Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Strategy - Drugs, Milk, and Money: Three Ways to Do Social Media in Regulated Industries : MarketingProfs Article

Life Sciences companies struggle with how to reach their potential influencers and customers without breaking the complex laws surrounding them. This article from MarketingProfs is worth the read. It uses the same language I do when speaking to my Life Sciences and other companies who are concerned with using social media for marketing and sales purposes.

Going to play in other people's sandboxes
Go To Where the Conversations Are! Join them and engage. Give them some honest answers and point to great places for your influencers to find material about your industry and category (not necessarily your product). Now influence your channel - the patients - by joining their conversations. Trust me, all of your potential clients are spending time online researching. Play in their sandbox of content and conversation.

Strategy - Drugs, Milk, and Money: Three Ways to Do Social Media in Regulated Industries : MarketingProfs Article

  1. Bring Legal and Regulatory in at the beginning

    Make "them" your best friend. As the lead counsel in a financial services company told me, "I hate being seen as 'Ms. No.' Bring me in early, and I will help find a solution that works for the customer and our company."

    In fact, bring "them" into the critical meetings with Marketing, Sales, Communications, Technology, and Customer service—everyone in the same room. It will force a focus on solutions, not potholes.
  2. Think content

    Look at the content (including whitepapers, discussion guides, and videos) that is already published, circulated, and approved. Our experience suggests that half of the battle has already been won if you start with content and information that is already approved.

    For example, a globally prominent hospital has mostly scientific content targeted at the medical community. But the title of one of its research reports is "The Cardiological Impact of Stress on the Female Executive." Now, if its marketers were to extract key parts and make it consumer-friendly, how appealing would that content be for millions of women worldwide, including those mommy bloggers?

  3. Go where the conversations are

    Take the content, the experts, and the tools, and adopt a "how do I add value to the conversation?" mindset. In our work with DMI and Hood, it was clear that a clinical view would not be differentiated. So we created a series of Web-based branded content around the concept of "Moovision," culminating in a "Gourmoo Cookoff"—a recipe contest judged by celebrity chefs and shared by foodie bloggers, and targeting several foodie communities.

    The videos were voraciously consumed; more importantly, brand awareness jumped by double digits and two-thirds of the feedback had positive sentiment around keywords like "taste," nutrition," and "family health"—aligning with the core program objectives.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 8:39 AM     Permanent Link

Friday, March 18, 2011

One Link - High Search Visibility Regained for VMware

Yes, one link took VMware.com from obscurity to domination under one of the industry keywords it wants to own. Years back, VMware's content and web marketing team and my team at WebMama.com worked to develop relevant, valuable content to describe the world of virtual servers, desktops and computing. The goal was to dominate search results under terms like virtualize and virtualization; to help define a new category and own it. We ensured that the new section was well linked within the vmware.com world and the content was not just text but video, images, pdfs, etc.

Search visibility was instantly high.

Years Later...

Then, a few months ago, VMware was gone from Google search results under the keyword virtualization. Many 2-word phrases containing the word were still highly ranked but not the single word. There were no key indicators as to why this happened. [More proof that you should not rely on only Google organic results to provide all your visibility and website traffic.]

A few weeks ago, before the Google algo change, we selected one of VMware's recently acquired companies to use to regain the lost visibility. Springsource.com is a highly powerful site wrt to search. We added a link to the virtualization section in the footer of the home page of springsource.com. One link. One powerful site. Highly relevant.

Using Google Webmaster Tools (one of my favorite sources of information) we could see that vmware.com URLs gained impressions for the search term virtualization. The change took approx. 2 days after the link was established.

Related Keywords

Using Google Webmaster Tools we also discovered that Google likes to relate virtualization with words like virtualize and virtualizing. Does this mean that an increase in keyword density (relevant content of course) for the word virtualize would help virtualization's increase in search visibility? Is this a clue that paid search should be very, very careful about broad matching the word virtualization because you may end up with paid ad visibility variants that don't make sense for your business? Maybe?

Navigation Word Change Didn't Hurt

A week ago we decided to change the top navigation word from Virtualize to Virtualization. Not just for SEO but it didn't hurt. Here is today's result on my computer. Right into the page we wanted.

Thank you to VMware for authourizing this case study. It was first presented at emetrics San Francisco on March 16, 2011 on the B2B and Search Analytics panel with WebMama.com (Barbara Coll/me), John Forrester of VMware and Andreas Stenzel of TRUSTe.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:24 PM     Permanent Link

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Writers are the key to excellent search engine marketing. Of course, you know that.

In the 90s I thought that PR people would be the rulers of search engine optimization and search results visibility because PR people understood that compelling distributed content generated related comments and analysis. Well, PR people didn't rule. For the last 10 years I have felt it was the writers of all aspects of basic, text-based content. And it continues to be those that can write for the web that rule the success/failure of search visibility projects/goals even if the content no longer resides just on the corporate website. Someone who can write a great description/caption for a video is a treasure indeed.

Copyblogger.com is one of the only 10 sites that are on my home page. Each of their articles/posts is easy to read, has a little humour and imminently scan-able by my impatient eye. The article below summarizes what they preach and practice.


My major takeaway from the article - lots of white space is good. 

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 3:48 PM     Permanent Link

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

No Surprise to Search Marketers - Emarketer says Content Marketing Is Critical in 2011

In order to be highly visible in search results you need to have content. The content needs to be in places other than your corporate website. Having optimized content on your corporate website is just a baseline now for web marketing and SEO activities; a fundamental and required activity that every company should have executed by now. Having rich content of multiple different media elements is becoming required. A new name for the type of web elements, and how you use them, is emerging: "earned media". Finally a word for what search marketers have been preaching for years. And most importantly, all of this content needs to be searchable so all of it has to be optimized.

2011 Trends: Content Marketing Is Critical - eMarketer

But I want to make sure it is clear that encouraging user-generated content (a brief, fun presentation of mine on UGC) is still critical and participating in other people's "earned media" worlds is just as critical for high search visibility and brand reputation. User-generated content is respected by search engines and recognizes that it really is a consumer's (B2B purchaser/influencer) world. Clearly the search engines reward companies who play in other people's sandboxes.

Thanks Geoff for such an important review.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 10:19 AM     Permanent Link

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Google Instant Makes Google More Money and Challenges SEOs to Follow Basic Principles

It is no surprise that Google Instant has increased the click-through rate on paid search ads. With the advent of the 6-8 suggested search phrases that appear as you type in the search box, paid ads are now prominently displayed in the center of the results screen. And have you noticed that you stop typing the whole phrase that you planned on typing and are selecting a search result that you didn't start out looking for?

In paid search results the 'fat middle' (thanks Amanda for that great term) is getting the clicks. Words like 'used ford' cost more than 'used ford truck 1963'. But are you stopping at 'used ford' or maybe 'used ford tr'. That ad may cost more than the long tail term (ie Google makes more money). So for those that have 100,000 keywords when 5,000 and a bunch a negates would do, this is a great opportunity to shrink your campaign and make it much more manageable. (Companies with inventory: sorry but you still need the long tail.)

Try doing this search: vmware do
You were planning on entering vmware documentation but what you saw first was vmware downloads. Would you continue typing in the work documentation or just select downloads to see what was available for free that day or what upgrades you may be missing?

Now look at the organic results - way down the page aren't they! And so the documentation people at VMware may be wondering why they aren't getting their normal clicks and downloads have increased? I cannot confirm this is happening but I can certainly guess.

If organic is way down the page - that is another reason why paid is getting more clicks. But it is also another reason why you need to have substantial cross-linking within your site. If searchers do choose to click a 'less accurate' result based on selecting the result that appeared half way through their search, then they may land on the 'wrong' page from your point of view. Make sure they can navigate easily to the right page; the related page. Of course, this also takes having a significant number of text-based words on web pages so that they engines figure out what pages are related to other pages. Google Instant really shows the value in implementing basic SEO principles on your site: substantial text-based content, internal linking outside of standard navigation, and a clear hierarchy of pages addressing single keywords, short keyphrases and long-tail.

While I find Google Instant very annoying, primarily because I type so quickly, it was a brilliant move on the part of Google to increase revenue and once again push organic results further down the page.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 9:34 AM     Permanent Link

Monday, September 13, 2010

Subscriber, Fan or Follower: Who's Most Likely to Buy? - MarketingVOX

Subscriber, Fan or Follower: Who's Most Likely to Buy? - MarketingVOX

Bottom line, it concludes, e-mail is the most likely to drive increased purchase intent among the largest number of online consumers. Facebook, by contrast, is the least effective channel to drive purchase behavior. That's because consumers generally become fans of a brand in real life before they become fans on Facebook - in other words, they're already purchasing from and endorsing their fanned brands. Finally, Twitter is the channel most likely to drive increased purchases and recommendations after a consumer chooses to become a follower.

I find this kind of analysis extremely helpful in informing me as to what to think about when evaluating different marketing channels. Take with a grain of salt since the people behind the report are primarily in the email business but their research seems to be right on target.

The report is available with an email address from ExactTarget.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 2:02 PM     Permanent Link

Monday, September 06, 2010

Top Spenders / Month on Google - June Figures - Real Data!

A leaked document on Google Adwords clients and their spend provides a real insight into what is working for companies wrt search marketing. The assumption, by us detail-oriented web marketers, is that these companies wouldn't spend this kind of money without knowing the return on investment was a profitable thing. Or would they?

Statistical analysis of web marketing spend is still in its infancy for most companies. Do they still give credit to search for closing every deal? Do they look at what it was that increased the search volume and how to increase it more? (the BP increase and reasons behind it are not recommended as a demand generation tactic). Are they even measuring keyword through to sale? And if they are doing this for branding are they looking at the buzz these spends created in other media? Lots of questions that I have not seen being answered at many large companies I talk with. When a student tells me they are interested in business and marketing, I recommend they learn about statistics, data and web marketing.

So of the top spenders mentioned in the leaked report University of Phoenix buys a lot of search ads (under Apollo group). I know that they are measuring to lead and most likely sale. That appears to be money well spent. Are the rest of the companies sure that search is the right vehicle. Could they uplift search volume on the highly converting keywords by increasing spending via facebook or banners on related sites? Did they do the usability work to ensure only qualified leads (ie not Mickey Mouse) are making it through the forms on the site?

Stats like this give us insight into the world of big spenders. I believe that more companies should be big spenders - but only if they are ready to play with a full integrated marketing strategy that can pull and push levers to see what increases conversion, search visibility and/or reputation.

Here are some excepts from the AdAge report:


June 2010 Google Adwords Spending
Company Adwords Spend in $ USD Millions
AT & T Mobility 8.08
Apollo Group 6.67
Expedia 5.95
Amazon 5.85
Ebay 4.25
BP 3.59
Hotels.com 3.30
JC Penney 2.46
Living Social 2.29
ADT Security 2.19
GM < 0.500
Walt Disney < 0.500
Eastman Kodak < 0.500
BMW < 0.500
Apple < 1.000
Intel < 1.000
Yellow Pages 1.200  

Adage also state:-

While the search-spending document obtained by Advertising Age is not a complete list of advertisers on Google, the accuracy of its data was verified by multiple sources with direct knowledge of spending levels.

Our review of $574 million of Google's U.S. billings over the first half of 2010 shows plenty of global corporations spending millions each month on search advertising, as well as a great many huge corporations that spend very little, if anything, at all on search. 

As a snapshot, it's also remarkable that Google's biggest advertisers, big monthly spenders like AT&T, Apollo Group and Amazon, individually accounted for less than 1% of Google's U.S. revenue in June. The top 10 advertisers in the document collectively accounted for just 5% of Google's U.S. revenue during the month.

The accounts listed are distributed broadly in terms of spending levels. The document shows 47 advertisers that spent more than $1 million in June; 71 that spent between $500,000 and $1 million, and 357 that spent between $100,000 and $500,000. These are direct-billed customers only, not the many thousands of small self-serve advertisers that make up Google's long tail, a key component in its $23 billion global annual revenue. 

Want to know more about web marketing analysis? Attend emetrics in Washington and hear me speak on search marketing, but more importantly, hear some statistical experts talk about tools, conversion, analysis and how to make useful recommendations.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 10:08 AM     Permanent Link

Monday, August 23, 2010

Google's New Treatment of Organic Results - Good for Searchers, Bad for Subdomains

Google has made public its new organic results that serve up more than 2 results from a single domain on the first page of search results. While in the past there has always been an opportunity to have 2 results from a main www domain, plus 8 little sitelinks, now there will be many more www results from any major brand site. Google has decided that for keywords where it is clear that searchers are looking for deep information from the same authority site, then Google will display multiple pages.

You can see this well in the search for symantec

On my computer I see:
  • 6 www.symantec.com
  • 8 little sitelinks
  • news results above the fold
  • 2 security.symantec.com
  • the ubiquitous wikipedia
  • 1 from www.mynortonaccount.com
This is good and bad news for brands. It means that the pages people most often click-on through search results will be shown to them directly so you make the searchers happy. The bad news is that subdomains that used to be highly visible under a brand search will not be as visible.

I expect Google to refine this over time so things will be in flux for quite some time. The need to have highly relevant title tags and meta description tags, as well as text-based content, that clearly define the page continues to be very important.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 5:16 PM     Permanent Link

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jim Sterne Reposts from a 2003 Article - Analytics is about Analyzing Not Just Publishing Data

Let There Be Light
By Jim Sterne in 2003

In the beginning, the IT department created the Web server and the server log. And darkness was upon the face of the marketing department. And the spirit of the home page moved upon the face of the marketing department and the marketing department said, “Let there be reports.” And the marketing department saw the reports. And it was good.

And the marketing department divided the hits from the visits and called the hits pageviews, and the visits they called sessions. And the marketing department said, “Let the reports be gathered together unto one place, and let the PowerPoint graphs appear that we may know the full power and glory of our Web site.” And it was so.

Or so they thought.

For over a span of time the statistics poured forth, the results were displayed, and kaleidoscopic charts were abundant, resplendent in their brilliance and reassuring in that all lines proceeded in their inexorable elevation up and to the right. And the marketing department dwelt in peaceful indolence.
Improvements to the Web site came there none.

For lo, the reports and graphs were generated not from lights in the firmament yielding a font of wisdom, but from the rote recording of Web server transactions which conveyed neither insight nor enlightenment.

And Senior Executives came among them and asked what Knowledge they had gleaned from their reports, charts and graphs. And after a prolonged silence the eyes of the marketing department were opened. and there was heard a wailing and the gnashing of teeth. And they knew that they were naked; and they sewed inkjet printouts together and made themselves coverings.

The marketing department wandered from the dessert of ignorance to the wellspring of IT asking, “Hi-tech, hi-tech, why hast thou forsaken me?” And the IT department said, “Behold, I have given you every datum bearing information which is upon the face of all the Web site, and every report, from the which is the fruit of a server yielding logs.” And the IT department rested.

And the marketing department went unto a Sage and said, “How can the graphs bring forth ideas, the ideas yielding actions, and the actions yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the site of the Web?” For thus is manner of speaking of the tribe of marketing.

And the Sage said, “Let not the issue of the IT department be your guide, but resolve to know your own aspirations. Strive to know your own purpose, and do not prostrate yourselves at the printouts of misguided prophets. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven,” sayeth the Sage, “and you must know your purpose if you are to adjudicate which data will best divulge unto you whether you have done what is right and good in the site of the Web.”

And the Sage said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Web, and subdue it. And have dominion over the visitors to the site, and over the relationships of thine customers, and over every living thing that clicketh upon your site.

The marketing department returned to their cubicles refreshed with erudition. And they ascertained the identity of calibrations that would lead them not into frustration, but deliver them from Advil®. And the IT department was enthralled that the marketing tribe had become decisive and purposeful and thus were they able to forge new reports embodying valuable wisdom as a veritable tree of knowledge.

And so it came to pass that in the first month in the second year of the web analytics endeavor, on the first day of the month, in the second hour of the third teleconference of that day, that the new reports were brought forth. And the new reports revealed the way and the light to the increase of their profits through the betterment of their Web site for all customers for ever and ever.


Originally published on Marketing Profs February 11, 2003
Jim Sterne's Blog
Follow Jim Sterne on Twitter (which is where I found out that he had republished this).

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 5:00 PM     Permanent Link

Monday, July 12, 2010

Matt Cutts of Google Articulates So Well! Why Black Hat Fails.

posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:46 PM     Permanent Link