Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Search Engine Optimization Success

How can blogs affect marketing campaigns? Very easily actually. I wrote a blog post about a Nissan Sentra ad campaign called "7 Days in a Sentra" that I didn't think was all that great. My blog post was called 7 Days in a Crapbox (Nissan Sentra). I've actually received a tremendous amount of traffic from all of the major search engines except for Yahoo.

My biggest success so far has been from If you type in the name of the Nissan Campaign "7 days in a Nissan Sentra" my blog post appears first (see image)! I'm #4 if you search on "7 days in a sentra". You will also see a number of other blogs that come back in the search results.

Remember: Blogs do make a difference and are highly optimized for search engines so keep blogging and people will find you and listen!

Chad H.


Screw ROI - Think LOI (Loyal Opt-Ins)

Someone signs up to receive your blog feed or email updates from you - what do you do? If you're answer is "nothing" or "We send them an email when the next campaign rolls around" then you should read this post.

Generate Loyal Opt-Ins or LOI

There is an article by Stefan Pollard on ClickZ called A Good First Impression Equals Stronger Opt-In Relationship in which he provides some easy tips on how to respond to those people who have signed up for updates from you. You can do any one of the following things (and some of my own):
  • Send a special offer for new subscribers
  • Send a request for additional contact information for a mail-in offer
  • Ask for additional lead qualification questions - eg: age, sex, purchase time frame, annual revenue (depends on whether it's B2B or B2C).
  • Links to the most recent newsletter, products, press releases, white papers, webcasts, events etc...
  • Customer support information
  • Instructions on how to add your email address to their protected list
  • Information on what type of emails they can expect and when. You can also include ways for them to select the emails they want to receive
  • Survey/Feedback forms soliciting data from them - For example: what interests you the most?
Here's the most important tip: Send this initial email out right away! Don't wait a few weeks. If someone has opt-ed in, show then value right away. Don't just think about ROI but also LOI (loyal opt-ins).

Bloggers Can Make New Subscribers Feel Special Too

Sending a quick follow up to opt-ins may seem easy for organizations to do this with their regular corporate websites but how can blogs take advantage of this? Many bloggers such as Darren Rowse and Yaro Starak allow you to sign up to receive email updates. Therefore you not only have the option to sign up for their RSS blog feed but you can get an email update as well. For those new subscribers, send them a quick follow up email with some of the tips I've outlined above. Obviously not all of these apply but even a quick "Thanks for subscribing, here are some of my better posts may really build your LOI.

For RSS subscribers, this is more difficult as it's tough to tell who the people are that have subscribed to you (unless you have more sophisticated tracking - hey, am I right here?). One thing that you can try is including a standard footer in your blog post that is directed to new subscribers. It could be something like the following:

New to Anything Goes Marketing? Thanks for subscribing! Have a look at the following posts that may interest you:
If you're looking for some additional information, have a suggestion for a new post, looking for an interview or to do a podcast or would like to exchange some content, give me a shout at I'm also available to do book reviews!

Try this out and see how it works. Let me know if it drives higher blog traffic. I'll let you know as well!

Until next time,

Chad H.

PS - my wife and I just bought a place in Toronto so we've been busy with that. We'll need to do some serious packing in the next few weeks and hence the lower number of posts.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Where do Your Email Newsletters go? Email Heaven?

Does your company have an email newsletter? If you do, then you've decided that your company has something to say and is committed to producing high quality content that is valuable to your customers and potential customers. Typically this content is great stuff and includes tips, industry news, offers and other useful bits of information. What typically happens to these email newsletters after you hit the "send" button? If you've answered "they float out to email heaven" then you need to read this post.

For Heavens Sake Don't Waste Your Great Content

Your marketing team has worked hard on your email newsletter. They've come up with great headlines, well crafted content and loyal readers. Why would you waste this content once you send out the email? All of that great content could actually drive people to your website and generate new leads as people will be searching for content contained within your newsletters. Newsletters are full of search friendly keywords that people search for on a daily basis. Your newsletters should not only be used as awareness tools to keep current customers informed as well as nurture potential prospects. They can also play a central role in your SEO (search engine optimization) plan (If you don't have an SEO plan, start here). Your newsletters should contain your targeted keywords that support your overall SEO goals. Are you uploading a PDF version of your newsletter to your site? Think again - PDFs are not search friendly.

Consider Combining Email Newsletters and Blogs = A Blogletter

How can you take your email newsletters to the next level to maximize their SEO effectiveness? Why combine it with your email newsletter with your blog of course! Blogs are highly optimized for search engines as they are updated frequently and built with well formatted code. Consider publishing your newsletter articles to a blog. Blogs also allow web visitors to leave comments which even furthers the lead generation component of your email newsletter. In the end you have created a Blogletter! I hope these tips help you and if you have implemented something like this, please let me know!

Chad H.

Related Posts:


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Writing a White Paper? Read The Following Book

Perhaps you're looking to position your business as the industry expert or convince C-level executives that you understand their business issues and can provide solutions they need. Whichever the case, creating a white paper will help your organization generate new leads and help close out sales. The next question is - How do I create a white paper? You may think it's quite easy but when you sit down and you're in front of your monitor with your Starbucks grande latte you realize that writing a white paper is a tremendous task.

Writing a White Paper - Where do I Start?

After reading Michael Stelzner's new book "Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged" I would highly recommend that you start with this book. Michael is one of the leading authorities on the topic of writing and marketing white papers and has written a simple easy to read book on the topic. Why should I have any idea on this subject? I provide advice to my clients on a daily basis on how to improve their online marketing tactics so I know a bit about white papers and lead generation. I also have a writing background with a Masters' in history (I know history! Thank goodness I went back to school in technology!).

Why "Writing White Papers"

Why did I like this book? Michael clearly lays out what the purpose of white papers are, what you should be trying to achieve, how to research your given topic, how to structure your white paper, what to avoid (really important!) and how to market your white paper once you have completed your masterpiece.

Some of the specific items that I liked were:
  • Great tips such as interviewing subject matter experts for your white paper as well as some excellent marketing ideas such as strategies in displaying your white papers on your website. For example: Provide quotations on what people thought about your white paper.
  • Excellent research resources at the end of the book
  • Clearly laid out plan on how to write white papers. Michael even discusses the setting and frame of mind you want to be in when starting to write a white paper. All he needs to do is write the white paper for you (which I'm sure he would gladly do for a cost!)
While I found the book a bit repetitive, this was effective in reinforcing the key points of the book. Michael also recommended that when someone fills out a form to download a white paper, you should delay the sending of the white paper for 30 minutes. I'm not sure I would recommend that as typically web visitors expect things right away and may not want to wait around for this.
However, this is something that you may want to test out for yourself.

After reading this book (which only took me about 3 hours to plow through) I was even inspired to think about a white paper that would be specific to blogs. Michael believes that white papers really should be without humour and personality but blogs as we know are much different and are all about being informal. How about something called a "Blog Paper"? :)

Any other good books that you've read to help generate leads for your business? I wish you all the success at this!

Chad H.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Microsites, Blogging and Business Blogshit

It's no wonder that a JupiterKagan study has reported that "promotional microsites will become more popular with larger advertisers during the next year." Microsites allow companies, especially large ones, to post content that doesn't have the same guidelines and red-tape that the main corporate websites have. This gives marketers the flexibility to focus on promoting a single product/service or product line while allowing for new features that may seem risky for the main website. It can also be combined with other marketing channels such as paid search and direct mail to name a few for a controlled integrated marketing approach.

Hypersites - Affordable Microsites that Increase the Hype

I was a bit surprised that only 30% of companies over $500 million in the past year use microsites according to this same study. I know that many of my own clients who are much much smaller (I know an association that uses one) use these for such things as product promotions, product launches, event promotions, email list builders (combined with direct mail), knowledge libraries and customer retention (customer surveys) to name a few off the top of my head. One of the main advantages of microsites that I see (we call them hyperistes) is the ability to personalize the experience using dynamic content substitution. Therefore based on a person's behaviour and/or attributes (eg: industry or product interest) different content is served up. While this is a great user experience that is customized on a 1 to 1 basis, it's still only one side of the conversation - the marketer telling the prospect about a new product or service.

Web 2.0 - Microsites on Crack

In terms of web 2.0, it was interesting that the study sees a "movement toward consumer-generated content" which it sees "will be an important component of microsites". This includes the use of blogs as well as other web 2.0 tools such as RSS, podcasts, video and more. The sky is the limit. This is the other half of the conversation which allows the user to have their own say and contribute to the conversation.

Business Blogshit Revealed

Blogs have a lot of potential but already we are seeing it being abused with fake blogs such as Wal-Mart's Wal-Marting Across America which was written by an "old couple" that were paid to spew happy praises about Walmart. What a bunch of crap. It was probably written by a couple of pro-bloggers or the Walmart marketing team. Marketers beware - if you're trying to establish a brand that people can trust, don't ruin it by lying to your existing or potential customers. We see right through it.

Remember: the Internet is a highway that goes both ways - your message can be spread out to the masses in a split second but the masses will also turn on you just as quickly if you try to dupe them. In addition, some of these blogs like the Wal-mart blog and the new Nissan Sentra blog don't even allow you to leave comments! So much for the "conversation" approach.

Lets hope that as we further adapt to the new tools of web 2.0 that we keep things real - the way that blogging was meant to be.

Chad H.

PS - I don't consider a blog a blog unless I can leave a comment. What do you think?
PPS - check out the comments for my post called 7 Days in a Crapbox (Nissan Sentra)
Who do you think really left that comment? :)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Email Marketing 101: Tips and Best Practices

If you're new to the world of email marketing then I have a few good resources for you!

Are you moving from a B2C company to B2B? For a basic overview of some of the differences between B2B and B2C email marketing, check out check out Tricia Robinson's article called "B2B vs. B2C Email Marketing".

Email Marketing Best Practices

Looking for some up to date best practices? DM News has published their "Essential Guide to Email Marketing". This is definitely worth a read as there are some great articles from industry experts regarding email design, copy, best practices and strategies. There's also a lot of fluff and advertising BS but its worth having a look at.

There were a few articles that stuck out for me:
  • Key Elements of a Winning Opt-in Offer: Provides some good copy tips to entice prospects from providing you their email address. For example, if you're providing a free white paper, show the implied value "This Special Free Report is $19 value" and let them know how easy it is to just fill out a form and how fast they'll receive the information once they sign up.
  • Writing Subject Lines that get Your Email Opened: Here are some great ideas for the copy of your subject line. For example - Make an announcement, make the intended receiver curious, create a sense of urgency or emphasize how the reader will benefit from your email.
  • Reputation not Content Affects Whether Consumers Receive Your Email: This article explains how reputation (your IP address that you send emails from) affects your deliverability rates.
UPDATE: Here's another good article on BtoBOnline that provides some additional design and copy tips for B2B email marketing:
  • Open rates increase when you have your corporate name in the subject line (on a side note it would be interesting to know if the "from address" contained the company name as well).
  • Post card style (one large image and single offer) and varied-cell (uses different boxes of text area images) emails had higher clickthrough rates. From my own experience I've seen a fantastic postcard email that just had two words as a call to action. Open and clickthroughs were some of the best I've ever seen.
  • 3 links in an email is optimal number of a high clickthrough rate and text links fared better then image links (makes sense with more images being blocked these days)
  • The top offers were a price discount or a free gift (hey, free Ipods still seem to work!)
Update Nov 19, 2006: I've included some additional tips from the Silverpop study called "Email Creative that Works". Here are the key findings as they relate to B2B email marketing:
  • Placing the call to action above the fold is crucial
  • Text style links averaged 3% more clicks then images
  • A person's name rather then a company or product produced better open rates
Update Nov 21, 2006: I found a great white paper by MailerMailer called "Email Marketing Metrics Report". It has email marketing benchmarks that include open and clickthrough rates across industries, advantages of personalization, HTML vs. Text emails and much more.
Hope you enjoy these!

Chad H.

Related Posts:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Winner of the One Million Blog Award

Anything Goes Marketing has been selected as a "Better Blog" according to One Million Blog. I'm not really sure what that means but I'm allowed to put this award logo on my blog and that's pretty cool. Yay me!

Chad H.


Simplify Your Landing Page, Increase Your Conversions

It's really tempting to dump all sorts of tidbits of info on your landing pages to try to convince web visitors to fill out your web forms. However, I test by demonstrated that a more simplified landing page had a better success rate in their article on ImediaConnection called: Use Single-Column Format and Up Revenue. Not convinced? Check out the stats:

What about blogs? Do you think they have too much garbage content besides the main blog posts? This content is obviously there for a different purpose but does it really add to the blog?

Chad H.

Here are some related posts:


B2B Case Study: Integrated Marketing Works for Revivio

Trying to justify the costs of an expensive integrated marketing campaign in which you use multiple marketing channels to generate leads? Check out this article on BtoBOnline called: Revivio uses integrated e-mail campaign to boost lead generation.

Revivio sent multiple emails with the call to action being a sales meeting and the chance to receive a free stereo. Muliple emails that reinforced each other were backed up by direct mail and telephone calls. The campaign had a 60% response rate and most of it came from email because supposedly they "were short, concise and punchy" (according to Revivio). They used a combination of in-house and purchased lists. Revivio also concluded that they're work in establishing their brand through online and offline ads (eg:, paid search and newsletters aided the success of this campaign. The other interesting item is that the free stereo wasn't the winner - it was the persistent marketing effort from all different angles that typically won the prospect over.

Conclusion: Don't use a single marketing channel for a campaign - think integrated marketing and see better results.

Chad H.

PS - Hey Revivio - if you see this, I'll take a free stereo (Let's see how well Google works!).
PPS - While were at it Revivio (assuming that you happen on my wee little blog), why not add a blog to your marketing mix?


Saturday, October 07, 2006

7 Days in a Crapbox (Nissan Sentra)

After I blogged about a great campaign to advertise the Honda Element, I saw another car campaign by Nissan that had a good idea but will probably fail miserably. It's called "7 Days in a Sentra" and the idea is that comedian Marc Horowitz will actually be living in this Sentra for 7 days under some really strict rules. They have a film crew that is filming his day to day activities of what real life is all about living in a Sentra. What a load of crap!

7 Days of BS

There are a few things that I didn't like about this campaign:
  • They're trying too hard - Reality TV should have some resemblance of being real. This had none of that. It was pure fake drivel. If you're trying to go the route of "keeping things real" then it should actually be real. His date, card game and other adventures were all staged.
  • They spent too much $$ - I think this will be a big waste of 40-50 million dollars.
  • It wasn't even funny! - I saw the video and didn't laugh and I am the target audience!
  • Live like a homeless person - Is it just me or does it seem like a commercial depicting the life of a homeless person with a car? This is not the kind of car that I would want or life I would strive for. What was the point of this campaign? To be funny!? See my last point.
  • 7 Days in a Crapbox - I didn't really think much of this car before I saw the commercial and didn't think much of it after I saw the commercial. Still seems like a small crapbox.
This is also supposed to be an integrated marketing campaign but we'll see how long it lasts before Nissan gets smart and pulls it. For example, I would have recommended creating a campaign site rather then just advertising on the main Nissan website and would have created an easier way to send the video to a friend. All they've done is placed a "mailto" link on the page with detailed instructions on how to send this to friends. This is basically saying we want to spend the least amount of money possible as we're already way too much on a crappy campaign. Well, good luck Nissan!

What do you think?

Chad H.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How to Improve Paid Search for B2B Lead Generation

Do you feel like you're wasting your marketing dollars on paid search and not getting the ROI you were expecting? Are people not hitting "Contact Sales" once they get to your site from a search ad? What do you do?

Here's a great article by Chris Marriott over at iMedia Connection called: 3 Steps to Email Marketing with Search. It basically explains that when people are at the beginning of the sales cycle, they're just looking for information so provide people a way to sign up for your newsletter or a link to a whitepaper. Don't expect them to sign up for a free consultation. The main purpose of paid search is to get the basic info and to get opt-in so that you can market to them in the future and find out if your company and the prospect are a good fit. As Chris says, don't use this as an "opportunity to propose marriage to prospective customers". Start small and build your way up.

Chad H.

PS: Here are some other useful posts on search marketing:

Monday, October 02, 2006

Top 10 List on the Positives of Corporate Blogging:

In a recent article, I read that executives still aren't getting the concept of corporate blogging which I think is BS. One of the questions that I keep hearing is: How do I drive more traffic to my website and keep them there? One way is to give out free IPods but this doesn't work anymore becuase everyone already and their dog has an IPod (PS - a future bloggy post will depict the sorry state of our nations hearing). Ok - so, how do you get more people to your site? Blogs of course silly rabbit! Why blogs? Good question.

Here is my top 10 list on the fly of some of the positives of corporate blogging:

  1. It gives a CEO something to do when they're stuck in an airport
  2. It gives your customers' and prospects' CEOs something to read when they're stuck in an airport. If they get really inspired (which they may), you may even see a few comments from them on your blog. I recommend making comments about people's moms - that really breaks the ice.
  3. Employees know that their CEO is not just drinking cocktails in the business lounge when they're stuck in an airport.
  4. It allows you to post content about your company that doesn't make a lot of sense but contains many links and keywords that will drive traffic to your site.
  5. It makes the CEO look a lot smarter then they actually may be as they can post the odd insightful comment (depending on how long the airport delay is).
  6. It gives marketers something (else) to do and can make them look really good.
  7. It's cheaper then Google AdWords. I think we all have given enough to Google!
  8. It's fun and different! It heightens the online experience for boring company websites. Instead of seeing these same top level web nav. buttons for B2B sites: about us, products, case studies, customers, resource, and contact us pages, you can put a real voice behind your company. Mix in podcasts and video blogs and you've got yourself a multi-media party! You can show everyone that you are different from your competition and that being stuck in an airport can be the greatest thing ever!
  9. Show me the $$$$!! Lets face it, it all comes down to the bling bling, ching ching. Blogs lead to further awareness about your company, which leads to people hitting your site, opting in to either email or RSS updates and eventually becoming your customer. You need to get into a conversation with them and blogging can help you get things started as it provides an interactive medium.
  10. I almost forgot this one. Besides the CEO, blogs give the Joe Schmo in your organization a voice as well. Jimmy in Development and Tammy in Support can be given the chance to either blog on the corporate blog, get their own corporate blog (Microsoft does this), or leave comments on other people's blogs. Are you sick of only reading articles about what a VP has to say? I know I am. Blogs let the rest of us "take back the night". Hey, if you don't let the little people blog on the corpoarte site, we're going to find a way to do it ourselves. With a corporate blog, you can moderate it and put some policies around it. It also allows companies to keep their ears to the ground so that they can listen to what their employees have to say as well as their customers (the actual users and not just the people that sign the cheques).

Until next time,

Chad H.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blogtipping for October on Anything Goes

Here are my blogs that I want to give a shout out to for October as part of Easton's Blogtipping:
  • Realty Blogging - Besides being a great resource for real estate agents, this provides some great tips for bloggers and all marketers. I like the design and layout as well as the pictures of the bloggers - this adds a personal touch. Keep up the great work!
  • Creating Passionate Users - Great content and ideas. I work with users of our product daily and found some great tips - thanks! I also like the use of images within the posts. These made the posts more approachable. I didn't like the "Scoble" image at the top left of the blog. Some people may not know what this is and this is a waste of space. I also thought that their is a lot of wasted space at the top center of the blog.
  • The Australian Small Business Blog - Another good blog to help small business owners in Australia. I liked the content and simplicity of this blog. Perhaps use more bolding and bullets to break up the content in your posts! Hopefully you'll start to attract more readers.
That's it for now!


Using Blogs as a Lead Generation Tool

Business blogs have many different objectives. They can be used to allow a company CEO communicate directly and more personally to the masses, demonstrate industry expertise, promote product/service launches etc... etc... This post focuses on using blogs for lead generation. As a disclaimer, my blog's purpose is NOT for lead generation. If it was, it would be a HUGE failure. :) It's purpose is to educate both myself and everyone else who is interested in the topics I write about.

By lead generation I mean very simply: "generating new prospects that will buy your products or services". How can you use your blogs for this purpose? The obvious way to do this is to create great content that your potential readers will read as well as ensuring that you promote your blog so that those potential readers will find it and possible subscribe to it or read it on a regular basis. This is all obvious stuff that many people have written about. The question is: "How do you translate your regular readers into real leads?"

Engage Your Blog Visitors

What does this mean? Blogs provide you with the unique opportunity to not only see what people may be visiting your blog but also to see what comments they may have left as well as potentially read posts that may have been written about your blog on on other blogs.

How do you engage your blog visitors? If potential prospects leave you comments or provide feedback on your blog, don't just respond by saying "Thanks for your comment!" or even worse, not responding at all. Engage you blog reader and by asking them well thought out questions. Don't just say "If you have any additional questions, please let me know". Try and find out why they were interested in your blog post and what problems they may be experiencing that led to them landing on your blog.

This requires you to do some work. If you have a good web analytics tool, you should be able to find out which search query they used to get on your site or which website they came from. If they left their company name, do some research on the company and find out what is going on with that company. This is extremely powerful information that you can use to start up a real conversation. Here are some possible responses to blog comments when you're attempting to foster lead generation:

  • You can say something like "I'm glad that you liked my post, it seems that you're interested in the following.... Here is some additional information that you may find useful (point the person to a whitepaper, archived webinar etc...)."
  • You can also ask engaging questions that will encourage additional comments "You mentioned X, but have you considered Y?" or "What issues are you facing that would have led you to that conclusion?" or "Thanks for mentioning that you liked my post, is there something that you particularly liked that stroke a cord with what you are facing?"

  • If they have a blog, consider going to their blog and leaving a comment.

  • Ask them if they would like to write a post on a problem they may be experiencing

  • After you have done your research, you may determine that this may be somebody worth meeting in person. If they're in your area, perhaps ask them if they would like to do lunch. This may be something to do after you've established more of a relationship. In addition, you may be attending an upcoming conference (this should be advertised on your blog). Ask them if they are attending this conference or if someone from their company is and request an informal meeting or a "see ya at my booth".

  • Help them get in touch with the right people. We all know it's about "who you know". If you are someone with contacts in the field they're in, help this person out by suggesting they get in touch with so and so.
The other thing that you can do is engage your subscribers. Perhaps fire out an email to those people that have signed up for email updates and ask them straight up "Why are you reading my blog?" "What problems are you facing that you need help with?" "Are you facing the following problems....". One solution in particular that I know of allows you to understand exactly what pages your prospects have visited which will help you craft your messages. This helps when crafting these messages. Also look at the search query that led to them landing on your blog as recommended above.

What is the end result? If your goal is lead generation then these tips should get you there. At the least your readers will respect you for responding to them and engaging them. This further demonstrates your expertise and should lead to loyal blog readers (again, I wouldn't know). Remember - don't spam your readers - be respectful.

Do you have any additional ideas for using blogs as lead generation tools?

Chad H.




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