Saturday, September 30, 2006

Honda Gets its Elements in Order With Fun Game

Here's an award winning integrated campaign by Honda to promote it's sporty Element. It combined, TV spots, search marketing and even YouTube videos!! The agency that designed the campaign ended up winning an award which isn't too surprising.

Why is this campaign so good?

  • It's a great product. Start off with a great product and you're off to a good start
  • It's fun. It's game that allows you to test drive the car above ground and below. This represents the car as it seems like a fun car.

  • It's funny! You're interacting with rabbits and other animals. At one point the car tells a rabbit that its feet are huge and that it must get great traction. The Element that informs the rabbit that it has 4 wheel drive.

  • It hits its target market. I think I'm part of this market as I've noticed this car and may consider it if/when we purchase a new vehicle.

  • Its integrated. a. you have TV commercials that kicked this off. b. you have a website that directly relates to the commercial. How do I know this? Check out the META tag description the campaign site: <meta name="description" content="So you like that funny Honda Element TV commercial, huh? Well, then, come play a game or two with the Element and friends on an adventure-filled island. The Element is definitely a different animal.">. c. you have a site that's finely tuned for search (try searching Honda Element TV commercial) d. It's even advertised on frickin' Wikipedia and Youtube. They've got the bases covered.
Here's the YouTube video:



The only thing they may have missed was including a link from the main Element profile page on the Honda site (Duh??). That happens sometimes when the left hand can't speak to the right.

Have a great weekend!

Chad H.

PS - If your recall, Honda has done some other great commercials - remember the Cog Commercial?
PPS - What if Honda had included a blog for this camaign so we could keep the buzz going about this great car and great campaign?? Blogging still has a ways to go before it breaks into B2C full force.


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Writing for the Reader: Preview Pane and Blog Feeds

When you're designing a website, blog or email template do you ever think about how your users will actually see it? This may seem like a stupid question but it's extremely important to ensure that the people viewing your website or email see what you intended them to see.

When I wrote a post on How to convert blog traffic into loyal readers I mentioned that it's important to make it easy for your readers to subscribe to your blog. This means placing your web feed button or email form right at the top so visitors don't have to scroll to access it.

The same concept applies to email but it's a little different. When you're trying to get people to sign up for an event or download a whitepaper, you need to ensure that you design for the "Preview Pane". For marketers this may be an added pain in the ass but it's worth it.

As you can see from the image above, the preview pane default is to see the top left of an email.
MarketingSherpa recently published a case study indicating 28.24% increase in their newsletter Click-through rate when they switched their "offers" column to the left of the email from the right side. I've also seen this with other clients that I've worked with. Therefore, while this may be an additional task, remember to think about your readers will view your emails and design accordingly.

Applying this to blogs, remember that people will be reading your blog in multiple ways. Here's a few but I'm sure there is more:

This is just the beginning. What does it all mean? Check out how your posts look in these multiple formats from time to time. For example, I subscribe to my own feed using Bloglines so I can see what my posts look like to my readers. This has lead to adding a link to YouTube videos that I post and not just adding in the video. I've started to add links to some of my images as they may not show up in my email updates. Make it easy for those people that want to check out your posts (hey, I don't have many):
  • Content should be clearly laid out
  • If you use images, include actual links so all viewers can see them
  • Make it easy to scroll
  • Add helpful links to view old posts if they relate to the current one
Remember - have fun and keep on blogging!

Chad H

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Online Marketing is Being Dominated by Search Marketing. What is Your Strategy?

It's pretty crazy how popular internet advertising is and how much it continues to grow. According to a recent study internet ad revenue is up 37% over the first half of last year. See the full article at BtoBOnline

Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers report that
Search continues to lead that growth, accounting for 40% of total online advertising revenue in the first half. Search is followed by display ads, which account for 30% of total revenues, classified advertising (20%), referrals/lead generation (8%) and e-mail (2%).

What does this all mean? It means that search marketing is working! It's delivering the goods - both web traffic and conversions (i.e. $$$). What can you do? If you don't have a search marketing strategy, walk over - NO RUN - to your VP of marketing and get his/her team together to discuss this immediately.

New to Search Marketing? Get thee to a bookstore!

Not versed in the subject of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Pick up a copy of Search Engine Optimization an Hour a Day. This will give a good start as to what is involved. If you're a larger organization, I suggest looking at an agency or consultant to help you get moving. Optimizing your website to make it search friendly is a tremendous effort and you may not have the bandwidth to get where you need to be. Paid search is a whole other can of worms. You need to stay on top of your keywords that you've purchased to ensure you get the most bang for your bucks.

Hey I Googled You - Now What?

It happens, all the time. You find a site and then you leave 2 seconds later (If you reached this section of my post that you've been here for a bit longer - good for you!!) as the content is not relevant to what you're looking for. How do you improve this? With your SEO expert consultant or learned knowledge drive people to highly customizes landing pages that incorporate the search keywords that brought them there. For example, the page titles and headers should include these keywords. Have a strong call to action based on the keywords. For example, I was searching for vacations in Florida, I want to see a list of vacation packages on the landing page that I get to with "learn more" button regarding seeing Disney World or visiting the Florida Keys (here's a good example of a result I found based on this search). I don't want to see trips to Hawaii or the North Pole on this landing page mixed in with Florida trips. This is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended - OK, maybe I did intend it).

You Searched. You Found. You Left. Now What?

The good news is that your efforts should pay off as you should start to see higher sales and/or greater lead generation from the new web traffic you're getting. However, what if people come to your site but don't purchase anything right away? That's OK and should be expected. More and more organizations are leveraging their software to use search queries in productive methods. For example, why not send an email to those people that came to your site based on a certain keyword but maybe didn't download a certain white paper and/or complete their sales order? I've also seen others use search queries as part of an automated lead qualification process. There are many ways that you can leverage the search traffic you're getting.

Bottom line - don't get left behind as the only thing you'll be searching for is a new job. Having a website and sending out direct mail or email isn't going to cut it. You need a fully integrated marketing effort that is fresh, creative and exciting. Keep thinking about how "Anything Goes" and never forget it.

Happy searching!

Chad H

PS: Great resource - SEOmoz
PPS: Here's my Anything Goes Marketing tip of the day (I get these the odd time) - does your organization use a type of regular reporting email tool with your customers? If you do, think about including some small marketing messages such as a link to an upcoming webinar or event, a link to the latest copy of your newsletter, or a link to your new product/service offerings. Customers expect to get these emails so spice them up a bit and keep on marketing.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How to Start a Business Blog or Corporate Blog

If you do a search for "How to start a blog" you will get a ton of results - from a 3 year old that started their first blog about losing their teeth to a 98 year old that started a blog about losing their dentures. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit but you know what I mean. This post isn't for starting just any blog. It provides authoritative tips for those that want to start a business blog (corporate blog).

Tips to help start your business blog (corporate blog):

Starting a Business Blog - BBB Quick GuidesStarting a Corporate Blog?

Blogging for Beginners and Business Blogging 101 by Darren Rowse at Problogger - highly recommended.

Naked Conversations - Where Robert Scoble & Shel Israel wrote their corporate blogging book

Biz Blogging 101 Great repository of resources on NEWPRWiki

How to Start a Business Blog, Part I - A two part series from Bolder Blogs
How to Start a Business Blog, Part II

Starting a Business Blog? Here Are a Few Questions You Need to Answer

Starting a Corporate Blog? - Good post by Owen Lystrop

7 Questions To Ask Yourself BEFORE Starting A Business Blog

Starting a Business Blog: Remember the Planning Phase

Check out Easton's series called Corporate Blog Reviews to find out what your competition and other businesses are up to.

This is just the beginning so please let me know if there are additional posts that need to be added.

Chad H.

PS - Here's a post on some poor corporate blogs: The worst Fortune 500 blogs - Part I




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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Warning to Businesses: Blogs are a Means to Self-Promotion

Beware - blogs can be used to tell the entire world about what your company has recently accomplished or how you screwed up but made it right. I was visiting my family this weekend in New York and it hit me. My five year old niece proudly displayed to her whole family the new gap in her mouth where her baby tooth used to be. She had just lost her tooth and she wanted to be sure everyone was aware of this momentous occasion. Everyone in the room applauded her upon reaching this milestone in her life.

As adults, we also crave attention. We want the world to know about something we did, something we know or just to say "hey world, look at me!". Blogging allows for this. It permits you the opportunity to share a story, post an industry tip or promote your new business. Never has there been a tool that makes it this easy to reach so many people at such little to no cost to you.

So the question is, what are you waiting for? If your a business out there looking for an avenue to outflank your competitor in, get blogging. You can't tell me that you don't need to promote your business as it's already too well known. Blogging is the perfect way to let the world about your new "missing tooth" and to get a leg up on your competition.

Chad H.

PS - you can also use blog to promote your own blog and what you have acheived (or not acheived) on your blog! See my post called: Mastercard priceless moment at Anything Goes Marketing

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Over 40 Tips on How to Increase Your Web Traffic

If you're looking for a great resource to increase the number of web visitors that come to your website, check out Copyblogger's How to Attract Links and Increase Web Traffic – The Ultimate Guide. There are some great links and tips on obtaining more links to your site and ensuring that more people will visit or website or blog.

Chad H.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So You Think You can be a Blog Consultant?

It seems easy, right? You know the ins and outs of blogging and you think that you can help businesses setup their own blogs - think again.

You may have the skills but if you can't convey your vision to your client and make them "see the light" of blogging and how it helps their business you will never sell anything and the only person who will want your help is your mother who needs help setting up the VCR (don't even bother explaining to them what a DVD is).

If you're looking for a good resource on how to align your expertise with your potential clients, sign up for the weekly newsletter on Rain Today. They have some great articles such as "How To Communicate The Value Of Your Services". In this article, John Doer explains the RAIN method of selling in which you develop a Rapport with a potential client, find out what their Aspirations and Afflictions are, what Impact your solution will have on their aspirations and afflictions, and finally making them understand the "New Reality" that their business will experience.

To get to the "New Reality" John suggests asking questions like "What do you want to have happen as a result of our work together?". These are great questions to consider that will help you generate new customers that will understand the importance of the service that you are providing and that service is the new medium of blogging - an easy concept for bloggers to get but much harder for the rest of the business world that is still stuck setting their VCRs.

Chad H.

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SEO is decreasing

SEO (search engine optimization) spending as a percentage of paid search is decreasing as reported in Marketing Sherpa's new "Top 7 Search Marketing Insights for 2005". SEO went from 12% to 10% of paid search from 2005 to 2006. Pretty interesting considering how competitive paid search is and how Google has recently changed AdWords to include relevancy of the landing page as a factor.

However, SEO did provide the best ROI as rated by marketers - better then paid search and house email marketing.

I encourage you to check out the rest of the report if SEO floats your boat.

Chad

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Have you Heard of Slide for Posting Pictures? You Should!

Just like YouTube, there's a new picture slide show tool out there that B2C marketers should get a handle on. It's called Slide.

Here's a sample:


If you own a small business, you can also use this to show off your products in Ebay, Craigslist and other formats. Want to create your own Slide, start here. Have fun!

Chad H.


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Spoof: Classifying Business Bloggers Based on Industry

Here are the ways that business bloggers can be classified should be called based on their industry. Where do you fit in?

  • Fogger - weather and climate industry.
  • Hogger - fast food and banking industry and possibly the government. Hoggers typically don't allow you to leave comments either.
  • Dogger - pet industry (or someone who rarely blogs)
  • Mogger - criminals
  • Logger - forestry or alcohol industry
  • Phogger - academics
  • Jogger - sports bloggers
  • Shogger - porn industry
  • Strogger - weight lifting
  • Blinger - Showbiz
  • Bull Shogger - Legal
  • Blogwarer - software
  • Gagger - Comedian
  • Fertilogger - farming
  • Advertogger - advertising
  • Wholsogger - wholesale / trading
  • Educogger - teaching / education
  • Photographogger - photography
  • Doctogger - health
  • Flogger - police
  • Rocker - music
  • Sogger - fire
  • Airlogger - airlines
  • Manufactogger - manufacturing
  • Chemilogger - chemical
  • Cementogger - cement
  • $ogger - finance
  • Bloggoiler - oil and gas
  • Real Estogger - real estate
  • Cover-upogger - definitely government
  • Publishogger - publishing
  • Restaurogger - food industry
  • Drogger - pharmaceutical
  • Biotechnilogger - Biotechnology
  • Fast togger - used car dealerships
Did I miss anything? :)

Chad H.

PS - stay tuned for a part II of this as I left many out.

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Warning: Your Blog Post Titles are Crap

Darren over at Blog Republic has written an excellent post on how to improve the titles of your blog posts. In his post Great Titles Are The SuperWeapon Of Successful Bloggers Darren suggests the following to "spice up" your titles:

1) Be funny - funny titles catch people off guard
2) Make sure you spell right
3) Capitalize all letters for maximum effect
4) Use specific keywords - but don’t be robotic

Darren suggests that titles be created so that they are call to actions like: "Alert: Spinach Kills". Thanks Darren!

Happy blogging!

Chad H.


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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why Technorati is pissing me off

Yes, Technorati is an amazing website that has been extremely beneficial to the blogosphere. It allows you to announce your blog to the rest of the world, and easily find information that other blogs have blogged about. It also lets you know where your blog stands in comparison to other blogs - i.e. how popular it is.

Here's the problem: If you have an issue with Technorati, good luck getting help. In my case, Technorati for some reason is not recognizing when I ping it. Therefore, although I keep posting new posts on my blog, Technorati is not scanning my blog and these posts will not show up in Technorati. This is really pissing me off. So what do I do? First I go to Technorati's FAQ section and look for some assistance. What do I find? Absolutely nothing that is helpful. I was looking for something like "What do you do if Technorati is not recognizing your ping?" or something like that. I found this help section to be useless.

So what do I do? I try and contact them. This is the automated message that I get:

Dear Technorati User,

Thank you for taking the time to drop us a line. If you are reporting a problem you may be having you will be contacted by a support technician once we have had a chance to review your message.

If you don't hear back from anyone within a few business days then please let us know and be sure to include the subject and ticket number, "[Feedback] Blogger #48489], " in your note so we may properly track your issue and its progress. In the meantime, you can also check our Support FAQ located at "technorati.com/help/supportfaq.html" which may answer some of your questions.

If you have written us to share feedback, ideas or suggestions then you will not normally receive a response but we do appreciate and value any and all comments, alerts and suggestions.

Thank you for using Technorati and we hope we may be of service.

feedback@technorati.com

This is BS. Why do I need to email them again to remind them about the email that I sent them??? Anyways do I hear from them? NOPE! Five business days later I email Technorati again as they instructed above and I've yet to hear from them. Technorati plays a crucial part in the lives of blogger and if it has faulty technology then it better have good customer service. If Technorati has crappy technology and bad customer service that it has a huge problem. There's an opportunity for another player to step in and become the new technorati - one that listens to its members. If another player comes into this space I will give them a long, hard look and may consider jumping. I can't afford to have a service like this not spider my blog.

Has anyone had other issues with Technorati?

Chad H.

PS - Maybe Dave Sifry, the Technorati CEO, will see this post and someone will finally listen to me.
PPS - Here are some other blogs that have writen about the problems with Technorati:
PPPS - After doing some searching on Google, I found a great post from Janice called: Having Trouble Claiming Your Blog? It looks like all I have to do is post this code (which I could NOT find on Technorati): Technorati Profile We'll see if this works!

UPDATE 09/20/06: Technorati has responded to my emails and has ensured that my blog has been updated on Technorati. Thanks Janice!

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Mastercard priceless moment at Anything Goes Marketing

  • Amount of money I've made on Adsense in four months: $2.29

  • Number of inbound links that I have to my blog in four months: 229

  • The vast amount of knowledge that I've gained regarding blogging, e-marketing, search marketing (SEO), online advertising, and email marketing by blogging? PRICELESS!
Here's a funny one I found on Youtube:



Chad H.

PS - I forgot to mention how much fun I'm having!

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Hey I found your blog - now what? Tips for those new to blogs

Today is already a good day for you as you made it to my blog. Maybe you got here from Google or another random search. The good news is that you're here. If you have no idea what a blog is (no, it's not from some Ghostbuster movie), are new to blogs and blogging, or have some idea but don't know what to do with one , you've landed on the right page. I'll keep this very short and sweet for you.

  • What is a blog? Is it like a UFO? No, it's not a UFO or something you find in a swamp. In simple terms a blog (a web log) is like a regular website but it's typically much more personal and the content can be written by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection (so keep that in mind). I'll keep my definition really high level but click here if want more details.

  • What are blog comments? If you land on a page that has an article that you like or you would like to add your say, look for the "comments" link or area and fill it out. Bloggers love good comments and this is what blogging is all about so if you like a blog add a comment!

  • What is a bookmark and what are those stupid icons at the bottom of the page?: Don't know what Digg or Del.icio.us are (see my icons at the bottom of this post)? They are ways to bookmark what you are reading so you can go back to them later. The reason bloggers want you to bookmark their articles is because it increases their blog traffic. When you submit an article to these directories it tells the web world that you like this article and that others may want to read it. This increases the popularity and directs traffic to the blog. So if you like this post, bookmark me! :)

  • What the hell is RSS (really stupid something or other) and web feeds etc... Don't worry too much about this if you're just browsing around. RSS (really simple syndication) allows you to sign up and receive updates when bloggers post new content. Here's a good article on RSS if you're interested. Some blogs like mine allow you to subscribe to updates using email as well.

  • Why do I see advertisements (like Ads by Google) all over these pages? You'll see a bunch of these links and images on most blogs. These are called AdSense ads and they serve up advertisement links based on the content of the web page you are on. These are usually garbage links so just ignore these and only click on them if you're interested. There are other types like Amazon.com ads which are other types of affiliate marketing ads which are also a waste of your time. Concentrate on the content - isn't that why you came to this page in the first place?

  • What is a blogroll? Is it like a croissant? No - much different but blogrolls can be tastier! A blogroll contains blogs that the blog author likes. These are typically related to the subject matter of the blog you are on.

  • Archives? What is this a library? Well, yes it is. Past articles that the blog author has written. Yikes! I have written a ton.

  • What are tracebacks / Links to this post? Is it an FBI/George Bush tracking scam? Well, it might be. Tracebacks show you who may have linked to the page you are on. I would ignore this unless you have a blog of your own. Keep in mind that the more people that have linked to the page you are on, the more popular it is (typically).
Am I missing anything? Let me know if this was helpful.

Chad H.

PS - I wrote this post as I understand that it's frustrating for those who don't really understand what a blog is and are new to blogging. I heard from one of my commenters that some people don't even know that you can leave comments on a blog.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Should my business blog be part of my site or on a new domian?

Mark White over at Better Business Blogging addresses the question: Business Blog: separate domain or on your website. His answer is the same that I found - it depends.

It seems that if you're looking at boosting the web traffic on your main site, your corporate blog should be an extension of your site (eg: www.cnn.com/blog). However, if you're looking to change the focus of your main site, you may want to consider a blog with its own domain. For example, if your blog is focusing more on your industry then what your company does, you may want to appear as more of an "independent expert" or "trusted advisor". This is difficult to do but typically looks better when you don't paste your logo all over your blog.

I think this debate will continue for a while but thanks Mark for the great post!

Chad H.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

21 Tips to increase blog traffic from SEOmoz.org

There is a great article on tips to bump up and improve your blog traffic on SEOmoz.org called "21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic". A few interesting notes:

  • They suggest that the best blog domain is one that is in a subfolder off of your main domain like www.cnn.com/blog
  • Tips on writing titles: Write for audience and for search engines. They suggest that suggest that you should "write the post and the title first, then run a few searches at Overture, WordTracker & KeywordDiscovery to see if there is a phrasing or ordering that can better help you to target "searched for" terms." Great tip!!
  • They mention that Ask.com's blog search is good to use to search for blogs of interest
  • Don't add comments until you build up enough traffic
  • Watch what you submit to Digg and Reddit. Only submit 1 in 20 - interesting
Other then that, most of the tips were pretty basic but worth reading. When it comes down to it, we all know that driving traffic is pretty difficult. At Anything Goes, I try and do some different things to drive blog traffic. My latest "success" was to comment on a very popular blog post that was forwarded on to me. I just capitalized on a successful post over at Laz-a-fare by pointing people to my related post.

Again, great job Rand and thanks for your tips.

Chad H

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Email or e-mail: Who cares? I do!

This is a quick post to indicate how stupid that it is that we can't standardize what we call email. I see email and e-mail and my one wish for today is that we standardize this finally.

I just thought of this as I'm learning more and more about email (notice how I removed the stupid dash) deliverability as this is becoming a very hot topic in the email marketing world. Here is an article that I've come across on email deliverability from B2B Online called : How can I optimize deliverability as anti-spam solutions become the norm? There are some good tips about ensuring that you're IP address is recognized etc...

Another article I found on IMedia on permission based email and what is considered a violation of CAN-SPAM called "How to Spam-Proof Your Marketing Message" is worth a read. It lets you know when you can send someone an email without violating US laws. I liked how it gave you a scenario such as: you obtained an email from a third party list - can you email that person? What's most interesting is how unclear this law really is. The lines are really blurry and I would really like to see a company get prosecuted for sending emails to a list obtained from a third party.

Chad H.

PS - Here's a thought for the day. Someone leaves a comment on your blog, can you send them an email? I have received emails before and based on the article above, this is a violation of CAN-SPAM as I never gave permission to get emailed. This is something that bloggers should consider. Perhaps placing some sort of message before leaving a comment is required? Any thoughts?

PPS - What do you think e-mail or email or do you not care?

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Integrated marketing campaigns using YouTube!

Thinking about a new marketing campaign to promote a new product? Why not consider doing a video that could be used as a TV ad, website video, posted on YouTube, added to your business blog, linked to from emails and advertised in magazines and print material. Sounds difficult eh? Maybe, but if you're going to spend the money on that 30 second TV spot, mind as well get the most out of it by fully integrating the concept across all of your marketing channels.

Check out the video below from NFLShop.com. Notice how it's not only frickin hilarious but has a message to push you to their website to buy their stuff. This obviously isn't something new but I did stumble on this from YouTube which is definitely a new way to access marketing messages.

Don't have enough money for a TV ad? Simplify this. You can still create that video but ensure that it's high quality so you can post it on the YouTubes and other video venues as well as posting on your site and blog as well as linked from other sources such as email. Keep all options open.

For your business blog remember that it's only one avenue as part of your overall marketing plan and it should work in conjunction with your other marketing efforts. While you may have different objectives, it doesn't hurt to add links to a cool new ad or perhaps a button advertising an upcoming webinar or new download. As long as it's all related and adds value to the user experience, it's all good. The above video is definitely a gem. Wonder if these types of concepts will become more prominent in B2B? What do you think?

Chad H.

Update:
Found an article on ClickZ regarding integrated marketing campaigns using direct mail and email.

PS - Just found this article called "How multiple channels help NFLShop.com refine its Internet game plan" which means I'm not the only one that spotted this great marketing job that these gusy are doing.
PPS - video advertising on the net is really taking off. Wait for Google AdVideo. I'm sure it's almost ready to go.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tips on How to Build Blog Traffic from the Problogger

Darren Rowse the ProbloggerHere's a great podcast found on Yaro Starak's Entrepeneur's Journey blog in which he interviews Darren Rowse of Problogger. The topic of this audio download is "Building Blog Traffic". I've summarized some of what was discussed minus Yaros' babbling.

To increase traffic on your blog, Darren stresses the use of SEO (but doesn't really elaborate it on it), posting innovative content (eg: a product release on his digital camera blog), staying ahead of the trends, and picking a niche or sub-niche topic. For example, you can blog about Adsense which is a sub-niche of Problogger.

In terms of social bookmarking, technology posts do well in Digg and Del.icio.us. Using lists (like a top 10 list) is something that works as well. When people do sign up for your blog or show interest in you blog, look after them and write for them.

Darren also suggests to write about items that incorporate keywords that are highly searched on (interesting because Hitail argues counter to this). He has also started an email newsletter by capturing email addresses. People forward his newsletters on to others and so on.

In the beginning, Darren used to comment on around 100 blogs a day! These people would come to his site and helped build up his brand. Darren also stresses keeping it real and writing with emotion.

Give it a listen and see if you get any more out of it.

Chad H.


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Blog content tip - Don't let your content go to waste

Recycle your blog contentYou may be saying to yourself, what should I blog about today? This is no different from a marketer saying "Where am I going to get quality content for our email newsletter." This was similar to a situation that in which I discussed the idea of helping a client create a lead nurturing (maturation) program using emails that are sent out periodically based on user activity. The response I received was "I don't have the resources to create this content". The answer is closer then you think - look at what you've already done!

You would be surprised (perhaps shocked) at all of the great content that you already have on your blog that you can reuse. You may have new users that have never seen some of your older posts or you may have some great content that requires updating based on new technology and research that is out there.

Here are some tips on recycling your blog content:

  • Come up with a topic and then search your blog and see what posts already exist. You can either refer to this post or blend a few posts together. For example, if the topic is search marketing, see what comes up on your blog. I know that I have a few posts on search tips that I plan to amalgamate these to one post and perhaps create a top 10 list on blog SEO tips that have worked for me (some day, some day). You can also take a recent story and apply it to one of your blog posts.

  • Do a "best of " post in which you blog about your favourite or most popular posts

  • Take one of your posts and republish it with an update based on some new data that's out there. You can even do a search across the blogosphere and add links from other bloggers.

  • Here's a good one - look at your blog comments. If you have a good blog, you probably have some good comments on there that you can share. Give your readers, the people that come to your blog and comment on it, a pat on the back and blog about them.

  • Compile some of your blog posts and create a downloadble white paper or e-book. This is really easy to do and is a great lead generation tool.

  • Look beyond your blog. If you have a corporate blog look at your other marketing materials - website articles, ads, email, white papers, pamphlets, trade show materials etc... etc... Why not republish a reference email from a client (with their permission) or comments that other blogs have made about your company or blog (good ones AND bad ones). Why not blog about comments you've left on other blogs? The possibilities are endless.
Remember, you've invested a lot of time in your blog and for the most part, your posts should be well thought out and useful. Why waste this great content? Forget the three R's and go with two of them - reuse and recycle. Most importantly, have fun and keep blogging.

Chad H.

PS - OK, there are some posts like my one called Google in Space that should be retired forever but that was early in my blogging career so please, look away.


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Monday, September 04, 2006

How to convert blog traffic into loyal readers

After reading an inspiring article on ClickZ regarding effective landing pages, I've decided to look at ways to improve conversions on blogs. By conversions, I don't mean clicking on the "order now" button as this isn't very common on blogs. What I mean by conversions is making it easy to subscribe to your RSS feed, bookmarking your posts, and/or leaving comments. In this way, businesses can help generate leads using blogs and you can increase your blog traffic

Many people find your blog daily either from comments you may have left on other blogs, links from other websites, random searches etc... The question is, how do you keep this traffic and convert these people into regular readers?

I must admit that I'm still tweaking my blog daily to improve my conversion rate but here is what I've found from my own experiences.

10 ways to increase blog conversions

  • Write compelling and informative content. If people happen to find your blog, ensure that that it's worth reading and is on topic. If you write crappy content, don't expect people to browse your blog or return to it in the future.
  • Keep your content focused. You should have a blog description. This could be a one-liner or an objective, make sure that your content keeps to this objective (I sometimes admittedly don't do this)

  • On every page, make sure that people can easily subscribe to your blog. This means placing the subscribe RSS feed icon at the top of your blog. By the way, if you're looking for some creative feed icons, check out my feed icon library. In addition, provide multiple ways to subscribe which may mean by email as well.

  • Make browsing your blog easy. Blogger Beta 2.0 has added a category feature which makes this really easy. The trick is to use this! People that land on my blog can easily check out my other content. I've also added my most popular posts which demonstrates some of my best (or worst work). I also plan to add an additional column - my favourite posts. Also, don't forget to add links to your other blog posts. Notice how I did this in the last point. Lastly, adding an archive feature is also a good idea as it allows users to browse your posts chronologically.

  • Add credibility to your blog. Look for blog awards and apply for them. Notice how I've added my S.O.B. award so that it's front and centre. Have look at what blog awards are out there by going to Google and searching for them. You never know what you'll find.

  • Make adding comments easy. Ask yourself - do you need to make fields mandatory when adding comments? Don't place barriers in the way of allowing people to add comments. Also, allow people to read the post as they leave the comment. This may make it easier.

  • Allow people to track their comments. Blogger Beta 2.0 actually creates a feed of the blog comments that makes this quite easy. If you're not able to set this up, at least add Cocomment to your blog to allow people to track their conversations. I use this and find it fairly effective.

  • Add a link back to your home page. Sound obvious? It took Google a few weeks to add this in for Blogger Beta 2.0. Remember that people will be landing on various pages of your blog. Make it easier to come back

  • Have an "About the author" area that is front and centre. Blogging is all about being personal. Add a picture and a short paragraph about who you are and where your from to your blog to show that you are a human just like your readers are. In addition, listing your credentials can add credibility to your blog focus. I work for Eloqua which is a leader in marketing automation software and I'm on the front lines of e-marketing on a daily basis. I have a good idea as to what I'm blogging about. I've even found people that relate to my background which includes technology, business and history (yes, history).

  • Show how much fun you are having. I personally love to blog as it allows me to organize all of the ideas that I'm generating regarding business blogging, search marketing, and e-mail marketing. While this is great, also show the fun you're having. This is typically done by certain posts. Here are some of my own examples: I made it to one month, Paris Hilton plays games using ebay, Google and myspace, Blogs let the rest of us take back the night etc... etc... If you're having fun out there with your blog it should be fairly obvious.
I hope that these tips will improve your blog conversions and even increase your blog traffic. If you have any additional methods to improve blog conversions, please leave me a note.

Chad H.


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Anything about marketing - top 10 marketing blogs

Every once in a while it's great to stop and look around the blogosphere at what some of the great bloggers are writing about when it comes to marketing. Since it is labour day, I thought I would raise a glass to those top marketing bloggers as defined by technorati. Here they are:

1. Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger

Photo of scobleizer
Microsoft Geek Blogger, writes about the technology industry.



2. Seth's Blog

Photo of sethgodin



3. Signum sine tinnitu--by Guy Kawasaki

Photo of gkawasaki
Entrepreneurship, marketing, venture capital, & evangelism



4. Micro Persuasion

Photo of steverubel
Steve Rubel explores how social media is transforming marketing, media and public relations.



5. Search Engine Watch Blog


6. Shoemoney - Skills to pay the bills : Shoemoney Marketing Thoughts

Photo of shoemoney Hi- I am Jeremy Schoemaker AKA ShoeMoney. This is my personal Blog about my adventures trying to make a living online


7. Creating Passionate Users

Photo of KathySierra
Helping users kick ass



8. gapingvoid: cartoons drawn on the back of business cards

Photo of gapingvoid hugh macleod writes about marketing, advertising and the wine business




9. This is.... Transbuddha.com


10. Adrants » Marketing and Advertising News With Attitude by Steve Hall

Photo of shall62
Advertising and Marketing News With Attitude





If you hadn't heard of these before, that would probably be a big surpise. However, if you haven't, check them out and enjoy. You'll notice that the links go to Technorati as it's good to see why these are rated as they are (i.e. check out the number of inbound links).

Have a great labour day!

Chad H.

PS - Remmeber to use Technorati to search for blogs and/or items of interest. You can even setup RSS feeds to make this easier.



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