Are You ‘Layering’ SEO? You Should Be.

SEO isn’t what it used to be. Read Here.

Ten years ago, an SEO specialist might spend 40 hours a week on keywords, title tags and content manipulation. Nowadays, he or she must possess a much broader skill set and think far more strategically.

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That’s because there’s been a shift toward Search Marketing Integration (SMI) or “layering.” This concept is forcing digital marketers to become master collaborators who can effectively utilize cross-departmental initiatives to fuel a rise in organic visibility.

RelatedSEO Basics: Keyword Research Made Easy

The credit for this idea has to go to Rand Fishkin, CEO at search-software company Moz. During a conversation with Rand, I asked him whether the term SEO was still relevant. He explained that, rather than looking it as something distinct and isolated from your other business and marketing initiatives, you “need to add SEO as an important review layer on top of all of those other things.”

I think this is a really good way to conceptualize how SEO needs to be integrated into all aspects of your business to have the greatest probability of success. It really helps to visualize these concepts, let them sync in and “get it.”

In order to become a master collaborator and get the most out of your search efforts, it helps to break your collaborative efforts into four distinct areas

1.    Interaction
The first thing every successful digital marketer must do is learn to interact with the different departments within their organization. This has to be done regularly and consistently in order to produce results. The only way to discover the SEO opportunities that exist elsewhere in your organization is to communicate with your colleagues and actively undercover them. This includes attending cross-departmental meetings, happy hours and formal training sessions. You can even uncover SEO opportunities during conversations at the water cooler.

2. Persuasion

Once you’ve had a chance to interact and identify opportunities, you need to motivate your colleagues to help you achieve your goals. The best way to approach this is to find a champion within each department. I won’t bore you with tactics for motivation, but it’s vitally important to have a friend that can communicate initiatives from within their department. Having a reliable ‘point-of-contact’ can drastically help you turn ideas into actions and push your initiatives up the priority ladder. Read More.

 

Holiday Social Media Marketing: Wonders & Blunders You Can Learn From

Having the right social media marketing campaign during the holiday season can mean the difference between plentiful gifts beneath the company tree or lumps of coal in the company stocking. Tensions are often high for retailers, consumers, and marketing departments alike during the busy season, as everyone works to stay on top of demand, trends, and the competition. Read Here.

Holiday Social Media Marketing

Given that religious holidays are the reason for the season, some consumers can be a bit sensitive to brands and businesses capitalizing on the occasion and taking advantage of employees’ family time to generate more revenue.

With the right amount of planning, careful consideration, and a dash of sugar and spice, holiday marketing campaigns on social media can generate buzz and even get your brand in front of potential customers who you may have missed otherwise.

Learn from the brave brands that have gone before us about the do’s and don’ts of holiday internet marketing with this year’s Social Media Holiday Wonders & Blunders List.

Wonder

Flashback to December 2007. OfficeMax launches a user-generated viral video campaign called “Elf Yourself.” The site encouraged visitors to upload photos of themselves, friends, family or pets, whose faces were then placed on dancing elf bodies, creating videos that could be shared on social media or as ecards.

That December, ElfYourself.com became the fastest growing site of the month, reaching 39 million unique visitors in the United States, according to TechCrunch. Over the length of the campaign, the site attracted 100 million unique worldwide. The next year, OfficeMax teamed up with JibJab Media to bring the campaign back, in a bigger and better way. Read More.

How to use the Internet for business

I found the following tips on the web, I believe they are very useful. Check it out. Read Here.

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Familiarize yourself with how your industry is represented online; search for your customers, suppliers and other contacts. Look at their websites and online social media profiles.

Review the audience you communicate with and market to: their interests, preferences and online habits. Which social media and online networking sites do they use? How do they use them and how do they represent themselves in their profiles?

Review your own online presence. Where do you appear in search results? Do you have a presence on the social media and networking sites used by your target market?

Set up a social media profile on relevant sites such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Connect and communicate with your customers by posting blogs, tweets and useful information. Avoid the ‘hard sell’. Your aim is to build relationships.

Review your website. Is it still doing the job you intended? Does it accurately represent your business? Is it fresh, engaging and easy to use? Can it be viewed on any web-connected device?

Consider using online advertising strategies such as pay-per-click advertising. Research which keywords will be most effective in your online adverts and for driving traffic to your website. Read More.

What’s Holding You Back From Online Marketing Success?

There are a lot of things that most people would like to do, even if they aren’t getting started with them at the moment. For example, many people have dreams of running a marathon, writing a novel, or learning a second language. And yet, they never seem to find the time or motivation to take action. Perhaps nowhere is this more damaging than when it comes to online marketing. Read Here

Despite the fact that millions of business owners and executives know how important it is to the success of their companies (not to mention their own careers), they only make halfhearted efforts to grow their businesses online.

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Does that sound like something you’ve experienced? If so, you certainly aren’t the only one.

We talked to others who are in the same boat on a frequent basis. And, we have learned that their reluctance usually stems from one of these stumbling blocks:

1. They don’t understand online marketing.

To some, the process of online marketing can seem daunting, or even overwhelming. That’s understandable. There certainly is a lot of jargon, and online best practices change on a frequent basis. However, the core concepts are the same as they’ve always been for any business going back hundreds of years: identify your customers, attract them to your business, and then start a relationship. As long as you can grasp those ideas, the rest is really just about managing the details.

2. They would like to see online marketing results, but don’t think they really need them.

If your business is doing just fine without a strong online marketing plan, you might think it’s not really much of a necessity. That makes a certain amount of sense, but look at the other side of the coin: how much better could you be doing if customers were coming to you through the Internet? What would that mean for your bottom line, and the future of your company?

3. They think good online marketing is just too expensive.

Again, there is a certain element of truth here, as good online marketing does require an investment (time as well as money). At the same time, though, it’s important to recognize that it’s the return on that investment that’s really important. Any business expense is a good one if it helps you earn more money back in the future. When you think about it that way, working with a proven online marketing team is a lot cheaper than going without one.

4. They don’t know where to look for help, or who to trust.

This is probably the best reason to put off making changes to your web presence. Most of us know someone who’s been burned by the Internet marketing or SEO version of a snake oil salesman. The fear of being ripped off shouldn’t stop you from taking important steps, though, and you can find the right team to work with by following the same process you would with any other vendor. That is, look for a proven track record, a reputation for being trustworthy, and a way of working with you that makes you feel comfortable.Read More.

Social Media Revolution

I found this interesting video that points out to us the importance of social media today. I’m sure you’ll be amazed!

Erik Qualman is a leading speaker on the use of social media, providing statistics and clear evidence of the phenomenal growth of social media. He is author of two excellent books which have gone on to be translated into many languages.
1. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business
2. Digital Leader: 5 simple keys to success and influence
Check out this awesome facts He reveals to us through this video. Enjoy!

5 TRAVEL MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2014

I recently shared with you what I expected as five key social media marketing trends to look out for in 2014. Since I have been working in the travel & hospitality vertical for the past 20 years, I figure it would be equally interesting to try to figure out what we ought to look out for in 2014 from that industry perspective. So here it goes! Read Here

 The Automated Passenger

SecureExpress at Montreal AirportOn a recent trip departing out of Montreal-Trudeau International airport, I realized how travel processes automation holds tremendous potential to make passengers’ lives so much easier. 24 hours prior to departure, I had received the automated email from Air Canada allowing me to register for pre-boarding, ensuring proper seating and avoiding getting bumped due to over-booking, had I arrived with last-minute folks. On the way to the airport, running late and stuck in traffic, I used the new “SecurExpress” system whereby you can now reserve your time slot for going through a security checkpoint. Again, a fabulous way to not only gain peace of mind, but also to skip the line-ups of folks who, in some cases, may miss their flight because of sheer volume during rush hours. Lastly, I presented my mobile phone throughout the process, since I had opted for paperless with the QR code option.

Arriving from an international flight recently, I was also able to skip the traditional queue at customs and go through an automated checkpoint rather than dealing with a custom agent. Not to mention programs such as Canpass Air or NEXUS that allow frictionless passage at most US-Canada customs, based on prior pre-approval and payment of an annual fee.

We’re seeing similar frictionless, automated processes taking place in larger hotel chains, rail companies (mostly in Europe and Japan), car rentals and many attractions and events, in particular with RFID technology taking hold with some of the big festivals, i.e. Coachella, Osheaga, etc. From email, to SMS and e-passport, it will be interesting to see how fast travel companies embrace this sea of change for an enhanced traveler experience.

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Mobile Bookings

At the end of 2012, Google Travel estimated that 25% of all travel-related searches online came from a mobile device, whether it was a smartphone, tablet or wifi-enabled device. While they estimated this figure would reach 40% by end of 2013, it seems we were all under-estimating mobile adoption on a global scale since we reached that point… back in May! We will end most likely the year 2013 at 50%, which means 1 out of every 2 online travel search now comes from a mobile device! And we can only expect this trend to get stronger in 2014. But are people simply looking, or are they booking as well?

As can be seen in the results of this survey conducted earlier in 2013 by HeBS Digital, a New York based agency dealing with a client portfolio of top-tier hotel brands, mobile has been increasing year over year not just in terms of page views and visits, but also in terms of room nights generated and, most importantly, in revenue. This is especially true with tablets, seeing triple digit growth comparing Q1 2013 with Q1 2012. Desktop is getting less traffic overall, but the decrease is not as substantial in terms of room nights and revenue. Yet. So expect mobile to definitely grow strong…Read More

6 reasons why your website needs to be conversion-driven

When you walk into a retail clothing store, you’re not just walking into a room randomly filled with garments. You’re entering a carefully organized space specifically designed to get you to buy products. Read Here

Items from the newest range take pride of place while images of gorgeous models flaunting the items plaster the biggest walls. The perfect jacket to compliment that pair of skinny jeans is displayed nearby, with a helpful shopping assistant on hand to suggest you try them both. Special deals displayed at eye level catch your eye on the way out. These are all important tricks of the trade that shop managers use in the hopes of driving people to make purchases.

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When it comes to websites, however, sales are made online, not in stores. Your website is effectively your shop window, and your site needs to be conversion-driven. Here are six reasons why:

1. Customers do research before they buy

A high percentage of the people visiting your website will be there to do research and won’t necessarily be ready to buy. The bigger the client, the more research they are likely to do before making a decision to purchase. Corporate bureaucracy usually stipulates that certain processes are followed before deals can go ahead.

To maximize your conversion rate, you need to recognize which people are visiting your website to do research and appropriately market your product to them. Remember that the earlier you get a customer to convert, the more influence you have on their purchase decision.

2. Website visitors are at different buying stages

Every visitor to your site is different. For example, some have just arrived at your site for the first time, some are returning or existing customers and some are in the final stages of their buying process and have put you on their shortlist of potential suppliers. You need to have different methods of conversion for each of these unique categories, and any others that might apply.

An existing customer won’t click on an ‘order now’ button and a first time visitor isn’t likely to click on a ‘contact us’ button. Conversion-driven design takes each type of visitor into account and offers tailored options for driving that person to convert to the next stage of the customer lifecycle.

3. No one likes being hounded by a commission-driven sales person

Many B2B websites have only one conversion tool. It usually takes the form of a ‘contact us’ button. However, potential customers who are still in the research phase avoid clicking on ‘contact us’ buttons because they don’t want to be hounded by a commission-driven sales person hungry to make a deal. Because not every website visitor is ready to buy, you can’t only count on ‘contact us’ buttons to drive conversion. Conversion-driven website design will have multiple conversion strategies angled towards web visitors in different stages of the customer lifecycle, thereby helping you convert more anonymous web visitors into leads. Read More