Brand Awareness Online

You see the habits of off-line purchase decision making and online purchase decision making are very similar in many ways. I think we need to get out of our heads that off-line and online advertising are at 2 different ends of the spectrum. We also need to stop thinking about online advertising as clicks on ads.

A recent study performed by ComScore (adage N.Y) studied 139 online ad campaigns by marrying data from its panel of U.S. internet users with shopper data, found online ads, even when they didnt result in a click, increased a consumers likelihood of making a purchase at an advertisers retail store by 17% and increased visits to a marketers website by an average of 40%.

What they are saying here is that your awareness of brands you spot as you travel the web stay with you long after you leave the computer and go about your daily life. What you want is for your clients to have brand recall of your products and services over that of your competitors. They cant do this if they are not seeing you online.

Yes this means get your site optimised and increase traffic to it but it also means think laterally. Where can you brand appear online. This can be in the form of banners, rich media advertising, contributing to social sites or the standard Google Ads. What works for one company may not work for another.  Test analyse and re test there is no secret here.

Just on a side note to those that say banner advertising is dead .. yeah to a degree I think that the popup ads and misplaced in your face style has no place online. What I do love is a well thought out ad on a relevant site.

To give you an example I drive a 1976 Kombi I love this car and it is completely restored.

I visit the Kombi Forums often to chat and find new and better ways to keep her hummin along. Its a very Niche site with a VERY niche market. On this site I found a well placed banner ad that wanted me to look at some amazing kombi parts on sale. .. so I do  .. and I find a small site that just does that, and very well I might add.

So I keep going back, and again to purchase online and have stuff sent to me within a day or 2. This business is now full-time for the guy that started and growing.

I get stopped everyday by other kombi drivers and just people wanting to buy one and everytime I tell them about the Bus Stop so whats my point!  Advertise, get out there and test, analyse and build your business. No different to how it has always been.

Facebook Marketing

So ok this is a fair enough strategy, however the energy it takes to continually generate new fans is exhausting for a small business as they dont have the massive dollars the larger companies have. The other side to this is that recent studies have shown that only 1% of Facebook Fans actually engage (or communicate with) your brand. Great! Youve now used your marketing budget to attract as many fans as you can afford and only 1% will communicate! It just doesnt feel like a solid strategy.

Taking a backward step here and looking at social media, we need to remember why it is so popular. This is a way for people to connect with each other. Its massive because your voice as an individual can reach places you cant in your smaller circle of friends. It also ads credibility, status (being the first to discover something cool), its a way to stay in touch and retouch with old friends. See the pattern? Its all about ME ME ME and this is perfectly normal human behaviour.

If we wanted to take this into consideration and involve the MEs in our strategy, it would make sense that we would be engaging with our fans. If your thinking thats just common sense, then why do we still see so many companies with posts such as come and stay with us , pay 5 stay 7 nights because were the best or the one I hate the most, like our facebook page.

OK enough with the negative you get the message. So what does work?

1. Create a persona a personality for your business. Remember youre trying to get other humans to connect with your and these humans are interested in your brand be the personality you try and represent in your other media campaigns. If more than one person manages the accounts then agree on a style and voice that best conveys who you are. To demonstrate the difference in personality check out Globe Surf and Wall Street Journal both have content and a voice that engages with their fan/follower. Globe at times will use slang and language based around its own sub culture where the wall street journal would never write things like this Did my dog have asparagus for dinner, dude whizzed on my wetty, almost passed out in the surf This works for Globe find what works for you.

2. Reply to your fans If you successfully connect with your followers via a post AND receive comments back acknowledge that, as this is the perfect opportunity to converse. A way one post by you does not constitute engagement. The other thing to realise here is that Facebook has an algorithm (Edgerank) that puts your post in place of your competitors as a result of the engagement. More people talking about a subject means it is more popular right! makes sense.

3. Frequency and Content what you post and how often can have a big impact. Facebook offers insights which is one tool that can be helpful to determine what posts reach more people. In our experience we find 3 areas work the best. Videos, a photo and posts that talk about events, festivals and smaller intimate nights such as book launches or networking evenings. Mind you the content still has to be relevant.

As for how often this will really be determined by your audience, however to get a good start on things twice a day is safe. Experiment with times of post does the morning before work reach more people or is it later in the evening?Make sure you check out your analytics to see whats working for you.

Just in case youre wondering how you post twice a day at different times and measure the effectiveness get onto Sprout Social and organise an account. Its cheap and the tools you get around the ability to schedule your posts on any day and time are so worth while.

Note: The 1% of facebook fans article on Adage article points our that the engagement strategy is not the be all and end all. Of course the writer is referring the article to larger corporations and in any case there should always be focus on engagement that advocates your brand via word of mouth. It has never been different, even before the social media days. Word of mouth is part of the reason you strive so hard with your customer service, after sales support, quality and image engage away!

QR Codes

Similar to QR Codes is MVS. This is a technology that is currently being developed and stands for Mobile Visual Search. This also allows the user of a smart phone to download an app and take a picture of an article or newspaper (and apparently products) in which your phone will then take you to that page to read more.

What seems to be happening at the moment is that the makers of MVS are trying very hard to discredit the QR movement. This can be dangerous as the QR code lovers are obviously going to come out and have a stab back, then it becomes a pissing war and to be honest we have enough of these with our politicians year round. The unfortunate thing is that your competitor will dig long and hard to find faults and broadcast publicly. So in my reading I have come across a few things that are worth noting down.

The main issue I see with QR codes is not the technology but the use by marketers. Lazy ones will add the QR code to an ad campaign that will take the user to the company website no wonder this is coping flack. Its just plain stupid, boring and not using the technology for its intended purpose. A good example however is a QR code on a bottle of wine that takes me (at the indecisive point in my purchase decision) to a small video of the wine maker explaining the reason this wine works, the type of soil and temperature for the year it was grown and other factors that make it a good wine. (See link below for more good examples particularly the Hienz and Heineken ones )

The same can be said for MVS. Unfortunately I havent had the chance to use this technology apart from a test site (I live in a sleepy little regional area of Queensland that is not know for its IT savvy population), however it looks promising. Testing the Shortcut App by Kooaba, I can see that if I take a picture the app will take me to a pre determined web page in which I can read more or do something. Apparently they also state we will be able to take a photo of a product (such as the wine) and go to that information page.

As with any new technology there are bugs and questions. For example, what happens if I scan a wine and it mistakes it for a competitors? Will it cost to add the images to a database? Who takes the image in the first place and loads it to be recognised can a competitor take a picture of my product and tag it as theirs to re-route traffic? and so on.

So, hopefully what we see is less trashing of each other and more positive promotion around the technology so that it does end up main stream. If there are flaws then let the consumer be the one to voice it and allow the developers to engage and better their products.

SEO Software Review

Over the last 12 years we have been using many different software packages both downloaded and online and all work to a certain degree. Today we are going to look specifically at one that we have been using lately and really enjoy. Advanced Web Ranking is produced by Caphyon Software and works as a desktop version for both Windows and Mac. (In fact there is not really a huge choice of seo software for Mac on the market)

Now as mac users this is particularly attractive being as so many other desktop SEO software is windows based. As with many mac software packages the install is simple and all updates and patches are also handled quickly with a few clicks.

Creating projects is also simple and you can add multiple sites and project as well as hook them up with Facebook, Twitter and Google + profiles for each account you manage. This adds just one more layer for reporting and helps to track your own projects as well as competitors in the social arena. A nice feature is to use the automated update option which will update all of your projects on the day/week/month that you set. For example, we choose to update our main projects on a Monday each week, while others that are different priority packages are updated monthly. Of course you can update any project manually at anytime as well.

As for ranking reports, you can setup your keywords in many different ways, enter them manually, add from a previous csv, pull them from the site automatically, use Google API from analytics, webmaster or even google adwords. Using a combination of these gives a well rounded base in which to build your clients keyword list from. Obviously using the Google API on adwords research tool also gives you the usual data such as global and local searches as well as cost per click values which can be a huge help in deciding priorities.

 

The website auditor in the research tool are is available in the enterprise version is also helpful for a few reasons. Obtaining the health of a project before you start is crucial when it comes to reporting back to the client at the end of a project. Taking a snap shot of issues that exist in the site and then being able to rectify these is your first step before link building. Advance Web Ranking provides a very simple clear cut list of the major factors that can cause your site to loose traction such as the alt tag status, headings, broken links, crawl issues etc.

Granted that this is standard for software of this type, however this is just the start of the functions with areas such as social research (showing you pages on the site that have the most Facebook, twitter and Google+ shares etc), internal and external link information for each page, keyword comparison analysis between you and any other competitors and keyword difficulty analysis. This last area (keyword difficulty analysis) is well put together showing the top 10 sites for a particular keyword in a table format with cross reference for factors such as Page mozRank, page authority, domain rank and an on page content score. All incredibly useful when trying to out position your competitors.

Advance Web Ranking offers the usual link analysis along with several areas that present some very nice graphical display data via Hub Sites, that helps you to visualise the sites that link to your competitors along with the linking site MozRank and domain authority. This obviously helps you to target the better linking sites which ultimately saves time in testing (save time = save $). Again these features are not necessarily unique, however it is the way the information is presented that helps to take in huge amounts of data and make sense from it quickly. For example, listing all the anchor tag text links by site will also show you if any have been given the rel no_follow attribute. For us this was great as on occasion we do use third party companies to assist in link building. On one campaign, we found that they had set up 25% no_follow links not exactly what we would have liked and therefore we were able to rectify.

 

Finally to present your findings either to a client or print out reports, the Advance Web Ranking offers a host of options allowing you to email to multiple addresses, save to a local file or view as a HTML page. With 5 different reports ranging from a complete SEO report to keyword ranking for all words and search engines created at the beginning of the project, there is no shortage of information to analyses. Again it is the way these are presented (particularly the HTML versions) that visually provide large amounts of data for comparison, making it easy to scan over areas that need work or some form of attention.

Overall, were really happy with the Advanced Web Ranking software and would have to say that the organisation of the massive amount of information feel intuitive and clean. If youre an industry professional that is looking for a complete solution then this one is worth a go. For the general site owner that wants to take control of their own SEO then this will be more than enough to get you moving. If you’re not familiar with all the terms and ideas with SEO marketing there is a huge help file associated with the program that allows for search options on all areas needed to master the program.

To check out the package yourself.

Enjoy!