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Category archive for: Online Marketing Book Summaries

Summaries and reviews of some of the many online marketing books I have read recently – both “How to” and
” How to effectively…”

Book Summary: The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

 

How to use Blogs, see News Releases, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, & Online Media to Reach Buyers DirectlyNew Rules Marketing & PR

Dealing with how to leverage the “Word of Mouth Market” that has become so much more efficient over the last decade, this book is comprehensive in guiding you through key strategies and ideas that you can leverage to promote your business, cause, or idea, often without spending a lot of money.

Key to understanding the major difference, in the opinion of Scott, is to recognize that the old rules do not work on the web.  Marketing and PR are converging in the new, online world.

The New Rules is very readable and offers easy to follow advice, and many, many real world examples, particularly in sending out news releases, website design, blogging and podcasting.

Some key points and ideas:

  •  You don’t need flashy websites to grab people’s attention – when they arrive at your site, you already have their attention.  Focus on answering their questions and building a relationship.  The web is not a “one-way” interruption tool.
  •  Bloggers almost never use unsolicited press releases – they get dozens a day.  Best to comment on their blog and build a relationship first.  Learn what they are interested in and become a resource for them.
  •  Focus on making your web content on making the content interesting and engaging for your customers. Build your site on facts, not fluff.  Use landing pages that inform.  Use multiple calls to action.
  •  Bigger yields can come from cultivating many small relationships rather than focusing on one big score.  Deliver information directly to your audience.
  •  Building and target buyer personas is probably the most important thing you will do. Then target strategies for the personas.
  •  Become a thought leader in your industry.  Create content that discusses your customer’s problems that does not even mention your company or product, for example, white papers.
  •  Incorporate keywords into your Press Releases, online marketing, and website.
  •  If you want to create something that is viral, then expect to fail most, if not almost all of the time, but the successes will pay off in a big way.
  •  Designing your online media room to be easy to use and easily found is one of the best ways to get media traction.
  •  Other ideas that may help your businesses that are discussed here: Wiki’s, e-newsletters, webinars, podcasts, surveys & reports.

Book Summary: Call to Action – Bryan Eisenberg & Jeffery Eisenberg

How Innovative Marketers use Digital Information to turn Browsers into BuyersCall to Action

Call to Action – Bryan Eisenberg & Jeffery Eisenberg

 Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results

 This book is very dense on online marketing information – just about every page has a good idea, cites a useful study, or strong recommendation based upon experience.

The same conversion goal or singular conversion path for everyone is a foolproof recipe for mediocrity in web performance. Instead, use scenario design to help create, define, and measure more effective conversion paths.

If you want a persuasive web site, you must incorporate this at the design stage.  Your web site should be about your customer, not about the company.

The most important thing on your web site is the words, particularly the verbs.  Write personally.

  • Clearly communicate our value proposition.  What makes it valuable to consumers?
  • You have 8 seconds for someone to figure out what your web site is all about. Your call to action has to be very obvious.  Be aware customers will ‘skim’ and ‘Scan’.
  • Viewing starts at the centre of the page, them moves left and right.  Make sure your USP is clear and prominent.
  • Divide your customers into personas, and address those personas individually.  (There is a lot of information here about creating and targeting different personas.
  • Persuasion is impossible without appealing to a person’s emotions.
  • On the Internet, people follow a hub and spoke strategy – they only follow a trail that is strong.
  • Keep persuasive momentum going – you must go beyond basic usability. Drive urgency.  Motivate your visitors, and you have done half the job.
  • Web content means writing links – a link is a call to action that will drive momentum.
  • 70% of people prefer tangible, concrete concepts over abstractions.  Focus on benefits.
  • Balance opportunity with overload to prevent “analysis paralysis”.
  • Use metrics to test and improve your web site. Interactivity is always a conversion booster.
  • Inspire the customer’s confidence and trust in you. The right amount of quality information is a good way to do this.
  • Answer objections at your “Point of Action”. Answer unspoken questions.
  • Free shipping is the #1 online promotion. Highlight your Money Back Guarantee.
  • Embedded Links are much more important than the navigation scheme.
  • Forms where people do not have to scroll work a lot better.

The first thing your homepage or landing page has to do is convince the visitor they are in the right place – that you have what they seek.

& Many More (Great Book)

 

Book Summary: Ca$hing in with Content By David Meerman Scott

How Innovative Marketers use Digital Information to turn Browsers into BuyersCashing in with Content

Looking at a number of top web sites, viagra 60mg Scott makes the case that:

“Marketers working at companies with innovative web sites know that first and foremost, site visitors want access to information, not just fancy graphics and advertising hype”

This makes the organization behind the site a “Trusted Source”, not just a place looking for your money.

To do this effectively, web sites must move beyond just answering the questions they expect their visitors to have, and provide information above and beyond that.

“Branding is for Cattle”: Scott is not a fan of branding – at least as far as image and logos go: “…the provision of quality web content, together with useful layout and reliable customer support does more to build brand than pretty logos, cool design, and hip colour choices.”

The book breaks into 20 solid, in depth case studies showing where a variety of sites, from e-commerce to politics, have used quality content to “Cash In”

Nuggets

  •  Content should speak with one voice and create a distinct site personality.
  •  Content will bring in customers when they are researching a purchase
  •  Quality, interesting content, designed right, can create buzz and propel viral marketing
  •  Lots of good content drives search engine traffic from people researching your product.
  •  Use tools to build interactivity and leverage the knowledge you have.
  •  Make increasingly detailed content available, with RFP or buy now options at each step.
  •  Content can show you are a good corporate citizen and respond to criticism.
  •  Make downloadable information like white papers available.
  •  A web site can reach different people than direct mail or other media.
  •  Quality content can propel a charity or political candidate.
  •  Segment your traffic into different paths – your content should not be “one size fits all”.
  •  Link your content to the sales cycle

Book Summary: Web Copy That Sells – By Maria Veloso

The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every Time

First off, cheapest this book gets top marks for actually providing a simple, straightforward “Blueprint” for actually writing good copy.  One that you can apply with your next client.  This book also focuses more on copy that can get an immediate response, from a single exposure. web copythat sells

Writing for the web is different.  It is a different medium and those surfing the web are in a different mode than those reading a magazine or newspaper.  Further, while your “Buy Here” button may be close, your competitor is only one click away.

Nuggets

  •  The Headline in the first screen that people see is crucial. Follow with a strong subheading.  Be aware that people ‘skim’ on the web.  Ask questions.
  •  Selling on the web is text driven.  No need for big logos.
  •  Use bullets, bold & italics, and other highlights for emphasis.
  •  Evoke proven emotional drivers.  People buy with emotion and justify with logic.
  •  Identify your prospect’s problem, and why it can be solved now.
  •  Do not litter your website with ways for your reader to get distracted. Build involvement.
  •  Remember – people buy benefits, not features.
  •  Focus on Opt in offers and continue to sell on your “order form”.  Email Marketing copy can be more important than website copy.
  •  Include a powerful testimonial early on in the copy. Position testimonials strategically through the website.
  •  Do not make your site look like an ad or billboard.  Avoid Hype. People go online for information.
  •  Write in an editorial style. Let your copy slide into a sales pitch.  People buy from people they like and trust.  Take time to build a relationship.
  •  Capture Contact information as the first step.

Criticism – there is no mention of search engines, and the importance of getting the right keywords in the right place.  When getting keywords into a heading is important, it adds another layer of challenge to the copywriting process.

 

Book Summary: Winning Results With Google AdWords By Andrew Goodman

Pay per Click Marketing is an essential pillar of a solid search marketing strategy, ambulance and a very effective way to get any message out to a targeted audience.  While easy to do, remedy it is also easy to do poorly, or to do very effectively when done correctly. Winning-Results-with-Google-AdWords-Book

If you want to get through the basics of AdWords and become an advanced user, Goodman’s book is an excellent place to start.  The first couple of chapters go through the history of PPC marketing and Google, something more fully covered in John Battelle’s “The Search”.  The third chapter will be a little basic for anyone even somewhat experienced in search marketing.

Goodman then gets into the meat of setting up an operating effective AdWords accounts. The last chapters give good overviews on the essentials of web strategy, analytics, copywriting, and landing pages.

Once you set up your campaigns, they are yours to keep forever. You do not need to pay an agency to run them.  The feedback and data is yours, as part of the advertising cost.

  • To be most effective, AdWords should be as granular as possible.  Break your Adgroups down to groups that are as narrow and focused as possible.
  • Campaign organization is key, both for effectiveness, tracking data, and for ability to improve the campaign as time goes on.
  • Sometimes, the broader words are cheaper, and the more targeted “buy” words are more expensive.
  • It is important to know the keyword match types, and how effective they are for you.
  • Use Negative keywords.  Incorporate ‘timely’ data to your ads
  • Ready, Fire, Aim works better than Ready Aim, Fire.  Fine Tune your campaign with real data.
  • Bring the searcher to a web page that will fulfill their needs.
  • Use your customer’s keywords, not “insider’ keywords.
  • Often, the best ROI can be obtained targeting narrow, less competitive keywords.
  • Try variety in your ads to track you best message, or your best return.  Try directness over cleverness.  Include a call to action.
  • Think of ways in which Adwords can be used for lead generation.
  • The Content Network is a completely different beast from the search network.
  • Track your prospects with Analytics after they click, and add tracking code to your add URLs

 

Fact of Interest: A recent Study of “business decision makers” showed that most spend more than two hours a day online (excluding email) and that a significant reduction in television watching was the main price paid.

Book Summary: Permission Marketing – By Seth Godin

Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into CustomersPermission Marketing

 “Permission Marketing encourages consumers to participate in a long-term, order interactive marketing campaign in which they are rewarded in some eay for paying attention to increasingly relevant messages…. Permission Marketing is anticipated, visit web personal, relevant”

 In a world with expanding media options and unlimited competition for a bit of you attention, how can a marketer break through?  In the well argued opinion of Seth Godin, it is only through building a “Permission Asset” and building a relationship with your customers.  In fact, businesses should increasingly expect to reward their potential customers in some way for their attention.  The internet is the best direct marketing system ever conceived.  u

5 steps:

  1. Offer the prospect an incentive to volunteer
  2. Offer a curriculum, over time, to educate the prospect about your product or service
  3. Reinforce the incentive to guarantee that the prospect maintains the permission
  4. Offer additional incentives to get more permission from the consumer
  5. Over time, leverage the permission to change consumer behavior towards profits.

Useful Info & Ideas to Try

  •  Make every communication interesting, personal, and relevant.
  •  When prospecting, getting an email or other contact info, particularly for an incentive, is much easier than getting a sale from a stranger.  The less you ask, and the bigger the incentive, the more you will get.
  •  An important part of permission marketing is to get your current customers to buy more from you.  Frequency is key to getting your message through.
  •  The ultimate goal is “intravenous permission”: the permission to take money from you every month.  Ie: Book of the Month Club. Many users sign up for this because they do not like to make a choice.
  •  Just about everyone wants to win something, and everyone wants to save a buck.
  •  Points passed promotions can be effective. Allow people to think they are ‘’gaming’ the system.
  •  Permission Marketing starts as an interruption, but becomes a dialogue.
  •  The “one Shot” anonymous user to you website is a sure route to failure.
  •  Test and measure – play your messages against each other, particularly your initial ‘offer’
  •  Godin recommends against buying lists, and definitely against spaming prospective customers.
  •  Godin points to Amazon and Radiohead as brands that have successfully built permission assets.
  • Despite being written back in 1999, this book still has excellent advice and case studies.

Book Summary: Words That Work – By Dr. Frank Luntz

It’s not what you say, It’s what people hear.  Words that Work

“You can have the best message in the world, cheapest but the person on the receiving end will always understand it through the prism of his or her own emotions, cost preconceptions, prejudices, and pre-existing beliefs.”

With years of work as a pollster behind him, Frank Luntz is in a position to offer empirically tested advice on the basics of crafting a message.  Whether you are marketing a product, an idea, or a candidate, there is a lot of excellent advice in this very interesting and readable book.

This book focuses on key messaging advice and strategies that can re-shape an idea or campaign –for example, the re-naming of “off-shore drilling” to “energy exploration” or “Gambling “ to “Gaming”

Words that Work also contains case studies and great lists like: “Ten rules for Effective Communicating”, and “21 words and Phrases for the 21st Century”, or “21 Political Words & Phrases You Should Never Say Again”

For any follower of US politics, the inside anecdotes and stories behind communications strategies, from Goldwater to Kerry, are well worth the read on their own.

 Useful Info & Ideas to Try

  •  Use short words and short sentences.  Use visuals if you can.  Inspire. Be Positive.
  •  Credibility, consistency, authenticity, and your reputation are important
  •  Speak Aspirationally, and beyond that, tap into people’s idealized self image – the place they want to be or can see themselves, preferably something they can visualize, or feel.
  •  It is essential to know what drives or motivates your target market.  Try to see the world through the eyes of your audience.  Build relevance and make sure you have the correct context.
  •  The order you present things in can be crucial – you can pre-dispose people to supporting your message.
  •  Getting people to use their imagination is one of the most powerful things you can do.  Your audience does the work, and it is relevant.
  •  Some Good Words: Hassle-free, Lifestyle, Innovation, Results, Renew, revitalize, Efficient, Investment, Certified, Peace of Mind, Prosperity, A Balanced Approach.
  •  Offer 3 facts to prove any point or assertion you make.

Book Summary: Unleashing the Idea Virus – By Seth Godin

Stop marketing AT people! Turn your ideas into epidemics by helping your customers do the marketing for youIdea Virus

This is a follow up to “Permission Marketing” – in answer to the question “How do we get attention to ask for permission in the first place?” It is another take on what Richard Dawkins defined as Meme’s in his 1976 classic “The Selfish Gene”.

There is excellent information, sildenafil suggestions, and ideas on almost every page of this very readable 225 page book.

According to Seth Godin, The 21st century will be about ideas.  Whether you are marketing a concept, product, or an issue, your ability to create ideas that travel easily, and use the tools that are available to travel is key to success.

Leveraging others to promote your message will be a key strategy in a world where mainstream media is expensive, and when “word of mouth or word of mouse messages are taken more credibly.

Nuggets:

Underlying the idea virus world is often self-interest.  People will spread ideas if it puts them on the cutting edge, or profits them some way, including the benefit they get from helping someone else, or just makes them feel smart or show themselves as well informed.

You have to create an idea that one specific target market will get very excited an passionate about – “Target your Hive”. Trying to appeal to everyone will fail.

Idea-viruses have a life cycle: use it to extend the reach, or ignore it at your peril.

IMPORTANT: Idea-viruses abhor a vacuum: if your idea does not attach to something, someone else’s will, AND it will be twice as difficult to replace the ideavirus that has already occupied the place you want to be.

Viral ideas must be Smooth: they spread easily. A few words or a click of the mouse are ideal

Velocity: How fast an idea spreads.  If it is not fast enough, the idea will die.

Sneezers: Those special people who have an extra ability to really spread ideas: Bloggers, talk shoe hosts, people whose opinion is trusted.   Knowing and using sneezers is key to success.  There are powerful sneezers, promiscuous sneezers, and affiliates, who sneeze for money.

As pointed out in the “Tipping Point”, there are “Promiscuous Sneezers” – those who spread a lot of ideas quite readily.  These are important people to target.

True Viral Marketing means the product is the message: Hotmail or a Smart Car.

Fill your web site and marketing materials with tools that make it easy for people to spread your idea.

When it comes to digital content, and a lot of products or ideas, giving it away can help the ideavirus start to spread.

Get Permission to fully leverage your marketing message over time