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  • bob@smsrd.com
  • 800-272-0887

Tag Archives: Digital Marketing

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B2B Social Media Marketing

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Social Media marketing is one of the most powerful tools in business to business (B2B) industries. B2B marketing is about connecting to the right people, with the right message, at the right time. No social media network does that better than LinkedIn. If your business needs to reach the consumer you need to look at Facebook but if its B2B then let’s talk about LinkedIn.

Marketing is not sales although sales are the reason that you do marketing. Marketing is about communicating to the market the value that your business creates. One way to get this done is to connect to the right people and get to know them. Like all marketing challenges this is about reach and frequency where reach is your network and frequency is your newsfeed contributions. Another key element that businesses sometimes miss is that Social Media is a conversation not a speech.

Pick Your Players

The first step in Social Media Marketing is to decide who in your organization will be market facing. These are the people in your organization that are responsible for connecting to the market and that is all business relationships not just sales (although sales will be our focus for this article). Picking market facing people is a big deal and it should be carefully considered. In most organizations you will have people with the mission of connecting to prospective customers but others could be for strategic partners.

Create Amazing Profiles

Once the Market Facing profiles are identified, the first task is to evaluate the profiles and fix any problems on them. Incomplete profiles with no pictures, no background, or few connections scream to the market that you are there to do the minimum work, probably not a message you want. Make sure that every word on the profile is evaluated and that you create great content for these profiles. Ask customers for referrals, join related groups, and start to read (and ‘Like’) some of the discussions.

Upgrade Your Profile

To use LinkedIn professionally you need a professional profile and that costs a few dollars. As I write this the basic professional service level is $47.99 a month or $575.88 a year. There are lots of other services from LinkedIn but this basic one will get you the services you need. The problem with the free profile is that after a very small number of searches the search results become blurred forcing the upgrade. LinkedIn is earned media so while there is no cost per click there is a subscription cost and a labor cost.

Keep Score

Reach in social media is measured by the size and quality of the network connected to your profile. While measuring quality is a complicated conversation, measuring the size is easy. Look at your profile and display the metrics of your reach somewhere your team looks at all the time. In our office, this started out on the whiteboard and was promoted to the electronic dashboard where it is visible to everyone every day. Reach is as simple as three numbers; Starting, Current, and Additions.

Ask the Right Person

Once you have selected the Market Facing Staff the next step is to create a model of the ideal contacts for that person. The search process in LinkedIn is simple but your target may not be. To target a list it has be less than 1,000 names because the system will only show you the first 100 pages. Our process starts by limiting to the 2nd level connections and then we start slicing it with other settings. There is no one way to do this but common slices are geographic location, title, industry, etc.

Introduce Yourself to the Right People

Marketing 101: “If you do not ask for the connection then your rejection rate will be 100% and your growth will be 0%.” Where people fail in this step is by being lazy and not thinking about the person they are contacting. If you want a connection, tell the person why and make it as personal as possible. If you cannot make it personal then you have not really thought about the person you are contacting. I start this process by thinking about the profile of the person I want to connect to. This becomes a search profile that we use to find those people and deliver a targeted connection message to. The mission of the message is to clearly state in 300 characters or less why connecting to me will be of value to them. If you fail to reach this standard you will have problems with LinkedIn and will be eventually blocked from future connection requests. People who are in interested in what you say will accept the connection. A good guideline is if your yes rate from your message is less than 10% you are in trouble, 10-20% is average, and over 20% you will earn a positive reputation.  

Watch Your Timing

Marketing is about timing and social media does not change that but it can help. When we work with clients on this we often look for events that trigger or are associated with demand. In the business world, this can come in many forms but a common one is conventions and seminars. A recent example of this was a client in the tourism trade that wanted to rent accommodations to business travelers. We found several venues in the local area that hosted conventions and then requested connections to the managers most likely to be involved in the event logistics. This allowed us to communicate with the person that was most likely going to set the accommodations for the team that would staff the convention. This is an example of using events and social media to get messages to the right people at the right time, after that all we needed was the right offer.   

Engage with the Conversation

Once you have a network you need to invite a conversation and avoid shifting into speech mode.  Businesses often fall into the trap of only talking about themselves and it comes across as something between arrogant and conceited. Messaging in social media needs to be of value to the intended audience and failing to meet that standard is a big problem. Communication in LinkedIn is part of the newsfeed and needs to be thought of as a mosaic that you put together one posting at a time. Your posts taken as a collection is your story.

Measure Response

In our social media plans we decide on the frequency and message content and then measure the engagement we get from that. We use a simple Excel spreadsheet as shown below as a management summary. What we are looking for are topics that engage our audience, aka network, and our reach outside of our established network. If the audience finds your content interesting they are likely to read more from you and the system will see that and give you better distribution.

Yes, It’s a lot of Work

Social media is earned media not paid media and as a result it has more work in it. Earned media has been around for generations although in the olden days it was called PR. Earned media is 10x more powerful than paid advertising but less controlled. If you want to build you network we do offer this as a service and we would be glad to discuss this in detail – call us 800.272.0887 and ask for Josh or Bob.


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Getting To The Why

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Our office recently saw a TED Talk by Simon Sinek on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. To summarize, he talks about a concept he came up with called the Golden Circle. There are three layers to a company; the outside layer is the “What”. What do you do and this could be a personal question or a business one. The second layer is the “How”. Finally, the most important and hardest question to answer is “Why”. When a business or individual can portray the “why”, they will gain followers that believe in that vision and the examples that Simon uses are Apple, the Wright Brothers, and Martin Luther King Jr.

His Ted Talk inspired us to look within and answer the “why” for our company.

At the end of the presentation all we could think about, in regards to our company and who we serve, was the tag line for Zalinsky Auto Parts. To the best of our knowledge, this isn’t a real company but a fictional one in the movie Tommy Boy. Yes, the movie with the late (and hilarious), Chris Farley. The tag line for that company was “I make car parts for the American working man, because that’s what I am, and that’s who I care about.” Although we are not an auto parts store, we can empathize with that saying. We market for small businesses because that’s what we are, and that’s who we care about.

As a business, especially a small one, knowing the “why” is crucial to promoting your business. Now while the conversation about the “why” is not as funny as the plot to Tommy Boy, there are some serious business lessons that help in getting to the Why.

Connect Businesses to New Customers: The search engines can be seen as a meeting point between two different audiences. To the person with the blank search box on their screen, they are looking for a specific product or service such as the Brake Pads that Callahan Auto sells. On the other end of this are advertisers looking to sell their product. If Tommy Boy were to be re-made today, they could utilize Google AdWords to find customers to buy these brake pads as the search results serve as a meeting area to connect businesses that provide a product or service to the individuals looking to purchase said products or services. Helping clients to utilize these marketing channels excites us because it helps us improve the quality of life for consumers while helping our clients grow their business.

Allow You Time To Focus On Business Items: If Callahan Auto were to operate by today’s rules, they would be able to outsource the digital marketing needs of their business to experts such as us. This would free up time in their schedule to grow the brake pad division and to explore other items to sell within the Callahan Auto line or even time to discuss ideas for other businesses to open. One Why within our world that we take pride in is helping to keep this part of their business in good hands as this additional time saved can be used to focus on other areas of their business.

While Tommy Boy and TED talks are two things that are typically not mentioned in the same sentence or the same article, the principles of getting to the Why ultimately played a major factor into the plot of the movie and if Digital Marketing was as prominent in 1995 as it is today, we would welcome the opportunity to manage the digital advertising for Callahan Auto Parts to get their name out to potential customers and give Tommy Callahan III additional time to focus on growing other parts of the business.


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Things Don’t Exactly Match Up Here

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The Friday News Dump, while it is most notorious in the news world, it can be applied in several different places, in fact Google engaged in their own Friday News Dump last week.
While a large portion of the population was distracted with March Madness and or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Google quietly released some information on a change that will necessitate additional vigilance on the part of advertisers everywhere.

Historically, Exact Match keywords are only supposed to show when the person searches for something that Exactly Matches the search that was performed on Google. Previously, Google had loosened this to where it now includes “misspellings, singular forms, plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations and accents.” We had concerns about this when it became publicly known that this would not be optional.

Our initial takeaways from this are as follows:

1 – Same meaning different order is a bigger cause for concern than Rewording and ignoring function words

The first example cited by Google was the addition, removal or change of function words such as in, the, for, etc. If the update to the close variants was limited to this scope, our concern would be much more limited.

However, this seems to be the opening act for the fact that the exact match setting will no longer take word order into consideration. In many cases, a two word phrase can have a very different context based on the order that they are placed in. Historically, the point of Exact Match is to only match for words when presented in that exact order and this change opens up the door for Exact Match keywords to act more like Broad Match Keywords.

2 – Google says “early tests show advertisers may see up to 3% more exact match clicks on average while maintaining comparable clickthrough and conversion rates”

The way this claim is worded, the first thing that strikes us is a lack of confidence “may see up to 3%” in the already modest claims. While common sense and logic would dictate that loosening the exact match settings are naturally going to lead to more impressions (and more clicks) this says nothing about the quality of these clicks (which would likely decrease) and we are highly skeptical of something that loosens the keyword matching settings to actually increase overall conversion rates.

3 – Search Terms Report becomes more important than ever

One of the AdWords basics is to review the Search Terms Report to see which searches are matching to your ads for the purpose of seeing if there are new keyword ideas worth exploring or whether there are certain searches that need to necessitate expanding your negative keyword structure to help control for the quality of traffic.

With the definition of Exact Match Keywords being updated, the Search Terms report and expanding your Negative Keyword base based on the searches that are being matched through close variant matching will be more important tomorrow than it is today.

The world is always changing and the speed of changes is much faster in Google AdWords than it is for the rest of the world. Just like being a parent, this is the fun part but also the part that keeps us on the edge of our seats on a daily basis. While we have concerns with the expansion of the Close Variants setting, these are concerns that can be mitigated by being extra vigilant in analyzing the searches being matched to your keywords.


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Added By AdWords

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What if we told you that Google is starting a new pilot where they believe they can do a better job writing your ads than you? This may sound crazy but as they say, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The Ads Added by AdWords pilot has been publicly known for a little over a month but the more we think about it, the more we have concerns about it for advertisers over the long-term.

While Google claims these ads see performance improvement of 5%-15%, we believe that Advertisers need to have authenticity in their voice and controlling how ads are presented is an important part of this process. By transferring part of this process to someone who is not associated with your business or someone hired to represent that voice on your behalf, weakens the authenticity of this voice in our opinion.

The good news is if you like controlling the messaging on your own ads; it is very easy to opt out. There are a couple ways you can stop this process.

1 – Check to see whether this has been applied to your AdWords account

Currently, the percentage of accounts opted into this feature is very small. To check whether you are among these, you will want to click on the Ads tab go to Columns menu, click on modify columns and under attributes you will want to select the icon next to Labels and click apply.

2 – Check the labels and see if any of them say “Added by AdWords”

If anything, it is at least easy to identify which ads have been added by AdWords and which ones have not. The first step you will want to do is remove these ads. Even if you see that this feature has not been applied to your account, the reality is that pausing or not having any of these ads in the first place means there is merely no symptom and there is work to do in removing the source which leads us to…

3 – Request to be opted out of this test

The good news is that you can get yourself opted out of this “feature”. By filling out this form, you are able to opt out of the Added by AdWords feature and ensure that you maintain control of the ads that are seen by your prospects.

While this has been launched on a small scale so far, the progress of this will need to be monitored in the coming months. The good news is that if you have concerns about this, it is easy to avoid having this impact the ads being run in your AdWords account.


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