Monday, December 14, 2015

ZMOT - The Zero Moment of Truth

         One of the very important aspect of a marketer is understanding the modern sales cycle . Traditionally the sales cycle as defined by P&G way back in 1999 was of 3 steps. a) Stimulus b) First Moment of Truth c) Second moment of truth.
The Stimulus creates the product need in the mind of the customer . It drives the customer to make a buy decision. The First moment of truth is the first time the customer sees and feels the product - the a-ha moment and he buys the product , The Second moment of truth starts after the customer starts using the product and feels that the product lives up to its expectation and promise and hence feels satisfied.

However with the change in the Marketing landscape the First and second moment of truth are not the only deciding factor for marketing. Google realised this early and coined the term Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).  The ZMOT is the defining period for a customer during which he does the product research and study across various competing products and price and understand the value of the product. The First Moment of Truth follows the ZMOT. Today ZMOT is done using various elements of social media, blogs, write-ups, various focus groups meet-ups, etc.

          As a marketer, every individual needs to understand each moment of truth in order to provide useful content marketing and social media engagement that build and maintain relationships with prospects and customers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to setup a successful SEM or PPC Campaign ?

In the last post I mentioned about what is SEO and how to make SEO work, usually setting up a SEO and making it work is a time consuming process and takes time, typically around 3 months of effort at least to start of and may be few years to get a decent outcome. Unfortunately not always a business can afford to wait this long in order to make this happen, the only way to take this forward is perhaps the paid search option or PPC(Pay Per Click).

The PPC has the following elements:
  1. Account Setup in Google AdWords, Bing Ads others
  2. Keyword selection
  3. Campaign architecture
  4. Search term bandwidth
  5. Ad Copy
  6. Landing Page
  7. Setting targets – time and duration, location, language, device
  8. Setting budgets
  9. Bidding
  10. Scheduling
  11.  Quality and conversion tracking.
  12. Analysis and Iteration
   For any search operation the user journey, starts with a “Search”, then “Click” (on a search), next “Browse” or purchase and the exit is “Signup or leave”. At the beginning the “Goal setting” for PPC needs to be done.  The goals are usually similar outcomes as SEO focusing on increasing brand reputation and increased business, however based on the budget there is usually a time period defined for PPC.

  Next comes the keyword research and campaign setup. In Keyword research we identify the search word, which we want to target. Based on this we start Campaign Setup. Setting up a campaign with Google AdWords is easy. We create various AdGroups under the main Campaign by subject areas and search terms specifying exact match, phrase match or broad match and then setup various Ads under the AdGroups. The AdCopy or actual text for these Ads needs to be clear and concise, attractive and compelling enough, A/B testing can be performed using various versions of these Ads and based on the customer response these can be optimized accordingly.

  A good landing page is vital for setting up the ad campaign. This should contain relevant contents to search, your product and service details, visible images and clear CTA with minimal clicks. The budget comes next based on expected clicks and ad delivery. Based on the priority of the business it needs to be defined which keywords to bid. Also based on the most active time of your customers, the target time and duration of the ad campaign need to be defined.

   Once the Ad is all set and live, next starts the analysis and iteration phase. Daily and weekly monitoring report needs to be monitored to track the conversion rates, CTR (Click Through Rate).  Tools similar to Google AdWords analysis tool can be used to track the finer details of customer engagement like purchases, enquiries downloads etc., analyze the results for the KPIs and optimize your campaign accordingly.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Demystifying SEO

What is SEO ? How to draw traffic to your site ?

SEO is the method used to achieve visibility on a search engine result organically (without any paid search). The focus of SEO is to gain a high position in the web search, enabling customers to find results and achieve better than competitors. During search we gain valuable information about customers for example which segment the user belongs, the place of the user, his/her priority, product liking and purchase mode online or offline. A well-defined SEO strategy helps to understand more about the customer and outbids or outperforms the competitor for the words you want to be found.

The SEO process is of 4 iterative steps

a) Goal Setting – At the beginning of the month or quarter we set the business goals from the business perspective this could be -Increased click through, Increased engagement and increased conversion. From the brand perspective this could be – increased brand visibility, reputation and competitive advantage.

b) On Page Optimization – The process of refining the website so that your website will be indexed and ranked higher in the search engine. There are few key elements that need to be configured:
 1) Keyword Optimization – Matching the website words /phrases after brainstorming to include the commonly searched keywords using tools like Google Adwords, Google Insights, Wordtracker, SEObook, Wordstream
2) ALT Tag – this is used to specify the alternative text for example when an image cannot be rendered to enable better accessibility in all platforms.
3) Content Balance – There need to be an optimum keyword density-% of time a phrase appears on a page in relation to the total number of words
4) Meta Tags – A HTML element that provides information about the page , meta Title, meta description these need to be configured
5) URLs – using hyphen to separate the URL keywords
6) Site Map – On site optimization page linking all other pages tools FreeSitemapGenerator can be used
7) Web Master tools – This can be used to index a website and allow website owners to see how search engines interact with their site.

c) Off Page Optimization – The objective here is to increase the ranking of your webpage. The ranking is the position of the website in search results based on the number and quality of all websites that link to your page. The key element here is link building. This can be built in two types Inbound and internal. The inbound link is usually from the other website to this page and internal link is from one internal webpage to another webpage. The higher the quality of the linking website the greater this will influence the rank.

d) Analysis and Iteration – Various analytics tools used can track the traffic coming to your webpage common ones include Google Analytics, Stat Counter, Omniture, Various tools like Woorank, FeedtheBot are also good tools to review your SEO . Various criteria for the analysis are usually taken in account like Traffic from each keyword, Conversions from each keyword, technical completeness, website above ours, technical completeness etc. These analysis need to happen every monthly and weekly measuring website performance against baseline.

    While SEO is the natural way to increase traffic to your site, it needs to be bourne in mind that this requires lot of effort and time. Usually 3-4 months minimum effort can get your site with original content up the google ranking, however many of us may not like waiting that long, so in that case we need to refer to PPC and other paid models to engage with your customer much faster. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Digital Marketing and SEO Acronyms

In the last few weeks I have been learning a lot of SEO/Digital Marketing acronyms , its time I thought let me list them all here so that it helps all fellow Digital Marketers , over the next few days , I will continually seek to update this list. Thanks everyone for adding to this list.

BL = Backlink

CGI = Common Gateway Interface
CMS = Content Management System
COA = Cost of Acquisition
CPA = Cost Per Action
CPC = Cost Per Click
CPL = Cost Per Lead
CPM = Cost Per Thousands
CPO = Cost Per Order
CPV = Cost Per View
CPW = Cost-per-view (CPV)
CRO = Conversion Rate Optimization
CSE = Comparison Shopping Engine or Custom Search Engine (Google)
CSS = Cascading Style Sheet
CTA = Call to Action
CTA = Content Targeted Advertising
CTR = Click Through Rate
CVN = Card Verification Number

DFO = Data Feed Optimization
DRPs = Directory Results Pages

FFA = Free For All (links listings)

GAP = Google Advertising Professional
GWO = Google Website Optimizer
GWT = Google Webmaster Tools

HTML = HyperText Markup Language

IBL = Inbound Link
IBP = Internet Business Promoter
IOT = Internet of Things
IIOT = Industrial Internet of Things

KEI = Keyword Effectiveness Index

LPO = Landing Page Optimization
LSA = Latent semantic analysis
LSI = Latent Semantic Indexing

OBL = Outbound Link
OWBL = One way back link

P4P = Paid For Placement
PFI = Pay For Inclusion
PFL = Paid For Listings
PPA = Pay Per Action
PPC = Pay Per Click
PPR = Pay Per Rank
PPV = Pay Per Visitor
PR = PageRank

RI = Regular index
RSS = RDF Site Summary, Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication

SE = Search Engine
SEM = Search Engine Marketing
SEMPO = Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
SEO = Search Engine Optimization (Optimisation)
SERP = Search Engine Results Page
SES = Search Engine Strategies
SI = Supplemental Index
SMX = Search Marketing Expo
SNS = Social Networking Service.
SWL = SiteWide Link

TBPR = Toolbar PageRank
TLA = Text Link Ads
TR = Trust Rank

UGC = User Generated Content

VIPS = Visual-block Page Segmentation

WP/WP4 = Web Position/Web Position 4

XML = Extensible Markup Language

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Steps to setup your Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

            In my previous post I talked about the various channels of Digital Marketing, in this post we are going to talk about SEM. What is SEM ? There are various definitions , in simple terms this is an online marketing mechanism with the objective of making your website more visible among SERP(Search Engine Result Page) by promoting your website through optimization and advertising. SEO(Search Engine Optimization) is a subset of SEM where the focus is more on Optimization (we will cover in detail about this in future post). The other part of SEM is advertising , this can be through unpaid and paid mechansism like PPC (Pay per click) and Paid Search Marketing. There are various steps to structure your SEM , below is the common steps :

1. Goal Setting : The first stage is setting goals and be clear on the objectives : Do you want to increase the Sales , or increase the traffic , or generate more leads ? No doubt  every marketer's main focus is increasing the Sales, traditionally the focus is more on increasing traffic, today the focus is shifting more towards building the brand reputation. So sit with your team and decide on the goals.

2. Selecting a bidding model : Next is selecting a bidding model , usually Google Adwords is used , two of the popular models are as follows - Portfolio theory -to setup to maximise volume of conversion within a the pre-defined budget or Margin maximization - to maximise your margin on a keyword, decide on which one is more suitable for you. If you are not sure you can A/B test and split your budget in both.

3. Deciding PPC (eg. Adwords) account structure : Various PPC models can be setup based on your search engine, Adwords from Google is the most popular one, to setup an account, there are various ways to do this but some common tips for doing this are: tightly controlling keywords and ads, designing the segments as much as possible, and controlling performance seamlessly so that the account is easy to manage.

4. Keyword planner and Key word research : Google's Keyword planner is mostly used, this allows to find various related products, brands , key search terms by phrases, also it provides statistical search volumes, so that it is easy to check the popularity of a keyword. You need to customize and decide on your needs suiting your product or service.

5. Campaign Setup : Here you configure your campaign by setting up your target geography, target language etc. You can split your campaign in multiple Ad Groups and configure CPC for Adgroups.

6. Adcopy creation : Adcopy are the letters in your advertisement created to attract the attention of the buyers. This is usually the second or third line from the advt. displayed.The goal of the adcopy to to get some action out of the visitor. Advertisers use various versions of adcopy they intend on using so that they can test which one has the highest conversion rate.

7. Iteration and analysis : Finally as we know this a continious process, we need to keep analysing and improving. Analysing SEM involves review and iteration using the following components:Analysis tools  like Google Analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - The effectiveness measures, which companies often focus on, include CTR(Click Through Ratio), conversion rate and average cost per click. The value of interpreting CTR for your campaign is an indicator of overall account performance. Conversion rate is an indicator of the effectiveness of your website; and the value of average cost per click is as an indicator of the competitive context.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Primary Digital Marketing Channels

In the previous post we came across the Digital Marketing key principles, Initiate, Iterate, Integrate, In this post I am going to talk about the key the Digital Marketing channels. At a highlevel this can be split into 11 main areas they are as follows :
  1. SEO or Search Engine Optimization - The primary focus of this is to implement tools and techniques to optimize your website so that it is found on all search engines dynamically.
  2. Search Engine Marketing(SEM) and Pay PerClick(PPC) - This is an ongoing process to setup paid advertisement with goals, setup management review and iteration
  3. Email Marketing - In order to send timely email communication to customers we use this platform 
  4. Digital Display Advertisement -  By this medium our intention is to placing graphically rich advertisement in internet to relevant customers.
  5. Social Media Marketing - Engagement of target audience through social media and online interaction forums
  6. Mobile Marketing -  The aim of mobile marketing is to use range of digital marketing activities through mobile devices irrespective of their locations through sms,camera,music,phone browser,GPS, mail,gaming etc.
  7. Analytics - By analytics we are measuring and monitoring customer activity and taking key marketing decisions with the huge volume of data that is captured from each customer's online behaviour.
  8. Video Marketing - Using video channels like Youtube, vimeo, vine etc to market your products and services and to create viral videos is the key objective of Video Marketing.
  9. Affiliate Marketing - Earning revenue by promoting other marketers products. This is a performance-based marketing in which  reward is given to one or more affiliates based on the new visitors or customers brought by the affiliate's marketing effort.
  10. Shopping channel management - Today there are various marketplaces for similar products and it is important o identify the correct marketplace for your products and services so that you can constantly manage the ratings, reviews, descriptions etc. of your online products against marketers and provide suitable daily deals, coupons, and other offers to attract new customers.
  11. Online PR and Article Management - There are various free and paid PR distribution sites, it is important that we leverage all channels and reach out to the various bloggers, journalists, investors out there to generate a positive online feedback of your product and thus promote your product or service. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Digital Marketing Fundamentals

We are moving in the digital economy faster than anyone could have guessed in the last decade.
The below picture shows how fast the digital divide between countries is getting blurred. As we are racing fast to embrace the power of this Digital world to launch our own products and services, we need to pause a little and ponder if we are ready.  The process to get the answer depends upon what you want to achieve. Successfully Implementing a Digital Marketing(DM) strategy is a key enabler in your path to success. So how do we define this DM strategy, As per Digital Marketing Institute, Ireland, this starts with 3 "i"s. Initiate, Iterate and Integrate .

During "Initiation" we find out who is the consumer of your product and service and work backwords in defining the goals and objectives to reach to them. Once we have the details of the consumers wants and needs we focus on a strategy to engage with the consmer in various "iterative" ways . In this process gradually we "integrate" various other DM tools like SEO/SEM, PPC, Email marketing , digital display marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing. Finally we monitor the results and keep improving the various engagement results with a set of powerful analytics.