5 Must-Have Spreadsheets For Online Marketing Professionals

I_love_spreadsheets_hatAs an online marketing consultant and trainer for the past 15 years, I have used a LOT of online tools to help me do my job.

I’ve seen time-saving tools come and go in crazy peaks and troughs. I’ve also seen a few that have ridden the waves of consumer fascination to become permanent fixtures in the online marketer’s toolbox.

Below are 5 spreadsheet-based tools that I use myself or recommend on a regular basis:

1) Distilled’s MS Excel for SEOs – This Excel-based workbook is like a detailed instruction manual for SEOs on how to manipulate bulky data into logical form using Microsoft Excel. If you are an Excel wizard, you’ll love this tool. If not, you’ll probably need a week to wrap your head around the analysis, but it will be worth it – I promise.

2) HubSpot’s Blog Editorial Calendar Template – If you are a content curator or social media marketer, this template will save your life. It simplifies calendar-based content allocation and helps you prioritize content deadlines and build an annual strategy to meet multiple marketing campaign objectives.

3) Shimon Sandler’s PPC Campaign Kick-Off Template – this Excel template is quite a few years old now, but I still use it as a starting point when kicking off a new AdWords or Bing Ads campaign for a client. It helps you and your client to focus on the big picture objectives and build a unique campaign to suit specific requirements rather than implementing a cookie-cutter PPC campaign that needs tweaking to fit.

4) Google SEO Rank Checker Spreadsheet – a recent discovery, this customizable Google Docs template is all kinds of awesome. It includes a clever integration of ImportXML that allows you to collect at-a-glance keyword rankings on Google in real time.

5) Outspoken Media’s Link Building Spreadsheet – another Google Drive shared doc, this is a customizable template consisting of a gigantic list of link building strategies collated by Rhea Drysdale and her team at Outspoken Media.
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Fast Five in Search – Week 39, 2013

fast-fiveIf you’re wondering what the latest Google Hummingbird update is all about, or how to get the most out of your analytics data, or how others are forging the social media frontier – this week’s Fast Five is for you!

How Google is Changing Long-Tail Search with Efforts Like Hummingbird – Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin
Over the past few years, as our confidence in Google has grown, long-tail search queries have steadily increased. In an effort to keep pace with this growing trend Google’s latest Hummingbird update has focussed on the text analysis of search queries. Rand Fishkin takes a closer look at what Hummingbird means for SEO.

Study Reports 40% of Top Instagram Videos Were Brand-Created by Kelsey Jones
The latest study by Unruly demonstrates the power of video marketing when it comes to social shares. This post contains some interesting figures and a definite nudge for those who haven’t embraced social video yet.

Why Visitor Analytics Aren’t Enough for Modern Marketers by Rand Fishkin
How can we tell if conversions coming through Pinterest (or some other channel) have a greater long term value than those coming through our email list? Or what data do we need to convince our boss that a channel is worth pursuing in the first place? All these items are addressed by Rand in this great post.

Social Media: How Much Do You Really Need to Invest? By Tina Courtney-Brown
Do you have a niche business? How much should social media marketing be embraced or ignored? And what can we learn from other people’s blunders – like the Funeral Parlour business which promoted a “happy hour” special on Facebook?

And now, for an even broader perspective…

Google Developing Tools to Help Fight For Free Expression by Megan Abraham
Earlier this week Google announced its collaboration on the development of three tools to aid people living in repressive nations. Megan describes how uProxy, Digital Attack Map and Project Shield will change the world (for the better).

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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Embeddable Facebook Content Now a Reality

eye-see-facebookEver tried to embed content from Facebook into your web site or blog? Frustrating isn’t it? Usually you have to use a 3rd party plugin or use a messy code hack and it’s almost impossible to get it to display properly on all browsers.

Well, it seems Facebook have been listening to the sighs of Webmasters everywhere and the company is finally introducing Facebook Embeddable Posts.

What Are They?

Embedded Posts are a way to publish public posts (by a Page or person) on Facebook into your web page or blog.

The embedded post will show media attached to it, as well as the number of likes, shares, and comments that the post has. Embedding posts will let people visiting your web site see the same information that is shown on Facebook.com. Embedded posts will even enable people to follow or like content authors or Pages directly from the embedded location.

It’s important to note that only public posts from Facebook Pages and profiles can be embedded.

How to Embed Facebook Posts

To embed a post, follow these steps:

1) Go to the post you want to embed.

2) Check if the post is public by hovering over the audience selector (you’ll see a globe icon if it is).

fb-embed1

3) Click the down arrow icon in the top right corner of the post and select Embed Post. You will see a dialog appear with the code to embed your post in it.

fb-embed24) Copy the code that appears and paste it to your own blog post or web page

How Does it Work?

The code in the Embedded Post dialog box includes a Facebook SDK for JavaScript snippet which gets saved into your web page code. If you already include this snippet elsewhere on your page, you can remove it if you wish, although it will not cause any issues if included twice.

Currently, you can’t customize how Embedded Posts are displayed on your page because the size of the post is fixed to the same dimensions as it appears on Facebook.

If you embed a very long post, it will get truncated with a “see more” option. Clicking “see more” will display the full post on your web page.

If you embed a post and the author later deletes it or changes the post audience selector from public to private, a message will display in place of the embedded post: “The page you requested is no longer available. The post may have expired or the privacy settings may have changed”.

What Does it Mean?

This new feature provides huge advantages to businesses with a Facebook page. The Embed Post functionality will enable companies to quickly publish and syndicate their social content from Facebook on their web sites and – more importantly – allow their customers to interact with their Facebook channel directly from their main business site.

The result should be a more streamlined social media process and greater potential for more social interactivity on company web sites rather than on 3rd party social sites. The Facebook water cooler will be moving to the company office! For businesses that haven’t yet seen the value in creating a Facebook presence, this feature might just be the tipping point.

When Can I Use it?

The feature is being rolled out this week to just a handful of large media sites, including CNN, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Mashable and People. It will be rolled out to the general public over the next few weeks.

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Workshops: Social Media Marketing for Business

venn-diagram-smm

Social Media Venn Diagram

If you’re in New Zealand, you are probably familiar with the Institute of IT Professionals.

The IITP is New Zealand’s oldest, non-profit professional body of IT members throughout the country. As well as an excellent mentoring program, the IITP run a series of professional development workshops across NZ on various IT, business and marketing subjects.

I’ve been running training workshops in conjunction with IITP now for over 12 months and really enjoy it. The next round of workshops coming up are on the subject of Social Media Marketing for Business.

This full-day workshop will show you step-by-step how to implement a social media marketing strategy for a business of any size. Included will be real-life case studies, practical examples and clever ideas for using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and other social media channels that you can immediately adapt to suit your own requirements.

It will be a fun day, with some group activities, games and (if time permits), live analysis of existing social media strategies of willing attendees.

Below are the details and booking links for Wellington and Auckland events, so please share with anyone you know who might benefit from attending:

Social Media Marketing for Business – Wellington
Date: 14 May 2013
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Venue: Terrace Conference Centre

Social Media Marketing for Business – Auckland
Date: 16 May 2013
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Venue: University of Otago House

Thanks for your support!

 

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A 3 Step Guide to Attracting Qualified Leads to Your Web Site

I was contacted recently by one of our graduates from Search Engine College. He wants to remain anonymous, so let’s call him Steve.

Since taking our course, Steve had managed to land a job as Director of Online Advertising for a famous plastic surgeon in Los Angeles. He had already used what he learned about SEO and PPC to increase traffic to the surgeon’s site by more than 40 percent. But he had run into a bit of a roadblock, which is why he contacted me.

Here’s part of Steve’s email:

“Although my client’s Internet inquiries have increased dramatically since last May when I started, we have apparently reached the wrong audience. Every inquiring patient bellyaches over the prices and tries to talk him down. Yet my client is a master surgeon with over 30 years experience, an instructor of cosmetic plastic surgery at two universities and has penned three books. I know how to find a more well-heeled audience in the world of print but how is it done on the Internet? What can I do differently with SEO, blogging and social media to find a more qualified group of patients for my client?”

In answering Steve’s email, I realized that there are probably many webmasters and online marketers in a similar situation : just how DO you attract the most appropriate target audience to your web site? Maybe you’ve got traffic generation covered, but how do you make sure the traffic you are receiving has the best potential to convert into sales/sign-ups?

Here’s the advice I gave Steve:

Step 1

Record how customers found your client’s site. Was it word of mouth or via the web site? Did they come from a search engine? What keywords did they type in? Make sure there is a *how did you find us?* option for every email, phone or walk-in inquiry. Closely track your client’s site analytics to see where the bulk of the traffic is coming from. Once you have a more solid understanding of your current customers, you are ready for the next step.

Step 2

Perform detailed keyword research so you know what keywords and phrases your particular target market is searching for in search engines. Start by looking at the keywords providing the most traffic to the site. It’s easy to assume that because your client offers “plastic surgery”, your customers type “plastic surgery” into Google to find your products, right? But the truth is, you don’t actually know what your client’s customers are searching for unless you research it. They might be typing in “facelifts” or “nose jobs” or “rhinoplasty”. One of the biggest mistakes online businesses make with search engine marketing is targeting the wrong keywords.

Next up, create a seed list of keywords. Basically, this is a brain dump of all the keywords and phrases you think your client’s preferred potential customers might type into a search engine to find the products and services he offers. You need to get inside the heads of your potential visitors/customers. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and think what would YOU type in to a search engine if you wanted to find a site like yours? Start with the keywords you know existing customers and site visitors have used. Then pass that list around the office, to your client, to your friends and get everyone to add the keywords *they* would use to find those same products and services. Keep going until you’ve got at least 50 keywords/phrases. That’s your search term seed list.

Now take that list and enter it into an online keyword research tool such as Keyword Discovery, Raven Tools or even the Google Keyword Tool. These tools show you how many searches each keyword/phrase attracts each day. Use this information to narrow down your choices. Don’t bother with keywords that generate less than 20 searches per day. Look at the most popular keywords in your list and choose the ones that relate specifically to your client’s service. Revise, streamline and revise some more to come up with your final list of the most relevant target search terms.

If you want to avoid the tire kickers, you’ll probably want to remove search terms such as *cheap plastic surgery*, *inexpensive facelifts* and similar themes from your list. If you are running AdWords campaigns, this is a lot easier because you just add keywords like -cheap and -free etc. to your negative keyword list.

When you have your final target list, get to work integrating those keywords into your web pages, blog posts and AdWords campaigns using your SEO knowledge. This will ensure that you receive more traffic from persons entering your target keywords and less traffic from tire kickers. Your site visitors should also be more qualified leads and further along in the research / buying process so it should result in more surgical bookings.

Step 3

Set up social media monitoring to track mentions of your target keywords on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networking sites. There are several tools to do this, but here are a couple of the best:

Raven Tools Social Monitor
Google Alerts
TweetBeep

When you see mentions of those target keywords, you or your client can contact the persons who made the post / tweet / status update to let them know of your client’s services. For example, say you are tracking the keyword phrase *rhinoplasty surgeon* and someone uses Twitter to tweet something like:

“@paminbeverlyhills: Can anyone recommend an excellent rhinoplasty surgeon in Beverly Hills? #lazyweb”

You will receive an alert and you can then approach that person on Twitter. Obviously this has to be done in a subtle, helpful way rather than coming across as pushy or spam-like. So your response might be something like:

“@beverlyhillssurgeon: Hey @paminbeverlyhills I saw your tweet earlier about seeking a rhinoplasty surgeon, just wanted to let you know we have over 30 years experience in rhinoplasty surgery. Let me know if we can help :-)*

This can be time-consuming, but well worth the effort because the leads are highly qualified and much more likely to convert.

Don’t forget, you can also use Facebook demographic targeting to promote your client’s business page or web site via Facebook advertising. For example, if you know that your client’s patients are mostly aged 40+ with tertiary education, you can choose to have the ads show only to Facebook users who meet that demographic. You can do the same thing using demographic targeting in Google AdWords.

Follow these 3 steps and start attracting more qualified leads to your web site. When you are tracking just the keywords and search phrases that you know are highly relevant to your business and/or using demographic targeting, you are able to more accurately pinpoint your market and pick and choose your customers.

Tire kickers begone!

 

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