How to Get Over 1 Million Visitors a Month Presentation

I had a great time speaking yesterday at PRSA’s Association and Non-Profit Day in Washington, DC about how to get over 1 Million visitors to your website using an integrated digital strategy using SEO, PPC, traditional press, social media and blogger outreach.

Here’s the How to Get 1 Million Visitors to your Website a Month presentation.

Online Marketing Best Practices from the Obama Campaign

M+R Strategic Services just released a report outlining the strategies and best practices from the Obama new media campaign and how those practices should be applied to nonprofits and their online marketing and fundraising efforts. It’s a great read. Here’s the lead in paragraph:

The best news for nonprofits? The most successful new media strategies for the
campaign were all things that can – and should – be replicated by nonprofit
organizations. Build an email list. Send high-quality, engaging emails to those
constituents. Make them a part of the story. Run a program that is data-driven,
and use analytics to improve that program. Use authentic organizational content –
video, text and images – to tell a compelling story. Use email and phone calls to ask
online volunteers to participate in offline programs.

The report contained a few key concepts that I always impress upon my nonprofit clients, including:

  1. Be disciplined to create a strategy, consistent message, and stay on message – sending certain messages to certain segments for a reason. Measure. Rinse. Tweak. Repeat.
  2. Give your online marketing staff them the autonomy to make good decisions regardless of the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) in the room. Did you know that the Obama campaign had a 81-person new media team that grew to nearly 170 people by the end of the campaign?
  3. Hire talented, trained staff (I would argue that this also means you actually need to pay for their talent. The number of nonprofit openings for online marketing staff with extremely low salaries I think demonstrates that many nonprofits don’t “get” that hiring talented online marketing staff is worth it.  From the report: Chief Technology Officer Michael Slaby had this piece of advice:
  4. You need more new media people than you think you do, and they are worth more than you think they are.

  5. Be authentic, and keep the focus on your supporters, let them interact with you. If your budget is supported by them, you won’t be able to do the work your organization works on without them.
  6. Content is important. You won’t be able to build an online audience without good content.
  7. Build your email list through website optimization and testing. (page 13-14 of the report). EVERY nonprofit needs to understand HOW important website optimization and testing is, and needs to make it an organizational priority.
  8. Timing. “Timing is more important than perfection” – Arun Chaudhary, New Media Road Director. I could not agree more. This applies to email, launching an ad campaign, posting on social media sites, putting up a blog posts. Posting or sending during certain times of day will have a much higher success rate than others. I always cringe when I see nonprofits posting a blog post or sending a email at midnight on Thursday night just because that was when it was “done” instead of waiting for the best time window and scheduling it to go out the next day.

All in all, great stuff and every nonprofit marketer should thoroughly read the report and absorb it’s findings. You can download the full report here

Corporate Online Marketing Best Practices Applied to Nonprofit Challenges.

I think this also demonstrates what I’ve been saying to folks all along. Corporate best practices around online marketing should be applied to nonprofit challenges. The tactics are the same, the message is just different and nonprofits have an advantage in that their supporters can be used to spread the word about their mission in social media more effectively than Coca Cola fans ever will. If you look at where the staff for the Obama campaign came from – it was largely corporate online marketing experience.

If you are a nonprofit online marketer, you should follow the for-profit marketers that have the extra resources and capacity to really test new strategies in the online space and follow blogs like SearchEngineLand.com rather than non-profit only forums. You will be a better marketer for it.

Search Marketers that like to Rap

I’ve noticed a trend of search folks who like to rap and figured I would start a collection. Let me know if you find other funny/dorky SEM raps.

GAAC Rap
Here’s Paul Chastain from Just1 a Google Analytics Authorized Consulting company out of Idaho.

And of course the PPC Rap song from PopLabs

Here’s an SEO Rap video:

Here’s one on link building:

Here’s one on social media addiction:

And for something slightly different, here’s a Search Engine Rap Battle between Google and MSN. I think this one is my favorite.:

And here’s a Search Engine battle between Google and Yahoo:

I particularly like the SEOs who decide to create a rap video to jump on the bandwagon, but clearly can’t rap at all….check out this one. Totally painful:

Cool Flash Videos That Explain Social Media

Thought these Flash videos about social media were neat. They cover how HP used bloggers in their marketing plan, how Facebook Connect works, how to use Twitter as  a Tool, and how to create your own social network.

Salvation Army’s Online Marketing Efforts – Innovative, but not strategic

So I’m impressed by the creativity of the Salvation Army of Chicago’s marketing efforts. You can see their YouTube vide where they have Chicagoans helping them play a Christmas carol using the SA bells, and their online donation kettle.

They get a gold star for innovation, but no stars for effectiveness. Why? They did not develop a promotional plan for either effort, and in the crowded social media scape, there’s a good chance that no one will see these efforts.

Here’s where they can improve:

1. Their YouTube video should be on a channel that is branded with their colors and they should apply for nonprofit status through YouTube so that they can have a donate now button on their page. Even better, they should create their “red kettle” icon as a gif and upload it to their page. You’ll notice that no one has commented on their video. This is because (as far as I can tell) they have not promoted it to their list or social media sites. Neither their description nor the title of their video have the keywords “Salvation Army Chicago” in them, so traffic from search is limited. I don’t believe they’ve done any keyword research. If they did, they would use the worlds “holiday volunteering”, “Chicago at the holidays” are terms people are currently using in search. (You can see for yourself by using SEOBook.com’s free keyword tool).

2. Their online holiday kettle page does not allow sharing to any social media site (like Facebook). In fact, their set up process is 4 steps long. This has clearly not been tested by users. They should create shorter sign up process (user name and password with an email asking for more info later) and a link to the code that you can then embed into your blog, myspace, facebook, would be much more effective. I abandoned the process at step 3 when I was suddenly asked to fill out 15 fields. That’s too much info for helping SA by installing a simple widget onto my social media profile, blog or website. In fact, if you visit their Facebook page (with 4,000 + fans) they don’t mention either of these tools. And this is the type of community where (if you make it easy for them) they will spread your message to their friends.

I wonder what kind of adoption they will have with both endeavors. My guess is very little due to the fact that the widget was build without the user in mind and without any usability testing, both items where set up without any strategic thought to selecting keywords on the pages that would capture natural traffic, and (as far as I can tell) neither were launched with a promotional plan encouraging those they know to use and spread the tools.

So close and yet so far….

Trying to Reach High School or College Students? Don’t Email them

There are various studies out there that highlight the fact that high schoolers and college age students do not respond to marketing mail, and get most of their updates via social networking sites or texting.

Here’s one of those studies I though I’d share:

Today’s high-school and college students started using email at an average age of 13. Most have had an email address for 8 years and have about 2.4 email addresses each, yet 61% say they ‘never’ or ‘hardly ever’ read marketing emails, says a survey from eROI, MarketingCharts reports.

The research, which was designed to uncover how students communicate digitally and relate to email marketing messages, found that the majority of students do not feel companies are effectively speaking to them personally through email, and only 16% of students say they ‘frequently’ read the marketing emails they receive.

In addition to the majority of students not reading marketing emails, 66% of students similarly report rarely or never taking action after reading them.

One of the basic tenents of marketing is to outreach to your audience in the way in which they will most easily receive the message. If you sell prescription discount products, perhaps direct mail is still viable for you. But if you’re a youth nonprofit like 4-H, Youth Service America, or YMCA, you should make sure your marketing mix involves more social media outreach and text friendly marketing campaigns than a heavy mass email campaign.

Online Marketing 101 Training at Environmental Working Group

This is the first time I’m going to do a full online marketing 101 crash course (including email) in under an hour, so we’ll see how it goes. If you’re interested in viewing the presentation I’ll be using for Environmental Working Group this next week in Washington, DC, you can view the online marketing 101 presentation here.

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