Online Marketing « Datadial Blog
0208 6000 500

On the subject of Online Marketing

Rob

June 26th, 2009.

12 things to check for your SEO Christmas checklist

santa-6-months-copy

Christmas 09 is only 4 months away.  No doubt you’ll already have your products organised and maybe some ideas on offline marketing but what about online marketing.

Because online marketing can take 4-6 months to “kick in” there’s no time like the present to activate your Christmas strategy.   So below are 12 timely reminders on what needs to be in place to ensure that your site delivers this Christmas in a way that would make Santa Claus proud.

1. Blogging – sounds similar to ‘tobogganing’ and is just as much fun

  • Simply, unless you are willing to put the time into adding useful and interesting content on your site then there really is little chance that the search engines will bother ranking you for anything more than your domain name.  You have to deserve to be number one.

2. Social Media – it’s time to get social (both online and off line) – and we don’t mean just churping along with the robins

  • Marketing is no longer a one way monologue.  It’s all about dialogue now and if you’re not up for a chat then users won’t listen.   If you say something  interesting then others will refer to it and pass it onto their friend – if it isn’t then they will talk about your competitors products instead.

3. Link Bait – lay the foundations now and reap the rewards by Christmas

  • How would you like say 500,000 more visitors to your site. Content will go viral if written properly – but before it goes viral make sure that your website can take the strain of the increase in visitor traffic.

4. Mouse tracking – discover how your customers behave online and throw them a lump of cheese…

  • Find out where people are clicking on your site and where they are getting confused. You’ll be surprised by how quickly and easily people get lost and move on elsewhere.  Make sure buttons like “Add to Basket” are big and easy to find (and look like buttons)Â

5. Cross-selling – if your customers have a basket, fill it!

  • Seems pretty obvious thing to do but many companies still miss this easy opportunity to up the customers’ spend by 10% or so.  Ask your web programmers to implemenet basket based offers.

6. Communications – ensure your data management system is working for you and send glad tidings to all your customers

  • I’m presuming you already have an email database.  If not, why not?  But continue to refine your database so that you can target relevant offers at different people.

7. Seven swans a-swimming – (well we had to give some reference to the twelve days of Christmas) Will your customers be able to swim through your site without any hold ups?

  • Should you really be making your customers register before purchase?  Are you hiding your delivery charges? (Hidden delivery charges are the 2nd most cited reason for people abandoning a shopping cart). Is it obvious how to make the order?  All these issues will effect conversion rates.  Get friends to perform specific tasks on your site and see how they perform. You’ll be surprised.

8. Content management system – check that your system will enable you to do everything you require. We’re still working on a turkey cooking programme but we are happy to cover off everything else.

  • Got a great idea for a Christmas offer? Have you checked that your e-commerce software is capable of handling this type of offer.  Find out now and don’t leave to last moment.

9. Reputation management – discover if you are featuring on your customers’ Christmas wish lists this year

  • Find out what people are saying about you with Datadial’s reputation management software and then respond to these comments and start a dialogue.  See how Love Film responded to a post I wrote about them – this was a classic bit of Reputation Management whereby they quashed my negative comment about them.

10. PPC – Pretty Perfect Christmas?  We believe Pay Per Click is the icing on the cake of an online marketing strategy (never the key ingredient)

  • Multi channel marketing includes PPC as well as snail mail.  PPC is expensive if implemented incorrectly.  Get this sorted before the Christmas rush starts.  Do all your experimenting with what works and what doesn’t or else you’ll find all the money coming in one end is going out the other end.

11. Online PR – You don’t need to bring frankincense and myrrh but if you’re doing anything quirky or different then let the blogosphere know about it

  • Do not presume that your PR company can do online PR.  Online PR is an entirely different science to Offline PR and most PR companies do not have a clue about how to create buzz on line.

12. Online optimisation – creeping round every corner making sure everything is as ‘friendly’ as possible

  • This is the most important thing to get right – If your website is not optimised for search engines then it has no chance of being ranked for its keywords.  Ask us to provide a website analysis for you.  If you ask nicely we might even do it for free, seeing as it’s nearly Christmas!

If you’ve got it all covered then you can join our happy Santa on the beach

santa-tanning-300x225

Matt

May 21st, 2009.

SMX London Roundup – More News, Tips, Tricks, Tools And Links

smxlogoAs I mentioned yesterday, we have just returned from the  recent SMX London search marketing conference. Below is our roundup of the best hints, tips and links that we picked up over the two days.

There are also some fantastic posts over at SEOptimise and Distilled that are well worth a read.

The State Of The Search Industry

  • The search industry must focus more on, analytics, holistic search and education for senior management. Cooperation between companies is required in order to grow the industry.
  • During the keynote, Brian Fetherstonhaugh from Ogilvy One pointed out that although search marketing is seen as the holy grail of marketing by the top 1000 CEOs, this still only occupies around a 1.5% mindshare. Search marketers should focus on how search can ad value to existing advertising mediums and can be sold as a research tool.
  • The US has a greater buy-in from senior management. This could be due to an increased understanding/awareness of the technology, or better and more organised education.
  • Integrated search is set to be a huge growth area, both in the form of integrated digital campaigns (SEO, PPC, Digital PR) and also increased synergy between online and offline PR.
  • 46% of respondents to the Guava/E-Consultancy Research were spending a minimum of £10,000 p/a on SEO.
  • 32% are spending a minimum of £100,000 on paid search.
  • 55% of companies predict an increase in SEO spending despite current economic conditions.
  • SEMPO research indicates a shift from paid search back into natural search.
  • SEO is increasingly being used for branding as well as direct response advertising being driven by an increase in local, video and news results visibility.

Keyword Research Tips And Advice

  • Download the Microsoft adCenter Excel Add-In for keyword research. This will help to quickly build keyword lists and give additional demographic information.
  • Don’t just use traditional tools for keyword research. Initial brainstorming with client sales teams is usually an untapped resource for potential keywords, as well as looking at internal site search queries.
  • The credit-crunch has altered search behaviour. Consumers are searching more, researching more but buying less.
  • There has been a 3-fold increase in informational and a fall in navigational search queries. Less brand searches, more price-led queries.
  • Optimise category pages for plural search keywords, product pages for the singular.
  • Use Google Trends to find and keep ahead of topical search terms in your industry.

SEO

  • Wordle is a great tool for finding which keywords a site/page has been optimised for.
  • Using a keyword site:domain.com query you can find the most important pages on your site for a specific keyword.
  • Mis-spellings can be targeted using a glossary or a ‘similar searches’ widget.

Link Building

  • Before releasing online PR/link bait you must understand the reasons that people link to pages. If your content doesn’t encourage people to link in some way, then it isn’t linkbait.
  • A successful linkbait article has an average of 2.7 seconds to grab a bloggers attention. The solution to retaining this attention? A Great Headline. These great headlines should be continued into the subject of the text, and should also be continued into the headlines of whichever social media distribution channel you choose (Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc).
  • Websites Don’t Link to Websites- People link to other people’s work. To improve the response from your linkbait, look into the mindset of the blogger reading your piece- why would you link to it if it was your blog?
  • Discussion sparking content – Create content that can spark controversial discussions. Not everyone in your industry will always have the same view, and providing content that sparks such discussions allows readers to get involved in the discussion. Invite other bloggers to get involved in the conversation (subconsciously inviting the blogger to link to the discussion and make a comment on the discussion on their own blog).
  • Actively promote your own content. Build a directory of targets and inform them when you publish linkable content to increase the take-up rate.
  • Link your articles with current affairs, topical news stories, or hot topics in your industry to increase the chances of publication.
  • Link building is very much dependant on the kind of website you’re working on. Big brands can get away with a far lower link quality than smaller companies and brands.
  • Analise the current inbound links- Big brands should have a range of authoritive links, meaning less authoritive links with optimised anchor texts can help when optimising for a particular phrase.
  • Install ‘Links From Images’ Plugin on WordPress. People still hotlink images… why not provide them with the HTML code and include a link back to the page the image.
  • Where possible, remove all social media buttons (‘tweet this’ buttons etc) on linkbait articles- remove the option for visitors to share the content on other networks to encourage linking to the article instead.
  • Six degrees of seperation works online… target the bigger sites in the industry that the smaller bloggers will read to get links from both the bigger and smaller blogs (and scraper sites!)
  • Build a Promotion Network-
    1. Research sites in the industry and see what they link to
    2. Create an email list
    3. Create the linkbait article
    4. Social media promotion- this is mainly for show- the more powerful links will come from the bloggers you email directly
    5. Send a personal email to the bloggers on your email list informing them of the post ahead of the buzz
    6. Watch the links come in
    7. Show gratification- thank the bloggers and show gratification (Tweet/Stumble/Digg their post in return)

Social Media

  • Social media is now sending significant amounts of traffic to many sites, for the right industries/demographics it’s crazy to ignore it.
  • Utilising Facebook connect and the Twitter API is an excellent way of encouraging your visitors to interact on social sites and linking that interaction with your brand.
  • Use the RIOT principal – Relevant Interaction = Optimised Traffic – Massimo Burgio
  • Bear in mind the 4 P’s of social media – Passion, Proactively, Perseverance and Patience
  • Twitter may well become more important in the search engine world as it starts to index the content of links in tweets and starts to rank these.

Reputation Management

  • There are several basic strategies for dealing with negative listings in the search results. 1) Legal action 2) Purchasing the offending site 3) Organic strategies to push other listing above it 4) Paid listings to argue your case/divert attention5) Hacking – not recommended!
  • Resort to legal action only if sure of your legal footing and as a last resort. It’s very easy for aggressive tactic to blow-up in your face.
  • Sometimes authority domains that have negative listings may also contain positive pages that can easily be used to replace the negatives.
  • Reputation management shouldn’t just be thought of in crisis situations. Effectively monitoring and managing online reputation before a crisis occurs can save time and money later.
  • Bear in mind that if people want to look hard enough for negative stories and articles, they will find them.

Analytics

  • SEO is not a ‘free’ medium – everything has an ROI that should be measured.
  • When monitoring the performance/conversions of large groups of keywords, separate them out into groups for more manageable analysis – Top 10, Top 100, Top 1,000 and 1,000+
  • Brand engagement can easily be worked out using BE = #brand searches + #direct visits / #search visits + # direct visits
  • Another metric worth measuring is the % of pages yielding search traffic. Consider replacing or amending under-performing pages.
  • Link building counts are a metric that people should be using. The most accurate tools for tracking this are Linkscape and Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Use the 2nd page traffic filter to spot keywords sending you traffic from the second page of search results. Pushing these phrases onto the first page are your low-hanging fruit.
  • Use multi-touch tracking to find the initial referrer for a sale rather than the final one. Often a sale initially comes from a long tail search query, then possibly a branded search or PPC ad which then incorrectly gets the credit for the sale.

Digital PR

  • Get Known- build a brand, attend conferences, seminars and other industry engagements. Comment in forums and become a noticed resource.
  • Build a Platform- Speaking slots, interviews, trade shows. Announce your presence at these industry events ahead of time
  • Find industry news and get on it

Presentations/Write-Ups Currently Available Online

Dean Chew – What’s New With Social Media?
Lyndon Antcliff – Smash A Brick In The Face Link Building
Richard Gregory – The Latest Stats About The Search Engines
Patrick Altoft – Blow Your Mind Link Building Techniques
Ciaran Norris – Old Or New? The Future Of Media
Will Critchlow- Analytics Every SEO Needs to Know
Lucy Langdon- What’s New With Social Media?
Rich Cotton- Paid Search & Tricky Issues
Rob Ousbey- Brand & Reputation Management Strategies
Guy Levine- Writing Killer Search Ads
Massimo Burgio – What’s New With Social Media Marketing?
Richard Baxter – Diagnosing Website Architecture Issues
Richard Gregory – Paid Search And Tricky Issues
Nick Abramovic – Multivariate Testing

Anything I have missed? Let me know :)

Rob

January 12th, 2009.

Stop discounting – How to add value instead and build loyalty

We have already seen in my previous blog that online sales are very robust even in the teeth of a recession.  Companies have used a myriad of marketing techniques to entice users to buy usually with excessive discounts.  It’s now the task of keeping those customers and encouraging repeat buys.

It’s well known that discounting does not engender loyalty necessarily and so retailers need to find other ways to add value.

First lets see what customers actually want:

EMEA survey

A recent study by EMEA concluded that the two biggest factors, likely to influence consumer spending during a credit crunch, are competitive prices (79%) and a combination of good prices AND good customer service (72%).

Retailers relying on brand pedigree, product uniqueness or reputation to see them through the downturn in spending may come unstuck as these were listed as the three least influential factors.

In a recent New Media Age survey consumers said:

89% believe internet has better prices
68% said online was cheaper (taking into account ancillary costs of “outside” shopping
81% said Internet offered wider range
89% cited ease of finding items
95% cited ease of comparing prices

Where the Internet could improve
74% said lack of waiting made high street attractive [Personnally I've never understood why retailers cant offer next day delivery if items are ordered before a certain time]

70% said customer service was better on the high street [there's so much to say about this that I will write a separate blog post about this]

So customer service (combined with customer service) and lack of waiting are key elements that customers want.  Lets see what other retailers are doing to respond to this.  I am assuming that if you run and e-commerce site that you have already covered the basics: free delivery, free returns, properly organised website with your telephone number and security in place etc..

We have scoured the Internet to see what successful retailers have come up with in terms of building customer loyalty and service over and beyond the usual discounting:

Customer service – Delivery
It’s always baffled me that retailers still think it’s ok to take 5 days to arrange delivery.  Next day delivery should be standard for most products. ASOS have made a start on this at least by offering Saturday deliveries at no extra cost as well as offering a next day service.  With 74% retailers citing this as making the high street more attractive I would have thought this should be the most pressing thing for most retailers.  Use a branded delivery service that can represent your brand.

Customer service availability
Zappos, an Online retailer that specializes in selling apparel and shoes has been able to grow from $1.6 million in 2000 to $597 million in revenue last year alone. Some of Zappos’ highlight features include their excellent customer service and a free overnight shipping on all orders. Over the past 8 years.  “We`re continuing our focus on service, which includes 24/7 customer service, free overnight shipping and free return shipping with a 365-day return policy.”

Customer service – communication
Letting customers know its coming – If you’re sending something bulk then why not call ahead to let the customers know.  www.naturalcurtaincompany.com do this and it’s very effective as people will tell other people about the great service.

Customer service – Know what your service is.  99% right is not enough
Make sure your Website is 100% accurate. Zappos ran into trouble when it used to have the manufacturers drop-ship orders, because their inventory was often off and created backorders and unhappy customers. Even 99% is not good enough.

Increasing loyalty
Amazon – Amazon Prime  – Amazon Prime is an exclusive membership program that gives you and your family the benefits of unlimited One-Day shipping on eligible Amazon.co.uk purchases for an annual membership fee of £47.97. During your one month trial, you will enjoy all the benefits of being an Amazon Prime member.

Understand FREEMIUM – the concept of making money out of giving things away for FREE.  This is not for eveyone but you need to understand the power of it. What ever you are selling think of what can be given away for free which will add value to your proposition. Give your service away for free, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.” viz google, facebook – read more http://inside.123-reg.co.uk/archives/chris-anderson-free-long-tail

Communication – The ability to communicate with your customer base is now as important as ever. The ability to get your message to your clients quickly and efficiently can translate into large profits. Blogging, mailing lists and participation in social networks can and do make a difference. Again using the example of Zappos over 400 members of staff use the microblogging service Twitter. This gives the company the ability to contact thousands of people in an instant about offers or new products. The CEO of Zappos alone has 35,000 people watching his updates.

Discount vouchers being sent with each delivery. Whilst constant discounting is not the direction to go in, it’s good for encouraging viral sales.

Membership -Sexypantiesandnaughtyknickers.com – get 15% off for life once you reach a minimum spending limit (bronze) then 25% silver etc.

more to follow…as we find them

Adam Adam

December 10th, 2008.

Interflora Suing M&S and Flowers Direct over AdWords

After reading some interesting posts over at Holistic Search and Brand Republic, one of the largest florist chains worldwide is suing Marks & Spencers and Flowers Direct for using the Interflora brand name to trigger AdWords ads for their competitors.

Google updated their policy on brand name keywords and trademark terms that trigger competitor’s adverts to display back in May. Previously, competitors could not bid on other brand names to display their ads, but since Google updated their policies on brand name keywords and trademarks, competitors in various industries have been using competition brand names to trigger their adverts.
It has been reported keywords include “Interflora”, “Intaflora” and “Inter-flora” which have been used to trigger the display of competitors adverts.

Interflora’s argument is that the actions of Marks & Spencers and Flowers Direct are a breach of trademark law, as marketing director Michael Barringer stated:

“The Interflora brand is extremely valuable and we will not tolerate competitors taking advantage of it and infringing our right.”

However, both M&S and Flowers Direct are abiding by the Google Terms of Service- no mention of the band is made within the advert itself and is now somewhat of a common practice across industries, as a spokeswoman for Marks & Spencers was quoted saying they are “extremely surprised by Interflora’s course of action” adding it was industry-wide practice and not unlawful.

Interestingly, there has been no mention of Interflora or any other company suing Google over the use of trademark terms in AdWords for allowing this to happen.

This is not the first report of companies suing over the use of their trademark terms on Google AdWords either, as Dominic Farnsworth (a partner at Lewis Silkin) commented:

“There are a lot of legal letters flying around in the background at the moment and many disputes are being resolved without the need for legal proceedings”.

This poses an interesting situation for advertisers and search agencies- how long is it before competitors terms cause a lawsuit against your company or client, or how many more examples are needed before Google considers refining their policies? As Google have recently allowed the advertising of gambling and alcohol related sites, it appears they are expanding their policies to get even more from their advertising revenue—could this be Google’s solution to the current economic downturn? Let us know your comments.

Matt

October 20th, 2008.

Your Content Development Strategy

Websites have come a long way, not just in terms of design and technology, but also in their intention. A few short years ago your website was just an extension of your offline promotional material. You had a bit of an introduction, a few pages about your services and contact page, and you were ready to go. That would do for a few years, after all, your services don’t change that often right?

These days you really can’t get away with that kind of static approach to web publishing. Websites aren’t brochures anymore. They are resources, communities and communications channels that are updated on a regular basis.

Why is content important?

Website content is important for several reasons.

It drives visitors – Search engines love text content, the more good, unique and relevant content that you have on your site, generally the more visitors you can expect search engines to be sending you.

It encourages links – Great content encourages people to link to it. Try to develop your site as a ‘resource’ offer free information, stats and tables, guides and tutorials. The more useful content that you have the more sites that you will find will be happy to link to you – it is these links that send traffic and will also increase search engine rankings.

It ensures return – Better quality content encourages return visitors, the more people return to your site, the more likely they are to buy from you.

It strengthens branding – Great content will help to strengthen your brand and brand recognition. Not just through search engine rankings, but also through word of mouth and referrals. People are not only going to be talking about how great your products and services are, but also how useful your site is and how their friends and colleagues must go and take a look at it.

It creates trust – Writing on your area of expertise is a great way to demonstrate how much you know your topic. You’re more likely to buy from someone that is knowledgeable and generous with their expertise right?

How can I develop content on my own site?

Okay, now we’ve established that content is important and vital for commercial sites, but how do we go about creating a content development strategy of our own?

Below we have put together a list of tips on how to go about developing a content strategy for your own commercial website.

  1. Leverage your people. The more people you have helping to create website content, the more ideas, variation and knowledge that you have. It’s also far less of a workload to have 8 members of staff generating one article each per month, rather than one person having to write a couple of pieces every few days. Set out a timetable that people are encouraged and rewarded for adhering to.
  2. Consider your platform. It’s imperative that your have an easy publishing platform that your staff members can use and you don’t have to wait for developers or designers to get involved. Using a blog platform like WordPress will mean even your less tech-savvy staff will be able to publish their own content in a matter of minutes.
  3. Pitch it right. Make sure your content isn’t overtly promotional. Sales pitches don’t generally interest people, neither does it tend to encourage people to link to it. However nobody expects you not to link to or mention your commercial activities. Finding a happy medium that works for your site can sometimes take a little time.
  4. Brainstorm – Involve others in coming up with article titles and ideas. A monthly meeting should be sufficient for coming up with a few weeks of article titles and content ideas. You’ll find that some of the more wacky and off the wall ideas work the best.
  5. Get involved. Make sure you get involved with your industries online community. Don’t be scared to link out to other industry sites. Comment on their blogs, offer to write for industry journals, invite industry figures to write for you. All of these activities will help to develop your online brand and increase the number of websites that are linking to your own.
  6. Keep abreast of industry news. I recommend subscribing to as many industry newsfeeds as possible using an RSS reader. Not only does this easily keep me up-to-date with what’s happening in my industry, but also it gives me lots of topical subject ideas for relevant industry comment.
  7. Look at sites within your own industry. What kind of content do they provide. Do they do anything that you’re not doing? Can what they’re doing be improved upon?
  8. Look at sites in other industries. Are other sites doing anything that may be reworked to crossover into your industry? Can you apply things like video, community, social media, images or widgets to stay one step ahead of your competitors?
  9. Demonstrate your knowledge. Consider adding content that displays your knowledge of your topic. Ideas like FAQs, guides, how-tos, client Q&As and critiques are great ways of demonstrating the experts at your company.
  10. Be keyword conscious. Know which keywords people use when searching for products and services in your industry. Bear these in mind when developing your content writing timetable and article text.
  11. Content isn’t just writing. Although you’ll find the bulk of your website content will be text based, don’t ignore the benefits of image and video content. Some of the best corporate linkbait is image based.

Some examples of corporate content ideas in action

Best Western – The On The Go With Amy travel blog.

Dell – A good example of FAQ pages

HSBC – The HSBC business network connecting businessmen using blogs and forums.

Nike – The Loop’d community connects extreme sports fans.

Office Furniture Express – The 6 coolest offices.

OfficeMax – Elf Yourself

Phillips – Shave Everywhere

Shock Absorber – The Shock Absorber sports bra. A product aimed at women with linkbait aimed at men!

Adam Adam

September 17th, 2008.

Online Marketing after the fall of Lehman Brothers

The recent news of the fall of Lehman Brothers Bank has caused a knock on effect for large and small businesses around the world. More and more companies are assessing their expenditure, including online marketing budgets.

However, the latest report from Netimperative shows that online advertising is proving to be the choice advertising stream for small and large businesses, having a dramatically increased prediction for advertising spend over the next couple of years.

According to the report:

“81% of advertisers claim that their allocated online ad spend has grown in 2008 and predict that it will continue to do so over the next couple of years”

With a predicted increase of 16% in 2009 and 17% for 2010.

Furthermore, “three quarters (73%) state that they are increasing their use of online as an advertising medium whilst 31% of advertisers claim their use of TV is decreasing and 40% cite a decrease in the use of newspapers.”

So What Does This Mean For Your Business?

In this economic climate companies are rightly evaluating where and why they are spending money. However, businesses looking to cut back on their advertising spends should be aware of this report when deciding which advertising streams to cut back on.

The predicted growth of online advertising according to this report is set to be potentially the best, with TV and newspaper advertising decreasing. With the support of these latest statistics, it would be a wise move to increase your online marketing budget, as the growth of your online audience delivers cost effective results.

The timing for increasing your online advertising return on your business is now. With the growth prediction for online advertising for the next two years, increasing your online advertising budget now will help increase brand perception and brand awareness for your business, whilst bringing greater return on your online advertising spend.

Contact Datadial to maximise your online advertising budget today

Newer Posts »

Recent Posts »

Our work »

What we do »

Who we work with »

Got Questions? Lets Talk »