Google

The Web’s most common questions, Question 1:

I’ve got my site registered with the Search Engines, what do I do now?

Ask the person at any business what’s one of the things they want to achieve with their online marketing strategy and without a doubt a lot will quickly shoot back ‘to get my site to the top of Google, over my competitors’.
Three important questions come to mind:
1) Why?
2) What?
3) How?

1) Why do I want to be top of Google?
The ‘Why’ is important – most people will answer ‘I want more business’ or ‘I want them to click-through to my site’.
Neither of these answers are wrong, but they could do with a bit of fleshing out.
Ask yourself some questions:
a) do I really know who my competitors are online?
b) do I know what keywords I should be targeting?
c) Do I know what consumers are searching for?
d) Is it important to be no.1 in the listngs, or is it OK to be in the first 5?
e) What other Search Engines should I be registering with, and which ones work well for my kind of business?

If you can answer these questions, you’re getting there. The next question is
2) What do I want them to do once they get to my Web site and/or landing page?

Do you want them to:
a) Buy something
b) Contact your sales team by email, phone, or via an online form?
c) Trade information (a report, free consultancy) for the opportunity to talk to someone again

3) How?
So how are you going to go about it?
‘natural search’,
‘ paid search’
‘search engine marketing’
‘search engine optimisation’
‘Link strategy’
‘Keyword density’
All of these are factors in being successful with your Search Engine Strategy, and it is important to understand the principles, so that you know what you’re buying.
The best answer we can give is – ask an expert to do it for you.
Ask Fred!

Online marketing strategy

Internet Marketing Angel

Internet marketers like myself have gotten a bad reputation from people abusing the system. Like call centres, telephone marketers, mail bombers, lawyers and advertising guys in general! Internet marketers have gotten this reputation very unfairly. Like most professions there are the couple that stir the mixing pot and ruin the mix. Recently the Australian Advertising Federation is trying to clean up the poor perception of people in advertising and I was thinking how could internet marketers clean up their backyard?

Here are my 3 ways internet marketers get a bit dodgy and cause a bad name for us IMs:

1. Abuse databases – Using a database that hasnt been checked or updated in a long time causes grief. Client “We found this database with all these email addresses in it from 2003, I put a couple of other email addresses I have collected along the way aswell. Can we email our newsletter out to it, aswell?”. Bad internet marketer “Hey the more the merrier!” Good internet marketer “Probably best to email them to see if they are still keen to hear from you.”

2. POP UP – I know that Australian (Canadian) made a mint from popups. But I hate that stuff. And I know every else does too. Its annoying. Its frustrating. It just makes you want to hunt down the little x button. Hey people click on it. But thats because you cant find the button to close it down.

3. Websites with nothing but Google ads on them – These websites annoy me. They are offensive. Its like walking into a movie theatre and just watching advertisements. I know the affiliate marketers love to do this stuff. But at least spend a little more time and put some relevant content on there. Give me a little bit of value to watch your ad.

So from one internet marketer to another, please help us.

Lovingly always,
Your internet marketing angel

Online gaming and marketing games

Honeypots: Millions of addicted customers

I am a gaming addict. I have played computer games since I was 6. I grew up with them. I developed my own ones.

I am now into World of Warcraft. This is a 100% online game and there are now over 4million users online. For me I had to actually plan my life around this game and impose boundaries. There are 2 stories with this game that will impress upon you how intense it is. 1) There was a Korean guy that played the game so long and didnt take care of himself that he died at his computer. 2) There were 2 Japanese guys that journeyed through the world to get a sword, one of the guys sold the sword and the other guy was so annoyed he went over to his house and stabbed the guy to death. Yeah.. pretty intense. I am not at that level but do like the game a lot.

This is a massive trend to games and will continue into the future. It is a honey pot of keen users all in one place. I am sure marketers, corporates and entrepreneurs are going to tap into this. There has been some already with characters, items and money from within the game being auctioned off on Ebay!

Something I have noticed more and more happening out there are some of the big online players making large purchases of online space similar to this gaming honeypot. Example Yahoo purchasing Konfabulator, http://upcoming.org/ and flikr.com. The strategy here has been for Yahoo to try and take advantage of their huge libraries of content in other ways.

Googles purchase of Blogger has been a great way for it to sell more adsense ads. There is a button inside this program that allows you to ad advertisements to your blog. I have felt that this might detract from this blog for now and didnt want to flog the whole marketing thing too much.

I think there will be more purchases of these kinds of honeypots as more and more bees buzz to them!

How to

How to select an online marketing agency?

We are in the middle of some negotiations with current clients about their 2006 year budgets. I have a few tips I would like to share with marketing managers and decision makers alike:

1. Why online? – When selecting how much budget to spend online you need to understand why are you online in the first place? Why does your business go online. Strip everything back. Where is the business going to make money out of being online? If you have some specific reasons write these down and send them to your agency. If you dont know the reasons ask your agency to present to you why you should be online.

2. How much do you spend online? – Ask your agency how much they think you should spend. Or better say what could I get for $xxx. Tell them to present what we could get for that money. The best scenario would be if you said, these are the reasons that we want to be online (build brand, generate awareness, leverage sponsorships, make sales, generate leads etc…) here are the targets we want to achieve. What do you suggest to do this and how much do you think we should spend. If you provided a budget and what targets of value you wanted to achieve an agency could put together the answer to this problem. Spend $y, get these results.

3. What criteria make a good online marketing agency?

  • Understand and can supply all aspects of online marketing (search, websites, email, banners, affiliate, games, copywriting)
  • Proactively make suggestions upon new and different ways to market online
  • Apply marketing principles to online marketing

4. What criteria are bad qualities?

  • Are only specialised in one aspect of online marketing. Usually companies suggest that they are an online marketing agency if they can build a website. Online marketing agencies are exceptionally specialised and the science of online marketing is complex. This is the same as saying that a heart surgeon can cut your heart so lets give them a go at your brain.
  • Wait for briefs before they do anything
  • Suggest that print and offline marketing are the drivers customers and the website only really supports this.
Email marketing

What are some good methods for avoiding spam filters?

We often get asked about any simple steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of your campaign being flagged as spam by your recipient’s ISP, or your recipients themselves. Even when you’re sending an email campaign to subscribers who opted-in, your email can still be flagged as spam by overzealous spam filters. Simply using the word “free” in an email message can often land you in the spam heap.
Listed below are a number of simple tips and techniques you should consider when writing and designing your campaigns:

  1. Keep sender addresses as short as possible.
  2. Avoid continuous sending of messages to full or invalid mailboxes. You can do this by tweaking your bounce handling settings for each subscriber list.
  3. Minimize the use of these words and phrases in the subject line, message body, sender address, and reply-to address:
    Use of the word Free (although “free” tends to have more leeway than most other trigger words), $$, XXX, sex or !!! (any excessive punctuation)
    Subject contains “Double Your”, “?”, “For Only” or “Free Instant”.
    TOO MANY CAPS IN THE SUBJECT LINE
    Email contains at least 70 percent blank lines
    The from field appears to not contain a real name, ends in numbers or contains the word friend.
    The reply-to field is empty
    The email claims not to be spam
    The email contains excessive images without much text
  4. Monitor new subscribers in your lists. Set suspicious “spamflag” addresses such as “abuse@” or “marketerspam@” as Inactive subscribers.

Most of the popular and more advanced spam filters out there use these and a whole bunch of other criteria to score your campaign. For example, check out the range of filtering rules for SpamAssassin, one of the most popular spam filters on the web.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is adhere to best practices for email marketing. Gain permission, compose relevant content, and deliver messages according to the customer’s needs, wants, and preferences.

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Pagerank

Search engine optimisation tip #2 – Pagerank

Pagerank is a concept developed by Larry Page one of the founders of Google. Essentially Larry was trying to find a way to categorise all of the university papers and doctrines into some sort of importance. He used the concept that if a paper referenced another paper it would mean that the paper that had been referenced was important. The more papers that referenced that paper the more important and credible it was. In the same way the papers that these papers referenced gained importance in the same way. And so on. Thus if a paper that was very important made reference to another paper this would be worth more in the scale of things. Larry essentially needed to crunch some serious numbers and that is where his partner Sergey Brin comes in. Sergey was the mathmatician who worked out an algorithm to crunch this problem down and make some sense of it.

Thus they then replaced these doctrines with the entire web and references with links and crunched the entire web universe down. They then stored this data and displayed it as you see it today.

Thus Pagerank (Larry Pagerank) is all about the number of websites that link to your website. Aswell as a ranking of how those websites that link to you are. I.e. depending on the pagerank of the websites that link to you this will determine your pagerank.

How to use this info:
1. Get more websites to link to you that have high pagerank.
2. Get more links (references) to your website.

Need more info just email or comment.