Blog about Internet marketing strategies - social media, & SEO

Category: marketing

User Experience and Marketing: A Delicate Relationship

Traditionally marketing and user experience were two departments that weren’t concerned with one another. Today, however, as the Internet continues to evolve the way business is done marketing and user experience have become more entwined than ever before. Both sides are concerned with adaptability and usability as they will ultimately lead to a broader reach and customer acquisitions.

User Experience and Marketing

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Customer experience is changing these specialties individually as well as how they combine to create more powerful messaging and campaigns. For companies to be successful today they need to help customers and adapt to customer needs as they evolve. Many of today’s evolution are related to the rise of mobile technology and devices, and some major players are already taking notice.

Google, for example, may soon be penalizing websites that don’t take the mobile user experience into account. According to the January 2014 Mobile Technology Fact Sheet 63% of adult cell phone owners using their mobile phones to get online and 34% of mobile phone Internet users only go online by using their phones versus any other type of device. With numbers like these it’s easy to see why Google may be altering their search ranking algorithm to take the mobile experience into account. The Googlebot is able to view websites on a code level as well as the way that a human user would see it, meaning that the bot is able to differentiate between a good mobile user experience and a poor one.

According to past studies from Google 61% of users will not return to a mobile site if they previously had trouble accessing it on their phone. Google is deeply concerned with the user experience and sites that don’t share their commitment could find themselves dropping in Google’s search results.

In addition to ensuring that a website is optimized and responsive, marketers should remember to make the user experience all-inclusive. Not only should content be robust and informative, it should also communicate with them – maybe even literally. Live customer chats allow marketing team members to instantly chat with customers and provide exceptional experiences.

Outside of the mobile realm, at a core level companies need to give their customers dynamic tools and resources that help them make smarter decisions. Solving customer problems engenders loyalty and builds more layers of customer engagement. Marketing and user experience can work together to improve customer interactions across the board and deliver more effective, user-focused experiences. This cohesive approach helps to create a stronger brand and focuses customer interactions on selling and more successfully leads customers through the sales funnel.

User experience combined with marketing strategies can help refine a company’s target market. User experience is a broad concept that works across multiple aspects of a business, not just usability. It has an especially significant impact on customer satisfaction as the principles of user experience can help to simplify and improve the processes in which customers are brought to the brand and how they interact with it over the long-term.

To achieve long-lasting customer satisfaction marketing teams and user experience teams need to understand the business and define their objectives. These objectives should align with both the company’s goals and the end user’s needs. User-centered marketing and experience programs help companies gain new insights into their business.

Marketing and user experience support each other as well as the overall goals of the company. When all departments and team members share the same focus there is a greater chance for success.

About the Author:

Nick Rojas

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

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Social Media Marketing = Long Term Commitment

Now you cannot build a proper business with short-sighted strategy, can you? For the long term positioning, your business has to work and invest in a brand: social media marketing can be a great component to that.

Gary Vaynerchuk nails it when he says this:

Social media marketing is like going Beyonce on your customers.
You gotta put a F***ing ring on it!

So the next time you decide to use social media for marketing, don’t go half-heart or try around each networks you come across. Have a social media strategy and make a long term commitment to give the best for your users and for your brand.

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Facebook PPC Ad Intelligence Tool by SEMrush

SEMrush provides knowledge and research tools for search and marketing professionals. I talked about SEMrush keywords  Google AdWords Analytics tool a while back. Now SEMrush is coming up with something exciting for Facebook advertisers as well – Facebook Pay Per Click Intelligence Tool. Here is a walkthrough on what the tool is going to be like:

Once you login to SEMrush, you can see the Facebook navigation on the Dashboard. This contains three submenus – namely Ads by domain, Ads by keyword and TOP Ads. Let us see more of each. I shall mostly use Nepali Facebook Ad examples for this purpose – but this is applicable for any country or globally as well.

Ads by Domain

Here you can search Facebook ads by the domain name (advertised website). So if you are a travel company and want to know how much ad AceTravels is doing, you can type their domain name acetravels.com and see the results. You can see Total Ad Impressions as well as unique impressions for the week, month or three months. Here is a screenshot.

AceTravels Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads by Domain

Seems that AceTravels targets only Nepal and hence GEO targeting shows insufficient data. So let’s check another travel site, that of Explore Himalaya using their domain explorehimalaya.com.

Explore Himalaya Facebook ads

Explore Himalaya Facebook Ad

You can also click on the single ad to see the details such as first and last seen dates on Facebook.

Facebook ad details

Details for a Facebook Advertisement by LonelyPlanet

Here we see that the ad is targeted mostly on selected countries and there are 3 versions of Ads. The impression chart shows ad impressions across various months. We can also see the impressions for each ads and which ones are performing better. Thus it can be a useful tool to improve your ads as well. Similarly, the ad landings show the major pages that the website is targeting through those ads.

Facebook ads Landing Page

Facebook Ad Landings checks important website pages from competitors

Features that I found need improvements in this section are:

  • The days seen for ads are kind of inaccurate and doesn’t make much sense as it is.
  • Many companies advertise for their Facebook Page itself. There doesn’t appear to be way to check the ads in that case.
  • Data for ads targeted for single geographic region such as Nepal seems inaccurate of non-available in many cases.

We can use a side-by-side comparison like this give good insights on Facebook advertising pattern by competitors.

 

Ads by Keywords

Ads by keywords shows the popular ads with the keywords within the ad Headline or Text. Since Facebook Ads are segmented based on interests rather than keywords, the search by keywords works different than the PPC in Google AdWords. This can however be used to find the competing ads by finding Ads by Keywords. Again, let’s consider the travel industry and use “travel Nepal” as a keyword. This gives an idea on comparison of the ads and ad impressions.

Facebook ads by Keywords

Facebook ads by Keywords

Features that I found need improvements in this section are:

  • Ads by Keywords option seems less logical as the ads in Facebook are not segmented based on Keywords.
  • The monthly / 3 monthly ad impression numbers (average unique hits) seem to be broken as seen on the screenshot

 

TOP Ads

This gives the overall list of top ads and advertisers on Facebook. What is more impressive is this also give option to dig deeper to find the list of top Ads and Advertisers on Facebook based on country and for a given time frame (weekly, monthly or 3 months).

Facebook Top ads

Top Facebook ads and advertisers worldwide

Top ads and advertisers from Nepal in Facebook]

Top Nepali ads and advertisers on Facebook

Here I show the weekly top Facebook ads in Nepal (most displayed Facebook advertisement in Nepal) as well as the monthly top Nepali advertisers on Facebook, along with the total number of impressions they had. Seems like colleges in Nepal and for Nepalis are having a blast at Facebook Ads!

Features that I found need improvements in this section are:

  • Advertiser name alongside the top ads would be better

 

Overall improvements that I wish for:

  • Some way to put the monetary value estimation for the ad into the insights as in Google PPC.
  • The country selection in the search box is confusing and seems unnecessary for Facebook Ads.

The Facebook Pay Per Click Intelligence Tool would be very useful for existing advertisers as well as business looking to start advertising regarding how others are using it and how to get the most of Facebook Ads. A must for PPC professionals – or even upgrade to paid account to start taking the maximum benefits.

 

Need help with PPC campaigns? Contact.

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Brands that Rule IT World Today

The following is a guest blog. Email me at roshanjoshi@gmail.com with the subject ‘Guest Blog’ if you are interested in guest blogging.

In today’s world, IT companies are taking over and establishing themselves as the top brands in the world. Apple, Google, Microsoft and IBM are four of the top five brands in the world, with the other brand in the top 5 being McDonald’s. One thing that these companies all have in common is that they have catchy, relevant names. A naming agency can do wonders for any business, and that has obviously been the case for these top four IT companies.

Apple is king

There is no other company that is more important than Apple right now, and this is a company that definitely benefits from a simple, yet catchy namesake. Although a naming agency is not required for all amazing names, they are usually used when you need to some up with something as amazing as “Apple.” The company is valued at $183 billion right now, which means the entire population of the
world would not be able to buy the company if they all put in $20 each.

IBM is still in power

IBM is a company that has been around for a long time, and this is one company that probably did not need the help of a naming agency. When you make quality products that are needed in every part of the globe for such a long time, it makes sense when your company becomes the second biggest brand in the world.

Google gets its hands in everything

Google is the company that seems to try to get its hands into every business that is about to take off and explode. The company is valued at $108 billion, which puts it third on the list of the largest IT companies in the world. Nobody could have predicted that this small search engine from about 10 years ago would turn into this international giant.

Microsoft is still active as a global brand

Although Microsoft is not what is used to be, this company still has a huge role to play around the world. It’s been valued at $77 billion, and it comes in right after McDonald’s on the list of the top five brands in the world. Microsoft is a company that is in decline, but it shows you how powerful the world of technology can be when one of the top 5 brands in the world is actually one that is declining in value.

It has not been all fun and games for technology

One piece of bad news that comes from the list of the largest brands in the world for technology is that Wal-Mart is starting to outpace Amazon. The main reason that Wal-Mart can compete now is that they have actually moved much of their business into the online world. By cutting into Amazon’s main base of customers, it gives Wal-Mart the ability to be a big player online and offline.

Technology companies on the rise

One of the most obvious choices to look at when you are looking for a technology brand on the rise is Facebook. The social media network has over 1 billion users, but they are still looking for a way to monetize all of their unique views.

About the Author:

clayton tolley

Clayton Tolley is the owner and founder of Brandsymbol, a global naming company located in Charlotte, NC. Clayton has over 20 years experience working with the world’s top brands.

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The Internet Marketing Implementation Cycle

Here is one cycle that can be helpful in implementing new internet marketing strategy or upgrading the existing internet marketing strategy. Of course each business has distinct marketing requirements so might need variations accordingly. Hopefully this gives an idea for practicing online marketers or web agencies, as well as business who are looking to do internet marketing services.

internet marketing strategy implementation cycle

Let’s see bits of details for each process:

Step 1: Keyword Research

Keyword research is the most important stage. If you get this incorrect, your overall strategy or the cycle would spiral aimlessly. Important factors to consider for Keyword Research are: the industry, keyword search volume, resources available (if you have more resources, you can target more or better keywords), keyword difficulty and some common sense. Tools such as Google Keyword Tool should give you a good idea to start. This is a set of keywords that apply to your overall marketing activities. Make sure you get it right early to stop losing money & resources for nothing.

Step 2: Website

Website is the heart of all marketing activities for e-commerce and also for all others that aim to use website as a channel for their business. A website should represent your business. A good website needs to consider its target users as well as search engines – not just the view of the owner! Make sure users can find what they come for as well as be pleased choosing your business.

Step 3: SEO (on page)

For a business, nothing is worse than having a great looking website that nobody knows about. If you have done the keyword research properly, you are in the right track. Else more backward to step 1 first. As most users still use search engines such as Google to find most of the stuffs online, you should know how to make a site that search engines can rank well. Search engines such as Google considers content of website as well as who is liking to them to rank it. As you make the website, make sure you make the adjustments on site to make it SEO friendly.

Step 4: Updates

One way communication is dead. You need to be alive, keep updated content and communicate with users. Blog is a great way to keep users updated. You need to write regularly. Again the guidelines on what to update goes back to keyword research of Step 1. Make sure you get them right. Having a blog that doesn’t update or doesn’t update related content is a turn-off and a resource hog. If you can’t find the resources to blog or keep users updated, blogging may not even for your business. You can integrate your news/blog with social media as well for better user experience.

Step 5: Social Media

Internet is not the one way communication as it used to be. With social sites, growing internet reach and ease of access through mobile devices, each consumer has the power to access & share information to worldwide users in real-time. You can no longer do waiting business. You need to be where your prospects are and communicate to them being yourself. Be creative & authentic so users can like you. There are growing number of social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube that are not only great for real-time communication for also  for long term online branding.

Step 6: Email Marketing

Email marketing or permission marketing is another great way to reach to your prospects and consumers. Once you have a content strategy for website and social media, it is a good idea to reach to users using email. Email newsletters can also be a good way to send offers and updates to users directly to their inbox. Be sure you collect your user details through website or direct connection only.

Step 7: SEO (off page)

Search engines rank website based on content of website and recommendations on the Internet. Now that you have covered on-page SEO on Step 3, spend some time for getting good content that others can recommend. Link building can be a tedious and ongoing process that you should do to get visitors to your website through search or other channels. Again it helps if the keyword research has been done well. Make sure you follow genuine techniques to get links and be aware of search algorithm changes such as Google Panda or Penguin. If you are considering affiliate marketing, for example, make sure it follows the search engine guidelines.

Step 8: PPC Advertising

SEO is great but slow. If you need quick results, choose advertising.  On the Internet, PPC or pay per click ads are a great way to do it, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads being the most popular ones. PPC advertising is also a great way to spread words about new brands. Whether you want to overlap PPC campaigns with your SEO keywords depends on your business requirement.

Like other life-cycles, internet marketing is a continuous process and should be integrated with overall marketing strategy of the business. The good thing about Internet marketing is that the results are more measurable than other forms of marketing. However, unlike other cycles, it does not necessarily go through same cycle every time after completion. For example, the on-site SEO or web usability parts will be needed less after the first cycle.

Which Internet marketing strategy do you follow?

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Insights on Internet Marketing Trends

Internet Marketing has become essential for all brands and companies regardless of their size. With over 1/3 of world population on the internet, companies need to know where and how users are using the internet. Here are some great graphs and insights on how people are using the internet.

(Graphs from HubSpot Download: Registration Required)

internet marketing budget increase
More and more business are increasing their internet marketing investment because it has become more effective than traditional marketing methods.

inbound costs vs outbound
Inbound marketing is the form of internet marketing where potential customers are drawn in to the website using content that they value. Some of inbound marketing tactics are SEO, blogs and social media marketing. These are getting more effective than outbound marketing tactics such as trade shows, where companies reach out to potential users by forcing them their information. New ways of reaching to prospects, such as paid search (PPC) are also getting popular.

customer acquisition using social media
Blogging and social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become important tools for all forms of business, be it B2B or B2C business. If you are not using these, you are likely to be losing customers already.

seo more pages better leads
SEO is internet marketing tactics to get website rank higher on search engine results. More content increase likeliness of appearing in search results. That’s why creating regular contents through channels such as blogging become very important.

email marketing rise
Another form or internet marketing is email marketing (or permission marketing). Done right, these are powerful way to reach to the prospects.

Facebook popularity
Facebook is the most popular of social media tools. Since almost everybody is on Facebook, this is a great way for business to reach and communicate with customers.

mobile importance
Worldwide, mobile penetration is ubiquitous. With increase in smartphone, using internet on handheld devices have increased drastically not only in developed countries, but also in emerging nations such as India, China and developing country such as Nepal (in fact Asia has the fastest growing mobile users). Mobile traffic contributes over 10% of total internet traffic globally. With mobile search marketing, more mobile users are likely to perform action than desktop users.

Are you investing on (or considering) Internet Marketing now? Share your thoughts on how it is going.

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3 Great Ways to Use Timeline Cover for Facebook Pages

New Facebook Timeline for Pages allow brands plenty of space (851px x 315px) to highlight interesting features. Here are 3 great ways Facebook Timeline Cover are used by Companies and Brands on Facebook Pages.

1) Highlight People

What’s better than highlighting people? Many companies are using Facebook Cover on their Facebook Pages to highlight their human resources. Such as

New York Times
New York Times Facebook Cover
NYTimes has used Facebook timeline to highlight its people very well – world’s best journalists.

Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper Facebook Cover
Dr Pepper’s Facebook Timeline Cover is creatively made with small avatars of people which looks really neat if you take a closer look. Also has the soft drink popping out from the profile picture itself. Creative indeed – but who the people in the avatars are is not clear.

2) Highlight User Testimonials

Facebook Timeline Cover doesn’t allow direct promotion of products. But testimonial by customers? That should be just fine. And it can be updated easily too.

HTC
htc Facebook Page Cover
HTC used client as testimonial – and an amazing one too – freefall fashion photographer on air – with signature. Quietly Brilliant!

Dunkin’ Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts Facebook Cover
Dunkin’ Donuts highlights its weekly fans. Thus it is updating Facebook cover every week as well as showing real customers.

3) Highlight Vision / Strength

Since the Facebook Cover is such a big part of the brand’s Facebook pages, it is best place to start showing what your brand is about.

CloudFactory
CloudFactory Facebook Cover
For a startup using crowdsourcing to develop the livelihood of people in developing nations, CloudFactory has used childish art very well on its Facebook Timeline Cover.

Ncell
Facebook Cover for Ncell
Ncell doesn’t mention its name on Facebook Cover but simply tells what it does – connect within Nepal.

Bing
Bing Facebook Page Timeline Cover
Bing does well to not only show that it is a search engine, but also add interesting photos as background images. Updated daily to reflect their main site. You could visit it just to see the images! Google’s Facebook cover is comparatively dull.

How does your brand use the Timeline Cover in Facebook Page?

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Role of Board of Directors in Organizational Strategy

Just went through an interesting piece from Owning Up –  The 14 Questions Every Board Members Needs to Ask by Ram Charan. I thought it was quite relevant in many of the organizations of Nepal where the hierarchy is not well defined. The boards may be

  • Actively into management or
  • Passive part of the organization

In general the issues covered are the role of management, in particular CEO in educating the board of directors. The common cause of passive board is that they are believed to have little or no knowledge of the domain so they have no role in strategy formulation or implementation (which is true in many cases here in Nepal where the board is extension of management and vice versa). Some management don’t have board in strategy due to lack of knowledge that they should be a part too.

The truth is that the board should be a part of the strategy at three levels: company portfolio, strategic business units (SBU) and functional capabilities in the external context. In Owning Up, the suggestion is for the management to engage the board more in the strategy with the following process.

  • Discuss External Trends
  • Capture the Essence of the Strategy in Writing
  • Iterate the Strategy with the Board
  • Conduct a Strategy Immersion Session

After all since the board and management are on the same page, directors too need to be engaged in the corporate strategy. Especially in the ever changing environment, external viewpoints are equally important too.

What is your Strategy?

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