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Archive: Nov 2014

  1. The Good, the Bad, and the Leaky Bucket of Digital Marketing

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    It’s easy to make excuses for being a bad digital marketer – here are some ways you can turn that around and be a good one.

    In his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes about good product managers and bad product managers. Apart from the fact that this is an excellent read for tech entrepreneurs, I’d like to use this notion to describe to you what, from my perspective, makes a good digital marketer and what makes a bad one.

    Good Digital Marketers and Bad Digital Marketers

    Good digital marketers know the market, the products, the product line, and the competition extremely well and operate from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence; they are the chiefs of marketing. A good digital marketer takes full responsibility and measures themselves in terms of the success of the customer engagement, and revenue generated, using data against set KPIs.

    A good digital marketer knows the context going in (the company, revenue funding, competition, etc.), and they take responsibility for devising and executing a winning plan (no excuses!).

    Furthermore, they know the technologies available to them, trends in the digital sphere, how to apply a clear strategy across the digital channels available to them, and most importantly, use smart investment of their budget to both acquire and retain their clients, because they know very well how much revenue their newly acquired clients generate and how much their existing clients generate.

    They will know their customers, what they buy, and what they want. Oh yes, and the good ones will also know the profit margins on the revenue driven from new and existing clients.

    To do this, they will drive a contextualized messaging strategy. They know how they want their clients reviewing them and are team players.

    There are many more attributes, but I think you’ve got the point: It’s hard.

    Bad digital marketers?

    Well, bad digital marketers have lots of excuses. Not enough marketing budgets, the IT manager is an idiot, the competitor has 10 times more people in the marketing team, I’m overworked, I don’t get enough direction, the selling prices are too high and it’s not in my control, the website is too slow, we do not render well on mobiles and have low conversion rates, targets are fine but it is not my responsibility to be in charge of revenue…

    Finally they don’t know their clients, or their competition.

    Bad digital marketers think that all their revenue should come from the acquisition of new clients, because hey – that’s the easiest way to spend money and show some results.

    They send the same message to all clients and do not personalize the customer journey.

    The Leaky Bucket

    In essence, bad digital marketers have a leaky bucket of revenue. They funnel in revenue from newly acquired customers in order to fill the bucket while spending tons of money on acquisition, but their problem is that they are doing a lousy job in retaining actual customers, who just hop on to competitors. So the revenue keeps gushing out of the bucket and they need to spend more money on acquisition just to refill to the same level.

    What would you do to increase the revenues in the bucket? I bet the first thing you’d do is try to close the holes in the bucket with more spend on retention, and once this is done you’ll spend more money on acquisition – because you are a good digital marketer!

    X-Raying Clients’ Revenue

    Here are two theoretical examples of “x-raying” revenue from end consumers and attributing them to first-time purchase, second-time, and loyal clients.

    In the graph below you’ll see that on average about 75 percent of the purchases are coming from first-time buyers (pink), and the very low percentage comes from repeat buyers – with time, the loyal customer base is growing, but it looks like this marketer isn’t investing enough time and focus on changing the proportions.

    The pink layer will be very expensive revenue.


    On the other hand you’ll see that in the second chart, in the beginning a lot of the revenues came from newly acquired clients but with time, their marketers made sure that the bucket was watertight. The holes were closed, revenue from existing clients is ever increasing, and at the same time smart dollars are invested into acquisition of new clients.

    Now which one of the businesses has a good digital marketer?

    Until next time.

  2. Parallax Scrolling and SEO: What You Should Know Before Designing a Website

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    Navneet Kaushal

    Parallax websites look great when done properly, but need to be well structured to maintain search channels, and remain user-friendly.

    When Ian Coyle designed the first mainstream example of parallax scrolling back in 2011 and named it Nike Better World, the website became one of the hottest topics of discussion in the digital world for several months. It became a trendsetter and got featured in numerous website design galleries. Everyone appreciated the great idea and the idyllic design.

    However, there is a lot of confusion in the SEO community today regarding whether to use parallax or not. Since, most of the parallax websites have one-page architecture, we end up believing that parallax scrolling is restricted to one-page Web design.

    Now, because your entire site is featured on a single page, it makes such a site unfriendly for SEO. There is a lost potential to incorporate meta data, you cannot target specific keywords on each page, there are multiple H1 headers on a single page each competing with one another, and it takes a long time to load because it is image-heavy. But does this mean you always have to compromise on good design for a powerful SEO? Obviously not.

    Parallax scrolling can have several advantages, and this is why:

    Wonderful Design

    No doubt, they look awesome. The single-page design allows you to scroll up and down a webpage, displaying new content with each scroll. You don’t have to move from one page to another – everything is right in one place, to give you a unique user experience.

    Here are a few examples of businesses that have created wonderful websites using parallax design:



    Manufacture d’essai 

    Too Young to Wed

    Telling the Story of Your Brand

    Parallax is a brand-new way of storytelling. Parallax scrolling tells the unique story of your brand in the most engaging way possible.

    Boost Engagement

    With parallax scrolling you give the user a whole new experience. You allow them to have some fun, you arouse curiosity in them, and you surprise them. Don’t you think this automatically boosts engagement?

    So, if parallax scrolling is so awesome, why isn’t everyone using it? Let’s have a look at some of the challenges associated with parallax scrolling:

    Does Parallax Affect SEO?

    If done incorrectly, parallax scrolling can negatively affect SEO. Search engines are looking for websites that cater to content-rich pages to users. In contrast to this, a parallax site is generally just a single-page site. You can’t have multiple H1 headers, separate title tags, and meta descriptions for a site in which all the content is displayed in a single page.

    • Slow Loading Time: Parallax websites have slower loading times. Search engines as well as users prefer a site that loads fast. Isn’t it annoying to wait for several seconds while the page is loading?
    • Trouble Measuring User Engagement: It is very difficult to measure user engagement in a parallax site using Google Analytics. Analytics uses a JavaScript tracking code to calculate user engagement. It is not possible to determine where most traffic is going in a site with a single page.
    • Not Always Browser-Friendly: It might be possible that a parallax page does not work properly across all Web browsers. A page can run properly in Firefox but fail to do so in Google Chrome. The same can happen in the case of Internet Explorer and Safari. It might require extensive testing to make sure that everything works accurately across all Web browsers.
    • Difficult to Optimize for Specific Keywords: A single page of content rather than several content-rich pages makes it difficult to optimize for multiple keywords, too.
    • Not Mobile-Friendly: A parallax site may also fail to work properly on mobile devices. With more and more people turning to mobile phones these days for their daily Internet use, it can be a major problem for businesses if the website is not mobile-friendly.

    The Hybrid Approach

    Wait, there is more to the story. There are few structural options which can condition your website for parallax scrolling while keeping it search engine friendly at the same time: You can assign internal links to different sections of the parallax website to help search engines index the content. Doing so will allow several pages to be indexed in the organic search results.

    Apart from this, these navigation elements can be used for internal linking, ensuring the accessibility of the page. By doing so you can use the parallax effect and at the same time use multiple pages. This means, you will have multiple URLs and you will be able to optimize them for specific keywords. You can use Ajax and navigation elements to dynamically change the URL. Whenever a user clicks on a navigation element, they jump down the page to the relevant content with a unique URL.

    Another thing you can do is to start a blog and make frequent posts to it. This will allow you to wow visitors by keeping intact the parallax effect, while the blog will attract traffic for you.


    So what’s the takeaway? Is parallax scrolling good or bad for SEO? Can all businesses depend on parallax? Well, the answer is, it depends.

    Parallax scrolling is perfect for established brands and/or mini sites, which do not depend largely on search engines to attract traffic. They can easily use parallax websites for launching new products without worrying about the implementation of these workarounds. But, if you still want to use parallax design for your website just remember what we said earlier – use parallax design on your homepage, however also have some sub pages on unique URLs, which can be optimized for search traffic.

    In this way you can have the beauty of parallax design while keeping it SEO-friendly at the same time. While building parallax sites and using the above mentioned techniques right from the start, you can still drive a significant amount of traffic from the search engines. The only thing to remember here is, if you are doing it, just do it the right way.

    Got something more to add? Share with us in the comments section below.

  3. The 3 AdWords Scripts You Want Right Now for the Holidays

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    Elizabeth Marsten

    If you’ve lagged behind in your AdWords campaigns and need to do some last-minute prep for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are three scripts that can help save the day.

    You thought about it, you were going to do it, and now…it’s time. In fact, you may be out of time. But it’s not too late – there are still a few days until Black Friday-Cyber Monday-Green Monday–Orange Tuesday lands. (I made up that last one; it is getting a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?) Check out these three scripts from two great sources that you can implement right now to not only save yourself time when the big days hit, but help you streamline your operations, leaving you free to deal with other nonsense. Like reporting.

    Turn Promos Off/On Using Labels

    I love this one. Having started PPC back when the AdWords Editor hadn’t even been invented yet, I would have literally killed for this. Add labels to ads or keywords that are promotional-specific and run a script that either turns them on and/or off when the time comes. This is very approachable, even for the non-code person. Simply apply labels, add the script to your library with the appropriate information filled in, and off you go. If you’re nervous about running it, do a test run first. Apply a “test” label to a couple of ads, edit the date applicable, and run it.

    Alternatively, you could use an automated rule to do this as well, with the same concept of applying labels and setting the rules to run as needed. It just depends on what you already have set up now versus what you have left to do.

    Schedule Holiday Promo Sitelinks

    Schedule your promo or holiday-specific sitelinks to run at certain times on certain days, great for places where phone support is needed to close the sale or take down information. And good for the non-holiday season as well, but just in case you really are in a holiday crunch, here it is!

    Disable Ads and Keywords for Out-of-Stock Items

    And last, but not least, this one, which is a bit more complicated to set up, from Russell Savage’s Cyber Monday post last year and does require the text “out of stock” or something similar to appear on a product page in order to work, but you can pause ad groups if an item is out of stock. The script reviews the HTML of your site and looks for that text and when it finds it, pauses the ad group or keywords, depending on your setup. If this one makes you a bit nervous, tap your friendly developer friend or resource and they should be able to easily help out with this quickly.

    T-minus one week to the real Black Friday and even less time to pre-Black Friday sales, which are, let’s face it, probably going on right now. Good luck and may your ROI be sky-high!

  4. Twitter Lets Users Search for Every Public Tweet Ever Sent

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    Dave Neal

    Twitter’s new search engine means that you can now search for any tweet ever sent. And there are half a trillion of them now available to view.

    Twitter has opened up its whole catalogue of messages to a search engine, meaning that its entire content, around 500 billion documents, is available to sift through online.

    The social network launched around eight and a half years ago, and now claims to have some 284 million monthly active users.

    Twitter engineer Yi Zhuang said in a blog post that the improved and enlarged search required a lot of work.

    “Since that first simple tweet over eight years ago, hundreds of billions of tweets have captured everyday human experiences and major historical events,” he wrote.

    “Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on ‘recency’.

    “But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every tweet ever published. We [have] built a search service that efficiently indexes roughly half a trillion documents and serves queries with an average latency of under 100ms.”

    The search engine has the entire canon of 140-character messages at its disposal, and Zhuang suggested that it would have a range of applications, particularly for companies or individuals looking for content on an incident or event.

    The new index is 100 times larger than the previous one, and grows by “several billion tweets a week,” according to the engineer. This could be a good time for Twitter users to go back into their accounts and delete any dubious tweets to prevent them from resurfacing and embarrassing them.

    The system is a mix of batched data aggregation, partitioning, and indexing, and is scalable, easy to use, and dependable, according to Zhuang.

    “Our fixed-size real-time index clusters are non-trivial to expand; adding capacity requires re-partitioning and significant operational overhead. We needed a system that expands in place gracefully.”


  5. Salesforce Bolsters Social Studio for Integration Across Departments

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    Roland Moore-Colyer

    Sales, marketing, and customer service teams will be able to make use of social data from more than 1 billion sources.

    Salesforce has unveiled its next generation of Social Studio, adding features that enable businesses to make use of social media across multiple departments.

    The company says the updated Social Studio has new features designed to take social media use beyond marketing and social media teams to other business areas including sales and customer service.

    These include Social Listening, which Salesforce says monitors more than 1 billion social data sources across networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, along with blogs and news websites. The company says the feature will allow marketing and social teams to get rid of multiple spreadsheets and carry out social content activity from the Social Studio.

    Social Customer Service enables customer service teams to monitor social networks for support issues and then route tasks to the most appropriate person or team.

    A third new feature is called Social Lead Engagement, which is designed to help sales representatives find new leads by listening into conversations happening across multiple social networks.

    The social data from Social Studio can then be used in tandem with Salesforce’s Sales Cloud to enable sales people to engage with potential customers via the cloud-based service.

    Helena Schwenk, principal analyst at MWD Advisors, told ClickZ’s sister publication V3 that the updated Social Studio will help Salesforce to expand its service offerings and keep pace with rivals.

    “For Salesforce, Social Studio offers an opportunity to extend the capabilities of both its Sales and Service cloud as well as increase cross-selling among its different cloud platforms,” she said.

    “At the same time, this release keeps Salesforce competitive as both Adobe and Oracle in particular continue to extend their cloud-based social offerings.”

    However, Schwenk argued that social media is still a rather niche tool within sales departments.

    “Although the notion of embedding capabilities into sales processes isn’t without merit, I just don’t think it’s a mainstream consideration for organizations today, especially in terms of finding sales leads, for example. That said, I have seen a couple of examples of social analytics being used to identify intent-to-buy signals in social media conversations,” she explained.