6 Principles That Must Be Applied to Social Media Marketing

In their book No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing, business coach and consultant Dan S. Kennedy and marketing strategist Kim Walsh Philips show you how to use direct response marketing principles on a variety of social media platforms to drive real results and profit. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer some on-point advice about how to best use social media to create effective marketing campaigns.

Many direct response marketers think social media is complete fluff -- and for a lot companies, it is. Thats because most marketers do not apply any direct marketing tactics to their strategic approach (if they are even strategic at all).

Anyone who either doesnt know if their marketing is working and/or thinks the focus should be awareness building and not revenue generation could make some small but significant tweaks to their efforts and drive huge results.

Lets cover a few key business principles as applied to social media:

1. Have a plan to sell from the very beginning.

In social media, you never want to come across as the used car salesman pouncing on his next kill, but you do need to ensure you give your prospects a consistent opportunity to connect and do business with you. If you dont, you won't realize a return of your marketing dollars and staff resources spent online.

There are two types of offers:

Lead generation. This is an incentive for your recipient to provide contact information. This is done through offering something of inherent value that's so good your recipient would pay for it, except they wont have to because you'll be giving it away for free. This can include such incentives as a report, white paper, gift certificate, or ticket to a live event.

Sale. It is possible to sell directly to cold traffic on social media. We do it every day for many of our clients using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, but there are a few key things to remember. There should be something special about your offer, such as it is being sold online first, or it should be offered at a special price, or at least it's positioned as though it's something special.

If in contrast, you sell the same thing at the same price on social media as you do everywhere else, then you're most likely not going to realize great results. Social media is a cocktail party, not a shopping mall, and the only way to get people to pay attention to something being sold is to make sure it's a really good deal. Do that, and everyone pays attention and wants in first.

One example of someone who does this right is financial expert Pamela Yellen, who offers a free chapter of her book, The Bank on Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future. Prospects are then put into a nurture sequence that encourages them to talk to a financial planner. This campaign drives leads for $18 each.

2. Dont make delaying a desirable option.

While automation is possible in social media, setting up your offers and just letting them run forever isn't effective in the least. Your offers should be fresh, new, and ever-changing with clear deadlines. Offer weekly perks to purchase, opt-in, comment, or share. Always give a deadline and incentive for taking action now.

3. Give very clear instructions on what you want them to do right now.

Want your audience to click over to your website? Tell them to do it, clearly. In posts, be sure to put your link on its own line.

4. There will be tracking and measurement.

How will you ever know the ROI on your social media marketing efforts unless you track it? Use the tracking options available in each social media network profile and advertising platform. They all have conversion tracking, analytics, and insights. Use them! On your end, you should also track unique forms, landing pages, and URLs. All of this is hard or easy depending on your back-end program -- not all adapt well to intense measurement. This is why most of our private clients use Infusionsoft and why we got certified as one of its partners.)

5. Branding should be a by-product of effective direct response marketing, not the other way around.

In social media, all of your posts, promotions, photos, and posturing should have a goal of sales, not branding. This may seem in conflict with the strategic approach to present valuable content 85% of the time and only sell 15% of the time, but the opposite is true. All of your content should be developed with a goal of selling 15% of the time, meaning your posts should be cultivating interest and need in whatever pain your product will relieve when you make your pitch. In online marketing company addition, this means money should only be spent on driving leads and sales, not on post engagement or building likes. Your page will not end up with 1 million engaged posting fans. Your goal should be ROI instead of popularity.

6. Results rule. Period.

There's an endless supply of conjecture by social media experts. Be very cautious whenever you hear a universal truth seo pricing about any type of social media marketing. Nothing can be deemed a universal truth, not even within the same industry. The only thing you should use to determine your spend and marketing direction are the results of your ads and posts. Any other information is fluff and should be ignored. This is why everything needs to be tracked and checked every day. Yup, every day.






How Do You Know if Social Media Marketing is Working?

Last Updated May 31, 2011 12:06 AM EDT

Is social media marketing really effective for business? BNET blogger Jeff Haden's recently argued in a post that social media marketing is a waste of time. "Most small business owners I speak to feel their social media marketing efforts don't produce tangible results," he wrote, citing a survey by ForeSee Results. His post is very well-written and he makes some excellent points.

However, based on the experience of my clients, students, and the data I have read and accumulated, I disagree. You can find data for and against any position. Social media is no exception.

In this case, I'd argue that some of the "against" data is related to ineffective content, inexperience using social media tools, or inadequate measurement. Given that the Fortune 500 is still wrestling with how to use social media -- A Harvard Business Review study found less than one out of four using social media analytic tools -- why would anyone expect small business owners whose time is diluted between many different duties to be able to accurately attribute sales to social media promotion sources?

Not so easy to measure cause and effect

Under the most favorable conditions, it isn't easy to measure the return of investment on promotion strategies and sales. But a good post by pr guru/blogger Brian Solis about measuring the ROI of social media points to a study that shows "84 percent of professionals representing a variety of industries reported that they do not measure ROI" of their social media programs.

There is so much data to support the positive effect of social media, I do not know where to start. Let's start with these successful social media campaigns, noted by Mashable.

The Gap teaming up with Groupon. By the end of the day, 441,000 "groupons" were sold bringing in more than $11 million.Toy Story 3. To date, the film has grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide, making it the most successful animated film of all time. Social media was used extensively, along with print and television, to promote the film.AOL. AOL used social media to recruit and hire an "ambassador" for one of its sites. It attracted a lot of great candidates and selected the winner - generating a lot of excitement about the brand in the process.Starbucks. The goal of the campaign was to focus on improving the sales of selected non-coffee products, and it worked really well.Mountain Dew. They developed a new flavor through fan voting creating a lot of buzz about the Mountain Dew brand.Is this translatable to small business? Absolutely. As Mashable points out, "We know we left out some brilliant social media campaigns, especially for niche and small-scale markets."


Then there is this well-done video by Socialnomics author Erik Qualman. It provides many examples of social media ROI including a testimonial shot of Gary Vaynerchuk who grew his family business from $4 million to $50 million using social media.

Jeff Haden raises some good points, and perhaps his blog post will get business owners to think about their marketing strategies. However, I cannot agree with the assertion that social media marketing does not produce tangible results. If properly executed, it does. For those that have been unsuccessful using social media, perhaps they should look to their content and measurement tools because so many others have achieved success using social media in their marketing.

Have you achieved success with social media? How?


Ira Kalb is president of Kalb & Associates, an international consulting and training firm, and professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California (USC). He has won numerous awards for marketing and teaching, authored ten books and over 30 articles, created marketing inventions that have made clients and students more successful. He is frequently interviewed by various media for his expertise in branding, crisis management and strategic marketing. Follow him on Twitter.

image courtesy of flickr user, Jon Gosier

2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.






Black Hat SEO campaign powered by SQL Injection

A new threat advisory from Akamai highlights a Black Hat SEO campaign that's leveraging SQL Injection as a means to generate links to website dedicated to stories about cheating.

The shady SEO campaign can be considered a success too, because the domain benefiting from the inbound links is still the top listing for the primary keywords.

The website behind the campaign, or at least the website that has gained the most from it, wasn't listed in the Akamai report. Salted Hash did some digging, and it didn't take long to discover the website in question; storyofcheating[dot]com.

At one point, Akamai says, the Black Hat SEO campaign included more than 3,800 websites and 348 unique IP addresses. Technically, the campaign is more mass defacement than straight-up SEO scam, because the primary focus was SQL Injection.

It's important to note that those responsible for the defacements were not targeting a vulnerability in MS-SQL or IIS. Instead, they were targeting poorly developed applications that rely on Microsoft's platform to function.

As long as the targeted application didn't validate user-supplied input, it could be used to promote the storyofcheating[dot]com website.

Once a vulnerable application was discovered, various content would be added to the database, including all the HTML needed to supply links to storyofcheating[dot]com. The defaced websites would appear normal to those operating it, because the injected content is only visible to search engines.

Most of the added content was junk filler text with a handful of related keywords and meaningless sentences but there was enough content to create relevancy. According to one internet traffic monitor, storyofcheating[dot]com didn't have a solid SEO presence until late November, when this campaign started. Once it took hold, inbound links to the site (and its ranking on Google) skyrocketed.

The numbers dropped off in mid-December, followed by a brief spike, and another sharp drop.

On Monday, a day before the Akamai report was to be released, Salted Hash confirmed that a Google search for "cheat story" still returned the desired result for the SEO campaign, as storyofcheating[dot]com was the top link.

Many of the defaced websites were completely unrelated to the topic of infidelity, including websites dedicated to software development, SharePoint, Foosball, Tennis, political marketing, and more.

As mentioned, the SEO campaign targets MS-SQL. The common theme between the defaced domains is WordPress and BlogEngine.NET. However, the core code on those platforms isn't what's being targeted. It's more likely the campaign hinges on vulnerable themes and add-on scripts.

Most of the defacements centered on theme and template folders, and generated an entire set of pages, including RSS feeds for the added content.

Another common theme among the defaced websites was abortion. Many of the defaced websites would link to storyofcheating[dot]com under the pretext of abortion discussions, including abortion pills and chemical abortions, as well as topical discussions such as teen pregnancy.

The point of Akamai's threat report is that SEO is important to businesses online, and criminals have no problem with taking advantage of existing SEO rankings and reputation to further their schemes.

On the other hand, this type of fraud isn't limited to businesses, as criminals will target personal websites too.

The standard precautions apply; if you deploy a CMS platform, such as WordPress or BlogEngine.NET, make sure that everything from the server software, core platform software, and add-on modules are kept updated. Monitor your website and server for changes, and investigate anything that seems unusual.

Moreover, it's possible to use Google to catch added pages by searching your domain and looking at what's being indexed.

A copy of the Akamai report is available here.






10 Key Content Marketing Tips for 2016 & Beyond

If we were all honest with ourselves: content marketing is done to get conversions.

Content creators tend to spend hours of time and energy making sure their content is compelling, creative and, importantly, read and shared so leads and interested parties can possibly convert.

Given the regular changes of Googles fine-tuned search engine algorithm, how fickle target audiences can be, and the changing popularity of mobile devices, content marketing can feel like a race to keep up. And let me tell you this: its a race thats not going away soon.

So how are you planning on maximizing your efforts in 2016 and beyond? Weve put together 10 things to help you keep pace with the content evolution.

10 Content Marketing Tips to Stay Ahead of the Game

10 Key Content Marketing Tips for the Next Decade | SEJ

1. Take Generation C Into Account (The Millennials)

C stands for connected. (Cisco defined this well, too.) This is the generation of 18 34-year-olds who have become responsible for over $500 billion in internet spending a year. And, in a couple years, theyre going to make up the vast majority of the workforce.

Key ways toidentify them:

Theyre always connectedThey dont engage with traditional attempts by businesses to reach themThey trust and rely on friends recommendationsThey wont be pushedThey are looking for reasons to read and share

I wrote more about marketing to millennials here.

2. Keep Your Brand Genuine

Both the current and future generation of your target market wants the truth. They want to find out who you are and who theyre doing business with. They want to know who is behind the brand.

3. Its Time to Get a Cause

Todays customers arent worried about how much something costs to them, the value of being part of a cause is just as important. Talk about your cause. Be a storyteller.

4. People Need to Get Your Content

We know that simplifying your writing is the way to go. But readability means people will get your content, no matter what device they use. Content strategy design absolutely has to cater to mobile devices these days. Make sure everything you serve up on the web is mobile optimized.

5. Keep Them Participating

Aim to hold competitions as often as you can. Encourage viewers to vote on your new logo or answer surveys to make them feel that their opinion is valued. Start a Twitter chat. Participate in Twitter chats as your brand.

6. Honor Customers

Heres an idea for this point. Why not have a customer of the month feature? You want your tribes to keep connecting for the next story.

7. Visuals are More Effective Than Text

Visitors prefer to see what youre saying as opposed to reading it. Every time you come up with new ideas for content, consider how it can be visually presented be it infographic, podcast, video, or otherwise. Present that alongside the text (which Google will appreciate and rank). Never omit copy, butaddstriking visualsto your copy. Check out this gifographic we made (an infographic with moving parts).

8. Plan How Youll Generate Content Ideas

Keep a file of content ideas at all times. Come up with questions your audience may ask, listen to what they have to say.

9. CTAs Should Garner Email Addresses

Aim to maintain a growing email base. Give your readers loads of opportunities to give you their details. Dont forget to get creative with those emails especially the titles so that readers open them and include share buttons.

10. Neuroscience and Sales Psychology

Did you know85% of purchasing happens to be emotional while just 15% is logical? Really go into the research that neuroscience gives us regarding which parts of the brain are stimulated by what aspects. Use it in your content marketing strategies.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward with Content Marketing in 2016 (Its About to Get Ugly)

Thanksgiving has come and gone. New Years Daywill be over before we know it. But what about B2B marketers? Many a marketer has spent the last few years just chugging along with a marketing program. They have a strategy and have been blogging consistentlyseveral times aweek. Theyve had pretty good success growing their email list and theyve even had a good amount of leads converting to sales.

Management is starting to ask when the content marathon is going to pay off. When are they really going to see those leads flowing in?

My answer to that would be: What are you going to do to increase the quality and effort ofyour content marketing in 2016?

5 Trends Earmarked for 2016:How to be Smart About Content Marketing This New Year

While there is probably more to come that can be added to the list below, lets take a look at some of the digital marketing trends earmarked for 2016 and how you can save time implementing them inyour content marketing strategy.

1. Budgets are Going to Grow, Just Not as Fast as in 2015

Content marketing budgets were expected to grow by 55% in 2015. Thats one of the biggest increases year on year for marketing in a long while.

But there is a downside. With more content than ever being created, the global content marketing audience is becoming fatigued.

These days:

Everybody has a blogEveryone has a video you can watchEverybody has case studies or white papers that can be downloadedEveryone wants you on their email marketing list

The problem is when everyone is doing the same thing, it gets a lot harder to cut through the noise and chaos.

So since it is harder than ever to get through to users, you need to start investing more time, energy, and funds into creating high quality and high volumes of content. And when it comes to that, we often find the results just dont seem to be where you want them to be, do they?

To that end, B2B content marketers went ahead and invested a lot in content creation this year without seeing the results. That means in 2016 theyre going to see push backs from CFOs and leadership since theyve not metexpectations.

Were well aware its a marathon and not a sprint, but even a marathon has to come to an end and all that content needs to start paying off somehow, doesnt it?

2. Long-Form Content Will be in Demand

According to several pros, long-form content is seriously gaining traction. Why? Because it thoroughly answers questions.

At the moment there may not be a lot of writers out there who are generating posts with word counts in the thousands, there are sure to be more cropping up in 2016. As it stands, this year weve noticed:

Weve heard so much about sticking to the 300 500-word mark for blogging. But todays reality is that those short posts just arent ranking. Not at all. So while you, of course, should be blogging for your readers, you need them to find you. One of those surefire ways is long-form content.

Case Study: Long-Form Content Works Today

In mid-December (2015), I wrote a monster blog that addressed the key principles marketers need to know in relation to the massive 160-page Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines document. I tried, but there was no way to keep it under 3,500 words. Well, in less than 4 days it had over 100 shares, and I heard from someone who said it was more readable than Neil Patels post on the same topic. Just an example to show why Ive found that long-form content is absolutely not going anywhere. Instead, I think its popularity is increasing. Just be sure you address a question that deserves an in-depth answer.

Back to our overall content marketing trends. If budgets are going to remain more or less the same for content marketing in 2016, but you need to write longer-form copy, how can you save time on your endeavors?

Heres what youre going to have to do in the new year to shave off hours while improving the impact you have on the content as well as your lead generation programs.

3. Try Blogging Less, With Better Quality

You heard right. Blog less. I dont mean fewer words, but rather less frequency. Yes, I know this completely goes against everything youve been taught, but lets just think about it:

If Googles first 10 search results all seem to have more than 2,000 words, theres very little chance that blogging around 700 words 3 times a week is going to get you very far, is it?

If youve spent the last couple of years blogging and have kind of generated a good wealth of short-form, readable content, its time to change up your strategy and start developing content that can help cut through the clutter and start getting your site ranked. And that means coming up with content no less than 1,500 words.

I know what youre wondering: how do you go about creating quality content of that length?

Think of it this way: if youre blogging 500 words, 3 times a week, youre already writing 1,500 words!

Rather than trying to come up with three short posts, leverage your buyer personas and tie all those posts together to blog 1,500 words, once a week.

For example, lets imagine you want to write a post about when a business should start content marketing programs for their tech companies. The post could be broken up into 3 parts:

The common challenges that B2B technology companies face when wanting to start content marketing programsWhy these companies wait to start content marketingThe statistics that support when a tech company should start a content marketing program

Instead of coming up with 3 shorter posts, all 3 points can be tied together with a central theme. So in the same amount of time it would take to write three 500-word blogs, you can generate a 1,500-word post that will actually rank for long-tail keywords.

4. Short-Form, Spammy SEO Content Its Time to Say Goodbye to Consultants

Okay, this one sounds a little harsh, but very few SEO consultants are really qualified to write longer forms of content about anything, let along your pride and joy of a business. How can you save time here?

We all know that SEO has become a major part of content marketing. If you are creating content targeted towards certain audiences, you need to be working within the realm of SEO, or you risk wasting your time. Think mobile, social sharing, long-tail keywords. You dont need a pricey consultant.

Spend a day working your way around Google and youll get to know everything you need to for optimizing your content for the search engine. Read a book, take a short course, add basic SEO to your skill set.

5. Content Should be Creative

Ever wanted to do something more dynamic? Ever envisioned animated infographics and other cool themes? Go with it! Rather than using the same old boring, clip-art filled infographics, create some seriously rich, creative media experiences for your audience.

There are quite a few tools beyond WordPress you can use, including: lets you create and publish awesome visualizations of all your data. They offer some great pre-built templates that you can embed with your blog.Tableau Public is free software for anyone who wants to regale engaging stories with public data on the Internet. Its a fantastic tool for visualization, particularly maps.Visme is a great tool that will let you create rich media infographics, presentations, reports, and even product demosLets Wrap This Up

2016 is sure to be a busy, and interesting, year for content marketing.

With those budgets hovering around the same as the 2015 mark, and content fatigue setting in, youre going to need to do a lot more to be more effective with the same resources.

To achieve this, youll need to be smarter about how you divide your time and the type of content you create. And youre going to need content that will go the distance. Use these content marketing tips and do just this. Dont skimp; involve more resources, time, effort, and investment to stand out in the sea and be a true content marketing leader. It will result in direct ROI: your efforts will be rewarded.

Image Credits

Featured Image: chondantrk/

In-post Photo: Raywoo/






Getupdated to Become Main Sponsor of the World's Largest Search Engine Marketing... | Reuters

Getupdated to Become Main Sponsor of the World's Largest Search Engine Marketing Event -- Search Engine Strategies New York, 2008 Conference Focuses On Search Engine Marketing and Web StrategiesSTOCKHOLM, Sweden--(Business Wire)--Getupdated Internet Marketing, (First North: GIM), is to be thebiggest sponsor for the world's largest search engine marketing eventat the Hilton, New York. Search Engine Strategies (17-20 March 2008)is a five day event designed for marketers and internet marketingleaders to gain detailed knowledge on the fast growing industry ofsearch advertising. The biggest event in the Search Engine Strategies' calendar,search experts from around the world will convene in New York to coverall aspects of search engine promotion, including search engineoptimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and mobile search. "An increasing number of CEO's and Marketing Directors areparticipating in SEO and SEM projects online. Search Engine Strategiesprovides a unique opportunity for these decision makers to meet inperson, share their ideas and opinions, learn about the latest searchtrends and collaborate with their peers," says Johan Kadar, CEO ofGetupdated Internet Marketing. Search Engine Strategies is organized and hosted by Kevin Ryan andwill cover a range of search topics, including search engine marketingfrom top industry experts and the search engines themselves. The eventwill provide access to the world's most comprehensive gathering ofsearch engine marketing & optimization providers and potentialpartners & affiliates. Getupdated's world-renowned search authority, James Welch, head ofresearch and development at Just Search Ltd (Getupdated's most recentUK acquisition), will share his insights into the world of widgets andgadgets. James' session will be held on Wednesday 19 March 2008 at10:15a.m. After the session, James will provide a clear and conciseoverview of the key concepts involved in search engine marketing alongwith some brainstorming sessions at the Getupdated booth. Attendees at the event can also attend Getupdated's stand and havethe chance to win a search engine friendly content management system.In addition, Getupdated will have search games and activities toprovide information and details about its offerings. "It is an obvious choice to attend Search Engine Strategies!Getupdated has become one of the world's largest search engineoptimization companies so it is our duty to match it with events ofsimilar calibre," adds Luar Buso Vice President / Marketing forGetupdated Internet Media. About Getupdated: Getupdated is leading the way as one of the world's largest SearchEngine Marketing companies. Now you can gain a competitive edge withreliance on Getupdated's extensive experience in the areas of organicsearch engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), InternetAdvertising, Web Design and Affiliate Marketing. Since 1999 professional marketers and more than 75,000 globalclients have seen Getupdated as the ideal partner of choice for theircomplete Internet Marketing needs. We are aware that behind everywebpage is a specific company with specific needs and goals. AtGetupdated, we understand the benefits generated through InternetMarketing as a growing process. Promoting a website with onlinerelated media, can drive the visitors your business needs in order toreach those goals. Go to the only global player that offers the most comprehensiveresource of tools and methodologies designed to meet your everyInternet Advertising need and ensure your growth. Growth in rankings-growth in branding- growth in share of market- growth inprofitability. With Getupdated you embark yourself into a long-termand reliable partnership, with solid experience in the range ofmarketing websites, promoting your brand and delivery of highconverting traffic.Berkeley Public RelationsElizabeth West / Philip SzomszorTel: +44 1629 Business Wire 2008


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