Monthly Archive: June 2010

Use Paid Search And Native SEO To Drive Interaction

Lee Odden of Top Rank says knowing SEO and Pay Per Click basics are not enough to retain a competitive advantage in the online marketing world.

I agree, which is why I turn to an expert like my friend and colleague Shawn Hartley when rolling out search campaigns for clients. At the same time, I do what I can to stay on top of the fundamentals of the business, so I can help advise clients on their best moves.

Odden recommends looking beyond Google; tapping the power of local, mobile, and social networks; and he thinks it’s a good idea to leverage paid search and native SEO to boost overall performance.

According to Vanessa Fox, creator of Google’s Webmaster Central and author of Marketing in the Age of Google, there have been several studies that show click-through rates, conversion rates and revenue are all higher when both organic and paid listings appear for a search. While many small business marketers assume that they should scale back investment in paid search once their SEO efforts achieve a top organic placement, companies that leverage both can realize significant benefits.

We spend a lot of time and energy building digital destinations. But, online marketing is not a “build it and they will come” situation. Success online requires many things—a great content strategy, consistent execution, a will to listen, plus the desire to serve customer’s needs and provide utility and/or entertainment. I think success also requires some push marketing like a search campaign to go with all the pull (i.e. creation of content that people search for).

Brands Don’t Need A Social Media Strategy–They Need An Interaction Strategy

Eric Weaver of DDB Canada in Vancouver gave the following presentation, “You Don’t Need A Social Media Strategy,” at 140 Characters Conference last week in Washington, DC.

Slide 18 is the key slide in this deck. “Rather than a ‘social media’ strategy, we need an Engagement Strategy. An Influence Strategy. An Activation Strategy. Focused around our clients’ end business goals, not media specialties!”

Or to quote slide 16, “Social should be woven into everything.”

Be Who, And What, You Are

Scott Belsky of Behance and The 99% Percent mentioned the need for transparency on Twitter yesterday.

That’s a funny but poignant way of putting it, because the very reason that organizations oppose the call for transparency is in order to control the message.

“If everyone doesn’t know the story, they’ll make up their own.” Damn, that about sums it up.

Yet, I often bump into situations where agency principals want to keep a lid on things. All sorts of things–everything from head counts to how many clients they have and what work they’re actually doing for those clients. The head count disguise is particularly sophomoric. A shop has the number of people it has on board, period. It’s not a fact that can be massaged. But “the oily massage” is standard operating procedure at most agencies.

New business wins are another area where agency principals clam up. Sure, some shout their wins to the high heavens, but others won’t tell a soul. Partly, it’s a real concern about saying things their clients don’t want to hear, but more often than not it’s fear of having employees poached by a competitor. Or fear of appearing too successful. A firm that’s overly successful has to pay people more money, and worse, may face client requests for fee restructuring.

So what motivation is there for letting it all hang out? Why conduct one’s business out in the open, where everyone can see? So people know your story, as Belsky said. And frankly, there’s nothing like a true story to captivate an audience.

Because Bonehook is a new company, we have a lot of explaining to do. I could perform “the oily massage.” All good copywriters know how to do it. But I’d rather just come out with it. Right now, Bonehook is a one person company, but that one person (me), knows lots of other people in the business. People to partner with on a multitude of projects.

Over beers, a friend recently characterized Bonehook as a consultancy. I said, yes, like all agencies are brand consultants. But no, because Bonehook actually does the things it recommends to clients. I know some great consultants, and I don’t want to diminish their important contributions, but I prefer to do more than advise. I need to build things and clients are the patrons who need these things built. My most trusted friends in the business are the designers, web developers, directors, editors, photographers, etc. that I work with to do the jobs. This keeps Bonehook’s overhead low and also allows for much greater flexibility, creatively speaking.

Agency heads desperately want to say their shop can do it all. But it’s almost always a lie. No shop can do it all. But every shop can be the central point of contact and most trusted adviser to a client.

Dear CMO, Let Your Twitter Handle Fly

Jennifer VanGrove of Mashable, writing on American Express OPEN Forum, says many small- and medium-sized businesses are missing the social media marketing opportunity.

She also provides an example of one brand that’s not missing a SMM thing:

The Express retail chain has their chief marketing officer’s Twitter handle printed on all their bags, which works to reinforce that the company cares about person-to-person connections. Take that idea and apply it to your own business. For that extra touch, make stickers, punch cards or window decals that showcase your small business’s online personality and reinforce that you’re interested in conversations with your customers.

In the example above, I like how it’s not just the brand’s identity on Twitter, but the CMO’s. One of the benefits social media marketing provides is humanization of the brand, and @ExpressLisaG makes it clear that there’s a real person standing behind the company’s tweets. It might be a small detail, but it’s an important one, in my estimation.

Health Services Use Social Media Marketing For Everyone’s Benefit

We’re ramping up on social media marketing best practices in the health care industry on behalf of a client interested in what SMM can do for their group of companies. During our research, one gentleman’s work has come to our attention. Lee Aase, Manager Syndication and Social Media for Mayo Clinic, appears in several videos on YouTube where he shares insights and information on what Mayo is doing with these new tools.

Aase is right on regarding the need for compelling content and his working example–a syndicated radio show–is definitely the kind of content play we love to see. According to Mayo’s official press release, Medical Edge Weekend, is a weekly one-hour radio program that offers listeners in-depth information and discussions of important medical topics with Mayo Clinic specialists, including the opportunity to interact via social media tools such as Twitter.

Fittingly, Lee Aase is the program’s executive producer. He says participants can ask questions via e-mail or through Twitter, using the #mayoradio hashtag. The show airs on 19 affiliates currently, or one can listen to the live audio stream on the Web every Saturday at 9 a.m. CST.

Mayo is a world class brand and it’s good to see them extend themselves in this way. Lots of brands have the opportunity to educate and communicate via social media, but health care is such a perfect fit for this brand-consumer interplay, since people are actively seeking important information for themselves and their loved ones, and in many cases they need someone to talk to.