Posts Tagged Search Engines

Team Collaboration Gets Better


Screenshot of the MindMeister mind map editor

Screenshot of the MindMeister mind map editor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite tools for team collaboration and idea collection is MindMeister.  I use it for organizing my thoughts on large blog posts (see Marketing Warfare: The iPad Battle and Mind Map: The iPad Battle), helping my boys organize their thoughts for their school writing assignments, and many more instances.  Because it can update the mind map in real time with many users signed into the map simultaneously, I have found it to be valuable when working on conference calls while trying to keep the team focused and not hindering the collection of tangent ideas in the middle of a thought stream that is being debated.

MindMeister 4.7 has been announced with some improved features:

  • drag and drop attachments and images directly from their desktop to a selected node
  • Google API used to view attached files rather then requiring you to download them
  • a new social sidebar
  • Auto Condensing of maps
  • iCalendar task feed has been updated
  • Team Edition will now find custom branding options

Check out MindMeister, I think it will help you organize your thoughts and projects.

Good Hunting

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5 Reasons Why Online Marketing Rules


One of the blog authors I read frequently is Matt Hames at his blog “People like to share“.  Recently he threw out a blog post that seemed to challenge my chosen profession of Internet Marketing.  The post was “5 reason why online marketing sucks“.  Now besides the title catching my eyes, some of the content was equally abrasive.  Now let me say this, if you come from the print world, his thoughts might be exactly what your are thinking and seem normal.  For someone like me that has come up the ranks in the internet only path I found his items lacking.

So rather then attack Matt’s prejudiced and bias post towards those of us in the internet space I thought I would spend some time explaining why I love the online marketing realm and why I think it is the future of our industry called marketing.

Reason 1: Speed of Feedback = Reaction Speed

I love the fact that I can put out an internet ad on Google or Yahoo and within a day I can start making adjustments.  I can test titles, graphics, copy, landing pages.  I know based on impression rates how many eyes have seen the ad.  Once they land on my ad landing page I can track what they do and where they went on my site by telling a story and adding action items at different points of the story, thus giving me valuable information about what engages the visitor.  I know how many people have clicked on the ad.  I know what phrases they used to search the internet that introduced them to my ad and land on my page for that ad.  I love the speed of feedback.  I can make changes to my world while my print counterparts are still wondering how bad their campaign was with some 0.000000000000003 conversion rate.

Reason 2: Pay Per Click

Most of my clients are small and thus are trying to compete in the world of the big boys, mostly national or regional players.  Yes, 75% of my time is building guerrilla marketing campaigns for these small businesses using internet advertising that the larger competitors don’t see as relevant or worth much to them.  I have very little buying power when it comes to the print world for my clients to compete against the larger companies.  The pay-per-click (PPC) tools provided by Google, Yahoo, and the likes, provide a low cost to entry model that when coupled with geo-targeting allows for many local and small companies to gain market share in their realm of influence.

Reason 3: Measurements mean Change

I laugh at some of the dollars spent in the print world as well as the deadlines they must meet to get in a publication’s print run.  In the non-online marketing world you have to spend a lot of money up front to generate your campaigns for print, TV, radio, billboard, wrap-around vehicle ads, etc.  Because these contracts are written for multi-year commitments you can have a real campaign STINKER like McDonald’s “I’m Love’n it” last much longer then it ever should.  You would have to find a large number of bad web sites on the internet ether floating around to compare to just that one example of a complete embarrassment of a marketing campaign built around a bad tag line.

In the online marketing space, owners of web sites can change agencies quickly and adjust at speeds the non-online marketers fear with all their souls.  Is it any wonder you see the attacks on the on-line marketing world coming from those that would love to see the status quo remain the same?

Reason 4:  Multiple Tools in the Toolbox

I can agree with Matt that certain online tools are used for the wrong reasons.  I for one don’ t use email marketing for prospecting new leads.  I use email marketing for retention marketing and increasing the “share of wallet”.  I explain to my clients that all the different things you can do on the internet are but tools in the toolbox.  We listen to the desires of the client, build the measurement expectations, then implement the plan based on the best tools for the job.

I often explain that a client demanding a web site as the solution to all their problem is the same as demanding that your home builder only use a hammer to build your entire home.  No tape measures, no ladders, no saws, no plumb lines.  Just a hammer.  They quickly realize that they would never demand this limitation on their builder and often then come to the conclusion that they should allow me to quote the job based on the tools I think I’ll need to complete their request.

Reason 5: Competition for Customers drive Innovation

Matt brings up a great ‘one click away’ discussion but online marketers tend to look at it differently.  We understand that we only have a few seconds (most will say 3 seconds) to engage with a prospect or client or they are ‘one click away’ from going to a competitor site.  This often drives more ‘creative’ tactics to come to the marketplace at faster rates then some would like.  It does tend to cause us to look at impulse and emotions more then someone who has the time to tell a story. We assume our web site landing pages will continue the interaction and tell the story.  It does also allow for some poor choices to be made but go back to Reason 1 to understand why I don’t care.  If I’m not making the numbers I expect within the first 48 hours of a new text or banner ad, I’m already working on an A/B test to see what I can do differently.  The next 48 hours will be better then the first 48 hours, I guarantee.    Let’s see … how long does it take to change a billboard, magazine ad, TV commercial, etc?

In conclusion

With all the advancements on the internet, I’m surprised the print marketing world is even around.  As more and more people drop their magazine, newspaper, and newsletter subscriptions and reduce their TV consumption, they begin to use their electronic readers  and on-demand viewing devices.   I would think that the print and TV world would be worried about their business models ….. oh, wait, THEY ARE!

Good Hunting.

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Cuil — the world’s biggest search engine?


Fist of all, I wish this cuil.com crew nothing but the best. I’m a big fan of competition, and want to see advances in this field of search engines and search marketing. I think it will only happen when pressure is applied by these types of companies, so I support them as best I can. Now, that said ….

Biggest?

OK, bravado is nice. I like the attitude, but biggest?

I did some very basic searches, mostly my name to my company name along with some of the phrases I’m monitoring for my clients and the results were light compared to the legacy search engines. There is no comparison really at this time. Cuil is definitely collecting info from blogs, but even that was light. I’m sure it will continue to grow and I will check on it periodically.

Features

Some of the features they are supporting at this time:

  • Drill Down
  • Roll-Over Definitions
  • Tabs
  • Navigation Suggestions

Somewhere I saw a Firefox add on for Cuil, if I find that I’ll add it as well and see if that works as well. (Oddly, I did a search for it on Cuil and couldn’t find anything about it.)

Good Hunting.

(Strange, I’m getting a lot of hits on this page based on the misspelled name Culi also, but not sure why?)

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Search Engine Battlegrounds


The ROI Hunters recently reviewed the last three years of the Hunt. A major portion of our time is spent helping clients position themselves wisely on the search engines, either with ads or natural results. It is important to study the past so we learn from our mistakes, after all, hunting ROI requires us to improve ourselves, not just change with the times.

Search Engine Competition

Search engines are constantly (and with anonymous frequency) changing their algorithms so as to provide the best search results for the phrase identified. The obvious goal is to become the preferred search tool of choice for as many internet uses as possible. This constant tweaking of databases and infrastructure causes enough fluctuation that we have seen our client pages and ads rise and fall like an east coast tide.

Over the years, different search engines have taken the lead. Currently Google holds the highest ground and is defending its position with line extensions, something we think will cause them to weaken their position and loose ground on the search front. This will open doors for another competitor to come in and take the search engine title. Either way, we see change as inevitable.

Business Competition

We still produce great results for our clients, but I must admit, it was much easier three years ago. Our client competitors that utilized search engine strategies for their marketing plans have increased exponentially. Threat analysis vs. Key Word Search has increased over the years. We now plan quarterly meetings discussing our threat analysis rather then simply spending time looking for new phrases.

Fire, Aim, Fire

I remember, three years ago, selling our services under the banner of economy of scale. “We could do this more economically, not necessarily better, then you can do it on your own. In the end you will save a lot of money.” Minus the more exciting changes in our marketplace, this pitch often worked. It was very flawed.

Now we focus on how the ROI Hunters can improve the client’s top line, rather then, on how we influence the bottom line. Let’s face it, how many of us believe we can “shrink ourselves into greatness”.

We can usually show a new client results in one month with correctly placed ads. Search engines remain one of the best tools for conducting campaigns in 30-day intervals while still having opportunities to tweak inside the same period. Moreover, it is a lot of fun! Good Hunting.

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