Are you a Digital Strategist or just a wannabe Online Marketer?

With the surge in popularity of online retail adoption, and online software-as-a-service, the buzz of digital marketing has peaked considerably in the last couple of years. And as with anything that gains popularity every man and his dog are claiming to be digital marketing experts and digital strategist. In this article I will outline why there is an influx of so called online marketing experts and how to differentiate between a real digital strategist from a wannabe online marketer.  A great example of a website that does digital marketing in real estate very well is RealestateMY .

It’s a known fact that information about digital marketing is all over the internet, and if someone were to read everything they would surely go insane from the sheer mass of information overload.

But because of this everybody from your high school drop out, to the 30 year marketing veteran are claiming to be experts in the field of digital marketing. They are using an arsenal of buzz words including seo, social media, mocial and BIG data without have any experience in them except for having read an article about it on mashable (no offence to mashable, they have an awesome blog).

To be a real digital strategist in this day and age, you have to have done more than just read a couple of articles online. Digital marketing is an evolving beast, and the best way to progress up the digital marketing ladder is through trial and error.

Experience and accomplishments are key to being a real digital strategist that has applied a digital strategy, got their hands dirty, and produced a result. Whether good or bad it is still an experience that can be learnt from. This is where you separate the boys from the men.

 

From my experience a good digital strategist would have:

  •  Used data from analytics to understand user behaviour, and used insights from this data to make informed decisions about optimisation.
  • Optimised revenue channels by testing, measuring and scaling strategies that have worked positively.
  • Built business process around the experiences and insights from executing different digital strategies.
  • Have experience with many different tools and technology and have integrated solutions together for overall performance enhancement.
  • Be entrenched in the data and be able to report of all the important metrics that are important for business growth.

The problem with finding good talent these days, is that its hard to differentiate between the real digital strategist and the wannabe online marketers. When searching for your next digital marketing hire, ask about their experience and accomplishments, rather than how much they know about digital marketing.

No matter how  much someone has read about digital marketing, or how many years of traditional marketing experience they have, nothing in any article will ever prepare an individual to be a great digital strategist.

True digital strategist are produced from a variety of experiences and accomplishments, whether it being from experimenting with digital channels or analysing trends in data.

But is saying this everyone needs some place to start, and my advice is to selectively read good articles from accomplish digital strategist and get your hands dirty by experimenting with different strategies with the aim of accomplishing something.

 

How to do a major rebrand and keep your website’s SEO rankings

As many of you may know we recently rebranded mooo.com.au to tinyme.com.au. The reason for the rebrand was quite simple, we were expanding overseas and did not have a mooo.com or mooo.co.uk.

 

So as the head of SEO I was tasked with planning and managing the “SEO” transition from mooo to tinyme. In a nutt shell I successfully (with a lot of sweat) recovered all our SEO rankings in 8 days after the major domain name transition.

 

The first 3 days after the transition our rankings dropped from page 1s to page 7s, which was quite bad seeing as most people don’t browse past the 1st page of search engine results. So as you can imagine it was a very stressful couple of days for me.

 

So I would like to share the steps I took in doing the transition, so anyone thinking of doing a rebrand in the future will have something to refer to. But before you start this process remember to benchmark your current rankings so you have something to refer to after the transition.

 

Step 1

Before you switch your site over, generate an xml site map of your current site.

 

Step 2

Identify all the external links that are going to your current website URL. This is to help you identify links which you can manually change to your new domain URL.

 

Step 3

Using 301 redirects (permanent redirects) make sure every URL from your current domain is redirected to your new domain. This is usually done in the server.

 

Step 4

Using your list of external links to your site, and if possible, contact the site owners who have existing links to your site, and get them to change the links to your new site URL. Its always better to have a direct link to your new site rather than a redirect.

 

Step 5

Revise your robots.txt file to make sure you disallow all pages and folders you do not want crawled by the search engines.

 

Step 6

Go to your Google Webmaster Tools account and add your new domain, then go onto the Bing Webmaster Center and do the same.

 

Step 7

In your current site Google Webmaster Tools site profile, fill out the Change of Address form to tell Google that you have moved to a new site URL.

 

Step 8

With your current xml site map, do a site submission to Google & Bing. This is to tell the search engines to crawl your current site to find all the new redirects.

 

Step 9

Write a post in the Google Groups Webmaster Central forum indicating your move, why it’s being done, and how you hope Google will recognise the domain name transition as legitimate.

 

Step 10

Once your site has been fully transitioned, use Xenu’s Link Sleuth to monitor your new site for broken links. And if you find any broken links, hurry and fix them ASAP.

 

In conclusion, once all this is done remember to keep closely monitor your site over the next couple months and keep up your normal SEO activities.

 

Also keep in mind your rankings will drop initially, no doubt about it, but they should return in a matter of days/weeks. (that’s if there aren’t any other issues with your site)

 

Doing an SEO site transition was definitely one of the biggest and most important projects ive handled and thankfully it all went well. So if you have this task at hand, be very systematic and thorough. And I wish you the best of luck with it!

Integrating Marketing Channels For Enhanced Multi Channel Marketing

 

 

In the past integrating traditional marketing channels has been a pretty difficult task and companies big and small would manage their marketing channels in isolation, creating silos in their marketing departments.

Thanks to the emergence of new digital channels it has become much easier to integrate marketing channels for multi channel and cross channel marketing.

Here are 3 simple reasons why organisations should integrate their marketing channels to compliment each other, rather than manage each channel in isolation.

 

Consumers will interact with more than one marketing channel before they decide to make a purchase.

These days with so many marketing channels easily available to consumers, a customer would interact with multiple marketing channels before actually making a purchase.

Typically before a customer would actually make a buying decision, they would have seen a print ad in a magazine, searched for a product on Google, clicked on a banner ad on a blog, or had a product recommended to them on facebook.

For brands that use a variety of marketing channels, it is very common to have specialised people or teams managing these different marketing channels. But to convey a clear message to the customer, it is important that all these different departments work together and are on the same page.  It is alright for different marketing channels to have different tones, but it is important for them to have the same voice.

 

Integrating marketing channels to test, measure, and amplify!

Compared to traditional marketing channels, digital marketing channels are a lot easier and quicker to test, measure and amplify.

A good example is using SEM (search engine marketing) like Google Adwords to test different advertising promotions.  By A/B split testing two ads with different promotions, you can determine which promotion is most appealing to customers before using it for other channels.

Another good example of testing advertising copy is through emails marketing. You can send out an EDM (electronic direct mail) to your subscriber list, and split test different advertising copy or design visuals. The variation with the best results (opens, clicks & conversions etc) will determine the winning ad copy.

Once you have tested and measured the results, the next step is to amplify the winning selections onto more traditional marketing channels, like print and television.

 

Leveraging marketing channels off each other = double the effectiveness.

The real value in integrating marketing channels is so they can leverage off each other and become more effective then they would be, just operating in isolation.

A simple example is leveraging social media with email marketing. Getting new fans on a new facebook page or twitter account can prove challenging at the start. But if your business has been operational for a while, and you have an existing subscription list of customers that you regularly email, you can leverage off your subscription list by emailing your list and asking your members to join your facebook.

You can also provide them with a share-to-social option to allow them share it with all their friends. Having your customers as fans on your facebook page, will double marketing effectiveness and increase traffic, because of the viral nature of social media networks.

This works in vice versa as well; you can easily build your email subscriber list from your facebook page, by offering incentives to fans for signing up using facebook applications.

 

Conclusion

Ive only outlined a few examples here, but there are many more ways you can integrate marketing channels together for better results. As long as communication between departments are good, and everyone is measuring the correct metrics and working toward the same goals, marketing channels can be easily integrated with each other to produce more effective results.

The Dos and Don’ts for website usability testing

 

As many of you would be website usability experts will find out, usability testing can be quite daunting in the very beginning. There will be many questions floating around about what should be tested, how should it be tested, and when should it be tested. And knowing what to do and what not to do when testing is a learning process of trial and error.

Not all websites function in the same way, so split testing and multi variant testing techniques on some sites might differ slightly. You usually need to find these out for yourself with a little abit of basic guidance from articles like these.

Based on my website testing experience, I’ve listed a few DOs and DONTs that I’ve learnt while starting a website testing plan. Here they are:

 

Website Testing DOs

 

Make sure you know why you are doing the test

 Before you start any website testing, make sure you know what areas in your site you want to improve by doing the testing.  Do you want to improve the conversation rate, or decrease the bounce rate, or maybe increase the time on site.

Make sure you plan to test the right things

 Be sure to have a plan when testing your site. You must have a good idea of the elements and areas you would like to test and know what kind of results you should be expecting. Here are some examples of site elements you can test: landing pages, navigation, promotions, copy, colours, call to action etc.

Make sure you are testing at the right time.

To get the most conclusive results, you have to be sure that you are testing at the right time. If there are irregularities in traffic or conversion rate because of some website events, your testing results will be inaccurate. An example of testing at the wrong time would be when you are doing massive promotions or sales on selected products; this would cause irregular traffic and conversion rate to specific products, and your testing results will be flawed.

Give your test the right amount of time to get a conclusive result.

Depending on what you are testing and depending on your traffic volume, you need to give your test significant time to get proper conclusive results. The trick is to know when a test is running too long and is wasting time, or if a test is stopped to early before real conclusive results are available.

Measure and track your results accurately

There is no point testing if you are not going to track your data accurately. Make sure you have tracking setup correctly in your testing tool or with your analytics tools, and make sure you are measuring the right metrics.

Analyse your results in depth

Analyse you results in depth based on your testing goals, and understand how the test has affected other goal metrics on your site. For example if you were measuring the effect on changing an image to improve your bounce rate, you should also analyse how this change has affected your conversion rate. You should always analyse the results to see if there are any important trends to take note of.

Continue testing, and don’t stop after just after the first test

It is not wise just to do one test and then stop. Always be testing (A.B.T). Once you have completed a test, you should use results from the first test to help with the next test. Have a testing regime, so you are always testing your site on a regular basis.

 

Website Testing DONTs

 

Testing small elements on your site without thinking about the big picture

Before you test little things like font, colour, and text, you must consider testing the bigger website concepts like page layout, navigation etc.

Testing more than 1 thing at a time, without having a plan

Don’t test too many things at the start. The more elements you test concurrently the longer it takes to get a conclusive result. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying don’t do multi variant testing, I’m just saying have a plan to test the right elements first and not everything all at once.

Don’t get caught up in other people’s opinions, let the numbers do the talking

Don’t let the opinions from the highest paid person; influence the direction and outcome of the test. Just keep testing and let the numbers do the talking.

Not measuring the entire funnel of your website when testing

Even if you are testing with goal metrics like bounce rate and time on site, you should always be focusing it back on conversion goals. To improve the success of your site you need to ultimately tie in other metrics to conversions in the funnel.

Not taking action after you have a result

The biggest mistake you can make, is not taking the right action after you have concluded your test and got your testing results. You should use the results to improve other areas of your site, and for more testing purposes.

 

There are many more dos and don’t to website testing, but I will have to let YOU find the ones relevant to your website yourself. A great web resource to follow for a/b split testing and multi variant testing: is www.whichtestwon.com. Happy testing!

 

 

 

2012 Online Marketing Conferences And Expos In Australia

Hi everyone,

Here is a current list of online marketing conferences in Australia for 2012.

Australian Marketing Conferences in 2012 Date Location
Online Marketing Summit 2012 13-15 February 2012 Sydney
Schmart Marketing Conference 21-February-2012 Melbourne
Schmart Marketing Conference 23-February-2012 Sydney
Istrategy 21-22 February 2012 Sydney
Ad Tech 14-15 March 2012 Sydney
Ad Tech 28-29 March 2012 Melbourne
Ecommerce & Payments World 30-April-2012 Melbourne
Content Management World 01-May-2012 Melbourne
Cloud Computing World 02-May-2012 Melbourne
Digital Advertising World 30 April – 1 May 2012 Melbourne
Internet Show Melbourne 30 April – 1 May 2012 Melbourne
Social Media World 30 April – 1 May 2012 Melbourne
CEBIT Expo 22-24 May 2012 Sydney
Cebit Web Forward 22-24 May 2012 Sydney
Online Retailer & Ecommerce Conference 17-18 July 2012 Sydney

 

I will keep updating this list as new conferences get announced. So stay tuned!

Feel free to leave a comment if i have left any relevant conferences out, or if you would like more information about each conference, please let me know.


My first speaking opportunity at the Online Retailer Conference

I know its been just over a month since the online retailer conference, but I would like to share my very first speaking experience at the online retailer conference that was held in Sydney on the 26th September 2011.

We arrived in beautiful Sydney at 8am Monday morning for the social media summit, which was the pre conference event day. I had woken up at 3.30am in the same morning as our flight was in Avalon, Victoria which was 1.5 hours drive from where I lived.

As you can imagine the morning started pretty fuzzy. We got to our hotel and checked in, before quickly getting to the Sydney exhibition centre as we were running abit late.

When we got there we had already missed half of the keynote given by Dave Haber from ice.com . But the rest of the presentation was great, and it was good to get an inside look at how ice.com run their social media department. Then we had Nick Lansley from Tesco, who looked like he had just run a marathon prior to coming up on stage. Nick shared some pretty insightful stuff about mobile, also touching on great innovations in some of the Asian countries.

During the break I had a good chat to Dave Haber, about their social media resourcing, as I was looking to grow the moooo marketing team. He mentioned that having someone assist with social media is great, but it was best to ease them into the role, and give them more responsibility as they progress, but also still manage and monitor the metrics from a higher level. At ice.com, Dave runs all the social media marketing with Lauren who helps with the content. Its pretty amazing for just a 2 person team, to pull off such great social media campaigns.

Next we were broken up into 2 tracts mobile and social media. The first social media marketing track looked great, but ended up quite boring. I then moved over to the mobile track, which was Craig Sulliven, who was an ace and a real gun with testing, and definitely great value with insights. I then went to more of the social media track but again, the presentations were not as good.

At the breaks, we had networking sessions and I did meet some interesting people and it was a great day for networking. That night we went over our presentation and were making many tweaks, so it was still very much a work in progress.

The next day, which was the 1st official day of the main conference, the rest of my team rocked up. The 1st day keynote speakers were great, Yona from beyondtherack.com, gave us insight on how they got started and the hurdles they faced when starting, which was very inspirational. Tyler Hoffman from Google, as expected just pushed googles new products.

Gabby from catchoftheday.com.au was quite amusing, doing his usually controversial trolling, while the others were pretty average. We then broke up into the 5 tracks, I moved quite a bit between tracks from stuff on SEO, to SEM to email marketing to website usability. 1 standout was an american guy from Silverpop who gave us some good insights on email marketing and mobile.

After the conference it was time for the ORIAS, we were nominated for 2 awards, best pure play and best use of technology. We lost both to surf stitch . The ORIAS was good, with Vince Sorrenti doing a stand up skit for us, he was pretty funny. Food was just ok. I ended up with chicken while the 2 people next to me at steak, which was quite annoying. Big winners for the night were: style tread, appliances online, dick smith, and surf stitch. After the long day, and night, we went back to the hotel for another practice presentation session, but decided that we were too tired and would do it in the morning. Next morning it was D day for our presentation. We did a final rehearsal, and saved the keynote presentation on a thumb drive to give to Kylie.

The keynotes for the 2nd day were great, with the ex Wallmart SVP, and a great presentation from Jon Kamaluddin from asos.com. The 2nd day of the conference seemed a little better than the 1st day with quite a few stand out presentations including one on website usability from Josh Himwish from diapers.com, and another good one session on split testing from Craig Sullivan.

And then it was our turn to present. This was my very first time in front of such a big crowd and to say I was nervous was an understatement. I walked in and sat next to Mike my co speaker. I asked him if he was ready, and he said he was kinda nervous. So it was time for our big talk, and we were already 5 mins late because of technical issues. I was quite confidant until everyone started coming in and we had a full house, which what I was not expecting.

When I got on stage to start, I was hit with a wall of nervousness. And my co-speaker accidentally stuffed up our initial introductions so I didn’t get a chance to say it was my 1st time and to excuse my nervousness. So basically I was stuck to having to talk for around 15 mins consistently, while all I wanted to do was run off stage. Again it was my first ever time in front of so many people, but I thought to myself, it is now or never. I so just did it. And with all eyes looking at me, I pushed forward.

It didn’t go the way I had practiced, my tones were all wrong, but I didn’t give up I just kept going, trying my best to engage the crowd. As it came to Mikes turn to speak, I could see he was quite nervous, he started going for it, but I think due to the time limit was rushing.Mike started just reading as much as he could, he even went over his spot and started reading over mine. Finally it was wrap up time and I wrapped up to finish things off. At the end I apologised for the nervousness and told them to contact me if they had questions.

On the way out there were a few people who asked for my card which was nice, and a few others smiled at me before they left which was encouraging, I also got some positive twitter mentions which really made my day. Metal note first thing to do is join toast masters to improve my presentation skills. By next year I should be all ready for more speaking events.

A big thanks to the online retailer team for giving me the opportunity.