Optimal iQ Blog

Posted by: Jason Smith on 8/16/2011 | 0 Comments
If you have worked with me over the years you have heard my argument that video is going to eventually dominate the web.  I don’t believe non-video content will shrink – I just think that video content is going to grow at a much faster rate that other content.  There are a lot of reasons why I believe this but here are two that I believe most strongly in:

1.  People want a richer experience no matter what they are interacting with.  If you look at the recent history of media you will see a similar transition to video.  We started with newspaper, transitioned to radio, that morphed into black and white TV with no sound, black and white with sound, color TV, 3D TV, HD TV, etc.  (I know that those other mediums did not disappear but in many ways they became niche or we saw a similar transition just within that medium – Black and white newspaper to color for instance.)  As people become heavier users of the web and connection speeds become better they spend more time with rich media online.  This is why we see YouTube searches outnumbering Google searches today.  
2.  Businesses are seeing better results online when they use video.  We have customers who have doubled response rates for certain promotions on their websites when video elements were introduced.  Video is able to tell a better story and explain product features more clearly.  More people are not doing it because it is simply more difficult.  As the ease of creating video expands, so will the use of it. 

So what does this mean?  Companies that are proactive about using video on their websites and in their marketing efforts will reap rewards over their competitors who don’t.  Here are a few ways to start using video now:
1.  Set up a YouTube channel for your company.  Once this is done expand to sites like Vimeo and MetaCafe.  
2.  Get a low cost video camera (or use your iPhone) to practice shooting and editing video.  Customers are fine with low budget video quality as long as the message is correct and you are genuine.
3.  If you sell products then shoot video of those products and simply explain what is there.  Point out features and benefits.  
4.  If you sell services do an interview of one of your service people explaining a job they have completed.
5.  Ask two or three of your best customers to give you a testimonial.  It doesn’t have to be long or dramatic.  

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic.  
Posted by: Jason Smith on 8/11/2011 | 0 Comments
Google has been the 800 pound gorilla in search for years.  It would be easy to sit back and coast along without doing any major changes to how search is done.  I am excited to see that Google is now launching new initiatives (like Google +), relaunching existing properties (like google.com) and quickly pushing out updates to how the index and present data (Panda 2.3).  At Optimal iQ we are seeing an increased ability to rank well with video and images as well as an improved ability to control local search.  Rumor has it that YouTube is undergoing a interface redesign similar to what Google proper underwent recently.  
All of this exciting because it gives greater opportunity to perform well and stay ahead of competition for businesses who have a strategic plan that involves SEO.  It will also continue to drive the improvement of the medium faster as Google pushes itself to improve and, in turn, pushed competitors to innovate more quickly.  
I think that in one year from now there will be a lot of companies wondering how their competitors got so far ahead of them in search.  
Posted by: Jason Smith on 7/22/2011 | 0 Comments
Shelley Galbraith leads email marketing for our Optimal iQ clients.  She has put the following guidelines together to answer the question of how much email is enough.  It has been very helpful internally so we wanted to share it with the world.  

B2B Email:  How Much Is Too Much?

Email Is the Most Effective Tool…

Email is the most effective communications channel in a B2B sale other than direct contact with a sales representative.  With an email address from a potential customer, you get more chances at the sale—as many as you choose to take.

…Crucial to Big Purchase Decisions

In a business-to-business situation—the considered purchase, in which a decision will be made over a period of weeks or months—email is incredibly valuable.  If it is executed with respect, it is a friend to those working on the decision, designed to support prospects when they are carefully considering what to purchase.

Customers Trust You.  Send Them Email.

A strong conversion-oriented house list email strategy is built on permission, frequency, non-promotional content and testing.   Send as much email as the content and relevance of the content allows and to match the buy cycle.  So, can you produce an adequate volume of content that can meet the needs of the sales process, yet not be pushy?  Customers will accept commercial business-to-business email that complements the buy cycle even if they are not interested in the subject matter of every single email they receive from that business.  And, even though they may not open every email, usually they will not unsubscribe.   

Support Email with a Website to Match.

The home page is for those just learning about your brand or offering. For everything else, build a landing page. Focused landing pages—a separate page on your website specifically addressing your offer—are designed to get a visitor to take action—join, download, register, call, and/or read.  Promote offers (and landing pages) on the home page.

Then, Test Their Response.

With some simple analytics in place, you can pretty easily establish the ideal frequency of your email campaigns.  With experimentation, many companies have confirmed that they should be sending email more frequently.  Planning is important to make sure you don’t over send where segmented email lists overlap.

Keep The Content Relevant, Then Plan, Test, and Measure Again.

The key to keeping email relevant is planning for content and frequency where possible.  Additionally, it is important to regularly measure the effectiveness of email over time.  Content should include a non-promotional subject line, “light” educational copy, a link to relevant online content, and at least one offer.



Sources:


1.  Albee, Ardath.  Marketing Interactions Blog.  “Considerations for B2B Email Frequency.”  http://marketinginteractions.typepad.com/marketing_interactions/

2011/03/considerations-for-b2b-email-frequency.html


2.  www.searchengineland.com


3.  Massey, Brian.  Conversion Science.  “Extreme Email Experiment:  How Much is Too Much?  http://emailresourcecenter.net/blog/2011/01/13/extreme-email-experiment-how-much-is-too-much/


4.  www.marketingsherpa.com


5.  Massey, Brian.  Conversion Science.  “The Considered Purchase:  Core Conversion Marketing Strategies.”  http://searchengineland.com/the-considered-purchase-core-conversion-marketing-strategies-39259


6.  www.emailresourcecenter.net



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