SMS Text Messaging Not Ready for Prime Time

Many folks who donated to Obama’s campaign to get an advanced announcement of Obama’s running mate selection didn’t ever receive the message.  Tests on the system shows that 40-50% of the subscribers did not get the message.

Industry analysts are saying that this highlights the infrastructure’s inability to handle the volume for mass media campaigns.

I wonder why if the tests prior to the announcement showed such poor performance, did they go ahead with announcing via SMS? Couldn’t they have emailed their donors with a login to a password protected site to check the annoucement? Not that the campaign could control the media, who ruined the surprise anway…

More Proof that Political Campaigns Need to be Online

As if Barack Obama’s success with online marketing wasn’t enough proof, I just stumbled upon a study today that highlight’s America’s assumption that political campaigns should be online.

While I’ve been convinced for years that successful political campaigns need to embrace online marketing and social media, it never hurts to use some hard data to convince clients that an online presence (and notice the study highlights online activities beyond a website) are a necessity.

Best Methods for Political Candidates to Get Voters Attention Online

Best Methods for Political Candidates to Get Voters Attention Online

Did you notice the % for viral video, social networking and text messaging? Those are areas that would have been almost non-existent during the last campaign.  Both social networking and viral videos are grassroot tactics where you need to let go of controlling the message and let your supporters talk for you…challenging concepts for old school marketers to understand.

Online Marketing Books for your Bookshelf

While I do most of my learning about online marketing through reading  posts on searchengineland.com and seomoz.org and seobook.com, and bruceclay.com, I do actually own a few online marketing books that have been very helpful. I wanted to share my reading list for others looking to expand their online marketing knowledge.

Here they are:

Groundswell by Charlene Li (Forrester Research) and Josh Bernoff

This is a must read. It provides examples of how nonprofits and corporations have rolled out social media campaigns.

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Also a must read. It will give you insight into what folks are talking about when they mention “the long tail”.

Google Analytics 2.0 by jerri L Ledford and Mary E. Tyler

Search Engine Optimization an Hour a Day by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin

A great beginner book to get you started making changes to your site.

Web Analytics: an Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik

Marketing to the Social Web by Larry Weber

Similar to Groundswell

Do it Wrong Quickly by Mike Moran

Similar to Groundswell

Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton

This book was great. It outlines a few really useful Google Analytics hacks. I recommend anyone who is using Google Analytics to purchase this book.

Send Relevant Emails, or be labeled as a Spammer

My consulting clients can tell you that I’m like a dog with a bone when I talk to them about personalizing the email messages they send…I just won’t let go of the idea.

Now MarkingSherpa has done research to support my belief that all email should be personalized as much as possible to the recipient’s interest in your organization.  Sending general message to everyone about your organization just doesn’t work anymore.

The study shows that recipients are hitting the “spam” button in their inbox if they don’t like the message in your email, and they don’t care if their actions will evetually label you as a spammer.

Here’s more about the study. So start mining your supporter database, start segmenting and email your supporters based on the issues you know they care about.

Ok. I’m off my soapbox for the moment.

Attended Bruce Clay’s SEO Toolset Training

It was the most amazing search training I’ve attended to date, and the fact that you are trained by Bruce Clay himself is very cool. Anyone interested in truly understanding how SEO works should think about attending his SEO training.

Here are a few tips that I picked up that I wanted to share:
1. Google has 200 + factors to its algorithm. Each piece of the algorithm has a different weight. The search community is only aware of the impact of a few of the on-the-page elements.

2. 86% of people click on the natural results (vs. paid). Only 48% of people who are searching even SEE the paid ads. (That’s seeing the ads, not clicking on them). Paid Search advertising has a 20-50% fraud rate (which means that advertisers are paying for clicks that are not legitimate).
3. The search results don’t act like you think they do. In Google, only 2 spots are allowed in any search result for one company (the second result is indented). So for “cisco routers”, cisco.com actually takes up the first 152 spots in the results, but is only shown twice. The #3 slot is securityfocus.com, but that actually means that securityfocus.com is in slot 153. If securityfocus.com doesn’t know that they are really in slot 153 instead of 152, they would waste a lot of time getting to that #2 slot.

4. The way you structure your website with internal links matter. One part of the algorithm is PageRank (Google’s determination of the value of a page), and while your homepage might have a lot of people linking to it and a high PageRank, you need to effectively distribute that PageRank to your internal pages through a strategic linking structure to make sure your internal pages effectively rank in search results.

5. The _ character is read by Google as an extra character, not a word divider, and it’s better to use – in file names.

6. Your website’s placement in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) really makes a difference. I had realized that pages beyond result #15 are basically non-existent for searchers, but Bruce Clay has a 50% increase in volume if he’s ranked in the #4 slot vs. the #6 slot.

7. Google is about to roll out behavioral search. Which means that Google will determine the searchers intent (research vs. shopping) and will display results appropriately. It will show sites with more longer word count for research intent queries, and sites with less text and bullet use for shopping intent. Which means if you have a shopping site with too much text, you have less of a chance of appearing in the top 15 for a shopping intent query. There is a 4x increase in the Clickthrough Rate of a search ad if you target for behavioral search.

Fascinating stuff, huh?

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