TopRank Online Marketing

Archive for February, 2012


Lee Odden

It’s Not SEO Anymore, It’s Marketing. Deal With It.

Lee Odden on Feb 29th, 2012     Online Marketing, SEO
Customer Centric SEO

Optimize For Customer Experience

When people learn I’ve recently written a book called Optimize they usually ask what it’s about. I say it’s about optimizing customer discovery and engagement with content. The response I usually get is something like, “Oh, cool. I thought it was about SEO.”

Well, in a way optimizing content and customer experiences is SEO. That’s because what most of the better SEOs practice today is really more about the promise of marketing: attracting, engaging and inspiring customers to buy.

Whether it’s Google, Social Networks, Online News Media, Digital Assets or any other channel/format for content – best practices optimization is in effect for smart companies that want an advantage.

Ashley Zeckman

Online Marketing Best Practices: Software & Technology Marketing

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 28th, 2012     Blogging, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Online Marketing, Search Marketing, SEO

software marketing best practicesAt TopRank Online Marketing, we work with clients in many different industries each facing a unique set of problems.  One of the industries we provide online consulting for regularly is software.  Be it network monitoring, healthcare system and hospital software, email marketing, project management, or B2C software, promoting technology solutions has been a part of our expertise since TopRank was founded over 10 years ago.

Software development continues to become even more valuable in today’s social, mobile and overall digital world as companies begin to migrate what were once offline industries into SaaS and cloud based services.  It wasn’t too long ago that recruiting, sales, and marketing relied heavily on meeting in person or over the phone. With advancements in software and devices, organizations are now able to accomplish the same if not better results at a drastically reduced cost.

Lee Odden

Social Engagement ROI & the Value of Exchange

Lee Odden on Feb 27th, 2012     Online Marketing, Social Business, Social Media

Social Media Engagement & ROIHow do you measure your online marketing performance? What are your goals, your KPIs and how do you measure ROI? These are pretty common questions in the world of social media marketing.

As companies evolve their people, process and technology to attract, engage and inspire customers through content, I think attention on a broader view of the value that is created warrants consideration.

Many companies that approach my agency ask about the ROI of specific tactics as if they are gambling money with a direct rate of return. If there are agencies contributing to that perspective amongst clients side marketers, I wish they would stop. It’s not helping anyone. Here’s why:

Ashley Zeckman

Online Marketing News: Facts Tell & Stories Sell, Start-up Tips from Tech Giants, Mobile Skyrockets, Breaking Up With Customers

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 24th, 2012     Content Marketing, Marketing Industry News, Online Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute Presents A Brief History of Content Marketing

The History of Content Marketing

From the dawn of time people with things to sell have been using stories to attract, engage, and retain customers ala #optimize. The infographic above from the Content Marketing Institute takes us all the way through the evolution of content marketing and provides some meaningful insight into what companies have done in the past to generate results. You might learn a thing a two, plus it’s a great read.

 ”6 Start-up Tips From the World’s Biggest Tech Companies”  Every company has to start somewhere.  Famous companies such as Google, HP, and Microsoft were built on a set of core principals including creating long term customer relationships and listening to feedback.  This post provides tips from some of the largest companies in world on how to get through the start up phase of your business. Via Inc.

Lee Odden

Meaningful SEO Metrics: 3 Ways to Approach Measuring Online Business Success #SESLondon

Lee Odden on Feb 23rd, 2012     Marketing PR Conferences, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, SEO, Web Analytics

SEO MetricsWhat good is great content optimization and social media promotion without meaningful measurement? This session at SES London focused on three different perspectives towards measuring performance which were as relevant to any online marketing as they were to Search Engine Optimization.

In fact, that notion of “SEO is Marketing” lends really well with the trend a lot of people are talking about in the online marketing industry. Many SEOs are building up more strategic skills and approaching optimization more holistically. Ironically, this is my topic next week at Search Congress in Barcelona so this session proved to be quite useful for a more holistic online marketing measurement perspective (with a SEO slant).

Lee Odden

45 SEO and Social Media Tools #SESLondon

Lee Odden on Feb 22nd, 2012     Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, SEO

Social SEO Tools

I really lucked out after moderating the morning session at SES London on Social Media Tools by joining the SEO Tools of the Trade session that followed. Both sessions had great speakers and I’ve decided to combine my notes for both into one post about social media automation tools and SEO tools.

The sources for the SEO tool recommendations include:  Richard Baxter of SEOGadget, Dave Naylor from Bronco, and Neil Walker from Just Search. The social media tool recommendations came from Andrew Girdwood from bigmouthmedia, Paul Madden from Automica and Marcus Tober from SearchMetrics.

Before I get into the list of tools, I feel compelled to share a quote that I’ve often used to give people context for tool use, since it’s so important to use them for scale, efficiency and to gain a competitive advantage:

Ashley Zeckman

The Key to Social Media Success is Understanding Your Audience

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 21st, 2012     Content Marketing, Mobile, Online Marketing, Online Marketing Summit, Social Media, Social Media Tool

What are customers saying about your brand?

I recently attended a great presentation by Taylor Pratt (@taylorpratt) of Raven Tools at OMS in San Diego.  He focused on the importance of using content marketing for improved social engagement.

TopRank has been a long time and well-recognized advocate for the notion of customer centric content marketing.  Over the years we have seen SEO, social media, and content marketing industry change and grow at a rapid rate, so now more than ever marketers must create content to meet customer needs in order to execute a successful online strategy.  The social media game is not only evolving but the way that our audience consumes this information is constantly changing.

Lee Odden

SEO Migration Plan – Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail – SES London 2012

Lee Odden on Feb 20th, 2012     Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, SEO
big ben

No SEO Migration Plan is much scarier than this pic of Big Ben.

One of the classic scenarios for the intersection of web design/development and search engine optimization is when companies decide to update their website’s design and content management system. Businesses that expect new revenue and continued visibility to various audiences through search need to manage their web site assets for more than just ease of back-end maintenance and customer user experience.

Hopefully the situation doesn’t come to light like this:

A website manager sends an email on Friday saying, “We’re launching a new website on Monday, can you take a look at it to make sure our site optimization is ok?”.

Ashley Zeckman

Online Marketing News: Left vs. Right Brained Marketers, A Better User Experience, Management: Think Twitter, Growing Beyond Keywords

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 17th, 2012     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Search Engines, SEO, Social Media

Use social media to improve customer service, sales, and engagement

What Are Social Channels Good For?

Sure you’ve setup your company profiles and pages on social media.  However, do you know what channels are best used for which type of interaction?  This infographic by Grovo shares some great insight into specific uses for many of the popular social media platforms.  Did you know?

  • 40% of people like brands for discounts and promotions
  • 8% of all Huffington Post traffic comes from Facebook

“Content Marketing Becoming Vital”  Kelly OCG, a workforce consulting and outsourcing organization shares that they do no B2B brand advertising.  Instead they spend about 60% of their marketing budget on creating, distributing, and promoting their own unique content.  According to the Custom Content Council approximately $41billion dollars are spent on creating custom content. Via BtoB Magazine.

Lee Odden

Video Interview: Social Media Marketing at GM – Charlotte Blank, Manager of Social Media

Lee Odden on Feb 15th, 2012     Online Marketing, Online Marketing Summit, Video Interviews

Optimize Digital Marketing Interview Charlotte Blank GM

At the recent Online Marketing Summit in San Diego I caught up with Charlotte Blank, Manager of Social Media at General Motors to talk about digital marketing.  In this short interview I asked Charlotte a few fundamental questions about digital and social media marketing related to customers:

1. How does GM segment digital marketing activities between customer acquisition and retention?

Follow up: Does GM follow a social media editorial calendar according to customer buying cycles and personas?

2. With all the shiny objects of social media in the world, how do you go about deciding what to test and what to implement?

Take a look at the video and I think you’ll be interested in the customer-centric approach GM takes with social media and how time is allocated towards new customers, activating current customers as evangelists and their approach to filtering shiny social objects.

Ashley Zeckman

Better Content Marketing for Improved Social Engagement: Michael Stelzner

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 14th, 2012     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Online Marketing Summit, Social Media
Michael Stelzner's Help me launch campaign

Does your business need better content marketing like this Social Media Examiner contest participant?

michael stelzner In 2009 Michael Stelzner (@mike_stelzner) decided to run an experiment.  He wanted to see if he could repeat his previous success in a new industry.  That experiment led to the launch of Social Media Examiner in October of that same year.  Michael had been well known in the whitepaper industry and joked “I went from the king of whitepapers to the joker of social media.”

I really appreciated Michael’s insight into today’s customers and the need for change in an industry that is constantly evolving.  Below I’ve provided some highlights from what I learned from Michael Stelzner at the 2012 Online Marketing Summit.

Lee Odden

Essential Resources on Social Business for Online Marketing

Lee Odden on Feb 13th, 2012     Online Marketing, Social Business, Social Media
socially optimized business - Dachis Group

Attributes of a Socially Optimized Business - Dachis Group

Add “social” to just about anything and you’ll boost interest in your topic by at least 50%. While many consultants appear to be employing that tactic to boost their interesting-ness, it’s not the case with the topic of social business.

As companies work to figure out what role social media will play with external marketing and communications, there’s a rapidly growing trend with progressive companies that are also viewing social media internally. By that I mean, they’re looking at social technologies as platforms to connect people within the company for the purposes of collaboration, tapping into the collective wisdom of the organization and bringing internal social media literacy to a level that enables external communications to scale.

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