Aug 13

Keeping Content Marketing Going While You Are Away

Content management is becoming more and more crucial for marketing yourself online. Its an important way to get your key messages out to your target audience, you can’t do SEO anymore without quality and frequent new content and its the only way to present yourself as a leader in your industry.

With blog technology today, the only real challenge with good content management is time. Someone needs to do it. In the SME this someone will typically be the business owner, or BDM if the business is large enough to support this person. It just takes time away from running, or building the business. How do you manage this important part of your marketing?

The choice obviously is you either spend your valuable time or you spend  money and get a professional content management team (like the content team at Ocean Feather Digital) to manage it for you.

This post is meant for you if you’ve decided you are going to spend your time managing your own content. If you have, and you’ve been dedicated, you probably have spent 90 minutes a week preparing, producing and publishing your weekly article, then sharing it with your database and network.

What if you are due for a holiday now though, you have planned 4 weeks off and intend to take yourself well away from business. However you are getting a steady stream of web traffic and business from this traffic, directly from your content marketing work. So what do you do? You don’t want this to drop off and you don’t really trust anyone to do it for you. What is the answer?

Well, I am actually on holiday today, right now exactly the moment this post publishes. I am well away from home and work, enjoying a break while this post automatically publishes itself and syndicates through my social networks. You see most blogs these days have a scheduling function. This is the way you can continue your content production when on holiday. During the week before you go, prepare your articles and rather than publish them, you schedule them to publish at the same regular intervals you previously have been publishing. It will take a bit more time in that lead up week, the rewards are worth it though as you’ll be able to concentrate better on your vacation once you are away.

Now, back to that margarita!

Aug 13

DIY AdWords Advertising

This post is a follow up from my previous post, which deals with some bad Google marketing advice I heard being given out at a marketing workshop a couple of weeks ago. My previous post covered the SEO advice I disagreed with, this post runs over the AdWords information presented.

The advice about Google AdWords was two fold. First that business owners should do it themselves. Google gives a great interface where you can set up and run your own campaigns, so this is how you should manage your pay per click marketing if you want to try AdWords. The second gem was that you should probably not do it anyway as it was two expensive. In her case, when she “taught” herself how to use AdWords she needed to pay $37 per visitor to her website.

Using Google’s tools and running an effective AdWords campaign are two completely different things. If you teach yourself how to use AdWords and think you need to pay $37 per visitor – you need to spend a lot more time learning how to use AdWords. What this really showed me was this presenter should have given her AdWords campaign to a professional to manage. She may just have got some value out of it.

AdWords marketing is not about the Google interface. Its direct response marketing that, when run professionally, can be an exceptionally effective and cheap way of advertising your business. Clearly I cannot teach you how to manage a successful AdWords campaign in a single blog post, but I can tell you some of the elements that make it so effective – when run professionally. These elements include:

  • Statistics – you can track the absolute minutiae of the campaign in real time and also fine tune in real time. If you know your CPA figures, you have the information to make every element of your campaign profitable.
  • Keywords – you can see which ones convert and which don’t. So over time, you stop advertising on the keywords that don’t work, putting that budget back into the highly profitable elements of the campaign
  • Split testing – you can split test different ads to see what works the best and then constantly improve on this control ad.
  • Landing pages – you can send people to internal, direct response and specific purpose pages on your website, not just the home page
  • You can split test landing pages in real time and find out which sales pitches work the best
  • Campaign segmentation – you can split campaigns by keyword, by service, by promotion, however you like with ease
  • Remarketing – you can have your ads re-appear to people if they did not interact with you the first time, so you are front of mind as they get closer to making their decision

AdWords can be an amazing lead generating tool if it is used professionally, and with expertise. Unfortunately like many things, using the hardware and being expert are two completely different things. Its like riding a surfboard and the difference between a novice and professional surfer riding the same board. Its chalk and cheese. AND if the novice tries to ride the surfboard in the same waves the professional does – he is going to get hurt. The same goes with AdWords. It won’t be physical pain, but $37 a click in any industry. Ouch!!

Jul 13

Content, Backlinks and SEO

I went to a marketing workshop last week which was put on by a person who was a marketing expert, but someone who clearly does not have much expertise in the Google equation of digital. Overall, I was quite impressed with the content of the workshop, it was well run and informative. But I was disappointed with the information presented on the Google side of things, particularly SEO and AdWords. So I thought I’d write this post (and the next post on her AdWords “advice”) incase you’ve received similar information.

Her premise was that the Google penguin changes basically broke the need for building backlinks in optimising your website for search marketing. Her proof was that after blogging for 5 years, after the Penguin 2.0 changes, she now ranked on page 1 for a couple of search phrases. Wow – I can imagine pitching that to a client. “You want to get to page 1 of Google – no problem. Lets blog for 5 years then we should be there for a handful of phrases”.

This is insane. SEO really is a results driven strategy. Its scientific. You follow the science and you get solid page 1 Google positions in a reasonably timely fashion. There is no reason a professional marketing consultant could not rank their business page 1 for 20 – 30 keywords in 3 – 6 months, if following the science.

So what is the science? Well, today, without getting too technical, there are three broad parts to SEO. These are:

  • Amazing content – all SEO work must start (but not finish) with amazing content that is presented optimally on your website, with all meta information done well. 
  • A naturally developed backlink profile consistent with Google’s quality guidelines
  • Obtaining social proof

Google’s Penguin and Panda changes did not remove the need for any of these items, rather they were and are aimed at cleaning up the junk being published (both with website content and link building techniques) and encouraging people to focus on quality every time. You need quality information on your website. You need quality content updates through your blog. You need to share this information through your social networks, who hopefully will be full of quality people AND you need to build your backlink profile on quality sites, within quality information and in line with Google’s quality guidelines.

Without a quality link building strategy, you still just will not rank.

Jul 13

Podcasts Killed The Radio Song

A while back I tried something a little bit different. Instead of listening to the radio on the way to work, or a CD, I downloaded a few episodes of a podcast on a topic I found interesting and listened to that instead. Wow – what a different experience. I actually tuned into what was playing through the car stereo, my driving frustration (PC term for road rage) disappeared and I may even have learned something. I don’t think I ever had those 3 things happen to me at the same time in the car before in my life.

So how did this happen? On reflection I realised:

  • I controlled the topic I was listening to – so I enjoyed the content
  • No ads – so I didn’t switch off
  • Nothing repetitive – IE. When you get to the end of the track you move to the next episode rather than starting again
  • No annoying talk back or ignorant opinions – don’t they drive you nuts!
  • No news – which tends to cause a low level of anxiety on issues nothing to do with us

Since that day, I pretty much do not listen to the radio anymore. I have found all manner of podcasts I either really enjoy, find relaxing or help with my professional development. Note – the relaxing ones are not the “close your eyes and take some deep breaths” ones – I haven’t tried them while driving yet – rather on topics I find relaxing.

Podcasts, iPhones and bluetooth – what an amazing world we live in. I still remember the days when the tape in my cassettes unravelled, tangled and blocked the cassette deck I was using. Just another phenomenon that will and is changing the way effective marketing and advertising work.

Jul 13

How To Figure Out If SEO Will Work For Your Business

In the digital marketing world, one thing we have an over-abundance of is information and statistics. You can get almost any amount of information and data you need to make super-informed decisions about marketing. This is really important to know when it comes to making decisions about search marketing, about SEO and SEM initiatives. Once you know decision making data is available to you, you can get this data and use it to help you make decisions. This blog post will summarise some of the data you can turn to if you are thinking about making an investment in SEO.

Page 1 Google

The first thing you can get an awareness of are the human behavioral studies undertaken on how people navigate search results. You can get an understanding of how many people on average click through positions 1 – 10 on page 1 of Google. There are many studies out there with this information – I am not going to replicate the info here, other than to say the information is quite interesting. The drop in traffic per position on Google is important to understand.

Keyword Traffic Volumes

The second thing to understand is how many people are searching for your products and services on a monthly average basis. You can do this by using Google’s free AdWords Keyword Tool. Search for this tool on Google, its really easy to find. Then enter your main keyword and set your search location. Google will then spit out data on many variations of your industry keywords, each with competition metrics, plus monthly global and local search volumes – on every keyword people are using that is related to the root keyword you entered.

Website Traffic Estimate

Once you see how many people are searching on your keywords and also how many people on average click through the various positions on Google, you can calculate roughly how many additional people will visit your website, when it is listed on each position on page 1 Google, for each keyword. So you can look at SEO and calculate an average improvement in website traffic, for each better Google position you achieve, for every keyword variation you achieve this for. Writing that is a bit of a mouthful – it simply means you can predict the extra visitors SEO is likely to send to your website.

Understanding Your Website

Unless you have a brand new website, you should have a good understanding of how effectively your website converts visitors into enquiries. If you don’t understand this, have a look at your statistics over the last 3 months. How many unique people visited your website? How many enquiries did this generate? How many sales did these enquiries result in? What was the profit on those sales?

Understanding this information is not perfect, as some keywords will convert to sales better than others. However is does give you good indicative information when thinking about increases in traffic.

Putting It All Together

So from the above, you can get an understanding of:

  1. The percentage of traffic that goes through each of the top 10 positions of Google
  2. The number of searches the keywords in your industry generate
  3. So you can work out how much additional traffic successful SEO will send to your website
  4. You know how many enquiries traffic on average generates for your business
  5. You know how these enquiries turn into sales and profit
  6. So you can work out how much money a successful SEO campaign is likely to make you
  7. Keep in mind that SEO positions don’t shift very fast once achieved and therefore you are likely to get the benefits of the additional traffic for the long term
  8. You can work out how much profit over the SEO investment you are likely to make, before you make a decision on whether or not to do SEO

We actually provide this information to all our clients before we bring them on to do SEO with us. If you would like to understand this type of information about your website and business as you are considering SEO, ask for one of our free SEO audits at www.oceanfeather.com.au and we will take you through it all, in a relevant and specific to your business manner.