Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

Google AdWords – PPC, SEO and Reality

Do you expect EVERYONE who comes to your site to buy something EVERYTIME they visit your site?  Of course not, that is NOT realistic.

It’s Google AdWords

not Google GuaranteedPurchaseEveryTime It’sClickedWords.  With billions of web sites out there you have to get people to come to YOUR site and get to know you.  Expect them to shop around, but they will come back to your site if you are competitively priced and give them more for their money.

Until you are the #1 organic search results for your keywords, you need to have an integrated strategy combining all your online resources.  That is what is called Ontegrated Marketing.

You WILL get a “halo effect” from an acquisition/branding PPC strategy.  People may come to you the first time from your PPC ad and then return later to purchase.  Your PPC campaign has done its job – it brought people to your site, maybe not for an immediate conversion, but you became known to the customer and they did come back and convert.

Now that you have them as a customer: Did you get their email address? Did you give them a reason for you to keep in touch with them?

You know it is cheaper to get an existing customer back for an additional purchase than it is to get someone to your site for the first time.

These principles pertain to “brick and mortar” retail outlets as well as web sites. Even in this world of instant gratification you need to build relationships.

PPC or TV or SEO or Radio or Social Media or Print or Social Media are not mutually exclusive. With your target market split between hundreds of TV channels and billions of web sites you need a multi-channel marketing strategy to reach your customers where there are.

Let’s talk.

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Social Media Marketing for ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers)

Many ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) across the nation have turned to the Internet for their marketing efforts. Some use social media in an effort to draw in patients, as a high volume of cases is crucial for healthy revenue cycle management. Most ASCs do market on some level, but many may be missing out on the possibilities the Internet affords, especially social media. Social media advertising isn’t cost-intensive, and it can reach many viewers. Here are some ways to leverage a Facebook profile or a Twitter feed to draw in patients to an ASC:

Post links patients will find interesting
Many ASCs that maintain a social media presence make a point of finding and posting articles their patients are likely to find interesting. Centers that concentrate on sports medicine should post articles about that particular branch of medicine and about wellness and other sports subjects, for example. Those that work with pain management might want to curate a continuous list of good resources on how to manage pain and where it comes from. It’s often quite difficult for patients to find reliable information online about their medical conditions, so ASC social media feeds that can help them do so will be perceived as very useful to them.

Of course, it’s also a good idea to post less serious articles as well. Posts about lifestyle news or healthy recipes may be well received, as might the occasional stress-relieving picture of scenic vistas or animals. Anything patients can use or enjoy is likely to be something they’ll want to share with friends of theirs on social media, which can lead to more traffic to an ASC’s own page.

Post information about your achievements
ASCs that receive accolades, do good work in the community or both should publicize these things on their social media pages. It’s the best way to get information out to patients in the digital age, far surpassing press releases or direct mail campaigns. Patients and prospects can’t get excited about an ASC’s high quality of care or commitment to social good if they don’t know about it, after all.

If physicians at an ASC have achievements like awards, publications or their own medical blogs on the side, the social media page of an ASC is a great place to post them, with permission of course. These can help patients get a feel for who they would see at the center if they decided to schedule a procedure, and humanizing doctors can help take some of the fear and trepidation out of scheduling an operation or consultation.

All of these strategies have the potential to increase new-patient volume at an ASC. In turn, this high volume ensures a steady stream of revenue for the ASC. With the help of a revenue cycle management firm, ASC professionals don’t have to concern themselves with trying to get the best reimbursement rates or busying themselves with the business of collections. Their partner firm can handle these aspects instead, leaving ASC administrators to focus on attracting more patients and giving them an experience of the best quality possible.

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Facebook and Privacy

Posting for Facebook. A lot of people have ben posting a notice on Facebook – it is irrelevant. http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/privacy.asp

This is what is making the rounds.
“PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this… website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee, agent, student or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103″

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SEO and precious metals

 I apologize to you, my readers, for it being so long between my posts.  I have been extremely busy since accepting the position of Sr. Vice President of Marketing for the American Precious Metals Exchange

There is a whole different strategy that is needed when you have to optimize for very competitive keywords.  What I have said in previous posts hold true.  The execution is slightly different.

You need consistency without duplication, and variety within the consistency.  I know it sounds like a puzzle, but in a highly competitive market I can’t let the competition know my secrets.

You can always get to me through my contact page.  I’ll be posting again soon.

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SEO, SEM, PPC, email conversion rates

Last week I did some research on conversion rates for SEO, SEM, PPC and email.  I dug around through the following sources: the DMA (Digital Marketing Association), Marketing Profs, Marketing Sherpa, LinkedIn Answers, Fireclick, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Lyris, Adchemy, Conversion Chronicles, Jupiter Networks, Blue Corona Interactive, Statbrain, Alexa, Quantcast, the Web Analytics Association, Microsoft’s Atlas Institute – Digital Marketing Insights, CoreMetrics and eConsultancy.
 
The general “rule of thumb” is between 2 to 8%.  This holds true for people coming to your site from various sources for various activities – whether to register (for newsletter, webinar, etc.) through to purchasing from your site.
Caveat – if you are holding a special promotion or heavily discounted sale your conversion rate should increase accordingly.
Here are a couple of charts I found: 
 
Vertical Conversion
Rate (%)
Catalog 6.1
Specialty stores 3.9
Fashion/apparel 2.2
Travel 2.1
Home and furnishing 2.0
Sport/outdoors 1.4
Electronics 1.1
All verticals 2.3
Source: Fireclick Index
View Chart Online
Fireclick issues a weekly report gathered from the data of their customers – just Google the Fireclick Index.  Good info.
 
Here is what I could find for “rule of thumb” averages for email campaigns.

User-triggered campaigns
Open rate: 27%
Avg. CTR: 9.3%
Avg. conversion rate: 2.3%

Lifecycle messaging campaigns
Open rate: 26%
Avg. CTR: 9.3%
Avg. conversion rate: 2.3

Click-stream based campaigns
Open rate: 33%
Avg. CTR: 14%
Avg. conversion rate: 3.9%

More as it develops.

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“Ontegrated Marketing” – the new buzz phrase

Ontegrated Marketing = SEO + SEM + SMM + PPC + Online Display + Mobile Marketing + Engaging the consumer.

Alright, you heard it here first.  The new “buzz” phrase is going to be “Ontegrated Marketing.”  This will mean integrating your online marketing to include a mix of organic search, pay-per-click, display ads and social media to build your brand and drive revenue.

First of all, thanks to iProspect and comScore for conducting the extensive Real Branding Implications of Digital Media – an SEM, SEO, & Online Display Advertising Study (November 2010)There is a lot of very useful information is this study.

Back in the Mad Men days your integrated marketing consisted of the prime trinity of TV, radio and print.  Today your marketing mix needs to include ALL channels – your customers are spread out everywhere. Now, consider how many pundits are saying that computers will become obsolete and everyone will be doing everything via their smart phone.  The new wild card in this deck will be Mobile Marketing.

Integrated Marketing will include Ontegrated Marketing.  You will need to integrate all your “traditional” marketing channels (TV, radio and print) together with email marketing and your digital channels (SEO, SEM/PPC, Online Display, Social Media AND Mobile Marketing).  The number and variety of online channels will continue to grow.  It’s time to accept the new world.

There’s even a formular for this new marketing buzz phrase: Ontegrated Marketing = SEO + SEM + SMM + PPC + Online Display + Mobile Marketing + Engaging the consumer.

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Why Consumer “Like” Brands on Facebook

Nearly 40% of Consumers “Like” Companies on Facebook to Publicly Display Their Brand Affiliation to Friends

As Facebook grows, we’re able to learn even more about the behaviors and preferences of its users. As Facebook continues to change, new stats surface to give us an even better idea of how consumers on Facebook prefer to interact with brands and companies. A new report released by ExactTarget and CoTweet found that discounts and “social badging” were the primary reasons consumers Like brands on Facebook.

Nearly 40% of Facebook users who become fans do so to receive discounts and promotions and 39% become fans to show their support for a brand to their friends. Just as interesting is how these stats compare to Twitter and email marketing. Only 23% of respondents said they follow brands on Twitter and about 10% say they subscribe to email notifications for the same reasons.

Here are some other interesting facts from the report:

  • 43% of the Facebook users surveyed said they Like, or are fans of, at least one brand on Facebook.
  • 34% of Facebook users say they Like brands in order to stay informed about company activities.
  • 33% say they Like brands to get updates on future products.
  • Among Facebook users who Like at least one brand, only 17% say they’re more likely to buy after Liking that brand on Facebook.

“Consumers use Facebook to interact with friends, be entertained and express themselves through their public affiliation with brands—factors that combine to create a potent viral marketing platform,” said Jeff Rohrs, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group. “By engaging consumers on Facebook in a way that keeps them entertained, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize Fans and get introduced to their friends.”

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Social Media and Business

Gen X Driving Social Networking at Work – Not Gen Y, Citrix Online Study Finds

  • Global survey conducted by Forrester Consulting reveals a divide in how generations and nationalities in U.S., UK, France, Germany and Australia communicate and collaborate in business
  • Gen Y’s use of social and collaboration technology lags older workers
  • In-person meetings are still popular – particularly with Americans – but unsatisfactory
  • Significant rise in use of collaborative technologies, but the human touch is important

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.October 19, 2010 – A report commissioned by Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems, Inc., surprisingly revealed that Gen X workers – and not those in the younger Gen Y generation – make up the majority of those who use social networking for business, followed closely by Boomers aged 55 and older. According to the data, Gen Y’s use of collaborative technology also lagged others. The survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting, provides a snapshot of how the global workforce communicates as work becomes more distributed and usage of collaboration technologies increases. It reveals a highly-dispersed workforce still favoring meetings, but increasingly using tools such as social networking and video chat to communicate and collaborate.

Key Findings
The study asked information workers of all ages in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia about their business communication habits.

Gen Y does not have the monopoly on technology use and social tools during the work day. Meanwhile, the older generation is getting with the program.

  • Gen Y is least likely to share information via text message (26%, compared to 47% of those aged 55+), and least likely to use video conferencing, video chat and web conferencing tools.
  • Gen Y uses social networking the least frequently (40% of Gen Y workers who use social media for business do so daily, compared to 50% of those aged 55+).
  • Older Boomers (55+) have increased their business use of social media 79% in the past year.

The younger you are, the less you value meetings – and pay attention.

  • Gen Y is least likely to think meetings are efficient. Only 29% of Gen Y workers think meetings used to decide on a course of action are very efficient, compared to 45% of Older Boomers.
  • Gen Y is least likely to pay attention in meetings and barely half (51%) believe it’s very important to do so in meetings to decide a course of action.

Americans have more meetings – and pay more attention.

  • 90% meet in person to communicate and build relationships, more than any other nationality.
  • Of those, 51% meet daily, compared to a mere 31% of French.
  • 75% of Americans believe it’s very important to pay attention in meetings to decide on a course of action, compared to 50% of the French.

The in-person meeting is alive and well, but not necessarily effective.

  • 84% of all respondents have in-person meetings, but meetings often don’t achieve their goals.
  • Only 45% are very satisfied that planning meetings achieve the task in hand, and only 30% believe such meetings to be very efficient.
  • Across all categories of meetings for designated tasks (e.g. review of documents, plan projects or initiatives, decision on a course of action), less than half of respondents believe those meetings are very efficient.

In an era of multitasking, it’s still considered rude in a meeting.

  • 83% believe that side conversations are unacceptable during a meeting, and 77% frown on those doing other work on a computer or smartphone.

We still like to look each other in the eye.

  • Germans like to see others during meetings (75%), while Americans find it less important (55%) though they have the most in-person meetings.
  • 79% of those aged 55 and over think it’s important, compared to 65% of Gen Y.
  • Why? To read body language, say 78%.

Usage among users of collaborative technologies is rising fast.

  • 64% of those who use social networking tools in business use them more than last year. Video chat, team document-sharing sites and web conferencing also experienced significant increases in usage, with 56%, 55% and 52% respectively.

“We know from our own experience that the workforce is more dispersed and mobile than ever, and that people are increasingly turning to technology to help them collaborate with colleagues and customers many miles away. With this research, we aimed to discover exactly how business communication is changing because of new workstyles and tools,” said Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager, global marketing and ecommerce at Citrix Online.

“One thing is clear: the human touch is incredibly important: the desire to see each other and interact on a personal level is not going away any time soon. There is some tension with the findings between the way people actually work and the communication methods they think are most effective – a sign that things are in flux. Despite admitting that in-person meetings are often inefficient and don’t achieve their goals, workers still seem to like them. That’s probably because people are hard-wired to see people and read body language. This points to a real opportunity for virtual collaboration technologies, specifically video conferencing, to further complement the need for personal interaction, while reducing the inefficiencies of face-to-face meetings.”

Methodology
Forrester Consulting conducted an online survey in September 2010 of 797 information workers evenly split between the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia. Information worker is defined as anyone who uses a computer for work. Respondents were of all ages (Gen Y: 18-30; Gen X: 31-44; Younger Boomers: 45-54; Older Boomers: 55+) and from various industries.

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7 things to look for in a Social Media Specialist

Social media is still the Wild West to some extent, and a lot of us are still figuring out the rules. One thing is clear: Social media is here to stay.

Therefore, your social-media manager or director is a critical and strategic hire who will be responsible for formulating and executing your strategy, as well as educating your whole organization and aligning it with that strategy.

But a lot of people who claim to be social-media experts are far from it. How can you sift the wheat from the chaff?

Below are the seven killer virtues of a social-media leader. There are certainly more, but not all are deal makers.

1. Passion

Passion for the job is an important characteristic of any employee, but it’s fundamental for a social-media manager. Many public relations and marketing folks use social media, but they aren’t passionate about it.

Social media goes 24/7, so you need someone who can live and breathe it without burning out. A good social-media manager will have the drive of a sales representative but has a light touch that influences people without appearing to “sell” to them.

2. Credibility

Social media is not a silo. You need to balance technical skill with business acumen. Research the candidate’s professional credibility in your particular industry.

The social-media manager will become one of the “faces” of your company, so you need someone with a broad business background and a grasp of marketing, sales, operations, P&L, product management, business process, and customer relationship management.

3. Strategy

Because social media is fun, many people can get caught up in using it without a clear purpose. If a social-media program is implemented companywide, it can become a big time investment.

Therefore, it’s vital that the social-media director provide leadership for senior management as well, ensuring that they buy in to the program and understand its goals. Strategic, big-picture thinking coupled with a willingness for shirtsleeves implementation is a must.

4. Service-orientation

Because social-media managers are the face of a company, they need to be relentlessly committed to helping people in social channels. Customer service should be part of that person’s DNA. Customer interaction is not a bother; rather, it’s something to enjoy, it’s the new marketing.

Customers, partners, prospects, and analysts will need help and advice around the clock, which puts the social-media manager in a unique position of acting as an advocate for the company and brand, as well as the community.

As an advocate for the community, the social-media director helps the company design better products and services, leading to happier and more-loyal customers. And when the products and services are better, the social-media director can evangelize on the company’s behalf in a more natural way.

5. Risk-tolerance

The social landscape is changing at breakneck speed. The social-media leader must be comfortable with constant change and course correction.

Because many social efforts are in uncharted territory, the perfect social-media manager will be the proverbial self-starter, a true pioneer, unafraid to head into the darkness.

The social-media leader can’t wait for directions from the boss, since the boss may not know as much about social media. And if there’s a failure, the social-media leader must dust off and start all over again.

6. Decisiveness

It seems as if there’s a new social-media product every other day. Social-media practitioners must keep their tool set full of sharp new tools, but they need the wisdom and experience to recognize which trends have lasting power and which are ephemeral.

It’s also crucial that they commit to social-media programs and stay with them long enough to evaluate their success or failure, yet be willing to jettison what isn’t working.

7. Action hero(ine)

As noted earlier, change is the only constant in the social-media world. To say that the social populace expects real-time action is an obvious statement.

Although creating quality content is important, it’s equally important to avoid “analysis paralysis” or get caught in an endless loop of approvals.

If you wait to publish a blog post or tweet, it will be yesterday’s news tomorrow. The social-media director must strike the right balance between perfection and action, with action being paramount.

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Five Tips for Writing Search-Engine-Friendly Content

Words of wisdom from the Whole Brain Marketing Blog

Five Tips for Writing Search-Engine-Friendly Content

You have a great website. It has beautiful images, a compelling theme and intuitive navigation, all designed to take eager visitors to complete descriptions of your proprietary products and services. The only problem is your website shows up somewhere after page 10 on search engine results. Since most referrals to sites come directly from search engines, search-engine-friendly content is imperative.

Here are five tips to make sure search engines love you and your prospects can find you.

1. Clearly identify your SEO goals. SEO isn’t about ranking first on every area and page on your website. Rather, the goal should be to incorporate search-engine-friendly content that performs well on the most important “money phrases.” These are areas that you’ve identified that typically lead to additional action by visitors and prospects (or, make you the most money!).

2. Choose Important Keywords. Using your “money phrases,” identify and analyze a list of possible keywords that users may search to find your information. The word “keyword” is a bit misleading because this list should not be individual words. Try to develop very specific phrases that relate to your topics. For example, if you sell doors, your keyword shouldn’t be “doors,” that’s too vague. A better keyword phrase would be “aluminum exterior house doors” or “solid core wood doors.” search-engine-friendly content will flow simply from expanding on each of these phrases.

3. Organize your content. After you’ve identified the appropriate keywords you want to use throughout your site, group similar keyword topics into silos. Using the doors example above, silos may be interior doors, exterior doors and garage doors with the specific types of each category being grouped together. This also simplifies your website’s architecture if it isn’t already in place.

4. Write for the audience, not the search engines. The actual content writing itself becomes an art of balancing the technical needs to make the search engine spiders happy and the clear, concise, benefit-focused information needs of your audience. When in doubt, err on the side of your audience. Search engines may love you but if your content isn’t attractive to your visitors and they choose to leave your site, all your work is for nothing. Write page copy with enough specific keyword density to be search-engine-friendly but not so dense that it becomes meaningless. After your first draft of copy for each section is written, use one of the many density tools available to evaluate each of your pages. A good rule is 3-5% saturation on each page.

5. Expand the reach of your keywords. After you’re satisfied with your content and your keywords are loaded into title tags, meta descriptions, H1 tags, etc. Focus on driving inbound links from reputable sources. For example, make sure your search-engine-friendly content is included in all of your PR activity and encourage media outlets to link to you. Strive for inbound links direct from industry resources or organizations. The more links to your site, the more important you’ll look to search engine spiders.

Keep in mind that your results won’t be instant, they’ll improve over time. Search-engine-friendly content is just the start.

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