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November 4, 2013

10 Easy Online Marketing Tips

Are you looking to maximize your websites traffic? It's not as hard as you might think - try these easy to follow ideas:

1. USER-CENTRIC ANALYTICS
E-commerce websites won’t be the only ones who’ll be able to attribute an ROI to their marketing channels - it will work for any subscription model as well!

What is it? A way to track visitors with better accuracy - across all devices throughout the entire sales cycle. It’s a much-needed and updated way to look at how organizations can track Web users.

Why try it? Today’s Google Analytics gives us a narrow view of users: a cookie-based one. The big problem with cookies is that the user can lose them. They change from device to device, go offline, or even delete cookies proactively. Instead of relying on cookies, the new Universal Analytics will assign a user ID to visitors, to which information can be appended. What it will allow is for more comprehensive, user-centric data to be sent to Google Analytics servers from any environment.

For example, imagine your website generates leads, which you can then qualify and close over the phone. Until now, you’ve only been able to track those prospects up to the point at which they become leads. WithUniversal Analytics, you can send data from your CRM back to Google Analytics with information about whether that visitor who then became a prospect-and, in fact turned into a customer - and how much revenue they generated.

2. CONTENT MARKETING
The value of content marketing has increased tremendously as search, social, email, and display channels are all beginning to rely on content as a marketing tool.

What is it? There’s old school marketing, where you blast people with reasons why your company is great and then there’s content marketing. It’s where you demonstrate your expertise through the content you produce, whether that be articles on your website, industry publications, webinars, research papers, etc. It’s nothing new, though. It’s one of the ways David Ogilvy advertised for his ad agency in its early years. He’d write articles on what makes an effective advertisement, for example. The way to go about content marketing is to create a mission statement for your content and focus on quality over quantity.

Why try it? In light of Google’s anti-spam, anti-thin content algorithm updates over the past 2 years, content marketing is by far the best long-term SEO strategy, and a great lead gen strategy for B2B companies. Rather than trying to get visitors to your website to get in touch with you immediately, have them download a whitepaper, sign-up for a webinar, or a newsletter instead. Your audience will be much more receptive to your message if they are getting real value from your content.

3. INTEGRATE SOCIAL & SEARCH
Social media is now a must-have for any organization that might not have been typically engaged in social dialogue.

What is it? Social media factors now influence both paid search advertising and search engine optimization. Organizations are now able to clearly demonstrate their social influence on paid search ads and organic search results by linking either Google+ (on Google) or LinkedIn accounts with their website.

Why try it? You’ll notice that AdWords paid search ads have Google+ 1 counts next to them. This affects click-through rates and a host of other factors such as AdWords Quality Score and cost per click. Google organic search listings include author information and you’ll see +1’s from people in your Google+ circles. Since search result click-through rates matter to Google, your Google+ 1’s will influence your rankings.

4. BACKLINK CLEAN-UP TIME
If you’ve been using some less-than-ideal link building tactics, you’ll want to clean those up - see Organic SEO

What is it? There was a time when low quality directory listings, reciprocal links, and paid links helped you rank better in organic search results. Those days are long gone. Both Google and Bing now pay attention to where your links are coming from. They’ve even provided a way in which website owners can “disavow” a link. Search engine optimizers are scrambling to review their website’s inbound links – links coming from other website to their website – with the goal of cleaning up unsavory links.

Why try it? Google may penalize you for having links pointing to your website that clearly have no other purpose than to influence your organic rankings (that includes ones that you did not put there yourself). That means being vigilant about what sites are linking to you and being proactive in either getting the link removed or by using the disavow tool.

5. REMARKETING
As pressure increases to improve marketing ROI, remarketing is a clear winner.

What is it? In email and online marketing, remarketing or ecommerce remarketing refers to the techniques, strategies and often the automated email systems used by marketers and online merchants to follow up with Website visitors who do not make a desired action on the Web site­—usually it is when they abandon their shopping cart.

Think of it like this: you market to bring a visitor to your website, and if he or she doesn't make a purchase, you then use remarketing tactics to bring the visitor back to your website and convert him/her into a subscribing or paying customer. People often refer to Ecommerce remarketing services as "conversion marketing" or "cart abandonment email marketing."

Why try it? Remarketing is a great way to stretch marketing Dollars you are already spending on acquiring new traffic, thus improving overall return on investment. By spending just a small amount on remarketing, you can drastically reduce your overall cost-per-acquisition from whatever channel you may be bringing visitors in from to begin with – whether that be search engines, a display campaign, or email marketing.

6. RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN
You could drive yourself crazy by creating multiple websites for various types of devices, or you could create one to serve the needs of all device users: Mobile, Desktop, Tablet.

What is it? It’s a type of website that can adapt to varying screen widths on-the-fly without needing the use of a separate mobile website. Learn more: Responsive Web Design

Why Try it? Not only is it a SEO best practice, a responsive website means that your website will be ready to handle nearly any new devices that come out on the market. For example, if you have a tablet version of your website that was built for the iPad, what do you do about the iPad mini and Nexus 7 tablets? Or if your mobile website was built for the iPhone 3G, you’re missing out on a lot of potential real estate offered by the Samsung GS IV Smartphone.

7. WEB VIDEOS
As production and hosting costs are vanishing for Web video, it’s becoming a cost-effective solution for virtually any size business.

What is it? The usage of video for sales purposes on websites. It can be used in a variety of instances from explaining product benefits to taking website visitors behind the scenes at a company.

Why try it? There are ways to embed lead generation forms into Web videos so as to get more results as well as track conversion rates for various videos. It’s important to not only have a well-planned video on your website, but to track it and use it to generate business.

8. BETTER DISPLAY TARGETING
With emerging ad targeting technology that provides pinpoint precision, organizations can now enjoy more effective methods of reaching the right audience.

What is it? Today, it is possible to show ads to specific size companies, job functions, titles, locations, and more. A marketer can slice and dice all day long to come up with various industry segments and the type of ads to display.

Why try it? Better display targeting means fewer Dollars wasted. It means a better marketing ROI and less time spent fielding unqualified leads. It gives smaller companies the capability to reach their target audience without spending a fortune.

9. EMAIL CAMPAIGNS
Online retailers and lead gen marketers are coming around to the concept that abandons and bounces are part of the sales funnel. Email re-engagement has become easier than ever and represents a massive opportunity to kick start any campaign.

What is it? When users abandon a shopping cart or a Webform sign-up, an automated email is triggered to be sent 1 hr, 24 hrs, 3 days, and 7 days after abandonment with the objective of bringing that user back to the website.

Why try it? Similar to display remarketing, email remarketing has a very low cost-per-acquisition (since the hard part of getting the user to the website in the first place has been done). Industry estimates point to the fact that 8% of shopping cart abandons will return to purchase if you do nothing, but up to 26% will return to purchase with email remarketing. There are many reasons why users abandon your website. Most of them are still likely to want to do business with you. Email remarketing is the way to get them back!

10. CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION
Never have there been more online resources to learn about conversion rate optimization. It’s never been easier to run an A/B split test on your website. Earlier this year, Google made testing a feature in Google Analytics.

What is it? Rather than whimsically making changes to your website (changing content, design, etc) it is a much wiser approach to test each change you make with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors who take a desired action - such as fill out a Web form or purchase a product, etc. Conversion optimization is the process by which a Web page is optimized to increase the rate of conversions. That means taking a look at the where traffic is coming from, the messaging, imagery, and calls-to-action that all have role in whether or not a visitor will become your next customer. There is a science behind the methodology and can result in unbelievable gains in ROI.

Why try it? Conversion rate optimization is the single most powerful way to increase your online marketing ROI. It astounds me to find out how few companies employ CRO as a regular practice when planning website changes. It’s become so easy these days to implement an A/B test that it’s silly to not do it. The hard part is knowing what to test. That’s why the average marketer should seek a consultant in the space. Otherwise, much time and money can be wasted waiting around for inconclusive test results.

Authored by: Attila Sary

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Attila Sary