Social Media Marketing – Is it worth it? August 10, 2012
It really depends. As a pure ROI play for real goods, its really not worth it at this time. Its hard to generate leads or sales via social media. For instance GM just pulled out their $10 million a year campaign from Facebook. The verdict is still out on the branding value of Social media. There are some complex models of measuring success via social media on how much a part they play in influencing consumer behavior.
Having said all that, no company should every ignore social media. Every company must grab the necessary social media real estate and have a modest level of activity on their page to mark their turf. Have to stand ready when the social media companies have cracked the code for all to benefit. Also, social media sites geared towards B2B, like LinkedIn, are actually proving to be valuable for certain type of business. Various B2B solutions and product companies have reported good returns on their CPC ads on those site. Of course Job recruiters are having a field day, but we are talking about real goods and services here. Still many companies are trying.
I recently heard that 75% of buyer decisions are impacted by what they see on social media sites. Also, its easier to target your intended audience via social media demographics and segmentation.
If there is any truth to the old marketing adage that people need to see a brand 7 times before they get comfortable enough with it to engage, social media certainly fits the bill for being a channel to spend some branding dollars.
We of course have a social media formula for the different product types, give us a shout and we will let you know if its worth your time engaging social media for your marketing goals.
Landing page design August 1, 2012
You pay money to drive web traffic to your landing page. When your target audience gets there you have literally 3 seconds to grab their interest or they are gone. Many marketers waste money by ignoring the actual pages they use to get their audience to convert. Landing page conversion range from 2% to 8% on average, of course specific keywords you can see conversions as high as 30%. Which side of that spectrum are your pages at?
Here are must haves for landing pages:
- Value proposition and call to action must be above the fold.
- Keep it simple, the more fancy you get, the higher chance you have to confuse your audience
- Your first attempt will certainly not be your best, you must have a plan in place to AB test value props, and then for the more sophisticated marketers you need a multivariable testing plan.
- Use Google analytics, click heat maps
- Ensure your landing pages deliver on the banner and text ad messages. Nothing puts of people like being told one thing in an ad and not having anything about the subject matter on the landing pages.
Of course there is lots more to this science. We highly encourage you to contact us for a preliminary assessment of your landing page strategy.
Affiliate Marketing: How not to get ripped off July 26, 2012
Affiliate marketing is done two ways. Having an affiliate marketing in house or working with affiliate marketing networks. No matter how you chose to do it, it is vital to make sure you have laid out the right infrastructure to not get conned by those affiliates who are in it for a quick buck via a dishonest way. Affiliate marketing usually measures conversions by dropping a cookie when the traffic an affiliate sends to your site, and then firing a pixel upon a successful submission of the action item.
Many unscrupulous affiliates have figured out how to drop a cookie and fire a pixel, and report a conversion even thought no real traffic was sent or a real conversion has happened. Their networks or your tracking tool shows that they have X number of converts and then you are obliged to pay for that traffic. To address this loophole it is prudent to design a quick system that issues a unique conversion identifier that your company issues and embeds in the conversion pixel when it fires. So when a blank pixel is fired, no unique conversion identifier is actually issued, and you don’t have to pay for that false conversion. All the affiliate or affiliate company has to do at the time of payout is give your company a list of unique conversion identifiers that you had issued to them for each legitimate conversion.
When we implemented this simple solution we were able to catch about 15% fraudulent conversions that our client would have had to pay for had not it been for our special setup. Give us a call and we will give you a quick run down on what needs to be done.
Types of SEM keyword matches July 24, 2012
When it comes to online marketing via SEM, everyone needs to be very familiar with the different types of keyword matches out there. Understanding how each type of keyword match can be used to better identify your target audience is critical in ensuring that you do not present your ads to the wrong people who click on your ads and waste your money. Savvy online marketing consultants will tell you that “broad match” is a failing proposition for most SEM engagements. With the new “improvements” Google made to include synonyms as part of those results, while Google is able to present your ads to a larger audience, you get more crappy clicks that waste your money. In general below are the match types:
- Broad Match – (Free keywords without any restrictions e.g.: mp3 player )
- Your ads appear in everything searched under the sun that is remotely related to your terms
- Broad Match Modifier – (keywords with a positive sign in-front of them e.g.: +mp3 +player)
- Your ads appear for searches that contain the word Mp3 and Player only.
- Your ads do not appear for searches like Music Player
- Phrase Match – (keywords within quotes e.g.: “mp3 player”)
- Your ads appear on any search terms with the words “mp3 player” mentioned it it
- Exact Match – (Keywords appear within square brackets e.g.[mp3 player])
- Your ads appear only when the exact phrase you are marketing to appears.
- Negative Keywords – (These are the keywords you don’t want to market to: eg: -repair)
- Your ads for “mp3 player” will only appear for searches without the word repair in them.
SEM is not more an armatures game, we highly recommend SEM managers to roll out their campaigns slowly adjusting their strategy as they go. Of course you need to start of with a master gameplan architected for your specific needs.
More information on the different keyword types in SEM can be found at:
We would be happy to give you a brief consultation on how you can better your strategy. Give us a shout and save a bundle doing your SEM.
SEO Basics for websites July 22, 2012
SEO today has become very sophisticated and simple at the same time. Simple because it rewards real, original content, honest link backs and technically good websites. Sophisticated because its algorithms can now see past content created by mere text mixing etc.
Here are the 4 things to keep in mind with today’s basic SEO practices.
- Make sure your site is technically SEO compliant: Robot.txt file is constructed correctly, good meta tags and keywords, good URL construct, and good internal linking and site-maps. Also make sure your site ownership is authenticated via the yahoo and google search engines.
- Create original and relevant content to your topics. Ensure good keyword density of the targeted keywords and variations of those keywords. Ensure that the H1, H2 tags, page titles contain the keywords you are targeting.
- Link backs: Work hard to create online awareness of your website and its contents from good ranking websites. Join the relevant communities, make comments, submit articles etc etc.
- Measure your efforts, and ensure you are moving in the right direction. Google analytics is our recommended tool. Of course there are many other commercial ones like Omniture etc.
And of course the more fresh content you create on your website on the topic the more the search engines think your content is current and relevant to your audience.
These SEO Basics are critical for good ranking on websites. Of course there are some more tweeks serious SEO managers do to get an edge, but for a ligitimate website interested in drawing the right audience, keeping in mind these core principles will take your SEO efforts a long way.
Good luck with your efforts! May the SEO gods smile upon you. And if you need to get their attention, contact us for help.
Beware of SEM Fraud July 21, 2012
There are companies outside USA whose sole purpose is to defraud the search engines at your expense. They do this by creating sites which feature paid search engine ads, and then sending fraud traffic via virus or otherwise and getting paid for the click. While search engines try to catch as many of these sites as possible, these guys have become really smart over time. I have seen these fraudster companies filling in forms on website just to fool search engines to thinking its a legitimate click. A good SEM practice is to first catch the websites that are sending you false clicks, and then as a second step good measure, evaluating each website for the quality of traffic it is sending your way. When each click can cost as much as $5 to $10, its an easy way for scammers to make fast money. While search engines like Google are doing their best, they too are not very incentivised to fix the problem. Why? It is because fraud click or not, they get a cut of the cost to you. SunMantra has devised multiple strategies to address this problem. Call us for a free consultation.
With so many online marketing channels to engage, many mid-size companies wonder if they are doing all they can to reach their intended audience. While there are many best practices for companies depending on the nature of their business, it all boils down to researching how your customers do their shopping. A great starting point is always understanding your competition, and doing some reconnaissance on where they are doing their marketing and with what value prop to engage the customer. SunMantra consultants have worked with leading B2B and B2C companies to identify just that, and worked to create cost effective strategies to drive more qualified traffic to sites. Of course, our strategies are build around end goals as starting points, not just on clicks or “leads” which don’t convert. Give us a call. Let’s us give you a free consultation.