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October 4, 2011

A 3-Step Self-Help Internet Marketing Plan

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Fall is fresh upon us and there’s something in the air that, along with transforming the leaves, tickles desires for change within us as well. It might be that we’ll soon be giving thanks and spending holidays with loved ones. Or it might be an ancient programming that prepares us to smarten up and hunker down for the tough winter months ahead. Whatever the reason, fall brings with it a gentle nudge toward self improvement.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your professional performance for the final quarter and the years to come, may I recommend the following three starting points? Becoming comfortable with these concepts and practices will greatly magnify the effect of your current efforts and give you the best ROI for your time. It’s a personal goal in the content department here at Bruce Clay, Inc. to make gains in all three areas before the year is out. If you can focus on any of these, you’ll be providing your business with an invaluable opportunity for growth.

1. Google Analytics

If you’re already using Google Analytics to track traffic and conversions, excellent. If you’ve got the code installed but rarely view reports, it’s time to bring your involvement to the next level by actively analyzing site performance. If you’re not someone who will ever be digging through raw data, it’s important that you’re in tune with the business’s KPIs and major goals and can read and understand Google Analytics reports. Regardless of your role in the Internet marketing duties of the business, understanding the capabilities of the most common analytics platform will go a long ways.

Google Analytics illustration

The nice thing about this goal is that the formula for success is all laid out. Google has bountiful resources for anyone looking to learn about its free analytics platform, as well as other online business educational resources for services including AdWords and Places.

Through the Conversion University series of online lessons and videos you’ll become acquainted with the Google Analytics platform, how to interpret reports, and how to identify goals and create a conversion funnel. When you’re comfortable with Google Analytics, you’ll know how to measure the performance of your site in order to accomplish your business’s goals.

2. Open Graph Protocol

Facebook’s prominence as a first-World(-Wide-Web) economy is obvious. At this point, you either have a social media presence or you’ve been neglecting social-specific strategies. Whatever the case, fall can be a fruitful season if you commit to developing or reevaluating your business’s use of social media.

One place to start is by understanding the Open Graph Protocol, structured data standards that allow any page to be tied into the Facebook-connected web. Basic Meta data, a business’s location and the inclusion of a Like button are among the foundational elements of the Open Graph Protocol, and at f8 last month, a beta release of updates that extends the Facebook graph to applications seeking deep integration.

At the Search and Social conference last month, we learned some basic social media optimization best practices that can be used when integrating Web content into the social graph. Take it a step further with a technical guide to optimizing tags, categories and content for the social graph. With Facebook becoming a dominant online channel through which more and more users interact with friends and brands alike, you need to understand how to connect your business to it.

3. Content Engineering

This final area for self improvement spans channels and disciplines and requires a high-level reorientation of overall marketing strategy. In other words, it’s big and should not be overlooked. We’ve come to a point of maturation in the marketing and advertising industry where countless splintered specialties compete for budget and attention. The adoption of a social media campaign may be fueled by a reallocated print budget, and online marketing looks far beyond PPC and SEO to conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization, and the still-nebulous social media space. Every channel and practice is critical for success, and when collaboration occurs, success is compound and manifold. The challenge is in fostering communication and unified messaging throughout.

Content engineering is a solution that takes into account every pillar of marketing and unifies them in a holistic strategy. This framework for joining a brand’s technical and message-minded members bridges a gap that poses a stumbling block for progress.

On the one hand, content marketing gets to the heart of all marketing channels, but it can only deliver half of the message. The mode of delivery, be it a billboard, search ad or Facebook fan page, must also pull its weight to get the message in front of the audience. So, on the other hand we have the disciplines of tracking and measuring the feedback mechanisms to analyze success and shortcomings. Content engineering looks to bring together the word people and the numbers people, allowing the message and its measurement to foster continual improvement.





One response to “A 3-Step Self-Help Internet Marketing Plan”

  1. Jon cooper writes:

    Never knew about open graph protocol before now. It also seems that getting the most out of google analytics seems to be one of the most talked about topics on the web right now. Good job Virginia!



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