Dont Panic…https is not a requirement for everyone.

In Hallam’s latest newsletter they claim that the latest version of Chrome is actively warning visitors when a website does not meet recommended security standards. Its great to bring this to peoples’ attention but they are also doing a little bit of scare mongering IMHO.

Is your website secure, or could you be scaring off your visitors?

Don’t panic!

The https is a protocol that is used to encrypt all the information going from the visitor’s browser to the website and from the website to visitor’s browser. While it’s not that important during normal browsing on websites it is important when you or visitors try to login to their account (like on twitter, WordPress panel or any other login where password is sent) or they provide their Personal Details  or Credit Card information on the checkout page.

It should be fairly easy to purchase the SSl certificate for the website (around €100 – €140 per year) and add it to the website.

You may notice that your website and  a”protected” one have the same (i) icon in chrome.

As the article says the shift in ranking may affect around 1% for the searches online – at the moment when you don’t have user accounts or checkout when you collect sensitive information there is not much need in moving to https://

Just remember – if you have a WP site don’t login to your WP admin panel (and to your bank, email,…) when you are using public WiFi or any other network that you are not sure about.

Surely Google will have to cut us (non https sites) some slack here. Comments welcome.

Keep the faith.

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Cold Calling Is Not Dead

You may have heard of Gary V . If you are a digital marketer and you haven’t then you should. Recently he stated that cold calling is dead and that nobody wants to hear from somebody they dont know. I think he is only half right. Cold calling is not totally dead. It has just morphed into ‘warm calling’.

If the objective is to secure a sale/lead/appointment for the sales team or yourself, then sending the value offer directly to the prospect will warm up the prospect before the call is made. Average email open rates are at best 25% in any industry. So my advice is to send them a piece of direct marketing. Just ask Google, they use direct marketing all the time with cute little postcards offering free Adwords credit.

Here is my 5 tips for a successful direct marketing campaign; the planning, the design, the data, the implementation, the balls and the interpersonal skills.

  1. The Planning – Bang heads together and get ideas from the people you work with. You need to come up with the right timing, the targets, the value offer and the right resources. This all needs to be fleshed out at this stage.
  2. The Design – The content must be appealing, inspiring, and provide the WIIFM factor or break the ice factor.
  3. The Data – Is your database up to date and segmented properly. In segmented properly, I mean you have the ability to drill down to a level that gives you laser like focus on your target prospects.
  4. The Implementation – Timeliness of sending and follow-up. It must be within 2 weeks of sending the direct marketing piece. A team or one dedicated person (or yourself) that are switched on to the target audience and what makes them tick. I know some companies use a contracted telemarketing company. This approach can work but caution must be taken that the brief is rock solid from the outset.
  5. The Balls and The Interpersonal Skills – The biggest barrier is not getting the target on the phone or being stopped at reception. Confidence is the key. Never start the call with introducing yourself to the receptionist. The goal is to speak to the target who will listen and remember they got a great letter the other day….because they probably received 100+ emails that week that they have now forgotten about.

Keep the faith.

 

The 5 Email Marketing Commandments

Over the last couple of years I have fallen in and out of love with email marketing. By the way I am currently back in love with email marketing because it is my No. 1 most effective marketing tool.

On one hand we are being bombarded with crap email and that creates a lot noise that sometimes inhibits the great emails getting through to the end users. On the other hand I have seen some great emails that tick all my boxes. The objective of all great email campaigns is to realise revenue for the sender. I am assuming that everybody has access to an ESP (Email Service Provider) like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Pardot etc.

With that in mind I have come up with my 5 email marketing commandments:

#1 Gain Permission

Wether you have a Opt-in form on your website, app sign up, email enquiry form etc there are lots of ways to get that valuable email. I find a check box to opt in to marketing emails works the best. If the person is already a customer then you a legally allowed to send that person email marketing pertaining to your products. As a side note always make the statement that you never pass emails on to third parties.

#2 Segment

Segmentation is the basis of all marketing. Depending on your objectives for your campaign you might segment on the basis of gender, age, location, profession, industry type, previous spend or activity rate. The more you focus down the better you can tailor the content to get the customer to respond to your CTA’s (call to action) or links.

#3 Personalise the Approach

Dear Darragh, nothing makes me happier when I see a well designed email that has my name in the first line in the body as a salutation. Its obvious you have my details so do something well with them. I also like to see ‘Darragh, you exclusive offer awaits’ type subjects. But dont make a crapper offer I have already ignored previously…wow me. Also make sure the sender’s email address is a persons name and not an info@ or sales@ etc. People want to open emails from other people.

Also time of day is worth considering. It has to be a good time for your reader. B2B = Tuesday to Thursday 8.30 – 5pm. Friday opens are down around 8% due to people being out of office. B2C = 5.30pm – 8pm.

#4 Create Relevant Content

This is the hard part of email marketing and marketing in general. You have an interested or semi-interested prospect how do you keep them interested. Its by sending them content they actually want not crappy content that you think they want. There are several ways to come with great content. Be creative! Talk to your customers, sales guys, service people and get to the issues that people want to talk about. Offers, promotions etc are great but you have to limit these in order not to dilute your branding efforts.

The format of the email is important. Whats your open rate for mobile, desktop, tablet etc. Tailor your email to these or all platforms. Apple iphones account for approximately 50% of opens in B2C.

#5 Report & Manage Data

CTR’s, unique opens, unsubscribe rates these are the important ones to focus on. The industry stand for an Open rate is 15-20%. Can you link back purchases to your email campaigns? The last part of the reporting and managing data is to take off hard bounces off your email database. This will improve the quality of your data and in turn increase your KPI’s.

Have fun with email.

Keep the faith.

How to gain visitor email sign ups?

Following this excellent article from Hubspot which compared 3 heavy weight sports brands’ (Nike, Adidas & Under Amour) landing pages . It got me thinking about how hard it is to get people to sign up…Wouldn’t it be great for people to freely sign up? Most people aren’t that lucky.

How do you get people to sign up for your newsletters, blog posts, email updates, offers etc? I run a B2B company blog for my day job and I know more than most that it is incredibly hard to convert sign ups.

The number one factor to convert sign ups is to give the visitor something that is of perceived value to them. We as marketers have to think about that. Saying sign up to get email updates has a perceived value if you are Google or Nike as people rely on that information for their jobs, professions, knowledge etc. But if you are a SME or a fledgling company that is not going to be good enough. If you are lucky enough to have a great product most visitors are someway interested in what you have to say about it. Do you have enough expected value to get them to sign up? Thats the million dollar question.

The best way to get sign ups is to include a ‘receive newsletter/ email opt in’ check box on your website enquiry forms. If you are getting an enquiry then the chances are that the visitor is open to receiving more information over time. That and the feel that they might be compelled to give you something in return for you answering their enquiry. Once you have them then you have to keep them. Hello marketing automation and its just as difficult to keep them than to get them in the first place. Hard work here on your content and targeting the right audience should pay off.

Other tactics come straight out of the Hubspot marketing inbound playbook. Sign ups via whitepaper, guides, template deigns downloads which are also very effective.

Keep the faith.

Does Remarketing work?

Does Remarketing Work? and other display advertising thoughts.

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Does Remarketing Work? and other display advertising thoughts.

So to answer your question in the first sentence. Yes and results vary , ‘It depends’ (which is a great term to keep in your toolbag when you have opposing views when you re in a tight spot). So I googled ‘does remarketing work?’ and there was no hard evidence to say either way.

Here’s how I look at it. It depends on what type of brand you have. Is it B2B? In short, be careful you are not confusing your audience base and wasting money. Is it a B2C mass branded product or ecommerce website? Then give it a go if it suits your brand’s personality.

Remarketing and DDA (Digital Display Advertising) is a tool that has an incredibly low CTR. CTR’s are typical 0.1%-0.2%. So thats 1 in every 1,000 people. But if you have numbers (audience) in the 000,000’s then you brand deserves to be supported and exposed to relevant publisher and popular websites, like you national daily newspaper website.

The rule of thumb when budgeting for a emarketing campaign. Spend 80% on SEO content, PPC social ads etc. This is where you get ROI (return on investment). Then spend the remaining 20% on DDA (Digital Display Advertising) and remarketing exercise. Display advertising can also be a good measure of the effectiveness of an overall campaign.

Remarketing is different. It depends on your brand. Personally, I dont mind Amazon remarketing to me. I know how it works and I commend them for getting it right. I also forget about the ads pretty quick so it doesn’t impact my perception of them or frequency of purchasing on their platform. If a lesser brand remarkets me for 30 days with the same ad then they are pestering me and lost me for ever or at least for a while until I forget.

Remarketing is still fairly new in terms of digital marketing. Practice trial and error but make sure you do it right. Dont remarket to people for more than 7 days. Talk to your peers, employees, focus groups, brainstorm…whatever. Know your audience, targeting, attractive popular websites, times/days, bidding etc.

In conclusion, Remarketing doesn’t influence me personally but it is another branding tool. If I want to buy something I am responsible enough to need/want it and go back to the website to purchase it. Does remarketing serve as a reminder or influencer tool? Yes, all branding has an effect on the end user but from a management perspective the metrics dont add up or give you a definitive ROI. Much like newspaper ads which are very cheap right now.

Keep the faith.

Information overload – PPC Tips

I have hit a ceiling here. There is way too much information out there on digital marketing particularly with SEO and PPC (articles, blogs, whitepapers, guides, demos, case studies etc).

This is mainly of my own doing. I subscribed to every recommended blog out there. Searchland, Hubspot, Google, Moz, Campaign…you name it. Now my inbox is being bombarded with tips and tricks , download this guide, 6 ways to…..arrgghhhh just stop. A lot of this stuff is very repetitive. For me the best way to deal with this overload of information is to just scan through it in order to see what is of interest. Then I can digest these articles in my spare time, which is limited due to a 16 month old toddler.

Every business is different so the best thing to do is play around with Adwords and the keyword planner tool. This first step is worth doing. Complete the Google Adwords Tutorial. This takes about 1.2 hours. It will stop you making a lot of silly mistakes in your first campaign. Then its trial and error from there to see whats working. Another tip is not to thinker too much. I would give each change a week to see what the outcome is before changing it again.

Create a Adwords account, play around with the keyword planner for a while, create a plan with your adgroups (tier #1 e.g. Digital Marketing Services) and keywords (tier #2 SEO help) and create ads for your Adgroups. All of your keywords are then supported behind the adgroups to make sure you are hitting the right search queries.

Remarketing and conversion reporting are more technical and you may need some outside help from someone in the know or a web developer.

Check out this great article I found regarding using the Keyword Planner Tool here.

Keep the faith.

SEO website fix up and other stuff

This week I got stuck into analyzing the website from a SEO point of view.

This week I got stuck into analyzing the website from a SEO point of view. I used the Screamingfrog  app tool (free) to download CSV reports of all page titles, meta descriptions, H1’s, image alt tags. Then filtered the ones that needed fixing…which was most of them. Its unbelievable the amount of stuff that was wrong or irrelevant to SEO. Just goes to show you how many designers just sell you a website and give you little or very little advice on proper SEO techniques. Anyway that’s why Digital Marketing consultants exist so happy days.

While I was doing the fixes to the SEO stuff I also realised that some of the headings and content wasn’t relevant to Google’s algorithm. I was using Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, which is excellent as it tells me how rubbish my SEO was, for example no Meta Description is used, title too big, my keyword usage is too dense…but also tells me the readability of the content like a sentence has too many words, not enough transition words (due to, because etc), passive voice etc. Thus, I would highly recommend this plugin for WP CMS users.

So after about a full days work the website is now SEO optimized, the content is also relevant. Here’s waiting for the leads and enquiries to roll in. Hopefully a worthwhile exercise.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to share this article from Moz with you. It shows you How to Use Search Analytics in Google Sheets for Better SEO Insights. I will let Moz talk you through it but at the end of it you have google sheet that will automatically update every month showing how you are ranking against your main keyword queries. That’s pretty awesome for a campaign manager!

Next topic is PPC.

Keep the faith.

Why CSS Stylesheets are Important

Split testing CSS is the key.

A website’s main CSS file is a central point of reference which controls the common styles, positions and behaviours of all elements across each and every webpage.

Within the main CSS file are the settings for all fonts, margins, colours, alignments and so much more. It’s the most important file on most templated websites and can drastically change the look of a website with just a tiny edit.

Read the rest here

With thanks to Hallam for this article.

SEO – I see the light

Week 2 of the Digital Marketing Professional Diploma.

SEO is all about keywords ….well its not all about keywords but you know what I mean. Keywords have always played a huge part of SEO. Remember stuffing as many keywords as possible into the under belly of a webpage a couple of years ago. Since then Google has undergone a number of Algorithm updates (including Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird etc) which mean that keyswords have to be included into the page name, url, headings (H1 most important), body of text image alt tags etc. The keywords not only have to match all these element but also must be relevant to the search queries, and also be readable to us humans.

Content is here to stay but it must satisfy the readers’ queries. So all these articles about 6 ways to do this and 10 things that help with and download our Ultimate Guide to Whatever…are being super helpful in order to get a page/website rank better….now I see the light.

Other stuff like CTR, sitespeed, social footprint, external links, user experience (UX) etc all help to get up the rankings too.

Marketer seeks validation

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

After 15 years as a qualified marketer (on paper) I have taken the decision to upskill and update my qualification in the dark art of digital marketing.

The last 10 years of this time I have seen the rise, the absolute rise and the meteoric rise of digital marketing. I would consider myself to be strong at most aspects of digital but I cannot say I can conquer all and I don’t think anyone really can. So no longer can I continue without some professional validation.

Nowadays, the speed of which marketing is evolving is insane. Digital marketing is now main stream marketing. Traditional marketing is now what goes on when you are not doing digital.

Like surgeons, marketers are required to constantly update and stay on top of their skills. We are never baked (Seth Godin).

Here’s to 30 hours of learning and a valuable piece of paper at the end of it (I hope). At least I will have a reference point to say I know digital.