Strategy Guide To Internet Marketing by chutirach


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									Strategy Guide
To Internet Marketing
Integrate strategy, optimization and communications to drive bottom line
business results more effectively with your internet marketing program

                 Copyright 2009

Table of Contents
The Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing Overview……………………………….……………………………   3
About the Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing……………………………………………………………………    4

Strategy Overview…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Measuring KPIs…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………       6
Strategic Scorecard………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………     7
Customer Buying Process………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8
Brand Alignment………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………       9
Internet Marketing Trends…………………………………………………………………………….…….………………… 10

Optimization Overview…………………………………………………………………………….…………………….………             11
Content Strategy…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………               12
Search Engine Marketing………………………………………………………………………………………………….……             13
Search Engine Optimization……………………………………………………………………………………………..……           15
Integrated Search Marketing………………………………………………………………………………………….………           17
Banner Ad Testing……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………               18
Banner Retargeting………………………………………………………………………………………….……………….……              20
Email Optimization………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………              21
Social Media Optimization………………………………………………………………………………………………………            23
Landing Page Optimization…………………………………………………………………………………………….………            25
Forms and Funnel Conversion…………………….……………………………………………………………….…………           27
Surveys and Heat Maps…………………………………………………….……………………………………….……………             28
Call Tracking…………………………………………………………………………….…………………………….………………               29

Communication Overview……………………………………………………………………………………….………………              30
Campaign Management……………………………………………………………………………………………………………                31
Marketing Report……………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………               32
Marketing Dashboard…………………………….…………………………………………………..…………………………              33
30 Second Elevator Speech……………………………………………………………………….……………………………            34

Wrap Up…………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………                   35


The Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing Overview
The Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing was written by me to be an actionable, 'how to'
guide to help fellow marketers and business people. Whether you’re a client-side, agency-
side, with a Fortune 500 Company or a startup I've tried to include ideas that you can apply to
improve your internet marketing program.

To a large extent internet marketing is a misnomer. Digital, electronic, 'e', web, etc. are all
used relatively interchangeably to describe this field in marketing. I had to pick one so
'internet marketing' it is.

The Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing is divided into the following interrelated 3 topics:

Strategy - The internet marketing landscape has a seemingly endless array of marketing
tactics to choose from. Defining a strategy for your marketing program is not as much about
saying "what" but applying a rationale to determine "why" one tactic is chosen over another.

Optimization - Every internet marketing tactic can be tested or optimized relatively easily (at
least compared to our traditional media counterparts). We'll review a number of internet
marketing tactics in the context of what can be done to optimize their performance.

Communication - Marketers are engaged in a ongoing battle for resources which includes
media dollars to adequate staff to execute. By better communicating the results of your
internet marketing program you'll gain visibility throughout your organization which can help
you get access to more resources.

You can read the Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing in its entirety online or click on one of
the links to download a FREE PDF copy.

If you enjoy what you've read be sure to share it!


About The Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing
I've been in the internet marketing field for nearly 15 years and have served in a variety of
capacities. I've launched start ups and have worked at Fortune 500 Corporations. Throughout
my career I've purposefully maintained a broad skill set and thought that breadth of
experience could be helpful to others. I wrote the Strategy Guide to Internet Marketing to be
an actionable, 'how to' guide and I hope you use some of the ideas that I present here.

If you'd like to get some more ideas, check out my blog,

You can also drop me a note via email at,


Greg Marta


Strategy Overview
Learn how to decide what tactics to use in your internet marketing program so that they work
together as an integrated plan. With more and more options on the digital landscape you
need to block out the noise and use prioritization methodologies that pair the right internet
marketing tactics with your business goals.

Measuring KPIs - Define KPIs (key performance indicators) that are the most relevant to your
business results.

Strategic Scorecard - Measure a variety of visitor engagement on your website to capture a
more holistic picture of the value your website creates.

Customer Buying Process - Customers progress through Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action
and Satisfaction when making buying decisions and need appropriate digital touch points at
each step.

Brand Alignment - Brands lend themselves differently to particular marketing tactics so use
ones that are appropriate for you.

Internet Marketing Trends - Proven tactics will drive more marketing results than continually
searching for the next big thing.


Measuring KPIs
Measuring the performance of your internet marketing campaign is essential to executing an
effective strategy. Defining the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be tracked is paramount
along with the rest of your campaign strategy. Identifying the right KPIs and analytic tools in
the strategy phase lays the foundation for the optimization phase of your internet marketing
program. Once you successfully capture the 'what', you'll have the necessary metrics to build
a scorecard which will help provide sufficient data to analyze for reporting in your
communications plan.

Start by identifying and prioritizing you business goals – sales, brand perception, satisfaction,
etc. Then define which metrics can contribute to the measurement of each:
  o Sales - Total orders, net sales, gross profit, repeat purchases, promotion/coupon
      redemption and purchase frequency are all metrics that can be used to develop KPIs to
      track the sales results for your marketing campaigns. Sales metrics can be captured in
      your analytics package but may also need to come from call center data or a backend
      data warehouse if this isn't already integrated into your analytics tool.
  o Brand Perception - Can be measured through engagement scores such as page views per
      visit, online reviews and time on site which can be reported out of the box from most
      analytics tools. Interactive tools or interaction with Flash elements may be tricky but
      invariably contribute to branding your site and worth the extra setup time. Surveys can
      be deployed to measure attitudes and preferences of site visitors resulting from your
      marketing campaigns. This can be a useful tool to find out how your brand perception
      compares to various segments of your website visitors.
  o Satisfaction - Surveys can be deployed to site visitors to capture quantifiable
      information about their qualitative experience with your website or campaign. Email is
      a great tool for measuring satisfaction by being targeted at customers or other opt-in
      site visitors. These are valuable segments to analyze since they already have an affinity
      for your brand.

Defining your true conversion rate for the sample KPIs defined above is key to benchmarking.
Your true conversion rate is the rate at which your target prospects convert, not total
visitors. This is more of a site wide marketing strategy but it will impact how you measure
and report KPIs on your campaigns. In order to determine true conversion rate, first identify
all of the 'noise', and then subtract those visits from your total visitor pool before dividing by
conversions. Visitor noise may include customer service requests or search engine spiders
that were never really prospects. Most analytics tools have segmentation capabilities which
you can define based on actions taken on your website such as visiting a customer service
page or logging in.

A gap analysis may be necessary to determine where your site needs improvement, as no
analytics platform can track all performance variables. Many supplemental tools such as heat
maps and surveys are relatively inexpensive and can usually be setup by adding a piece of
JavaScript to your website's footer. Tying together various databases can tell a more holistic
story and will involve help from IT. Involve any technical resources in the strategy discussions
of your marketing planning early so that they have the resources available to help with the
integration before you're in market. Use these resources to supplement your KPI reporting by
adding greater depth to your analysis.


Strategic Scorecard
In websites that have multiple engagement opportunities, a scorecard can be essential to
measuring the outcomes of your internet marketing strategy. Most sites are more complex
that a straight forward single product or single order scenario. Even direct response programs
like SEM driven to landing pages will often have quantity, total dollar amount, and type of
product dimensions that can be measured by your web analytics tool. As a result, the
measurement of your marketing campaigns could be difficult making your bottom line results
variable. A scorecard is different than a dashboard in that a scorecard feeds into a dashboard
as one or several data points, and a dashboard communicates many dimensions of your
campaign reports.

An internet marketing scorecard is a holistic measure of engagement on your website. A lead
may be worth $100, interaction with a tool $20, sign up for your newsletter $5, a page view
$1 and so on. When you add up the value of all of these interaction points across your
website you will get a much more accurate read on the value of a site visitor coming from a
specific marketing campaign. Web Analytics tools, like Google analytics, let you track
multiple goals across your site and assign a dollar value to each of them. The result is a
report that shows the dollar value per visitor or segment for your entire site broken down per
campaign with the ability to drill down even further.

The biggest challenge in defining your scorecard strategy is determining the dollar value for
website interactions that occur before ultimate conversion events. What is the return on
your investment? For example, how much is an email newsletter sign up worth to your
business? In some cases it's possible to dig deeper into existing data, in others it comes down
to an educated guess. Guesswork in analytics can be uncomfortable, but at some level
everything that your business measures is backed by a host of assumptions. Consistency in
assumptions and transparency about what they are when reporting your marketing campaign
results will go a long way. For example, if a lead is worth $100, an assumption may be that
1% of people that enroll for your e-letter become leads.

 Once these secondary conversion events start to get captured in your analytics tool and
reported through an internet marketing scorecard, you can adjust the dollar values as
feedback and additional data become available. The goal is to identify all of the events on
your website that have a strategic benefit to your business and make sure that your internet
marketing program is positioned to receive the appropriate amount of credit.


Customer Buying Process
In order to create an effective internet marketing strategy, it's important to understand your
customer's buying process and strategically pair the appropriate internet marketing technique
with each phase of the process. For example, branded keyword phrases in paid search are
typically effective late in the buying process once a prospective customer has conducted
research and started to develop brand preference. If you engage in an organic search
optimization program you could find that creating very broad content around your product or
service attracts customers earlier in the process while they're still evaluating alternatives.

The customer buying process that I recommend is called AIDAS, which stands for Awareness,
Interest, Desire, Action and Satisfaction. It's not necessary for your marketing campaign to
strategically address all areas simultaneously and it may take a considerable amount of time
to build a campaign that is effective in all areas. The strategy for your internet marketing
campaign will be dictated greatly by your business priorities which includes the competitive
environment and the maturity of your organization's internet marketing program. You will
need to understand the different phases of the buying process and use this to develop
effective tactics for each phase that builds an overarching internet marketing strategy.

Here are some examples of internet marketing strategies that match with different phases of
the buying process:
  o Awareness - banner ads including site sponsorship and run of network placements, broad
     paid search terms such as "insurance", broad informational search engine optimization
     (SEO) content about your industry, SEO press releases
  o Interest - targeted and co-reg email blasts, product type specific search phrases,
     thorough and informative search engine optimized website content
  o Desire - sequentially targeting banner ads, test product offers and promotions, blog
     updates, social media
  o Action - long tail and branded search phrases, retargeted banner ads, follow up email
     offers, offer/channel/product specific landing pages, affiliate marketing
  o Satisfaction - follow up remarketing and support with email, product information and
     search optimized self service website content

When developing your internet marketing strategy, prioritize and optimize in the context of
your customers’ buying process. Most businesses have many types of customers, by applying
unique personas to the AIDAS program, you can start to differentiate types of customers and
different types of behavior at different points in the buying process.

To a large extent your business model will dictate a great deal of how you apply the customer
buying process strategy to your internet marketing program. Many B2B clients with premium
purchases, complex and/or long sales cycles are well served to invest a greater proportion of
their internet marketing budget in the Interest and Desire phases. Impulse or time sensitive
consumer products may focus as much as 100% of their internet marketing budget on the
Action phase of the customer buying process. Analyze each phase of the AIDIS customer
buying process in the context of your business and build your internet marketing strategy
around this principle.


Brand Alignment
Brand alignment can easily be misguided when developing internet marketing strategies. In
many businesses the traditional advertising and marketing teams own the corporate brand.
Despite the proliferation of internet marketing, it's still a relatively small amount of media
spend compared to traditional channels. As such, there tends to be less than optimal brand
focus for the internet marketing efforts.

When evaluating different internet marketing strategies the first question to ask is, 'Does my
brand fit this channel? If you're a direct marketer, SEM (search engine marketing or paid
search) programs would probably be a good fit for your brand because of the immediate,
controllable and measurable results. If your business has a long complex sales cycle it may
make more sense to invest your marketing funds in developing rich organically optimized
search content. Banner ads have similar opportunities. Try retargeting banner ads for direct
response businesses and site sponsorship for branding purposes.

Social media is an entire channel in itself that may only have specific tactics that align well
with your brand. Destination such as Facebook and Twitter are great for consumer facing
brands with frequent purchases. For highly regulated industries like pharmaceutical or
finance, it may be difficult to effectively maintain a social media marketing campaign.
Mobile marketing can be most effective for businesses with widely distributed local
representatives, like franchises or field sales offices.

Various internet marketing channels may pose risk to your brand:
SEO (organic search) – Limited control over what the search engines will display or how
various keywords will rank. If content requires continuous editing, your risk accelerates.

SEM (paid search) - Broad match settings can help your SEM program to show up for a wide
variety of keyword phrases, however, you'll need to monitor the referring traffic and
manage your broad match settings with negative keywords, to eliminate the risk of negative
messaging, such as "xyz brand stinks".

Display Advertising - Ad networks are great internet marketing tools because they have driven
down advertising costs and can provide wide distribution instantly. Depending on your chosen
ad network, your visibility to ad placement may be limited.

Social Media - Social media mandates transparency and with that necessitates fast reactions.
If you place your brand on the internet, be prepared for feedback, positive and negative. If
you engage in a platform that gives customers a voice, be prepared to manage the feedback.


Internet Marketing Trends
Distinguishing between marketing trends, seasonality, and legitimate long range marketing
opportunities is essential in developing an effective internet marketing strategy. Emerging
marketing will always be newsworthy and take center stage in the headlines. Most internet
marketing professionals aspire to continuously be cutting edge and don't want to pass on
opportunities that promise brand growth. Identifying a good opportunity can be one of the
more difficult elements in defining an internet strategy because of the continuously evolving
nature of the internet's landscape. Over time, the different opportunities within internet
marketing have become more and more complex. In the last several years the proliferation
of social media and mobile devices has increased the number of marketing opportunities
exponentially. Due to everyday business constraints, whether it be resources, regulatory,
etc., it’s impossible to take advantage of all the options, making it all the more important
to make distinctions about which marketing channels will produce the greatest ROI.

Many internet marketing opportunities can be fast-tracked and dead-tracked in a mere couple
of months. For example, Second Life has come and gone twice, many believed that it was
essential to make large investments to own a piece of Second Life's digital real estate. There
may be something that emerges from Second Life's popularity and it may even come around in
popularity for a third time.
Fads, just like limited time offers (LTOs) can still be profitable marketing opportunities.
Internet users love to play with new toys and if your brand is positioned properly you can
garner some eyeballs and engagement for your business. You will need to develop a strategy
with clearly defined marketing objectives, costs, entry and exit strategies to capitalize on
these opportunities. Keep expectations realistic, define what stretch goals would look like
and be creative. Even if the program doesn't meet ROI targets, participation may create
excitement and generate newsworthy brand buzz.

In general, proven marketing channels include 3 primary pillars:
  o Search - SEO (organic search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing or
     pay per click)
  o Display - banner ads shown as part of a site sponsorship, across ad networks or part of a
     retargeting program
  o Email - remarketing to house lists and direct sends through email brokers and other third
     party lists

An internet marketing strategy can be initiated by analyzing these three pillars in the context
of your business and industry. Once specific tactics start to emerge, resource allocation will
follow (which should be flexible throughout based on the performance of your marketing
campaigns). If discretionary funds exist, it may be worthwhile to “test” some emerging
marketing trends.


Optimization Overview
Learn how to apply a test and learn approach to optimize the performance critical internet
marketing tactics. Continual improvement will keep your internet marketing program's
performance trending upward.

Content Strategy - Create an integrated view of all internet content opportunities that will
help them to work together.

Search Engine Marketing - SEM (search engine marketing) has many tactics to boost your
campaign's ROI.

Search Engine Optimization - SEO (organic search optimization) can engage prospects at
different points of the buying process and provide long term returns.

Integrated Search Marketing - A synergistic search marketing program leverages organic and
paid search together to help drive business results.

Banner Ad Testing - Display media has many opportunities for optimization with both creative
testing and media targeting.

Banner Retargeting - Leveraging banner ads to retarget recent site visitors can increase the
ROI of other internet marketing programs.

Email Optimization - Email is the oldest marketing tactic on the internet and optimization
shouldn't be taken for granted.

Social Media Optimization - Social media is a rapidly evolving channel with many risks and

Landing Page Optimization -Landing pages are the first impression that your brand makes
online and reducing the bounce rate can lead to more conversions down stream.

Forms and Funnel Conversion - Forms and funnels are the last steps of the conversion process
and performance improvements can create the most value.

Surveys and Heat Maps - Typical web analytics tools leave out some valuable user insights that
can be uncovered with the help of visitor surveys and heat maps.

Call Tracking - Tracking conversion beyond the website is important to capture the full value
of your internet marketing programs.


Content Strategy
Given the proliferation of content across the internet, including social media sites, content
strategies span beyond single-point business domains. . While you can directly control all
“official site” content about your business, it can still be externally influenced. A
comprehensive content strategy achieves 2 things on the internet. First, it's an opportunity to
present a compelling value proposition to your prospective customers which will impact sales.
Second, it's ambrosia, or food for the search engine spiders. The internet is expansive and
growing, so it's necessary to develop a content strategy that is focused and maximizes your

A sample of the major content opportunities for your internet marketing program and their
strengths and weakness:
  o Corporate websites - can be a challenge to optimize for maximum internet marketing
     results. This is because corporate sites serve many masters which can dilute the core
     business driving content and messaging.
  o Microsites are small, content focused websites which can compensate for some of the
     brand and SEO limitations of broad reaching corporate websites.
  o Blogs provide an opportunity for fresh, frequently updated website content. They
     encourage more of a dialogue than standard website pages which can be fairly static and
     a more personal voice that is generally not achieve through formal business
     communications like press releases.
  o Social Media properties such as Facebook and Twitter are brand building opportunities
     to create web presences with search optimized content and links back to your primary
     converting sites.
  o Discussion Groups are participation opportunities. If your brand has a leadership
     position, share your point of view. If your other sites have valuable, relevant content to
     the discussion add links where appropriate.
  o Industry Publications or Industry Focused Blogs are always looking for content and
     writers. If your business is well know or you've got some quality thought leaders. White
     papers, articles, interviews and guest writing are all valid ways to general relevant
     content on the internet for your business.

Content efforts must roll up to a larger content strategy that accomplishes the following:
 o Appropriateness for brand positioning
 o Optimization for search engines
 o Relevance for the audience

Review all of these content opportunities to build a comprehensive content strategy for your
business. Not every opportunity will be appropriate tactic for your business, so be diligent
when evaluating them. Once you've identified the best content opportunities, brainstorm
your business' value add and resource allocation required for each effort. This will help to
prioritize and build a timeline for the implementation of your content strategy.


Search Engine Marketing
SEM (search engine marketing) or PPC (pay per click) has been a juggernaut on the internet
marketing landscape for nearly a decade. First popularized by GoTo, paid search gained
significantly popularity on Yahoo! in the early 2000s and exploded with the growth of Google's
PPC platform. Search engine marketing's popularity hails from the fact that with easy to use
interface campaigns were simple to setup, provided substantial reach, attracted 'hand
raisers', had built-in ad text testing tools, and with a little bit of code implementation could
track conversions highly accurately. These factors have made SEM the backbone of internet

In order to effectively optimize an SEM program it's important to be extremely well organized
and this starts with setting up ad groups. Ad groups are sub-campaigns for your SEM program
and are clusters of similar keywords. The benefit to clustering keywords is that it's a lot
faster to gain statistical significance if you're optimizing toward 20 similar keywords rather
than at an individual keyword level. Ad groups can be anywhere from a couple of keywords to
greater than one hundred. Each campaign can have many ad groups and it would make sense
to have a separate campaign for each product or service. For a single product SEM campaign
you could have anywhere from a few to more than a dozen ad groups.

Once you've identified a rough outline of what ad groups you want to test in your SEM
campaign you'll need to start your keyword research. Google AdWords has a free keyword
tool that will show different combinations of search phrases, make additional suggestions and
show relative search volume & competitiveness for the keywords. Based on these findings
you’ll invariably go back and fine tune your ad groups.

Keywords will generally fall into three categories which will also help you to create your ad
group structure:
  o Broad - Broad keywords are general industry terms that likely will attract potential
     customer early in the buying process. As such you'll need to test broad terms carefully
     as they may not have a positive ROI right away based on your marketing allowable.
  o Long-tail – Long-tailed search phrases are generally 2-3+ word length combinations.
     They tend to occur at later stages in the buying process as potential customers already
     have product preferences. The deeper your keyword research the longer the phrases.
     It's not unusual for ad groups to have over a hundred long tail keywords. Although they
     may not receive many searches the aggregated volume can lead to a successful
  o Branded - Branded keyword search phrases contain your business or product brand
     name. Be sure to bid on these phrases to block out the competition but monitor their
     performance - you may already be getting enough branded traffic from the organic
     search listings.

Once your search engine marketing campaign has some results a best practice is to take the
top handful of keywords and manage them in their own separate campaign at an individual
keyword level. In SEM campaigns, the 80/20 rule doesn’t apply, it's closer to 99/1. Even
large campaigns can have 5-10 keywords that drive the majority of the results and need
virtually constant campaign management.


Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and bing have built in tools for testing ad text. It's easy to
create several ads and test your creative based on clicks. While this helps to drive volume it
may not be best for ROI. If you have enough volume in your search campaign be sure to track
which specific set of ad text is converting once people reach your site. Remember, you only
pay when people click on your ad -you don't want a lot of clicks, you want a lot of
conversions. The most clicked ad doesn’t always yield the best ROI for your marketing

There are several different campaign settings to test and optimize your SEM program. It's
important to test many different combinations and even create mirror campaigns to test the
same ad groups or keywords simultaneously.
  o Keyword Settings - These can normally be set for your SEM program at a campaign, ad
     group, or keyword level.
        Exact Match - will only show your ad for the verbatim phrase that you enter.
        Phrase Match - will show your ad to any search query that contains your keyword
           phrase in the same order
        Broad Match - will show your ad to any search query that contains your keywords in
           any combination
        Negative Match - will block your ad from showing up for specific search queries
  o Day Parting - Allows you to determine which hours of the day or days of the week you
     want your ads to show. Some products convert better at night, others may convert well
     on weekends. If your budget is limited, it may be beneficial to start your campaign in
     the mid afternoon so that you can extend the campaign through the evening hours.
  o Geo Targeting - Shows your search ads only in the countries, state or regions that are
     relevant to your business. Most search engines default to include Canada, which may or
     may not be relevant, so check your geo targeting settings before launching your SEM


Search Engine Optimization
While there are a number of SEO (search engine optimization) best practices, the focus here
is primarily on the content optimization of your website. Content optimization is the most
significant factor in receiving high rankings in the search engines for your targeted keywords.
Not only do the spiders like optimized content, but quality content will also encourage
external linking which is the second most important factor in achieving high rankings in the
SERPs (search engine results pages).

Here are the major factors for optimizing your website's content for the search engine spiders
 o URL - URLs can contain keyword phrases in several different areas. If there are clear
     content breaks on your site, such as specific lines of business, a sub-domain containing
     your search phrases would be appropriate. For different products or services, use
     keyword rich sub-directories. Individual pages should have optimized URLs that are
     similar to the page titles.
 o Page Titles - It is generally recommended that page titles be approximately 7-9 words in
     maximum length with the primary keyword phrase occurring early in the title.
 o Keyword Distribution and Frequency - Keyword distribution throughout your copy is can
     be fairly simple. Your primary keyword phrase should appear in the first and last
     sentences of the first and last paragraphs on the page. There is much debate about
     total page length, but 200-600 words is an appropriate range. Keyword frequency
     should be between 3% - 6% with shorter pages (200 words) closer to 6% of keyword
 o Anchor Text - Anchor text for keywords are helpful for the search engine spiders in
     determining site content, which can have an impactful result on your website's search
     ranking. It's important to identify the most focused pages on your site for a specific
     topic and then comb your site for opportunities to link to it.
 o Meta Keywords - Meta content has less and less impact on SERPs and most experts would
     agree that meta keywords have little to no impact at this point. That said, meta
     keywords are still a best practice in order to cover all of your SEO bases. Anywhere
     from 6 to 12 keyword phrases can be used that are derived from no more than 2base
     keywords. In other words, pick 2 keyword phrases and write 2 to 5 additional variations
     of each.
 o Meta Description - The meta description may not help achieve high search rankings in
     and of itself. It is used often times by the search engines to display on the SERPs. A
     good description can encourage click throughs and higher click through rates are often
     rewarded with higher ranking in the SERPs.

Although most sites are written and structured with organic search engine optimization in
mind, it's still important to perform periodic site audits for 2 crucial reasons. First, search
engines thrive on page updates, placing higher values on your page. Secondly, most
companies add new content over time such as news, press releases, and updated product
information. These items are generally churned out based on business needs. Maintaining
SEO best practices may be difficult to meet the needs of the business. As a result, some
content may not be optimized properly.

A number of changes by Google have started to impact search results beyond standard page
content. Universal search was released by Google, and now SERPs will contain local listings,
news results, videos and images. Google has plans to include product listings complete with


images in the SEM paid search results and social content in the organic listings. Overall this
means a lot more competition for attention on the search results pages. As such be sure to
optimize all content related to your business including optimization of press releases, alt tags
on your website's images, adding appropriate tags to YouTube videos and applying best
practice optimization to social content on Facebook and Twitter.


Integrated Search Marketing
The integration of SEO (organic search engine optimization) and SEM (paid search or search
engine marketing) is important to maximize the impact of each and the overall performance
of your internet marketing program. In many businesses and interactive agencies there can
be little coordination between these two disciplines. This results in a lost opportunity since
theoretically they both have the same keyword goals. The primary reason for this is that SEO
can be more art than science, since it's heavily content based and results can take may not
show up for weeks or months. SEM on the other hand is more of a direct response marketing
tactic because campaigns can be launched quickly and results are measured accurately and

SEM or pay per click search programs can provide 2 major values to your internet marketing
program when well coordinated:
  o SEM results can inform which keywords to focus your organic search optimization efforts
     on. Once you do your keyword research you'll know what keywords people are using to
     find your business's products and services. However, it won't tell you which keywords
     are most effective at driving conversions for your business. Search engine marketing
     can be used to validate your keyword focus and lay the ground work for your organic
     search engine optimization campaign.
  o SEO efforts have several challenges. SEO results can take weeks or month to take hold,
     the final impact of results will vary and be difficult to estimate, and it's often difficult
     to determine precisely which activities led to you website's improved search results.
     Your SEM program can provide coverage for your target search keywords by filling in
     unmet gaps in your SEO program.

When looking at the total ROI of your internet marketing search efforts SEO can help to
greatly boost ROI. When well executed, your website will rank well for many long tail phrases
that can be overlooked by SEM. The results for SEO can be volatile, but are generally lasting.
In SEM, your ranking lasts as long as your budget. With SEO your listings may rank well for
years, especially if you keep up with your organic search optimization efforts. Although there
are real costs in SEO, content optimization whether done internally or with an external search
optimization agency, is generally less expensive on a per click basis which optimizes the
overall ROI of your search engine results of your internet marketing program.


Banner Ad Testing
The most important factor in the optimization of a banner ad or display campaign, as part of
your internet marketing mix, is to test and optimize across several fronts. The performance
of banner ads will vary greatly from one design to the next, both in terms of the graphical
treatment of the banner but also the size and placement within the publisher website. The
ad network, ad exchange or direct banner placement will need constant monitoring. Finally,
brand value must also be measured but can be difficult to attribute.

When creating banner ads as part of your internet marketing campaign, don’t be too critical
of the storyboard development phase. Any good design concept should still be a solid test
candidate. Debating which design is going to be most effective is basically moot - your
campaign response will be the arbiter of your banner creative. The key is to design a
hypothesis that can create a learning from the test. Does a red background work better than
blue? Does the banner with a photo have better campaign results than the illustrated banner
ad? Subtle differences such as the image of a woman with straight hair versus curly hair
probably won't produce significant test results unless you have a very mature marketing

The placement of banner ad campaigns is also critical in your campaign performance. The
options for media buys have greatly proliferated for the last decade. As a result, prices have
gone down and targeting has become more precise. Depending on the size of your target
audience banners can be targeting on a category/vertical niche level and in many cases down
to the site level. It can also be helpful to try a run of network banner ad campaign with
separate tracking. Often times the costs will be lower but more importantly the performance
can be higher. Studies have demonstrated that showing your target audience banners out of
context can be more effective than in context where there is more related clutter. For
example, if you sell business services you may want to try the sports vertical market. You
may be targeting a similar audience and have a banner ad that visually pops against the other
sports ads.

Aside from the standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you may be tracking in your
analytics package, I suggest running on/off tests with your banner campaigns to help measure
the impact of brand value. Most analytic tools credit the most recent click with the sale, but
many times the banner ad can be the first click that one of your prospects takes in the buying
process. A possible solution is to test by running your banner campaigns in bursts for, –2
weeks on, 2 weeks off. Measure the difference in performance between your search and
direct traffic performance. Some banner campaigns may contribute a 50% lift in performance
of the search campaigns, which would be completely missed if you're only analyzing your
banner ad campaigns in the context of your primary KPIs. More importantly, without
understanding the true ROI of your banner ads, it will be difficult to fully optimize your
marketing campaign - some key banner ad channels may get turned off due to lack of
performance by itself, versus assessing the integrated campaign.

Deciding the sequence and combination of items to test with your banner ad campaign is
highly dependent on your business model and performance goals. Optimization requires a
sequential plan with appropriate hypotheses. Communicate the test and key learnings to
manage business expectations. Remember that banner ads and placements are not created
equal, just because one banner ad underperforms on one ad network or channel doesn't mean


it won't be effective in another. Don't be afraid to dust off old ideas when you need to
develop new testing and optimization strategies for your banner ad campaigns.


Banner Retargeting
Banner ad retargeting is a highly effective and complimentary internet marketing tactic to
the overall marketing strategy. The concept of retargeting is fairly simple. When your
website receives a visitor an ad network cookie is setup on their browser. While they are
visiting other websites in the ad network, banner ads relating to your site are served to them.
The ad network will recognize them based on the cookie that was set and will automatically
serve them the banner ad of your choice.
Banner ad retargeting is a complimentary optimization program, and not a primary internet
marketing tool, because brand awareness must pre-exist. Banner ad retargeting can be used
with organic SEO driven traffic but is highly effective when paired with a paid search (SEM)
program. In this case you have a pool of hand raisers that probably have already indicated a
specific product interest based on the pages they visited and are in between the Desire and
Action phases of the Customer Buying Process. Banner ad retargeting gives you another
marketing opportunity to reach someone in-market that hasn't purchased from you (yet) for
whatever reason.

Another reason why banner ad retargeting is highly effective is to re-engage visitors on non-
product related sites and reinforce your brand, which makes your ad stand out. If you sell
financial service products, you may do well on financial sites, but your banner ads may get
lost in the noise. What if you could place your financial services banner ad on a sports
website? There's a good chance that your banner ad would standout against the sports
backdrop and sports-related ads. Furthermore, you know you're marketing to someone who's
already exhibited initial interest.

A variety of banner ads become more effective with retargeting as well. Sequential banner
ads tell a little bit of a story, where each banner builds on the theme from the previously
shown banner. To tell your brand or product's full story may require more ads than usual.
The other creative advantage is that you can test or promote different offers on the fly. If
you have a weekday promotion or an inventory overage, you can direct the message quickly,
to a qualified audience with banner ad retargeting. This quick cycle time will allow you to
optimize your banner ad creative.

Retargeting does have a few limitations to consider. The first is audience size. In order for
retargeting to be successful, it has to be scalable. Since you can only retarget to people that
have visited your website or landing pages, you'll need a relatively high volume of traffic to
create a large enough pool of prospects to market to. Ad network reach also impacts the
effectiveness of your retargeting efforts because less reach keeps the retargeting pool
smaller. When planning your banner ad retargeting program it's also important to find out
how long the ad network will keep your cookie active for. Many ad networks cater to direct
response marketers and only have cookies with a short-term life, typically a 30-day
expiration. In most cases, this is sufficient. However, I've worked with many B2B clients who
have long sales cycles and would be willing to retarget their banner ads for months on end
with persistent cookies to build up greater brand awareness.


Email Optimization
Email marketing is perhaps the oldest tool in the internet marketing mix. Despite this, email
marketing can be forgotten and often misunderstood. The evolution of email marketing has
led to 2 primary marketing applications; house email marketing programs primarily used for
retention, and third-party email blasts for new acquisition.

House email marketing programs entail sending emails to your existing database. Ideas
include opt-in thought leadership content like e-newsletters, e-promotions and follow up
offers or e-announcements to a customer database. In order to optimize email marketing
programs, a relevant house list is essential. Numerous studies have proven that consistency is
essential to making it to the target’s in-box and getting read. Details in the subject line and
who the email is from should be as consistent as possible.

Third party email blasts can be sent as an exclusive offer, or as a sponsorship of someone
else's e-newsletter. In most cases, there is a per address charge or CPM. Some email
database vendors will work with you on a CPA (cost per acquisition) basis. It's important to
understand the credibility of any third party email list and verify that they are CAN SPAM
compliant. An email sent to the wrong database could cause many problems for your brand.

Whether you're sending to your house list database or a third-party email database, be sure to
customize your email send according the appropriate segments that are available in the
database. Over time your house list should contain a relatively rich data set and allow you to
optimize everything from frequency to offer on a segmented user, if not individual user basis.

General email campaign best practices include:
 o Keep the same From email address, always
 o Limit your creativity with subject lines, they need to be straightforward and consistent
    from email to email
           limit to 50 characters
           do not include the word "free", or other overly promissory words
           limit punctuation including exclamation points
 o All content in the email should be above the fold for offers, scrolling is permissible in
    email newsletter and other content rich emails
 o Always have a text back up email
 o Include a link to allow recipients to opt-out of future emails
 o The best days to send are on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Email testing and optimization ideas include:
 o Subject Lines - Once and effective subject is determined it's a good idea to stick with it
     for the long haul.
 o Content - HTML emails can be either A/B or multivariate tested similar to landing pages.
     Test candidates include images, headlines, offers, copy, calls to action, etc.
 o Send Times - Try sending your emails at different times between Tuesday and Thursday.
     Depending on your product and audience first thing in the morning, lunch time, or
     evening may be most effect for your email marketing campaigns.


Although email was prevalent prior to the world wide web, don't take it for granted as an
effective internet marketing tool. Be sure to include a progressive testing and optimization
program as part of your sustained email marketing program.


Social Media Optimization
Social media marketing programs can be amongst the most complex of all internet marketing
channels. The landscape of social media is highly dynamic; an effective strategy is often a
unique strategy. Due to the fact that social media is user- and community-based, its’ growth
is organic. It will always be a challenge to determine when to deliberately insert a corporate
brand into the conversation.

Prior to engaging social communities, it's important to understand who can best represent
your brand in the social media communities. If your brand has a mascot that is recognizable
and closely tied to your brand identity, then a social media campaign based on your mascot
can be an effective way to personify your brand. If you don't have a highly recognizable
mascot, it may be more appropriate to leverage social media to personify your brand or
products. Some businesses have a highly visible CEO, thought leader, or endorsement figure.
Their point of view can be brought to light more readily with social media. In other cases,
grass roots efforts and employee-based campaigns could be most effective. Ultimately, a
combination of all of these strategies could be very effective at promoting your brand, but it
would make the most sense to pick one, rally your business behind it and see it through.

Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are all effective social marketing platforms. For your initial
reach into social media, depending on your goals, it may be beneficial to start small, track
the results and feedback before committing to larger platforms on multiple sites. Unlike
more traditional internet marketing strategies, social media campaigns pose greater risk
because they have more delicate exit strategies. Like any business venture, success with
these tools is not guaranteed.

A corporate blog is normally the first social marketing tactic that internet marketers consider.
A corporate blog requires resources and should be a longer-term initiative. A corporate blog
can be a great way to create a dialogue and more personal voice for your brand than more
formal channels like press releases. Having a blog on your website that hasn't been updated
in several months can be a brand killer. Bloggers will interpret the lack of updates as "this
company doesn't care" or "my opinion doesn’t matter”, “they are not responsive”, etc…

Rather than using corporate blogging as strategy for your social marketing campaign, try other
blogs or publisher websites. If you have a point of view and industry insights, you may be
able to write a post or series. Most blogs and publisher sites are hungry for content, so the
right one should be receptive. Plus, the external links from these established websites will be
much more effective at driving visitors to your website and provide more SEO value.

Discussion groups and forums are effective means of reaching your audience in a social
context on the internet. Although these marketing opportunities have existed since the
commencement of the internet, don't under estimate their ability to finely target meaningful
influencers in your brand or products’ space. It's important to commit your participation
longer-term. An effective strategy to leverage forums and discussion groups would include
research on several, followed by participation in two to three. Rather than being active
daily, try setting aside 30 minutes at various times each week when you can participate

In order to have an effective social media optimization program, rigor on the analysis is key.


o   Check referring website data in your analytics package to determine which social media
    websites are creating the most value. The number of referrals is important but also
    evaluate based on engagement metrics like page views, time on site and your website's
    conversion events.
o   Google has several tools. Link: is a way to check for backlinks to your website. Alerts
    are easy to setup and will let you know when your get a mention in news, blogs or
    anywhere on the web.
o   Yahoo! Site Explorer has some tools that can also track backlinks and provide insights
    into who's linking to your site.


Landing Page Optimization
The goal of landing page optimization programs is to create a consolidated and focused
experience for your website visitors from your internet marketing campaigns. Fundamentally,
websites are too broadly focused in an effort to server a variety of visitor types. By focusing
the content and limiting navigation options, landing pages tend to produce much greater
results for internet marketing campaigns, especially for direct response campaigns.

A more straight forward user experience also makes testing a little easier on landing pages
than on websites. Key performance indicators are usually limited to 1 compared to multiple
success events that may need to be tracked through an analytics tool on your primary
website. In order to optimize the conversion rate on the landing page marketers have 2
fundamental testing options; 1) A/B testing and 2) multivariate tests.

A/B testing (also known as cell testing) is the oldest form of testing known to marketers. It’s
not as innovative as some new techniques, but it can still be the most effective tool for
optimizing landing page performance. A/B tests can contain more than 2 landing page
variations or recipes, but the more recipes you test, the larger the sample size. It's important
to start with a hypothesis and develop 2 (or more) significantly different experiences. This
will help to create a greater variance in your testing results which will gain statistical
significance sooner and create key learnings. For example, rather than testing an image of a
person with brown hair versus a person with light-brown hair, try testing a woman versus a
child. Once you learn which type of image works most effectively it's easier to test additional
permutations of your landing page.

Multivariate testing is a newer testing technique landing page optimization. Multivariate
testing monitors multiple elements on a landing page simultaneously. Most multivariate
testing platforms will dynamically create your landing pages once the required assets are
uploaded. Multivariate testing platforms are based on one of two distinct testing methods -
full factorial or partial factorial.

Full factorial multivariate testing is similar to creating a large A/B/X test; it's essentially lots
of variations. Many systems will use an algorithm to help determine the best combination and
the interaction of different page elements. The primary advantages of full factorial
multivariate landing page testing are greater accuracy in reporting results and understanding
how landing page elements interact. For example, an image with a blue sky in the
background may hurt the performance of a blue submit button because there isn't significant
contrast between them. Tested independently both elements may be superior, but in
combination, they hamper your landing page's conversion rate.

Partial factorial multivariate testing has many different algorithms, the most famous being
the Taguchi method. Partial factorial multivariate tests only show a limited number of
recipes or page combinations. It uses an algorithm to estimate the optimal winning
combination for your landing page. The advantage of partial factorial tests is that statistical
significance can be reached more quickly than full factorial multivariate testing platforms.
The primary disadvantage is lack of accuracy. Since the winning recipe may never have been
shown, it’s impossible to know for sure if it's really the winner. There is also no way to
accurately measure the interaction of page elements with partial factorial testing.


Landing page testing and optimization is essential for the performance of internet marketing
programs. In many cases the ROI may result in 100%+ gains with an effective testing program.
Early landing page tests routinely deliver performance gains >20% or more for a single test.
Over time, the percentage gains will start to level off, but the final product should be a
landing page that converts at a much higher rate than one lacking discipline.


Forms and Funnel Conversion
The optimization of forms and funnels on your website is the next step in the testing and
optimization process, after the landing pages have been optimized. Landing pages initially
have the greatest impact on your internet marketing campaign's performance because they
reduce bounce rate, among other things. In other words, your website could have the best of
the best (forms, funnels, product shots, special offers, etc.), but if visitors exit quickly, your
internet marketing budget is lost.

Forms are typically the final conversion event - at least of this session. Your website's visitors
may abandon or convert based on the slightest factors. Here are some A/B and multivariate
testing candidates to aide the optimization of your website's forms:
  o Navigation - By removing the navigation from your form page visitors may become less
      distracted and convert more efficiently. However, they may also require additional
      information or become disoriented without your website's standard navigation.
      Therefore, test!
  o Required Fields - Different labeling can effect your form conversion rate. Red generally
      stands out, but what if you have a website that is heavy in red? Are the labels big
      enough, could the font be italicized, etc.?
  o Number of Fields - Generally a reduction in the number of fields increases conversion
      rate. For lead gen websites this may not be worth the drop in quality. For payment
      forms a generally accepted principal is to have only essential information - not the time
      to ask for enewsletter opt-ins.
  o Submit Button - Size, color, shape, call to action, positioning on the page. Test away
      and never assume that it's obvious.
  o One Column or Two - Some websites perform best with one column of form fields even if
      it means scrolling. Others do better with two columns above the fold.

The optimization your website's conversion funnel is essentially like testing several forms. All
of the above holds true with 2 significant additions. First, use your web analytics package to
determine the drop off points that are the most impactful. This analysis will help to
prioritize your test candidates. Second, depending on how long your process is and the
maturity of your testing and optimization program you may need a testing platform that will
work across multiple steps in the process. Bare in mind that multi step funnel optimization
will require significant traffic for even basic A/B tests so keep the tests small and know your
sample size.

Form and funnel conversion rate optimization and testing can be very impactful on your
website's bottom line. Unlike landing page testing there may be technical requirements and
challenges to setting up tests on your website's forms and funnels due to website security.
Therefore it makes sense to reach out to IT early and often in order to support your
optimization implementation initiative. If you conduct landing page testing first, it may be
helpful to share the optimization results with the executive and IT team to help prioritize
items to get your form and funnel testing program launched.


Surveys and Heat Maps
Aside from standard analytics tools there are three key analytics tools that provide
meaningful user experience and optimization insights - heat maps, surveys, and videos of
user’s interactions with your website. The best part about these types of analytic tools is
that implementation is typically simple JavaScript in the page footer. Costs vary, but basic
packages for heat maps, surveys or user interaction videos start at roughly $10 per month.
Furthermore, agreements are generally month to month, offering limited commitment and

Surveys provide two key types of user insights. First, quantifiable preferences around their
experience on your website or dimensions of your brand attributes. These insights are
especially valuable when comparing major website updates like redesigns and branding
initiatives like new internet marketing campaigns. Second, they provide the opportunity to
get open ended feedback which often times can be more valuable than the quantifiable
metrics. Sometimes it just takes one person's open honest feedback to connect the dots on
why users take certain actions on your website. There are several things to be aware of with
  o Surveys are self select with an inherent sampling bias. The survey results can be
      limiting, but appreciate the fact that data with some skewing will likely take your
      website optimization farther than just winging it.
  o Surveys can become lengthy, quickly. Stay focused. An optimal survey length is 6-8
      questions, resulting in a high completion rate.
  o Statistical significance can be challenging to reach and is dependent on response rate,
      the length of the questions and overall completion time. Estimate upfront what is
      statistically significant and be ready to tweak your sampling once the survey is live.

Heat maps capture x,y coordinate clicks on your website, depending on the tool that you use
tied to success events. Heat maps can help to optimize your website by pointing out
problems and opportunities with:
  o Form field interaction is important to be aware of because they usually occur at critical
      points in your visitor's experience.
  o Images and graphics may not be clickable and can distract your website's visitors.
  o Interaction with page elements or tools can help to measure their effectiveness at
      engaging visitors.

Video taping a visitor's session on your website is similar to conducting a private focus group.
Some tools will allow for segmentation based on user behaviors like success events, time on
site and pages visited. Be careful not to over-emphasize observed results from small sample


Call Tracking
The emergence of VOIP (voice over IP) technology has arrived just in time for internet
marketers. "But I'm only responsible for online sales"? Wrong, as internet marketers we're
responsible for driving business growth. Whether it's through a website or a phone call,
internet marketing can drive the conversion event - especially now that call tracking allows us
to easily measure it.

Many companies offer VOIP-based call tracking. Essentially, VOIP is an internet-based calling
system, which eliminates traditional “long distance” calling at an economical rate. As such,
the cost to make toll-free calls is low, the cost to rent the toll-free number (and cover some
infrastructure and profit margin for the vendor). Because VOIP is web-based, tracking is
almost natural which provides rich analytics data and opportunities to optimize your

Once you setup a few toll-free numbers to your call center, the internet marketing
applications for call tracking are plentiful. Here are some ideas:
  o Landing Page Testing and Optimization - Integrating toll-free tracking numbers into
     multivariate or A/B landing page optimization tests will paint a much clearer picture of
     a specific recipe's conversion rate. It can also be helpful to try different sized phone
     numbers and on/off A/B landing page tests. Try to keep your landing page tests as
     simple as possible because integrating the call tracking data may require a little math
     depending on your testing platform.
  o Banner Ads - Try incorporating your phone number into banners to see if you can get
     calls prior to the click. Much like the landing page testing example above, use call
     tracking to evaluate the true effectiveness of your banner ad creative.
  o Ad Text - Reminder, in your paid search program, you pay for clicks, not calls. In other
     words, integrating toll-free tracking numbers into your Google paid search ads is free
     advertising. Any return on free media will boost ROI.
  o Email Creative - Tracking numbers can be integrated into your email creative in an
     almost identical fashion as the landing page testing above and most testing and
     optimization platforms integrate perfectly with HTML emails.
  o Affiliate Marketing - Providing a handful of exclusive tracking phone numbers to your
     affiliate marketing partners will give them a great resource to work with. Remember,
     affiliates can work for anyone so if you make it easy for them to work with you.
     Providing them with resources and ideas will help you to get the most out of your
     affiliate marketing partners.

With call tracking, you're probably best served to have many numbers than ones that are easy
to remember. Many vendors won't offer toll-free numbers that translate into a word, brand,
or action, ex: 1800-Contacts. Call tracking vendors will let you select from a pool of
numbers so you should still invest some time to find the ones that flow a little better (have
the same number repeated many times or a more familiar sequence).


Communication Overview
Learn how to communicate the results of your internet marketing program in an effective way
throughout your organization. The better you get at this the more funds you'll get for future
campaigns and the more resources you'll have to help execute.

Campaign Management - Maintaining a persistent log over time will help to provide
perspective and identify which marketing tactics drive business results.

Marketing Report - Routine marketing reports to team members and executives are key to
maintaining visibility.

Marketing Dashboard - Dashboards can be the highlight of reporting programs by leveraging
rich graphics to tell your marketing story.

30 Second Elevator Speech - Communicating what's most important in a timely manner will
keep your internet marketing program top of mind.


Campaign Management
Communications plans for internet marketing programs need to have the ability to be
backward looking. There are many levers that can be pulled in the process of campaign
optimization and while some of the changes have an immediate impact on campaign
performance, some can take weeks or months. SEO (search engine optimization) and banner
ad retargeting can have significant lag in being recognized due to campaign changes.
Creating a campaign log to help support the communications plan for your marketing
initiatives is essential.

Logging campaign changes is helpful in 3 ways:
  o Recurring Campaign Reports - Reporting trend lines are effective at highlighting
     campaign growth over time and the continual value add of the internet marketing team.
     Adding call outs for significant changes that proceed significant jumps in campaign
     performance help to build value in the internet marketing team by adding color to their
  o Executive Questions - It's not unusual for executives to look back at historic results and
     ask strategic questions. As such, they'll come back months down the line and want to
     know 'why'? Executives move quickly and will expect you to have the answer at hand
     and a campaign log will allow you to find the information quickly.
  o Institutional Learning - Campaign logs can capture valuable best practices for a
     particular business which creates 'institutional learning'. Institutional learning is what
     creates lasting competitive advantage in the marketing place. A proprietary way of
     doing things transcends any one campaign or marketing professional.

It's not essential to document every minor campaign change - for example updating a bid on a
single keyword. Keep the campaign log limited to the items that have a legitimate chance to
move the needle for your campaign results.
   o Campaign Launches - new promotions, new marketing channels
   o Creative Changes - new banners, removal of banners, changes to ad text
   o Site Updates - new content, SEO changes, multivariate or A/B tests
   o Media Changes - changes in banner placement, changes in ad groups
   o PR - search optimized press release launch dates, news article publication dates
   o Other Internet Marketing Changes - directory submissions

Since you're creating a campaign log, don't get frustrated if you don't use the information
routinely. Maintaining a marketing campaign log is a habit which may seem fruitless now, but
could prove to be critical for your communication plan.


Marketing Reports
Creating an executive summary or internet marketing update routinely will answer questions
before they are asked, as well as showcase analytical rigor. This is an important aspect of
the communications plan because it needs to be educational, rather than just informative.
It's easy to assume that others in the organization especially senior leadership understand
internet marketing. Mostly, general managers rely on subject matter experts for such

When putting together marketing reports, be concise and relevant. Extensive spreadsheets,
charts and graphs may be too overwhelming and better served as an appendix. It's easy to add
a lot of clutter to reports over time -ne time requests get included regularly by default, more
marketing channels open up, etc. Weekly communications need to be impactful and provide
four key items at a glance:
  o Data - the primary KPIs usually including metrics like total sales, increase over the
      previous week/quarter/year, spend, etc.
  o Highlights - identify the big movers (good or bad) or new opportunities and tests to
      further optimize your internet marketing campaign performance.
  o Context - what else was happening in the environment like campaign changes, new
      offline advertising, changes in the fulfillment process, competitive moves, etc.
  o Analysis - attempt to answer why there were changes in the marketing campaign
      performance since the last report.

If you already have a weekly marketing report in place and don't think it's worth the time to
rethink what you are communicating, try not sending it for a week. If no one notices, you
should consider redeveloping what you're communicating and/or moving your marketing
reports to a monthly schedule.


Marketing Dashboard
Dashboards can be an important part of an internet marketing communications plan. Often
times marketing dashboards can be created in your web analytics tool. Depending on the
complexity of your business, data may have to be pulled from other sources and merged in
excel or a database program. Dashboards aide marketing communications plans by providing
quick, at a glance, view of campaign performance. Snapshots over time, say a week, can be
incorporated into weekly executive reports.

When creating a marketing dashboard it's important not to make them look like real
dashboards. The analogy has evolved and data visualization of your marketing campaign
results can be most effectively communicate with some of the more standard reporting tools
such as pie charts, bar charts and line charts. Don't worry if these aren't quite as eye-
catching as something like a gage, we're trying to effectively communicate marketing
campaign results.

Dashboards are generally reserved for the items that need to be monitored closely. They
tend to be top level reports. For example, the day-today results of a specific keyword in an
SEM campaign would probably not be actionable, but the daily comparison of Google versus
Yahoo! could provide valuable insights into how your marketing campaigns are performing.

Data visualization can sometimes be challenging because there are so many options. 2
strategies can help get your marketing dashboard to the next level:
  o Pick up a few books on data visualization and creating charts and graphs. Most books
      are graphic intensive and can be scanned quickly to provide you with some ideas. Pay
      particular attention to learning which metric or dimension is best displayed by which
      graphic. For example, if you want to show the performance of Yahoo! Vs. Google over
      time, use a trend line. Try a pie chart if you need to communicate results over a
      shorter period of time.
  o Leverage some creative expertise. Your marketing dashboard's layout and color scheme,
      when done well, will create a professional presentation. Take your ideas to a graphic
      designer or someone in a creative area. They often have a sharp enough eye that they
      will be able to pull together the pieces of your dashboard in a matter of moments and
      deliver a result much better than you can do on your own.

When incorporated into periodic reporting, dashboards will need some analysis to be provided
in order to help make sense of the data. A common mistake that internet marketers can
make is to assume that because everything is simplified into a straight-forward graphic, that
people will understand what it means. Brief bullet points will go a long way in
communicating campaign results. Despite all of the automation that is available, don't
underestimate the value of the human touch.


30 Second Elevator Speech
A 30-second elevator speech is essential for the success of any internet marketing
communications plan. As an internet marketing professional, you're in competition for
resources from all over your company - especially the traditional media people. As a result,
it's important to not only justify, but promote, your internet marketing results throughout the
organization. The focus needs to be on bottom line business results with no fluff and limited
ratios (%). The 30 second speech will need to be fresh and change routinely - quite possibly

The premise is to arm yourself, your boss, and the rest of your internet marketing team with
a quick snapshot of the recent wins. The purpose of the 30-second elevator speech is to be
able to communicate with other departments and the executive team quickly. Many of them
don't routinely have time for a great deal of details. Unfortunately, most weekly status or
marketing reports go unread or are glanced at unless something specific is needed. At your
business there are many demands for the executives' attention and they want to be in the
know. Most importantly, they're responsible for setting the budget - so it's critical that your
internet marketing work stand out.

The communication must be prepared in a written format and formally sent out.
Additionally, it needs to be written in a manner that is easy to read and articulate in a spoken
format. There's no room for romance copy in a 30-second elevator speech, only facts. An
effective format has one summary sentence of recent activities and a maximum of 3 bullet
points in non-sentence format. Some detail oriented marketers may have difficulty with the
brevity, so it may take some practice. If you only had 30-seconds each week with your boss,
what do you want them to know? Remember, if you have more to say, include it in your
regular status report or as highlights when you deliver periodic analytics report.

There is competition within your business for various resources, including the marketing
budget. It's important to recognize that not everyone understands internet marketing.
Communicate concisely, and often, about bottom line business results. For example, 'this
week we reduced cost per leads by $10', 'the new website optimization program will generate
$150,000 in revenue each year', etc. The 30-second evaluator speech should be sent to all
of the stakeholders and will arm you and your internet marketing team with quick factoids to
standout within your business.


Wrap Up
The ultimate goal of your internet marketing program is to drive value for your business and
be accountable for the results. This requires a methodology for defining strategy, a desire to
continually optimize the results of your campaigns and tactics and the discipline to share
these results with others in your organization on a routine basis. Strategy, Optimization and
Communication work together in a comprehensive manner to ensure internet marketing
success for your business.

After completing this strategy guide (or at least skimming the sections that are most directly
beneficial to you) be sure to do 2 things. First, apply what's been said, even if it's just 1 or 2
new nuggets of new information. Second, be sure to share it with others by sending them a
copy of the PDF or a link to this website.


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