12 Sep

How to get free advertising on Google (My Business)

That’s right. Advertise your business on Google — for FREE!

It’s called Google My Business, and it works because it puts your business on the map. The Google Map, that is.

Google My Business allows you to manage your business presence across Google, especially on Search and Maps. Here are some of the things it can do for you:

Read More

03 May

3 Amazing Things Your Site Search Data Can Do For You

This is an excerpt from the blog post Using Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking To Your Advantage

How Site Search Data Helps You

 

Your website’s site search data captures some powerful information that you can use to:

 

  • Discover new keywords
  • Identify where your users are having navigation challenges
  • Provide new ideas for blog posts or content

Let’s take a closer look at each of these:

Discover new keywords to use for content, SEO and Adwords

Remember, when people use your site’s search function, they use the search terms that are meaningful to them. And those terms will be very similar if not identical to the ones they use in their Google searches. So make sure you’re targeting those keywords and keyword strings in your content, ads and search engine optimization tactics.

Identify where your website users are having navigation problems

If people are often searching for the same information on your site, then that information is probably hard to find. If you have content on your site that ties to the commonly searched keywords, you may need to reorganize your site to make that content easier to browse.

Get good ideas for new blog posts or content

Google Analytics’ Site Search Data tells you what people are looking for on your website. Why not give them what they want? If their search terms are relevant to the products and/or services your provide — and they likely are — why not write a blog post, develop some content or create resources that target that topic area. You’ll be demonstrating your knowledge and expertise, catering to your potential customers’ needs, and boosting your search engine ranking.

12 Apr

Using Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking to Your Advantage

 

Are you looking for new SEO keywords to target on your site?

Or trying to find ideas for new blog posts?

Would you love to know more specifically what people are struggling to find on your website?

Well Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking can give you answers to all of those questions.

Here’s how:

Your website’s search function is a bit like a knowledgeable and helpful store clerk who tells people where they can find the things they want when they’re shopping. And by extension, that knowledgeable store clerk also learns more about your customers and more specifically what they’re looking for.

If you configure it to do so, Google Analytics will track every term that’s entered in your site’s search function, as well as how many times each term is entered. Here’s an example of what the tracking looks like:

Site Search Function in Google Analytics captures lots of useful information.

Now here are some of the things you can do with that information:

Discover new keywords to use for content, SEO and Adwords

Remember, when people use your site’s search function, they use the search terms that are meaningful to them. And those terms will be very similar if not identical to the ones they use in their Google searches. So make sure you’re targeting those keywords and keyword strings in your content, ads and search engine optimization tactics.

Identify where your website users are having navigation problems

If people are often searching for the same information on your site, then that information is probably hard to find. If you have content on your site that ties to the commonly searched keywords, you may need to reorganize your site to make that content easier to browse.

Get good ideas for new blog posts or content

Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking tells you what people are looking for on your website. Why not give them what they want? If their search terms are relevant to the products and/or services your provide — and they likely are — why not write a blog post, develop some content or create resources that target that topic area. You’ll be demonstrating your knowledge and expertise, catering to your potential customers’ needs, and boosting your search engine ranking.

Setting up Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking is quick and easy

It takes about two minutes to set up Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking. Step by step instructions and a demonstration video are on the Bird’s Eye Marketing YouTube Channel.

19 Jun

Staying on message with an external thought leader

Having an influential industry expert agree with your ideas and philosophies is powerful thought leadership marketing .  However an external thought leader can also carry a a double edged sword if you don’t check everything out.

Sometimes other people say things we wish they hadn’t.  Like the time I recruited a well-respected industry thought leader to speak to some customers about a problem they needed to solve.  The audience found the presentation helpful and actively engaged in an open discussion. 

Ouch – I wish they hadn’t said that

Then it happened  …. A completely unexpected question came about something our product could not do well.  The Thought Leader went into a long and detailed explanation why that was a great question, and something some buyers should to be concerned with. 

Needless to say we did not look good, and needed to explain our good reasons for not adopting this particular functionality instead of focussing on the issues we came to discuss.

Ensure compatibility

Your products and services adhere to your way of solving a business problem.  A thought leader’s impact on lead generation is directly proportional to the degree of overlap between their philosophies and your product’s functionality.  A high overlap the greater the impact. 

It is unlikely you will get 100% overlap, so it is vitally important to:

  • Understanding where the differences are is vitally important to avoid embarrassing situations. 
  • Agree how to handle circumstances that arise where your differences will be obvious.

Preventative action works well

Prior to joining together for a conference, webinar, whitepaper, be sure to give the Thought Leader a product demonstration so they can see exactly how it works.  During the demonstration be prepared to stop and explore your differences and clearly understand each other’s positions. 

Sometimes it is more advantageous to “court” thought leaders slowly so there is more time to get to know one another.

18 Jun

Traps to avoid with an internal thought leadership marketing strategy

Just about any business has at least one subject matter expert – a person with experience and expertise about a business problem target buyers are trying to solve.  Presenting their expertise to the target buyers in the form of thought leadership marketing strategy will trigger more invitations to target buyer short lists.

Deploying an in house thought leadership program comes with a couple of trap doors to avoid: The target buyer’s perception of a hidden sales agenda, and resisting the urge to pitch.  When building your thought leadership content here are was to side step the these trap doors:

Avoid the hidden sales agenda of thought leadership marketing strategies

When company thought leaders offer expertise there is a credibility gap – they are trying to sell their products.  It’s true they are.  However, my experience has been the opposite when the thought leader’s content is factually accurate and useful, target buyers quickly accept the implicit understanding that a commercial relationship could form.

One technique to partially overcome the perception that your thought leader is a sales person in disguise is to create a bit of separation between the individual and the company brand – independent blog site for example.  “Brand” the individual as a thought leader, separate from your company.

Just to be clear I am not advocating that businesses disguise their thought leader is also an employee, in fact just the opposite.  The company does need to give their thought leader the platform to deliver content as their own however.

Resisting the urge to pitch

There can be a strong temptation to insert product messaging and benefits into what is positioned as thought leadership content.  Think how frustrating it is being at a presentation you thought would be informational and it turns out to be a sales pitch.   Credibility is lost, and your thought leader is now perceived as a sales person instead of a thought leader.

Separate marketing and thought leadership messages

Marketing messages are designed to position products and their features.  Thought leadership marketing demonstrates your company’s subject matter expertise.  When your internal thought leaders mix the marketing message into their thought leadership message they lose credibility, so keep marketing messages out of thought leadership messages.

03 Jun

Social Capital 2013 – An event Review

socap_badge-150x150A big thank you to the organizers of the 2013 Social Capital Conference held at Algonquin College last Saturday (June 1, 2013).  I went to last year’s event too and this one was just as good.  Like last year there was great networking, very good speakers and even a great lunch.  I think the organizing committee did a terrific job selecting speakers who offered solid information.  It’s too bad I had to miss Danny Brown’s closing keynote, but from the tweets it looks like it was amazing.

Morning Keynote

The opening keynote address was Blogging, community and making it work by Gini Dietrich (Spinsucks.com, @spinsucks).  Gini said that community happens when there are conversations between members on not with the “community owner”.  She gave some examples of how this has happened on her blog; like the time another blogger accused one her staff members of plagiarism and “the community” defended Gini’s staff member.

As a blogger just starting out I really appreciated Gini’s emphasis on patience – several times during her talk she reminded us she has been blogging almost seven years.  The message: don’t expect instant results, be patient and keep at it…. There’s no shortcut.

Gini gave some good advice for getting your community started:

  • It will take a long time, so be patient.
  • Comment on and share materials from other websites you admire
  • Always remember the vision for your blog (what are you trying to do?)  Gini vision for her blog is trying to change people’s perceptions that PR.
  • Set modest goals, especially when starting out

Breakout sessions

There were four tracks for the breakout sessions; Case studies, Content, Law& Ethics, and Strategy.  We could “cross tracks” anytime.

Why you are stupid” by Bob LeDrew (@bobledrew)

I loved the title – it’s a statement about being smart with your social media.  The point of Bob’s talk was listen to your audience, be human and above all else DON’T BE BORING.  As Bob said we may find ourselves fascinating, but others might just find us boring.

Bob drove home his point “boring” point by making us suffer through really boring video with bad music that was produced by one of the more exciting agencies here in Ottawa.  It was two minutes of my life I would like back, but it will make me think about being boring.

According to Bob, really smart social media people:

  • ·         Listen to their audience
  • ·         Put themselves in their audience’s position 
  • ·         Engage with their audience
  • ·         Demonstrate the value of social media through measurement

Royalty Free Images Aren’t Free:  Finding and using photos for your site without getting sued by Danielle Donders (@danigirl). 

If you are like me and believe graphics help make your blog better, then this session was for you.  You might think a topic with “legal ease” might be boring…. But Danielle made it easy to listen and learn without getting bored.  The main points from this session:

  • ·         Royalty Free means pay for it once and then use it as you please.  The key word(s), pay for it once.
  • ·         Get permission – if you see a picture you want use, contact the photographer, tell them the purpose of your blog and ask for their permission.
  • ·         You can get sued for using material without authorization – Danielle gave a couple of scary examples.

The medium and the message are dead. Long live the story” by Dennis Van Straalduinenn (@Denven).

From the title you knew this was going to be about story telling, and Dennis is very good at that.  His presentation was lively, funny and full of Marshall McLuhan references.  In fact Dennis’ presentation style is so engaging it was hard to take notes for fear of missing something good.

One of his terrific slides was “What makes a good story” (I took a picture, but it didn’t come out very well so I can’t add it here; that’s why you have to put up with my description).  There are four components – Characters, Setting, Main events, and Resolution and overlapping all of them is the problem the target audience is trying to solve.  Build your story around that problem using the four components.  If you build your story around resolving the customer problem, customers will want to share it with their communities.

Two other great points Dennis made:

  • ·         Stories have guidelines, not hard and fast rules so they don’t always fit with a brand guide.
  • ·         Our audiences want to work – give them two plus two, let them figure out that it equals four.

“Influencer Relations – Not all are created equal” by Mary Pretotto (@marypretotto)

The final presentation I attended was.  Mary talked about how her employer, Roger’s Communications has used influencers and ambassador programs to launch products and drive business.

Suggestion for next year’s Social Capital Conference

How about widening the audience appeal?  This was my second Social Capital event and I notice some of the material is advanced for novice users.  I wonder if the organizing committee would consider doing a “rookies track” for newbies or social media novices.  Have a how to track for some of the social media tools like Hootsuite, Twitter, Linked in, etc.

Thank you again to the organizers for pulling together such a great event.

29 Apr

WordCamp Ottawa 2013 – an event review

Since this website uses WordPress I always seek out tips and tricks managing it. That’s why I spent last Saturday (April 27th) at WordCamp Ottawa 2013.  Here’s why it was well worth the day’s investment:

Overall assessment of WordCamp Ottawa 2013

If you have a WordPress website it’s well worth the day!  This is an excellent event packed full of good advice, information and valuable networking opportunities. 

With three learning tracks there was something for all levels of WordPress users; Content Creators (beginner users), Site Creators (Intermediate) and Code Creators (Advanced).  Even better if you needed one-on-one attention there was “Happy Bar” staffed with experienced users eager to help. 

It’s tough to beat the value on the dollar for WordCamp.  My total spent was $37:  $28 on the conference (including $5 was for a 3 hour pre conference WordPress introduction) and $9.00 on parking at the University of Ottawa. 

I sure hope there is a WordCamp 2014!

WordCamp Ottawa 2013 – what I learned

Here’s my summary of some of the sessions I attended.

Making a living with WordPress.  Presented by Chris Ross @thisismyurl

Chris was very entertaining and had some great quotes (that will probably show up later on this website, thanks Chris):

  • ·         Consultants are trouble shooters.  They find trouble and shoot it.
  • ·         “This graph means nothing…”

A lot of graphs (meaningful ones), charts and data were used to show how one can make a living servicing (design, customization, etc.) the 65 million WordPress websites out there.  Chris was generous with valuable personal experiences.   

How to write a blog post.  Presented by David Hamilton @ko_davidh

This was an inspiring session for me.  The best part of this session was “Beginnings, Middles and Ends”.  David laid out what they mean and who to do them well:

Beginnings have two parts – “lead”, the first paragraph which identifies the who, what, when where…  Part two is the “pitch” which answers why read this article, the value to the reader and sets the expectations what is going to be covered.

Middles set out the scope of the article; what points are going to be covered and there is a logical progression through these points, 1st, 2nd, 3rdStructure this section with headings to help readers.

Ends provide the summary that sharpens your point, perhaps raises other relate questions or previews upcoming posts.

Help me Help You:  the art and science of getting good WordPress support by Kathryn Presner (@zoonini)

WordPress help comes from volunteers not paid (and therefor accountable) employees.  Hence Kathryn’s advice – be nice and people will want to help you.  Act entitled or snarky, don’t expect a lot of help.  The point was emphasized with some real life examples. 

Other things you can do to help yourself get an answer to your question include: 

  • Provide a link to your site – I put this first because it’s important that helpers can look at your site and if get source code.
  • Present a clear goal – what you are trying to do
  • Be clear about the problem you are having and what you have already tried to fix the problem
  • The browser and version you are using
  • OS / device you are using
  • Version of WordPress
  • Anything unusual about your set-up
  • Screenshots of the issue.

Typography in Web Design.  Presented by Jasmine Vesque @jasminevesque

Fonts – just how exciting a topic can that be?  You might think it’s a recipe for a morning nap.   Not so fast…  Jasmine’s passion for the subject of fonts is contagious and so I learned a few interesting tidbits that will help me with my website. 

Font Selection considerations: 

  1. Readability – is the font easy to read and understand
  2. Don’t use multiple colours – it’s annoying which distracts the reader
  3. Use one font for headings, use another for the body
  4. Careful with colour usage – to make the point Jasmine had a slide with red type covered with a yellow highlight. 

There was also an introduction to fonts summarized in the table below:   

Font Type

Characteristics

Example

Best use

Serif Little Feet and tails Garmond, Oldstand Headings
San-Serif No feet or tails Ariel Text
Display Sorry missed this Missed this too Short text
Script / Handwriting Looks hand written. Missed this too Short text

 

WordPress Themes and Frameworks Explained.  Presented by Richard Martin @richardmartin

This session was a summary of how to pick a theme and a bit of a review of Richard’s two favourite theme providers; Woothemes and Gennis.

When selecting themes consider the kind of website you are building; a blog, a brochure or a store.  As you review themes consider things like your freedom in sidebar placement and what is needed in page templates:

  • Blog
  • Landing pages (can you remove the navigation which distracts visitors from your goal)
  • Columns
  • Home page design.

Introduction to WordPress by Rick Radko (@r3designforge)

This three hour pre conference introduction to WordPress was just enough to get a beginner user started.  I am more of a novice than beginner and there was a lot of value in this session for me.  For instance:    

  • Pages and Posts– Rick is the first person who has clearly explained to me the difference between a “post” and a “page”
    • o   Post – for blogs;  posts are collections that have date associations, categories and tags and can be searched by any of those criteria.  You can also sort by author and not usually on the website menu.
    • o   Pages are single (standalone) pieces of content without tags, categories or date associated.  They usually show up on site menus.
  • Images – use the Alt tags, they describe the image and help your SEO
  • PermaLinks are URLs – page codes that are numbers.  The numbers are meaningless to people and to SEO so Rick showed us how to customize URLs in the “Settings”.

 

Comments from speakers, other attendees welcome.  Please add anything you think I missed. 

21 Dec

Stretching webinar content into multiple videos

Curating new and original content is time consuming so many start-ups and small businesses struggle with it.  This is the story of how one small business client leveraged a single webinar into three short stand alone videos and three whitepapers.

The results were very good too:

  • 500 views
  • 250 new contacts for nurturing
  • 20 qualified sales leads
  • 6 closed sales, $250,000.

Here’s how we did it:

Our webinar featured two prestigious industry thought leaders speaking from different cities about overcoming industry challenges.  We always planned to record the webinar using the webinar provider’s standard recording feature and then post the recording to YouTube.

However, after the speakers submitted their presentations for review, we recognized the opportunity to create shorter standalone videos from the webinar footage.  Creating these excerpts was made possible by coaching the speakers and getting some advice from a video production house.

Coaching the speakers

However, we had to work them adjusting their presentations to make forward / backward referencing statements like “I talked about that a few minutes ago,” or, I’ll talk about that in a few minutes”.  These statements would have been out of context in the shorter videos.

Good quality equipment and editing made a difference

Our video editing company told us the best quality videos require separate recordings of voice and PowerPoint charts, they synchronize them during editing.  Both speakers were asked to use very high quality microphones and shown how to record and store their voice presentations on their computers.

The total cost of editing was just over $100, pretty inexpensive considering the $250,000 revenue generated.

Whitepapers – always great reference content

Investing another $100 transcribing the webinar gave us the basis for three whitepapers as well.  There was a fair amount of editing the transcription, but that was certainly less expensive and faster than writing the papers from scratch.

Summary of the steps to multiplying webinar content

  • Record each voice separately from their slides
  • Have the speaker store the recording on their hard drive.
  • Identify to the speakers the exact starting and ending points for each excerpt.  They will know not to use forward / backward referencing statements in these sections.
  • Transcribe the webinar so it can become the basis of whitepapers or reference documents.

How about you?

What ideas do you have to stretch your next webinar into multiple content pieces?