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SMX West Day 2: One Search Marketer’s Adventure

February 29, 2008 Leave a comment

The morning keynote was unique and entertaining outlining the Past, Present, and Future of search by Louis Monier. Smartly dressed and charming, he assured us that size does matter– as in the size/quantity of the search results. Search engines have to find content off the beaten path as well as popular sites, not just a large number of sites. Also, how do they know if I want a baseball diamond or diamond ring? (answer: ring) So they need more insight into searcher intent and preferences to be really good at what they do. A great article on this is at seroundtable.com.

Landing Pages and Multivariate Testing speakers varied greatly in their approach. Jonathan Mendez, took a very detailed and analytical approach to testing page elements, while I found Sandra Neihaus a little Zen. She pointed out that people get too hung up on conversation rates, or what is considered a typical conversion rate, forgetting to take another look at their business goals. Her example: Say a business has the goal to increase highly qualified leads. Adding additional fields to the landing page form to help qualify respondents might be a good idea. While this tactic may actually reduce overall conversions because there is more data to fill in, it would provide more qualified leads which are a better fit with the business. Jon Diorio from Google took a back-to-basics approach. He said anyone can conduct a simple landing page experiment, even a 22 year old college grad with relatively no experience. Try testing copy, action link/button, offer, and image. He recommended Google’s Website Optimizer product.

Reputation Monitoring and Management through search was next. No one wants a bad rep. 52% of individuals put trust in what others say about your reputation. I don’t where that stat came from, but next time I get a cold pizza delivered, I know exactly how to use my search powers for evil purposes. To monitor your rep to make sure I am not up to SEM mischief check out:

  1. Industry news through RRS feeds
  2. Mainstream media like news.google.com
  3. News buzz like on digg.com
  4. Blog posts searchable on technorati.com and Google blog search
  5. Bookmarks found on delicious
  6. Images
  7. Tags tracked at keotag.com
  8. Forums through boardtracker.com

In the Paid Search Roundtable PPC session, one of the topics we touched on was the impact of a possible recession on search. Advertisers would be crazy to give up search considering:

  1. It has a measurable ROI
  2. It’s a cheap online vehicle
  3. You can manage spend real-time
  4. In a recession, people may be searching for more (cheaper?) options which translates into more opportunities for advertisers
  5. Advertisers have confidence in search due to industry growth and reliability.

Woo hoo!

Google Groove party. Karaoke, free food, free drinks. Need I say more?

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deal with it: interactive copywriting is different.

February 27, 2008 8 comments

ematsonWe are thrilled to welcome Erin Matson as a guest blogger for Online Marketing Mavens blog. She is a writer and activist. She is currently a Senior Interactive Copywriter at an advertising agency and on the Board of Directors at National Organization for Women. You may also enjoy her blog, radtothemax.com in which she challenges us to feel things, think about issues, and ideally help her advance women’s rights. We are smarter for knowing her.

My friend thinks my job sucks. I think he sucks and you should, too (at least if you want your business to succeed).

Thing is, my friend and I have the same job – if you ask him. Recently I did over instant messenger. “Erin, I’m not trying to offend you,” he said as we chatted from our respective advertising agencies. Then he told me interactive copywriting is traditional copywriting with lower standards.

I’m not offended. I know most Big Deal Creative Directors of Today, many of them Big Deal Copywriters of Yesterday, reward that attitude. Those guys hire my friend and give him raises when he says that.

Not for long.

If you’re strong enough not to get seduced by the open bar at insider award shows (or are an unusually clairvoyant drunk), you know that the biggest deal in advertising remains what it always has been: the customer. Sadly, that customer rarely gives a millisecond for even the award-winning headlines, TV and radio spots.

Enter neat-o! Customers, prospects and lonely people with insomnia actually pay attention to interactive. That means copywriters, creative teams and businesses contracting advertising agencies can use their work to influence the market side of marketing. Add that up: Interactive is on the cusp of becoming a bigger deal.

I’ll agree with my friend that most interactive copywriting sucks right now, but I think the entire polarized nation could agree that most advertising copywriting sucks harder than an aardvark on top of the ant community’s Kilimanjaro. If we do have the same job it’s to write as hard as we can. People don’t care about any form of writing unless it’s spot-on. That’s hard to do.

So I’m not offended. I know my friend will figure out that he needs to care about interactive copywriting within the next few years, and he’ll give me a call for tips then. There are a few things that are different. I’ll deal with them in a future post here.

SMX West Day 1: One Search Marketer’s Adventure

February 27, 2008 1 comment

Search 3.0, 4.0 and Beyond? At SMX West conference, Danny Sullivan’s keynote outlines thekeynote growth stages of search from 1.0 to 5.0. Here’s how he defines it:
1.0 – On-page keyword optimization. It was easier to gain rank in the olden days.
2.0 – Now we have evolved to off-page factors such as page rank, links, click throughs, and etc.
3.0 – Blended results/universal search and vertical search we see today.
4.0 – Personalized and social results such as iGoogle, Google bookmarks, search history (clicks), web history (visits).
5.0 – More human editors, wikis.

More human editors? I’m not getting this direction unless he’s referring more to social media sites. The content is still not very relevant. How can search sort through the clutter?

In session Decrypting Quality Scores, an examination of how quality scores can make a dramatic difference in a search marketing campaign. Personally I have seen bids go from $1 to $5 and $10 due to low quality scores. Presenters emphasized that the user experience is key and is a driving force in creating quality scores. A lot of of this is “stop the bad guy” motivated. Pay attention to the key quality score factors and you can’t fail:
1. CTR by position
2. Account history
3. Landing page

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for me, this day it was LUNCH. At SMX West they offered Lunch with a Google Engineer: “Join a Google search engineer for lunch and ask SEO-related questions plus share your thoughts on how Google deals with web sites”. I signed up right away and joined eight other people with Google engineer Matt Cutts. While my peers mock me because I am fan, I feel no shame to say it was totally cool. Totally.

I barely finished my delicious hot lunch when when we were summoned, wait– drawn to, a special session for Yahoo announcing “Search Monkey”, a set of open-source tools that allow users and publishers to annotate and enhance search results associated with specific websites. Yahoo has example of this open search platform that allows websites to “present their most engaging and relevant content to Yahoo searchers”. I’m very interested to learn more about the parameters surrounding the data you can submit.

Next, I attended Search Marketing and Persona Models. My new friend Jolina of TopRank Blog does a great job of explaining persona models and online marketing in her recent post.

Economics of Search gets my vote for most complicated mathematical equations by a presenter by Hal Varian, Chief Economist for Google. He said he was told to never teach an econ class after 4:00 pm. As an econ major I was fully awake and entranced in the microeconomics of search. Following this, for one short moment, I got a taste of what it would be like to be a Harvard Business School student after hearing Peter A Coles eloquently speak. My blog-mate Sarah will be happy to know that one of the speakers predicted display will become more relevant and better targeted, therefore more effective and poised to grow with search over the next few years.

The pitfalls outed in “Avoiding PPC Pitfalls” sounded like a day in the life of ME. I could relate, but had to look away. Picked up great advice on how to optimize content targeted campaigns that I can use right away.
search-bowlAfter a too brief tailgating gathering, it was on to Search Bowl. Experts competed game show style with buzzers to guess search trivia questions, many old school. I think a little Howie, metal cases, and one millian dollars would have kept me around, but we had to cut out early for a mexican fiesta and eventual siesta…

Categories: online marketing, PPC, search, SEO

Looking Forward to SMX West 08!

February 23, 2008 3 comments

While my blog-mate’s trip to Jamaica winds down, my adventure is just beginning in Santa Clara, CA for the SMX West search engine marketing conference. Because we’re in space that literally reshapes itself every six months, the sessions are designed to keep us ahead of the curve, according to one of the founders Danny Sullivan. From beginner to expert level, the topics range from keyword research to the economics of search.

And of course nothing puts the F in Fun more than the good ol’ Google Groove party. I hope they have that Google branded ice sculpture again…

Search marketers don’t miss a beat when it comes to social networking. Conference organizers have set up opportunities for attendees to network before arriving at the show on Sphinn, facebook, and LinkedIn. I am most impressed with SMX Connect: “This is SMX’s custom online networking tool exclusively for SMX West attendees. It’s purposely designed as an easy, low-impact way for you to meet others.” I have to say I love it. It’s powered by CrowdVine and takes social networking to a very effective and niche level.

More to come…

Love is in the air, and in cyberspace!

February 14, 2008 2 comments

Lisa loves love and search. I also love love and impactful and relevant advertising, even when it’s not Online – gasp!

I wanted to post because it’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. I love my position, my unnamed company, and the fact I’m leaving the snowy frigid weather of Minnesota tomorrow to lie on the beach in Jamaica with my husband for a week. It’s a good day.

One cool thing I read today about Valentine’s Day and advertising – Virgin Atlantic launched this awesome mobile microsite in conjunction with a crazy out-of-home and events campaign. Leave it to genius and rich guy Richard Branson to do something so cool that kills both the advertising and PR birds with one multi-platform stone.

I also read that 57% of men go Online to research Valentine’s Day gifts. This is not surprising to me, but now I want to know how many are shopping Online the day of. Since 12% claim they are looking for a store’s address and phone number, my guess is a lot.

Have a great week everyone and Happy Valentine’s Day!

One Love!

Search for Love this Valentine’s Day (Holiday SEM)

February 9, 2008 1 comment

I love love. I’m also rather fond of infatuation and crushes. So it’s no surprise that searchers seek ways to reach out to their beloved as this magical day approaches. According to Yahoo! Buzz, tongue tied Romeo’s have led queries for “love letters,” “romantic notes,” and “romantic love letters” and are posting high gains in Search.

On Google too, Valentine’s Day theme searches pick up around Jan 20th then start to spike around Feb 4th with people thinking ahead on the best ways to score.

  * love letter   * valentine gift   * valentine card

The lure of rising search volume is a tempting treat to online marketers. How to leverage love?

As a search marketer, my advice is to be available in search engines at the exact moment your customer are seeking gifts, cards, candy, jewelry, and etc. Tweak your existing pay-per-click account or get a new one set up in Google or Yahoo.

Set-up a new campaign specifically for the Valentine’s Holiday. It will need to be up and running during the peak search period: around the second or third week of Jan and ending Feb 15th. Considering timing here is key.

If your business offers delivery or shipping to specific areas, you’ll need to geo-target these campaigns as well.

Create new ad text copy to include commonly searched terms with a Valentine theme like “Valentine Gifts for Him”. Because searches are happening very close to the holiday, call out any same day delivery or next day shipping in the ad copy.

Use promotional language. Deals, price points, coupons, gift wrapping, or free shipping are huge selling points and should be included in the ad copy.

Finally, don’t forget to customize the landing page to show your love for your customers. Highlight the V-day theme products on one page and make shipping or delivery information easily accessible.

Tell someone you love them this Valentine’s Day…with search engine marketing!