Arkansas Internet Marketing and Arkansas Inbound Marketing Blog

Blogging for Business: 4 Simple Ways to Become More Effective

Posted by Jon Dodson on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

Content marketing is definitely king. Today's smart marketers don't waste time trying to trick their potential customers. Instead, they grab valuable attention fairly and squarely with engaging information and media.

An interesting, well-written blog has proven to be one of the most effective ways of creating the involved audiences that can most easily be turned into customers. Those who set out on the path of blogging for more leads, though, sometimes find that how to use a blog most effectively is not as clear as it might have seemed.

In fact, however, thinking strategically about your blogging activities is often all that is required to produce a payoff that will make the effort worthwhile. Blogging for business can be satisfying for just about any company, and we'll look at some of the most powerful concepts below.

Subscribers are Worth Their Weight in Gold. Mine More.

Search-engine-driven traffic is nice when you can get it. Blogging for business, though, just as often relies on subscriber lists to produce the lion's share of any particular post's audience. Those who actively express interest in your offerings, after all, are most likely to show up again when something new pops up. Furthermore, they are even more inclined than other readers to want to share what you have written, thereby helping with your marketing.

Surprisingly, though, many business bloggers are relatively hands-off about pumping up their subscriber counts. Some fear alienating visitors with overly aggressive appeals, and this is something that should certainly be avoided. Tasteful reminders that the option exists, though, aren't likely to turn anybody off and can be among the most productive changes you can make.

Think about boosting the prominence of any existing subscription links on your blog, then, especially if your analytics show that casual readers rarely convert into subscribers. A simple call to action that is positioned such that a satisfied reader of one blog post will happen upon it is often all that it takes to create a new subscriber.

Creating a standalone landing page that details the benefits of subscribing can be an excellent idea, too. Not only will visitors who arrived for other reasons run across and make use of it, the page can be prudently shared on social networks to great effect. Even adding a simple, low-key aside in unrelated emails can produce more subscribers for a blog, as well.

Make the Most of What You've Already Done

Blogging for business can lead to a focus on creating new posts, and steady activity is important. Once a blog grows to a certain size, though, it also pays to start thinking about how older work can be used to better effect.

As a content marketing effort evolves, for example, the keywords and topics of interest blog writers focus on will shift as well. One way of better leveraging older blog posts is to go back and update their titles to reflect any new emphasis. Far from detracting from the value of established assets, this gentle repositioning can give them fresh significance as new titles better show how they fit in with a company's current thrust. More concretely, they can also help boost search engine rankings as those new terms find their way onto older pages.

Don't stop at the titles, either. While it requires more time and commitment, updating the content of popular old posts can be especially worthwhile. Particularly for those posts that still draw steady streams of visitors, consider adding an addendum that reflects what has been learned since the original went up. Showing that kind of initiative impresses readers on a second level beyond that of the original post's worth, making their visits to your blog more satisfying.

Measure, Measure, Measure... and Adjust

Nothing beats hard numbers. Creating an interesting blog can feel like a fuzzy sort of undertaking, and there is an undeniably subjective element to the art. Even so, the effects can often be measured in clear-cut terms, and those who fail to do so are missing out.

One of the most profitable ways of working an analytical approach into your blogging is to study just how actionable your calls to action are. Every post you make should include an appeal designed to get readers to move further along in your lead generation process, since that is the main point of using a blog for business, but these entreaties are not all created alike.

Simple A-B testing systems can help you to figure out how to perform better in this respect, and this sort of investment pays twofold returns: First, it creates more leads in the short term and, second, it helps you hone your skills in ways that only reliable feedback can enable.

After gaining some confidence in your ability to provoke action from your readers, you can start looking for ways to apply your newfound powers elsewhere. Once again, older blog posts that continue to generate gratifying amounts of traffic can be spruced up with brand-new, more-effective calls to action. You can use your website's standard analytics reports to figure out where any other updates would be likely to produce the greatest effects, too.

Respect Your Own Efforts

One of the most important reasons for the power of high-quality blogging is the inherent authenticity and intimacy of the pursuit. Visitors who enjoy and benefit from what they read develop real, positive feelings for the businesses and people who create content for them.

Blogging for business differs from traditional marketing in some fundamental ways, then. Recognize and take possession of that fact and your blogging will benefit. Engage with readers who care enough to leave comments on your posts, and you will discover new avenues worth exploring in the future while inspiring more loyalty in your fans and creating new ones.

Banish the old-fashioned marketing mindset, then, that so often carries a whiff of shame about it. Create good content and share it proudly and do everything you can to make sure that anyone who might be interested finds out.

Topics: blogging, how to blog for my business, business blogging, blogging for business

What Are the Top Marketing Metrics to Present to CEOs?

Posted by Jon Dodson on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 02:09 AM

Digital marketing departments don't always get the credit that they are due. While the internet has made it easier to measure how well marketing is working for a business, it is still quite difficult to prove how valuable marketing is to the company overall. It can be especially hard to show marketing's worth to the CEO, board members and other executives. Using marketing metrics is a good way to show how useful marketing is. Metrics can also show exactly how much of the company's sales are due to the marketing department.

CEOs are taking more of an interest in marketing than ever before. They want to track the marketing department's progress and see how successful it is. It can be difficult to know what metrics the CEO and other top executives want to see. Choosing the best marketing metrics can be a challenging task. It is important to show how valuable the marketing department is, but it is also important to give accurate reports and data. It is vital that the CEO, CFO and board members be presented with information that is relevant to them.

Most people in charge just want to know how much things cost. They also want to know what the results were from previous efforts and expense. Top Marketing Metrics include how much marketing costs. This includes every cost related to the marketing department, including how much marketing employees are paid, general operating expenses and how much each marketing project costs. Some metrics are useful for deciding how to proceed with marketing projects and strategies. These include cost per page, cost per follower and cost per lead. This type of metric, however, might not be the best Marketing metrics for your CEO and other top executives.

The Most important marketing metrics will demonstrate how valuable the marketing department is to the success of the company. They will also show how much money marketing brings in and how it influences the business as a whole. There are several metrics that are particularly helpful when speaking with a CEO or members of the board. Including these is a good way to get the attention of executives and ensure that they know marketing's value.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost, or CAC, is the total cost of the marketing and sales teams divided by how many new clients were acquired in a given period of time. These costs include salaries for department employees, advertising money, operating expenses, commissions and more. A high cost means that a company is spending a lot on each customer.
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) vs goals is an important metric to monitor in case the marketing team has disappointing lead production. If a problem here is caught early, a team can look for new ways to find leads before they fall too far behind projections.
  • Time to payback customer acquisition cost is how long is takes the company, in months, to recover the cost of attracting customers. This is less important for businesses where customers pay only once, particularly in advance. If clients have yearly or monthly fees, the time to payback should be less than a year. That means the company begins to earn money and profit from a new client within a year.
  • Marketing percentage of CAC is how much of the customer acquisition cost goes toward marketing. If it goes up, sales might be low or too much might be spent on marketing. However, spending more on marketing and finding better leads can raise sales. For this reason, it is important to know the context and approach of marketing and sales strategies before deciding the if marketing percentage is too high.
  • Leads over time is easy to track and analyze. A company should have more leads during each consecutive period. If leads go down, there could be problems with sales or marketing.
  • Ratio of customer lifetime value (CLV) to CAC is only used for businesses where customers continue to pay fees or purchase goods. It compares the customer acquisition cost to how valuable a customer is currently. The ratio should usually be higher than three. If the ratio is too high, however, it means the company isn't growing fast enough. More money should then be spent on marketing or sales.
  • Marketing originated customer percentage demonstrates how much business the marketing department brings in. It can also be shown with revenue instead of individual customers. Marketing influenced customer percentage includes any customer that marketing influenced.

It can be challenging to show how valuable marketing is to a company. Higher-level executives and board members are very concerned with how much things cost. They want to see that efforts and expenses pay off in the long run. Using the right metrics when presenting to CEOs and other executives can show marketing's full value to the company.

Topics: Analytics

Setting Up Linkedin for My Business: A Few Simple Tips Go a Long Way

Posted by Jon Dodson on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

LinkedIn is a powerful business networking tool that can easily produce a new job or other opportunities. Most users, however, fail to make the most of the service because they don't put enough effort into crafting their profiles and otherwise making sure that they will stand out. As one now-successful user put it, "Setting up Linkedin for my business turned out to be more complex than the sign-up help had led me to believe." How to set up LinkedIn correctly and for the best possible results, though, is a fairly simple, straightforward process for those who keep in mind a few simple ideas.

Make Sure You Are Easy to Find

Headlines, summaries, job descriptions and skill listings should all, of course, be written in ways that will appeal to and impress those who actually read them. Relatively few LinkedIn users, though, think about how to use those and other parts of the profile for an equally important purpose: showing up in the service's search results when employers and others enter relevant keywords.

In the wider world of the Internet, this process is known as "search engine optimization," and it can be just as powerful and effective on LinkedIn as anywhere else. As part of basic LinkedIn setup, then, users should think about the search terms that others in their industry are likely to use when looking for new employees, contractors, or partners. Those two- and three-word terms can then naturally be worked into the aforementioned areas of the profile verbatim to produce a boost in visibility on the service. Making sure that profiles are 100% complete, too, is one of the more important steps for setting up linkedin, since every blank field is one that can't contribute to search performance.

Cultivate and Target Recommendations and Endorsements

As a fundamentally social service, LinkedIn emphasizes reputation and networking connections. New users to the service do well to actively seek out recommendations from existing ones, as these signs of approval give them immediate clout and legitimacy, in addition to making them easier to find through general searches. This early work, then, will pay great dividends over the long term.

The "endorsement" feature on LinkedIn was created in order to allow for a more casual and targeted sort of approval-granting, and collecting these can be a good way of backing up a list of claimed skills. On the other hand, many more advanced users also find it helpful to be selective in what they display in this respect. Hiding endorsements that don't mesh well with a candidate's current focus can be just as important as exhibiting others, as doing so can help to give more focus to a profile, making it more interesting to the desired kind of reader.

Do Not Neglect Your Company Page

Understandably, given the social thrust of the service, many novice LinkedIn users put far more effort into their personal profiles than their company pages, if they even acknowledge the latter at all. In fact, however, creating a strong, compelling company page is an important basic task, since that page reflects back on the operation's employees, providing further legitimacy and authority. As one owner of a smaller design firm said, "Setting up Linkedin for my business turned out to be just as important as working on my own profile."

Some of the same techniques that produce effective personal profiles can be used with company pages, too. Being mindful of keyword use, for example, can help to make a company page stand out more in searches, and cropping up more often in search results will allow a company page to lend even more shine to the profiles of owners and employees. Company pages also include powerful analytic tools that can be used to further tweak and refine their content, an opportunity that few can afford to overlook.

How to use LinkedIn with the greatest possible effectiveness, then, is more a matter of thinking strategically about each aspect of the service than any arcane techniques. Those who put in the time and effort invariably find that it is relatively easy to improve the results they see in noticeable and worthwhile ways.

Topics: LinkedIn

Arkansas Search Engine Optimization - Tips to Overcome Competition

Posted by Jon Dodson on Wed, May 8, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

Arkansas Search Engine Optimization, Arkansas SEOIf you are running an Arkansas based business web site, then neglecting Arkansas Search Engine Optimization is not an option. Arkansas search engine optimization is a way to let Google know that your site is about a certain niche. When people search for keywords related to that niche, your site will appear closer to the top of the search listings if you use Arkansas SEO. If this sounds good to you, read on.

A properly coded site is an important part of a successful SEO strategy. Poorly coded java can make it difficult for spiders to index your pages. Flash content cannot be indexed by spiders at all, unless there is a textual description included in it.

Proper keyword density is essential to search engine optimization. If you want search engines to consider your content high-quality, make sure that no more than 20 percent of a page's content is taken up by keywords.

For a good affiliate marketing strategy set up pay-per-click advertising. The pay is not very high, but over time, the profits will start to add up.

Research their previous experience, and how long they have been working in this field. Be sure you are aware of any risks, so that you are in a position to make a knowledgeable determination based on the facts.

Purchase a simple domain name that is pertinent to your niche and easy to remember. These are especially helpful for people that find your content on YouTube because they are easy to say and to remember.

Make the most of your meta description tags. They are useful to reach your search engine ranking goals. These description tags are important, as they show up below the title of your page in search engine results. Make your meta tag information concise and meaningful. If they are powerful enough, these tags can bring visitors to your site whether you have the top rank or not.

One way to increase your page's search rank and attract more visitors is to include a site map. A site map will link your pages to each other. This will increase your visibility through SEO and increase traffic directed to your site.

Make a site map to help the search engines index your site's pages. Also known as a navigation bar, a site map allows search engines to find pages from any other page of your site. Regardless of how large or small your website is, a site map will increase your ranking in search engines.

Keep the content of your website user-friendly. To gain higher search result rankings, create a website that is clear and easy to read. Your site should not only be easy for readers to use, but for search engines as well.

Many site owners forget to check their sites for grammar issues, even though that is one of the most important things about owning a website. Your website should be easy to read and free of errors to engage both clients and the search engines. If your keywords are spelled incorrectly or your site is full of glaring grammar errors, search engines will be less likely to include you.

There's a lot to search engine optimization, but as was stated earlier in the article, it's absolutely essential to make sure your website gets the business it deserves. Make sure to apply these Arkansas search engine optimization techniques to your website, as soon as possible, so that you can start getting more customers and more profits.

Topics: inbound marketing, search engine marketing, Arkansas SEO, arkansas Search Engine Optimization

Arkansas SEO - Learn How To Stay On Top

Posted by Jon Dodson on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 @ 14:12 PM

Whether you're an Arkansas business professional or an aspiring blogger hoping to make some money on the side, your number one tool in the internet arena is going to be something called Search Engine Optimization. This refers to a group of actions you can take to make your website appear as the number one result in a search. Read on to find out how an Arkansas SEO firm in VerticalStudio.com can help you with a few tips.

Blocking domain ownership information is a crucial thing that can affect search engine optimization. This can cause search engines and other sites to view your website as a potential spammer. It will also cause it to negatively reflect it and cause it to probably not come up often in general searches and will thus cause fewer hits.

If you plan to retire or change your URL try to use a 301 redirect. This code is beneficial. The 404, or "Page Not Found" code can be damaging. A code 301 will tell your various search engines where they should transfer your old URLs search engine results page position to.

To improve your ranking on a search engine, make sure to include many backlinks in your website. This is a link that sends the visitor to a different part of your website. This link should be relevant to the previous page. For instance, if you have a celebrity gossip blog and you are posting about Paris Hilton, you can link back to a previous post about Paris Hilton's television show. The more relevant backlinks you include on your website, the more relevant your site appears to a search engine.

Joining SEO communities is a great way to learn little insider tricks of the trade. Say Google suddenly changes their policy and begins to treat HTML title tags differently. You may not find out about this until your site falls in the rankings. But if you're signed up to receive newsletters and e-zines from the SEO community, you will always be in the know.

Link purchases and exchanges can both be a really positive thing and a really negative thing depending on the situation. When it comes to search engine optimization, your best bet is to check the cache date of the page where your link would be located in Google. Search for "cache:url" where you put your website page in place of the term url. If page isn't there or the cache date is more than a month old, the page really isn't worth much and isn't worth paying the money or exchanging links with.

Ask for links. Don't be shy about asking all your colleagues and acquaintances to link to their sites. The worst they can say is no, and many times they will say yes. Getting more links is important to your search engine rankings, so you can definitely use the help of those that know you.

Using these simple tips to improve your website's search ratings through Search Engine Optimization for Arkansas SEO will revolutionize your website. Remember to be patient and stick with the strategies, and soon you'll see your site traffic skyrocket as more people discover you through search engines and become regular viewers or customers.

Topics: Arkansas SEO, arkansas Search Engine Optimization, arkansas search engine optimization agency

Social Media Marketing: 6 Suggestions/Tips To Another Level

Posted by Jon Dodson on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:10 AM

Unlike established businesses, start-up business have many financial hurdles to overcome. This leads to smarter and more resourceful ways of reaching their desired audiences, such as social media marketing(SMM). Because SMM deals with advertising primarily on popular social networking sites using proven techniques for driving traffic, a campaign like this is very inexpensive. The information in this article will help you learn how to implement social media marketing in your advertising.

Tip #1

Include the names of influential users of Twitter by name-dropping with an "@" symbol preceding the name. By doing this, they receive notification that you have posted about them. This can either lead to a tweet reply, or they will re-broadcast your post to a wider audience.

Tip #2

Interesting and current content will help you bring in more site visitors. Create "how-to" articles which explain a task that many would seek the answer to. Review a favorite product, and add images to keep it lively. When your content is the best it can be, it stands a better chance of being shared by people that visit your site.

Tip #3

Your goal should be to initiate a conversation with your customers. Companies often forget that when a customer offers feedback, they are also opening up a dialogue. Engage your customer base by talking with customers who give both positive and negative feedback. Find out what your customers really like and dislike about your products, and use that information to help move your company forward.

Tip #4

Study the ads on the social media websites and you will find many images that are eye catching and interesting. Using this kind of imagery in your own ads is a great way to make them more notable and draw potential customers' attention. After the advertisement has grabbed their attention, they will be more inclined to visit your site for more information.

Tip #5

When posting videos to YouTube make sure there is a link to click on that takes the viewer to your site. Set the link up where it describes your video, and also have a Twitter and Facebook button near your videos on your channel. Facebook and Twitter followers originating from YouTube are especially useful, as they tend to share videos more often.

Tip #6

By utilizing social media marketing strategies, you no longer have to be concerned about whether you are wasting valuable time and money. Instead of focusing on losing your shirt, you can focus on posting exciting and informative content, including images, video and text. There are many social media websites that you can start utilizing. It is only a matter of time before you become established, and obtain a sizable and dedicated customer base.

Topics: inbound marketing, Social media marketing, YouTube marketing

Key Web Analytic Principles and KPIs - Key Performance Indicators

Posted by Jon Dodson on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 @ 19:08 PM

Web site goals, online outcomesThere was a time not too long ago when it was cool to have a website. You didn't need to bother with concerns such as usability, conversion rates (site visitors into customers), and click paths since the internet was nowhere near as competitive as it is today. If you had a site that looked good, you were good to go. Let's face it, if you had an unsightly website you were still pretty good to go. If you actually got some business from your website good. If not, you were sort of pleased with that too. In the beginning a lot of businesses didn't truly think they could profit from their site.

Today the internet supplies substantial options for business sites to expand opportunities, raise their profits and increase their bottom line. For this reason, the internet has actually come to be a fiercely competitive space. In such a competitive atmosphere, you need to understand exactly what works and exactly what does not for your online spend. Without determining KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you will never give yourself an opportunity to truly understand your online business opportunities.

Determining performance of traditional advertising such as direct mail or post card mailer marketing is achievable but can be somewhat difficult. You can easily say it worked or failed based upon total sales. However, it is difficult to determine the exact information such as what part of the advertisement was efficient, just how frequently individuals considered the advertisement or for how long?

With web analytics, we can easily get a much greater understanding of where and just how successfully you invest your marketing dollars. Web analytics plays a strategic part in determining success and notifying decision makers to susceptibilities within their online efforts. The value of web analytics is not just in its capability to collect and report data.  A key value of web analytics is to assist in determining site visitor behavior that presents a basis for "doubling down" on successful outcomes and driving modifications to the site that increase conversions - site visitors into customers .

For businesses that make use of web analytics in this method, 75% raised brand-new website visitors to their websites, 78% enhanced web site visit duration and 65% increased returning website visitors. 83% raised web page views per visit, 68% raised their conversion prices while 64% increased their number of visits per existing consumer.

The value of analytics is not merely in the measurement of the data. However, web analytics provides site owners the capacity to discover actionable insights and act upon the insights of the data. KPIs should drive action! Every KPI we determine must represent action. Developing an efficient web analytics strategy calls for more thought than cash.

Effective, goal driven Internet advertising is impossible without KPIs. Without KPIs, you are just investing in online advertising because it simply feels like the right thing to do. When investing in online advertising because it feels like the right thing to do without KPI's in Web analytics you may as well be throwing your money into a black hole.  With defined KPI metrics, you can invest cash based on solid data that makes sense. With KPI's you can make educated decisions about your next strategic moves online.

Web analytics is effortless according to every professional that offers internet analytics services. Go to their web sites and they'll inform you loud and clear that internet analytics is just a "stroll in the park". The truth is Internet analytics can be extremely challenging.

KPIs need to be part of your strategy. Web analytics is not an isolated project within a business. Web analytics must be part of your company analytic efforts. Just as you determine your desired sales and income goals, you must determine your web site KPIs.

KPIs are more about site visitors and Internet strategy than any modern technology. Lots of online marketers shy away from web analytics since it seems like something an engineer would appreciate doing. Web analytics is about determining customer behavior. Web analytics is among the most efficient devices to expand your business online.

Web analytics allows you to turn raw data into actionable insights that can lead to better outcomes. Numerous online marketers construct their own advertising programs based on information about another companies’ marketing history. Do not make this mistake! Exactly what worked for another company is not automatically going to work with your company. When you consider your sites web analytics it allows you to hear from your potential customers within the data from your web site.  Build your Internet marketing strategy based on what your web site visitors are telling you they want or don't want in your web analytics data.  This data represents the voice of your customer.  Are you listening?

Do you know what the KPI's are for your web site?  Are you reviewing this critical data monthly to know whether your site is doing what you intended it to do?  What are your desired outcomes or goals for your web site that you can measure with Web analytics?

Contact us at Vertical Studio today to discuss how we can help bring efficiencies to your online spend and increase desired outcomes.

Topics: Web Analytics, outcomes, KPI

Google Analytics Advanced Segments: Is There Buried Gold in Your Blog?

Posted by Jon Dodson on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 @ 17:06 PM

If you know us, you know we live in our clients’ data.  If you don’t know us, then please understand... WE LIVE IN OUR CLIENTS’ DATA.  The data is where we find the secret map to the buried gold.  Here’s a good example.
 
Not too long ago we were preparing to meet with one our clients.  Part of this is putting together the PowerPoint slides that walk through our performance over the last month.  Not to brag, but it was all good news:
  • 5.0x ROI YTD on ALL related spending (media buys, professional services, technology, and attributed in-house resources)
  • Total visits up 184% year-over-year
  • And ‘non-branded’ organic search (SEO) visits up 231% year-over-year
 At this point it is easy to give ourselves a pat on the back and move on to the next task.  Seriously, think about it.  No client is going to push back on results like that.  They are getting what they are paying for (actually 5x what they are paying for).  But there is always more!

During our monthly analysis the data from the client’s blog jumped out at us.  This client has been working on their blog for 16 months.  Yep, 60-something entries.  Was it always rewarding?  Nope.  They had several months in the beginning with less than 50 page views per month to their total blog.  Translate that into layman’s terms analysis - no one cared they were blogging.  But, the last four months their blog averaged 1,600 page views per month.  Nice jump.  

At first this felt like a small victory, but we peeled back another layer of data and it started getting ugly.  

First, we had to identify the business purpose(s) of the blog: 1) Introduce the brand to potential customers; 2) Convert new potential customers into leads.  Quick aside: Don’t mistakenly  think the purpose of a blog is to increase SEO mojo.  It is unlikely that your customers pay you for your SEO mojo, so it doesn’t qualify as a business purpose.

Next we used Google Analytics Advanced Segmenting to really dive into what was happening and separate all of the noise from the true signal.  To quote Avinash Kaushik, “You no segment, you no find insights.  You no segment, you no have job for long time.”  We want to work with our clients for a long time, so we segment.

We created the following segments:
  • Blog Entrances: These are simply visitors who came to the website through the blog.
  • Organic Search Non-Branded Blog Entrances: These are visitors who came to the website through the blog who were not intentionally looking for the brand.
  • Non-Branded, Non-Blog Entrances: These are visitors who came to the website without the blog who were not intentionally looking for the brand.
The following table is what we found:


Here are our takeways from this data:
  • 31% of visits to the blog are non-branded.  So the blog is introducing the brand to people who were not otherwise looking for it.  This is a success and a baseline to gauge future improvement.
  • Non-branded visitors to the main website behave dramatically different than non-branded visitors to the blog.  The Non-Branded, Non-Blog visitors are 1,053% more likely to become a lead!  Ouch.  
Here is where it gets more fun.  Now that we have found a problem we have to ask, “What is it worth to solve it?”  From data supplied by the client we know what each lead is worth; a bit less than $200.  We’ll use a value of $200 per lead for the sake of making the math easy here.

So the current value of the Organic Search Non-Branded Blog Visitors is $1,000.  But if we could get the Organic Search Non-Branded Blog Visitors to behave like their cousins the Non-Branded, Non-Blog Visitors and convert to leads 2.54%, then there would be have been 58 (or 53 more) leads!  That gets us to $11,600 right there!

But lastly, we need an annualized dollar figure so we are making apples-to-apples comparisons prioritizing improvements to the website.  In this particular case we could expect an increase in Annualized Revenue of $25,000 if we hit our goal!  This tells us that it is well worth some time and effort to solve this problem.  

This is where the story ends for now.  If you want to hear what happens next as we work on this problem be sure to subscribe to our blog for automated updates.  

Angel Investors Chime in Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor's Proposed Angel Investing Bill

Posted by Jon Dodson on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 @ 00:02 AM

Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor recently proposed a bill that would provide a 25% federal income tax credit for investing in small businesses.  You can see the details of the bill here.

We got a chance to catch up with several leaders in the startup community, both inside and outside Arkansas, and get their thoughts on Senator Pryor's bill.

 

"Mark Pryor’s American Opportunity Act is not only great news for investors but for the entire startup community as a whole, especially those who have a far greater chance of succeeding if they’re able to secure seed and early stage funding from local angel investors but who might be too early in stage for (or not need) funding from larger venture capital firms.   Our economic future as a country does not solely depend on the outcome and success of giant corporations who have already “made it” and those that encounter no hurdles or challenges in their earliest stages, but also in large part on that of smaller startups that provide tremendous value which may not yet be realized or have not yet made it past a prototype or minimum viable product stage.   These type of businesses and entrepreneurs are critical to our country’s economic success and are extremely important for job creation.  Mr. Pryor’s bill will help encourage investment in these types of early stage businesses and ambitious entrepreneurs, and is nothing but great news for the entire startup community."  

Michael Peace, Angel Investor & Owner of JMP Consulting, LLC

"Senator Pryor's proposed legislation would have a major impact on the future of the American economy by helping to unlock billions of dollars of private capital, and direct that money into the country's entrepreneurial high tech innovation sector. There are currently over 250,000 angel investors in the US, and this legislation has the potential to double that number."

David S. Rose is CEO of Angelsoft (www.angelsoft.net), the official software platform of the Angel Capital Association and the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds. Angelsoft is used by over 30,000 accredited angel investors to collaborate with over 100,000 high-tech entrepreneurs. Mr. Rose is also the founder and Chairman of New York Angels, the leading angel investor network on the East Coast, as well as an active angel investor himself who has helped to fund over 80 high tech startups.

"Most new high wage-rate job growth comes from technology-based start-ups.  Venture capital has become less available and more conservative over the past ten years as traditional exits such as IPOs are scarce at best. Senator Pryor's proposed America Opportunity Act acknowledges that early stage business creators are the critical job creators.  For early stage innovation-based business, angel investors provide the crucial risk capital available from no other conventional source.  Providing a federal equity investment incentive of 25% reduces the considerable downside risk associated with these critically important investments, such that the available investment pool should increase dramatically.  Similar programs have been available and very successful at the state level in a variety of states including Arkansas.  I applaud Senator Pryor's leadership in putting this bill forward, and I sincerely hope this measure receives broad bipartisan support.  Frankly, federal measures such as this are long, long overdue."

Jeff Amerine, PMP

"I think a tax credit for angel investing would spur entrepreneurial growth.  There are many more potential angels out there that have not yet started investing, but have the capital to do so.  The reason they're likely not investing yet is that they don't feel like they understand the process -- and if they do, they recognize that it's hard to produce a positive return as an angel investor.  A meaningful tax credit like the one proposed would likely sway many more angel investors to fund early-stage entrepreneurs."

Dharmesh Shah - Founder of HubSpot and co-author of Inbound Marketing

GSI & ClearSaleing - Does Anyone Care about Interactive Attribution?

Posted by Wilson Kanaday on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 @ 23:01 PM

GSI's acquisition of ClearSaleing provides a good time to revisit the field of Interactive Attribution.

Simple Background

The first time I formally heard of Interactive Attribution was a little over a year ago.  Now everyone in web analytics is familiar with the problem that Interactive Attribution is trying to solve; potential clients/customers have numerous touch points with a business before they commit their cash.  So which point should an analyst attribute the conversion?  

  • Google Analytics does it by "last touch", which is to say that the last way a unique visitor came to the website when they converted gets credit for the conversion.
  • Google Adwords creates confusion by attributing conversion to the "first touch."  If a visitor comes by Adwords and then 30 days later by direct navigation and makes a purchase, then the Adwords ad gets the conversion credit.

Right here - at first glance - separate bodies of Google data do not give an apples-to-apples comparison.  There are ways to reconcile this and even hack Google Analytics to adjust the data sets.  

You can imagine how complicated this becomes when you factor in email marketing, social media, display campaigns, retargeting and offline advertising.  

Who gets credit for the sale?  From our view, it seems like everyone should get a little bit of credit for each touch point.  But how much?  Have fun solving that.

Where Is Interactive Attribution Today?

Dax Hamman from Chango - the Search Retargeting Company - did a piece on his blog back in late November accurately stating that not much happened in the Attribution field in the previous twelve months.  A) He's right.  B) The lack of progress caught people off guard (at least the few people that were interested) because once Forrester publishes a report on something it is supposed to become the next big thing.  

In late 2009 the players Forrester named in Interactive Attribution were (you can download the report here):

  • Atlas
  • Coremetrics
  • Theorem
  • TruEffect
  • Visual IQ
  • [x+1]
  • ClearSaleing

ClearSaleing was placed in the prestigious upper right corner.  They are still the player today, not much has changed.  But the ground is starting to shift a little bit.

Josh Dreller pointed out on iMedia in December that Attribution "adoption is still growing, slowly but surely."  In addition, Dreller listed off challenges to Interactive Attribution adoption.  The one that strikes me as the most true was #3 - It is not a high enough priority.  We speak with Interactive Marketers all of the time.  And in passing, they agree Attribution Modeling is a problem.  But they don't seem to actually care.

My best guess as to why is a bit of a variant to Dreller's #3 point; it is not a high enough priority because there is too much to do that comes way before that.  Dreller mentions budget planning, managing employees, etc....  But I think it is more of a data problem.  

THERE IS TOO MUCH DATA ALREADY!!

Interactive Marketers have data coming out of their pores - Google Analytics, Coremetrics, Omniture, ad networks, email marketing and search campaigns.  How does a vendor expect to cut through all of that market noise and say, "Hey, look at our really cool data now!"  Marketers, in the aggregate, haven't come close to mastering their current data.  That's actually being generous.  Many marketers don't really have the first clue what their data actually says or what to do because of it.  

The current problem Interactive Marketing practitioners are trying to solve - whether they want to admit it or not - is still "more eyeballs."  Yep.  Super Bowl advertising stuff.  "How can we get more people to our website?"  It is the rare marketer we come across that really drills into converting the same number of "eyeballs" into more cash.  If you aren't focused on conversion, or better yet - Conversion Rate Optimization - how do you get to committing budget to getting the conversion the credit it deserves?

This brings us to the ClearSaleing acquisition.  

I don't take this event as a real positive for the Interactive Attribution "industry."  The concept of Attribution Modeling is ahead of its time and so is/was ClearSaleing.  GSI was likely their largest revenue channel for a year now.  This allows GSI to have a technology "add-on" for their 500 clients and gives ClearSaleing better access to that client pool.  I am sure that add-on will still cost GSI clients a premium.  But this has to hurt ClearSaleing's growth in the long run.  Not exactly the rocket ship the industry wanted to see from Interactive Attribution at this point.

Dax Hamman provided some follow up thoughts for this blog post that fit in with how I see Interactive Attribution following the Clear Saleing deal.  "ClearSaleing did well in terms of getting an offering into market and have benefited with the acquisition, but it will not be the last deal in this space. TagMan has recently announced additional funding too by iNovia, and further investment and consolidation will come.  It is likely that investment will come first to help such firms work out exactly what the offering needs to be, something that is still a grey area, and then in 2012 and 2013 the consolidation will follow."  

Hamman's point lines up well with events we have seen in the past in Interactive Advertising; namely, web analytics.  WebTrends was the first great web analytics company and they were acquired by NetIQ back in 2001.  First movers were into WebTrends, but it couldn't stand on its own at the time.  Several years later web analytics saw WebSideStory, Urchin, Visual Sciences, Omniture, Coremetrics and scores of other vendors taking the market by storm in 2006.  

I'd expect that we won't see Interactive Attribution gain real traction for years to come; there simply isn't demand for it.  But there is a lot of room to run.  The catalyst I would look for is when companies start to really fall into a pattern on Conversion Rate Optimization.  At that point simple conversion data won't be good enough, marketers will become passionate about more accurate attribution.  

Topics: Internet Marketing Trends & News, Internet Marketing Acquisitions, Web Analytics, Interactive Attribution