Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm Moving to Tumblr !

My “Online Digital Marketing Strategy” blog is migrating to tumblr. Why you ask?

  • A better creative platform which also integrates Social Media.
  • Better look and feel than my older first generation blog.
  • Easier to post and more format/template options.

*Tumblr is not that great of platform for SEO, but that's not why I switched. I switched for Tumblr's layout, templates, and simplicity; keeps me focused on writing content. I can also post from an admin panel or a browser bookmarklet or the Dashboard from my HTC Inspire Android. I have no time to look and mess around with plugins. I just want to focus on content. The only thing that sucks, thus far is that Tumblr doesn’t natively import posts from the blogger platform. This will force me to manually add my blogger posts archive to Tumblr one at a time. This should be completed by next year! sheesh.

    Please bear with me as I move my entire blog, feedburner, etc., from my old blogger account to my new tumblr site

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Can You Increase Traffic Without SEO ?

    Yes, but it takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and content creation.

    First off, create a constant flow of good, quality content. Update your website content everyday. Include links to outside sources and use high quality graphics (.png). New revolving content is KEY. Content is king. New content updated daily will catch the search engine's attention. You must do one thing: provide a daily flow of content.

    More traffic without SEO tips also include:
    • Search for an aggregator within your vertical and see if they will pick up your content. Contact the editor. Get a conversation going through email. If your selling something (retail), try and get a coupon aggregator to pick you up.
    • Make sure you have an RSS feed subscription. Make it easy for visitors to get your daily updates.
    • If your using a WordPress (publishing platform) site, download and install a SEO plugin at the WordPress Plugin Directory. Let the plugin do all the work. You don't need to know a damn thing about SEO to install one of these plugins. This is easy and will help get you that low hanging traffic fruit. Good WordPress SEO plugins include: Meta SEO Pack, SEO Ultimate, SEO Tools, Platinum SEO Pack.
    • Get users to comment and engage in some sort of discussion on your site. This generates more content and more search engine juice. If your starting out and don't have any users, create numerous dummy email accounts and post comments thru these accounts. Make sure you add/post a DIGG, Reddit, Gbuzz, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Tweet your website and every content post.
    • Pay for online ads (Google, Facebook). This is good if your selling a product, but bad if your just promoting a content site that isn't selling anything but click-through ads. SPAM tends to gravitate towards paid online ads promoting content while trying to get paid through google ads or banner advertisement clicks so be careful. Go with PPC (if your budget permits) if you have an actual product or service to sell.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    This Symbol Will Increase Your Opt-In Subscribers

    Are you having trouble adding new subscribers to your opt-in newsletter/email list? Is your opt-in page design similar to that of your optimized landing page? By adding this simple lock icon below, your conversion rates will increase. This is basic opt-in marketing 101. Let me explain.

    First, when someone signs up to receive your emails or newsletter, what do you think they want to know? They want to know how you will protect their email address from others and they want to know how you will guard their personal info . A "lock" is a symbol of trust, credibility, and security. This simple symbol instills confidence. This is a differentiation between spam and a credible request. It's also important that you include 1 or 2 sentences about your privacy policy near this “lock” symbol. There have been several surveys that have captured 70% of users will abandon opt-in marketing campaigns because there is an issue of trust. Its the same with an e-commerce shopping cart. A recent poll of online shoppers by the National Cyber security Alliance (NCSA) found that when they abandoned a shopping cart, 63 percent of the time it was due to concerns about the lack of a security symbol. When designing any opt-in marketing email campaign, make sure you back it up with a lock symbol.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    10 Tips for Landing Page Optimization

    1. Make sure the landing page loads FAST, otherwise your Google quality score goes in the tank. Page should take no more than 7.5 seconds to load. I would avoid Flash as it adds to load time.
    2. Make it obvious which button to click to complete an action.
    3. Make sure there is white space. This improves the user experience and makes your call to action stand out. Your call to action button (link) should be 20% larger than your logo. Place button at top of page (left). Web readers tend to track through content in a rough F-shaped pattern. So format important images flush left. Display the secondary action below the primary action.
    4. Catchy headline (create a powerful hook) and few exit navigation options. Keep it simple.
    5. Make sure your images are catchy, contextual, and load FAST. Optimize your images! Descriptive image file names, ALT tags, file size, Anchor text.
    6. Privacy policy and sitemap at the bottom.....and put some "testimonials" or endorsements on the page if you have room. 
    7. Check keyword usage. DO NOT spam keywords.
    8. Remove all possible distractions. Your design layout should be very clean, crisp, and clear. Get creative. No stupid redirects. Use a single dominate image or photo.
    9. If you use WordPress and have no experience in optimization, just add a WordPress optimization plug-in.
    10. Concentrate on the upper 300 pixels of the page. Half of your visitors will not scroll "below the fold."

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Las Vegas Social Media Review Revisit

    After numerous requests, I decided to revisit and update my original "Las Vegas Hotel/Casino Social Media Review" from March 25, 2009. There were many changes in the last few years in the social media marketing side of the industry. Many more Las Vegas Hotels and Casino's have jumped on the bandwagon and even "pushed" it to the "next" level. I also received a lot of requests from "Clubs" to be a part of this update. The club side of this review is equally important in that most Las Vegas "clubs" are either owned or operated separately from the host Hotel/Casino. Some Hotels, Casinos & Clubs are not fully up to speed with the new online marketing techniques. I will be looking, in no particular order, at the following social media marketing practices:

    • Facebook company pages.
    • Blogs + update frequency. How many comments? Comments show some level of engagement. Trackbacks, Pageviews.
    • Website. I would like to track "traffic" but I'm only interested in sales. Traffic can be misleading. As they say "Traffic is for truckers and sales are for satisfaction"
    • Twitter efforts and participation. Tweet & retweet update frequency and # of friends or followers. If you only have 15 followers, but all of them take action, is that a better metric than having 150,000 followers and 200 take action? 
    • LinkedIn company pages.
    • Location "aware" participation i.e., foursquare, Google Places, etc.
    • Mobile phone participation (Android + Apple apps, online room rate coupons, Groupon, etc.).
    • Sell thru techniques using Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Groupon).
    • Social Media sentiment. I may use this’s difficult to fully quantify. The only way to track sentiment, which I see as important in determining the effect of the message is sales, leads, and members (some sort of email sign-up). But in the end, who cares if we're devoted and passionate about the message?
    • Participation in SXSW in some shape or form?

    I will be contacting hotels, casino's, and nightclubs in the next 1-3 weeks. Since there are many of them in Las Vegas these days, I will ONLY review the ones that wish to be reviewed. If you respond back and do not wish to be reviewed, I will leave you out. If you DONT respond back at all, then I will take it you’re not interested and leave you out as well. I will probably contact the hotel, nightclubs, & casino's via their PR, Twitter, or contact email. I live in the SF Bay Area (Silicon Valley) so I cannot meet face-to-face (unless you fly me down). Most interviews will be done via phone, and email.

    Putting together a comprehensive review like this will take time. I will post a huge spreadsheet with grades for each business. I would also like to throw in social media graphs, twitter freq graphs, website stats, etc. Anyone can reach out to me via email or

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    7 Product Launch Essentials for Start-Ups

    If your a start-up, small business, or a one-man show, you may not have an enormous budget to launch a product like say Microsoft or Apple. Never spend more than what you can afford to lose or gain a new customer. Below are 7 essentials for a successful product launch with limited budget.

    1. Social Media. Set up a refresh of your Facebook page, send out product launch tweets (schedule tweets 24 hours a day), create a LinkedIn group, create a webinar (webinars are huge right now, and they are the easiest way to connect with your audience). If your in retail, use Groupon. If you have a physical location your customers frequent, utilize geolocation tools like Foursquare or Gowalla.
    2. Website refresh. Create new product-specific landing pages, feature photos (.png's), blog content, online collateral. Adjust and enhance your website meta tags/keywords to reflect new product information.
    3. Review copies. Reach out to influential bloggers +online publications. Send them copies 1-2 weeks before launch with an embargo date. Make sure you have some type of "blogger relations" program at least 6 months before launch. Relationship building with bloggers is key. Get to know them, comment on their blogs, reach out to them and introduce yourself.
    4. PPC campaign. Stick to one advertising platform like Google Ads, Amazon, or Facebook ads.
    5. E-mail marketing. Consider offering a pre-order for your new product, exclusive only to e-mail recipients. Or, offer a sneak peek at the new product before it’s released to the public.
    6. Press Release. If you have some budget, use Business Wire. A cheaper alternative is PR Newswire. These PR distribution companies now are fully automated and support Social Media + mobile (iPad, smartphone) tools.
    7. Work your ass off. Rather then using a ton of money, you use time, energy and creativity.
    After launch its crucial to measure your results. Go back and re-double efforts on which of the above techniques are working and abandon the ones that are not working.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    SEO Visual Guide to Success

    I found this great SEO visual guide layout for anyone planning a campaign for the first time. Its also a handy guide to keep on hand at all times. You can drill down the tree limbs and get more detailed and plan out milestones, etc. The guide came from Dave Chaffey at e-consultancy.

    Before you begin any SEO campaign (organic or paid) its imparitive to know how search engines operate and how people interact with them. There are many guides out there where you can learn the "basics" of search engine friendly design and development (or you can hire a consultant). Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is arguably THE most cost-effective digital marketing technique, but also the most challenging to get right. It can get overwhelming with keyword research, link building, usability, and tweaking content. In the end, always keep measuring and tracking the data (sucess) and build off of whats working, and whats not working. If your site cannot be found by search engines or your content cannot be put into their databases, you miss out on the incredible opportunities available to websites provided via search - people who want what you have visiting your site. Always keep in mind not to go too overboard with content optimization or you will get labeled a "spammer" ot a "content farmer" which will designate you as a low-quality website/publisher.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Google Maps Navigation Updated

    Just a quick note. Starting today, Google Maps navigation app will now automatically route you around traffic. This is a very handy feature for Android users. I just upgraded to an HTC Inspire 4G and found this new Google traffic reroute function incredibly useful (especially in the SF bay area). You don’t have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Mobile + Local Search = Small Business Future

    Mobile is the future. Period. If your a small business and have no mobile (local search) presence on the web, you need to "get in the game". Some new staggering trends are emerging that should be a wake up call to all businesses.
    • The Mobile revolution is revolutionizing commerce via location-based services (Foursquare), discounted offers (Groupon), Instant local and online price comparison sites are driving online and walk-in purchases. Huge Android (615% year/year & iPhone (86% year/year) Growth (Source: Canalys estimates).
    • Mobile Growth (Smartphone, iPad, Tablet) fueled by better processing power, improved user interface, smaller form factor and low prices.
    • Networks (4G) getting faster.
    • Fun to use Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, etc. 50% of all total Twitter active users are on smartphones. 200M Facebook active users are mobile.
    • Mobile now real-time connectivity 24x7 in palm of your hand.
    • Global Mobile data (internet) traffic will grow 26x over next 5 years (Source: Cisco VNI data Forecast).
    Most retail, small business, and commerce websites need to be mobile optimized. When a user is pulling up your website, all the menus pages must be viewable on the screen immediately. Highlight the address and driving directions. If you can afford it, differentiate yourself from your competitors and develop an iPhone and/or Android app that has value-add. Sign up for local search listings (Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo mobile, and get a Social media presence. Today's mobile phones offer a smart way for small business owners to engage their customers whether its in real time (social networks) or pushed (via online coupons/discounts).