Google has a global market research tool that hardly anyone knows about. I’m afraid they’ll kill it if more people don’t start using it. It’s called Global Market Finder.
As its name implies, it’s useful for finding global markets for any niche based on keywords. In fact, you can use the tool as an alternative free keyword research tool even though that’s not its real purpose.
You start by choosing the location of your business by country, then you choose your language. Next, you add a few keywords into your keyword box – one per line. Click “Find Opportunity.”
This is where it gets interesting. Your results will appear broken down by country. Go through the list of countries and find the one you are interested in, beginning your marketing initiative. It doesn’t have to be the same country you reside in or that your business exists in. This is a great tool if you are thinking about opening up in a new market.
So you click the + button to open up your language options. Choose your language and scroll down the list of keywords. Google also gives you the option to choose additional keyword suggestions, which is great for finding alternative keywords for the markets you want to target.
If you are a large company that operates in several markets around the globe, this is a great search tool.
Is your video marketing plan written out or does it consist mainly of you throwing paint against the wall?
This is not a question in a vacuum. It’s a question that deserves an answer. With all the video marketing options available to online marketers today, there’s no reason not to write out your plan and follow your plan as you implement it.
That doesn’t mean your plan won’t ever change. Businesses go through evolutions. That’s expected.
Think of it as like a business plan for your video production team. Your goal is to drive traffic and increase conversions through video distribution. Your plan should address, at a minimum, the following methods and strategies.
- How often you will produce videos and what quality they will be (include your budget for production)
- Where you will distribute your video
- Will your videos be used on your own website?
- How will you promote your videos?
- What purpose will your videos serve for each marketing demographic you target?
- How do your videos fit into your sales funnel cycle?
Video marketing is not a marketing strategy so much as it is a piece of your overall marketing portfolio. It should work together with other marketing efforts to drive traffic and engagement. If it isn’t doing that, it is likely ineffective.
When it comes to marketing – online or off line – there are two huge mistakes that you never want to make. Whether you are selling through e-mail, writing a blog, or designing a landing page, you don’t want to make either of these mistakes. Even if you are creating a brochure or a print product for distribution, these two mistakes can kill your business before your prospects buy anything.
- Subject lines or headlines - Your first big mistake is not writing a compelling headline or subject line. This is perhaps the most important element of your writing. Learn to write good headlines. People will not read anything you write if your headlines and subject lines are boring or misleading.
- Calls to action – The second most important element to good copywriting is being able to write a strong call to action. Your call to action closes the sale. You can write a great sales letter, e-mail, blog post, or whatever, and never see a conversion because you didn’t include a call to action, or your call to action wasn’t strong enough.
If you write compelling headlines and subject lines and calls to action that motivate readers to buy from you, you’ll always be in business. These are the tools of successful copywriters – online and off line.
According to a recent eMarketer report, 15% to 17% of TV viewers engage with social networks in real time. This is a golden opportunity for brands who sponsor television programs and are looking for ways to engage with audiences on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The key is in the use of hashtags.
This Sunday, Season 4 of The Walking Dead will premiere on AMC. As one of the most popular TV shows, you can bet there will be a good number of watchers who will be tweeting and posting on Facebook during the show. What will they be posting about? Most likely, the characters and the story line. Whether they like it or not, your brand can get in on the conversation. You don’t even have to be a sponsor of the show.
The official Walking Dead hashtag is #WalkingDead. You can see the 24-hour trend for the hashtag at Hashtags.org.
If your brand’s audience coincides with the audience for this TV show, you could be watching the show and tweeting and posting on Facebook during the show. Be sure you don’t annoy your audience with self-promotional posts that hijack the hashtag. Instead, use your branded Twitter account or Facebook page to join the conversation going on about the show and its characters while it is happening. This alone will become a way for you to expand your brand’s influence as you discuss a common interest with your audience. You can engage in this form of social media marketing with any TV show in real time.
Yesterday we wrote about Facebook Insights. I should have played around with the new Facebook Insights first because the biggest social media site on the Web has updated its metric tool and changed some of its terminology.
For instance, People Talking About This has been divided into several more useful metrics. Those metrics include:
- Page Likes
- People Engaged
- Page Tags and Mentions
- Page Check-ins
- Other Interactions
Facebook also said goodbye to “Virality.” That metric is now called Engagement Rate. As a part of the engagement rate, Facebook is now including clicks.
Additionally, positive and negative interactions have been integrated into one page-specific score card. Metrics being graded include likes, comments, shares, clicks, hide post, hide all posts, report as spam, and unlike posts). If you run a Facebook page, now you can see all of these metrics side by side for each post.
While there are many changes taking place to Facebook pages, there are things staying the same. APIs are one of them.
If you have a Facebook page, click the button that appears to see your Facebook Insights in its new format. If you like it, leave a post here and let us know. If you don’t, let us know that too. Improvement is a good thing – even, or perhaps especially, on social media.
If you have trouble coming up with a steady stream of blog post ideas, why not consult with your Facebook Insights?
Facebook Insights is your page metrics tool, which you can see only when you have obtained at least 30 likes. One aggressive social media marketing campaign can get you those 30 likes pretty quickly. After that, it’s just a matter of monitoring your metrics.
Every Facebook post you make can be measured. That’s true whether you post a simple message or you post a link. If you post links to your blog posts on your Facebook page, then Facebook Insights will tell you how popular those posts are.
Among the metrics you can follow on Facebook Insights are:
- Total Reach
- Paid Reach
- Talking About This
- User Engagement
Total reach and paid reach should be self-explanatory. Under the Reach tab you can get eyes on your reach by demographics, including gender and age. You can also measure your reach by country and the number of page views versus unique visitors.
You can also see the same information about people talking about your page.
The Overview tab is probably the most valuable. Below the graph you can see how many total people have viewed each Facebook post – those with links and those without. This is total reach. If you click on Reach, then you can reorder your posts by highest reach. Engagement shows the number of people who have clicked on a post and read it. The Talking About This column shows the number of unique people who posted about that particular subject. And Virality shows the percentage of people who have created a post from your Facebook post and the number of people who have seen it.
Play with these columns a little, reordering them by each column and studying which posts are the most popular. Take your most popular posts by Reach, Engagement, and Virality and write about those topics on your blog. Be sure to SEO those posts by relevant keyword.
Search engine optimization is all about positioning your content so that you maximize the traffic you receive from it. In other words, your job as content marketer is to keyword-optimize your content so that you achieve high rankings, right?
It never was about that really – even before Google started reporting keyword data (not provided).
The essence of search engine optimization has always been about producing great content. Period. Sure, your content might contain keywords based your ability to research what is hot right now, but simply adding keywords to your content was no guarantee that you’d rank well for that content or, if you did, receive any traffic from your rankings.
Historically, Google has been littered with top ranking content that didn’t receive much traffic because it was easy to tell that content was low quality content despite its high rankings.
Google started reporting (not provided) to keep webmasters from relying on keyword-specific search queries to target search engine rankings with more keyword-based drivel. We simply don’t need more low quality content. What we need is more high quality content that answers searchers’ queries.
SEO has always been about answering searcher queries. Find a question that a lot of people want an answer to and provide them with the answer. If you do that, Google will like you.
Every now and then you’ll hear an Internet marketing guru, or some blogger will write about, the most essential Internet marketing strategies. The idea is to tell people what strategies for marketing online they should be using right now. There is one major flaw in most of these lists or proclamations. That thing is the variability factor.
I wouldn’t say there is any ONE thing that is more important than everything else. Most marketing strategies have their place. The question is, how can YOU employ them effectively in your overall marketing strategy?
Not all businesses are the same. Some will benefit from a hefty social media campaign and others would do well with a strong pay-per-click strategy. Rarely is a case of either/or. That is, to be successful at marketing your business online, you either have to do XXXX or you have to do XXXX. That’s not the case.
That said, most recognized online marketing strategies have at least some value for most marketers. Your ability to put together an overall strategy using the proven tactics that others have used before you means that you have a unique opportunity to position your brand in a powerful way. There are likely as many paths to success as business plans. Your job is to find a path that works for you, fits into your budget, and can take you from Point A to Point B in your marketing strategy.
When you hit upon a successful marketing strategy, you’ll know it. You won’t have to blame it on someone else’s predetermined path.
Constant Contact published a recent blog post telling online marketers how to convert their Facebook profiles into a Facebook page, but there’s the overriding question of … why would you do that?
Actually, there are several good reasons why you might want to do that.
The first reason is this: Facebook has a rule that businesses can’t use personal profiles. If you are publishing commercial content as a business through a personal profile page, then Facebook could delete your profile without warning and you’d lose all your friends and all your content.
Beyond that, there are other benefits to having a Facebook page.
First, pages are public, and you can easily share them with your friends. Your freinds can easily share and like them too. Basically, Facebook pages are so public that anyone can share them.
You can also run promotions on your Facebook page and organize your content in a way that makes your business look more professional.
Finally, Facebook has a metrics section for pages that allows you to see what your most engaging content is. You can see the reach of your content, how many people are talking about it, and see how many people have liked and shared it. You gain access to data on Facebook Insights after 30 likes. This alone makes a Facebook page a necessary component to your online marketing.
If you are operating a business as a personal profile on Facebook, switch it over to a Facebook page today.
A report put out by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs tells a wild story about the growing interest of content marketing among B2B marketers. The conclusion drawn is that having a strategy improves effectiveness.
Here’s the interesting thing …
93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but only 43% of them say it is effective (the report doesn’t define what constitutes content marketing).
Intrestingly, the B2B marketers who rated their content marketing strategy as most effective had two things in common:
- They had a documented content strategy
- and They had someone overseeing their content marketing strategy
Other interesting tidbits gleaned from the report include:
- Small companies (99 employees or less) are more likely to have someone overseeing their content marketing strategy than larger companies (1,000+ employees)
- 73% of B2B marketers are doing more content marketing than one year ago
- Out of 13 content marketing tactics, social media is the most used with on-website articles, eNewsletters, and blogs (tied with in-person events) coming in second, third, and fourth, respectively
- While social media usage is high, B2B marketers are unsure of its effectiveness
- Web traffic is the No. 1 metric for content marketing success; SEO rankings and direct sales are fifth and seventh, respectively
These are all very interesting observations, but I’d like to address that last point.
SEO used to be a very strong metric for gauging online marketing success. It appears to be dropping for a lot of companies, presumably because of algorithm changes over the last couple of years and Google’s continued insistence on the value of high quality content as opposed to high quantity content.
Content marketing is difficult to define. It isn’t synonymous with search engine optimization, otherwise there’d be no reason to list SEO as a metric for gauging content marketing success.
You can bet that content marketing will change a lot in the next couple of years. It’s still a relatively young industry. Nevertheless, as more B2B businesses jump on the content marketing bandwagon you will see more reports like this and it should give cause for marketers to stop and reflect on the nature of our industry.
As the government shutdown continues, many businesses will have to ask themselves how much it will cost them to keep their doors open. Not all businesses will be affected by the shutdown, of course, but many will.
If you have government contracts in place, then a good part of your work may come to a halt. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. If the office with which you have a contract is shut down, then you are too. Not only will you not be working, but you won’t be paid for any work you’ve already done until the government opens its doors again.
You might be tempted to halt your marketing. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Marketing is not just an expense. It’s an investment in your business. That means you can spend money today and get a return on your investment as new customers hire you for their projects. If you look at marketing in this light, even Internet marketing, then you should be ready and willing to spend more money on marketing during your down times than you are during normal operations.
So the government shut down? Do more marketing, not less.
The government might be temporarily halted, and along with it many government services, but your business doesn’t have to be.
You’ve got a great video marketing plan and have started working it to your advantage. Good for you. Does it include YouTube? It should, and to make the most of your YouTube video marketing, be sure to include these three easy-to-implement tactics.
- Enable video embedding – If you want your videos to get maximum exposure, you’ve got to allow embedding. I’ve seen a lot of businesses shoot themselves in the foot by disabling video embedding. Embedding allows bloggers and other business owners to showcase your videos on their websites, which gives you great exposure and opens you up to more potential customers.
- Keep your videos short – Few people want to watch an hour-long video, even on a topic that interests them. Keep your videos under three minutes, if possible. Shorter videos get more views, and they’re more likely to be embedded.
- Share your videos – Don’t just upload your video on YouTube and forget about them. Share them. Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to give your videos maximum exposure all around. Yes, even Pinterest allows you to pin videos, so put it out there.
These three simple and easy-to-implement video marketing tactics will give you greater impact and exposure beyond the interface of YouTube.
It’s easy to talk about good search engine optimization. It’s even easier if you don’t have a clue about what you are talking about. SEO isn’t just something you do once and forget about it. It’s something you start and never finish.
That said, what is the most important part about providing good SEO? Is it …
- Link building?
- Your Title tag?
- Meta tags?
- Site speed?
- Page titles?
- h1 and h2 tags (heads and subheads)?
Actually, it’s none of those.
The most important part to remember about your website’s search engine optimization strategy is your audience.
Yes, your audience.
Most webmasters don’t think of their audience as an aspect of SEO. In fact, most SEOs don’t think of it that way either. But it’s very important to think about who your audience is and what your audience wants before you start trying to search engine optimize your content.
The reason is real simple. You are writing your content to appeal to your audience. Your SEO must be written with your human audience in mind or it won’t matter what the search bots think of it. That not only goes for the optimization part of your content but the language part, as well. Your content needs to be written in the language your audience understands, and by “language” I don’t mean French vs. English. I’m talking about word choices, sentences structures, etc.
Those considerations are every bit as important as your keyword usage.
Write for your audience. That’s the best SEO you can practice.
It appears that Google passed the biggest update since 2010′s Caffeine a month ago. Did you notice? That’s OK. Most of us didn’t.
But it’s being talked about all over the Web.
The change seems to be in honor of its 15th birthday and took place in a private meeting evidently with some of the world’s top journalists yesterday. But what does this new algorithm update mean for us content marketers?
Google’s Inside Search blog gives us a clue.
Hummingbird is designed to make extensive use of Google’s Knowledge Graph. That’s great. I was wondering when they’d get around to actually doing something with that. Remember, the Knowledge Graph was introduced last year?
So the idea is this … you want to know something. Instead of typing in a keyword phrase to get information on a particular topic, you simply ask a question. One example Amit Singhal gives is, “How much saturated fat is in butter versus olive oil?” Just ask Google to compare them. Instant answer.
I have a feeling that this is in its primitive form and nowhere near perfect, but let’s try it out. Here are a few more examples:
Obviously, it doesn’t work for every search, but how can search marketers use this information to create better content? Start by ensuring that your content is designed to answer a single query. Write intelligent natural language content rather than keyword-based content searchers can find anywhere.
Lead your niche in high quality content that answers searchers’ questions and you’ll have a leg up.
There seems to be a trend to think in terms of a dichotomy where SEO and content marketing are concerned. I often see articles that encourage companies to pursue an online content marketing strategy AND an SEO strategy. To be sure, they’re practically the same thing.
Content marketing is any strategy you have to produce content in any form and publish it around the Web. You may or may not optimize that content. It’s up to you.
SEO, or search engine optimization, requires content. You can’t have SEO without some kind of content. It would be like driving a vehicle without a car. The vehicle is your content marketing strategy. The car is your SEO. They’re somewhat distinctive but the same.
I’ll try another analogy. Let’s say you want to go from your house to the library in your town but you have no transportation so you must rely on public transportation. You take the bus. The bus follows a certain route that you have no control over. Nevertheless, you have a choice about taking the bus or not. You could walk, call a friend, or do nothing at all.
The bus is your content marketing strategy. The route is your SEO. There may be multiple routes from your house to the library, some better than others. The bus system is designed to follow a particular route. If you take a taxi, you could get to the library more quickly but it will cost you more.
Following this analogy, it may seem like SEO and content marketing are two separate things – and they are. But they are intrinsically linked.
Whether you take the bus, the taxi, or you walk to the library, you are still taking a route (an SEO path). Your SEO is something determined by your content marketing strategy (the bus system) and sometimes it isn’t, but the two are linked. The truth is this, you can’t have a content marketing strategy without SEO – even if that SEO is somewhat ineffective.
Online marketers are infatuated with an alleged war taking place between Google+ and Facebook. An article at LinkedIn claims that Google+ is sneaking up on Facebook, but this could only happen if the two are competing or at direct odds with each other.
The folks at Google+ have claimed that they are not competing with Facebook. In a sense, I think they’re right.
Google+ is a bit of a social network, but it’s not JUST a social network. It’s also a content organization platform. Google wants you to integrate Google+ into your total online experience. That includes being social.
However, in a real sense, it is Google that is competing with Facebook. Both properties are competing for your advertising dollars. Google+ doesn’t display advertising, so you can’t say it’s about Google+. Google displays ads on its search results pages. That’s where the real competition is taking place.
That said, it might be worth discussing how Google+ influences the SERPs.
I have noticed that they do influence brand searches. That is, your personal profile does rise higher in the search results when people search your name if you are active on Google+. Of course, you could say the same thing of Facebook, Quora, Twitter and other social networks. The more active you are the more your profiles will rise in the search results.
Google+ is making good improvements. I’m looking forward to seeing more. But as to whether they beat Facebook or Facebook beats them, does it really matter?
Pay per click advertising is one of the most powerful modes of online advertising if for any reason because you can target and re-target in real time and on an ongoing basis. Don’t like the way your advertising is leaning right now? Just tweak your ads, keyword groups, and your targeting efforts and you’ll begin to see instant changes.
One of the best ways to reach your target demographic with PPC is by close and careful monitoring of your keyword groups.
In other words, if you create a tight keyword group that targets a specific demographic and point your ads for that keyword to a common landing page that is targeted specifically for the demographic, then you’ll have a powerful advertising platform. But you need to keep an eye on your keyword group and landing page. This is where you want to do extensive testing and monitoring.
If your landing page, or your ads, are off in any way, you could spend hundreds of dollars on ineffective advertising. The worst thing in the world is to target a specific demographic with a keyword group that sees no conversions.
If you do it right, however, you could see big results from your advertising. PPC is cost effective only if you see results from the money you spend. Keep your ad groups tight and your keywords tighter.
How do you attract new readers to your blog? There are several ways you can attract new readers, whether you have a new blog or you’ve been writing to a blog for a long time. Try these 5 unusual traffic generating methods and see how they work:
- Convert your blog posts to PDF – You can convert any blog post to PDF easily and inexpensively with open source software like Open Office. Take a handful of your popular blog posts, convert them to PDF, and upload them to sites like Scribd and Issuu.
- Ask/answer questions on Quora – Question & Answer websites have become quite popular. If you answer questions related to your niche on these sites, you could send additional traffic to your blog. Also, ask questions and use reader responses as a way to springboard into a topic you write about on your blog. Don’t forget to share the link to the answer with your Quora audience.
- Sponsor a contest – Look for contests that reinforce your brand or product/service and offer to give something away to a winner of the contest.
- Teach a course – Find an online school in your niche and think of a course you can teach that isn’t already being taught. You’ll get a bio and a link to your website just for being the teacher.
- Court a journalist – Find a journalist you respect who writes about your niche and offer to be a source for them.
In most cases, you can increase your blog’s readership and gain a few inbound links at the same time.
Whether you’re trying to come up with ideas for your blog, your website, or articles you plan to post around the Web, you need to come up with some ideas for that content. How do you do that? In other words, where do you get ideas for your content?
Ideas come from a lot of different places. The first place you should look is your referral log. Where is your traffic coming from? More importantly, what keywords are people using to find your website?
Pick a few of those keywords. Try to focus on the most profitable ones. Google them and see what pops up in the search. Go through the first three pages of the SERPs and write down the specific topics you find that other people are writing about related to your keywords. Is there anything people aren’t writing about? Write about that.
Another thing you can do is talk to your customers. What kinds of questions are they asking? What are their concerns? Address those.
If you get any strange or out-of-the-ordinary requests, those are good topics to write about. Anything you can do to make your content and your business unique is a good thing. Strange customer requests is something that can help you do that.
Good content ideas are all over the place. You just have to learn to recognize them. Talk to your customers, your vendors, and other professionals in your niche. If people are talking about it, then it’s a good idea for your content.
Remember when every SEO in the universe was harping on building inbound links? For awhile there, getting more links was the most important SEO activity in the world for most optimizers. Then, Google Panda happened. Then Google Penguin. What’s next? Google Platypus?
The truth is, good links have always been necessary. Not just for SEO but for traffic, as well.
You can’t build a successful website without some inbound links. The question is, what kind and how many? Ask any ten SEOs that question and you’ll get ten different answers. If you see any duplicates, it’s probably because those SEOs shared their notes.
The name of the game today, and it pretty much always has been, is simply writing great content and promoting it around the Web. If you get more links, fine. If not, go for the traffic.
Successful Internet marketers understand that links are a valuable commodity. But you don’t want to get in the habit of chasing links every chance you get. You could spend a lot of your time chasing bad links and getting your websites penalized. You’re better off just writing great content, getting it published, and promoting it.
The days of making inbound links the most important currency on the Web are over. Some people would say that’s progress. Others are crying that their game is over.