Bro-Sis Collaboration Update – Getting Ready for First Meeting

August 9, 2008

A week and a half ago, I mentioned that my sis and I are starting a new collaborative project regarding photography and traditional marketing, along with search marketing, local search, and social media.

In short, this project is to offer both customized private consulting to professional photographers along with numerous public speaking engagements.

We’re welcoming people to view or progress in various formats – good, bad, and ugly. More sites to come, but currently, they are…

This Blog
My Facebook Profile
My Twitter

Heather’s Blog
Heather’s Facebook Profile
Heather’s Tin Shed Studio Facebook Page

Our first meeting is this Monday at our ‘rents place in Reads Landing, MN and we’ve got about five hours to brainstorm. The first hour will be confirming our overall strategy. Our Dad reads this blog occasionally, and if you read this Dad, get your pontoon ready. The first hour is on the Mississippi.

My sis is new to social marketing, and I already think she “gets it” more than I do. It’s going to be fun collaborating with each other.

More to come… much more.

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40 Presenters at the SMX Local and Mobile Conference, That’s Quite Impressive

June 14, 2008

Search Engine Land provides the original post.

40 presenters is really impressive for a local search field that is still (arguably) relatively new.

It’s cool to see that the SMX Conference targets ad agencies just as much or even more than search marketers and marketing managers.

It was just a few years ago that there was quite a debate between search marketers and ad agencies. Search marketers offered a cheaper and more of a “pull marketing” alternative to mainstream marketing and advertising, and ad agencies blew search marketing off as a fad or something useless. Now, both large and small agencies hire search marketers on a regular basis to broaden their services.

The SMX conference looks like they’re taking this a step further by offering local search strategies to these agencies. It does make sense. We often hear about the large, national agencies such as Fallon and Campbell Mithun, but there are plenty of small agencies around too that primarily have a local client base.

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Favorite Posts of the Week – Search Engine Guide Style

April 24, 2008

I’ve been both fortunate and honored to be a guest writer for Search Engine Guide since late 2005 (Jennifer and Robert, I’ll write more – really!!)

Since 2005, there have been some great writers that have jumped on board. I’ve met a few of them and hope to meet more the next time I hit a search marketing conference. It seems fitting to give SEG some (well-deserved) love back and provide a Search Engine Guide favorite posts of the week.

The first is from Manoj Jasra titled common web analytics issues. Manoj makes some great points, including a paragraph about the wrong data going to the wrong people. Depending on whether your client contacts are marketing managers, CEOs, or Internet marketing departments should give you an idea of what type of data you can provide them.

Next, David Wallace writes on Matt McGee’s local search workshop presentation during the recent Small Business Unleashed conference. The post is quite lengthy, but it sounds like the presentation was too at 90 minutes! Kudos to both Matt and David. Matt talks about maps, SEO, PPC, local search engines, and even provides a relevant lists of industry sites. It’s a great post! Just read it.

Liana Evans is also at the conference blogging on Sage Lewis’ building a community workshop presentation. During the presentation Sage talks about different community channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and Digg. He begins with YouTube and how easy it is to use, and how to properly optimize and tag your videos. He goes on explaining how you can promote this with other social sites such as Facebook. Lastly, he stresses the importance on participating yourself.

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Search Engine Marketing Firm Gets $100,000 Fine – What to Look for in a Search Marketer

April 19, 2008

Just like in many industries, you have your honest companies and shysters alike. The search engine marketing industry certainly has plenty of both. One of the latter just got a $100,000 fine for misrepresenting their clients in a number of ways.

Fellow Search Engine Guide blogger Sage Lewis has a video post that mentions the culprits, and the Washington State Attorney General office announced their petition to enforce a court order against them in November, 2007.

This post isn’t to “out” the culprits, but to hopefully give some tips to non-industry business owners and marketers who get pitched from search marketing firms.

Many (not all) will pitch “rankings” for keywords related to your business and will often offer some sort of “top 10” guarantee. I actually don’t have a problem with this since savvy sales professionals know that’s what potential clients often want to hear. The problem is that rankings simply do not automatically equal net profits.

There’s one word that most of these search engine marketing firms tend to forget:

Marketing.

Yes, marketing.

It seems strange, but it does happen. What are the business overall goals for marketing online?

I hung out with some industry friends tonight and we had a pretty big discussion on SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Remember that from beginning college marketing classes? Something so simple as understanding your business SWOTs can definitely help in a search marketing campaign.

There’s another word that is sometimes forgotten in pitches.

Analytics.

This is key. There are plenty of decent analytics packages out there. There are great and worthy ones that can set a price of over 50k a year. Some analytics experts will disagree, but Google Analytics works well for many companies… and it’s free.

Analytics is crucial. It can measure how users navigate your site, how you can continually improve on not just your search marketing efforts, but your usability, design, and development. The possibilities are almost endless. This has everything to do with marketing. Not just search marketing, but marketing in general.

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Presenting Search Marketing Results for Large Clients

March 20, 2008

A long time ago search marketing was mainly a vehicle for small businesses to compete with the big boys. For the many Fortune 500 companies that now outsource at least some sort of search marketing, presenting results whether it’s through analytics, lead generation, or sales can be tricky yet still highly effective.

When working with smaller clients, often the company’s one or two contacts are also the decision makers. You can build a relationship with them, recommendations made are often implemented quicker, and you can present results directly to them.

For Fortune companies, it can be a different story. They have more processes, contacts are often marketing directors or managers and they need to prove results to their respective bosses who ultimately approve the budgets. It’s important to show value to both.

One thing in common these groups have is they are smart and know how to delegate niches such as search marketing. Sometimes the difference is the amount of info they need.

Presenting or showing results in Excel is pretty common and a good example. They’re both easily imported from different analytics and pay-per-click campaigns.

Excel is obviously powerful, but the complexities can be overwhelming for anyone looking at a specialized report for the first time. The nice part is the ability to take a complex spreadsheet and create very easy-to-read charts with trend lines from them. Including charts like these within a Word document can provide the trusted information that large company decision-makers seek.

Again, these large company decision-makers are smart. They don’t always want the details as they have other things on their plate. They want to see results and delegate as needed.

This isn’t to discount the complex spreadsheets. They can (and should) be presented as well and can serve as incredible tools for marketing managers and directors who want to dig into them and ask questions, and they do. They deserve that opportunity.

Communication is very important as well. Having the ability to physically present documents and results is preferable, although not always possible.

In whichever format, providing both easy-to-read and complex reporting results can only be beneficial. It provides clients the information they need plus the ability to definitively measure success.

The post is also up at Search Engine Guide, their new design is pretty sweet!

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Favorite Posts of the Week – All Minnesota Based

February 11, 2008

Still all Minnesota based, part PPC, part local search, and part WordPress blogs.

Jeff Hudson of The PPC Book gets stuck in some chilly weather and provides a great example of a void when shopping locally online.

Heard about Google Local News? So has Erica from Metroblogging Twin Cites. What seems like a great idea isn’t faring so well with people just looking for local information. It has a way to go.

There’s quite a controversial post at Lee Odden’s Online Marketing blog regarding WordPress and how they categorize SEO blogs as crappy “sploggs”.

Here’s the new WordPress definition of an SEO blog:

SEO blogs: Blogs that are written for search engines instead of humans. These blogs are dedicated to trying to fool Google and other search engines into ranking them highly. WordPress.com is not meant for this type of activity.

Lee’s 100% right. There are great search marketers out there who provide quality content which debunks the above definition, period.

SEOs often naturally get a bad rep, and rightfully so. Many of these also use WordPress to manipulate search engines. Yeah, really. You just might be one of them.

I do a lot of SEO, and my peers often say that this blog sucks. It’s on a hosted WordPress domain, I don’t use plug-ins, and I don’t SEO this blog.

This is all fine because the readers here are cool and smart, and don’t care what the ranking-whore crowds think of it.

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DirectoryM is Lookin’ Pretty Slick These Days

February 8, 2008

DirectoryM
I’ve been aware of DirectoryM for quite awhile, but admittedly haven’t checked them out in detail. It’s not your average Web directory. They’re more of a hub that gives you advertising links on their own directory, plus some big players like…

Directory1 Partners

There are nationwide ads available, but local ads do seem to appear pretty prevalent.

Local DirectoryM Listings
I think the $240 three month investment is useful for businesses who measure analytics. You’ll have the ability to track how many users come to your site from these referalls and see how they navigate your site.

For those still stuck on search engine rankings “only”, some of these links do seem to pass link juice, but it might not be worth your investment.

I hope to have more detailed info in the future.

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