Hello, I’m Mike RosenbergToday’s presentation is:Ten Steps to Online SuccessMy goal is to show you how to gain direct insight into how to leverage data-driven, ROI-focused online strategies to profitably thrive in today's economy. This session promises to provide a professional game-plan that can be implemented by business of all sizes to dramatically enhance their online presence, increase conversion rates, and directly connect with target audiences through search engines, emerging social networks and online communities.From research, to strategy and execution this informative and actionable presentation will provide a roadmap for success with specific case studies along the way.
We often see folks jumping on (or wanting us to jump on) the latest trends and bandwagon, especially in the digital online world, I’m sure you have all heard the term “fail fast”. While I agree that you always need to stay up on the latest and greatest in all sales and marketing (and allocate some budget to trying new things)…you also need to concentrate on what is right for your business.
And remember there is no Silver bullet. It takes hard work, consistency, strategy. You will not have instant success and have your first YouTube video go viral…or rank in a week for your top keywords.
So we start with a Plan. I will mostly be focusing on Search Engine Marketing for this presentation, but you can follow this formula for most anything in Online Marketing.
We’ll go through each of these steps, spending more time on some than others.
SEO – organic or natural results…the ones on the left side that you can’t pay Google forPaid Search Marketing – sometimes referred to specifically as SEM (although we refer to the whole industry/marketing channel as Search Engine Marketing…not just the paid side). Usually text ads on a Search Engine Results page or through the various content networks.Online Display Advertising – banners, display ads, image ads, video ads – typically purchased through an ad network or direct from a Website.Social Media Marketing – lot’s of different channels, not going to focus too much on social media tonight, I qualify the various types into 5 main categories:Social Networks like FacebookBlogs and microblogs (twitter, Buzz)social book marking sites (I won’t talk about these at all because we really haven’t found that they tend to deliver to the bottom line…Media sharing (YouTube, Flickr)Social Review (TripAdvisor, Yelp).Location Services (FourSquare, Gowalla)And Deal Sites
If you don’t have analytics on your site. Add them tonight. How can you possibly know what to focus on if you don’t already know what you have?Spend some time understanding what matters and what you think could move the needle.
A great way to do that is to lay it all out…You have to do some research to see what is possible and where to focus.Where are you now and where do you need to be in 3 months, six months, 2 years.How much opportunity is there. For Search Engine Marketing this can often be distilled into two main variables. Traffic and Conversion or more specifically how much can you increase traffic (by increasing ranking organically, spending budget more effectively) and increase conversion rate (delivering more qualified traffic, optimizing landing pages, etc.).Start with where you are now…Organic Traffic numbers and/or paid clicks, conversions, conversion rate. We then do research on how much traffic there is and based on where clients currently ranks, how much we can improve it or how much paid traffic there is and what CPCs and competition looks like.In order to do that it that takes us to…keyword research
It’s a four step process withthree main criteria:RelevanceSearch VolumeCompetition
Tools to use, to expand keywords, google wonderwheel
Tools to useDon’t worry about frantically writing these down, I assume the slides will be made available to you afterward and if not, I can send them to you.
Simplified way to look at how to select keywords…need to have enough search volume to make it worth it, but need to be focused enough to have a good conversion rate.For paid campaigns you can have more and incorporate more ‘longtail’ keywords
Of course these steps are for online success, but they can and should be considered for off-line activities as well as the following case study will highlight.You can use the knowledge gained from search engine marketing to drive your overall marketing campaign
Here’s an example of how using search marketing knowledge can drive an overall marketing campaign,At the start of our engagement, this client put across initial set of keywordsFocused on current marketing phrases around the terms “gardens” and “butterflies”Through our comprehensive research and analysisWe were able to discover that the actual phrases that resonated with their target audience (the actual people traveling to and staying at this destination) were “Weddings”, “Golf”, and “Conferences” type termsNot only did we discover that these terms wereDriving almost 4 times the number of qualified visits (as shown here)But, once implemented, they also delivered three times the conversion rate.
The messaging and targeting that we gained from this search marketing campaign has been fully embraced by our client, The knowledge we provided them is now being integrated in everychannel of their marketing mix.Not just their online media buys, but has actually been used as the foundation for their overall marketing campaign.
This is the messaging and imagery of their ad campaign prior to Gaining insight from our in-depth search phrase research and analysis.
After being provided with the evidence that the messaging that Actually resonating with their target audience, our client embraced an overall marketing campaign centered around ‘golf’, ‘weddings’ and ‘conventions’.This messaging is being used in all facets of their marketing mix, including e-mail, print, outdoor, and television.
Okay, back to the steps and our opportunity assessment:Once you have a keyword list.Then forecast on how much you can improve the metrics and run the numbers to see if it makes sense…I am trying to simplify a process that is fairly complex, but I hope you get the point…see if you can have an impact, what that impact would be and weigh against the cost of hiring a firm to help you or devoting the internal resources.
For example, look at your analytics and see what search terms are driving organic traffic to your site currently (or maybe what keywords are not and should be).In this example we have a outdoor boot manufacturer. The take those top 50 search terms and see how much search volume there is (using the tools provided a couple sides ago). We find that there are over 180,000 monthly searches for these specific 50 terms in Google alone. Which equated to over 2.8 million yearly searches…they were getting about 2,000 non-branded search visits…less than 1/1,000 of just the top 50 (w/o the largest generic terms like “boots”). Getting 1% of those searches would 10X their volume.Depending on your reach you’ll need to make assumptions…e.g. if you only operate in Oregon, you can 1.2% of the total US numbers based solely on population or make informed decisions.
For search engine marketing you have to look at at least two types of competitors…Direct or ‘real world’ competitors and what we call your Search Landscape Competitors (or those that show up on the first page of search engines organically or through paid campaigns)Once you establish who your competitors are, then you evaluate them and determine how to competeWhy are they there?
A few tools we use to help in the process.
Which channels are best for you and what is your goal in each.Again, focusing specifically on Search, there are three main areas to play, SEO, Social Media and Paid Search.
For SEO, here is the basic process.Improved ranks are a means to an end, more traffic or visitors are the next step, but what matters is increasing conversions and that is what strategy has to be based onJust having high rankings doesn’t do anything for your business…just driving more traffic to your site doesn’t do anything for your business…what matters is getting folks to your site that will convert.
Web page attributes that help the search engines understand and categorize your content
External links that the search engines use to evaluate authority for specific keywords.
External links that the search engines use to evaluate authority for specific keywords.
Should Paid Search &/or Online Display be a part of your strategy?When considering Paid Search and Online Display advertising there are pros and cons Quickly get results, stop paying, stop selling.We control exactly when and where to show-up and exactly where to send folks.The key is active management…continuously testing and tweaking to improve metrics.Can we afford it? Will it pencil out? What about Display? I’d rarely recommend running a display campaign without search, studies show people are just as likely to do a search based on a banner ad as they are to click on it.
Here’s an example of a specific paid search strategy.Liftopia is a lift ticker reseller/discounter. Basically you can purchase a discounted lift ticket for your favorite mountain if you are willing to select a specific day a pre-pay.
For Liftopia, our strategy had to be the long tail approach Due to low profit margins per transaction we needed to focus on very long-tail keywords featuring resort and discount specific keywords and low CPCs. Using the same graphic from before, we had to be at the very bottom to have the campaigns make financial sense.Outside of the Branded Campaigns we did not buy general terms like “lift tickets”, we were always very targeted to the specific resorts and specific deals Liftopia was offering. The result is less expense and more targeted campaign.
Again, due to thin margins we had to be very aggressive with keyword bids…to be profitable we could not exceed a $.50 CPC. This required continuous active monitoring and adjusting of the CPC bids to maintain exposure in the top five ad positions (above the fold) while maintaining a low CPC. Basically keeping a balance between exposure and low CPC. This was achieved by analyzing data from three main timeframes, historical performance, monthly performance, and weekly performance.
The third main action attributing to Liftopia’s Paid Search success was Ad Copy Updating and Testing.Across the board, the ad copy containing percentage discounts out performed the ad copy with the price. However, the results did vary by resort.Another interesting finding was that, in general, the Resort-Generic ads containing price were the better performers but the Resort-Long Tail ads containing the percentage discount were the better performers. This is likely due to the fact that the people searching for the generic keywords are trying to get an idea of how much the lift tickets cost while the people searching for the long tail keywords are further along in the buying cycle (and may already have an idea of price) so those searchers were looking for the best % discount. Since the Resort-Long Tail ad groups out performed the Resort-Generic ad groups, this lead to the overall ad performance being better for the ads containing the percentage discount.The key take-away here to find the metrics that matter!
Decreased Cost-Per-Conversion The goal for Liftopia was to increase the number of customers purchasing lift tickets on their site at a specific Cost-Per-Conversion. Through active management and data driven, ROI focused decision making, Our team surpassed their goal in January 2009 (and ended up below 50% of the goal in Feb, Mar & Apr). As shown in the first chart, Cost-Per-Conversion decreased more than six times (6x). Increased Conversion Rate Our emphasis on highly optimized, geo-targeted phrases such as ‘crested butte discount passes’ (and not on expensive, general search terms such as ‘lift tickets’), achieved an increase in Liftopia’s Conversion Rate of almost six times (6x) from 0.82% to 5.54%, as depicted in the middle graph.Return-On-Ad-Spend Performance Ultimately, the success of any Marketing campaign should be measured by the increase in total revenue driven. As depicted in the third graph, EngineWorks dramatically increased Liftopia’s ROAS from -82% in November 2008 to almost 400% in April 2009.
The third channel to potentially develop a strategy for is Social Media Marketing. Again you have to determine what your goals are? Are you going to push information out, listen to your clientsSell directly, use social media as a customer service tool. The list can go on and on…
I’ll use a local nonprofit I am sure you are all familiar with as an example for social media.One of Portland’s biggest attractions,The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry hosts their biggest annual fundraising event each January. Over the years the event has evolved from one of the first major auctions, to the unique interactive event 2010 featured.Basically with the economic climate OMSI decided they wanted to diversify their potential donor base and bring down the barriers to entry (ticket cost). So the bold decision was made to go a completely different direction.What used to be the classic dinner and fundraising event for 400 people (at $500 per person) changed into a very interactive event for 900 (at $250 a pop) (four food stations/bars and lots of different activities to participate in throughout the night…no sit-down dinner, no formal tables).One of the key elements to the success of the new format was what we called individual ticket sales (folk who are not part of a group…either a sponsor group or a ‘table’ at past events). Social Media was identified as the way to engage with this new audience and drive these tickets.Of course there were other important elements to the social media campaign including:Participation of these new attendeesCommunication with donors and the ease of that communicationSERP Real Estate and traffic to the event pageWe measured our success with ticket sales reports and Google Analytics
So, what did we do…Based in the popularity and use by the organizing committee (who would be called on the help seed the campaign) Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were chosen as the main social networks to focus on.Facebook StrategiesWe decided to create a new Facebook fan page for the Gala instead of using the general OMSI Fan page for two main reasons. First, most folks didn’t join the general OMSI fan page because they want to attend a $500 fundraising/socialite event, so sending them repeated messages about why they should buy a ticket and go was not appropriate. It is a totally different market (we did use their general page and their 7,000 fans to reach out a few times), we knew that there would be cross-over, but we wanted to be very targeted. So we created a unique group that can be specifically targeted for future Gala.2ndly, OMSI is such a big brand locally…everyone knows about it, but nobody knew about the Gala. We thought of it like Coke, if Coke is going to launch a new product, they are not going to use Coke page, but create a new one and focus the branding and messaging around that new productTactics used included…Contests to encourage fans interaction (often charity focused…win a family membership for a needy recipient) Act as the hub for Gala updates on activities (announcement of Ketel One Ice Bar and Star Wars Cantina)Use FB to feature (and get people excited about) the various activities throughout the night and the raffle items on-siteDirect interactions with folks that showed an interest in the event in general or a specific element of the night…whether that be the presentation by Astronaut Mike Barrett or Dick Rutan, the Star Wars characters by going to Star Wars Forums…or the chance to win a trip to a shuttle launch…And lastly provide a vehicle for groups to connect pre-event (here is an example of where the return isn’t necessarily in ticket sold, but happy stakeholders whether those be committee members, board members, city council or the like…everybody has a boss)Twitter StrategiesLike Facebook we Set-up a specific Twitter account for the GalaUse as communications tool for the contests and to drive Facebook fansAnother successful element was the use of the ‘honorary committee” (business leaders and politicians mostly) having specific social media groups provided an easy way for those folks to help specifically promote the event through their personal tweets and facebook updates and not have their audiences confused or distracted LinkedInLinkedIn Group and Event – know where your audience is…attendees are business folks. Also, people attend charity events not only because they care about the organization, but also to see and be seen with the right people. A lot of ‘regular’ networking is a part of this event.Other StrategiesGet listed on as many online event listing and calendar sites – make sure folks can find the Gala as an option if they are looking for something to do
The Results!Record attendance was achieved and we stopped actively promoting ticket sales a week before the eventAs I mentioned, one of the big reasons for taking the big risk of changing the format for the event was to start to build relationships with a new, and younger, demographic. This goal was definitely achieved with 21% of donors first time.It is also important to note that this new concept was very forward thinking…it was not developed out of need because the previous years events were headed downhill. General visits to the Gala Web Page were up significantly (34%) and Referral Traffic from social media sites increased 278%.Lastly, prior to the social media marketing efforts, the event had basically zero presence online (I did a search for it before we started and all I could find was an article about the 2008 event on the first page). As you can see here we have 9 of the 10 first page results in Google
Facebook page, followed by Squidoo lens, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp and Eventbrite.Another note for Nonprofits…using social media networks may be a way to have success online that is limited by national website limitations.
Being a great writer is universal across all disciplineWhether we are talking about site content, PPC ad copy or social media link bait pieces, always put the effort in to provide great content.
This is a short list of what could be tracked…the key is to determine what you should really focus on…Also, there are lots of tool available to measure and track your activitiesSome of them will provide great insight, others can automate tasked or aggregate information. While many of the available tools (both free and paid) are useful and have their place in search and social media marketing campaign,Don’t get caught up in the tools…they are important and a means to an end…We used some of them, URL shorteners and twitter monitoring…but what is most important is knowing what metrics matter and focusing on those
If its not working, change it…if it is working…tweak it to work beter…
Things change…FAST. No marketing person has the same mix this year as last…
Here are some resources for Search Engine Marketing
Rinse and Repeat!
So to review…
RM AMA 10-steps-presentation-2011-10-12
Ten steps to online success<br />Willamette Valley AMA | October 12, 2011<br />
How much traffic does your site currently receive?<br />How much of your traffic converts to a customer?<br />How much does your average conversion cost you?<br />What is your average conversion worth?<br />Step 1: Assess Your Opportunity<br />
Strategy: Ad Copy Updating & Testing<br />Test at Every Point<br />A/B Testing<br />Inclusion of Specific Deals in Ad Copy<br />Different Results for Different Segments<br />Crested Butte Lift Ticket<br />Cheap Lift Tickets at Crested Butte<br />Limited Offer: Lift Ticket From $42<br />www.Liftopia.com<br />Crested Butte Lift Ticket<br />Save Money at Crested Butte, CO.<br />Limited Offer: Get 14% Off Sat/Sun!<br />www.Liftopia.com<br />
Results<br />Decreased Cost-Per-Conversion Six Times (6x)<br />Increased Conversion Rate Six Times (6x)<br />400% Return-On-Ad-Spend<br />
Case Study: OMSI Space Gala<br />What is the Primary Goal?<br />Individual Event Ticket Sales<br />What Else Matters?<br />Participation from ‘New’ Attendees<br />Communication with Donors<br />SERP Real Estate<br />Traffic to Event Page<br />How Do I Measure?<br />Ticket Sales Report<br />Google Analytics<br />Audience Engagement<br />
Course of Action<br />Facebook Strategies<br />Twitter Strategies<br />LinkedIn Strategies<br />Event/Calendar Sites<br />Social Media Strategy<br />
OMSI Gala: Goals Surpassed<br />Sold Out the Event!<br />Record Attendance<br />Over $500,000 Raised <br />Created a New Donor Base<br />21% New Donors<br />Increase Visits to Official Gala Web Page<br />34% Increase in Total Visits Compared to Previous Year<br />278% Increase in Referral Visits Compared to Previous Year<br />Established Online Presence for the OMSI Gala Event<br />