Archives for November 2013

Content Marketing with Interactive Tools: Pros, Cons, Examples & Best Practices

Interactive Tool as Content Marketing TacticAt first glance, interactive online tools may not seem like a content marketing tactic. But, when you consider their educational and entertainment value, interactive tools offer exactly the kind of ‘stickiness’ marketers and brands are looking for.

From the early days of collaborative online learning to sophisticated interactive tools that allow consumers to keep track of their calorie count and fitness level, today, numerous institutions, governments, news organizations and brands have incorporated interactive tools on their websites to further educate and engage their customers and constituents.

Why incorporate interactive tools as part of your content marketing mix? Because education is such a powerful and important fundamental to improving the customer experience. The ability to invest in effort and receive output contributes to a customer experience that can differentiate your brand. At the same time, useful interactive tools satisfy a need for your target audience. Ultimately, tools that enable user interaction and feedback can drive sales, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Remembering Brian Larson

Brian Larson

It is with the greatest of sorrow that I am sharing our admired TopRank Marketing team member, Brian Larson, has passed away unexpectedly this weekend. Our condolences to Brian’s wife Erin and his family for such a tragic loss.

Brian started with TopRank about 3 years ago after having worked for over 6 years with PR Newswire. As Account Manager of Strategic Accounts at TopRank, Brian was one of the most humble, giving and professional people I’ve ever worked with. We will miss him dearly.

I can’t count how many times clients would approach me at industry conferences to say what a great guy he was to work with. He really cared about his team, clients and doing great work.

SES Chicago 2013 Marketing Conference Wrap-Up #SESCHI

The Bean #SESCHIIt’s official: SES Chicago blew us away. Get it? Blew away – windy city? Well, we thought it was clever.

After flying through the clouds and getting to watch the sunrise from the plane, and (very, very slowly) navigating rush hour traffic I arrived at the downtown Chicago Marriott ready to learn all I could about paid, earned, and owned search with TopRank Account Manager Brian Larson.

There were dozens of incredible speakers throughout the three-day conference. Some gave presentations that inspired, motivated and engaged, while others relied on facts, tools, and statistics to inform their audience of emerging trends in marketing and search. The networking was great and gave us the opportunity to meet people from around the world (London accents are so cool!) and connect with a few of the speakers that blew us away.

Online Marketing News: 21 New Content Marketing Rules, 10 Free Monitoring Tools, 150 Million Instagram Users, 5 Ways Facebook Pages Get Festive

Infographic

Findability: 21 New Rules of Content Marketing – While the foundations of building a site are still in play, it’s the content that’s now successfully driving the success to companies investing in great marketing strategies. Many companies who invested heavily in search engine optimization have seen those investments lost; but companies who continued to push for relevant, frequent and recent content that provide value to their audience continue to see the rewards. Are you ready for a new world of search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing? Marketing Tech Blog

59% of Businesses Say Conversion Rate Optimization is Crucial to Their Digital Strategy – This highlights the growing focus on CRO in an increasingly competitive online marketplace, fuelled in part by more advanced targeting and personalisation technologies. Read the new report based on a survey of almost 1,000 client-side and agency digital marketers. eConsultancy

Targeting Your Mobile Audience with Aggregate Data

Mobile Targeting Presentation #SESCHIOver a billion smartphones enter the market every year. They’re everywhere, and users are finding new ways to leverage them every day. Mine is rarely more than 3 feet away from me, and I use it for everything from research, social “creeping”, and shopping to email, an alarm clock, and my camera. One of my biggest pet peeves is when things aren’t mobile compatible. As it turns out, I’m far from alone.

When it comes to websites, 61% of users won’t return to a site if they have a negative experience and 40% will go to a competitor’s site instead. Add on to that the statistic that 90% of all purchasing decisions begin with online research, and it’s understandable why appealing to mobile audiences has become so important. But doing so is very different than appealing to traditional web users.

Tips for Pictures That Generate Breakthrough Results in Social Media Marketing

Visuals in Social #SECHI

What picture of your brand are you painting in social? I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean what visuals are you using to represent what you do and what your audience cares about? Study and after study indicates that visual content is far more impactful in social than its text-only counterpart, and yet a majority of brands interacting in social aren’t adjusting their content mix accordingly.

Cliches are Cliches Cause They Work

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We’ve all heard the phrase, and for good reason. Especially when it comes to engaging your audience in social. Laura Roth, of Incisive Media, moderates today’s session focused on ‘harnessing the power of visuals’ in social.

How IBM Turned B2B Social into a Lead Gen Machine & How You Can Too

B2B Lead Generation

IBM is famous—there’s no doubt about that. They’ve been known for everything from innovative products to impressive profits. But at SES Chicago, they’re known for their ability to generate leads from social—something B2B companies don’t necessarily always do well.

90% of brands say they measure social engagement, but only 15% of CMOs say they can quantify social ROI. Clearly, there’s some sort of disconnect that needs to be addressed. Michelle Killebrew and John Lee bridged the gap in their presentation with an IBM case study on how B2B companies can leverage social media for lead gen.

What IBM Did

Killebrew shared a case study that serves as a powerful example of how IBM used social to take their website and social to the next level:

Linkbuilding the Right Way for Search Engine Optimization

Linkbuilding Panel at #SESCHI

In late July, Google updated it’s stated policy on what ‘linkbuilding’ activities now constitute link schemes. While the update was clear  – heavy hyperlinking in press releases, advertorials and large scale guest-blogging are now considered link schemes – the repercussions of the update and it’s lasting impact on SEO have been far more murky.

Nobody likes murky. Not in a drink and especially not when real business outcomes are associated with search visibility and the traffic it generates.

With the session promise of sharing how to linkuild the right way, Jennifer Slegg introduces Chuck Price, Founder of Measurable SEO. Jumping off the stage to begin his presentation, Price’s goal is clearly to dispel the notions that links ‘no longer matter.’ He starts with humor and honesty, “[l]inkbuilding is NOT sexy! Nor is it fun.” But, Price asserts, links are still the number 1 factor influencing search ranking. Two thing are certain, Matt Cutts has said as recently as July in an interview with Eric Enge, that links still matter and not all linkbuilding is bad.

Navigating a Website Migration like Indiana Jones: Ensuring a Smooth SEO Transition

Website Migration Presentation #SESCHILet’s face it— at one point in your life you’ve probably wanted to be James Bond, Indiana Jones, Wonder Woman, or any other number of superheroes. Personally, I’ve wanted to be all of them…more than once. For some odd, and inexplicable, reason Indiana Jones was always my favorite.

If you’re like me, you gave up that life of dodging sink holes and escaping life-threatening situations in creatively unrealistic ways to work in digital marketing. But, Simon Heseltine from AOL and Dave Rohrer from Covario are giving us the chance to be channel our inner superhero again—by navigating the sinkholes created by website migrations.

In their SES session (moderated by Jim Hedger who couldn’t resist a photo-op with the speakers) these two experts addressed the sinkholes created by different migrations, as well as the ways to avoid the potential traffic decreases and reduced ROIs.

What You Need to Know about Enhanced Adwords Campaigns

Enhanced Adwords Campaigns Session at #SESCHIIf there’s one thing I’ve heard non-stop lately it’s that digital marketing is becoming more customized and tailored to the wants and needs of consumers. Those creepy Eye See You Mannequins, facial monitoring at gas stations, and those social ads that somehow know that I was shopping for a watch yesterday are all proof that brands are able to cater their advertisements to appeal to something we’re actually going to be motivated to buy.

This has created a unique opportunity for marketers: enhanced Google AdWords campaigns which were launched on July 22nd of this year.

In their SES Chicago session, Michael Griffin and Lisa Raehsler reviewed what those campaigns are and how to design, segment, and optimize one. Here are some of the key takeaways from their session:

New SEO Best Practices with Schema Markup

SEO Schema Markup

Web Developers often faint at the mere mention of ‘schema’. The mysterious term conjures up thoughts of impossible code to implement with benefits that seem difficult to pinpoint. At least, those were some of the perceptions surrounding schema markup.

Anne F. Kennedy, the sessions first speaker and member of the SES Advisory Board, wants to reduce that fear among the SEO community surrounding schema markup and explain the benefits derived from their usage. Kennedy polls the office and asks ‘how many currently use schema markup?’ With what appears to be a little over half raising their hands, a little step back is needed.

So Kennedy starts us with the basics: What is a ‘schema’ anyways?

Maximizing Usability and Findability Among Multi-Screen Users

Web ArchitectureRemember the days of just watching TV? Or just working on your computer? How about finding what you needed from one source—like a book, phonebook, or one website? Those days are over. Completely.

Google released a study earlier this year that revealed 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish their goals, using up to an average of 3 different screen combinations each day. The key takeaway from their study? Content needs to be optimized for all channels so brands don’t run the risk of losing conversions from any one channel.

This new initiative has posed several challenges to marketers on how to make their site findable, and usable, to multiscreen users in order to retain conversions. Bryson Meunier of Resolution Media and Shari Thurow of Omni Marketing Interactive shared a few best practices and tips on how to create the best website architecture to achieve excellent multiscreen experience.