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Internet Marketing

5 Twitter Tips for Boosting Ecommerce Sales

By | Content Marketing, Conversion, eCommerce, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Think about a sales pipeline. At the top of the pipeline you have prospects, somewhere in the middle you have a sales pitch, and at the end of the pipeline you have actual sales.

Where does Twitter fall in the pipeline?

Social networks, like Twitter, are at the top of the pipeline. They are used to generate awareness about your product with the end goal of sending a potential client to your website where the actual sales pitch takes place. The sales pitch doesn’t take place on Twitter.

I’ve included 5 Twitter tricks for increasing ecommerce sales below. These tricks are focused on getting people to leave Twitter, and land on your website where the actual sale can take place.

Optimize Your Twitter Header for Sales

Twitter implemented a design overhaul on April 22, 2014. One key change in its new design is the addition of a Twitter header photo that spans the entire length of the screen at 1500×500 pixels.

Located at the top of every Twitter profile, the new Twitter header serves as a digital billboard allowing ecommerce companies to highlight products or services.

As an ecommerce site, use your Twitter header to drive sales by creating awareness about new products or deals you’re currently offering.

At RedbirdMetrics, we found that using a Twitter header as an advertisement resulted in a ~.07 increase in website traffic.

Here’s an example of how we use our Twitter header as an advertisement:

redbirdtwitterheader

Here’s a couple of tips for crafting your Twitter header:

  • Don’t forget to check out what your Twitter header looks like on a mobile device. When your Twitter header is condensed for a mobile device some of your images or text may not appear to users.
  • The link placed in your Twitter bio should take users to a landing page your Twitter header is promoting. Be sure to include a strong call to action in your Twitter header that encourages visitors to click on the link in your Twitter bio.

Use Twitter to Test Ads

One of the challenges of crafting digital advertisements is figuring out the perfect choice of words that will increase click-through-rate.

Sadly, many companies burn through mountains of cash trying to figure this out before they start to see an ROI.

Here’s a not so well known secret: you can use Twitter to test your ads before you make a significant investment.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Use bit.ly to create a custom link for the ad you’d like to test. Let’s say your landing page is www.landingpage.com. To make this link into a custom link simply add “?src=sometext” to the end of the link. I use the “sometext” portion to describe where the link is coming from. For example, www.landingpage.com?src=advertisementone could be used for the first ad and www.landingpage.com?src=advertisementtwo could be used for the second ad. Both of these links take you to the same page, but by making them customized you are able to track how much traffic is coming from each link. Shorten your customized link, and paste it in your Twitter bio.
  • Change your Twitter header into an advertisement. Focus on one value proposition for the product or service you’re trying to increase sales for.
  • Type a keyword or phrase you’re planning on targeting for ads into Twitter’s search bar in quotes. This will pull up tweets that contain that keyword or phrase specifically. Follow 50 people per day using that keyword or phrase for one week.
  • At the end of the week, check to see how many clicks your custom link received by looking up that link on your Bit.ly account. Record this number in an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Change your Twitter header to focus on an alternative value proposition for the same product or service, and repeat the above steps.
  • Compare the clicks you receive for each custom link to determine which advertisement gets more clicks.

Create an Online Catalog with Hashtags

Trendy restaurants, like Comodo, will crowdsource pictures of their food on Instagram around a specific hashtag. Comodo does this by including the hashtag #ComodoMenu at the bottom of their real-life menu. This helps their customers make decisions when ordering food. It also helps bring in additional clients because each picture shared serves as a word of mouth endorsement for the restaurant.

comodoinstagram

Ecommerce companies can adopt a similar strategy on Twitter. Create a hashtag for your company that helps customers see your products in action. For example, if you sell clothing you could encourage your buyers to post a picture of themselves wearing your clothes on Twitter.

Add your company hashtag at the end of each product description on your website. Enjoy the increase in visibility and sales.

Do a Giveaway

Giveaways are a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness. iFit, a fitness tracker, often utilizes giveaways on Twitter. Check out this recent giveaway they did:

ifitgiveaway

A couple tips for launching a giveaway:

  • Include at least one hashtag to increase the visibility of your giveaway. iFit used the #Giveaway hashtag.
  • Ask your followers to retweet, favorite, and follow to qualify for your giveaway. iFit did a great job of this by giving additional entries for a retweet, and a follow.
  • Use a picture in your giveaway tweet. Tweets using pictures are 94% more likely to be retweeted.

Follow Intelligently

Following people on Twitter is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness. Here are a few tactics that you should look into implementing:

  • Follow your competitor’s Twitter followers. Many of your competitors have likely spent years building a Twitter following. Harvest this low hanging fruit by following their followers. Tweepi, a free social media management tool, is perfect for doing this.
  • Follow people based on what they tweet. You can type anything into Twitter’s search bar in quotes. This will pull up people using that exact phrase or keyword. For example, if you type “I need new shoes” it will pull up people who need new shoes. Consider following people based on what they tweet.
  • Follow influencers. Every niche has it’s influencers. Identify the influencers in your industry and follow them on Twitter.

Do not aggressively follow people on Twitter. If you follow too many people per day then Twitter may suspend your account. Here’s some advice on following:

  • If you have less than 100 followers then you should only follow 10 people per day.
  • If you have more than 100 followers then you can follow up to 100 people per day.
  • When you have less than 1,800 followers you can only follow 2,000 people total. Once you get over 1,800 followers you can follow 110% of your following.

These are just a few tips and tricks for using Twitter to increase ecommerce sales. Remember, Twitter is for the top of your sales pipeline. The goal of Twitter is to drive people to your website where they can make a purchase. Don’t try to close on Twitter.

Can you think of any additional Twitter tips or tricks? Comment below.


joshlight

Josh Light is the co-founder and CEO of RedbirdQ, the most intelligent way to share to Twitter and Facebook. Josh writes about social media tips and tricks on the Redbird blog. Contact Josh on Twitter @JoshuaJLight; he loves people.

Don’t Be Intimidated by Putting Together a Marketing Plan (Follow This Outline)

By | Internet Marketing | 2 Comments

When you’re getting ready to start ramping up the marketing for your business everything can feel very intimidating.

hanginthere

I was recently speaking with a friend who has been running a success small business for a while but she is ready to take her revenue to the next level through increased marketing efforts.

Maybe her story sounds a lot like yours. 

You’ve been in business for a while but it seems like there is a bigger piece of the pie out there waiting to be taken.

The advice I gave to my friend, that I now want to share with you, is simple: break down your marketing to-do’s into phases.

Here is an example of phases for a business that will focus heavily on content, social and email marketing for their customer retention and acquisition strategy.

This outline won’t work for every business, but it should help you conceptualize what you need to do for your own business in simplistic terms.

 

The Four Phases of Ramping Up Your Marketing

Phase 0: Prep Work

 

Target-market-1024x683

During this phase you need to nail down the basics of your marketing

  • Come up with two or three promotions you’d like to offer your customers that will really grab their attention
  • Nail down the details for your target demographic (age, gender, location, etc.). You’ll need this info for your ad campaigns
  • Define your goals (what do you need your campaigns to do in order to be successful)

Phase 1: Setup 

typing-away

 

During this phase you need to get everything prepared for the actual launch of your new marketing campaigns:

  • Develop a blog that is branded and part of your main site
  • Setup a Google Analytics account
  • Select an email marketing platform
  • Design an email template or two
  • Put together your first email campaign
  • Start a Facebook Page, Twitter account, Instagram profile, etc.
  • Fill out your social media profiles and seed them with initial content
  • Put together an editorial calendar for your blog
  • Put together a social media calendar
  • Sign up for Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, etc. accounts if you’ll be running ads
  • Create your initial ad campaigns (including landing pages) – if you’ve never done this before, it is best to hire a marketing agency to help so you do not waste money through trial and error
  • Put together (at minimum) a 3-month promotional calendar and know what collateral you will need by when to ensure each promo goes out without a hitch
  • Test your website, landing pages and all aspects of your campaign to ensure usability is top-notch

Phase 2: Launch



Now the fun begins – it’s time to launch your new marketing campaigns! It’s really important to remember at this time that what you present on day 1 is not a finished project.

Your marketing campaigns will evolve as actual customers begin engaging with your brand. Nothing is set in stone – and if you’re not 100% happy with the way each pixel is on each online ad that is okay. It’s still a good idea to launch and iterate as you go so you can make money and learn at the same time.

  • Start asking people to opt-in to your emails
  • Begin posting to your social media pages based on your social media calendar
  • Take your first blog post live
  • Launch your online advertising campaigns
  • Start collecting customer feedback
  • Keep a close eye on your Google Analytics account

Phase 3: Maintenance and Optimization

conversion-optimization

One your  initial marketing campaigns are launched – you’re officially ramped up. Congrats!

Now the real work begins: maintenance and optimization of your online brand and marketing campaigns.

During this phase you will need to:

  • Optimize your advertising campaigns
  • Optimize your social media posts
  • Optimize your email campaigns
  • Spend a good amount of time in Google Analytics getting an understanding of your online visitors and their behavior (and how that behavior relates to your business goals)
  • Make assumptions based on the data you see and then a/b test new ideas based on those assumptions
  • Continue following your social media and blog posting schedule (mostly to a tee)
  • Engage with your social media audience in an authentic manner

This Outline Is Good But It’s Not Enough

but-wait-theres-more

It’s true.

This outline includes the very basic things you must do to ramp up your marketing efforts.

There is so much more that is involved that we didn’t cover here.

The goal of this post wasn’t to be your one stop shop for the secret plan to launching a marketing plan that leads to giant overnight success. I don’t think there IS a secret formula for that, really.

(Even the very best viral marketing campaigns have been well thought-out in advance. They just LOOK like they were thrown together. That’s done on purpose. Really!)

The goal of this post and the above outline is to get you thinking in the right direction. To make the process of ramping up your marketing feel less intimidating.

I hope that it has achieved that goal. If it hasn’t please leave us a comment below with what you think is missing and we may add the answer to this post!

What Do Rand Fishkin and Aaron Paul (from Breaking Bad) Have in Common?

By | Internet Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Rand Fishkin and Aaron Paul are both fantastic spokespeople!

brand-evangelists

Do you have a spokesperson for your brand?
Can your target audience name one person who represents your brand?

No? Why not?

Companies of all sizes can benefit from having a spokesperson.

 

Why You Should Have a Spokesperson:

  • He or she will help to humanize your brand (you aren’t just a company, there are actual people – who care – behind the logo)
  • He or she will establish trust between your company and target audience
  • He or she will become the perfect source of delivering important news that gets noticed

Who Your Spokesperson Should Be:

  • He or she could be your CEO, founder or other member of your executive team
  • But more importantly, he or she should be someone very accessible to your customers
  • He or she should be someone very active on social media channels
  • He or she should actually be participating on social media channels (aka not have a ghost tweeter)
  • He or she should be someone who has access to a point person in every department of your company should customer inquires come up

What Your Spokesperson Should Do:

  • Actively promote your brand via social media
  • Actively engage with your target audience via social media every day
  • Attend conferences on your behalf (both as a speaker or booth person)
  • Post to your company blog with thought leadership insights
  • Share company news with your target audience
  • Establish trust between your company and your target audience (he or she always tells the truth about your company, even when it’s hard)
  • Promote a healthy relationship with the media/press (when necessary)

Examples of Great Spokespeople:

Rand Fishkin, Moz

randfishkin-500

Rand is the founder and CEO of Moz and also the spokesperson for the company.

He is easily accessible on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, on his blog, via email and through many other social networks.

contactrand

Rand makes himself available to customers, partners and the press daily while also maintaing authority in his industry through the creation of thought leadership content.

Not every CEO will be willing to be this accessible to his audience. Undoubtedly Rand gives up much personal time to allow himself to be this accessible – and it must be a very delicate balance for him.

If you (or your CEO) is not willing or able to be this accessible, you should choose someone else to be your spokesperson.

Don’t feel bad about doing so, it is perfectly acceptable to appoint someone else to this position.

Kyle Lacy, Exact Target

Kyle-Lacy-approved-headshot-350x526

Kyle Lacy is the Senior Manager of Content Marketing and Research at ExactTarget. He is also an evangelist for the company and an unofficial spokesperson for the brand.

Kyle makes himself available on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, his blog, by phone and other social networks daily.

He can be often found attending conferences on behalf of his employer and he is a sought after speaker on the topic of social and content marketing.

Kyle is a great example of someone who is not the founder/CEO of a company who acts as a spokesperson on behalf of his company.

He is well-respected and liked among his peers and represents the brand well both online and in person.

 

 Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

breaking-bad-aaron-paul

We wouldn’t be a very cool company if we didn’t mention Breaking Bad in at least one post before the season finale!

It just so happens, though, that Aaron Paul is a great spokesperson for his show, Breaking Bad on AMC.

Aaron makes himself available to chat with fans about the show on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. He also participates in fan chats on forums like Reddit and he’s even known to regularly call fans to chat about the show!

Screen-shot-2013-09-16-at-9.52.25-PM

Screen-shot-2013-09-16-at-9.53.19-PM

While many actors tweet, not many actors would be willing to go the extra step and actually engage with fans via so social networks … and even fewer would be willing to call them up on the phone.

This is the kind of accessible, nice actor that you want representing your show.

He makes a great spokesperson for the brand.

 

Your Thoughts

Can you think of someone that would make a great spokesperson for your company?
What qualities do you think the ideal spokesperson should possess?

Your E-Commerce Store Sucks: 5 Ways to Fix it

By | Internet Marketing | No Comments

The goal of any e-commerce website is to get visitors to purchase one or more products. This differs from many other websites since you have to educate, nurture and convert the visit into a sale all within a single browsing session.

Here are five tips to help you achieve all three goals (educate, nurture, convert):

 

1. Be User-Friendly

The top way to increase organic traffic, sales and brand awareness is through a strong focus on having a user-friendly website.

No matter how much time, effort and/or money you put into driving traffic to your website, you will not increase sales exponentially without a focus on user experience (UX).

What does this mean?

It means you should:

  • Write copy that is easily understandable (don’t keyword stuff and don’t use jargon).

  • Ensure copy is readable (think: font size, color contrast, font style).

  • Use eye-tracking software to see if the most important parts of your sites are even being viewed.

  • Use A/B (split) testing software like Optimizely to optimize your website for conversions.

  • Have people outside of your company use your site and provide feedback (you can use a service like UserTesting.com for this).

Once you optimize your site for customers, you can begin focusing on the more direct aspects of SEO.

2. Be Pro-Active About Duplicate Content Issues

Dupliate content issues are a big problem for many medium and large e-commerce stores.

According to Search Engine Land “the use of URL paramets, session IDs and printer-friendly content versions are common culprits [for duplicate content] in e-commerce websites. The situation gets muddled even further when identical content is published under multiple categories such as [campaign] or [offers] in addition to their regular place in the content hierarchy.

To find and prevent duplicate content issues please read this post from Moz.

3. Design a Responsive Website that Works With Anything

I designed this. 

In an October 2012 article, Forbes reports that “more than 20 percent of all e-commerce shopping sessions are already happening on mobile devices – and that number is growing by 2-3X each year. Over the next 18-36 months, mobile will comprise more than 50 percent of all e-commerce shopping sessions, becoming the primary way people shop online.”

Because of this it is imperative that you offer a mobile-friendly version of your website.

You can do this by updating your website to a responsive design (meaning it self-adjusts depending on browser type  – desktop, phone, tablet) or by offering a separate mobile version.

Every website that TOFU Marketing builds is responsive. Contact us if you’d like a quote!

4. Create an Awesome Blog

There is no doubt that content marketing is a strong way to drive organic traffic to your site – and Google itself recommends writing a lot of high quality content.

High quality content attracts readers and also good inbound links from reputable sites.

Not to mention, according to HubSpot’s research a blog is a really useful sales tool:

Customer acquisiton chart

While some smaller e-commerce companies may find it difficult to produce a lot of long content, writing several small blog posts per week is doable for almost any team. And remember you don’t need one dedicated blogger – asking each member of your team to contribute one blog post per week can help spread the workload and keep things fresh.

5. Get Active on Visual Social Media Sites

Getting active on visual social media sites like Pinterst, Instagram and Vine all allow you to share images of your product and brand while building up a strong and loyal community. This in turn will help you generate sales.

According to Julie Bornstein, Sephora’s [large makeup retailer] head of digital, “Pinterest users spend 15X more than Facebook users” on Sephora products.

Bornstein says:

“The reality is that when you’re in the Pinterest mindset, you’re actually interested in acquiring items, which is not what people go to Facebook for,” Bornstein said. “Facebook continues to be just a great customer interaction tool that gives us the real-time ability to dialog with our customer; it’s a big customer-service venue for us.”

She also tells VentureBeat, ““E-commerce really is still in the first innings of really leveraging the power of social,” Bornstein says. “But we’ve experimented a lot with social shopping, and this is the first one that has really gotten to scale.”

Find which social networks your customers are hanging out on and engage them there. Don’t be afraid to make direct sales pitches through the use of promo codes, coupons and sales when appropriate.

Also use social media widgets to showcase customer engagement on your website. These widgets make for great social proof which will help you sell even more products!

And there you have it, five tips for helping you educate, nurture and convert on your e-commerce website.

 

Your Thoughts

How is your e-commerce store performing?
Anything you think we should have removed/included on this list?
Let us know in the comments below?

How to Market Your Business with $0

By | Internet Marketing | 2 Comments

Do you need to market your business but have a $0 marketing budget?

That’s okay, there are plenty of things you can still do to get the word out about your business.

Before we jump into our marketing tips for businesses that have a $0 marketing budget understand this: getting the word out may not cost you any money directly, but it will cost you a lot of time (and time = money).

Understand that every minute you spend learning about marketing and then putting those lessons into action are minutes that you’re not building your product/service, providing customer support, creating business partnerships or any of the other things you must do as a business owner in order to be successful.

If that’s a tradeoff you’re willing to make, continue reading for tips on marketing your business with a $0 budget.

Start Writing a Blog

One of the best ways to start promoting your business is to create content about your industry that would interest your target audience.

The simplest and fastest way to start getting that content out to the public is by publishing it in your own blog.

When starting a blog you should aim to meet a certain publishing schedule. For example, you might start off by writing at least 3 posts per week and then move to 5 posts per week and eventually post multiple times per day.

Why is blogging so important? According to research from HubSpot, 57% of companies that blog have acquired a customer from it, and 92% of companies that blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from it!

Blog post frequency data

Not sure what to blog about? Check out our post called 3 Ways to Come Up with Popular Blog Topics!

Get Active on Facebook

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that pretty much everyone is on Facebook, right? If not, I’d have to ask which rock you’ve been living under.

Because almost every type of person with every possible type of interested in on Facebook, it’s a great platform for reaching your target audience. To get started on Facebook you’ll want to set up a Facebook Business Page (it’s free!) and fill out all the information.

You should then seed it with a couple of posts so that your page isn’t empty. Great introductory posts include: a link to your About page, a photo album of your products and a couple of links to your blog.

Once your Facebook page is up you should add a link to it from your website to get your current customers on the page and ‘liking’ it.

The fastest way to get people in your target audience is to run a Facebook ‘like’ advertising campaign, but that will have to wait until you have a marketing budget. The good news is, you can start a ‘like’ campaign with a budget as small as $5 per day!

If you can spare at least $25 you might consider running a Facebook ‘like’ campaign for a week to help you gain some followers for your page.

To start running your campaign simply go to www.facebook.com/ads and create a new ad.

When prompted to choose a destination select your Facebook page and then select the ad option, “Get More Page Likes”:

After that write some ad copy that encourages people to like your page. For example, if you run a pet business you must write, “LIKE us today for pet care tips & special offers on pet products!”

When you’re done writing your ad copy, use the targeting options to select only people who fit into your target audience based on age, interests and so on, then hit submit and wait for your ad to be approved!

Set Up an Autoresponder Email Campaign

Email marketing is still one of the most cost-efficient ways to communicate with leads and customers.

You can sign up for a free email marketing account with a company like MailChimp which offers a basic account for $0/month. (Hey, it fits your budget!)

Once you sign up for your account read through their Knowledge Base on how to setup an autoresponder email campaign.

An autoresponder email campaign is one where everyone who signs up receives a chain of emails automatically.

The most common use for an autoresponder campaign is for sending a chain of emails to someone who fills out a lead generation form on your site.

Using an autoresponder campaign will ensure you stay in contact with your leads without having to manually create and send emails each day.

Get Friendly with Journalists

One great, traditional method for getting the word out about your business is to drum up some local or national press. If you don’t already have a Rolodex full of contact information for journalists, that’s okay.

Sign up for a free service like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) which sends out three daily emails full of inquiries from journalists who are looking for sources. Respond as quickly as possible to each of the inquiries that are related to you or your business.

As a pro tip, if possible, include your response to the inquiry in the intial email sent to the reporter. Most journalists are working on strict deadlines and receive hundreds of responses from HARO inqurities – many of which will be a generic message like, “Hi, I saw your inquiry in HARO and think I could help.”

Don’t send a response like this, instead respond with an answer that could be used as-in in the type of story the journalist is writing.

For example, if the HARO inquiry reads:

“Looking for a female pet business owner who can talk about summer pet trends”

respond with a very specific answer like,

“Hello, my name is Jane Doe and I run Pet Business Pro. Every summer we see an upward sales trend for items like doggy lifejackets, pet sunscreen and sun protecting t-shirts just for pets. If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer them!”

Now Let’s Get to Work!

There you have it, four ways to start marketing your company on a $0 budget.

While you won’t be investing a lot of money (or any money) into your business with this marketing plan, you will be investing plenty of time.

You may find that your time is better spent running other aspects of your business and want to hire a marketing consultant or agency. If so, we’re here to talk!  

Terms to Know: Your Crash Course in Marketing Speak- Part 2

By | Internet Marketing | No Comments

Marketing speak

Do you speak marketing?
If not, getting lost in all of the jargon can be a headache.
But that’s what we’re here for!  Read on as we guide you through the wonderful world of marketing terminology.

Last time, we talked about landing pages, leads, conversions, PPC, and SEO.
If you haven’t yet, read Your Crash Course in Marketing Speak- Part 1.

Today, we’re kicking it up a notch by adding acronyms. After reading these two blog posts, you should have enough of a foundation to test drive your strategy or start working with a consultant. So  let’s cut this intro short and get down to business.


1. Analytics
It’s all about the numbers, baby.

Following a loose perspective, this term is talking about data. But let’s be real. Data is useless unless it’s directly tied to your ROI. Whether you’re a small business owner, big brand media buyer, or casual blogger, your numbers need to funnel back into your business. Otherwise, to be quite frank — you’re wasting your time.

Keep in mind that marketers talk about analytics in a technical sense too. Analytics could refer to the software you’re using as well as your data models. This term’s a flexible one, so make sure that you add the right context when using it.

2. Affiliate Marketing
Commission-based sales force

This business model is foundational to commerce on the Internet. It’s a performance-based networking model in which one business rewards another for bringing in a sale. Say that you’re a company that sells software, but you’re having trouble reaching your target audience. You could join (or start) an affiliate network for publishers to promote your products for you. Then, you pay them for every referral click or sale. You win, they win.

3. Link Authority
The power of connections.

Not all links are created equal. Think about it. Who would you trust more? Sketchy Joe Schmoe blog or Wikipedia? Google’s emulating the same type of assessments about your backlink portfolio. Are the sites that link back to you legit or well — the opposite? It’s the trustworthy ones that are going to carry more weight.

4.  Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Turning traffic into sales..

You’re blogging, running PPC campaigns, and bringing people in via social media. Cool — now what? You need to convert that traffic influx into a stream of steady sales. That means implementing the right sales messaging and calls to action. Remember that marketing is a complex series of steps. You need to do more than just get visitors to your site.

5. Remarketing
Reeling them back in.

Getting someone to demonstrate interest in your brand is half the sales battle. Once they’ve shopped with you or expressed a desire  to learn more, they’re more likely to become customers. Remarketing is a technique in which you market to existing customers or leads — again. Typically, this is done through behavioral targeting display channels and email newsletters. It’s a powerful tool with the potential to generate strong returns. As you very well know, pitches are much less scary when you’re not reaching out to a complete stranger.

Marketing term Remarketing
6. SEM
People are looking for you!

SEM stands for ‘search engine marketing’ and is a term that is sometimes synonymous with PPC. SEM is different though because you’re specifically dealing with search engines like Google and Bing. Using a PPC auction model, advertisers bid for higher placements in search results. In many cases, much of this is one via fancy bidding models in Excel and algorithms. To say that the industry is huge is an understatement, as AdWords is the bread and butter of Google’s revenue.

7. SERPS
It pays to show up.

If you’ve ever been confused by this acronym, you’re not alone.  But when you break down the letters, luckily, everything makes sense. So what are SERPS, you ask? Search engine results page.  Yes, it really was that straightforward.

8. CTR
Get more bang for your buck.

Your click-through-rate is the number of clicks on your conversion goals divided by the total number of occurrences of that conversion goal happening. It’s a success metric that can help gauge your marketing efficiency. In a nutshell, you want your CTRs to be as high as possible. It’s a sign that your landing pages, advertisements, and product features are both effective and engaging. To maximize your CTRs, make sure to A/B test elements on your web pages.

9. CPC
Paying for performance

Think of  CPC as the complement to PPC (pay-per-click). CPC stands for cost-per-click, which is one of the most foundational business models in Internet advertising. Basically, you pay based on how many times users click on your ads. This model is prevalent in all form of Internet advertising ranging from intext to display, social, and search.

10. CPM
Paying to be seen

Okay. This one is a little more tricky at first , so let’s make it simple. CPM is a payment model for display advertising and stands for “cost-per-mille.” With this media buying model, you pay for every 1,000 ad impressions — in other words, you pay a flat fee for every 1,000 times your advertisement is viewed.

Your Thoughts

There you have it — a two part crash course in marketing speak. What did you think? Did you find the breakdown helpful? Is there anything else that you’d like to learn? We’re happy to put together more of these, so just let us know your thoughts!

Kick Vanity Metrics to the Curb

By | Internet Marketing | 486 Comments

There’s no way around it — data is one of your most important marketing tools. The metrics you track will tell you exactly what you’re getting for what you’re spending. But how do you know if you’re tracking the right ones?

If you’re purely watching shares, pageviews, unique visitors, registrations, tweets, and followers, you’re probably wasting your time.

The Lean Startup author, Eric Ries, calls these numbers vanity metrics — data points that look pretty but don’t necessarily convey much substance.

What’s So Bad About Them?

Well, nothing really — they just don’t mean much.

The problem is, they’re addicting. They make you feel a false sense of accomplishment, and they’ll distract you from your core marketing goals. Every minute you spend ogling your share count is a minute wasted.

You need to focus and measure progress instead. That means revenue, sales volume, and new customer acquisition — what Ries calls “actionable metrics.”

Every single number that you track should inform your revenue strategy and complement your core business model. But it’s not easy. You have to be able to commit to some pretty creative data strategies. But don’t over-complicate things.

Start simple by picking five data points that are best positioned to gauge your company’s success and growth. Here are some to help you get started:

1. Revenue Growth

How has revenue been trending since launching your new marketing campaigns? What percentage lift have you seen? Has it been sporadic or stable? And for how long?

No matter what, all of your marketing efforts should funnel into top-line revenue and business growth. You need to keep an eye on the big picture. When launching any new campaign, make sure that you’re answering these questions and constantly pursuing business growth.

2. Customer Acquisition Costs vs. Yield

How much are you paying to attract customers, and how much revenue are they generating? You need to know this information to assess and optimize the efficiency of your marketing efforts.

If you spend $200 bringing in a customer who only spends $10 over her lifetime, you need to change your approach to boost your ROI. Just make sure to keep an eye on the nuances — for instance, that $10 customer may refer 10 more who each spend $1,000. Given these numbers, a $200 customer acquisition cost isn’t half bad.

3. Customer Retention and Loyalty

You spend all these marketing dollars to attract customers, but who’s sticking around? Why? What can you do to increase retention? Why do people leave? What exactly is the lifetime value of a customer? The longer people stick around to spend money with you, the healthier your profit margins will be. When you invest in recruiting new website visitors, your data should help you commit to the long haul.

In addition to knowing how many people are sticking around and leaving, make sure that you investigate why too. A number is just a number until you add context — then, that same number becomes a core dimension to your business strategy.

4. Sales Order Growth

So what if you’re attracting new website visitors and customers? Is that effort boosting your sales volume? You need to make sure that your marketing campaigns are bringing you valuable customers instead of just additional pageviews. Sales orders are also metrics that you can optimize among your existing customers by remarketing and up-selling to them. It’s one of the most robust data points for your company’s bottom line.

5. Your Competitors Followers Who Aren’t Following You

This idea comes from the inbound marketing experts at the HubSpot Blog. There’s a tool called FollowerWonk that lets you do this in a straightforward way. You should try to connect with these prospects to show them the value that your brand can offer too. It’s as simple as following them on Twitter, advertising your value, and promoting a special offer. Every missed prospect is a missed revenue opportunity that you need to know about.

The Full Circle

The numbers you track should be actionable, accessible, and auditable. Vanity metrics just aren’t. They’re — well, vain. Most importantly, the metrics that you pick should be valuable to you. Don’t think that any on this list are the best fit for your brand? Then don’t use them. Pick your own, map them out, and stick to them.

What data points does your business track?

Terms to Know: Your Crash Course in Marketing Speak- Part 1

By | Internet Marketing | 5 Comments

Online marketers seem to have their own language. As a newcomer to the space, you may be feeling a bit lost in marketing speak. That’s okay — you’re not alone. You have your own jargon to worry about. If you’re a doctor, ask your marketer friends to name every bone in the human body. They won’t know where to start. If you’re a musician?  Ask your marketer friends to name more than 10 musical notes. They won’t.

But don’t think that you can ignore marketing speak altogether. These terms are more than just buzz — they’re foundational to your business. That’s precisely why we wrote this blog post — to give you a simple yet effective introduction to some of the key concepts in marketing. It’s part 1 of a two-part series that we’re putting together. Here are 10 of the most popular marketing terms demystified.

Oh, and if you think these terms are awesome — just wait until we publish part 2.

1. Conversions
The bread and butter of online marketing

You’ve probably heard this word in the context of a couple of other disciplines. In finance, you’ve probably heard of convertible bonds. In history, you may have  heard stories of religious conversions. When you’re traveling, you probably convert currencies based on the country you’re visiting. In marketing, the concept of a conversion is simple, but it’s also different in the sense that you’re dealing strictly with people.

Conversions are all about customer acquisition. For instance, a free trial subscriber could eventually convert into a paying customer. A  website visitor could convert into a newsletter subscriber by clicking on a link. Sometimes, conversion rates are directly  related to revenue, but other times, they’re a step apart. What they have in common is that they’re goal-driven, and you can quantify them. Successful conversion rates are context-specific and are specified by individual marketers. Each and every number that you pick should be directly tied to your business’s success.

2. Lead Generation
Interest that counts

This is another important concept in customer acquisition. In online marketing, leads refer to the customers  and prospects who express interest in your business or services. A portion of these leads eventually convert into paying customers — sometimes immediately and sometimes down the road.

Lead generation refers to the process of collecting information from people who are interested in your business. But keep in mind that the process is not as simple as spamming people with a signup form. You need to actively build a rapport with your leads. Sometimes, you need to give stuff away for free — ebooks, video downloads, tutorials, promotional offers, etc.

With this aspect of marketing quality is everything. Rather than reaching out to hoards of random people, you need to make your efforts as efficient as possible by only reaching out to the crowds of people who are most likely to be interested in your products and services. Effective lead generation means that you need to do more than simply cast a wide net. You need to really laser in on your target market by getting to know them, understanding their needs, and appealing to their values.

3. Landing Page
The introductory handshake

If you’re running an online advertising campaign through paid marketing or social media, you need to send your prospects to some destination on the Internet. Rather than pointing everyone to your website homepage, you should consider sending them to a landing page instead. Here, you can provide all the necessary details without the unnecessary information overload. Just focus on the  who, what, where, when, why, how, and what’s next of your business.

According to the landing page experts over at Unbounce, there are 7 types — the one that you ultimately use will depend on your specific marketing goals. No matter the case, your landing page is one of the most important ways to make a good first impression with your prospects.

4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Your not-so-secret sauce

Believe it or not, SEO is one of the most heated topics in online marketing. The idea is simple — rank high on search engines for terms related to your brand. But over the last few years, marketers have taken that concept to the extreme by engaging in some highly shady practices — trading links, meaningless repetition of keywords, etc.

Today, search engine optimization is all about user experience. The idea is even more simple — create products and content that people will love and trust, and your website will see higher rankings on search engines. Today’s SEO is more of an outcome than a marketing strategy. Instead of chasing an algorithm (aka shady SEO), your goal should be customer acquisition and retention (aka holistic marketing).

5. PPC (Pay-Per- Click)
Your much-needed boost

Pay-per-click is an online advertising model in which marketers only pay for advertisements that receive clicks. Clicks can cost as little as a penny or as much as $10+.  The marketing concept may sound unusual — but you may be surprised to know that PPC advertising has been around for many years. It’s also the bread and butter of major technology companies like Google.

Behind the scenes, the pay-per-click model works like an auction. Advertisers are constantly competing for placements on target websites  — and it’s the high bidders who are able to secure placements.

PPC advertising  is one of the most cost-effective Internet marketing models in the sense that it can take $100 or less to be up and running. Both advertisers and publishers displaying ads benefit — advertisers have the opportunity to secure new business, and publishers are able to carve out new revenue streams. Anyone can be an advertiser or publisher — from large ventures like Target to small businesses and mom & pop blogs.

6. ROI
Your profitability dreams come true

If you’re a business owner, you’ve definitely heard this infamous acronym before. Across industries, the meaning of ROI is universal — return on investment. No surprises. Now, with respect to online marketing, ROI can get a bit tricky. As with other industries, what matters most is revenue. But with online marketing, the revenue benefits of your efforts are sometimes intangible. You can deploy a sophisticated (and expensive) business intelligence plan, but sometimes, you just need to rely on your intuition and gut that your initiative is yielding value.  Now, be careful not to stretch  ROI too far — if you rely too heavily on tweets, shares, and pageviews to measure your success, you risk ignoring your core business model. You need to focus on tangible gains and always be ROI-driven.

7. Social Media
More to it than Facebook

We seriously debated adding this one to the list, but we ultimately decided to do it. The reason being — social media is a living, breathing discipline. It goes beyond big-name platforms like Facebook and Twitter to truly capture how people are interacting with one another and sharing information online. Social media is a sociological phenomenon, not just a technology trend. But where exactly is the line? Is email social media? To an extent. What about blogs? Getting warmer. What about the up and coming niche social networks like Quora, HealthTap, and Doximity — you bet. Over the next few years, social media will become more and more specialized and niche. Prepare yourself by investigating trends beyond Facebook.

8. KPI
Seeing through a  flurry of data

KPI is an acronym for key performance indicator. This is a number that helps to benchmark the successes and growth that result from your online marketing initiatives. These can be conversion rates, click through rates, transactions, or offer sign-ups. If you really wanted, you could sit down and brainstorm a monster list of metrics to monitor. Usually, however, it’s best to pick a handful that are feasible to monitor over time in a straightforward way. In selecting your KPIs, your goal should actually be to avoid the data flurry so that you can integrate your marketing efforts with your company’s bottom line.

9. UX
It’s all about people

These two letters are the bread and butter of your marketing efforts. UX is an abbreviation for “user experience” — a concept that is foundational to business on the Internet. No matter your marketing or business strategy, you need to make sure that you’re creating a positive atmosphere for your customers and prospects. You can’t bug ‘em. You can’t spam ‘em. You can’t beat them over the head with a meaningless marketing message. You need to inspire them to love your brand. So make sure that you always think your UX through before launching any initiative online. This could be as simple as hosting a brainstorming session with your consultants and team.

10.  Reach
Your sphere of influence

Whether or not you have experience as a marketer, you’ve probably heard this term before. All of your marketing efforts should be designed to boost your brand reach. You need to connect with as many qualified prospects and leads as possible to grow your business. The bigger your voice, the bigger your brand reach — and the bigger your profits. No matter your marketing strategy, it should always prioritize reach.

Your Comments

Have any questions about the terms we’ve explained above? We’re happy to elaborate — just leave a comment below. Stay tuned for part 2 of this marketing speak series where we’ll focus on data, ROI, and more. Until then, we’re happy to keep the conversation going. Just let us know what you think!