TargetInternet.com aims to provide practical and easy to understand information on using Digital Marketing for businesses of all sizes. You’ll find a mix of blog posts and articles, the digital marketing podcast and audio training, video and more interactive e-learning all on the topic of digital marketing presented by Digital Marketing trainer Daniel Rowles.
Author Archive: Target Internet
Strategy and planning
This year it seems that Omnichannel is the new term for managing multichannel marketing to emphasise the growing importance of social media marketing. If it’s new to you or you’re looking for examples, read more in our Introduction to Omnichannel marketing and these examples of Omnichannel retail.
We think this is a great visual way of introducing the digital media channels to non-digital specialists. I’m not sure whether SEO should be at the centre though?
Social media marketing
The main developments on the social media platforms this month were these developments on Facebook and Pinterest.
- Facebook Lookalike Targeting launches – advertisers can now upload customer emails or phone numbers and then Facebook will automagically find audiences sharing similar profile characteristics. Marie Page will be writing more about her experiences of using Lookalike targeting in April in a tutorial – watch out for that if you’re considering this option.
- New Pinterest Analytics – a free tool within Pinterest for reviewing the popularity and reach of your Boards and Pins.
- We have a new podcast published in the past few weeks; Social Media Disasters and How to Avoid Them as well as a 2 minute interactive learning tool, Why Use Google +
- For advice on social media and content marketing I recommend this post on a common marketing challenge for all companies: How do you persuade others in your organisation to create content for you? Thanks to all the marketers who contributed ideas for this.
- If content creation strokes fear into the hearts of your team then take a listen to our poadcast 15 Ways To Cure Blogger’s Block which gives some hints and tips for creating quick content that doesn’t have to take hours to write.
The main SEO change to watch for in March was the latest in a long line of Google Panda updates – #25 penalising low quality content. It is thought that this will be the last of the major notified Panda updates. Meanwhile in the SEO Zoo, this analysis suggests that Google’s Penguin update penalising low-quality links is getting stricter.
Of course social signals are becoming more important within SEO and it’s worth planning for how you can increase the ranking of your site on this basis. We had a popular guest post on the importance of engagement in Social SEO this month.
Another more strategic post on SEO that provoked a lot of comments this month was Gavin Llewellyn’s post on Forecasting the benefits of SEO for investment.
At a less advanced level, providing advice on SEO for non-specialists, you may be interested in Google’s latest guides and videos on how Search works and SEO – we’ve added them to end of the SmartInsights SEO hub page.
If you work in SEO then you’ve probably come across the Brighton SEO event run yearly by SiteVisibility. Daniel caught up with Kelvin, the man behind this hugely popular event to talk about how he approached organising what is now recognised as a world class SEO conference.
Image credit: Panda and Penguin
User experience, analytics and conversion optimisation
What is an average conversion rate? is a FAQ whether it’s for Ecommerce sites or other types of site. I updated our compilation of conversion rates
I’ve also included a compilation of rates for non-ecommerce sectors.
In March James Gurd updated our guide for landing page optimisation and to support this I recommended this formula for landing page optimisation to help guide CRO planning. How well do you think this works?
Email marketing and CRM
If you work in Email marketing check out this infographic on Email design best practices – it’s a neat summary.
We also covered What Email marketers need to learn from retailers in this post from Ed Hallen suggesting 3 phases of Behaviour email marketing.
I hope you found this compilation of latest alerts and advice is useful. Please get in touch if you’re interested in sharing your experiences, views or examples on best practice through a guest post. Alternatively, ideas on what you’d like us to cover or questions on Best Practice – see our Marketing Answers forum.
Massive thank you to Dave Chaffey of Marketing planning advice site SmartInsights.com his contributions towards this latest update.
With over 4 billion hours of video being watched every month on YouTube alone it’s clear that the popularity of video content is at an all time high. But with 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute how do you make sure yours is seen?
It’s not enough to just post a video on YouTube or your website and hope that people watch it, making sure your content is optimised for search will increase visibility and help search engines to match your content to user searches.
There’s a lot you can do to encourage views on your video content but if you’re not a tech wizard here are the main things you’ll want to cover off.
Title, description and tags
Whether you’re hosting your video on YouTube or your own site, giving it a great title and description are a must. Not only will it help Google to understand what your content is about, it will help users to identify quickly if your video is relevant or of interest to them.
Consider your keywords just as you would any other content and make sure your title is descriptive enough to capture the viewer’s attention. Think about what your target audience may be searching for, don’t try and cover too many audiences at once. Also consider including ‘video’ in the title, while search engines allow you to filter these results, many people still include it in their search phrase.
Keep keywords to a minimum, usually 2 or 3, and stay relevant to your content, you can widen the topics by using tags to reflect additional topic areas that might be relevant. If you’re embedding video content from YouTube onto your webpage, remember to include the key word in the onpage text that surrounds it. This helps search engines to understand the content better and rank it higher in search results.
Host or third party
Deciding to hosting video on your website or posting it on a third party site such as YouTube depends on your end goal. Hosting on your own website is a good idea you’re looking to increase traffic and improve your performance in search results. Video content is a great way to get your website ranking higher for organic searches. However if you’re looking to get the maximum exposure for your video then a third party such like YouTube or Vimeo may be a batter choice. Google and YouTube are a match made in heaven and you won’t have to worry so much about creating a video site map or keyword saturation as YouTube automates this for you.
There may also be considerations around your target audience that will affect your decision. For those who communicate or market to the public sector and NHS, hosting may be a better option as many government organisations block access to social video sites.
If in doubt do both, host the video on your site and upload it to third parties. Just remember to include your website details in the description or in the video itself so you can drive traffic back to your website.
If you’ve not come accross Rich Snippets before, they are a tool you can use to highlight specific bits of content for search engine’s to display alongside results. Highlighting video content and descriptive text allows Google to display a thumbnail of your video and a short description which can massively boost your CTRs. Google has them all ready to go so you just need to copy and paste the code into your webpage. If you want to know more about using Rich Snippets, we have a more detailed post with some examples.
Make sure it gets seen
Once you’ve uploaded your video content it’s time to start pushing it out to your networks. With so much video being streamed every minute, cutting through the noise means you need to be actively getting the word out.
Post links to your video on Facebook and Twitter and ensure they have the right number of tags in YouTube to show up in searches. Encourage your viewers to post comments, these act as cues to Google that your content is good quality. While viewing numbers are important, encouraging comments and sharing are the things that will boost your video up the search rankings and bring more high quality customers to your content. Make sure you’re targeting your video content to people who will find it interesting and use the tags that truly reflect the content focus. Then sit back and let your audience do the work for you.
Things to avoid
Whatever you do, don’t give your video a misleading title in the hope of gaining more traffic. It won’t help your search rankings or your customers. Don’t overdo the tags, and definitely don’t use popular tags that have no relevance in order to get seen. Your customers will not be impressed and Google may actually penalise your content as a result.
Of course the most important tip I can give is to make sure your content is good quality and will appeal to your audience. Without that you stand little chance of getting it seen by more than a handful of people. But it’s important to remember that just having great content isn’t enough, combining it with a good social sharing strategy will maximise visibility and improve your customer experience.
Written by Felice Ayling
Why should you use Google+ if very few people are actively using it? In the first of our free 2 minute interactive posts we’ll tell you why. Click on the image below to launch our 2 minute interactive learning:
This is the first of our 2 minute FREE digital marketing online training – we hope you find them useful. In case you’re interested they are all HTML 5 compliant so they’ll work on most mobile devices too.
Digital Marketing Podcast Episode 77 – BrightonSEO Interview: How to Create a World Class SEO Event with Kelvin Newman
Target Internet | March 11, 2013
Daniel catches up with Kelvin Newman who runs the highly successful Brighton SEO event. BrightonSEO sets itself apart from other events by filling its time with bags of personality and fun ( other digital marketing events take note!) Kelvin, who you may know from the Internet Marketing Podcast created this event with some like minded SEO friends a few years ago. We explore how the event came to life and hear some behind the scenes stories from the event archives.
The free event is fully booked but Kelvin has reserved a limited number of tickets for the free event available for listeners of the Digital Marketing Podcast. If you’d like to try and get tickets and are free on 12th April, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning Daniel sent you. But be quick…These tickets are limited and offered on a first come first served basis.
Find out more about Brighton SEO at http://www.brightonseo.com/agenda/
How to get in Touch:
The key developments in digital marketing in February 2013
It’s not every month a new currency is launched. In February Amazon announced a new virtual currency called Amazon Coins (a genius moniker) and an interesting promotion where customers will be given money (virtual). Watch out from May onwards. Some are calling it the Bank of Jeff…
Image credit: Mashable
Strategy and planning
- Did you notice the emergence of the term “growth hacking” for describing a “new” marketing approach in 2012 and continuing into the start of 2013? I initially dismissed it as a fad most relevant for SaaS (Software as a Service) / single product startup businesses. But recently, I’ve noticed some new job descriptions in this area which prompted me to take another look. In particular, I noticed that The Guardian is currently advertising for a Head of Growth Hacking – read more in my briefing on what traditional businesses can learn from growth hacking. If you’re looking for more traditional advice to create a marketing plan check out our new 7 Steps Guide to creating a marketing plan. This blog post also links through to free webcast from Annmarie Hanlon introducing her guide.
- Digital marketing is now bigger than Internet marketing – Does it matter what you call Digital Marketing. Well yes, and no…
- New year often gets us thinking about a new job so here are some resources to get your started. Smart Insights have produced a great infographic looking at the split in digital marketing roles and there are even some samples job descriptions available.
Social media marketing
- Google + introduces Social Sign-In and a new way of sharing Social Sign-In has been available for Facebook and Twitter for several years now, so this was a big gap in the Google+ offering.
- Establishing your brand’s social media voice – Daniel Rowles explains a technique for developing the right tone for social media communications.
- Latest podcast episode – Social media disasters and how to avoid them. The team discuss risk mitigation, social media policy and setting guidelines for your internal teams.
- Google Clarifies its Assessment of which Links are Valid – A big story in the UK with worldwide implications as Google removes Interflora from its index and penalises numerous media sites.
- Google introduces Product Listings Ads. This only impacts retailers, but it’s a big impact. From February 13, Google will phase out free listings in UK Shopping searches. As Google Shopping changes, marketers will need to budget for clicks they previously got for free and get to grips with the Merchant Center, product feeds and product listing ads.
- In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out the slides from the CIM’s SEO webinar which Daniel hosted. It was as popular as ever and apparently broke a record for audience numbers!
Of value to a wider range of companies, in February Google also improved support for local targeting of mobile users with the new Adwords Enhanced campaigns.
User experience, analytics and conversion optimisation
- Writing a website design brief that gets results – This post from agency marketing specialist Mark Kelly shows how to get your web redesign project off to a positive start. It supports two new templates to help companies and agencies plan and manage website redesign projects.
- Google Analytics Change history – a simple change, but useful in large companies and in agencies where multiple people are working to update
Email marketing and CRM
- Boosting revenue from Email marketing Richard Austin talks us through a new spreadsheet for modelling Email campaigns.
- Proving the value of Email ROI in organisations Mark Brownlow explains the value in Email marketing using the latest research from the DMA.
- The role of social in CRM (SCRM) - We’re looking at how social supports customer relationship management and customer service.
Produced in partnership with Dr Dave Chaffey; a Digital marketing author, consultant and trainer and CEO of Smart Insights.
Target Internet | March 2, 2013
Ciaran and Daniel discuss Social Media Risk Mitigation, Social Media Policy, and how you go about setting guidelines and expectations for your internal teams. Follow our recommended key steps to lower risks and make life in social channels plain sailing. Ciaran gets slightly over animated about steak restaurants and we also discuss how best to deal with any negative feedback on your social media channels.
How to get in Touch:
The rise of social media has had a massive impact on how customers make decisions about their purchases and how brands interact with customer throughout the purchase cycle. For both B2B and B2C industries, social now plays a vital role in decision making and brand advocacy.
Most brands understand the concept of promotion using social media but few understand how to attribute value in the same way as traditional broadcast media.
Customers no longer decide to buy a product or service based solely on adverts and brand promotion in the same way they did 5 years ago. With the rise of the internet, customers have more choice and have access to more information. Not only are customers far more media savvy and less likely to buy into brand marketing, but they are making more and more purchase decisions based on their value set rather than need alone.
This works the same way for B2B brands, whether it be a product or service, we like to buy from a brand based on need fit but also our experience of the organisation. Factors such as personal recommendations, customer service experience and how well the brand values match our own are now key triggers for deciding on a brand’s worth.
The purchase process
The way customers became aware of our products and decided to buy has historically been a fairly linear process often referred to as the purchase funnel. Customers would be filtered out at each stage until the product matched the customer’s desire and a purchase was made.
The stages were fairly clear cut and brands could allocate their marketing resources effectively to each stage. The focus was on the sale and it was relatively easy to understand how specific promotional activities could be attributed to the purchase process.
With the rise of social and the way customers now research and decide on a purchase, the ‘funnel’ has changed significantly and instead of it being a staged linear process, we find consumers take a far more considered approach, seeking information from a wider variety of places.
We now refer to the purchase process as a cycle and customers can move forward or backwards throughout this cycle. Social now allows the consumer to remain within the cycle long after the purchase has been made. Customer retention and loyalty are now as much of a focus as the sale itself.
What social media has allowed customers to have is a voice and a chance to make that voice heard. If we look at the different purchase stages we can consider how social can support customers and help you as a brand to promote your product or service at each stage.
Getting your brand noticed is the first step and this means promotion. While traditionally this would have meant advertising of some description, social offers us the opportunity to move beyond clever (and expensive) marketing to activities which actively engage with our customers. Make your brand visible on social media, create a brand page on Facebook and set up a Twitter feed. Go beyond sharing marketing messages and just talk to your customers about things you think they would be interested in. It doesn’t have to be your products specifically, it could be anything that you can relate back in some way.
At this stage your customer has an interest in your product or service. This is the point when consumers will begin to search for something specific, probably online, and begin their research. Depending on the value of the item this research could be significant and will include looking at customer ratings, personal recommendations, availability and location etc. Research has shown that when consumers are faced with a brand website and their Facebook page in search results a significant proportion will go to a social media site first. The reason for this is the idea that the content will be more relevant and more truthful. Facebook is where customers compliment or complain about a brand, where questions are answered and where the brand is seen to interact without the assumed agenda of just hard selling. It’s a trusted source for new customers and helps to either give confidence to a prospective customer or put them off.
This is where you move beyond the practical pairing of product and need to make the emotional connection between the consumer and your brand or product. Whether this be the product or service itself or your brand as the provider of choice, connect with your customers on a level that goes deeper than just being informative. Solve your customer’s problems, answer their questions, invest in them pre-sale and you will reap the rewards in the long term. This isn’t about manipulating your customers, they can spot a faker a mile away. In order to connect with your customers you need to offer genuine enthusiasm and interest which gives your brand the personality needed to inspire consumers. All of this support needs to be instant and far more subtle than your corporate website will allow. Hosting these conversations on social media can make your customer feel like they are on neutral ground, you’re in their space rather than the other way around.
Research shows that the greatest influence on customer purchase is recommendations from family and friends. This works both ways with a single negative opinion causing the opposite effect. Managing your customers through the purchase process to ensure they have a positive experience will bring you far greater rewards in the future. Turning customers into loyal advocates is the holy grail for any consumer or B2B brand, getting your customers to say good things about you and recommend you to a friend is probably easier than you think. And this doesn’t mean you can always prevent negative opinion being expressed about your brand, in fact nobody would believe it if you didn’t have a single complaint about a product or service. But how you respond to those comments (and respond you must) will say more about your company than any self promotion can do. Social media is where conversations are happening, where customers are sharing their experiences, making recommendations and discussing their personal experiences of your brand. Not engaging on these platforms doesn’t mean the conversations aren’t happening, it just means you’re not a part of them.
Creating opportunities for long term mutually beneficial relationships is what social media was made for. Customer care post purchase is just as important as the support you offer during the selling process. Once a customer has selected to as a supplier, don’t let them just walk away. Build on the connection that now exists, provide opportunities for feedback, follow up support, issue management and reviews. Every time a customer interacts with your social network profile it send a ripple of notifications throughout that individual’s network, telling everyone they know that they’ve spent some of their precious time talking to you. A vote of confidence can be all it takes to bring in new customers to your brand rather than somebody else’s.
Social media can be your best asset when it comes to customer service and support. It offers a mix of real time responses, an open forum which engenders trust and the ability for uncensored voices to be heard. It feels far more like an area owned by the customer than your branded website could ever achieve.
Written by Felice Ayling
The ever excellent Dave Chaffey, through his website SmartInsights has produced this great infographic on Digital Marketing Jobs and recruitment. They have also created some great guidance on digital marketing job descriptions. Enjoy!
Slides from our recent Chartered Institute of Marketing webinar on SEO. Thanks to all of those that attended and made it a record breaking audience!
Target Internet | February 14, 2013
While most of us are aware of the benefits on engaging with customers online, many brands are still fearful of utilising social media within their marketing activities for fear of receiving a negative response.
We often enjoy highlighting the brands that fail in their quest for social media glory, however most of what we see could have been prevented if the proper handling procedures were in place.
Plan for it
The first step to avoiding disaster is to prepare for it in your planning. This can actually be quite fun as it’s the opposite to what a lot of us are used to. Understanding how a campaign can be twisted, hijacked or just timed wrong can make the difference between success and failure. Look at the worst case scenario and plan in your response in advance, that way you are in a position to nip any nonsense in the bud before it escalates.
If you are too close or so in love with your brand that you are blind to its faults, take your ideas to the customer service team, they’ll probably be able to offer some great insight into how the customers talk about your brand. Don’t be afraid to hear negatives, it doesn’t mean the campaign is a bad idea, it just means you’ll need to have a plan in place if things start to go awry.
Also make sure you’re using the right platform, high risk campaigns that can easily be hijacked probably don’t belong on Twitter, in this instance use Facebook where you have more control over the responses you receive.
One of the best ways to avert disaster is to act fast, this means you need to know as soon as possible when your brand has attracted some negative attention. There are many tools that can help you to keep track of online conversations and they can alert you to any negative comments. The sooner you can spot and respond to negative comments, the less likely they are to develop into a situation that could damage your online reputation.
One of the biggest social media disasters we highlighted last year was the VW fb campaign which started off as a fairly innocuous invite to customers to suggest ways the brand could improve their products. An early comment raised issue with the environmental impact of the brand and asked how they planned to address it. Not exactly what VW had hoped for i’m sure but it gave them a great opportunity to engage with those less supportive. What actually happened was VW remained silent as more and more comments began piling up, comments which soon started to berate the company for their lack of response. The disaster was picked up by bloggers and news sites all over the world and to date the post is still attracting comments.
I wonder what would have happened if VW had responded quickly to the first few comments? Could they have changed the outcome and engaged positively with their critics? Could they have utilised the insight they gained from those who felt strongly enough to ask the question?
Even the most engaging brand will have its critics and you should never be afraid of hearing from them. Handled properly, early and positive intervention can turn your biggest critic into a loyal advocate.
Don’t work in isolation
Most brands still view social media as a marketing function but customers look to online profiles for more than just perky promotional messages. Understanding what is happening across the organisation can help to strengthen your offering and provide much needed communication during difficult problems. Without this you run the risk of being isolated from the rest of the company and alienating your customers when they are looking for support.
There have been many instances of brands continuing to push marketing messages through social profiles profiles which the company is experience a significant loss of service or disruption. Telling the world how wonderful you are in the face of disgruntled customers is a sure fire way to get negative feedback. Keep in touch with those outside of your immediate team, check in on any major issues and work out how you can support them by answering questions, giving real time updates and apologising for the inconvenience. Your customer service team will thank you for not riling up the customers even more.
Know when to escalate
While most negative comments can be handled on the spot by whoever is managing your social media, there will be instances when you’ll need to bring in other team members to help you. Plan in advance what the triggers may be and identify who you need to contact and when. Having this back-up gives you a safety net to work with and means that, if the worst happens, you can act fast rather than running round trying to find someone to help.
Identify and task specific individuals and make sure they know what their role is, determine how you will keep key people informed so you avoid having to deal with updating management while you’re trying to resolve a crisis. Having a plan in place will save knee-jerk reactions and give you the confidence to deal with problems swiftly and positively.
Say sorry when you mess up
Making mistakes is how we learn and your customers don’t expect you to be perfect. In fact, it’s when a crisis occurs that you can really show your customers what you’re made of and demonstrate customer service that is second to none. Most complaints occur when people feel they are not being heard, embed great customer relations principles into your social media plan and if you make a mistake just say sorry and fix it. Most customers will forget in time what the problem was, but they will remember how they felt about your response.
You won’t be able to avoid attracting negative comments, not everyone will love what you do. But by having a plan for dealing with them you can avoid turning a low grumble into a full on attack and often develop new advocates for your brand.