Archive for March, 2012

Who’s Reading What and Where

March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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Presidential Approval Rating over term Cycles

March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Check out Congressional approval vs. Presidential.  Congressional is at all time lows vs. Presidential is declining but still at 45%.  Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, George Bush Sr. and Jr. all have been at 45%.

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How to Prioritize Your PPC Analysis for Awesome Results

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

, March 20, 2012

Where do you start the analysis process when you detect an issue with your PPC account? How do you determine the root cause of a performance downturn? Answering these questions incorrectly could you lead down a rabbit hole of aimless stats that provide no real solutions.

Once you have established a hypothesis on what has happened to performance, then you need to dig into the stats. Diving straight into the minutia (such as keyword level data) can cause confusion, slow down your ability identify the issue, and cause you to miss other (more important) issues within the account.

Analysis prioritization is critical when diagnosing an ailing account. Knowing where to look within an account for optimization opportunities is just as important as knowing what to do when these opportunities are discovered.

Start at the Top

Initiate your analysis at the highest level of your account. Normally this means at the campaign level. For example, if your CPA is over goal, then you need to concentrate on the campaign that is hindering your performance most.

You should focus on the campaign with the most volume that is providing the weakest returns. Optimizing a campaign with a high CPA that only generates 3 percent of your volume isn’t going to influence your account, but focusing the campaign that produces 24 percent of your volume makes more sense.

Work your way down from the campaign level, into ad groups, ad texts, keywords (for search network campaigns) and placements (for display network campaigns).


Review the Trending

Don’t base your analysis on a handful of clicks or conversions. Any campaign/ad group/keyword can have a bad day or even a bad week. There can be external factors that influence performance such as seasonal cycles or shifts in the competitive landscape. Determine if the lagging performance looks temporary or if it’s indicative of a bigger problem.

Run a trending report to determine if this campaign/ad group/keyword has a declining performance. To get a snapshot you should look at stats at least two weeks before performance started to suffer.

Extend your analysis out by a month or two to get a more complete view of the trending. You may find that the performance of this particular campaign/ad group has actually been declining gradually.

Determine the Root Cause

As you conduct the trending analysis, you should also be looking for evidence indicating what has caused the issue.

For example, I was analyzing a Display Network campaign within Google AdWords recently. Our overall CPA had increased and I was trying to determine the root cause. During my reporting timeframe (two months) our impressions/clicks had remained steady, CTR hadn’t changed much and our conversion rate had fluctuated only marginally. The root cause was our CPC. It had been rising incrementally over the previous three weeks and this was causing our CPA to suffer. When I started my analysis, I was certain that my conversion rate had decreased – and I was incorrect.

Upon further investigation there were a couple of websites within our GDN distribution that had elevated CPCs. We removed those websites from our general, keyword-targeted distribution and targeted them individually with specific (lowered) bids.

Focus on the Most Impactful Changes

After conducting the trend analysis and determining what the issue’s root cause should be, you need to create a plan-of-action. Focus on the changes that will directly influence the root cause.

For example, if low CTR appears to be the underlying issue but your average position is higher than three, increasing bids isn’t going get you anywhere. To address this issue you may need to look at testing new ads, keyword segmentation, and negative keywords.

Monitor Campaign Changes

Don’t make changes within a campaign and think your work is done. Actually, it’s just beginning. You need to monitor the campaign in order make sure that the proper changes were implemented and performance is trending in the right direction.

If performance doesn’t improve, you may have made drawn the wrong conclusions; made the wrong changes; or the alterations may not have been strong enough.

Optimization efforts shouldn’t be made on the fly. A plan to analyze performance, understand stats within context, and make changes that will impact specific issues should be part of your ongoing campaign management.

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Your Master List of Low-Hanging Marketing Fruit

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment
Posted by Pamela Vaughan
Fri, Mar 09, 2012 @ 03:34 PM

When it comes to optimizing and improving your marketing programs, many marketers tend to think they need to go through these radical undertakings that completely overhaul their entire marketing strategy. While major change can sometimes be good, a lot of times, marketers overlook the little things they can do to incrementally improve their marketing results. (And with the hour those of us in the United States are going to lose from daylight savings time this weekend, we can’t really afford to waste any more time! Unless of course, you’re Hawaiian or Arizonan.)


To be honest, you might be surprised at how little things can go a really long way. So the next time you’re thinking about dramatically re-working your marketing strategies, take a step back first and see if you’ve picked these pieces of low-hanging marketing fruit first.

20 Pieces of Low-Hanging Marketing Fruit You Should Harvest

1) Include More Links to Landing Pages in Your Social Updates: Wondering why you’re not generating much traffic or leads from your social presence? Try sending more traffic to landing pages! Every tweet or Facebook post shouldn’t be promoting your marketing offers, but if you’re not purposely including links to landing pages in your social media update mix, you’re losing out on an important way to use social media for lead generation.

2) Send Email From a Person, Not a Company: This is such an easy one, yet many don’t do it! Your email’s sender name can make a big difference in open and click-through rates. In a HubSpot email A/B test, we found that sending email from a real person’s name from our marketing team generated a click-through rate of .96% compared to email sent from “HubSpot,” which generated a click-through rate of .73%. That winning email also generated 292 more clicks and 131 more leads. Email should be sent from humans, not companies.

3) Embed Twitter Testimonials on Your Reviews Page: Reviews are even more impactful when it’s obvious that they’re real. Use Twitter’s new embeddable tweets feature to add positive testimonial tweets to your website’s reviews/testimonials page. Or, go another route and use the Twitter Faves Widget to display the tweets you’ve favorited on your corporate Twitter account. If you do, just be sure you use your Favorites solely as a Twitter testimonial bookmarking tool; you wouldn’t want your reviews page to be diluted with tweets that aren’t testimonials!

4) Put Calls-to-Action Everywhere: That’s right — everywhere. On every blog post you publish, on every web page you create (except for landing pages), in webinars, speaking presentations, within downloadable content like ebooks, on your social media pages … what have I missed? Don’t go through the work of designing attractive CTA buttons for your marketing offers if you’re only going to use them on one or two things. Get the most bang from your buck.

5) Include Attractive Images in Your Marketing: Make sure every piece of content you publish includes an attractive visual, whether it’s a photo, an image, a visualization, or a chart/graph. Visuals are becoming more and more important in internet marketing, particularly social media. Why else do you think the infographic and Pinterest crazes have blown up recently? Spend the extra few minutes to make that chart or graph more visually appealing or to select a truly compelling image for your blog post. That awesome quote you’re about to share or question you’re about to ask? Put it on a PPT slide and add some simple design to it to make it more sharable on Facebook or Google+.

6) Check Search Traffic When Choosing Blog Titles: Trying to decide which keywords to use in a particular blog title? Check the search traffic for the keyword variations you’re considering (HubSpot’s Keywords tool or Google’s Keyword Tool make this easy to do). Unless you’re trying to rank for a particular keyword as part of an overall search strategy, that one post isn’t going to make much of a difference, so shoot for longer tail keywords that are easier to rank for.

7) Scrub Your Database: When was the last time you cleaned up your email database? An unkempt one can actually harm deliverability, so do a quick sweep of your list and remove the 7 types of email addresses we identify in this blog post.

8) Update and Re-Publish Outdated Content: Having evergreen content on your website is extremely valuable. It continues to generate traffic, leads, and inbound links for your website over time, and it doesn’t get old (at least not by much). But hey, sometimes even evergreen content could use a tune up. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with updating and re-publishing some of your evergreen content as new (just change the time-stamp for blog posts to avoid duplicate content). You’ll save the time you would’ve spent creating a brand new blog post/ebook/webinar from scratch, and your older content will be even more relevant to a new audience.

9) Repurpose Content: While we’re on the topic of recycling content and saving time/effort, don’t dismiss the content you already have as a baseline for new content. Rather than writing that ebook from scratch, use the few posts on that topic you already have as a starting point. Conversely, use excerpts from new long-form content like ebooks as blog articles, and use the ebook as the CTA to encourage blog visitors to obtain more information on the topic.

10) Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices: This piece of fruit might seem like it’s a little bit higher on the branches to reach, but it’s such an important piece of fruit to pick, that’s it’s definitely worth reaching for. At the very least, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Use mobile CSS (or a mobile redirect) and set up a a meta viewport tag so mobile visitors to your website have a user-friendly experience, too. Here’s how to get started.

11) Add Internal Links: Understanding how the individual pages of your website can contribute value toward other pages is important. Don’t overlook the power of internal linking, which should be a cognizant part of your overall SEO strategy. With great internal linking, ranking for very difficult keyword phrases is made much easier as you share the authority of your other best content with your new content. Spend a few minutes to read this post so you can start to improve your internal linking efforts on your website.

12) Conduct Simple A/B Tests: The major beauty of A/B testing is that it often requires little effort and yields major results. For example, in the A/B testing example below, only the color of the button was changed, and the result was 21% more clicks on the red button.

When you stop and think how powerful those results are given the simplicity of the experiment, you’ll start to understand how powerful that test was. Without even needing to increase the traffic to this particular website, it was able to convert 21% more of its existing traffic into clicks. Pretty cool stuff. Simple A/B tests can be conducted to optimize no shortage of variables in your marketing tactics — headlines, images, color scheme, layout … the list goes on! (Bonus: For HubSpot customers, the CTA Module and Advanced Landing Pages make A/B testing a snap!)

13) Include Brief Surveys on Thank-You Pages: Looking for a great way to get feedback from existing traffic? Embed short polls or surveys to the thank-you pages visitors land on after completing a conversion form. Use it as an opportunity to generate feedback from some of your most engaged site visitors. (HubSpot users can use HubSpot forms to do this.)

14) Modify Your Lead-Capture Forms: Which do you have a deficiency of: raw, net new leads, or high quality leads? Some minor adjustments to your lead-capture forms can help you solve your problems. If you’re struggling to generate net new leads in general and your forms are rather lengthy, try asking for less information. If the opposite is true and you want to generate higher quality leads, try asking for more information. The golden rule of form length is this: ask only for the information you need to contact and appropriately qualify the lead.

15) Put Your Lead-Capture Forms Above the Fold: While we’re chatting about forms, are yours above the fold? Making sure your forms are immediately visible to landing page visitors is important, since you want to draw their attention to the form. Requiring them to scroll down first can increase friction and hurt your chances of conversion.

16) Segment Your Communication: Neglecting to segment your email sends can result in subpar results. According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced greater revenue. Furthermore, according to a study by MarketingSherpa, 4 out of 10 subscribers reported that they’ve marked emails as spam simply because they were irrelevant. So rather then hitting “send to all” on your next email and shooting the same message to your whole entire list, send it to a segment of your audience and spend a few extra minutes tailoring that communication to suit the interests and needs of that particular segment. Here are 5 savvy ways to segment your marketing emails, and here are even more ways to be more segmented and personal in your marketing communications.

17) Use Simple Dynamic Tags in Email Sends: Speaking of personalization, are you taking advantage of even the simplest of dynamic tags in your email sends like [firstname], [lastname] or [companyname]? Addressing your email recipients by their first name might sound insignificant, but even the simplest elements of personalization are better than none.

18) Add Tracking Tokens to Your URLs: Tracking URLs are a great tool to help you glean more insights from your marketing efforts, because they take reporting to a more granular level. For example, if you create a landing page but only want to know how well a certain channel contributed to that landing page’s success — say, an email send — adding a tracking token to the URL you’re using in your email send will enable you to identify how many of the landing page’s conversions can be attributed to that particular email send. (Bonus: For HubSpot customers, our software automatically does this for you!) Creating tracking URLs is very simple, and they can afford you with a wealth of data to inform your marketing strategy.

19) Add Social Sharing and Follow Buttons: Give your content better chances of spreading and make it easier for your community to share it by adding social media sharing links and buttons to everything you create — blog posts, email sends, landing pages, case studies … you name it! When you make it dead simple for people to share your content, you increase its reach tremendously. Furthermore, promote your business’ presence in social networks and convert site visitors into social followers by adding social media follow buttons to your blog, homepage, ‘about us’ page, press room, and wherever else you deem appropriate. You can also add social plugins like Facebook’s to give an element of social proof to the content you publish.

20) Update Your Facebook Page to the New Design: Don’t get caught scrambling to make your Facebook page presentable at the very last minute (on March 30th, you’ll have no choice). Preview the new design and select an eye-catching cover photo; clean up your views and apps thumbnails to highlight calls-to-action; hide, star, and pin content you want to feature (or not feature); and create a few milestones. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself for not waiting until the last minute, and you’ll have a leg up on your competitors who are still using the old page design. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Portrait of a LinkedIn User

March 13, 2012 Leave a comment

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The future of Education

March 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I saw this on 60 Minutes last night.  I watched two video’s today, one on the Yield Cure and one on Accrual accounting.  Each subject was taught with simplicity.  Check it out

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Mouse without borders

March 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I downloaded and I am using this system “Mouse without borders, multiple PC control”.  I currently have two computers with 3 monitors.  I am switching everything to my new computer and wanted to have the redundancy of my old second computer here.  It was annoying having two sets of key boards and mice.  So installed this new software and I am using one keyboard and one mouse with two computers and 3 total screens.

Check it out at



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