Daehn's Hierarchy of Digital Marketing

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I am an expert in digital marketing. An important skill for experts is to be able to take a lot of information and boil it down to the essential must know components for success.

We live in an age of information overload. Learning about digital marketing is but a Google search away. What I present here are the four areas that are foundational to a successful digital marketing strategy.

They are chronological and should be built out in order.

1st Website

Your website is your most important digital asset. Everything you do should be built on driving traffic to your website. Your site should be built for conversion and turning visitors into customers. Content is key to creating a well converting website.

2nd Email

Email is the primary form of digital communication. Your website should be built to obtain email addresses so that you can continue to talk and market to your site’s visitors and customers. Automated campaigns, confirmations, onboarding, triggers, reminders, customer service and newsletters are all important components of your email strategy. Email should be used to distribute content from your site, and drive people back to your website for conversion.

3rd Social Media

The best social media builds a community around your product or service. This requires interacting and building relationships. Social media should also be used to distribute content from your site, and drive people back to your website for conversion.

4th Paid Ads

If the first 3 areas are in place and you still have a budget and/or need to generate leads, you are ready for paid ads. Ads should drive traffic to specific areas of your website and/or landing pages that directly relate to the content of the ad.

Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Let me know.

Why You Must Claim Your Business on Google

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Claiming your business listing on Google is one of the most important things you can do. The good news is that It’s pretty easy to get done, and it’s free.

I work with a lot of small business owners that don’t have a large marketing budget. They want to know how to get started and the best place to focus their resources. I always emphasize the hierarchy of digital marketing: 1st Website, 2nd Email, 3rd Social Media, 4th Paid Ads.

But a quick thing you can do today is to claim and update your business listing on Google. This provides the info people will see when they search for your business directly, or a product or service that you offer.

This listing is shown to potential customers based on geography. So if you type “Italian Food Near Me”, Google will display Italian restaurants in your area.

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This is why you want to claim your listing and make sure the information is correct (hours, location, pricing, etc.)

These listing also provide ratings and reviews for your business. By claiming your listing you can interact with people leaving comments about you.

Go to Google.com/Business to review or claim your business today.


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PS - Google just added the ability to add a Shortname for your business. Make sure you claim yours before someone else does.

CSUF Presentation - HOW TO: Effectively Integrate Social Media into Your Marketing Strategy

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I had the pleasure of speaking to the Entrepreneurial students at California State University in Fullerton. I met some bright young minds with some great ideas.

My message for them was that while social media is popular, it is only a part of a good overall marketing strategy.

Download the Presentation (PDF)
Download the Presentation (PPT)

 

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius Quick Start Marketing Plan

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1: Find Your Advantage

·         What is the unique competitive advantage of your product or service?  (The best way to determine this is by performing a SWOT analysis)

·         How can you meet the needs of the target audience better than the competition?

·         What is the positioning of your product or service? 

2: Define Your Purpose

·         What is the mission or purpose of your company? 

·         What goals do you want to accomplish with this particular product or service? 

·         How do these goals fulfill the mission of your company? 

·         How will you communicate this to the entire organization to make sure everyone is on the same page?

3:  Create an Image

·         Based on the competitive advantage, positioning, target audience and mission of the company what image best represents your product or service?

·         Do you need professional assistance in creating a logo and marketing communications materials? 

·         Is the look and feel of your marketing communications materials consistent and congruent?

4:  Implement Promotions

·         Which of these marketing communications do you plan on utilizing?

o   Advertising

o   Public Relations/Publicity

o   Sales Promotion

o   Personal Selling

o   Direct Marketing

o   Internet/Interactive

·         What marketing communications can you afford? 

·         What marketing communications make the most sense for your situation?

·         How can you achieve the greatest return on investment with the least amount of wasted exposure?

·         Are your marketing communications linked and integrated? How?

·         Are your marketing communications consistent and congruent? How?

5:  Build Relationships

·         How are you building relationships with customers?

·         Are you creating positive word of mouth?

·         Are you developing advocates for your product?

·         Where in the funnel do your promotions hit? 

·         How do your promotions push people down the funnel?

6:  Gain Feedback

·         How are you measuring results?

·         Have you implemented ways of gaining feedback from customers?

·         Have you implemented ways of gaining feedback from employees?

7:  Adjust to Changes

·         Are you making changes based on the feedback you have gained?

·         Has your market or target audience changed?

·         Do you need to revise any marketing messages to remain current?

·         Are you maintaining up to date and relevant information on the website?

·         Do you have an ongoing dialogue with current customers?


Want to learn more? Read the full book by Michael Daehn: The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius.

 

HOW TO: Pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test (GAIQ)

Yes, I passed, w00t!

I did not even know there was a Google Analytics certification a week ago. When I stumbled across the designation I said "I should get me one of those." I've been using GA for years and figured a certification was within my grasp. It took me about 8 hours of study and $50, but I got it done.

OK, this is more the story of how I passed the test than an authoritative guide, but I hope it helps. I did the most logical thing first, I Googled "Study Guide for GAIQ." I found some great advice, but I think this post did the best job:

Passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Test

Everyone who has taken the test says to watch all the videos provided by Google in Conversion University and I concur. I usually hate watching videos for training because they tend to suit the slowest learners. I like to read, skim and hone in on things I don't already know. These videos are well done though. They are really more like slide shows with a few videos dispersed throughout. They go quickly so I paused and re-watched a few slides that I needed to study more.

I had a second laptop setup as suggested, but I found it was easier to open a second browser than to change computers. Note: You need a second browser not a second window in your browser. I used Chrome for the test and Firefox to look up answers I was unsure about.

One thing I did not like about the test were all of the questions that were not in the study materials. A few I could not find even after Googling for answers and scouring the GA help section. I took my best guess on those.

I did learn some new things by going through all of the training materials. Definitely worth the effort. If you are a regular user of GA, I recommend getting this certification. Good luck!

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OVERVIEW: Getting Started with Google Analytics

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I put together this quick overview of Google Analytics for my clients. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that every website owner should be using. It has so many powerful tools it can be overwhelming, but don't be intimidated.

Every site owner should have some key performance indicators (KPI's) that they track. Things like visitors, sales and traffic sources are easy to set up and follow.

And like a lot of Google products, Google Analytics is free. So get started by visiting Google.com/Analytics.

HOW TO: Use Facebook Apps Privately

If you are like me, you like to check out Facebook apps, but get a little nervous about letting them post on your behalf. I have inadvertently spammed my own wall with posts from apps.

If you don't want others to see these posts, but still want to use the app you simply need to adjust your settings. 

When you first use the app, a screen will appear that lets you customize what the app posts. Simply click on the dropdown and set to "Only Me" and only you will see posts from this app. 

Don't let posting permissions keep you from trying out some cool apps on Facebook.

How To: Stay Ahead of The Search Engines

Recently Google announced they were changing their algorithm for displaying search results. They are going to start penalizing sites that have content they view as "spammy".

Google's Principal Engineer and anti-spam czar Matt Cutts writes on the Google blog, "...we recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly."

This is a big deal to search engine experts who are constantly trying to figure out how Google ranks site content and adjust accordingly. There are other search engines, but Google is dominant and usually sets the standard for the industry.

There are several search engine optimization (SEO) sites out there giving advice or offering their services. In general it's a good idea to follow their lead and to build your site using best practices.

The problem is creating your site for the search engines alone. The purpose of your site is to be read by your customers, not the search engines. Search engines can play a vital role in people finding your site, but if the user does not have a good experience then it is a wasted effort. The discipline of designing for users is called User Experience Design or UX.

In fact what Google and the other engines are trying to do with their algorithms is figure out if they are sending their users to sites that provide a good experience.

Good site design is often a balancing act between SEO and UX. When in doubt you should err on the side of good UX. Providing a great experience for your customers will never be obsolete, while following a strict SEO formula could change tomorrow.

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 11 - The Secret to SEO

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE

Web traffic drivers

We have discussed several ways to get traffic to your site, but here's the one thing you really need to know about SEO:
 
Have updated relevant content and a site worth visiting
 
When you accomplish this, people will want to come to your site and tell others by linking to you. If your site is well organized and looks good to human beings, the search engines will like it too.

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 10 - User Experience

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Have you ever been frustrated when visiting a website because you can not get the information you need? Getting people to your site is half the battle, getting them what they came for is the next step. 
 
How easy is your site to use once they get there? Is your content laid out clearly and properly labeled? Does your navigation make sense? User experience design is now a major industry in the web world. Consider getting help, but if you do it yourself or you are not sure you can’t go wrong by keeping it simple. It works for Google.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 11 - The Secret to SEO

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 9 - Organize Your Website

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

If you have ever tried to find a missing document in an unorganized filing cabinet you understand the need for clearly labeling and organizing all your files. Your system also needs to be something that others can understand easily so they can find the information they are looking for. This will help the humans viewing your site and the search engines that are crawling through all of your files and indexing them.
 
On your website make sure the following information is labeled clearly:
Domain names
Web addresses (URL’s)
Page titles
Headings
Descriptions
Tags (categorizing or labeling posts, articles, images, etc.)
 
Though the algorithm search engines use to give your site results are proprietary, it has been shown that the more links you have and the better organized and labeled your site is the better your search results.
 
Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 10 - User Experience

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 8 - Browser Based Traffic

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Don’t overlook the amount of traffic you can be getting from people typing it into their address bar. The Internet is only one tool in your marketing arsenal. You should be promoting your site offline through the appropriate tools for your situation. Print, magazines, television/radio broadcast and direct mail are all ways to drive more traffic to your website.
Postcard with web address

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 9 - Organize Your Website

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 7 - Mashups, Feeds and Gadgets

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Google Gadgets

When you visit a site and see a little box with news results it is more often than not coming from a news feed place inside a gadget. If your site has great content you should syndicate and make it available to others in the form of gadgets. You can also open up proprietary information and allow others to mash it up into their own creations. Feedburner can help you turn your blog into a feed and sites like Widgetbox and Google Gadgets can help you turn them into gadgets.
 
Making a widget on Widgetbox 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 8 - Browser Based Traffic

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 6 - Blogs

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Blogs began as a way for people to comment, share their thoughts and compile information to share with others on their website. When used properly, blogs can generate excellent web traffic for your main site or product. The key is to update often with relevant content.
 
Many folks jumped on the blogging bandwagon, but they never updated their sites. Their conclusion was that blogging did not work. Search engines love updated relevant content so your blog will work, but you have to work your blog.
 
You can blog yourself, pay someone to blog for you, or encourage others to blog about your company. All can be effective depending on your audience and the kind of information you are sharing. 

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 7 - Mashups, Feeds and Gadgets

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 5 - Microsites and Subsites

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

 

Having multiple subsites and microsites that point back to your main site can be good and bad. On the good side, you can customize these sites to target audiences better. You also have inbound links coming from your own sites coming back to your main web address. The bad news is that unless you are careful, it is easy to confuse your customers as to what site they are on.

Often subsites will click through to a main site and people get lost. You also are diluting the power of your main brand and website when you have subsites. It is better to have all of your traffic going to your main domain so it gets credit for being a popular site with search engines.

Sometimes it makes sense to have a landing page for a campaign or promotion. These can be very effective when they have a single purpose and a clear focus. Make sure that you explain what is happening and where people will go when they click if you send them away from the page.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 6 - Blogs

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 4 - Social Networks

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Social networks are a great way to engage with your customers and drive traffic back to your website. The nice thing is that most of these sites are free. Be sure to set up a profile for yourself, or your company, and post links back to your main website. It’s handy to have some profile information set up that you can copy and paste onto the various social media sites where you register.
 
Facebook and MySpace Traffic 1/2008-1/2009
  
Trends in social networking
 
MySpace used to be the King, but Facebook has now surpassed MySpace with number of users. However, MySpace is still a hotspot for music and artist pages. Micro blogging/messaging tools like Twitter and FrienFeed are gaining momentum too. 
 
Twitter and FriendFeed Traffic 1/2008-1/2009
 
Social media
 
Most people lump social networks and social media together, but for web traffic I view them as distinct. Social networks require interaction and communication. Social media sites allow you to upload content that other people can comment upon and share with their communities. Social media sites have a social networking component, and it is beneficial to cultivate that element, but not required.
 
So if you have videos, images, white papers, articles or other media items get them uploaded to these sites. Even if it is only your company brochure, be sure to post a copy to the free file sharing sites. You never know when someone will come across it, and having links back to your site associated with this content helps your search results.
 
YouTube is the most popular video site, but there are many more out there. By using a service like TubeMogul, you can post your same video to many sites at one time. Flickr is the largest photo sharing site and Scribd has a nice interface for sharing your documents with the world. Think about where you audience is and what content you have, then pick a few of the top social media sites to show your stuff.
 
 
YouTube, Flickr and Scribd Traffic 1/2008-1/2009
A word of caution when using social networks and media, you need to be yourself and not just hock your website. If you get labeled as inauthentic or a spammer, you will get rejected by the community. Better to not get involved than to get a negative reputation.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 4 - Microsites and Subsites

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 3 - Email Marketing

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Email is not new and not as glamorous as some of the cutting edge web technologies available today, but done right it can be the number one traffic driver for your site. The chart below lays out a solid strategy for any web marketing program using Chuck as your hypothetical subscriber.

Click image to enlarge

Chuck Gets Email Infographic

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 4 - Social Networks

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 2 - Banner Ads

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Using Banner Ads
Placing a billboard type ad on other websites has been around for a long time. They have waxed and waned in popularity as some studies show that many people ignore banner type advertisements. 
 
Banner Blindness
Many studies have shown that people are good at ignoring advertising. Site visitors have learned to hone in on the main content and ignore banners as demonstrated in the heat map below. The red areas show where people look the most. Notice that the text is red and the images and banners are rarely seen.
 
Heat map showing banner blindness. Yellow boxes are banners, red and yellow areas are what the visitor is reading
People do block banner ads for the most part, but don’t rule them out completely for your site. Sometimes a well placed banner ad that contains related content can be effective.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 3 - Email Marketing

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 1 - Search Engines

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies)

There are many ways to get traffic to your site. Building a positive reputation is important, but it takes time. Alternatively you can take a shortcut and pay for traffic using paid advertising. Both methods work and a combination of the two can be very effective. 

Types of Search Engines

Most people use a search engine to look for information on the web. Google is the most popular search engine today, but others include Ask, Yahoo! and Bing (Microsoft). There are two types of results on search pages, sponsored (paid) results and organic results.

Organic and Paid results on a search engine results page (SERP)

Organic search results

Organic search results are the listings that show up that are not paid for by advertisers. Google’s organic search results are displayed on the top left hand side of the page, with paid or sponsored results on the right hand side. Occasionally Google will also place paid results at the very top left hand side of the page.

Organic results and the Golden Triangle

Many studies have been done about how people view web pages and search engine results pages in particular. Heat maps show that people naturally look to the left side of the page about one inch from the top.

In fact most people do not naturally look to the right of the page where Google serves the majority of their paid advertising. The heat map image below shows how people view a Google search results page. The brighter the area, the more people viewed it and for a longer amount of time. This highlighted area is called the Golden Triangle of search.

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The Golden Triangle of search

This does not mean that no one is looking or clicking on the sponsored results. If that were true, Google would not be the multi-billion dollar company it is today. The key strategy for you to remember is to be in the top three organic search results. If you are, you are sure to be getting lots of looks for your search term.

Because of this trend some sites like Ask have started mixing paid and organic results together. This can be dangerous. When you mix advertising with your content it can hinder your credibility. I’m sure they make money, but I question the long term strategy.

One reason Google does so well with their advertising is because they are straightforward about what is organic and what is paid search. I highlighted the areas in the first screenshot, but notice how difficult it is to distinguish the organic and paid results on the non-highlighted page.

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Highlighted mix of sponsored and organic results

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Non-highlighted mix of sponsored and organic results

Many companies use a hybrid of paid and organic search. Often they will kick start their website with paid ads, and transition over to getting organic results once people become aware of their site.

How to get ranked high in organic search results

The best way to be ranked high in the organic results on sites like Google is to have lots of in bound links- that is other sites that link to your site. Google calls this PageRank- the higher your page rank on a scale of 1 to 10, the more likely you are to show up first in search results.

Google Juice

Though PageRank is the official name, many people call page ranking Google Juice. When a high ranking site links to a lower ranking site they can bring up the rank of the lower site, and vice versa. If you can get a high ranking site to link to you that’s good news, but be careful about linking to low ranked sites because it can take away from your own ranking. It’s better to get the juice than to give it.

The easiest way to see your PageRank is to install the Google Toolbar. Not only will you know your PageRank, but you can see the PageRank of any site you visit or that you link to yourself.

Notice that my site only ranks 2/10, but it is still the #1 ranking for Michael Daehn. This says two things; first, my name is relatively unique so it still has top results with a low PageRank. Second, I need to spend more time getting inbound links to my site.

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Google PageRank 2/10

Link Love

When you link to a site, you are essentially voting for that site, and in a way telling Google you think it is a valuable piece of Internet real-estate. It is usually a good idea to link to people and sites you think are valuable to your visitors. It helps to establish you and your site as a valuable resource. Because linking to another site helps their rankings it is often referred to as showing Link Love.

Link Swapping

Have you ever received an email asking you to swap links? You post a link on your site and in return the other person promises to post a link to your site. In general you should stay away from these reciprocal linking schemes. It is appropriate to link to a site that links to you, but do it for legitimate reasons. If the sole purpose is to increase PageRank you are working in the realm of Black Hat SEO.

Black Hat versus White Hat SEO

Just like in the old western movies, the bad guys wear black hats and the good guys wear white hats. If you are involved in shady link trading or other scams that try to game the system you are participating in Black Hat SEO. If the search engines catch you, or they think you are doing something suspicious, they will black list your site. While Black Hat techniques can gain you some short term traffic, they are not a good long term business strategy for legitimate businesses.

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 2 - Banner Ads

How To: Use QR Codes to Boost Your Marketing

Business cards are better with QR Codes
What is a QR Code?
QR Codes are 3 dimensional scannable images that hold more information than traditional barcodes. QR stands for quick response since you can scan a code and quickly pull up additional information about the item labeled with a code.

QR Codes can be read with barcode scanner applications that are available on most smartphones. Google Goggles, Barcode Scanner and Redlaser are some of the most popular. The real value of a QR Code is that it allows the user to get additional information about the labeled item without having to type anything into their mobile device.


How to Make a QR Code
It's very simple to make a QR code. Go to a website that creates QR Codes and enter the information you want to have translated into a code. There are many free sites that offer this service. I use Kaywa.com to make my codes.

Go QRazy and put codes everywhere (Drawing by Jon Bullok)
How to Use QR Codes
If you watch the video above you will see that you can easily create a fee QR Code in less than 60 seconds. Now the fun begins. Put QR codes on any of your point of purchase and/or promotional materials including posters, table toppers, receipts and coasters. You can put your QR Code anywhere you can print it, so be creative.


QR Codes in Times Sqaure
Growth of QR Codes
QR Codes have been popular in Japan for some time, but they are just now hitting the mainstream in the US. Since I have been working on a mobile application that uses QR Codes I have been keeping track of the growth of QR Codes and mobile marketing and bookmarked over 30 articles about their use in the past 6 months. They are showing up everywhere from the local Starbucks to Times Square.


Bonus Tip
QR Codes can be read even if some information is missing. You can take advanatage of this by putting a small logo or image into the QR Code. It's not an exact science, so do some experiementing and make sure your code is readable before you publish.

 

Bonus Tip #2
Put a QR Code that links to your website, contact info or Twitter feed on your name tag. Not only is it practical, but it's a real conversation starter.

 

Have you used QR Codes in your marketing? What other ways do you think they can be used? Do you think this is a fad or will it be around for a while?