the inbound-i blog: Inbound Marketing Information, Ideas & Intelligence

Future of SEO: Three Areas of Impact

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

Future of SEO is NowBecause of changes to Google's approach to search, some are beginning to question the future role of SEO in inbound marketing. Google is beginning to link search results it delivers to the social media behavior and browsing history of the searcher. This is one result of Google's foray into social media with Google+.

In the future, which in a limited way is now, what comes up on page one of search results will be different for you than it is for me. This puts the notion of high search engine rankings into question. Why bother with SEO if we no longer care about page one? But we should care. It just requires a shift in how we get there. Here are the three key areas that will be important to successful SEO in the future.

1. Keyword Research - What continues to be critical about the activities involved in SEO is keyword research - regardless of how search engines decide to parcel out results. The reason? Key word research gives us true insight to our buyer personae - our key audiences.

It's critical to success that we understand the words our prospects use to search for products and services like ours. I can bet you that the words they use are a far cry from the words we use in our carefully constructed website copy.

2. Social Media Context -- Where we need to shift is to become much more aware of where our prospects are engaged in social media. In addition to knowing where they spend time and effort engaging online, we must also become more engaged ourselves. Our associations with key audiences, our interconnectedness with their communities will influence our being presented to them on page one query results.

3. Great Content -- I agree with some online marketing experts that the most important inbound marketing component will continue to be creating great content. Keyword research helps assure that the content will appeal to the intended audience and will include language that resonates with them. Social networks assure effective targeting and delivery of our messages.

But ultimately, it’s our level of creativity, professional knowledge and awareness of our audiences’ needs that will contribute to producing content that moves to the top of search results. Such content will not only attract search engines, but will move people to action by showcasing our capabilities to provide the products and services being sought.

 

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The image is from the flickr photostream of Aurelian S  under Creative Commons license.

Topics: E.R. Becker Company, SEO, Social Media, Google+, Keyword Research, Google+, Content

Radio: A Magical Online Marketing and PR Option

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:02 PM

This Friday, March 2nd, from 4 to 5 p.m. ET, I’ll be talking about Inbound Marketing on the LinkedIn Lady Show on RockStarRadioNetwork.com. This opportunity to chat live with Carol McManus, aka America’s LinkedIn Lady, and then have the show available for download on iTunes got me thinking about how radio has developed as an online marketing communications and PR medium.Radio across the decades

First, let me say that I have always been in love with radio. In my mid-1960s high school days, my friends and I spent every social moment listening on our new transistor radios to DJ Jerry Blavat – the Geator With the Heater, the Boss with the Hot Sauce – on WHAT-AM in Philly. (You can still hear him – stream his show live, in fact – on Cruisin’ 92.1, WVLT-FM.)

During the same timeframe, Marshall McLuhan published his mind-bending, ground-breaking book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McLuhan described radio as, ‘The Tribal Drum.’ No wonder it’s translated so brilliantly to the Internet, where we’re all connecting with our online tribes.

Radio used to be very local. It still is, but it’s also global now. If you get the opportunity to be interviewed on anyone’s local radio show grab it, even if you market nationally or internationally. Not long ago, I was a guest on a show aired by a tiny station in Westchester County, NY. Its signal may not reach more than a mile. But my mother listened in on her computer from Pennsylvania. Many shows are recorded and available to download and share, which really leverages the time you invest in preparation and the show itself.

Even if the interview invites aren’t rolling in, you can still take advantage of online radio. You can create and promote your own radio show for free on BlogTalkRadio.com. BTR is the world’s largest social radio network. It just ranked #3730 in the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. More than 45,000 websites link to BlogTalkRadio. In essence, it’s the Wordpress of radio. There are several premium packages available that, among other features, include promotional impressions of your show to help you build audience.

One of my clients, psychotherapist Dr. Annie Abram has created quite a successful show on BTR, Ask Dr. Annie. Once a week she interviews well-known authorities and authors in her field. Such a show builds thought leadership and credibility in and beyond your service area, and opens doors to collaboration, speaking engagements and other opportunities. It also gets her in front of her mailing list weekly when she promos the current week’s topic and guest.

RockStarRadioNetwork.com – home of the LinkedIn Lady Show – was launched in November of 2011, by Craig Duswalt, former personal manager for Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses, and currently a speaker, author and creator of the RockStar System For Success, and the popular RockStar Marketing BootCamps.

The RockStar Radio Network is a talk radio production company whose brick and mortar studio is based in Tyler, Texas where the company’s full production staff works to create customized interfaces, live commercials and CD quality sound for all its talk radio hosts. Carol McManus built a national audience with a previous show that live-streamed on a local AM station in Greenwich, Conn., leading to an invitation to host her current show.

Here’s a closing thought about radio --  something I underlined decades ago in my well-worn copy of Marshall McLuhan’s book. It still resonates today:

“Radio is provided with its cloak of invisibility like any other medium. It comes to us ostensibly with person-to-person directness that is private and intimate, while in more urgent fact, it is really a subliminal echo chamber of magical power to touch remote and forgotten chords. All technological extensions of our selves must be numb and subliminal, else we could not endure the leverage exerted on us by such extension.”

Takeaway: Put radio into your online marketing mix. Call to your tribe and they will gather to listen!

 

To shift gears to another form of social media, learn how you can make effective use of Facebook and Twitter. It’s all in our new White Paper available for free download via the button.

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The image of vintage radios is from the Flickr photostream of AlexKerhead under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Online Marketing, Social Media, Radio, LinkedIn Lady Show, BlogTalk Radio, RockStar Radio Network, Jerry Blavat

Pinterest: Social Media Crazy Quilt

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Feb 20, 2012 @ 15:02 PM

Pinterest New Social Media Site

I’m watching Pinterest with interest. Pinterest is the ‘hot’ new social media site that’s generating a lot of current buzz. It’s billed as a ‘pinboard’ where users can share, i.e. ‘pin’, images of items that interest them. Visually, it’s a crazy quilt. According to a February 11th article on TechCrunch, Pinterest currently has 10.4 million users – 97% of them women. (Does that give you a clue, marketers?)

Currently – and similar to early Google+ -- participation is by invitation. While I’m waiting for my invitation to arrive, I’ve been poking around and learning about Pinterest.

You can organize, categorize and share pictures of items you find online, ‘pinning’ them onto virtual ‘boards’. The images retain a link to the original source (unless you merely ‘Like’ a pin) once you post it. As a highly visual medium, Pinterest is perfect if you like scrolling endlessly through images -- many of them very engaging -- to find ones of specific interest to you. Engaging Images on Pinterest

If you don’t want to peruse ‘Everything’ at once, you can narrow things down by searching in one of 31 lifestyle-related topics – plus ‘Other’ for those items that don’t seem to fit into one of the pre-assigned categories. Or, using the search field (which I understand disappeared for awhile and is now back by popular demand) you can search for specific pins, boards or people.

The formula and the etiquette are much like on Twitter:

  • You ‘follow’ other users, or specific ones of their boards, and they can follow you back – or not.
  • You may decide to ‘unfollow’ someone or something, and they’ll never be the wiser.
  • You may comment on people’s pins.
  • You may also Re-Pin (think Re-Tweet) someone’s pin, in which case the image and its link to the original source of the material remain intact.
  • If you simply ‘Like’ a pin, you’re giving a ‘thumbs up’ without giving the goods. The link doesn’t come with the ‘like’.
  • To reply to a particular user, you add an @ symbol in front of their user name. Hmmm. Sound familiar? Oh, well. No sense completely re-inventing the wheel when people are already familiar with @replies.
  • A request to ‘Be Nice’ is designed to promote a positive approach to community building.
  • You can add Pinterest ‘follow’ buttons on your website.

How are people using Pinterest?

  • For organizing projects, like home decorating.
  • For organizing items they’d like to add to their wardrobes.
  • For planning weddings and other special events and sharing possible choices with family and friends.
  • For saving and sharing cute images, books, music and other interests
  • For organizing, saving and sharing recipes.
  • For cataloguing inspiring/useful ideas and information.
  • Etc.

What can businesses do on Pinterest? Although Pinterest admonishes against being ‘overly commercial’ or ‘self promotional’, you can use the site to connect with your customers and prospects in a number of ways.

Companies are flocking to Pinterest, mostly to connect with its population of women/mom users. There are a few male-oriented categories like Cars & Motorcycles, Men’s Apparel and Sports. There’s no category for ‘business’ or ‘advertising/marketing’. There is a ‘Products’ category and you can put a price in your Pin caption.

Companies can:

  • Display products (with prices and links to an ecommerce site) in specific categories, Weddings & Events or Women’s Apparel, for example.
  • Post your presentations and other visual content. For example, HubSpot just put up a page with images and links to its infographics, ebooks, white papers and other content.
  • Recruit. Not sure yet how they’re using Pinterest specifically, but a recruiting firm is one of the early power users.
  • Explore other creative ways to make it pay off. (Although it’s not yet paying off for Pinterest, as they haven’t yet evolved their business model. Right now they’re building with about $25 million in venture funding.)

As a young and evolving social media site, Pinterest has a few glitches and bugs popping up that management is still working to resolve. As all sites have in the past, it will also likely incorporate cultural and tactical features that are user-created or driven. (Like the hashtag on Twitter.)

Anyone who has read my blog over time knows that, as an inbound marketing consultant, I’m not the earliest adopter of new social media tools and techniques. I take a bit of a wait and see approach, then learn and experiment on my own business before I recommend new tools to clients. Everyone has too little time to invest in unproven tools and there’s still plenty of time to benefit once they’ve taken hold and yielded measurable results.

I’ll update you once I begin posting on Pinterest and seeing how – or if -- it can help you grow your business.

In the face of new social media sites, many companies are still trying to put the old ones to work for them. If your company falls into this category, then download our Social Media White Paper to learn about using Facebook and Twitter effectively.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Online Marketing Strategy, Pinterest

Fall in Love with Online Marketing. It’ll Love You Back.

Posted by Ellie Becker on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 @ 21:01 PM

I Love the WebOnline marketing takes a lot of time. It takes commitment and consistency. You can use tools to make it more efficient – for example, HootSuite to plan and schedule your Tweets and Facebook posts for the week.

But if you want to assure that you stay the course, here’s my advice: Fall in love.

To me, this means falling in love with the possibilities that the web represents -- six degrees of separation on steroids. Imagine what this can mean for your business or your personal delight.

It’s the excitement of attracting a million dollar deal. It’s the moment you log on to Twitter and see a tweet from a friend with a link to his jazz gig at 10 p.m. in NY City that will stream online and that you can now catch from suburban Connecticut.

I’m constantly aware that my Twitter stream, my LinkedIn Groups, my Google+ Circles have real people in them, doing real things, having real needs, posting useful information and timely opportunities.

I just love that. And it is a timeline. Facebook just confirmed that with its new Timeline format. You can pop into the timeline whenever you want to and see what opportunities are in front of you in the moment.

It’s really thrilling. And it’s how to motivate ourselves to hang in there – to keep creating and sharing content, to keep connecting.

It’s like searching for treasure. Dig around in any social media stream for even a little while and you are guaranteed to come up with something valuable – a connection to a long lost colleague, something that will make you laugh uproariously, a lesson that will help you deal with your life, an idea for a blog post, possibilities you haven’t yet imagined.

If you fall in love with the sheer possibility of online marketing, you’ll stop thinking of it as a burden and embrace it as a source of opportunity that loves you back.

Get some Inbound Marketing love here:

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Image is from the Flickr photostream of Mark Surman under Creative Commons License.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Ellie Becker, E.R. Becker Company, Social Media, Sales Conversion

The State of Marketing by the Google Search Numbers

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Jan 04, 2012 @ 20:01 PM

Can you find the hidden story in last month’s Google search volume statistics for the following terms?Free Google Search Coupon

Marketing – 24,900,000 searches

Internet Marketing – 1,000,000 searches

Online Marketing – 673,000 searches

Email Marketing – 550,000 searches

Social Media Marketing – 246,000 searches

Inbound Marketing – 18,000 searches

As an Inbound Marketer, these stats tell me loud and clear why I still get glassy stares when I mention Inbound Marketing. Even though it’s been around for several years, comparatively speaking, it’s still not on a lot of radar screens. Sure, HubSpot, developer of the all-in-one Inbound Marketing software, has more than 6000 client companies onboard – a significant achievement for a young software company. But there are millions of businesses in the US that are still doing whatever in their marketing.

Email and Social Media Marketing are currently much better known and far more frequently adopted as marketing tactics. But they’re only a small part of what it takes to transfer online activities to bottom line results.

For this reason, I was heartened to read a guest post on Mark W. Schaefer’s {Grow} Marketing Blog today by “Social Steve” Goldner titled, It’s Time to Evolve the Social Media Mindset.

In my opinion, this is a very important post and one that I hope is amplified far and wide. It makes a great case for not creating digital marketing ‘silos’ and for working toward strategic and holistic integration of online marketing tools into business processes.

In a big way, Steve’s post is a call for a return to good and proven marketing principles that translate just fine into the digital framework. As a social media ‘guru’ he has particular credibility in making this call to action.

For years I’ve been a proponent of marketing integration, which stubbornly remains elusive regardless of the platform. Somehow, we humans love to carve out turf and defend it in the competitive environment.

Social Steve’s post suggests that we get beyond compartmentalizing the elements of Inbound Marketing and get to some real results and leverage. I couldn’t agree more. Huzzah!!

How is your company breaking down the Social Media silo?

While you're thinking about this subject, you may want to learn "20 Reasons Why You Should Take Control of Your Marketing Using HubSpot." It only takes a click to access your free copy.

 

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Image of Google Free Coupon is from the Flickr photostream of Bramus! under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Mark W Schaefer, Social Steve Goldner

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