OMS Long Beach ’10 Overview

Yesterday, half of the Emarketed team got up bright and early for OMS Long Beach. It was a day filled of learning and we attended 8 back-to-back seminars in all! There was a different mix of attendees: traditional marketers, internet marketers, specialists and others just looking for some more information about the latest in online marketing.

So many speakers, but who was the most memorable? Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak , was definitely the most entertaining. He was even available to sign some copies of his new book. Then, there were the many facts that the presenters threw at us. I was surprised by this one from Chris Anthony of Exact Target: regular coupons have a redemption rate of 1% while mobile coupons hover around 5-10%!

Now, on to the different topics. I focused on attending the SEO seminars, so here are some new takeaways that I got from the speakers:

Link Building and SEO Takeaways

Don’t worry, these aren’t lame tips like “write creative content” or “add entertaining pictures”. I hope you learn something new from these takeaways!

  • Catfish of Business Online offered a unique idea: Offer free WordPress themes or embeddable widgets for users with a link back to your site.
  • Use a bulk 404 checker for pages and links you might have lost after undergoing a website redesign.
  • Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures stresses the importance of getting as many different links from many different websites as you possibly can. Some easy ones: 123people, flavors.me, LinkedIn, BusinessWeek and even asking friends and family.
  • You can re-purpose old content to make it new again. If you write a lot about a certain topic, you can target different people and write it for their perspective. Example: If you write about social media, tailor it if you write for social media for non profits.

Overall, it was a very educational field trip but we forgot to take a group picture, once again! Next time for sure…
If you’re looking to attend a local social media event of your own this summer, make sure to check out Mashable’s list of upcoming events.

Sharing the Father’s Day Love

Father’s Day is just around the corner and it’s no surprise to see more dad related ads.

I just saw a Wendy’s commercial for Father’s Day and Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. It not only promoted their Frosty but also the founder’s organization, which seeks to help foster children find a caring home. This is no doubt a great cause and this short ad highlights the viral effect that Wendy’s hopes to accomplish. It even encourages users to pass the message along via Facebook, Twitter and Facebook to raise more funds.

Do you have any other good ads that you’d like to share? If not, we hope that you have a great Father’s Day weekend anyways!

Guest Post: How to Create Relationships on Facebook

We all know how popular Facebook is in today’s Internet era, but if you own your business, did you know that you can create some great relationships on there? Whether you want to find more customers, or maybe you want to connect with other owners in your industry, there are a lot of things that you can do in order to find the people that share the same interests as you.

Use the friend suggestions: On the left hand side of your screen, you have probably seen the “people you may know” tool. You will want to take advantage of this. Even if you don’t really know that person, check out their profile, and send them a message. What’s the worst thing that they are going to say?

Join the groups: Yes, Facebook has groups. What you can do is find groups that you’re interested in. Let’s say that you want to find people that are into pets. Find groups that relate to pets. The key here is to make sure that you’re active.

Create a fan page: If you have a business, make sure you start up a fan page. It’s free and it’s a great way to communicate with your customers. Put your fan page on your business cards, your website, and if you have some cash, advertise it on Facebook.

Use other websites: Other social sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter are another great way to meet people. On these sites, you can input your Facebook URL as well. This is a great way to connect outside of the social platform. LinkedIn is designed more for professionals, while Twitter is for those looking to connect with just about anybody.

Facebook is a little bit like real life. If you’re going to hide in the corner and not talk to anybody, how do you plan on forming a relationship? You want to be active, communicate with others, and set out to find others that may relate to you. There’s no need to spam, as relationships take time to grow!

This is a guest post written by Elizabeth Cutten. Elizabeth helps run FindBizCards, a business credit card portal, as well as a small business blog helping entrepreneurs on a daily basis.

Thursday Topics: Over Optimization & Social Media Marketing

Optimization Strategies
What happens if you overkill your optimization strategy? I just saw a short interview clip with Matt Cutts on a SEOBook article about this very subject. Although Matt claims that you won’t necessarily get penalized, it’s obviously not ideal to over optimize. Google optimization is a delicate task and the key is to make your efforts look as natural as possible. This means doing away with duplicate content (your own and content “borrowed” elsewhere) and mixing up the keywords you use on a single page. If you feel like you’re using a particular word a little too much, you probably are. This not only looks spammy but it makes it annoying for your average reader.

Have You Checked in with Foursquare?
Whether you love or hate social media marketing, you’ll certainly be at a disadvantage if you ignore it. The internet is abuzz over the Foursquare phenomenon and that’s cool, but I don’t really get it. I mean I “get it” from a marketer’s point of view so I guess we’ll expand on that note. Like local search, Foursquare pulls in customers to drive business. But, how does it work? The jist of it is that customers “check-in” on their smart phone using the application to keep track of the various locations they’ve visited. Depending on the amount and variety of places you’ve visited, users can earn badges that showcase their accomplishments.
Interesting… but what’s the point? Social Media Examiner shows how businesses can implement loyalty programs and build relationships using the app. By using the ‘check-in’ feature, customers can take advantage coupons and promotions available for locals. It’s beneficial for all, so why not? Foursquare, and the lesser-mentioned Gowalla, are fun and engaging new ways to use location based services to connect with customers.

Reviewing 3 Twitter Tools

Twitter Analyzer

If you like seeing stats displayed by fancy 3D doughnut graphs, this is the tool for you.
It’s useful if you like to see how many of your followers are retweeting your Tweets. You can also enter the Twitter handle of a friend or competitor and see how their stats compare to yours. Things I learned: 78% of our followers are male and 23% of our followers are entrepreneurs.
No need to sign up, so why not try it out?

Tweet Stats

Sweet. More graphs! But Tweet Stats also shows a tag cloud of your  most frequently used phrases. It also gives you a density analysis that gives you a look at the times you Tweet most frequently. It’s easy to use but I definitely think it’s more informative than useful.

Twitter Counter

First, you need to allow this tool access to your Twitter account. Like Compete, you can compare your profiles with 2 other users of your choice. The graph displays are easy to read and you can even sign up to a weekly update of your progress. You can even go back as far as 3 months and see your stats from there. I think Tweet Stats is my favorite out of the three tools.

Do you have any other handy Twitter analysis sites you like to use?

Band Websites: Improving Bad Website Design

Ok, so your favorite band doesn’t suck but what about their website? After browsing some sites, I found that many artists, bands, labels are missing the point when it comes to good search engine friendly website design. Besides being esthetically unappealing or having a loop of the same blaring songs, these bad band sites also share other similarities:

Overdoing the Flash
Super long to load on slower internet connections and it can be really annoying. Yes, we’re looking at you, The Strokes (and tons of other bands). Your site may be fancy and look really cool, but it’s 100% flash dependent. Flash sites aren’t indexed by Google and you can’t add any keywords in your content. More popular bands are just lucky that they don’t need to rely on this as they’re already getting traffic from fans.
Instead: A little flash here and there is fine. You want to concentrate on engaging and informative keyword rich content. You should also put a little time into your link building strategy and incoming links.

Just Too Much
As an artist, you want to accurately convey your image to your fans. Because of this, many artists go overboard with too many pictures, too much text, too many widgets and just way too much clutter. Lady Gaga’s bio is an eyesore with a page full of CAPITALIZED white text on a black/grey background. Surely, no one will really care to read this except for the super fans.
Instead: Have a section that is short and sweet. New fans want to get straight to the facts. You might want to include a more detailed bio page or even include a video to accompany the reduced text.

Ignoring Your Fans
Many band sites that aren’t updated frequently are static and dead. With Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook, band members are finding it easier to update on the social media platforms. Don’t forget about your site! Fans want to stay in touch and just small updates here and there will make them feel special. NIN is especially known for their fan interaction. Their website features a members area, an extensive photo gallery and even an area where you can mix your favorite songs.
Instead: Use Analytics to see where your fans are spending the bulk of their time. Are they interested in your lyrics, merch, or media? Now that you know, integrate a blog, photo blog, or even your social media profiles to appeal to those likes. Even a simple band Q&A once in awhile will help your website from dying out.

These are just some of my peeves, any other tips for bad band websites?

3 Social Media Problems

Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. I’ve recently ran into a couple problems and it’s taken me awhile to

1) Problem: You want to clean up your Twitter account but are stuck with too many inactive, irrelevant followers. Maybe, you’re following too many people who aren’t reciprocating.
Resource: With ManageTwitter, you can quickly go through your followers and weed out the inactive ones. It’s a handy tool and sure beats doing it manually.

2) Problem: Your business isn’t showing up right in Google’s Local Business Center.
Resource: Check out the Google forums and you’ll see how many other business owners are in the same boat. We haven’t figured out a better/fast solution so if you have any insight, please let us know!

3) Problem: You don’t know where to start with link building
Resources: Look no further than Lee Odden’s open letter to spammers and 101 ways to build link popularity

Making White Papers Fun

If there’s any way that white papers can be interesting, Mike Stelzner found a way to do so. His webinar with Marketing Profs this morning was about “Maximum Search Results with Rich Content and Social Media”. In the hour, Mike explained how he successfully conducted the survey and shared the finished product.

Focusing on the Industry Report
If you haven’t heard of it already, this is the social media marketing industry report that we’re talking about. Nearly 900 social media users participated in this survey and here are the results – five stats from the report that caught my eye:

  • 61.83% people who invested a few months in their social media marketing report new partnerships were gained
  • 72% of marketers are newbies (have only just started using social media)
  • 64% devote roughly 5 hours a week on social media
  • 81% of participants agree that social marketing has generated exposure for their business
  • 94% of marketers use Twitter

Spreading the News with Fire Starters
Getting people to participate in a survey is one thing, but how do you engage them in finding interest in your results? Mike passed the word along to a few key friends who have a lot of influence in the social media world aka fire starters. In Mike’s case, it was friends who had many friends or followers. Kinda like a ripple effect and things took off from there through word of mouth. Mike also took advantage of scheduling Tweets during relevant times of the day to catch the eye of his many followers. Well, it really worked as over 40,000 people read this report over the span of 1 month. Hundreds of blog comments and other mentions throughout the online community helped put Mike’s report on Google’s coveted first result for ‘social media marketing’.

Social Media: What’s in a Name?

In the social media world, going viral is gold. It’s hard to get people riled up about something and when it happens, the spontaneity of word of mouth is unstoppable. Today, we’ll take a look at how some notable name changes have helped in going viral. Sit back, take some notes and get ready to change your name.

Making a Splash for a Good Cause
Courtesy of this short clip, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian shows us how effective the right name can be. As he explains it, social media helped out for a worth cause in 2007. Greenpeace held a contest to name a humpback whale and raise awareness about protecting these gentle giants. Mister Splashy Pants won out above the other names and helped attract attention to this cause.

A Foodstuff Gets More Fans than The Worst Band in the World
Can this pickle get more fans than Nickelback? Yes, it can. If you haven’t heard, Nickelback is arguably one of the worst bands in the world. An anti-Nickelback enthusiast decided to create a Facebook Fan Page and gather fellow fans for this cause. You may have seen it pop up on your friend’s page and it’s too funny not to follow! Here are some other things that this Pickle beats: MTV, Glenn Beck, and naps. As of now, the Pickle is still in the lead.

Shameless Self-Promotion
Are you a fan of Chad Javon Johnson? Maybe Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals rings a bell. In 2008, the football player legally changed his last name to match his jersey number 85, in Spanish. The word “Ochocinco” is actually displayed across his uniform. There were some rumors that Chad wanted to change has last name to “Himself”. Just picture the announcer saying, “And Johnson throws a pass to Himself”. Hilarious, but no. Chad has recently announced that he is planning to change his name to “Hachi Go” – which roughly translates to 85 in Japanese.

A Yelp for Help: Alleged Extortion

As a consumer, it’s only right that you can to take to the internet to share your good and bad experiences at certain establishments. Some prefer personal blogging but Yelp provides a standardized platform for consumer-based business reviews. Yelp is pretty great. I’m continually surprised by the hole in the wall restaurants and have even managed to find a new dentist. Then again, there are times when you stumble upon some horrible reviews and wonder how owners feel or react to this type of criticism. I’ve heard of lawsuits against Yelp before, but not like this.

Last week, Yelp was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging “extortion schemes”. In short, many business owners are claiming that Yelp hit them up for $$$ (so-called advertising packages) after they received bad reviews. Some claim that Yelp offered to remove the negative reviews in exchange for convenient monthly payments.

Of course, Yelp’s CEO has a different story. In the way Jeremy Stoppelman explains it, their marketing tactics are completely legal albeit, a little “weird”. Things are looking more than weird for Yelp right now as more cases are rising against their favor. Time will tell what will happen, but can Yelp’s credibility be fully restored after this case? CEO Stoppleman claims they have nothing to hide, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

There are a lot of cases where small businesses have benefited from Yelp reviews. I’ve even seen negative reviews completely reversed when owners take the time to reach out and contact the negative reviewers. Everyone deserves a second chance at correcting their mistakes but maybe, Yelp has had one too many?

What do you think about Yelp’s current dilemma?