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Digital Marketing For Software Companies (A 7-Figure Agency “Win” Story) >>

Chris:              How you doing, how you doing. My name is Chris Mechanic. I’m co-founder at an inbound marketing agency called WebMechanix. Our claim to fame is delivering what we call “Snowballing ROI”, which is ROI that just continues to get better and better as the time goes by. Our main bread and butter is search marketing, paid search and natural search, social media analyticsconversion maximization & general inbound marketing strategy. That’s how we do it.

I’m really excited to be here today. I’m grateful to be here, and I’ve put together a presentation for you guys with the intention to make it informative, but also kind of fun, interactive, and most importantly, action. So I want you guys to leave here with a few things today that you can take home and do yourself.

I was also drinking a little bit of wine while I did this, so I [have] some corny little jokes throughout. You’ll have to bear with me. Time wise, I have no idea how much time I have. I think on the last time they just mentioned, just keep going until you give up.

Before we get into it, though, let me get a quick gauge. Raise your hand if you are very interested in SEO and social. Okay. Now raise your hand if you would consider yourself an intermediate to advanced practitioner of SEO and social. I guess the rest are either beginners or uninterested.

Okay. That’s good to know, and also give me an idea for industries. Can you guys just kind of spit out? Because I’m going to be using examples throughout.

Audience:       Staffing and recruiting.

Chris:              Staffing and recruiting. Awesome.

Audience:       Music and graphics.

Chris:              Music and graphics, cool.

Audience:       Web consultant.

Chris:              Web consultant. All right.

Audience:       Technology sales.

Chris:              Okay. So the first thing is your bucket. So before there was SEO. There was social media. There was pay per click. There was design and development. Really, the bucketing system is no longer useful. It’s going out of style, and at WebMechanix we train people to be really versatile, we call them cheetahs. So people are constantly coming, and the people at your company are asking, “What are some good SEO tips? What are some good social media tips?”

But really, at the end of the day, don’t ask for tips. What you really are looking for is how to get more traffic, get more leads, get more sales and increase ROI. So it was important to think of it in a blended approach whereby you’re not just doing social media because your social media affects your SEO. You’re not just doing SEO because it interacts with your website, you know what I mean?

So your bucket is gone.

Size doesn’t matter. Well, maybe a little. A lot of times people are, like, “How do we get more Facebook fans? How do we get more Twitter followers?” My response to them typically is, “Why do you want more?” It should be thought of in terms of engaged fans, right. So how engaged are your fans? How engaged are your followers? Are you making any sales from it? Are people clicking through to the links that you leave? Is anything really happening?

You guys have seen these people that have 30,000 Twitter followers and they’re following 30,000. It’s, like, “Dude, you don’t even know any of those people. What’s the point of that?”

So the quality of the interactions is what’s more important than quantity. In our world, we actually close deals pretty frequently from social media. But it’s not really your typical kind of social media. It’s more social media where I’m in my Facebook account and I’m interacting with others, and almost like, as opposed to just a blast out to a million people strategy, it’s more specific. Where, like, okay, this is a person who can potentially buy from me. This will good for you if you’re in sales. This is a person who will buy from me. Let me read their profile, learn a little bit about them, send them a quick email, friend them, whatever, whatever.

But if you ask me, that’s the most effective form of social media. That one to one personal interaction. Most people think of it as a fire house blasts out to 1,000 fans. It’s all about engagement.

I love keyword research, because without it you’re lost. Who here knows what keyword research is, or has some familiarity with it? Okay. Cool. Keyword research is way underestimated. It’s market intelligence at its best. It’s literally showing you very specifically what your potential buyers are searching, and how many of them, or how many times they’re searching monthly. So you can see real specifically what your users want to see, and then providing it for them is the basis of a sound SEO strategy.

So I want to spend a little time on keyword research. Your word [word cloud], because words matter. You all are familiar with Google Analytics? Okay.

So within Google Analytics, if you’re looking at your keyword log there’s a little toggle switch up at the top right there, and if you hit over to this one it shows you your word [word cloud], which is basically just your entire keyword list. But the larger your keywords the more frequently they appear.

Have anybody eve done this with Google Analytics, or ever seen it done? A couple of you have, okay.

So this is really important to know, because keywords that are currently sending a lot of traffic can potentially send more traffic. Usually, if we have a lot of this SEO considerations for a Flash website, right, so that shows me that I have relevancy for SEO considerations as well as Flash website, so now we might go and write a followup piece on that as targeting a similar but different keywords.

Also, if you discover, okay, we have this huge keyword, such as social media, [which] would be a good keyword for us, but it doesn’t show up anywhere there, so it lets me know, hey, our site is slacking a little bit on the social media side of the keyword universe. So we can develop some content regarding social media.

Does that make sense? You guys literally should go do this right now. Go into your analytics and just take the date range back a year, and then hit that [word cloud] button. It’s real simple. You can do it yourself.

Suggested search is the word of God, I mean Google. You guys are all familiar with this suggested search [region], right? Who thinks of it as the most masterful data that has ever existed. I pay very, very close attention to this stuff. It’s literally, I mean, they are put in order for a reason. They are obviously the most popular ones. So you start typing in “March Madness” and you get 2012 bracket, 2012 schedule of predictions, but A, it shows you March Madness and then followed by all the words that start with A. Then if you remove the A and move B, it shows you March Madness followed by all the words with B.

So we used to literally sit here. We had two people at the same time that were doing this. One person was typing and removing the As, the Bs, and the Cs, and the other person was writing it down so we could create a big list of them. It was a long, time consuming pain in the ass, tedious process.

Or you could use ubersuggest, because sleeping is cool too. So ubersuggest, have you all ever seen this? Uber suggest is also because you just put March madness and it generates that entire report, pushes the little green guy next to it to get everything in an easily exportable format. You can export that and then use it in Google keyword tool, or wherever else.

Or you could use Soovle, because seven is better than one. You guys should write this down. It’s really cool. Oh, and by the way, I have a very comprehensive version of it, and if you guys leave your card afterwards I can email it to you. It’s basically just like this with some more results. Google, or Soovle, rather does that exact same thing, except it pulls data from Youtube, it pulls data from Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon and Bing, and one another one, which, I don’t know. So Soovle is very cool.

Raise your hand if you know what your best keywords are.

No, you do. Yeah. So this is what I’m talking about. The underestimation. You guys should know off the top of your head, not just your one best keyword, but your ten, 20, 50. Most companies have way more keywords that are relevant to them than they realize.

Market samurai for the win because it brings you joy. I don’t really like that sub head, but I couldn’t think of anything else. Market samurai is a keyword research tool that is very similar to the Google keyword tool. Raise your hand if you’re familiar with the Google keyword tool. Okay. So the cool thing about market samurai, the Google keyword, you could put a keyword in like technology, for instance, and it generates a bit list of keywords, and it shows you how commonly searched they are. But what it doesn’t show you is the level of competition on the natural searches.

So not the pay per click results on the side, but the natural competition levels. So it basically, like, if you grab a keyword set that you generated from the Google keyword tool and put it in, you will see that some of them are very, very competitive, and there’s little chance that you’re ever going to rank on the first page of Google for it. But others are overlooked. They have high search volume and very little in the way of savvy SEO competition.

I mean, it’s like finding gold. I’m way too excited about this, probably. You guys are probably, like, “Dude, chill out.” But I’m just really excited. Your competitors aren’t doing this. This is a way that you can go in, and it’s pretty simple.

Get niche. Facebook is not the only game in town, people. I can almost guarantee you – actually, I pretty much can guarantee you that A, there are social media sites, or communities, even, you could call them, that are much more relevant to you as a whole, to your company or the people you want to track as a whole, than Facebook. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, you’re like a tadpole in the ocean.

But if you can find some niche communities that are comprised of people that you want to get in front of, then you will be a shark in a swimming pool. So I would encourage you to search around to find out what your buyers are reading, where they’re hanging out. Don’t think of a social media site just as somewhere where you can have a profile and a picture of yourself and all this. Take it back to the old school, man, and participate in forums. Forums can be awesome. Blogs can be awesome. Those are very much social. I don’t know why nobody ever talks about those anymore.

There’s a little bit more going on here. This is my favorite one. The niche cheetah, because cheetahs get [bad]. We call our integrated marketing team cheetahs at WebMechanix, and the idea is that, like, okay, A, we’re not in a bucket, but cheetahs hunt and cheetahs eat.

Some examples of being a cheetah in the social media realm, forget about getting Facebook fans and updating your status. What does that ever do for you? What you should do is find a buyer, single buyer identify who they are, read about them a little bit, read about their background, go find an article that you think they would be interested in, and send it to them. Be like, “Hey man. I follow your stuff. You’re cool. Here’s an article I thought you might like.”

Boom. You’ll usually get a response if you do something thoughtful and custom like that. One of my colleagues at WebMechanix said [that] at one point they were trying to track a very specific person as a buyer. So they went on Facebook. Are you guy’s familiar with Facebook’s ad targeting platform? You can target by age, demographic, location, job title, company, and so on.

So they created a Facebook page to target just this one dude. They were able to narrow it down where, like, Facebook shows you how many people are in your target market based on your settings. So he said that there was, like, three. He knew the guy was in New Jersey. He was a chief marketing officer at such and such company, so he set up a Facebook with the guy’s picture on it. It was, like, “Hey, Jimmy,” or whatever. “Look here.”

That took him to a landing page, which was custom written. It was a message to Jimmy saying, “…Want this.” Long story short, he scored a customer and a fat link from Jimmy’s side, because Jimmy thought it was cool. Jimmy was, like, “Check this out. Those guys.”

So being a cheetah is about being cunning. [It’s about] hunting and going against the norm. Forget about Facebook status updates. LinkedIn is the new cold call. Cold calling, I don’t know if you guys have ever tried it or done it, but it’s very much dead. LinkedIn is a very effective substitute for cold calling just like I have described. You find somebody, read about them, send them something that you think that they would like.

Sales people are actually the biggest social media rock stars. Your sales team should be almost the same as your social media [technique]. I think that social media, when done more of a one to one fashion, is going to be much more effective, especially in a B2B space.

All right.

Rel=”author”, because it’s the new PageRank. Who has seen these little offer bios guys? Yeah. So this is Google’s, basically, everybody is talking about how Google is taking this and calling it Author Rank, and making it one of their most important ranking factors. It’s going to be based on longevity, as well as how prolific of a publisher you are, as well as the sharing activity of your content.

Whose got their author profiles set up right now? I know you do. So you guys do not have it set up?

Audience:       Author profile? Where do you set it up?

Chris:              I’ll shoot you an email after and I’ll give you the detailed version. But essentially you link your website with your GOogle plus profile just via a link. I think there’s a little bit of custom coding that you put on that link to just let them know that, hey, this is their profile.

Then it will automatically pull your picture in. Time is of the essence on that one. The same way that page rank is often determined by age of the domain and credibility of it, the age of this is going to be a major factor.

Social signals; the new link building, because spam sucks. Way back in the day, so link building is basically just getting links from other websites to point to your websites, because it’s a sign of trust and credibility. Google figures that, hey, if Johnny links to Mary and Tom links to Mary, then Mary probably has a cool site because you got other people linking to them.

Back in the day search engine marketers got a bad reputation because they would just do stupid, worthless link farms, and it was just not cool for anybody. Those days have long been numbered, but I think the official death of spammy links has occurred. It’s much more, like, if you have ten hours to spend and you want to improve your web presence, it’s much more effective to create some outstanding pieces of content, and to do that, like, LinkedIn, anything, where you just ping a few people individually and update your social media profiles with it.

Because the action of sharing and the movement of content between people and between sites, is something that’s becoming a big part of [yahoo net].

So the new link building sucks. The new word of the game is just outstanding content, and developing relationships with people in similar industries. Non competitive, obviously, and then just sharing each other’s content.

Oh, there’s another cheetah strategy, which is really cool, that I want to tell you about. [It’s] list sharing. Email list sharing. You guys have email marketing programs right now? You’re doing email marketing to your customers? So back in the day it used to be that you could purchase this. You could say, “Hey, I want a list of people like this,” and purchase it.

These days the spam laws are really stringent, and it’s really hard to get past, and your entire email marketing account is banned. So this [buying] is no fun. But almost everybody that I have approached is willing to list share. So you’ve got 1,000 emails and you’re in the B to B space. I’ve got 1,000 email addresses, and I’m in the B to B space. We’re friends, and I think your product is cool, so who about I blast out to your email list, or you blast out with your email list with a cool plug for me, and I’ll blast out to my email list with a cool plug for you.

I was supposed to say that earlier. That’s an awesome cheetah approach. Some of you probably have large lists, and 20,000 to 50,000 people on a list, that’s a lot of very easy, very free activity.

Audience:       With your experience there, is some sort of partnership agreement necessary?

Chris:              I hang out mostly in the small and medium sized business space, where most of it happens pretty casually. But I could envision [it] in a larger company, or an enterprise space, or financials. I could envision that. Yeah. My world is not an issue.

All right. Let me see what else I’ve got. You guys have any questions? You guys are being all quiet.

Do you guys have any specific questions about SEO or social that I’m not hitting on?

Audience:       We’re trying to brainstorm on how to improve our SEO. What I did is to connect our Facebook postings to the front page of our website so there’s constant activity.

Chris:              Sure.

Audience:       Have you seen that?

Chris:              Yeah.

Audience:       And does that work?

Chris:              I don’t think that you will find it has a substantial impact on your SEO, unfortunately. But you’re updating your Facebook with content that you’ve written yourself, or with other people’s content?

Audience:       Both.

Chris:              Yeah. So with the content that you’ve written yourself, what you want to do is some keyword research. And for every content piece you should have one primary keyword that you’re targeting as the main one.

Audience:       Yeah. We couldn’t do that, because with the work that we’ve done [inaudible 23:20] music or graphics, but I like the idea behind it.

Chris:              Yeah, and you should target keywords, typically, that are three or four words long. So if you’re just doing it off the top of your head, hey, music production is my keyword, most likely there’s a three or four word phrase that’s much easier to gain traction for, and also more specific. So you have more information about the user and then you can tailor your content to speak to that.

So it’s more likely that it’s going to generate good traffic, and it’s more likely that the traffic is going to be interested and convert.

Audience:       When it comes to creating custom landing pages for your keywords, do you have any specific resources or tools that you would recommend that would almost automate it, in a sense, for somebody that may not have a preordained design team in house?

Chris:              Are you talking about SEO or PPC.

Audience:       PPC, I guess.

Chris:              Yeah. I do, actually. Well, yeah. We actually have a product at WebMechanix called Lead Squeeze, and it’s essentially exactly what you’re asking for. It’s a landing page development platform. You basically select from a series of templates whichever layout you like.

What’s the purpose of it? Lead generation?

Audience:       Mm-hmm.

Chris:              Yeah. So you would choose from one of the lead generation templates, and then you can customize it with your colors and your branding and so on. It has, basically, Lorem Ipsum copy in there. It’s, like, point and click simple to edit, create new pages with one click that look exactly the same. You can split-test pages pretty easily.

Audience:       Okay. What’s it called?

Chris:              It’s called Lead Squeeze.

Audience:       Lead Squeeze.

Chris:              We call them squeeze pages. I actually have one I’ll show you. So this is one of the layout right here. One of the keys to these is the total lack of navigation. Just kind of mean so that web usability gurus would yell at you. The fact of the matter is, if you do nothing except remove all of the navigation from your PPC landing page, your conversation rates typically go up substantially, to double digits.

The main things you want to test are the headlines, the sub headline. Different ones are going to work better. So you want to be testing those continually, as well as this guy. This also has some other psychological triggers to it.

Like, this arrow, there’s a version of it where it sort of balances up and down suddenly. But it just makes it real super clear what you’re supposed to do. You can auto fill that form field, so right when you get there it’s, like, blinking, which makes it cool. Then lower down on the page is what we call a credibility area, which is usually, like, our customers with a bunch of recognizable logos for a series of testimonials to just, like, create trust.

What’s up?

Audience:       Has the importance of metadata changed for SEO?

Chris:              Yes. Tags have changed in importance. Well, like, the keyword meta tag is just dead. We’re not using it, and that used to be a major one. Title, page titles, are still very much relevant and very much alive, and I would consider those to be the most important of all the meta data. Descriptions, your description is important to the extent that it improves your click through rates.

So the meta description is typically what shows up on the search engine results page. So this guy is the meta description. So you want to write that to get the click. You want to typically include a call to action of some type. I didn’t really do that in this one, so I’m not practicing what I preach. But it is also helpful to use the keyword in that, simply because it lights up in bold when somebody actually finds you by searching it.

So meta descriptions I would write to get the response as well as just that the keyword lights up when somebody is searching for it.

There’s a new type of tag in town that you guys may not have heard of referred to as micro formats. Meta keywords weren’t cutting the mustard. Micro formats are, there’s an organization called Schema, schema.org, that, basically, the search engines all got together and said, “Look, we need better ways to classify and organize content. We need richer tagging protocol.”

So they got together and agreed on the schema, and this site, schema.org, which is, you can see right here how to spell it. It’s just S-C-H-E-M-A dot org. It dots you all the different things that you can tag. So you actually, like, wrap certain elements of your site in tags.

So before it was just, like, every page had meta keywords tag, a title tag, a description tag, but now it’s like, on your Contact Us page, when you have your address, grab your address, you actually mark up with HTML, your address, you say, “Hey, this an address for your business,” type of thing. So it’s basically a just richer format.

So this is, like, the new tag, basically.

What’s up?

Audience:       Does Google basically set your guidelines that you work from?

Chris:              Google said their mission, Google’s mission is just to organize the world’s information in a way that’s accessible. So our philosophy is that we just align ourselves perfectly with Google’s mission. That way we never have to freak out about a change, because all of their changes are geared towards making a better user experience, making information more accessible and making their search results higher quality.

So when we’re developing content for a client, we’re always thinking in terms of quality of that content and making it helpful for the users. That has served us very well. So we don’t really freak out when Google changes their algorithm?

Audience:       How important are the other search engines?

Chris:              Like, 40% our of 100. But they are typically copying. And Yahoo and Bing are the same. They have an alliance. I don’t know if there was any money that changed hands. Yeah. Or, no. The advertising platform for the two have merged, and the search results are merging. They’re very similar now.

They’re teaming up to oust Google.

Chris:              Cool. Well, this was fun. Do you have a question?

Audience:       Yeah. One quick question. Do you think there’s any correlation between paid ads and organic search. So, AdWords, for example, and how that actually influences your organic results. So let’s say you’re doing Google ad words and you’ve got good quality scores and all that. They may not say so, but do you think Google factors in link credibility in your ads?

Chris:              I don’t think so. They are real specific about that. They have this don’t be evil policy. But you know what, Baidu, which is the Chinese Google, their ad format is such that you can’t even tell their results. Like, result number one is organic. Result number two looks exactly the same. It’s not labeled with any ad or whatever, but it’s an ad, so there’s that. But I do not believe that Google gives any preferential treatment organically to advertisers.

Have you seen any evidence of that, Muskin?

Muskin:       No. I do know that one of the things that AdWords talked about, was giving you the ability to put your ads where the search results are, like in the middle of the page. But as far as correlation, I haven’t seen anything.

Chris:              Josh is a WebMechanix guy. He runs a lot of the paid search for our clients.

All right, y’all. Well, I think I have used sufficient time.

Speaker:          Thank you everybody. And one of the benefits of everybody staying here, the day is coming to an end, but there’s more networking and cocktails. I happen to have some drink tickets, so anyone wants to get a five minute head start on the crowd…

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