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2015 is About Optimizing for the Small Screen

By | Jul 16th, 2014 08.31 AM | View all posts in Blog Digital Marketing Marketing Tips & Tricks

If you’re reading this article on your mobile right now, try this quick exercise: Lock your mobile phone up and give the key to a friend with instructions not to give you the key back no matter what, until 24 hours have gone by. Are you hesitating before you’ve even started?

This is why 2015 is going to be the year when digital marketing is about optimizing for the small screen. For many people, their whole life revolves around the small screen. For digital marketers this is the key, the ultimate gateway to audiences and potential customers; because of how attached society is becoming to these little gadgets. How so?

Let me show you a quick demonstration of my own mobile home screen. This is how it looks. How many percent of the entire screen area do you think consist of a potential channel for digital marketers to penetrate audiences?

iphone screen 1

Well, it’s not rocket science really, but just to help you visualize how a digital marketer would probably analyze this screen:

iphone screen 2-1

Those in red are direct digital marketing channels while those in orange plays a large supporting role; simply because we tend to automatically share links ever so often with our contacts via Line, WhatsApp or iMessage. That looks like just about half of the screen is a digital marketer’s channel.

Social Media Marketing is on that screen.

Search Engine Optimization is as well.

Let’s not forget big data, SEM and display advertising. They’re all there.

Email marketing? Sure, see I have 33 unread emails.

Video marketing? Absolutely, take a look at YouTube for starters.

Content Marketing? Safari, WordPress and Flipboard says it all.

This is not to mention Instagram, Twitter and other online apps I have on the other screens. So if optimizing for the small screen is not yet part of your 2015 plan, then make it. We’re already halfway through 2014. Time to factor in the small screen to your 2015 plans!

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8 Best Practices for A High Converting Landing Page

By | Jul 2nd, 2014 09.32 AM | View all posts in Blog Tips & Tricks

A landing page is all about a clean website and presenting itself on a professional (or semi-professional) levels. There are many types of landing pages around and they all share the same concept: All landing pages are designed to help the user find what they’re looking without going out of their way to do so. These pages are based on intricate (but not messy) coding and intuitive design.

Optimizing Color: Color is more than just pretty shades and hues mashed together. Many websites conduct color-based research to determine what colors appeal to men and women. By understanding the psychology of color for business, brands have designed their websites in order to tap into their consumer’s color preferences and to keep them interested. Determine what types of colors clash or contrast each other.

Color evokes all sorts of emotions, depending on the type of service or product it will offer. Blue, for example is the color of truth, honesty and strength. The two biggest social media giants (Facebook and Twitter) use blue to represent their brand. Do you think it’s a coincidence? Certainly not!

Psychology of Color
Image credit: Entrepreneur.com & Getty Images

Remove Distractions: It’s all about minimalism nowadays. That means, keeping it simple and clean. A website with too many distractions is bound to have high bounce rates. Elements such as flash banners and unnecessary gifs devalue the credibility of your website. Best practice is to remove all types of distractions so your audience’s eyes can fluently travel across your page easily.

One Call to Action Button: Sometimes there’s an element of overdoing it. Sure, you would like to sell your product but having too many ‘Buy Now’ buttons can scare away potential customers. It’s recommended to have only one CTA button on a single page. Like color, the CTA button must stand out from the rest of the website. For example, a dark-themed website may include a bright CTA buttons: Red, orange, green or blue but certainly not white or grey. Your CTA button should also be supported by relevant content as well… Or in some cases, arrows to guide your audience where to click!

E-Commerce: Avoid causing a headache to your audience by omitting registration steps when adding products to cart or checking out. Make check-outs as simple as possible.

Content Matters: Although your landing page needs to be visually appealing, the content that goes with it needs to be equally relevant. Avoid duplicate content, low-quality content and be clear on what your website is about.  For example, if your website is about selling cakes, don’t introduce topics that aren’t relevant to your niche. Sure, you can extend into posting about baking utensils and equipment, frosting techniques but certainly not about how to gain 20 pounds in a week! Keep it your content relevant and fresh. Best practice? Update often but not too, too often.

No More Messy Codes: It’s a real pain when trying to code according to the proposed design. Keep the coding clean and structured. With the introduction of HTML5 and its smart tools, coding has evolved to become much more simplistic. If you need help with designing a website, why not try out WordPress’s premium themes? Many of the themes are minimalist in style and color. Plus, many designs nowadays are responsive so you don’t have to worry about your website appearing distorted on mobile phones or tablets.

Sharing is Caring: In the expansive world of the internet, word travels fast thanks to social media. It’s a good practice to integrate social media buttons onto your landing page so you can share it. Your social sharing buttons should be located above the fold or at the bottom of posts.

Trust: A website is all about trust between your brand and the potential customer. Create a sense of trust by including testimonials, success stories or even trust badges on your landing page. Avoid cluttering your page with certification stamps and add a couple of stamps at the top of your page and several stamps at the bottom. Websites with authentic privacy certification stamps or testimonials from credible websites allow the audience to feel safe and secure.

In conclusion, the advised tips are aimed to help you create a smart, flexible and credible landing page that can minimize bounce rates and boost your website’s conversion rates. If you’re unsure of what works and what doesn’t, consider implementing A/B testing tools to determine what design ‘rings’ well with your customers.

It’s all about trial and error but once you get the hang of it, your landing page would be in fact, converting nicely for years to come!

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8 Must-Haves for Every E-Commerce Website

By | Jun 24th, 2014 08.05 AM | View all posts in Digital Marketing Infographic Tips & Tricks Videos

There’s a lot of thought that needs to go into every e-commerce website with the ultimate goal being to generate more sales and leads but there are some simply must-haves no e-commerce sites should go without. What are they?

#1 Faster Load Time
40% of average online shoppers will exit your page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

e-commerce - Faster Load Time

#2 Instill Trust
The first thing buyers wonder when going to a site where they are able to make a purchase is: “Is This Site Safe?”

e-commerce - instill trust

#3 Hi-res Images
Use of hi-res Images has been shown to increase sales conversions by as much as 9%.

e-commerce - hi-res images

#4 1-click Purchase
1-click purchasing can help you capture those buyers who crave instant gratification.

ecommerce - 1-click purchase

#5 Shipping Options
One of the top reasons shoppers abandon carts is because of the cost of shipping. 34% of online shoppers who abandoned their carts say the reason is: “Shipping costs were shared too late in the purchasing process.”

e-commerce - shipping options

#6 Nurture Abandoned Carts
It is possible to regain 71% of abandoned sales within 24 hours. Think: Social Media. Think: Email Marketing.

e-commerce - nurture abandoned carts

#7 Offer Guest Checkouts
There is a 45% increase in sales when consumers didn’t need to login or register to checkout.

e-commerce - offer guest checkouts

#8 A Big search Box
We’re in the age of SEARCH!

e-commerce - A Big Search Box

Or see the full video here:

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7 PPC Must-Dos

By | Jun 16th, 2014 10.35 AM | View all posts in Blog Digital Marketing Search Engine Marketing Tips & Tricks

PPC (pay-per-click) has been around for a long while but to say that it’s just ‘paid ads’ is erroneous and a huge understatement. Although, you do pay for every click that happens on your ad in the search engine’s result page, there is so much more to it than that. If you’re simply keying in keywords that you think people might search for, followed by throwing in a few ads and setting your minimum bid, then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic. What’s more to it than that?

Alot.

#1 – Referring to Google AdWords, let’s start with the first must-dos. Are you using review extensions? If you’ve vaguely heard about it but you’re not yet using it; then it’s high time to consider. Some research has shown that you could boost your site’s visitors by as much as 66% with AdWords review extensions. The process itself is relatively easy.

#2 – Besides reviews, are you using sitelinks? Site links are more than what they sound like; consider them extra ad space for your call-to-actions, and do use them. The character limit for ads is already super short as is. Instead of trying to squeeze everything into the ad copy, use sitelinks for your call-to-actions.

#3 Increase your PPC Budget. If your PPC campaign is yielding and showing a healthy ROI, consider scaling it. By increasing your budget, you are increasing not just your returns by scale, but in proportion, your ROI would increase as well. Here’s a sample calculation from huffingtonpost.com.

Before budget increase:
• $1,000 monthly AdWords budget
• Average cost per click (CPC) of1.50
• Number of monthly visits = 667
• Conversion rate = 1%
• Revenue per conversion =500
• Total conversions = 6.67
• Total revenue =3,335
• ROI = 235.5%

After increasing your budget:
• $10,000 monthly AdWords budget
• Average cost per click (CPC) of1.00
• Number of monthly visits = 10,000
• Conversion rate = 1.5%
• Revenue per conversion =500
• Total conversions = 150
• Total revenue =75,000
• ROI = 650%

#4 – Optimize your landing page well. If you were to click on a PPC ad that shows a deal for 50% off the original price, clicked on the ad and arrive at a landing page that shows 25% discount; that is just a turn-off. It’s not simply the lower conversion rates caused by misleading ads, but it puts a bad impression on your brand.

#5 – Test, test and test some more. Testing is simply a must. The most simple test being A/B testing for your ad copies. If say, ad A is running at a click rate of 20%; which you’re happy with. Don’t just leave the ad running, do consider testing. You might find that ad B could give you a click rate of as high as 40%.

#6Change your ads frequently. If you leave the same ad running for a long time, search users will get use to the ad. Some people call it banner blindness because after seeing it over and over again, the psych just automatically filters out the ad; pretending it’s not there.

#7 Consider to lower your click rates for a change. Contrary to beliefs, paid advertising is not always about how many clicks you could get. Clicks are not a measurement of ad success. Lots of clicks that do not convert are basically spendings to be covered by your business. A good ad should also encourage the traffic to seamlessly travel all the way to the checkout page. For example, instead of an ad that reads, “Instant Download”, change it to “Instant Download for $200.” You immediately filter out part of the irrelevant traffic from doing this.

Source: acquisio.com, huffingtonpost.com

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Content Strategy or Digital Strategy Comes First?

I recently came across this question posted by a fellow online marketer; which is actually a really good question: “Which do you think comes first? The content strategy or the digital strategy?”

digital strategist versus content strategist

Here’s what someone who works at a Digital Marketing Company in Asia might say: Neither.

They should come together. It’s no different from offline marketing. If you have the marketing materials but no marketing strategy, then the materials become useless. If you have a superb marketing strategy but no materials, then the marketing strategy becomes useless as well.

Some might say if the digital material (content) is great already, it will take off on its own. This isn’t quite true. A digital marketing strategy is needed for initial discover-ability, be it via PPC, social networks or advertorials. Now if you step over to the strategy side of things and design a great geo-targeting strategy for PPC, you would expect the results to be as great right? But what if the ads aren’t as powerful? No call-to-actions? Doesn’t stand out from the crowd?

Ideally, the content strategy and the digital strategy should work together in parallel. Teamwork.

As the strategist designs regional targeting, the content person needs to know how the strategy develops while they prepare the ad material. Vice versa, while the content person prepare the ads, there are some terms and phrases that might be more common for some countries and not for others, hence the strategist would need to accommodate these keywords and map them to the right countries well.

The right content that reaches the right target audience at the right time; is actually fairly easy to achieve. All you need is close collaboration between the content and digital strategists, for all areas of digital marketing.

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7 Easily Avoidable Digital Marketing Blind Spots

By | May 28th, 2014 05.11 AM | View all posts in Blog Digital Marketing Tips & Tricks

Does this sound familiar? You begin discussing online marketing with a friend and then you branch off into SEM, SEO, social media strategies and what not. Suddenly, you find yourself going into the nitty gritty details of each online marketing ‘school’ such as how exactly is the Adwords quality score calculated. (By the way, I call individual areas of online marketing ‘school’ as in, ‘school of thought’ because they can be very different and yet work together for the same goal. Here’s a good and eye-opening analogy: SEO vs SEM A Medical Analogy.)

Well anyway, that isn’t what this article is about. In this article, I’d like to share some 7 digital marketing blind spots that could easily be avoided but which marketers and brand owners alike tend to overlook; which is completely understandable and isn’t at all surprising given the number of ‘schools’ that branches out from digital marketing. Plus, the depth of each school is, at times just crazy. Talk technical SEO and you find yourself saying, ‘htm’, ‘css’, ‘tags’, ‘schemas’. Talk off-site SEO and you find yourself saying, ‘content’, ‘page rank’, ‘link profile’, ‘relevancy’.

Why not take a step back from the technicalities and take a wholesome view of the business for what it is? A business. You’ll then be able to identify loopholes and new opportunities from the bigger picture of things. Here are 7 common blind spots to get you started on your own analysis. Please keep in mind that this is from someone with more experience in online marketing for Asia and the APAC region.

Blind Spot #1

Over-optimizing your content for Google rankings. This is about writing long, keyword heavy pages with questions all over the place in your text for hummingbird to pick up. Again, take a step back and remind yourself why you’re doing SEO in the first place: sales and revenue. SEO-optimized text will help you rank but will the traffic that lands on your page actually click on that buy or book button considering the text you’ve published on the website. Optimization is good. Over optimization can hurt.

Content Optimization

Blind Spot #2

Contrary to what many of us have been made to believe, Google is not the Internet. Of-course that’s where a large chunk of the traffic resides but if you’ve already gone through the long process of coming up with really good ad text and creative work for Adwords, then do set-up PPC campaigns for Bing and Yahoo as well. A few extra conversions on top of the efforts that have already been put into the creative thought process simply couldn’t hurt. If you’re worried about the time you have to spend optimizing the campaigns for Bing and Yahoo, worry not. Most likely the effort would be less than half of what you invest into Adwords because as we know it, there’s less traffic, hence less activity going on.

Google is Not the Internet

Blind Spot #3

Never lose focus of the ultimatum: sales and revenue. We talk a lot about engagement, website usability or which element looks prettier than the other. At the end of the day, it’s the alternative (pretty or not) that yields sales that should really matter.

Sales and Revenue

Blind Spot #4

Analytics and data manipulation. Too often it is, that we as marketers and brand owners zone-in too deeply into the current task at hand; for instance reviewing content work, optimizing campaign bids and so on and so forth, that we forget to take a look at the bigger picture. Log into Google Analytics or its counterparts, and actually spend some time understanding the data and creating custom reports. You’ll discover some amazing insights and new ideas, strategies from there.

Analytics and Data

Blind Spot #5

Offline matters. Sometimes, we think of online too much that we forget the offline side of things. For instance, your leads could be a sign up form on your website but that does not mean your business cannot promote that sign-up web-page on billboards, posters on skytrains and so on. Offline channels help to drive online business and vice versa. Next time you think online, don’t forget to think offline as well.

Offline Channels

Blind Spot #6

Ever so often we hear stories of successful viral campaigns. Fact is, going viral is not easy to achieve. While it’s healthy to try running projects designed to go viral, don’t go 100% all in. Chances are you’re up for disappointment. Split your efforts, have a sub-team working on viral designs and another team for the sure and steady methods (regular updates, weekly tips, quizzes, monthly giveaways, etc)

Sure and Steady

Blind Spot #7

Sometimes it’s not about exhausting all the possible channels such as PPC, referral traffic, banner ads, youtube, social, etc, but it’s about optimizing the same number of web traffic for higher sales and revenue. Online marketing is not just about traffic generation. It’s about retention, about customer experience, about relationships and product value. Think up-sells, product campaigns, e-cards, special gifts for certain customers to prompt returning buys and good ol’ word of mouth from happy customers.

Customer Retention and Relations

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The Importance of Content in 2014: What You Need to Know to Do It Right

By | Mar 25th, 2014 10.01 AM | View all posts in Blog Tips & Tricks

In the world of online marketing, there is a certain adage that has remained so important that many marketers have gone through the effort to engrave it on their desks, clipboards and foreheads so that they remember it: content is king.

Up until now, that philosophy has earned a mixed reaction from both advertisers and search engines. It’s in 2014 that this adage will become important to SEO, general marketing strategies, social integration and other countless fields that are a necessity for businesses to have a strong grasp on if they hope to succeed.

Without further delay, let’s take a look at the things you need to know about content in 2014 in order to do it right.

content marketing
Image source: workwithdavidwood.com

 

1. All Content Has a Purpose

The first thing you need to know is one of the basic tenants of content creation: it must always have a purpose.

There are different categories that you can divvy content into, which includes advertisement, sales letters, lead-in pages and simple information pages.

Each piece of content, regardless of what it is, shares the same goal. You want to reel the reader in and force them to follow one of the many tantalizing bread crumbs that you’ve left there for them. While you might lead some to purchasing products or services, others to social media interaction and others to just increase their brand recognition, your content will fall flat unless you keep what the purpose of your content is while you’re creating it.

2. Your Content Needs to Satisfy

When you’re creating new content for your business’s website, your blog or even the web properties that might work to support your online ventures, it’s important to realize that you’re not just writing to entertain search engine spiders. You want to give the kind of information and details that real people will not only feel satisfied reading, but they’ll ask for more.

One way to satisfy your visitors with your content is to use the time-tested and proven philosophy of answering the questions your readers want to hear answered.

3. Make Content Interesting

Interesting and unique content will always shine miles above rehashed content with the usual perspective that your audience expects. This leads your audience members to not only stay on the pages that play host to your content, but also to give them incentive to share it with their like-minded friends, relatives and co-workers.

Unique content reduces negative SEO factors like bounce rates and increases positive factors like social media buzz, which are both factors that have become increasingly important with major search engines as of 2013 and will likely continue to increase in value in 2014.

Furthermore, social media buzz tends to bring in additional links that you otherwise would be hard-pressed to find. This can make the actual process of link building easier and cheaper due to the fact that it can require less work from a firm or your in-house staff.

4. Content Needs To Be Related

The most important thing you need to know about creating excellent content in 2014 is right here: you need to focus on branching topics rather than specific subjects and related key phrases rather than long-tail keywords.

Google has made how related the content is to other pieces important with the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) introduced in the Google Penguin update and the interpretation features implemented from the Google Hummingbird update. Both updates directly affect search queries in such a way that web pages no longer need to use the exact keyword in order to be shown as a result.

Furthermore, a website with related content that fits under a certain theme will perform better for both visitors and search engines. This is one reason why the most successful content makes use of smart contextual linking within text, as users and search engines can find closely related topics without being forced to skim through hundreds or thousands of unrelated pages.

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Quick Tip: Keeping Content and Links Natural

By | 04.30 AM | View all posts in Blog Tips & Tricks

Google seems to have placed itself into a lot of newsworthy topics lately. Many of these topics include Google penalizing handfuls of blog networks, communities, websites and a large, well-known social forum called My Blog Guest. My Blog Guest, as many are aware, is a large and social forum—not blog network—that brings together individuals searching for high quality, written and relevant content.  The idea of the website is simple; individuals looking for quality content can come here amongst quality sites posted by others. Think of it as looking for fresh, organic vegetables in a supermarket. It was a win-win situation for both sides; one party gains quality content while the other side gets their link posted and is relevantly categorized. Links exchanged and partnerships formed, that’s how it worked… until Google penalized MBG.

Many people were shocked, stunned even to Google’s abrupt move on MBG which promotes followed and natural links in articles. MBG founder and administrator, Ann Smarty and MBG’s policy makers enforce all links to be natural and strictly no spam links are allowed. Self-serving links can be added in the author byline or added in the lower half of the article to be natural. Thanks to the penalty, MBG’s policy has changed little in regards to followed links.

As of the moment, all author bylines from MBG are all nofollow links until further notice.

Image source: jigsoar.co.uk
Image source: jigsoar.co.uk

So what went wrong? According to this post, Matt Cutts declares guest blogging is finished (or dead) as many guest blogging articles seem to advertise intentional spammy links. But is what they’ve done justifiable? MBG was built on the idea of quality content and not spam; the administrators made it perfectly clear they were against paid links (and nofollow links). They kept it clean, natural and absolutely, all white hat tactics. And as a fun fact, guest blogging existed before SEO, too.

Now, fast forwarding to the present, what’s left there to do if your website depended on quality articles, links and My Blog Guest? Quite frankly, there’s only so much you can do. For one, always ensure your website hosts quality content, non-spammy links and absolutely no duplicate content. It’s the least your website can do. Optimize your titles, meta-descriptions, alt keywords with a combination of short and long tail keyword variations as well. Secondly, get in touch with other websites that clearly share your niche and express the same passion as you. Don’t contact them simply because you want to put a link on their website. Build real relationships with the website. Third, employ the usage of social media to spread the word about what you’re trying to say. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram are some of the great services you can use to share your content. People love sharing things. Sometimes PageRank isn’t that important but nonetheless, a healthy amount of traffic is good, too. It shows your website is engaging and appealing to visitors who love reading rich, informative and engaging content!

The main conclusion is: Keep it natural and keep it real.

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Post-Hummingbird: Link Building is Much Alive and Kicking. Says Who? Why, Google of Course!

By | Feb 24th, 2014 03.47 AM | View all posts in Blog Technology & Innovation Tips & Tricks

While there is all the new hype on the rise of content marketing after the launch of Hummingbird, many online marketers end up questioning the importance of links? Has content marketing really become the new SEO and link building no longer matter? There’s many reasoning for and against this statement.

But one thing we want to flat-out share with you is: link building is not dead and is very much alive and kicking.

Our confidence level? Super high. Why? This is what Matt Cutts says in this video here:

“It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really really big win in terms of quality for search results.”

So how does the rise of storytelling and content marketing factor into the equation. Link building has just gotten more advanced. Rather than building up link volume, Google and other major search engines are now very capable of identifying natural links from topic-relevant websites; a.k.a quality backlinks.

What this means is: if you’re still building your links via mass link building method as oppose to creating quality content to bring in natural traffic, then the probability of Google’s algorithm identifying your link building tactics has just gotten 1,000 times more probable compared to 4 years ago.

On the contrary, good marketing has always been about storytelling, the ability to reach your audience at an emotional and humane level. Good content engages the reader, persuades them and makes them believe in what they are seeing. If they like what they see, they’ll share it. And on the internet, how do you share? At its most basic level, via links. And it’s those natural links that would send positive ranking signals to Google to display your website higher in the search results.

So, content marketing isn’t exactly the new SEO, but in a way you could say: an upgraded, more advanced and sophisticated version of SEO. Do keep in mind, there are over 200 ranking factors, here we’re just saying links building is still one of the important factors not to be neglected and with it comes content marketing.

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“Can We Put a Cookie on Your Site?”

By | Feb 10th, 2014 09.59 AM | View all posts in Tips & Tricks

If you’ve been in the industry for quite some time, you’ve probably come across these 2 phrases often enough followed by a frown. And chances are you don’t have the heart to correct fellow online marketers either:

“Can we put a cookie on your site.”

“We will just drop a pixel when they convert.”

These two are in fact very different things but functions similarly. So for those of you, who already know exactly what they are, just skip this blog post. Otherwise, here’s a fast quickie:

A pixel gets imbedded onto the page you want to track. It’s basically an image file that is really tiny at 1 by 1 pixel and requires a server request to render. Hence, provides tracking data.

A cookie on the other hand is a file that the server places on your computer or device that you’re using to browse the internet. Cookies go by session and are used by many online marketing tools to track web usage data.

So you couldn’t really place a cookie on a website page but you can place a pixel. And you couldn’t really drop a pixel, but you could a cookie. …makes sense?

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