Top marketing news, articles and tips from the first week of April 2012.
Last month, search marketers encountered several changes affecting SEO strategy (Panda 3.4, elimination of paid link networks, etc). With these updates, Kerry Dean (@kerrydean) takes the opportunity to revisit the basics and best practices of SEO, and lays out some essential, “easy-win” reminders for brands of any size:
- Check for—Searchbot access to important pages via robots.txt, duplication of title tags and/or meta description and keyword tags.
- Implement—Open Graph tags, rel-canonical tags, alt tags on category/product pages
- Update—301 redirects, XML sitemaps
One of the biggest things to keep in mind, though, is that iterative Google updates always emphasize quality, regularly published content from trustworthy sources. Therefore, an integrated strategy that incorporates brand building, content development and social media into your SEO efforts is a must.
Content Marketing + Sales Alignment
Ardath Albee (@ardath421) touches on the need to align marketing and sales departments (AKA “SMarketing”), and adapt the conversations when putting a buyer-focused content strategy into place. Albee defines the three types of conversations that are necessary for open communication and collaboration, and ultimately, success:
- Content: Talk about the questions that buyers encounter during the sales process, and how different types of content can answer them.
- Inside Sales: Deliver value to prospects during the sales process by creating an experience that reflects their expectations of your content. Swap out the same old script, educate reps and continually refine processes, and nurture leads to maximize invested time.
- Sales—Learn how to seamlessly transition buyer conversations into sales at ideal points in the buying cycle so that you can continue to build relationships without any hiccups.
For more on the topic, check out Kathy Rizzo’s Four Ways to Improve the Lead-to-Sales Handoff.
Joe Chernov’s (@jchernov) interview with social business expert Augie Ray (@augieray) is packed with insight for business leaders and marketers alike. The interview is a nice balance of personal experience, opinion and general advice, and speaks to many professional audiences. Here’s a sampling:
- Get everyone involved. Extend social media participation to external audiences beyond marketing and customer service. Also, create a strategy for how your business will use social media technologies for internal collaboration.
- Don’t rush into it. Combine presence, expectations and purpose to yield results.
- Make metrics count. Instead of making it a priority to simply increase your fan base, work toward improving engagement and sharing. Also, it is worthwhile for CEOs to understand the channels and the metrics on which you base success to define and measure return on social efforts.
- Return to basics. As noted earlier, if new technologies and behaviors begin to overwhelm, “focus on the mission of the company, the audience and the strategies that have been set.”
David M. Raab (@draab) answers the popular question, “What are the barriers to marketing technology adoption?” by compiling data from a handful of surveys done within the past year. Raab reports that, overall, budget and process are the main barriers to marketing technology success. After separating his audiences into online, B2B and general marketers, he pinpointed their different areas of weakness:
- Online and B2B marketers struggle most with people and processes that come with a rapidly changing marketplace. However, their tech knowledge and independence helps to avoid IT issues and silos, as they can involve themselves in the adoption process.
- Mixed (online, B2B and general) marketers overall struggle with budget, metrics and management. Their organizations are mature enough that processes and skills are in place, but they struggle with organizational silos due to lack of technical skills.
- All marketers say they care about metrics, but it is rarely a top priority.
In the News
- HubSpot reports that Facebook content published via third-party tools may result in lower engagement.
- Google’s Larry Page talks about his first year back as Google CEO, touching on how he cleaned house to refocus on core products, mistakes made, and why Google+ is an essential part of a seamless, integrated web experience.
- Last week, Google began public tests of its augmented reality glasses (codenamed Project Glass).
Bookmark of the Week
Social Media Examiner (@smexaminer) published its annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report (PDF download), created from an administered survey of 3,800 marketers. The report is 42 pages, but author Michael Stelzner (@Mike_Stelzner) condenses major findings, focusing on: major questions asked by marketers, time commitment, and services and tools.
What articles made your top list last week? We’d like to hear your opinions.
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