What WhatsApp, Facebook Acquisition Taught Me

whatsapp facebook acquisition

This was news, really big news. It doesn’t affect me in any way but it does give the people behind the brands the spotlight which then imparts really good sense for people like me.

As a Ronin in the SEO/SEM industry it is likely that I base my tactics on intuition of the things I read, and the statistics I study. What does work? and what does not.

$16B is such a huge amount and a lot of people are trying to understand why a company like Facebook would go to this extreme in acquiring a mobile messaging app. As with others who are still in the mix of understanding the scenario, I chose to focus on what I can get from it.

Be Patient and Believe

We all are doing what we can in life and not everyday we get what we want. What’s important is that we do not stop and we can continue to move forward to reaching our goals until we get there. As a very good friend reminded me that “whenever things don’t go your way, always remember that a Rolce Royce takes 6 month to build while a Toyota just takes 13 hours”

As long as we don’t give up, there may always be that shining light at the end of our tunnels. WhatsApp co-found Brian Acton really proved that. Being shun down by 2 of the biggest players in the industry Facebook and Twitter 4 years ago, he cashes out with 16x the valuation of Facebook on their IPO.

Mobile is here, and is here to stay

This tells me that mobile app development is here to stay and I need to identify the things I would need to have in order to manage it. As a developer, it has been in my bucket list to program mobile apps for iOS.

Apps can change the way people think and this is what WhatsApp tells me.

Global Communication is starting to make noise

WhatsApp has 465 million subscribers around the world and continues to grow. When you plan something similar to the age of websites before the perspective was local to global, years after it went back to global to local.  For Apps, it has been making its mark in the local to global perspective whereby location and globalization is inevitable and should be considered in every business model an app is designed for.

last but not the least

Value yourself correctly

Who would imagine that there would be bigger purchases than instagram of $1B and when Facebook turned public also declared $1B valuation. These were the success stories we target. I only target businesses I set up to sell for $100M the most, but then again, WhatsApp broke that rule and tells me that anything is possible and that given the right qualifications, they valuated the engagement to 16x the record holders established themselves.

Inspiring yet a big challenge. Now back to the GRIND!

Search Engine Optimization Explained

A lot of people are saying that SEO is dead, or at least its a dying industry, and all I can say is that SEO – It’s EVOLVING!

Gone are the days of one dimensional search optimization, it the white hat world of search engine marketing, SEO is definitely just evolving to a more sensitive, strict and sensible approach.

But what is SEO and what does it exactly mean?

SEO Perfect Company

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

From the abbreviated meaning, it’s certainly just that.

  • Optimize my website for search engines
  • Make the search engines see me
  • Rank me well with these keywords

These are the most common things people want and say and need for their website, but in actuality, they are asking for more than just SEO.

SEO is something that you implement on a website for it to be search engine friendly.

  • Are the codes correct?
  • Am I using keywords in my Title tag and content of the page.

These are the basic things that you would want your website to have.

SEO is initially what the industry calls as Onsite Optimization. This is what people want of their website initially. But what is the purpose of getting your website optimized?

The answer is Search Rankings and why? It might be more than one reason but I can only think of a few right now

  • Branding
  • Traffic
  • Awareness
  • Conversion / Making the sale / Getting that email address

Now to alleviate you from getting confused, Optimization aims at search rankings and for your website to rank you need more than just the basic definition of SEO, but a whole search engine marketing plan.

So what is SEO, it’s onpage optimization and so much more.

The so much more part is what we call the other things we need to do in order for our website to rank and some of which are:

  • inbound marketing implementation
  • viral content development
  • link building
  • and now the ever popular Social Media Promotions.

Simple right, so that’s the only thing you need to remember to understand SEO. Then from there you need to study it deeper to understand the intricacies involved in the evolving SEO industry.

Creating an Effective Email Campaign for Retail

If you are running an online store, you should then realize that Emails aren’t dead. It is not growing as other media are but definitely still in the game in terms of getting visitors, and converting sales.

Free-Shipping

image courtesy of mint.com

This article is mainly focused in the retail perspective as I have been studying different newsletters from online shops focused on the cosmetic and skin care industry. And what I am about to write next is a series of conclusions and generalisation that came about.

FREE Shipping!

Ok that may have came out wrong but what I am really trying to say is that companies should highlight the reasons why customers should buy from you.

Free shipping is definitely something that is enticing enough specially if you are promoting in your locality, why buy somewhere else if you can buy on a local website that gives you free shipping.

Exclusivity

Make your recipients feel special, give them a reason why they should keep their emails in your database. May it be something that you promote now or in the future. Make your customers feel special and that they are the only ones who can receive this offer because they are part of your mailing list.

Personal touch

Also termed as segmentation in the sender’s perspective. You can tailor each email in as much as how you track certain individuals in your list. Segmenting a list can greatly give more turn overs, more conversions.

Imagine if you can market something that is relevant to their previous purchase, wouldn’t that be a good push.

After studying a series of retail email newsletters from known brands, I have came to a certain conclusion on what is current and what works in terms of content.

Straight Offer

Very common and most safe newsletter to send. Choose a product or a few products in your catalog that you want to feature or is putting your marketing effort on and send a newsletter of it with the call to action, Shop Now, or Buy Now, or Buy this item.

Buy this get this free promo

Another common way of pushing your products is by giving free stuff or samples that would add value to main product you are selling. I see this for products that usually has high prices or kind of luxury.

What they want to do is to reel you in for more giving more to what they are already offering. Buy this and get a trial size is the most common.

Usable Content

Tips, tricks of the trade, knowledge base, these are the things that might be relevant for your customers to know. As long as you feed your customers intellect and asks nothing in return is always a good rapport for an eCommerce shop.

Understand and win these little battles with your subscribers, the more they open, and read the higher the probably that when a really nice offer is sent that they would open that also.

They are very graphical, and comes around in 2-3 different design layouts

The retail industry targets customers that are not usually tech savvy, they are your everyday shoppers, bloggers which does appreciate a knack for beauty and the graphically attractive.

An observation I had was even though these retail shops sends more than 1 newsletter a month, they make it a point to present it uniquely even though they are doing the same thing e.g. making an offer, or presenting a sale.

Mobile Friendly

4/10 newsletters I have received from the brands I subscribed to are mobile friendly or in technical terms responsive. I recently watched the video from moz.com on how to increase your email conversion by 150% and they directed me to going mobile friendly and focusing on the most important contents of your newsletter.

Is mobile really here already and ready to make the numbers? I think the answer is a sounding YES. Mobile is here and it will just continue to grow.

People are becoming more and more busy, but with mobile – they are now EMPOWERED.

Let’s take advantage of that and get our messages across to them at any time.

In conclusion, well, some people teach and some people do. I am more of the Do kind, so let’s work with your brand and see how fitting your email marketing campaign is for your business. Let’s tailor it, create more content for it, and start converting.

Thanks for reading all the way through here!

Selling your Brand – Prospecting

Branding is important, and how you build yourself and your brand is something that you put your back into when you sell. And once you know that you have something really good, you sell it to your bones! Watch Jordan Belfort teaching us about prospecting which is something we would integrate in our game may it be hard selling or online as well.

Start building your brand, Prospect, then SCORE!

Guidelines to Jumpstart your Career in Blogging

Blogging is definitely something that we brand marketers should have a good understanding of. Creating usable content that would benefit your brand is a key ingredient in a continuous flow of good organic traffic.

I am done a few research and compiled those I think that made most sense and here they are below:

Typical Process in Creating a Blog

Choose a Topic – take a little extra time defining your topic and the post will flow better and you’ll develop something that matters to readers.

Draft your Post’s Title – perhaps the most crucial part of actually getting readers to start reading your post when they see it in an RSS reader or search engine results page.

The Opening Line – first impressions matter. Once you’ve got someone past your post’s title your opening line draws them deeper into your post.

Your ‘point/s’ (making your posts matter) – a post needs to have a point. If it’s just an intriguing title and opening you’ll get people to read – but if the post doesn’t ‘matter’ to them it’ll never get traction.

Call to Action – driving readers to do something cements a post in their mind and helps them to apply it and helps you to make a deeper connection with them.

A Good Blog Structure

Many people who are new to blogging will search for the “holy grail” formula to writing successful posts. While there’s no secret formula, there is a very simple structure that works well.

The most effective blog structure is rooted in keeping things simple, since increased granularity can stifle creativity and production. You want as many employees interested in contributing content as possible.

Your expert employees who love to educate will now have the opportunity to show off their thought leadership and build web authorship over time. This expert content will help build your brand community and attract more leads online.

Our guide takes a deep dive into the four basic building blocks of blog post structure. Here are few high-level excerpts:

  • Introduction: The post’s introduction is the sales pitch for reading the post in its entirety. It also sets the tone and expectations for the reader.
  • Body: This is the put-up or shut-up stage of a blog post. If it doesn’t deliver on the promises made in the introduction, you can forget about someone getting to the conclusion.
  • Conclusion: Just like public speaking, blog posts should provide a brief recap of the argument, value proposition or takeaways.
  • Call to Action: If someone takes the time to read your content from start to finish, you’re obligated to tell him or her what to do next.

Blog Post Length

There is a fairly strong opinion among those considered experts in Search Engine Optimization that both extremely short and extremely long web pages are not ranked as highly as pages that are of a reasonable length. Of course no one really knows how many words are ideal – but the general opinion seems to be that a page of at least 250 words are probably a reasonable length. Similarly, many advise keeping pages under 1000 words.

Tips in Creating your Blog

Position yourself as an expert.

When people are looking for a product or service, oftentimes they will first look for information about the subject on the Internet. In general, blogging is about having conversations in a public space that position you as a subject matter expert. “The type of discussions you ideally should have ought to be answering questions that people out there on the Internet are searching for,” says Adria Richards , Organic Technology Consultant and blogger. “For me, social blogging is a way to have conversations with potential customers and to draw traffic to your site.” For instance, you can answer questions from consumers via Twitter, which is a popular thing to do.

Share experiences and information.

Blogging is often used to share experiences in addition to business ideas and concepts. Always seek unique opportunities to share your ideas and offerings with not only your readers, but their associates as well, which will eventually bring in more prospects. Announce upcoming events, awards, and other news. But do it in a conversational tone. Hopefully, your target audience will retweet or share your story. Don’t overlook Tumblr, which is popular in the microblogging realm.

Keep it fresh and mix it up.

Frequent one note updates can be a major turn off for say Facebook fans, while Twitter followers are more accustomed to frequent posts. Try to mix it up. Spark up conversation with the help of images and videos. Marketing experts suggest businesses update their audiences on a regular basis but only if there’s something new, informative and interesting to say. Even if you need to repeat an update to promote a current offer or a call to action for a project, put a new twist on it each time.

Encourage interaction and feedback.

Your company can benefit from valuable feedback through comments and suggestions. Do a call for action in your posts. You can also gain insight about your audience using Q&A. Make it easy for your readers to share posts. Encourage them to share tips and personal experiences with using your products or services.

Usable Content is King

The only way to gain a loyal readership is by consistently providing high quality content.  Focus 90% of your effort on content and 10% on everything else. As marketing guru Seth Godin once said: “Comment less, contribute more, retweet none. We need you to be generous, not Dan Rather.”

Brand Your Blog

If people hear about your blog and want to read more, you want them to be able to find it.

Be Objective and Never a Shill

The reason why most corporate blog never get popular is that they’re forever hyping the products that the corporation has to sell. However, readers can smell self-serving hype a mile away and will only read your blog if it shows some independence.

Have a Real Opinion

Your readers want you to be authentic and genuine even if that sometimes means being controversial. Nobody wants to read puff pieces from a corporate weasel who’s terrified to offend somebody.

Value Loyalty More Than SEO

Obviously, generating traffic is essential to a healthy blog, but it’s an expensive effort with temporary results–unless you’re converting that traffic into loyal readership. Consider: 10,000 loyal readers generate 2.6 million page views each year–the equivalent of a viral video on YouTube.

Content Governance

While organizations need to create quality content on a regular basis, they also need standards and guidelines. Content governance is the management of the content guidelines related to style and delivery. This is a balancing act between risk and reward. An example governance policy, complete with editorial and style guidelines, is also provided in the guide.

Goals of Content Governance:

  • Foster consistency, as opposed to uniformity
  • Create principles, as opposed to rules
  • Enhance the brand
  • Minimize exposure to risk

Be relevant.

Whatever your topic, it helps if you can find a way to weave in some newsy or topical stuff that people are talking about and can relate to. A side benefit is that it will help with your Google ranking if you use the right keywords in your headline and first paragraph and link to one or two other quality sites.

Happy blogging!

2013 Year in Review for Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing 2013

As I look back in the past year on how I have observed and implemented digital marketing. There are just a few points that really stand out that I think are worth mentioning.

Branding is Key

This is the first and foremost important trend that I have seen and implemented which has really made huge returns in both rankings and website effectiveness in the last year.

People are more and more inclined to brands which is most common in our non-digital industry. As digital progresses, branding is definitely something to look out for.

On how you would brand yourselves, that’s the question of the ages and for sure in this line of industry we can definitely build on something that would benefit your business long term. Branding is multifaceted and perhaps all the next topics are correlated with branding as a means of building digital mark.

Useable Content

Content as we term it as King in the past years still is. But right now, it is more on creating useable content that your readers will benefit from. Create something that someone will read and be thankful, throw in some keywords and then distribute to your niche channel and see the results!

What you do and how you do it is something that you need your thinking caps on. But with the latest Google Updates Hummingbird and so on, more and more of the SERPs are relating to what the users are trying to search for than with keywords that they are typing.

Useable Content is the new King!

Social Relevance

Social has moved mountains this 2013 and I foresee a continuous growth in the power of social for businesses may it be B2C or B2B.

Branding is all about sending the right message out there, being talked about the right way and social is one of the keys to a successful branding campaign. I do see the growth of Facebook PPC, and paid posts in the coming year.

Social networks have continued to grow and it’s segmentation just signifies how people are adjusting and coping with what’s available to a point on which one would suit them better. We have seen Vine, Instagram, Twitter, and even sites like Etsy put a mark in the social realm.

The Boom of APPS!

Well mobile apps has been in the industry in the last 3 years or so but 2013 shows a good trend that APPS are here and they are here to stay.

Apps go from your social game to industry specification mobile applications that can be useful. All websites are trending to have their own app in its own way. More so, websites have evolved to become responsive in design so to appeal to the mobile market.

Mobile will continue to grow and Apps should always be in the equation in setting up an effective branding campaign.

Web UI/UX and Engagement

The evolution of the web simply gives more emphasis on how important a website is to its customer. More and more people are starting to use the net and more and more websites are popping up.

Does your website give off the right vibe, and convert as you intend it to be? This is a known fact that big brands have been working on from years on then but 2013 just gives more boost on how important a visitor and how can you ensure its conversion.

That sums up my look back for 2013, I simply see each avenue continue to grow and increase its relevance in every market out there. Online Branding is definitely something to look into more deeper and how we can use what is available and what is more accepted in order to give our brand that right boost in the digital realm. Looking forward to huge leaps in digital marketing this 2014!

Getting Rid of WordPress SPAM Comments

One of the most common things that well crawled WordPress sites have are tons and tons of SPAM comments to a point that you won’t be able to identify which ones are legitimate and which ones aren’t or it’s too troublesome to identify the legit ones over the hundreds of spams.

I know there have been a lot of articles already written about it but here’s my take on it.

Ask yourself if you can manage the comments?

Comments are for engagement, discussions, and relative opinions, how much time do you have to handle the comments. If you can moderate your comments daily then you’ll be fine.

Otherwise you might probably consider known methods in fighting wordpress spam.

Akismet

Akismet

Definitely something that is available since the beginning of time. And by default comes with every WordPress installation. The only cons with Akismet is that it’s a paid plugin. But otherwise if you have the money to spend which isn’t really much, having Akismet is a good first line of defense.

recaptcha

reCaptcha

The next best thing would be to use reCaptcha in your comments area.

facebook

Facebook Comments

The main idea of commenting is to generate a discussion but spam bots are trying to ruin that by dropping links, adverts and what not. The popularity of Facebook came to since most of the people that you would engage in is tied in with a name, a real person that you communicate with. This is what the trend of blog comments are becoming since it is easier to manage and have a lot less spam (it’s an effort to do so and it’s easy to eradicate)

Though not all markets have Facebook but this is applicable to most.

Last but not the least…

Wordpress

Use WordPress native Settings

This came from a series of research and discussion until it finally made sense. As we want people to feel free to leave us a message and engage on a discussion with our posts, the internet is evolving to be a really social environment and if you really want to leave a legitimate comment on a post that you feel your opinion should be heard, then you would want yourself to be known.

Turn on the settings that Only Registered Users can comment on your WordPress settings.

WordPress is a very powerful CMS in the industry today and most of us do love how easy it is to manage and design it. For marketers alike, I prefer to use WordPress over any other CMS out in the market.

Happy new year everyone!

How Digital and Social Can Influence the Success of your New Business

To start off with the article, let’s define some key information that we will refer to in the whole document.

Local business – literally any physical store, shop, or any form of business that has a physical presence.

Digital and Social Factors

  • Website
  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter
  • Other relevant social media

As an aspiring entrepreneur living within in the search marketing industry I have made it a point to be very observant on how the industry is flowing and how things work in order to perspective on what is happening and be able to make smart choices in the future when needed.

Recently I have witnessed the rise and fall of 2 businesses in which each has its similarities, and based on their differences you can compare how each one did in the industry.

Commonalities

  • Both business are in the fitness industry
  • Was owned and maintained by a very credible individual in their respective industries on fitness
  • Both established a location in the metro (rents are much higher as with people traffic)

Differences

  • One has a website, the other didn’t
  • One pursued social (Facebook), the other as well but in smaller engagements

Ofcourse each business has it’s own unique target markets even though both are in the fitness industry and each of their chosen field have a wide range of potential customers.

In the span of 12-18 months both businesses did their thing and promoted as how they would, focusing on their talents and positives. Each business did have their initial clientele and each of which did what they do best.

As you would note in their commonalities and differences, one business placed time in doing digital marketing and giving themselves an online marketing brand that people would be gearing towards to.

They started by setting up a clean looking website with information about the business, published relevant articles in their blog, and also placed contact forms for entertaining people inquiries.

Another key factor that they put focus into was making sure people engaged in their social presence. In other words they placed more focus on their Facebook publishing relevant and interesting posts regularly and keeping their followers engaged.

After about 18 months, I heard that the business who just did what a traditional business would do is now offering to sell their business or close down completely. I know that this is negative news on their part but this also signifies the relevance of new factors that people usually don’t mind when starting a business.

I simply must conclude that on both occasions one thing was of constant effect, the business that had more online presence had more engagement, more inquiries, and more customers over time.

Social is one way of sending a message to your customers, your prospective customers and the friends of your prospective customers. We need not underestimate how it values at this point of age as its something that can now influence the success of your newly opened local business.

It is best that you start it now than never, you will never understand how it will make a difference in the next 3-5 years.

When you have constant updates, people know that you care for the business and its customers, people feel important and it empowers your growing community. Social may not just be the way, but it is definitely something not to consider in starting your business.

Milestone Alert! – Rank 1-2 Google.com.au

Part of the things that we will be publishing would be milestone alerts or in other words verification!

In the industry of internet marketing, it’s very easy to say that this method works and these are the things that you need to do and these are not. I have been working a brand for a while now and one of the keywords that it has been targeting was Skincare Products for the Australia local search engine (Google.com.au)

In the beginning it was a hell of a lot of keywords which still are by the way, but the most general and highly competed one was for the keyword Skincare Products. We simply wanted to associate the brand as your go-to for skincare products as it is all organic and is very effective.

Today as we did our usual rank check we found that we have made a great achievement. Google.com.au – Rank #1 on our Moz Rank Checker and number 2 on the live results though I think it’s because of the current location I am in which is not in Australia.

Pevonia Organic Skincare Products

 

It’s all in the spirit of hard work, real assessment and legitimate search engine marketing practices! Salute!

Google vs The Organic – Not Provided

Another topic worth talking about and getting the word out is this Not Provided referral source that Google will be slapping our faces in their Google Analytics.

Rand Fishkin of Moz.com has a good video on how us marketers can workaround the situation and just keep moving forward. Check out his link below:

http://moz.com/blog/100-percent-keyword-not-provided-whiteboard-tuesday

not-provided

 

Even Rand Fishkin agrees that this is a power move, Google doing what it wants to do, whatever how it may look on them. Less organic means more PPC and why not right? Now is the best time for Google to start capitalizing further their advantage in the market. In this young industry I have experience my fare share of ups and downs when creating proposals for businesses to pursue with their marketing online. And with the time most businesses are skeptic in spending for their online presence. But the times nowadays are changing, people and businesses alike are starting to see the potential of the online community (cyberspace) and they want to take that advantage right away.

And for people who wants results right away are beginning to spend for what they want. And these are rankings, spending a lot with Google, getting that top exposure. Being an SEO this is part of the business we propose but also would offer a more long term solution that would eventually build a company’s brand better, that is Organic Search Marketing.

I would really suggest that you watch Rand’s take on the matter to get a grasp of what you or your business can do to cope up.

In terms of organic search marketing, I would recommend to focus on content usability that would relate to your product or brand and you will always be in the right track. Keywords will always be keywords but results nowadays are more correlated than ever before hence creating that correlated usable content that people will share and discuss and thank you for will get you to the track where you want to be.