Browsing articles tagged with " Marketing"

Traditional versus Search Marketing

Sep 21, 2011   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, IPR, Search Marketing  //  No Comments

I had a very interesting experience today discussing theorems among several local marketing professionals and I must say the discussions got rather heated as I felt the struggles of traditional marketing professionals trying to understand the next *cough* current Search aka in my case IPR Firms fundamentals.

So I decided to take some of the traditional marketing topics and compare them to the search marketing industry:

  • Understanding the Consumer – This was one of the biggest points the panelists tried to drive home. No matter what the product, no matter who your client, the most important thing is understanding the consumer.

    As it relates to Search: Isn’t this the first step in search marketing, whether it be paid or organic? The entire keyword research process is intended to find out what the consumer is doing, what they are looking for and what they want.

  • Understanding the Client – Before beginning a campaign you must understand what the client wants and what their expectations are.

    As it relates to Search: One of the foremost topics when it comes to SEO and search is setting client expectations ahead of time. This not only has to do with the service you will be providing them but the results of that service. You must understand what the client wants and they must understand what you will be giving them.

  • A Big Idea – Several of the panelists talked about how a ‘big idea’ was used to start a campaign, sell a client or make an account successful. They repeatedly stated that a big idea was almost always necessary to creating a good campaign.

    As it relates to Search: While there aren’t always ‘big ideas’ to jump start a campaign, there are often big ideas throughout – The article that made it to the first page of Digg and brought 10,000 visitors or the keyword research that determined people weren’t looking for ‘product’ but ‘equipment’ and increased sales 35%. Big ideas often play a pivotal role in helping a client succeed but they don’t always come at the beginning.

  • Be channel “agnostic” – The discussion was that many agencies are still only focusing on television or only on magazines when there are other platforms that may be more effective. The most successful companies are those that figure out which channel and channel combinations are best for the client and leverage them.

    As it relates to Search: There are many different “channels” within the search industry – PPC, Organic, Paid Links, Social Media, Affiliate Programs, etc. It is important that we keep an open mind and never force a client to use a “channel” because it is successful for someone else. PPC may work great for one client but not for another. We too must be “channel agnostic”.

  • Use Metrics – There was a lot of talk about metrics and measuring failures and successes through reporting. Each company had their own way of doing it and each metric varied by client. The main point being, there are no set metrics across the board for TV, Print or online.

    As it relates to Search: As search marketers we often live or die by metrics and reporting (or as we like to call them, analytics). One of the greatest achievements as a search marketer is being able to show your client an upward graph detailing their traffic growth, leads and sales over the past year. But, like traditional media, every client is different and there are certainly no set metrics across the board.

  • Overcoming Agency Barriers – With many of the larger companies using two, three, four or five different agencies, cohesion can be difficult. The digital agency may have a great idea for a website banner but it doesn’t fit with the magazine layout the publishing company just developed. Many of these agencies have to figure out how to work with one another, whether it be through a liason or simply getting to know one another.

    As it relates to Search: You make a great recommendation, the web-marketing person loves it, they pass it on to the VP of web-marketing, who passes it on to the VP of marketing who passes it on…okay you get it. With larger companies (and sometimes small ones as well) there may be several channels you have to go through to get your recommendation approved and in place. It often takes figuring out who can make the most impact and getting them immediately involved.

  • Working with the Media – Apparently, there are times when agencies and companies struggle to get the TV networks and magazine publishers to work with them. When an audience member asked “How do I get the media companies to work with me”, the simple answer was “pay a lot of money”.

    As it relates to Search: Does this sound familiar? Switch out media with search engines – How do we get Google and Yahoo to work with us? why isn’t my client ranking? Why are there only 300 of their 3000 pages showing up? The only difference is, even when you pay a lot of money, they still may not work with you!

Overall, I learned a lesson I apparently wasn’t aware of – Search marketing isn’t all that different from traditional marketing when it comes to strategies and problems. While the terminology and mediums may be different, in the end we are all facing the same issues even thought the fundamentals seemingly are built from different directions…

Now why can’t we all get along?

There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch??? or is there..

Sep 6, 2011   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Tips  //  No Comments

How do you work to differentiate yourself or your business from others online?

With better service.

Here’s a great example: knows that finding matching hinges is a pain.

So they let you email them a picture of your old hinges, and they’ll tell you what you need, for free. They also have a blog with helpful videos and tips.

It’s all home-made, inexpensive — and puts them at the top of the search results for “Find Matching Hinge.”

What can your existing team do to make it easy for new customers to WANT to call you?



5 Ways to Electrify Your Social Network

Mar 16, 2010   //   by Erik Olson   //   Blog, Corporate Blogging, Industry News, Mashable News, Online Marketing, Social Media  //  No Comments

social networking

A typical situation for many marketers when it comes to social networks is this: Setup LinkedIn profile, check. Corporate LinkedIn page, check.  Facebook profile, check. Facebook Fan Page, check. Twitter account, check. Corporate blog, check. Check check check!

But where’s the buzz? Where are the fans, friends, followers, comments, links, traffic, search engine rankings? Where’s the customer engagement? And the most pressing question of all: What is all this social web participation doing for our company and our customers?

Showing up to the game doesn’t mean there will be an audience. This is as true with the social web as it is offline.  The problem that marketers have with attracting interested customers and growing their social networks often stems from approaching social participation tactically and without a plan.  Testing and experimentation is great, but if what you’re doing is something that has a cost and is to be accounted for, then you’d better have a plan and objectives.  How can you score without a goal?

Here are 5 tips to help business marketers energize and electrify social network development:

1. Decide to start

You must start by deciding what business objectives you intend on meeting as a result of social network involvement. Once you’ve clearly identified objectives, then you can create a strategy that outlines which tactics make the most sense to reach and engage your audience.

Common objectives for companies to develop online social networks include:

  • Create connections with those interested in the type of solutions you offer so you can better meet customer needs
  • Build out a channel of distribution for promoting content
  • Connect with existing customers, create a place for them to connect with each other
  • Initiate discussions around product for new ideas, enhancements, focus group
  • Extend reach to influentials in your market for publicity
  • Tap into active user base for content
  • Facilitate conversations about your products & services to aid in new customer acquisition and/or upgrades
  • Create a communication channel that reaches employees for internal PR
  • Build up the personal networks of executives for thought leadership with journalists, analysts and key bloggers

2. Know your customer

If marketers spend their time on the social networks dujour without really knowing where their customers are spending time, then of course there will be a disconnect between experience and expectations. Picking friends, at least initially, on social networks should be very intentional, not random. Understanding customer preferences towards information discovery, consumption and sharing along with which web sites they prefer is essential if a marketer wants to connect in a meaningful way.

3. Be real, be useful

There are a lot of buzzwords like “transparency” and “openness” that describe the need for marketers to be “genuine”. Oops that’s another.  To be real is being honesty in your intentions.  I’ve seem highly respected marketers make absolutely idiotic statements about transparency, taking it to the extreme.  Ignorance is bliss I suppose, but there’s not much money in it.

The core principles of understanding the needs of your customers and then finding a way to meet those needs in such a way that is helpful and that at the same time leads to product sales, need not be elusive.  Approaching a social network blatantly announcing that you’re a marketer and that you will be marketing so buy some product dammit, isn’t being transparent. It’s being stupid.

Identifying yourself as a representative of a brand, product or service and communicating your intentions both in words and helpful actions is what I mean by “be real, be useful”.  Those good deeds create trust and relationships.  They create word of mouth and a certain gravity of popularity for your brand with your own identity as the proxy.  Fans, friends and followers “happen” because the word gets out that your brand promise is meaningful and being followed through on.

Developing relationships can be hard work. People already know this through the relationships they have in daily life. Yet  it’s very common for corporate marketers to initiate online social networking efforts only to become disillusioned at the lack of immediate sales results.  It’s important that social web participation for a company become a part of what the company is, long term. Not an “add on” marketing tactic.

4. Recognize and reward

When developing an active social network, participants will demonstrate certain behaviors that are more desirable than others.  For example, standing up for the brand when a troll appears or mashing up content in a creative way.  They say people will work for a living but die for recognition. This is a key concept for electrifying your social networking efforts.  First, understand what behaviors you want to reward. Participate and identify those behaviors that will influence the kinds of outcomes you’re looking for. Recognition can be active and passive. Active recognition is to reach out and recognize specific behaviors publicly and/or privately.  Passive recognition is built into the social CRM system you’re using or the platform within which customers participate. An example would be points based systems that provide rewards or more access based on accumulating points for completing certain behaviors such as comments, ratings, contributed content, etc.  The key to “Recognize and Reward” is for the recognition to be deserved, genuine, relevant and consistent.

5. Monitor, measure, feedback loop

All the good intentions in the world won’t result in relationship and business growth from social networks unless there’s management of content and curation of interactions with the outcomes from participation. It can be as simple as noticing “5 of this” or “10 of that” tips blog posts yield 200% greater engagement scores (comments, retweets, inlinks, etc) than posts that focus on a single, general topic.

Web analytics along with social media monitoring and a CRM component can facilitate the feedback loop to know whether customers are responding in the ways that you’d hoped.  Simply focusing on fans/followers, comments or sales can leave out some of the essential pieces of why some efforts fail and others succeed. Social media monitoring tools are essential for upfront research, ongoing monitoring and after-action results measurement.

In the end, the steps to take for growing a social network for business must be rooted in an understanding of the customers and their needs combined with whatever it is you decide you’ll provide to meet those needs. Being useful by itself doesn’t turn an active network into achieved business goals. Provide opportunities for interested members of your social network to opt-in to a more commercial relationship when they’re ready.  That could be as simple as moving from a Facebook Fan to a Webinar participant or Email Newsletter subscriber. In some cases it might mean becoming a buyer of products/services.

If your business has successfully developed it’s social network presence, what have been some of the roadblocks you’ve overcome? What insights can you share on best connecting with networks and growing your business as a result?

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