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plane

Joe Joe

May 2nd, 2013.

Social Media Tactics: Travel Companies

It’s time to answer the age-old question: How do Travel Companies use Social Media?

Two questions arise first: How do they convince their audience to keep them in their networks, among their friends and family? And how do they convert Social Media users into customers?

Below is a review of some of the biggest names in one of the biggest international market places: The Travel Industry.

For uniformity and narrower scope, we’ll be looking at the UK arms of each company.

Let’s start with the big dog: Thomas Cook.

Facebook

The Facebook stats for TC are more or less what we’d expect…

 

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In fairness, the figures could be higher since Thomas Cook is one of the biggest travel agents in the UK. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing right (and wrong):

Posts

The typical post on Thomas Cook’s Facebook wall is one that encourages ‘Liking’ pictures.

Normally the idea users are encouraged to like is something that everyone inherently likes. In fact I daresay everybody on earth likes Relaxation and Saving Money. 

Playing it safe: generating a big response.  Also, check out the very subtle link to their website. Every post on their page is an advert, but you wouldn’t know it.
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They also run a weekly competition to win: Nothing. They encourage users to guess the destination and share and like the picture. There’s no incentive, but it appears to work. In my opinion it’s the nice picture that helps. People love sharing pictures. If this had been a picture of a ruined village I doubt it would have generated the same level of response.
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Interacting with Customers

The posts from other people on Thomas Cook’s page appear to almost exclusively be complaints from customers.

 

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With the examples below I’m immediately struck by the bureaucratic nature of the responses. The Facebook page is the face of the company, and here it is fobbing off problems to other parts of the company. It would have served them better to say something conciliatory: ‘Sorry to hear that, let’s try to get it sorted’. These responses don’t help the customer or allay their dissatisfaction.

On the bright side, they do give informative answers to non-complaints, and ‘Claire’ seems to be willing to put her name to the posts.

Moving on to the next company, we have Intrepid Travel. A smaller company, focussed on ‘Adventure Holidays’ to exotic destinations.

 

Facebook

Even though the company is smaller, we can see immediately that they have a great engagement with their audience.

 

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This is a typical post:

 

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They’re promoting the work of one of their fans, with everyone’s favourite sharable media: A Nice Photo. Even better, it’s a photo taken by one of their customers and Facebook fans. It’s a great way to generate a buzz within the community and it acts as a superb advert for a holiday to Nepal.

Another type of post serves a completely different purpose:

 

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On this occasion they’re plugging another Social Media event. Again, this is an advert; but surprise-surprise they’ve used a cool picture to disguise it.

Noticing a trend yet? Here’s another example:

 

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Advert in disguise. Very clever.

 

Interacting with Customers

Intrepid Travels have praise lumped on them as much as Thomas Cook receive complaints. Moreover, they engage with their customers as people rather than a faceless company:

 

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Even though they’re plugging another part of their Social Profile, we can forgive it because they’re so friendly and encouraging. Plus the feature in question is a photo album of their customer’s travels. Croud-sourced content. Great stuff.

They’re also well informed and helpful:

 

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Twitter

Whilst the numbers are lower than the Facebook page, Interpid’s Twitter stats are nothing to be sniffed at:

 

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Their Tweets are pretty much what you’d expect, along with some questionable #Hashtags.

 

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Industry news along with links. And asking engaging and amusing questions:

 

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Another Adventure Travel site of note is Wild Frontiers. An even smaller company with a significantly smaller Social Profile:

 

Facebook

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What’s the one thing we’ve learnt works?

Pictures!!!!!!

With that in mind, it’s fairly easy to see where these guys are going wrong:

 

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Sharing a link to your own site under a block of text (and the full link at that!) is not a good way to get people excited.

The next example is a great piece of industry news with a lot of chances for incredible pictures; and although they’ve tried to encourage involvement with a question, the question is rather niche and the post feels cluttered.

 

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Interaction with Customers

On the plus side, they’re very informative in their responses to customer’s questions (although perhaps a little slow).

 

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Even when fans are just keen to share their love of TV Documentaries staring Chris Tarrant, they give them the time of day and respond in kind.

 

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Twitter

WF’s Twitter standing is reasonably good compared with its Facebook:

 

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The Twitter stream is very much focussed on audience interaction. Twitter is used to promote the blog (company news, industry news and all company projects etc.):

 

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WF’s link with its blog is great to see. Not only does it promote the blog by getting the content into the social sphere; it also shows a conscious desire to engage with the audience.

Also, it never hurts to help your fans sing your praises:

 

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And once again, back to the sure-fire winner… nice pictures!

 

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Moving away from adventure holidays and into luxury travel: Next up on our list is Western and Oriental.

 

Facebook
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The Facebook statistics seem rather paltry for W&O, and taking a look at the typical wall posts, it’s easy to see why…

 

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Although they’ve caught onto the trend of using stunning pictures, the accompanying text reads like a press release. They’ve even gone as far as keeping terms and conditions in the post, and using the pure URL. All this screams one thing.

They’ve also picked up on the trend of using regular features. The ‘Wonderful Offer of the Week’ isn’t particularly catchy, but once again they’re let down by a focus on stats rather than an appeal to emotion. Check out this link for more in the same genre.

 

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Although they do get one thing right: combining nice pictures with regular features to get: ‘Picture of the Week’. This got a good response in comparison to the marketing posts:

 

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Interaction with Customers

Having few fans means little need to react to their questions, but to their credit, on the one occasion someone did ask something they were very helpful:

 

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Twitter

Compared with their Facebook page, W&O have a great following on Twitter:

 

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They use their Twitter presence to spread industry news (with out-of-place hashtags):

 

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Although, almost counter-intuitively, the marketing material seems to generate more of a response than the stories about animals:

 

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Although the cynic in me thinks Tom Browne works for W&O since he retweets nearly all of their posts…

Moving onto another slightly bigger travel agent, we have Sta Travel.

 

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They have a good following and their posts generally generate a good response:

 

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I like that the above example takes advantage of the dominance a picture has in a Facebook post. Yellow is eye-catching and its a very evocative image. The text is also both topical and carries a great incentive.

Equally posts that are purely promotional/marketing traps use incredible images and shortened URLs. The point is clear and the opportunity to engage is very easy.

 

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And it’s always nice to see a company link its Social Media with its blog:

 

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Engagement with Customers

STA have an exemplary customer relations attitude. Even when a customer offers a vague question such as the one below, they give a full comment with examples and research – and even drop in a bit of upselling completely naturally. This is the best only way anyone should use Social Media as a sales tactic – dropped in almost as an afterthought.

 

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Also to its credit, STA offered a Q&A with its online team where Facebook fans could ask anything they want about Thailand. The response was great, and even though STA didn’t answer every question, other members of the community were more than willing to help each other out. It made for a great foundation for an online travel group:
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Twitter

STA’s Twitter following (whilst not quite as big as it’s FB following) is still respectable:

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By mentioning unconventional holiday activities, they’re able to inspire engagement and response:

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It seems that even by acknowledging their own marketing methods, they’re able to use them to a decent effect:

 

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And as ever, it’s great to give your fans a bigger platform to praise you from:

 

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Overall, great customer engagement and a focus on more unique aspects of travel give STA a great social media presence.

And finally on our hitlist, we have Eastern travel specialists, Travelfish.

Travelfish are quite unique as all of their social media appears to be run predominantly by one man: the owner, Stuart McDonald. In any case, their Facebook stats are very good:

 

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This post takes advantage of the ‘great picture’ phenomenon, as well as giving the appearance of a kind of travelogue or diary entry. It appears to have generated a good response whatever the reason:

 

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Conversely, this very promotional product-based post did less well. I still thing it’s weird when people use full links. The full one seems overwhelming.

 

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And also posts about industry news with stunning photos are used to generate a decent response (still with the full link though :( )

 

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Twitter

This is where the obvious flaws in having one person run an entire company’s Twitter becomes apparent…

 

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Despite a decent following, the Tweets don’t seem to generate much of a response.

I think it’s because they’re largely idiosyncratic. The mini-blog style doesn’t lend itself to corporate social media:
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Also giving off-brand reviews about other Social Media tools (which you use!) is probably a no-no:

 

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The majority of the rest of the Tweets are conversations with fans about eastern travel. In this sense, the personal touch is a benefit as McDonald is clearly an expert in his field and loves talking about it. It does leave the rest of us feeling rather left out though:

 

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As a sidenote, Travelfish is the only one of our subjects here that features a Facebook App as one of its social tools…

Unfortunately the ‘App’ is a still image which shows the date in Asia along with some bizzare travel related images. That’s it.

 

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Overall it seems that the best posts in Social Media are ones that contain unique perspectives and nice pictures. However, this is totally down to each brand.

Ultimately, it’s important to stress that Social Media shouldn’t be used as a Marketing Tool, it should be used as a way to interact with your customers; and for them to be able to reach you easily.

Sewing the seeds with sharable engaging content means that you can use subtle advertising methods once your audience grows to a decent size.

The real challenge is coming up with a Social Media plan to suit your business.

But that shouldn’t be too hard…

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Kerry Jones Kerry Jones

April 9th, 2013.

6 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page for Graph Search

I’m going to Paris in a few weeks. Should I  turn to Google and review sites to find restaurants and places of interest to visit, or would I rather turn to more trusted sources, like my friends?

 

I’m going to prefer recommendations from my friends, of course. This is the genius of Facebook Graph Search: personalized results based on data collected from people your network. Google is aiming for this through Google Plus and Search Plus Your World, but the more personalized data Facebook has access to arguably makes it a better source for this kind of search.

 

Released this January, Graph Search initially made waves, with some calling it a direct competitor to Google. Graph Search’s future is still uncertain and for now it seems laughable to think Facebook will give Google a run for its money. But, in its current iteration Graph Search is pretty useful for helping potential customers find you (without them ever needing to leave Facebook).

How Graph Search Works

Users can search for information about friends, such as photos and interests, but they can also search for businesses.

Facebook social graph search

 

For now, it looks like the biggest benefactors from Graph Search will be businesses with physical locations. But, I suspect Facebook will begin rolling out other search functions as time goes on.

 

You can search for businesses based on location.

social graph- search for business by location

 

You can also search for types of business that your friends have visited (a.k.a checked in to).

social graph- businesses friends have visited

 

Results will show you which of your friends checked in where. You can also use the filters on the right to refine the results.

social graph business search results

 

Preparing Your Page for Graph Search

Just like you add certain information to your website in order to be found in search engine results, you can increase your page’s visibility in Graph Search with a few optimization techniques.

 

1. Fill in Your About Page

Make sure the description in your About section is keyword rich and describes all of your service offerings. If you have a physical location, make sure to include an accurate address and store hours so people searching for businesses in your region can find you.

 

2. Customize Your Vanity URL

If you haven’t already done so, updated your page’s vanity URL with your business name and/or your business’ keywords.

 

3. Categorize Your Page

Check that your page is categorized properly. Place pages can have sub categories, so make sure to include any applicable subcategories, as well.

categorize facebook page for social search

 

4. Claim Your Place Page

Anyone can create a Place for a business on Facebook (this happens automatically when someone checks in to a business that doesn’t have an existing Place listing). The good news is you can claim these Place listings and merge them with your Facebook page.

 

Search for your business through Graph Search and then claim any existing Places. Visit the Facebook Help Center for the instructions on claiming and merging pages.

You’ll also want to try to check in to your business on your mobile (while you are at or near your location) to find any other rogue Place pages. Check out how your Place listings appear on iPhone vs. Android phones, since results might vary in different mobile versions of Facebook.

 

5. Encourage Check Ins to Your Business

The more people are checking into your business, the better chance your page will show up high in the Graph Search results.

 

For example, when I searched for Indian restaurants in Paris, I was surprised to see the top results did not have a lot of Likes on their page, but instead a lot of check ins. It looks like offline popularity trumps online popularity in this instance…

indian-restaurants

 

Start encouraging check ins by offering discounts for checking in and putting up signage in your storefront to let customers know your business is active on Facebook.

 

6. Keep Your Page Active

Consistently sharing great content on your page will keep your fans engaged, which will help your page appear higher in Graph Search.

The fuss seems to have died down since its release, but Facebook has invested huge in building its own search engine. Expect Graph Search to become a more integral part of Facebook as its features are refined and users begin seeing its value. Businesses that prepare their pages now to rank well in Graph Search will be ahead of the curve if and when this becomes a popular way to search on the web.

 

Kerry Jones is a freelance writer, editor and blogger based in Tampa, FL. Her background is in online marketing, where she gained experience doing social media consulting and management for Fortune 500 companies. img credit

cognitive-science

Danny Danny

March 19th, 2013.

What Can Cognitive Science Teach us about Outreach?

Over the past few decades, businesses which engage in advertising, PR and marketing have increasingly turned to research in the cognitive sciences to inform their decision making. The hope is that greater insight into the psyche of the consumer will ultimately lead to more profit. In recent years, the rapidly developing field of neuroscience has come to the fore with organisations as diverse as PepsiCo, Intel, CBS, eBay and ESPN utilising ‘neuromarketing’ company NeuroFocus to test for various physiological and cognitive responses to commercials, branding and products.


Neurofocus-timeline

There is a straightforward reason for making use of such complex science:

Christof Ehrhart

We need some understanding of who and what we are communicating with, if we want to have any hope of them understanding us. This is why it is worthwhile incorporating an understanding of cognitive science, whether psychological, philosophical or neuroscientific, into an outreach strategy. Even a cursory glance over the cognitive science page of Wikipedia will reveal that our gut instinct about both ourselves and others is more often than not, flat out wrong. A good outreacher needs to dig a little deeper.

Classic Study: Behaviourism – Skinner and the Rat

Skinner-and-the-RatPsychologist B.F. Skinner devoted the bulk of his career to the understanding of human behaviour.  Perhaps his greatest contribution to cognitive science was his theory of operant conditioning, which holds that behaviours can be learnt on the basis of positive or negative reinforcement.

Skinner demonstrated his theory with a device known as the ‘Skinner Box’, which featured little more than a small container, a hungry rat and a selection of levers. When pressed, one of the levers would release a small pellet of food.  Quickly the rat learnt to only press this lever if it wanted to get what it desired. Reinforced by the reward of food, the rat would readily repeat this action over and over again.

But what does this tell us about outreach?

It tells us that well-rewarded behaviour will be repeated. For example, if a journalist has posted an infographic before, had good results, then they are likely to do it again. They know the operation and realise the benefits. This factor of repeatability means that outreach is more scalable.

However, this is not to say that we shouldn’t outreach to those who have never posted infographics before. It took Skinner’s rat some time to understand the process, but once the behaviour is learnt, it is likely to be repeated. This is where persuasion and information kicks in. We wouldn’t dream of entrapping potential clients in a cage to reap some reward: in the rat’s case this was a bag of food, in our case it will be the prospect of driving traffic and awareness towards their website, or just spreading the joy of infographics.  Our positive reinforcement will be much harder to enforce. So we have to provide examples of previous successes, as well as building trust to get clients pressing the lever for content again and again.

skinner-and-the-journalist

Wisdom of the Ancients: Emotion and Reason

In the great philosopher Plato’s famous analogy of the soul, emotion was two horses pulling a charioteer, reason, in opposing directions. The harmonious soul would be able to keep both emotion and reason in balance. A strong outreach strategy should have a similar aim.

EMOTION:

Chris-Graves

REASON:

  • Marketers must be able to reassure the logical characteristics in consumers. A tug-at-the-heartstrings ploy may go over some peoples’ heads, or worse still, invite cynicism.

How does this relate to outreach?

  • While using emotional hooks is important for content you can’t rely on it for all methods of outreach.
  • Know your market.  Some markets will not mind their emotions being pandered to whereas others will see this as little more than fluff, prizing ‘the facts’ much more highly.

Donald-B.-Calne

A more integrated approach between the emotional and the rational will maximise the effectiveness of the outreach.

Recent Study: Optimism Bias and the Effort of Rejection

Optimism Bias:- Research into human decision-making suggests that humans are naturally hard-wired to believe.

It requires greater cognitive resources to question an assumption. It is more effective to believe something than to reject it. By nature, we are trusting. This is why big institutions, popular brands and institutions are built on popular belief and trust. To constantly test and question stimuli would be too draining on our cognitive resources.

Daniel-Gilbert

How is this applicable to outreach?

  • Spend time outreaching to larger influencers. Your content/image/post/media will have greater longevity and far reaching effects- people trust household names.
  • Engage in an initial conversation to build the relationship, assuring and informing your outreach target. Eventually, once the aims have been met, it will be far less likely that your request will be denied due to the cognitive efforts of rejection on the receiver’s part.
  • Have a full proof strategy, that way you are prepared to respond to any queries.
  • This can also be applied to persuasion, turning a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. It’s like a mental tug of war, making the effort of rejection even more exhausting.

To Conclude:-

  • Well-rewarded behaviour will be repeated.
  • Emotion and reason come hand-in-hand. A conclusion (logic) usually results in an action (emotional impulse).
  • Determine the market before taking the plunge, whether a more emotive or logical method should be applied.
  • Have a full proof outreach POA so that any queries can be met with total reassurance, making rejection less probable.
  • Use other brands and institutions where possible to enhance your own content.

Bill-Gates

Danny Ashton is the director of outreach at the infographic design agency – Neomam. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

xcatttt

Joe Joe

January 3rd, 2013.

How to Manage your Brand Online

 

xcatttt
Customers are selfish lovers. They want to receive a lot more than they want to give, but treat them right and they’ll stay with you forever.

Advertising, reputation and great offers have always been at the forefront of all marketing; but the world is changing. TV spots and billboards aren’t enough anymore.

In a digital age, where choice is encouraged and variety is celebrated; how do you keep your customers’ eyes from wandering? Let’s take a look at some key aspects of ensuring your brand stays strong online.

Domain names

Make sure your web address is as simple as possible. Leave no room for error in spelling, reading or punctuation of your company’s web address.

Learn from the mistakes of French tree-surgeons ‘Les Bocages’: ‘www.lesbocages.com’.

 

 lesbocages

And never be afraid to abbreviate to make the address more memorable and remove any room for error, as in Cancer Research UK: ‘www.cruk.org’.

 

cruk

 

Authentication

Customers love a brand they can trust. Featuring endorsements on your page from other trusted online service providers can be a ringing thumbs-up in terms of brand appeal.

Authentication exists for both payment transfer services and any sensitive data entry services.

 

authentication

In any case, having an international corporation’s logo as a stamp-of-approval on your site can only help to improve your brand’s reputation in the eyes of your customers.

First Impressions

First impressions are everything in business. You wouldn’t want a customer to walk into your shop and be met with a messy, confusing or overwhelming store layout and the same should apply to your website. Matt (?) gives an excellent idea on how not to design your website right here at the Datadial blog. For an idea of a nice way to design a website, look to your own favourite websites. For me, the Reddit interface is massively simple and uncluttered; while Facebook seems to be in an eternal battle for usability, updating several times each year.

 

 reddit

Reddit Takes ‘Understated’ to the Extreme

 

Customer Service (e-chat)

Customers like to believe you’re willing to help them whenever they might have a problem. Many online services offer a kind of helpline in the form of e-chat services. This would be especially useful in cases where technical support is likely to be required, but don’t overlook the benefit of offering this facility for things as simple as order tracking or site navigation. Simply offering a helping hand can be enough to encourage your customers to trust in your brand.

 

live chat

 

Take Rewards Online

We’re all familiar with that sly loyalty trick: coupon collecting. Collecting wrappers and tokens from sweets, drinks and cereal boxes is nothing new, but linking these items to exclusive online content will drive traffic to your website and revamp your presence on the web. Encouraging social media users to Tweet, Share, Like and Comment on your competitions will further increase involvement and exposure to a wider audience.

 

mycoke

 

Create Content

If we’ve told you once, we’ve told you 1,000,000,000,000,000 times: Content is King. In the big bad world of internet marketing, the only guaranteed way to get people to engage with your brand and thus build your brand’s reputation is to create fresh new content that is relevant to your target audience. If you’re offering the latest industry news; the best competitions and the most entertaining media, you’ll see a high amount of traffic and a big boost to your reputation.

Viral Content

In the same vein as content creation is viral marketing. Suddenly the greedy customers who only want to receive are paying you back with page views and backlinks. And they don’t even realise how much they’re helping! If you post a totally original super hilarious video on your site and it goes viral, you’ll see the page (and your site) grow in strength as interest grows.

Think of something like the not-even-slightly household name ‘BlendTec’. You’ve probably already forgotten the name, but you’ve definitely seen their viral marketing campaign. ‘Will It Blend?’

 

If videos aren’t your thing, you can take advantage of the spreadability of online content by sharing stories about your brand. Whether intentionally or not, Sainsbury’s were on everyone’s digital lips last year when they followed a 3 year-old girl’s advice to change ‘Tiger Bread’ to ‘Giraffe Bread’.

Whatever your brand, don’t look at Online Marketing as a challenge to overcome. Think of it as a tool to increase your exposure and improve your reach.

buy now

Joe Joe

December 7th, 2012.

5 Tricks Online Retailers Use to Make You Go All the Way.

There are a million and a half blog posts about how Online Retailers keep their drop-off levels down; but what methods do they have in place to make you loosen up with your spending.

Charities have been doing it for years. Getting you to put your hand in your wallet is their speciality. Just when you thought you would ignore their pleadings something tugs at your heart strings. A little niggle that says “do it now, you know you want to”. Anyone who’s watched Jeremy Kyle knows what I’m talking about. Right after the Foxy Bingo guy announces the break, you’re confronted with 4 minutes of hunger-ravaged children reaching out from the Plasma Screen. It’s emotional Blackmail.

But it’s effective…

Online retailers are getting in on the action too. They haven’t quite gone down the guilt road yet (though I’m sure they would if they could) but they are playing with your mind to get you to ACT NOW and not go elsewhere.

…Pulling on the purse strings if not pulling on the heart strings.

It’s even more difficult to create that sense of urgency online, especially when it’s so easy to check prices and offers on other retail websites. Even a website has the right product at the price you’re willing to pay; you would more than likely check elsewhere. So the only weapon left in the web retailers’ arsenal is the notion that if you don’t buy something there and then, you’ll lose it forever.

So let’s see what online retailers do to keep us from doing a wider search, making a coffee, talking to the wife, walking the dog, looking up trivia from The Godfather, looking up how tall Andre the Giant was, looking up the longest recorded flight of a chicken, sitting on Reddit for 2 hours and then going to bed having forgotten we wanted to buy anything in the first place!

1) Act Now to Avoid Dismemberment. I mean Disappointment

You’ve probably seen this on concert ticket sites especially. “only 2 tickets available at this price – book now to avoid disappointment.” Is this really true? Can it really be the case that every time I search for an airline ticket, only 2 seats are available on the flight that I wanted to take? It’s the travel-ticket equivalent of a Saw trap.

‘All your life you’ve enjoyed a leisure of choice when buying things online, but now you have 30 seconds to decide, or lose… everything!’
It’s incredibly persuasive and a panacea for retailers who are faced with an audience of fence-sitters and flip-floppers.

2) Safety in numbers

‘17 others are looking at this item now’.

’29 people are watching this item’

‘143,343,123 people are scrambling for their card details so they can buy this item and you can’t!’

Talk about putting the frighteners up! Nothing invokes a reaction like a bit of competition. Regardless of whether it’s true or not, these stats make you feel two things:

a) This product is in high demand and might run out.

b) This product is popular, so it must be good.

Suddenly certain things like price comparisons seem less urgent. I was going to go and see if I could get it cheaper elsewhere but I can’t risk losing out to other shoppers. I might never see a Self-Stirring Mug at this price again!

The painful things about these methods is that you actually have no idea if it’s true of not. It could just be automated. But does the risk outweigh the reward? Probably not.

3) What’s in a Name?

‘Wayne in Manchester also bought this item’.

Although this isn’t one of the sweat-inducing panic-purchase inducers we’ve come across so far, it could be the push needed to get you to click ‘buy’. Chances are, ‘Wayne in Manchester’ isn’t your friend or financial advisor, so why does his opinion matter? It’s possible he’s not even real! But the fact that someone bought the item is enough of an endorsement to tip even the most frugal shopper over the edge.

If you don’t believe me; think of all those times you’ve been looking at an item on Amazon and thought ‘Nobody’s interested. There must be some hidden catch I’m not seeing.’ Or you’ve been browsing Ebay and seen an item with no bids: rather than thinking ‘wow. I must have stumbled on a bargain’, you think ‘I must be missing something here!’.

Maybe this says something about mob mentality, maybe we just like to follow the herd. It works well all the same, and ‘Wayne in Manchester’ is presented as the spokesman of wise purchasers and his presence on the page alone is enough to egg you on to buy something.

 

 

4) Is that a ‘Buy’ Button on Your Page, or Are You Happy to See Me?

Basic as the big [BUY NOW] button seems, it’s the dominant feature of the page.

For those of us who have gotten to grips with Traffic Signals, Green means GO! GO, GO, GO! So it’s no mistake that the only colour on the page is green, and subsequently the whole page screams ‘BUY BUY BUY’. Psychologically, we’re hopefully still capable of exercising some decorum; we are free-thinking people after all. But with structured, thought-out tricks like this, turning away has never been harder.
Even as I write this I want to click on the screenshot image, just to do as I’m told. It really sucks you in like a blackhole (or maybe a greenhole?). You have no chance.

5) And That’s Not All!

As well as all the mind games and emotional turmoil these companies make us go through to convince us to buy things; occasionally they’ll throw you a treat to sweeten the deal. Like when I recently bought 77 Antique Globes. The Price-Tag of £60,830.00 seemed a little steep and I must confess I was in two minds about whether to click ‘Buy’. But when I realised that the company offered Free Delivery, I couldn’t help but go ahead with the purchase.

Now I’ll never be lost again. But I will spend the rest of my life cursing myself for falling for the ‘free delivery’ option. Other sales incentives (also known as ‘close incentives’ or ‘things that are so cheap we can give them away for free without affecting our profits’) include ‘10% off your next order when you buy now’ and ‘Free warranty up to 30 days!’.

So now we’ve identified the ways in which online retailers fishhook us into a sale, we can go back to shopping online with a renewed sense of freedom. There’s no way any of us will ever fall for those tricks again.

BP

Joe Joe

December 5th, 2012.

Content Marketing Advice for Buckingham Palace that You Can Use Too!

Aside from staggering wealth and undeserved attention, one of the things that I’ve always associated with The Royal Family is their strategic but reserved PR coverage.

I remember when the Queen Mother passed on. The news was broken by a headed-letter placed at the gates of the palace. 10-Years-On, the world has changed. In the age of Social Media and online press, would they still have delivered the statement in this way? I doubt it.

It would be a waste of paper.

Buckingham Palace is moving into the modern age, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.
Following the announcement at The D and D of C’s website  that there is to be a Royal Baby, the whole world has gone Royal Baby crazy. For an idea of what the baby will look like, The Poke gives a pretty scientific model. For an idea about names,  namethatroyalbaby.com is the place to go. As The Royal Baby still hasn’t developed a skeleton and is smaller than an apple, all we can be sure of is it will be a PR dream-come-true. So I thought I’d write a guide for Content Marketing that The Palace can use to promote the infant once it’s born.

…Other readers might also find it useful for their company’s Content Marketing Strategy.

There can be little doubt that content marketing should be a central focus of your digital marketing plan. It’s alleged that 19% of Internet Users now get their news from Social Media. I can attest to this: having spent most of yesterday avoiding social media platforms in case I saw spoilers for the Boardwalk Empire Season Finale, I only found out about the Royal Baby this morning when I was on Twitter researching coverage of the Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. But with 400 million Tweets being sent per day, and 1 Billion Facebookers scrolling through content all day long; how can you make the Royal Baby (or your product) get the attention you think it deserves.

SECTION 1: Competiting for Attention

As with any content production, you need to know your audience.

When it comes to Content Marketing, often it will pay dividends to build-your-own audience. Obviously the current market-share for people interested in the Royal Baby is lower than it could be. Create content that evokes people’s curiosity and encourages them to come back for more. A weekly feature called ‘Ask Royal Baby’ where Royal Baby answers Tweets on a YouTube Channel, or takes part in a Google+ Hangout would be ideal. Tweets featuring #AskRoyalBaby will stand out in the stream, and the Sharability of videos means you’ll see huge coverage, and a huge amount of attention.

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: You might benefit from an ‘Ask an Expert’ style weekly blog that runs along the same lines.)

Technological Sophistication

As well as being current with what you output, you need to be current in how you output. It’s no secret that the ease and simplicity of mobile internet has made the trials of turning on a computer a thing of the past. React to new releases in the digital consumer world before your competitors and you’re bound to see the benefits before them. You might consider releasing an App with minute-by-minute news and updates straight from Royal Baby central. As new technology reveals itself, don’t be afraid to take chances on new ideas. You never know – Royal Baby could be the first star of Holographic Video Blogs!

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: Make sure you’re aware of growing interest in different areas of media consumption. A fairly basic App could be a really innovative way to interact with your customers, or distribute your Blog and Newsletter).

Section 2: Original Content

You are probably asking yourself ‘How Do I Remain Current AND Still Stay Original?’

Simply put, I would say the most efficient and effective way to combine these two things is to put new slants on established concepts. Make things that people will find entertaining or useful and, importantly, things people will want to share. These are all concepts you’ll be very familiar with, but for clarity and usefulness, here are all of them:

How-To – Accessible Application of Expertise

This could be anything from your typical ‘How to’ Video Tutorials (‘How to change Royal Baby’s Nappy’; ‘How to Dress Like Royal Baby’ etc.), to Un-Paid (or even Paid) Teleclasses such as ‘How to Prepare Royal Baby’s Dinner in 10 Easy Lessons’ or ‘Why Is Royal Baby Crying?: A Five Week Course’. People will visit your company’s page to turn their interest into expertise. The more variety of ‘How-Tos’ you offer, the more visitors you’ll attract.

 

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: Share the knowledge in your field of expertise. ‘How to Revamp Your Webpage’ or ‘5 Ways to Make Your Own Furniture’ would work equally well. And like I say, you can name your price if you don’t feel like giving your secrets away for free.)

Also: don’t underestimate the power of E-mails. You can offer E-mail guides which could be more cost effective and a lot simpler if your professional interest is more technical.

Blog Series

You already have regular news updates on your website, so why not offer a weekly or fortnightly specialist post. Much like SEOMoz’s Whiteboard Friday where SEO concepts are described by a professional using a White Board to illustrate their points; you could offer a an insight into Royal Baby’s lifestyle from the people who know him or her best. ‘Royal Family Friday’ would be an excellent platform to get visitors to your website. Short interviews with members of The Royal Family talking about Royal Baby are sure to bring in hits. Think how many people tune in for The Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day. Imagine how much traffic she could bring in each week just talking about Royal Baby’s antics. It’s an untapped gold mine.

Angry Birds isn’t as easy as it looks – Source

 

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: Think what regular features would interest your audience. If you run a management blog, it could be worthwhile interviewing managers from different industries each week on ‘My Manager Monday’. If you run a Travel Agency, you could have reviews of different holidays from people who have just returned home in a weekly ‘Airport Arrivals’. The scope is huge, but as long as people will be interested and willing to share it, there’s no reason you can’t give it a try!

Top 10s

This is an incredibly straightforward and well-used format. It’s basically an entertaining list of things related to your company. It doesn’t even need to be 10! You might go for ‘The Top 10 Mushed Food Royal Baby Loves’ or ‘5 Toys Royal Baby Can’t Sleep Without’.

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: Come on… This is an easy one. Just make sure you’re relevant and interesting!)

Twitter Campaigns – Make Your Content Live in the Stream

The top thing to remember when using Twitter for a marketing campaign is that it should be 95% relationship building and only 5% selling. Twitter is predominantly a social platform. People want to see the latest thoughts from their friends and celebrity interests in their stream, so flagrant advertising sticks out like a sore thumb…

A sore thumb that’s been cut off and glued on…

A sore thumb that’s been cut off and glued onto a mouse’s back….

Ok, maybe that’s too much. The point is: it’s obvious and unwelcome. If you only tell your followers about Royal Baby merchandise all day, you’ll be doomed to fail as people don’t just want to be sold things. If you actively engage with your followers by replying to their tweets and sharing pictures and videos, you’ll probably find them much more susceptible to being sold Royal Baby calendars and car accessories.

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter. At the minimum, you could use the platform to promote news from your company and share content. If you are a reasonably well-established company with thousands of followers, you could start a Twitter Event. Stage a giveaway for the 1,000th retweet, or start a Hashtag idea like #ReplaceSongNamesWithCarParts or #CarPartFootballerNames. If it’s funny and accessible, people will be weighing in with their own ideas in no time, (but if it spreads too far you probably won’t get the recognition for creating it).

Compare whatever you’re writing about with a current news story

[See ‘Content Marketing Advice for Buckingham Palace that You Can Use Too!’ by Joe Shervell, or ‘What The Leveson Enquiry Can Teach Us about Tobacco Farming’ by nobody.]

Reproduce Advice You Gave a Client

If somebody phoned you this afternoon asking for your advice, they probably aren’t the only person who needs it. Turn a customer’s question into a ‘How-To’ (see above) or even a Video Q&A with the customer where all questions are asked and answered. This could be anything from ‘How Can I Join the Royal Baby Fanclub?’ to ‘Which University Will Royal Baby Attend? I Want My child to Marry Royalty’.

(If your product isn’t The Royal Baby: Judge the important problems your customers are brining to you and work on ways they can solve them by referring to your blog or online guides. Again, the more diverse the content, the wider the variety of visitors you’ll attract.

Never Underestimate the Power of Hard Copy

In the modern world, emails; messages; texts and tweets fly around our heads and across our field of vision faster than we could possibly process. It might be a refreshing and paradoxically novel idea to approach your audience with something fresh: hard copy letter or CDs or DVDs. You could send out hand-written letters to everyone citizen of Britain and the Countries of the former British Empire, signed with a poster-paint handprint by Royal Baby. This would be a massively personal way to reach every member of the target audience.

(If your product is not The Royal Baby: You could send out sales enquiries in hand-written letters, or send your Newsletter printed on card. This will instantly set you aside from everyone else in your industry and keep you at the forefront of the clients’ minds. Floppy Disks may stand out even more, but unless your client has been making a concerted effort to halt progress, they will only be useful as Coasters).

Section 3: Other Key Factors

Aside from the content itself, there are several theories worth bearing in mind.

Good Content = More Followers

Broadly speaking, the better the content, the more people will want to see more of it. These will be the subscribers; the followers; the digital friends; but crucially, the online customer base that is so essential for this type of marketing. The more people who are interested in Royal Baby, the easier it will be to tell them about Royal Baby.

Content Knows No Bounds

 

For the connected generation, everything is accessible on mobile. Whether it’s an article, picture or video; you can access it on your desktop, tablet, phone, TV or PS3, all at the same time! This means it’s never been easier to get the latest content from Royal Baby straight to the people you want to see it the most.

The More Natural, The Better the Results

The more your content fits into the platform you’re using, the better the engagement from the audience. ‘Sponsored Tweets’ look just like Regular Tweets (Except for the fact that they say ‘Sponsored Tweet’). To Johnny User, this is much more acceptable than the stapled-on banner ads we learned to ignore in 1997. It also puts the content directly in the stream, meaning even the most highly-trained content avoider has to give it a cursory glance. If you fill Royal Baby’s fans Timeline’s with pictures and Hilarious Demotivational Posters, you’ll find a much higher engagement than straight-up bit.ly links to RoyalBabyShop.Com.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Other People’s Success

Unfortunately, Royal Baby isn’t due to make an appearance until Spring 2013. This means he or she will be late for even the ‘Dead Horse Flogging’ phase of Gangnam Style. But you could recreate a timeless classic in the Sneezing Baby Panda video, with the Duchess of Cambridge nearly having a heart attack as Royal Baby sprays mucus everywhere. Or feature Royal Baby in a series of parody Old Spice adverts doing dangerous but awe-inspiring things like cliff-diving or riding a motorbike around the Large Hadron Collider.

Never overlook the importance of a Strategic Partnership with other brands. I’m sure Google will do some kind of logo to celebrate the baby being born. In fact, I’d put money on it. Other internet sensations Royal Baby could be involved with are:

– Twitter Feud with Nicki Minaj
– A Vice Documentary About Royal Baby
Will It Blend?

Ok, I’m joking about the last one.

But there’s nothing wrong with partnerships. You’re judged by the company you keep, but if you can achieve extra exposure for your product then there’s no reason not to try it out.

Whether you’re promoting The Royal Baby, or a Digital Marketing Agency; original marketing that gets people talking and sharing is the way forward. Generate interest and you’ve made a step towards generating sales.

Voyeur

Joe Joe

November 29th, 2012.

Rise of the Digital Voyeurs: What is Your Role in Social Media?

 

Every day we sign into Facebook, Twitter , Google+ and a plethora of other Social Media platforms. The content shared on these sites is limitless, and with new content being created and shared every day, the power of Social Media has never been stronger.

We are constantly told about the benefits of Social Media as an Online Marketing Strategy, but one question that I’ve been pondering is: What do the 700 million people who use these sites actually use them for?

I propose a three-pronged method of identifying social media users.

1) Those who seek to create new content for their online audience for a multitude of reasons and in a multitude of ways. (Creators)
2) Those who enjoy nothing more than engaging with online content and sharing it among their family, friends and professional peers. (Amplifiers)
3) Those of us who sign in just to see what our friends and family have been up to. (Voyeurs)

The spread of users across these three categories is far from even. As the following diagram comprehensively explains, the people responsible for creating new content are in a tiny minority, while most people are quite content to just observe what other people are creating.

 

So what type of user am I?

There is no easy answer to this question. I imagine most people fall under ‘a bit of each'; but here, I will give each User-Type a profile and you can see which you most identify with.

Creators

These are the people at the top of the content waterfall. People who focus on creating web content. Here are the different types:

Type 1: Raising Awareness/Expanding a Fan Base/Increasing Exposure

The creators with the most exposure are big brands with big followings. A company like Coca-Cola push new content all day every day. They want to keep people interested in their product and spread the good word. If people are sharing new pictures, competitions and media around Social Networks, it’s free promotion for the company and everyone’s a winner.

There’s obviously a sliding scale with the multi-nationals at one end and independent companies, artists, musicians and people trying to build a fan-base at the other end.

(If you’re on the digital marketing team of a big brand; an unsigned musician; or a celebrity, this is you).

Type 2: Staying Current/Inspiring Ideas/Informing

Other creators might be Bloggers or companies who offer online services. They spark discussion about topics and, as their content is shared in email or social networks, they build more of a following. New content is important for these people. Staying fresh and current in the SEO-driven world requires a focus on innovative ideas and compelling writing.

(If you’re a Blogger, SEO or Redditor, this is you)

Type 3: Have-a-Go Heroes

The final type of creator is anyone else who posts on any Social Media Platform. The people who Tweet about their breakfast; or Instagram pictures of the weather; or update Facebook after a successful bowel movement. The people who just want to share their lives with their contacts. Features such as ‘Checking-in’ and ‘Tagging’ on Facebook enable these users the opportunity to be as detailed as they could possibly be when creating new content. The more they tag, the bigger their audience becomes. Mobile technology means that essentially anyone with thumbs can be this type of creator.

(If you have an internet connection, this is probably you)

 Amplifiers

The Amplifiers of Social Media can be broken into similar sections, as such:

Type 1: Shameless Self-Promoters

This is the type of Amplifier who tries to get their own content as much attention as they can. For example, a Blog-Post writer at an internet marketing company might Tweet a link to his post for his followers to see. His Twitter account is linked to his Facebook page, so it will also post the link to Facebook. He might then post a link to the page on Reddit; Submit the page to Stumbleupon; +1 the page on Google+; Pin the page on Pinterest; e-mail the page to all of his friends; write a letter containing the URL to his Great Aunt; Spray paint the link under a railway bridge or just go door-to-door asking people to visit his page. If he’s lucky, his followers, friends and associates will give the post the same treatment; retweeting it and sharing it around their own online networks and this will get the post the recognition it deserves.

(If you are trying to increase exposure to your own content, this is you)

Type 2: Subject Gurus
These are the types of Amplifiers who are considered (by themselves at least) to be experts in their field of interest. They will follow anyone who shows an interest in their subject and retweet, comment and increase awareness of the content they view to be of a high standard. This could be @DogFoodCentral Retweeting your comment about the new biscuits you bought your Labrador, or it might be @MattCutts raising awareness of your worthwhile post about Google’s Interpretation of HTML Tags. In any case, these are people who have an online following interested in a particular subject. They acknowledge that responsibility by sharing the best content in that field.

(If you are an online expert on anything, this is you)

Type 3: Fankids

These are the people who share content from their favourite bands, celebrities or artists. There are pages and sites dedicated to sharing the content put out by pop-cultural icons from all walks of life. Many artists have modern-day Fan Clubs in the form of Fan Pages and Groups on Facebook. There are also a growing number of Twitter accounts dedicated to Retweeting people talking about the artist. For example the frankly confusing account dedicated to 2010’s 4th Place X-Factor Contestant, Cher Lloyd:

For an example of the hype that can be created by Fankids, look at a fairly innocuous Tweet from  a young boy named Justin Bieber:

That was Retweeted by more people than could fill Wembley Stadium.

Take a moment to process that…

Now, I’ve got nothing against Justin Bieber. I’m sure he’s completely deserving of the attention he receives for quoting other people’s lyrics. But I’m sure if an 18 year old boy doing an Apprenticeship at a local City College had Tweeted the same sentiment, it might not have generated quite the same buzz…

Fankids share their love of artists to an alarming level of dedication, making them a huge part of the Amplification process.

(If you are obsessed with someone online, this is you)

Type 4: Keyboard Keensters

This applies to anyone else who interacts with online content. Casual Social Networkers who either want to get involved with the technology or just keep up with their friends. They will retweet @sportsquotesoffical or whatever sage advice is being handed out by @charliesheen that day. They will comment on each other’s photos with material that 5 years ago would have been confined to a text message or phone-call. They will like their friend’s status updates, share photos from their favourite singer’s pages; but still be fairly restricted to slightly extended group of people that they probably see on a day-to-day basis anyway.

(If you spend much of your time on Social Networking sites, but don’t like posting, this is you)

Voyeurs

This is less easy to break into different segments since we are all guilty of it in some way. By Voyeurism I mean the idea of looking and not touching. Seeing but not interacting. The idea of voyeurism conjures up a lot of negative connotations, but I think it is exceedingly appropriate here– especially in an age where privacy is flouted just as much as it is protected. There’s something kind of perverse about how most of us use Social Media. Every day we log on and trawl through updates of people we probably wouldn’t even think about were it not for this fairly unnecessary level of connectivity.

I’m in the age bracket where people start to have children. I’m sure having a child is the most precious thing in the world, and I’m sure when I have children I’ll want to share it with everyone I know. But at the same time, I find it almost unsettling that I’m being exposed to an enormous number of such life events by people I barely know and may never physically meet again. We invite people who are essentially strangers to share in our successes and failures, knowing that they probably don’t care. We watch people’s lives go by in our Newsfeeds and learn more about them than we care to know; but in many cases we wouldn’t even say hello if we passed them in the street.

And we still log on every day to do the same.

Looking but not clicking.

…Welcome to digital voyeurism.

So Why Should I Care About This?

It’s important to recognise who will be using your content and what they will be using it for. If you want to get a killer video out there; or you want more people to spread your latest blog post you need to think of ways to turn Voyeurs into Amplifiers, and Amplifiers into Super-Amplifiers. You might offer a prize for the 1000th Retweet or comment. You might reward commenters by commenting back with feedback. People like to know their opinions are being heard, and the more links you build on that personal level, the more people will connect with your company and the more they’ll come back. Get visitors active, and then reward their activity.
As a planet, we’ve never been so connected. The next stage for online commerce is activating the potential to interact with all of their potential customers. Things like Google Authorship are a step away from online anonymity and a stronger sense of community.

Put the effort into engaging the visitors to your site and you’ll see the benefits in no time.

moustache

Martina Martina

November 1st, 2012.

4 things Movember can teach all businesses

moustache

Image Source

What is Movember?

  • Movember (a combination of the terms Moustache and November), is an annual national incentive welcomed far and wide by mo bro‘s (Movember brothers, I think) who help to raise awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other male cancer initiatives, by the growing of their moustaches.
  • The idea was launched circa 1999 by a group of 80 guys in a pub in Adelaide – and since then has gotten great publicity for it’s cause, with ambassadors including many well known celebrities  such as Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and UFC Lightweight Champ Frankie Edgar.
  • The campaign has even gone on to partner with Google Chrome to create a video:

Great! – What can businesses learn from Movember?

Aside from the success that comes with the genuine promotion of a charitable cause, there are many things all business owners and it’s employee’s can learn here, including:

1) Teamwork increases the odds of success!

It was a team of 80 guys that first started the initiative, not just one. Now, while it is entirely possible to begin something on your own and grow it from there, it is so much easier having people agree on the same thing from the start.

Aside from the team of people being on the same wavelength, being part of something gives it more power, which gets things going faster than if you have to wear all the hats yourself!

2) The best gains can be gotten through giving something away!

There’s a reason why on your lunch-break, if you’re lucky you’ll see a coca-cola van parked up, attached to a trolley full of free drinks it’s giving away – branding.

Being known to seduce potential customers with your product is an age-old tactic and is regularly used, use it!

The original mo bro’s gave away their freshly shaven upper lips and gained tonnes of cool-points in return.

Whatever your business niche, offer up some freebies! It might lose you money in the short run, but could very well gain you leads and will strengthen your brand awareness in the long run.

3) People outside of your niche, will help you – if what you are doing helps them!

With the recent banking scandals and shortfalls related to the Olympics, it might be hard to believe it, but people like to be nice! – Even more so when other people appreciate their niceness.

One example of this is Qantas –  the flag carrier of Australia, who painted a moustache on one of its airplanes in aid of the charity in 2011.The famous ‘tache can also be spotted at the Qantas terminal where it is displayed proudly on the entrance building:

Quantas-terminal,-Sydney

Image Source

The business of aviation isn’t particularly well known for charity among the masses, however Qantas getting involved in this shows that it doesn’t matter what you do, it will be recognized if there is genuine goodwill behind it!

4) Forget paid promotion in hopes of going viral, if your idea/cause is a good one, that is PR enough!

It’s true you can buy your way to a million views on YouTube and etc. but I’m guessing the satisfaction isn’t nearly as close to when something genuinely takes off!

Of course working with internet giants Google can bring any cause to the attention of the masses, mostly because Google pretty much run the inter-web. However, it wasn’t Google that shed light on Movember alone.

The charity worked its own way to the forefront for many reasons the biggest being that it relates to men, who make up a huge scale of the population!

Allowing/encouraging others to get involved in your cause, means they’ll feel closely related to it, and if it appeals to them personally they’ll be even more likely to continue or at least acknowledge it among peers.

After that, going “viral” is almost the next step, simply because people will want to be a part of something so good!


Ask Men‘s Movember movie comedy short:

MovemberTV: Movember’s Impact on Awareness

Google_images

Martina Martina

October 17th, 2012.

Google adwords: Image search ads

Google_images

Topic in question:
Google Adwords’ image search ads

Are these new?
Well yes and no. No technically, since they were originally launched at a Google Search event back in 2010, but to you – yes if you have never used them before, obviously.

What are they?
In short, they are ads that include images similar to the ones you see on the search network as part of a PPC campaign.

Where do you use them?
These can be used as part of your online advertising campaign in Google’s display network. Specifically, they will appear at the top of Google’s image search above the lines of images returned. Here is an example:

CLS
 

Why would you use them?
For many reasons. There is a huge untapped opportunity to be found via the images you have on your website than just through regular SEO. For instance, through the ALT-tags used in your images. These can lead people to the content on your website.

Also, often people are genuinely just looking for an image rather than actual text content – for instance when looking for new shoes, or any product they are interested in. This is a great chance to draw in prospective customers.

Hold on, don’t we already have image ads on the display network?
We sure do!

So, how are these different?
They’re completely different. Image ads are ads featured in Google’s display network. This network is different from Google’s search network. Instead, it is a large collection of websites that are in a partnership with Google that work to display graphical ads that have been built with the display ad builder.

Those ads look like this:

cooking_ad

Will these cost me more than usual search ads?
No, you can bid on relevant keywords as you usually would. So this will only cost you as much as you choose to bid.

Any tips for effectiveness?
Google advises you create a separate campaign for these kinds of ads. This way you can gauge quality scores much more accurately and hone the campaign in a way that works best.

Things to keep in mind?
Although a useful way to advertise, it is worth noting that there are no guarantees this will be a huge success in terms of conversions, and as with text ads, it is a process of constant tweaking until you find what works.

Some users have suggested that this is something that best works with tangible products (on e-commerce sites) where someone will search to get an idea of a product they will eventually wear, use or feel (i.e furniture, clothing or decoration).

If your product doesn’t fall into this band, then the outlook for image ads search might be branding; a way to advertising the visual aspects of your services. Low Cost Holidays does a good job of this. Here, I searched the term winter holidays:

winter_holidays
 

Okay where do I start?
You can explore this feature in Adwords by selecting a campaign on the left and then selecting ads from the top panel. From there, select new ad and then Specialised – Search from the drop down menu:

search_ad



Follow the instructions from there. – Good luck! ;-)

search_engine_relationship-th

Rob

July 10th, 2012.

Remember when..there was more than one search engine

I recently found this leaflet in the bottom of my draw.  It shows how all the different search engines used to relate to one another and how they got their results.

It bought back memories of how it used to be in the search engine game.  It also shows how long we’ve been in the SEO game compared with some of the other jonny come latelys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i-find-you-interesting-but-facebook-thinks-your-dull

Rob

May 18th, 2012.

I like you but Facebook thinks you are dull

This post is to do with Facebook and how to get seen in people’s news feeds.

The problem is that every time you log into to Facebook it has about 500-800 possible items that it could show you in your newsfeed.  How on earth does it decide which are most relevant to you?

And how as a marketer on Facebook do you make sure that your company’s posts are getting in front of your so called fans?

 

Facebook’s Ranking Algorithm: EdgeRank

For anyone seeking to market a product or service on Facebook it’s essential you understand how this algorithm works.

In the olden days it was easy

Just like getting to the top of Google getting to appear in users’ news feed used to be a breeze.  That was when there were about 100m people on Facebook.  Now there are 900m.  Getting your company’s posts to appear in Facebook users’ feeds has meant that marketers have to really think on their feet.  No more easy money.

General rule of thumb is that if your posts are so dull that no one shares them or likes them then it’s unlikely Facebook is going to rate them as being of any interest either.

Let’s look at Edge Rank more closely

What is it: EdgeRank is Facebook’s equivalent to Google’s algorithm for ranking news feeds.

Every time you click, like, share, RSVP something on Facebook EdgeRank gives yoru behaviour a score.  The higher the score the more popular the post, the more likely it is to appear in other people’s news feeds.

If only it was that simple!  How does it really work?

Well it’s a secret for a start.

But we know there are 3 ingredients:

  • Affinity Score
  • Edge Weight ( an edge is any interaction a user has with the site such as clicking on “Like”)
  • Time Decay

 

Affinity score

Affinity score means how connected a user is with someone else. The more you write on someone’s wall the more affinity you have with them. Each interaction has a different weight: commenting on something is more valuable than just liking.  The more mutual friends you have with someone then the more affinity you have with them adn the more likely you are to receives their posts.

If you stop interacting with someone then your affinity score declines and you will stop hearing so much from them! Phew in some cases.

 

Edge Weight

Each edge has a different weight.  In order of decreasing importance you have commenting, sharing, liking.  Photos have higher value than links.

Every action that a user takes creates an edge, and each of those edges, except for clicks, creates a potential story. By default, you are more likely to see a story in your newsfeed about me commenting on a fan page than a story about me liking a fan page.  This is what Facebook marketers must understand

There is even a theory that actively searching for a page/person and Fanning it is more important than just Fanning it as someone else has posted it.  This and may other twists and turns to the Edge weight make it very clever but at the end of the day it’s quite simple:

The more interesting you are the more Facebook will rate your posts.

 

Time Decay

Old stories are old news. So when someone logs on the newsfeed is populated with the most recent stories with the highest score at that time.  Your story will not appear unless it has a higher score at that moment in time than all the other possible newsfeeds.

Time decay is also affected by how long since the user last logged into Facebook and how frequently they log in.

 

How can I optimise the my Fan page for Edgerank?

It’s the same advice as with search engine ranking.  Don’t try to trick the search engines, just make your content interesting and informative, or funny. Funny is best!

Take your turgid press releases, turn them inside out so that they ask opinion rather than give it:

eg

  • “Click ‘like’ if you think our new product will be useful”
  • “Fill-in-the-blank: I can see myself using this product in ______.”
  • “Would you recommend this product if it was _____  ______.”
  • “On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the design of our new product X.”

 

Here are some real world examples

Here is a great example from Luv me Buddies.  Funny how’s it often the small companies that get it right! 

Though beware these sorts of give aways that tend to attract unengaged, professional competition enterers

The BBC Good Food Show have great content and potential to engender interactions but this post is too passive and does not engage.

Easy Jet are having a good go.  Their question gets you thinking of Italy and sharing your experiences.  It’s still quite a big jump to think that this might make you suddenly book a holiday but it’s all good branding  I guess.

 

Businesses are still struggling to really derive any revenue from Facebook and personally I doubt they will unless they are big brands.  But that should not stop everyone from trying.   BUT whoever you please think of something interesting to post before you post it!

 

fawltytowers

Rob

May 18th, 2012.

Fawlty Towers and Trolls SEO strategy – have you got the balls?

 

We all know that if a customer is unhappy that they are 10 times more likely to complain than if they are happy. Well poor service could be a fantastic opportunity to improve your SEO.

Let’s say you run a restaurant.  Consider a situation where for a day you deliberately gave all your clients appalling customer service – picture a day at Fawlty Towers.  In the past your clients would have just grumbled and not come back, nowadays they’ll be straight online on Facebook, twitter, mumsnet, forums, tripadvisor, restaurant review sites etc. and anywhere else to vent their spleen and to take revenge on your appalling rudeness.

They’ll be so agitated that they’ll post a link back to your site just so that your readers are in no doubt as to where you are and so that they can avoid you.

What a great result!   Fantastic.  Go out into the streets and rejoice.   Think of all those juicy, natural, organic links pointing back to your site. Clever though the poor old Google bot is it cannot determine sentiment very well (or may not even want to) and will treat those links as a good reason to boost your site’s rankings.

This is obviously a very dangerous tactic and not one to be approached lightly but you do see instances of it happening if not deliberately then definitely inadvertently.

Ryan Air are exemplars of deliberate bad PR to attract venom and spite from their clients, who keep coming back, and who presumably keep posting links to their site.

Mothercare were in the spot light last month for its appalling customer service, this was all over Mumsnet for days and other forums just clicking up the inbound links.  What a gift!

Also see here for a case study from american company My Decor Eyes whose poor customer service has catapulted them  up Googles Rankings. Here is an excerpt with a comment from the owner:

“Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com,” the post began. “I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement.”

It’s all part of a sales strategy, he said. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in Google search results, which led to greater sales. He closed with a sardonic expression of gratitude: “I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven.”

 

For the ultimate SEO buzz and getting attention online why not try Troll SEO.

It’s dangerous but could be fun

 credit

Indeed it is not all about links on the Internet it’s all about getting attention and this is where Trolls come in.

Online a Troll is someone who deliberately stirs up forum discussion by posting extreme, controversial, rude, occasionally funny, comments just to annoy and cajole other readers.  He is the firestarter, the poker of ants nests.

Get it right and and everyone gets on their high horse and attacks the troll, the number of contributors increases, attention and eyeballs gather and hey presto suddenly everyone’s on your site.

This is maybe how we know about Liam Stacey who used twitter to launch a stream of racist abuse against footballer Fabrice Muamba as he fought for his life.  Is he really such a racist?  Maybe, maybe not but now we all know who he is and he’s got our attention.

Why did I find myself reading Louise Mensch’s (Tory MP) Twitter the other day?  Well she had decided to promote all the sexist abuse she gets on Twitter in her favourites.  Too disgusting to broadcast on the radio I had to see it for myself when I heard about it!  As did thousands of others neatly promoting her profile, her number of followers etc.

But who were these people posting all this sexist abuse?  If you were to meet them face to face would they be so bold?  I suspect not, but online they are Trolls, operating unseen, below the fold of the page, viley expurgating their venom and inadvertently promoting their hosts’ blogs and websites.  Everyone should have a pet Troll.

 

 

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