Monthly Archives: June 2016

Saturday, 25 June 2016, 05:58 pm Written by 

Let’s get one thing clear: pay-per-click marketing is a fierce industry. There’s a reason why it’s Google’s largest profit-maker by far — because they’ve set themselves up to be the party that benefits from the cutthroat competition over keyword bids. Every company is encouraged by simple market forces to up their bid as high as they can so that they nail the traffic they need to convert into sales — often to the point that their sales’ profitability is significantly hurt by the cost of each click. Simply put, handling the PPC campaign requires a level of expertise and time dedication that most businesses simply can’t afford to commit.

That’s why there are companies out there that provide PPC management services — they have experts on staff whose business is to quickly grok your business, figure out what your profit margins are, research the best keywords for your campaign, and stay on top of your campaigns’ daily fluctuations so that you can actually turn a significant profit from your pay-per-click budget.

They’re kind of like those big, buff, armor-clad, sword-wielding dudes who walk around with the Prince strictly for the purpose of being the Prince’s stand-in should someone challenge the young ruler to a duel. Most of them are named Vlad.

Having a PPC manager does cost you a bit of money up-front — I’m sure Vlad does, too — but it’s one of those classic cases of “it takes money to make money.” If you can’t afford a Vlad, your chances of taking a sword to the navel go up by several hundred percent. If you can, you basically don’t have to worry: you pay the big guy, he figures out which soft part to stick the sword in, and you pocket the gold he loots.

Only the case of Vlad, he’s there to keep your viscera on the inside of your skin. In the case of a PPC management company, they’re there to make certain that the gold you pocket is more than the gold you spend keeping them nearby and ready to jump in. It’s a great way to increase your cash-in at the expense of your cashflow. As long as you’ve got the cashflow to spare, there’s almost no reason you wouldn’t get a big, buff PPC management stud to supplement your income.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016, 05:56 pm Written by 

Just over a decade ago, people discovered the magic that was del.icio.us, the website that popularized the now-defunct term “social bookmarking” and also the incredibly-popular term “tagging.” Social bookmarking was hyped as a revolutionary way to share sites with other people and allow the crowd to decide what was awesome and what was weaksauce. (There was an earlier generation of social bookmarking sites, but they literally all died in the dotcom crash in early 2000.)

It didn’t take long for the SEO crowd to latch onto the idea of social bookmarking as a great way to snag a killer backlink for almost no effort. Sites like Digg and Reddit were authoritative, ‘nofollow’ wasn’t a thing, and it took all of 12 seconds to whip out an entry on one of these sites. Along with techniques like “submit your site to every directory on the Internet” and “comment on random blogs,” social bookmarking’s easy-linkbuilding value has died an ignoble death with Google’s aggression against SEO spam.

This, of course, means that Social Bookmarking is completely dead and no SEO company would ever use it…or, you know the exact opposite of that.

Putting the ‘Social’ in Social Bookmarking
See, at the same time that Google killed easy linkbuilding, they also did this other thing where they amped up the importance of social media mentions and social links for fresh content — which means higher placement, which means a better chance to earn longer-term, more authoritative backlinks from relevant sites.

So nowadays, social bookmarking on authoritative sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg (and industry-specific sites like Technorati and Slashdot) is done regularly by plenty of mid-sized players across almost every industry. It’s just not part of the “Content Creation” department — it’s part of the “Social Media” department. And even though for most of these companies, that means John does it in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning, it’s still an important part of the overall SEO process.

If a company tries to tell you otherwise, ask them in detail about their social media plan — you’ll probably find out that their social media savvy is a bit behind the curve.

Sunday, 05 June 2016, 05:52 pm Written by 

Targeted email marketing is a tool that virtually every business on the Web recognizes the power of by now — but (as our Spam boxes can attest!) very few of those businesses actually understand how to craft a message that works. There are four things every targeted email must do:

  • Get Opened
  • Provide Value
  • Impress the Reader
  • Call to Action

Getting Your Message Opened
The art of getting your email opened is the art of creating headlines that attract attention and pique the curiosity without sounding like clickbait. People are used to clickbait now; you might have gotten someone to open an email labeled One Weird Old Trick to Prove Obama Wrong and Lose 47 lbs Overnight! in 2012, but no longer. Today, people have opened that email, and they have been disappointed, and they’re never going to open another email like that again. Ditto titles like Re: The Thing You Asked About and even worse, I Need Your Help! Your title needs to be honest and upfront about what the reader can expect, but still make them want to open it. Yes, that’s a challenge, but it’s one you have to master if you want to get the most of your targeted email marketing.

Providing Value
Of course, the promise your title makes has to be fulfilled inside. If opening your email gets the reader a short story that isn’t good for anything but a half a grin and a wasted 2 minutes, you might as well have left it empty. Give them something valuable, for free, no strings attached, with every message you send out. It doesn’t have to be much — just a tip about something you know concerns them — but there has to be something. (Oh, and while you’re at it, stop writing emails about yourself. No more “I” and “we” — make it about them first!)

Impress the Reader
This one is simple: no errors. Perfect spelling, grammar appropriate to your audience, formatting for ease-of-reading, and be an expert in your topic.

Call to Action
This one you already have down pat — most of the targeted marketing emails that get sent out are little other than a call to action. Work on the first few parts; then, your call to action will actually do something.

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