or read something eerily similar in the past. Some people might still be hearing the same advice today. Yet as anyone who has been around for a while knows, what worked yesterday to help rankings could get you a penalty tomorrow.

History of link building

In addition to advice about keyword density and content quantities, the practice of link building has drawn some serious ire over the past couple of years that has created a three-ring circus in the SEO and marketing world.

As we all know, backlinks were once considered votes for a site by the search engine algorithms. The more votes, the better the page did in the results – and the higher the page rank as a bonus. So to capture as many incoming links as possible SEOs started submitting links to directories. Then they started commenting on blogs and submitting guest posts to other sites, some of them without care for how well the post was written or how reputable the site that posted for them was. Soon the practice of commenting on other blogs and submitting to directory links was automated. Computers even took to writing blog posts as article spinning software could easily turn one article into 10 unique posts with the click of a button. Thankfully, this all came crashing down when Google started looking at the quality surrounding the link. Did it come from a quality site? Is the content surrounding it relevant and of high quality? Is the anchor text optimized or natural? All of these things were taken into consideration to help clean up the mess caused by the linking craze of just a few short years ago.

Cleanup

Many sites that existed but added no value soon withered up after Penguin update; while some pivoted their strategies and still limp along. Unfortunately, many good sites were also hurt by updates like Penguin. These sites had followed the advice of the experts and went on link building rampages to help their high quality sites rank as well as the spammy, low quality ones. In order to stay relevant after the fall, these sites were faced with the task of cleaning up their link profile in order restore their sites status after suffering from penalties doled out by the search engines.

The aftermath of updates like Penguin have still sent website reeling after almost two years. Unfortunately, it has also caused many sites to question backlinks altogether; whether they are handing them out or receiving them from other sources.

The truth is, backlinks will always be a good thing because links are what makes the Internet a web. They are a way to bring new people to your site, they are a way to cite sources and give credit and they are a way to strengthen your profile. But anytime they are used as a way to manipulate the search engines they will wind up doing damage.

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Social Media Manners for the Small Business Owner http://www.revenews.com/online-marketing/social-media-manners-small-business-owner/ http://www.revenews.com/online-marketing/social-media-manners-small-business-owner/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:49:36 +0000 http://www.revenews.com/?p=17412 The world of social media is relatively new. We don’t have decades of Miss Manners books to consult in order to tell us what to say and when to say it, and we often can’t ask our elders for advice …

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The world of social media is relatively new. We don’t have decades of Miss Manners books to consult in order to tell us what to say and when to say it, and we often can’t ask our elders for advice on what sort of conduct is acceptable when we’re online.

But, there are some basic rules about social media that most users seem to just know on a gut level. And if you break those rules as a small business owner, your consumers might easily leave you in order to give money to a competitor that seems just a tad savvier.

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Now, manners are personal, and I know that the things one consumer finds appealing might be the attributes another person simply hates. But in general, there are a few rules that the online community agrees upon, when it comes to social media. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Responsiveness is Key

When a consumer writes you a letter about a problem or pings you with an email message filled with words of concern, you typically have a day or two to gather your thoughts and come up with a clever response. But, if those consumers touch base with you via social media, they want an answer right now.

Consider this: In a recent study from CMO Council, 22 percent of consumers that that they want instant responses from companies when they use social media to reach out. Only 12 percent of consumers were willing to wait for a day or two to get an answer.

If you’re using social media, you must be right there to respond, and if you can’t, you should be looking into adding a few key employees who can handle the responsiveness issue for you.

2. Keep it Professional

Social media sites are, in general, chatty places in which participants share all sorts of things that they really should be keeping to themselves. If this sort of behavior is only marginally acceptable in teenagers and young adults, it’s never acceptable in a business setting. The bits of information that you share should concern your business and your professional successes. Use your personal channels to share anything that doesn’t have to do with the success of your brand. (In other words, no photos of your cute kitties on the feed associated with your office supply business.)

3. Don’t Overshare

Your followers want to hear from you about issues that concern your business and your brand, and they might like to hear from you daily. But, refrain from the temptation to follow all of your customers and ping them on their personal pages on an hourly basis. There’s a fine line between being engaged and engaging in stalking, and you’ll want to make sure you don’t cross it.

4. Grammar is Still Important

Many people who use social media sites have an arm’s length relationship with things like spelling and punctuation. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can release blog posts filled with typographical errors or release Tweets that are so abbreviated as to be nonsensical. These sorts of activities make your company seem less than professional, and just a little disorganized, and that might make your consumers uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their money with you.

5. Pass the Grandmother Test

I say this a lot, but everything you share on social media should be G-rated. In fact, it should be so benign that you could send it to your grandmother without feeling the desperate need to blush. If you’re tempted to share anything that’s more risqué, you should reconsider.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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