Category Archives for Digital Marketing

Email Marketing Selling Guideline

infusionsoftJust back from Loral Langemeier’s Alumni conference in San Diego. While not specifically focused on internet marketing, there were several internet marketing sessions there, including a panel that included Geoff Zimpfer from Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft if you are not aware of it, is the uber online customer management system. It’s a CRM (customer relationship management), EMail Marketing and eCommerce system all in one. It’s pricey, but a quite a nice system and surprisingly intuitive.

Geoff said something interesting that I wrote down. I think we all can agree that with email marketing it needs to be a balance between providing value and selling. But what’s that balance? Geoff proposes a point system. For each email you send out that delivers value to your audience you get a point. An email that is a sales pitch, you deduct 7 points. So he’s recommending you strike a 7 to 1 balance here.

I think he is right that a balance needs to be struck, however I’m not sure I agree with the math. Why would 5 to 1 be less effective? If you deliver great value and it in general is more frequent than the sales pitches, does the 7 to 1 ratio need to be rigorously adhered to? My suspicion is that he based the comment on statistics that Infusionsoft has available to it, so I don’t think we can dismiss the comment lightly.

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How I doubled traffic to my blog

Webenso TrafficThis year I got serious about increasing the traffic to my blog. The result? Over three months I saw traffic double. For the month of June I got 1200 visitors, 1000 of that was organic traffic. Here’s the five things that I did:

  • Blogged twice a week. Used to be I would sporadically and inconsistently blog. Knowing that search engines love frequent and unique content. I started blogging twice a week. There have been weeks when it’s been once a week, like recently; but on the whole I’ve kept the discipline. Additionally for most posts I researched the best keywords to use in my page title and URL using the Google Keyword Tool. I found that if I could blog on something relatively new, like my Pagemodo review and avoid “me too” content, those posts did well in traffic.
  • Be social To engage in the online community, most posts I tweeted. I also wrote a guest post on Google’s Panda algorithm that brought in some traffic and even some email signups and of course created a new backlink. Occasionally I would also comment on other blogs. I’m getting more comments and questions on my posts and I would respond to those. It’s great when the interaction gives you ideas for new posts. Special mention should go to Ann Evanston’s Blogger Monday, although that was more of a factor in traffic for me last year than this year. Who says no follow links from guest blog commenting don’t matter?
  • More linkbuilding. I submitted my blog to several Blog Directories.
  • Addressed duplicate content Google had more than 100 of my tag pages indexed, which was diffusing my good unique content with duplicate low value pages. So I noindexed my tag pages.
  • Improved bounce rate User engagement with your website is now a signal the search engines pay attention to. My blog had a high bounce rate (84% for the first three months of the year). So I installed two plugins: Yet Another Related Posts and Random Posts which suggest other posts a visitor might want to read. I also added a few nav bar items. My bounce rate is still high, but has come down to 73% for the last 30 days.

There is definitely more work to be done. I need to guest post more and get more of a Facebook strategy. I have additional blog configuration items to tackle and I need to focus more on linkbuilding overall. But it’s nice to get the feedback that I am on the right path.

My brief, unhappy experience with Google Adwords

Game Devil by Nicubunu


To broaden my skill set I wanted to learn how to advertise with Google Adwords. I had been following a course from Armand Morin and wanted to put what I learned in practice. So, I set up an account with one of those free $75 coupons. It was not a happy experience. I ended up with a permanently suspended account even though no ads ever ran (zero impressions, zero clicks).

Perhaps I was just plain stupid in deciding to advertise via my Clickbank affiliate link. I had heard that most affiliates had abandoned Google PPC due to the strict quality guidelines and that it was very hard to get an ad approved. But I didn’t have a suitable landing page to advertise. And for my learning purposes, if none of my ads were approved I could live with that. Just the exercise in setting up a campaign would be useful. Apparently this was a fatal mistake.

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A organized directory of records

16 Blog Directories – The Good, Bad and the Ugly

I’ve seen several “top blog directories to submit your blog to” articles, however these lists are often light on details or out of date. Here are 16 blog directories that I went to take a look at. Like regular web directories, some blog directories will only list you for a fee, and yet still more request a reciprocal link before they will list you. Some are rather sneaky about it, you don’t figure out you have to reciprocate or pay until you are a step or two into the submission process.

That being said, just like web directories, it might be worth paying for a listing in some of these blog directories, however that analysis (choosing which one to pay for) is for another day.

For some of these you should be prepared to create an account and choose a category that your blog belongs to. Some ask for a full profile. Some have validation/ownership verification processes. It WILL take more time than you expect. Many of these will have a human review the submission before publishing it. That’s ok, in fact it is good, as google looks more favorably on directories that have editorial review.
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Preventing Image Theft & Copyright Violation

Stop Image TheftCopyright law exists to protect the creators of a original work, whether than be an article, a photo or a drawing. As soon as you create it you have copyright to it, which stays in place 70 years after the author’s death; at that point it belongs to the public domain. Unless you grant license for someone else to use your image, it is considered a copyright violation if they use without your permission.

Image theft is an important issue on the web, especially to people who make their living creating visual art.  Just this week there was a furor over the site which was copying and hosting entire collections of images from people’s websites. Complaints shut it down but there are others that are doing the same thing.

Theft of content and image happens every day on the web, so what can you do?

  • Inform:   Show that it is your original work by placing a copyright notice on your website.   For example “Copyright 2011 Pablo Picasso”
  • Make it less desirable: Many artists will only put low resolution copies of their images online.   So if they are stolen they are not of full quality.
  • Make it difficult: Implement functionality that makes it harder to steal the images.   For example, disable the right click functionality with javascript.  Note this will annoy some visitors who expect the right click to work for legitimate uses.  Another approach is to place a transparent image over the real image, so when it is saved the thief gets a blank image.   WordPress users might want to check out the iProtect plugin.   Keep in mind that that neither one of these are complete solutions.   Disabling right click doesn’t help when the thief finds the image in Google Image Search and gets the image there.  Which brings me to ….
  • Hide them from Google and Bing: Keep all your images in one directory and tell Google and Bing not to index that directory by placing a directive in the robots.txt file.   Note that this action is useless if Google has already indexed your images.
  • Watermark them: Perhaps the most effective solution, this alters the image so that it is “marked” in an identifying way.   It’s the same idea as branding cattle back in the cattle rustling days.  There are also WordPress plugins that watermark the image “on the fly”.

Ultimately it is up to you how much effort you want to put into preventing image theft and violation of your copyright, but don’t just ignore the issue, decide on an approach and take action.

Own Your Domain Name!

You wouldn’t register your DBA or LLC entity in your accountant’s or lawyer’s name .. so why, oh why, do so many businesses allow their webdesigner own their domain name?

Just a few weeks ago I had to inform one of my associates that the website she was working on, was not registered to the rightful owner, and wasn’t even hosted where she thought it was.

If you are confused about the difference between domain names and hosting, here is a quick explanation: Your domain name is your online identity and the name of your site (eg. “Hosting” means you are renting space for your website from a hosting company, when your browser, whether it is Firefox or Internet Explorer, accesses your website, their servers “serve” up your website pages, similar to a waiter serving you your soup.

It is possible that domain is registered with a different company than your hosting provider, which means there are two separate accounts you need to have access to … and they both should have your name as owner – not your webdesigner’s name.

For both domain names and hosting accounts, there is usually a way to specify a “technical contact”. It is perfectly fine to have your webdesigner listed as a the technical contact .. but he or she should never be listed as the owner.

You not only should have the domain name registered in your name but also you should have all the account information (username and password) for:

  • Your hosting account
  • The account where your domain is registered (if different)
  • Your admin panel if you are using a CMS (for example your admin login for wordpress)

Make sure also you have the URL you go to enter your username and password. If you don’t know whether you are hosted with godaddy or bluehost, the account details will not be that useful.

I had to work with a client whose webdesigner died and left me a forensic exercise to hack into his admin panel and database. Don’t let this happen to you!

If you do not own your domain name you may not able renew it (so your site goes dark with a domain name expiration). You will not be able to point it to a new website.

If you are interviewing a webdesigner, ask them questions about the website domain registration and registration. Be suspicious if they tell you they have to host your site on their “special” servers and set up the domain for you. Most simple business websites don’t need anything special and a hosting provider like provides all the tools (and more) needed.

I do register domains for my clients as some of them just don’t want to face the “technical challenge”, but I always do it in their name and set it up to bill their credit card.

If you are not sure who owns your domain, try a whois lookup.

Frank Kern: here is what i got

I had the privilege of seeing Frank Kern give a talk on Saturday. For those of you that don’t know him, Frank Kern is the highest paid internet marketer on the planet. Frank is a gifted copywriter and does direct response campaigns, both online (email campaigns, sales letter pages) and offline. Direct response means that the copy asks for the reader to take action (usually to buy something).

Frank is quite entertaining and swears a lot. But underneath that casual demeanor you catch glimpses of a sharp masterful focus on his craft. The rest of his time he parties and surfs.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Here is what I got Copy per Frank has three sections: 1) “Here is what I got” – what the offer is, 2) “Here is what it will do for you”, and 3) “Here is what I want you to do next” – call to action
  • Market research is critical You have to know your target market, what problem they are trying to solve and whether they have money to spend.
  • Attract Fans Give away free stuff of great value that helps a little. Then sell them a product that helps them a lot.
  • Sell high dollar products It’s a lot more effort to sell a $100 product to 100 people than to sell a $10,000 product to 10 people

Thanks to JeffAndKane for having Frank at their event.

Google Adsense and Adwords, make money magnets

What’s the difference between Google’s Adsense and Adwords programs?

Adsense and Adwords work together but are frequently confused. I find it most helpful to explain from a perspective of what role you are playing on the internet.

If you are a publisher, in other words you blog, write articles, or otherwise put content on the internet, then you may want to consider adsense as a way to make money online. Web site owners can set up adsense ads on their sites, and if their site visitors click on the ad, the site owners gets a commission. Setting up adsense ads is easy.

  1. You create an account with google (you can use an existing gmail account)
  2. You pick what style and colors the adsense ad will appear as on your site
  3. You cut and paste the generated code to your site

Google looks at your content and figures out what ads are relevant to show on your site.

If you want to advertise on the internet, then you should consider adwords (also known as Google PPC – pay per click). Your goals might be to drive more traffic to your website so you can sell online or build a list through an opt-in box. Adwords takes a little more to set up than Adsense but it’s not too hard to get started. Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Each time someone clicks on your ad, you pay a fee, so it is easy to run through a lot of money. Most experts advise setting a small daily budget until you have the ad tuned. Make sure you do your numbers. If it costs you a $1 per click and you get a 10% conversion on the traffic, then will you make money on a $7 product? I don’t think so.
  • You will have the choice on whether to advertise in the search engine results pages in the sponsored listings, or through the adsense publishing network. Each is a different strategy.
  • Pay attention to your keywords, you have a lot of control on not only which keywords your ad shows up for but whether you want to just appear for an exact match, the keyword phrase in a larger search term or keywords in any order.

While it’s easy to get the basics, it’s another to be successful. Google Adwords (or Search Engine Marketing) is a specialized field that successful marketers can charge good money for a successful campaign.

The death of internet marketing?

I’ve been doing some mass unsubscribes from the IM guru’s lists.  Too many hyped promotions, too many people cross promoting.  And the worst thing of all, it completely distracts me from getting real work done.    Seems like I’m not the only one.