Every time you go online you are entering a war zone. It might not feel like it, but there is an almighty battle taking place between two superpowers and you are caught in the crossfire.
Welcome to the war for web supremacy. The super powers, if you haven’t already guessed, are the search behemoth Google and social heavyweight champion Facebook. The prize is you and your data.
Sure, there are other combatants in this war; Twitter, Apple, Bing, LinkedIn…even Yahoo!, but they are merely involved in skirmishes and are open to being co-opted into alliances with the main players. Amazon currently appears to be Switzerland (more about them another time).
The nature of systems like the web is that monopolies emerge. We have a dominant search engine in Google, a dominant online encyclopedia in Wikipedia, a dominant retailer in Amazon, a dominant auction site in eBay, and now we have a dominant social network in Facebook. That’s normal and has been happening in business for centuries.
But what happens when two different monopolies decide to battle for a middle ground? That’s where it gets interesting, and that whats happening now. Facebook and Google share common goals but differing philosophies.
Andrew and Elise had a dream to launch a business that provided people with the mind-blowing experience of swimming with dolphins in the wild. They now receive bookings online every day and meet their (pre-paid) customers dockside just prior to the swim. They did it with a kickass online marketing strategy.
Don decided it was time for his innovative Australian-based software solutions company to launch in the most competitive market in the world, the USA, and compete against the might of software giants Oracle and SAP. Two years later they’ve not only launched in the USA, they’re winning a significant share of the market and exceeding all sales projections. They did it with the help of a kickass online marketing strategy.
I’m proud to say that my team at Sticky were involved in creating these and many other successful strategies for clients over the last 6 years. Now we have distilled that thinking into an e-book that provides you with the information you need to create your own kickass plan – The Sticky Guide to Online Marketing.
If you have been thinking about launching a new business, growing your current business online, or have been frustrated with your results online then this e-book is your guide to successful online marketing and sales. Its an actual step-by-step plan that you can begin following from day one to improve your online marketing and results
The Sticky Guide to Online Marketing will be released in late February but you can find out more and get your own free copy via NLYZR.
Ok, I’ll admit it….I’m a little bit addicted to social networks. Using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ is an important part of my work, but it probably fair to say that over the course of a day I am exceeding what is needed to effectively get the job done. When you add the many different blogs and websites I check daily for great content and industry news, I am beginning to consume an amazing amount of media.
And then it becomes a default habit, something that can easily fill the day and lead you down endless clickable rabbit holes.
I’m sure I’m not alone. These days we’re consuming more media than anytime in history. Its accessible 24/7 and sometimes it seems that we are too. The lines between work and play have become so blurred that we tend to suffer an inevitable burnout.
This year I am totally rethinking how I consume media with the aim to improve my productivity and put some more space between work and play. The approach I am adopting is based on dedicated devices and apps for different functions:
Do you still believe the digital revolution is the domain of cool young Gen-Y’s and upwardly mobile Gen-X’s? Do you still think your business is immune? Think again.
As I spend the Christmas break with my extended family I can’t help but notice how connected everyone now is. With ages from 5 to 68 filling the house, nobody here could be considered a Luddite.
My father flits between his MacBook, iPad and iPhone. He downloads his books and music, reads all his news online and buys golf gear, fishing gear, clothing and more online. The iPad is his favorite device.
Mum just received an iPad 2 and is doing puzzles and organizing photo galleries. She is also starting to shop more online.
My brother-in-law uses an iPad and Blackberry for working remotely and keeps up to date on international sport and surf conditions constantly.
My sister has a MacBook and iPhone in her armory and is quickly getting up to speed on the benefit of being connected.
There’s a 12 year old with his first iPhone who is using Instagram, Path and Skype whilst listening to music, playing games and taking pictures. The pressure for a Facebook account looms.
There’s a 9 year old who is making stop-motion movies on a MacBook and uploading them to YouTube. He also makes his own games on Sploder and manages his own Posterous websites in between playing Minecraft with his friends, listening to music on his iPod or playing assorted games on his Wii.
The two youngest kids, 8 and 6, have received a Nintendo DS for Christmas and know how to get online with them. They’re also Minecraft fans.
The digital revolution is no longer a generational thing, it’s all pervasive. The transfer of information, products and money is increasing online daily. Even your oldest, most loyal customers cannot be relied upon when planning for the future.
The question is: what is your organization doing to address this?
US market research firm AYTM have just published an excellent infographic, Branding and how it works in the social media age, which has some handy statistics for modern marketers.
I have paraphrased a few of the best stats here or you can look through the entire infographic by clicking on “read rest of this entry”.
1. 85% of internet users have Facebook accounts; 49% are on Twitter
2. 74% of internet users use Facebook daily; 35% use Twitter daily
We like to think of ourselves as a progressive, modern, innovative nation here in Australia. We proudly point out examples of Australian ingenuity but in reality these are few and far between. The truth is that, despite our economic prosperity and extremely high standard of living, Australia risks being left behind in the booming digital economy.
Its not that we aren’t an innovative race; there are some extremely talented people dreaming up many amazing ideas, and there is something of a talent rush on Aussie tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley at the moment. The problem is that very few of those businesses or digital entrepreneurs will remain in this country unless things change considerably. The talent, the intellectual property and the businesses will move offshore.
The other risk is that, in an increasingly global and digitally connected economy, Australia will find itself being less than competitive due to a sluggishness in adopting new technology. Once again, this rubs against the popular stereotype that we are a nation of early technology adopters. That may be true as consumers, but the corporate world appears to be less enthusiastic about embracing change and technology.
A recent global study by IBM revealed that Australian marketers are lagging significantly in tech and social media. The study showed that Australian marketers still rely heavily on traditional forms of promotion and research and are yet to embrace the more modern techniques of their global counterparts.
At the same time research by GE indicates that Australia is seen as one of the least innovative nations on earth. The GE Innovation Barometer had Australia lagging behind countries like Brazil and Finland by corporate chiefs who were asked which countries were leading the way in technology and business practices.
The question is, why are we lagging behind? Here are 5 reasons I can see:
Almost six out of ten consumers (59 per cent) have stopped engaging with four or more brands as a result of poorly targeted communications, according to research released today by Experian. The report, titled ‘The future of multichannel marketing: marketer and consumer perspectives,’ shines a spotlight on disconnects that exist between marketers and consumers and highlights the opportunities available to marketers to minimise the impact of poorly targeted communications.
The Experian figures show that, as a result of poorly-targeted communications, eight per cent of consumers have stopped engaging with 20 or more brands. A further 27 per cent of Australians have gone as far as creating a separate email address to receive this information to avoid other email accounts from being inundated.
However, marketers are also making strides to change traditional marketing practices demonstrated by a significant 89 per cent of marketers now using a customer segmentation strategy. In addition, 69 per cent are becoming more selective about the channels they use to engage with customers. A key challenge identified by half (50 per cent) of Australian marketers lies in cutting through the white-noise to get messages through to the consumer.
It’s clear that many marketers are investing in tools to get the right message to the right audiences at the right time, yet the findings suggest that they may not be applying this strategic segmentation across all marketing disciplines, particularly among newer channels such as social media.
The evolution of social media
The findings show that consumers are least trusting of newer marketing channels such as social media, SMS and LinkedIn for direct communication with brands. Almost three in 10 (29 per cent) consumers ranked social media as among the three marketing channels they trusted least when receiving information about a brand. While just four per cent said it was the channel they trusted most.
Yelp launches in Australia30Nov11
Popular US-based user recommendation website Yelp launched today in Australia. First launched in San Francisco in 2004 by founders Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, Yelp has grown to 14 countries and more than 61 million monthly unique visitors.
Aussies are now able to create accounts on Yelp to share their opinions about local businesses and services in their neighborhoods. Yelp’s free iPhone and Android mobile applications are available, as is Yelp for Business Owners, the company’s free suite of business owner tools.
Stoppelman was in Sydney today talking to a handful of bloggers about how Yelp was created to replace Yellow Pages, who he considered a dead tree business crying out for reinvention. Initially the Yelp founders didn’t believe user reviews would be key to the site but were surprised when they took off and became the main focus of Yelp and a major point of differentiation. Remember, this was back in the days before Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and even newcomers Oink and Roamz.
For millions of US users, Yelp has become an invaluable search resource to discover what’s nearby and how its rated.
It’ll be interesting to see how Yelp does launching in a new market 7 years later with many other location and recommendation contenders on the scene. Stoppelman is confident that the site can get good traction in Australia via their (rather ironic) partnership with Sensis (publisher of Yellow Pages) who provide the initial database of businesses and the sales force for future ad sales. Certainly the Yelp model of engaging community manager in each territory will go a long way to determining the public take-up of the service.
Yelp will be available throughout Australia; however, the company will focus its initial community-growth efforts in Melbourne and Sydney. This city-by-city expansion strategy has proven to be an effective one for the company in other markets.
The great thing about inbound marketing is that there is no shortage of excellent tools to help you go about your job of attracting qualified traffic and converting it into something more meaningful like leads, inquiries or sales.
Here are the 16 top tools I use regularly for inbound marketing;
WordPress website. Sure there are other excellent open source content management systems available but for inbound marketing its hard to go past WordPress. Its easy to use, very search engine friendly, extremely optimisable and has thousands of great plugins to address just about any requirement. There’s a reason over 60 million people have chosen WordPress for their websites.
WordPress mobile app. Inbound marketers like to post content. Lots of content. From almost anywhere. That’s where the WordPress mobile apps come in. You can create and publish content directly from your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or Nokia to your website.
Website optimisation is a fascinating field. Most of the gurus will tell you to look at code and build links…lots of links. And, true, that is important. But if you really want to be found on Google you should be trying to answer questions and provide solutions.
The biggest mistake most companies make when optimising their sites for search engines is poor keyword selection. They tend to optimise for themselves; company name, products and services. This is fine if the person searching knows exactly what they want or who you are already, but in most cases they don’t….they’re usually looking for an answer or solution.