Friday, July 22, 2011

Google Analytics, Derivatives of my Name, Useless Data!

Here's my pet peeve about analytics which I wish they would fix. I'm ranting again because I just read that Google has extended Analytics into social media tracking (generally, a great idea!) but have not fixed this basic but important item.  Grrrrr.

I like to look at the percent of my traffic that comes from natural search vs say direct.   Natural search suggests that they use some keyphrase but then up on my site (bless them).

But over half of the "natural seach" that Google reports is people entering some derivative of my domain name into the search bar as a lazy-mans way of getting to my site.  So the data becomes meaningless until I manually massage it.

 I'd like Google to help me out here but dedicating a little programming resources to having an automated way that I can select variations of my name and henceforth see them in the direct data, not the natural search area.

While this is not so intellectually exciting as analytics for social media, it would be useful!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love Hate Google Plus

I've heard that Google plus is starting off huge so I went thru my emails, found a google plus invite, and joined. I', ten minutes into it and I already love and hate Google Plus. Henceforth known a Gplus.

What do I love? Its about time somebody gave me some control over my information so that I can have one set of messages for my work colleagues, another for my soccer buddies, and a third for my family.  This seems so obvious to me but Facebook somehow seems stuck in an everyone-sees-or-nobody-sees mode.  Yea Google. Thanks Google.

What do I hate?  Its not really that I hate it but the question of how to organize my friends and contacts is non-trival.  I started with "current colleagues" and "old colleagues". Then I divide it into "colleagues that I trust" and "work contacts."  Now I'm sitting here staring at the possibilities and trying to figure out what to do. So many possibilities, so little experience on whats going to be useful and streamlined...

And now I've found a blog post with some useful suggestions:


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Learning Online Marketing

Two people in one day have asked me for info to get them started on online marketing. One is a training partner at my dojo, the other is one of my engineers who is trying to learn about SEO.

So I thought I'd write up a general response to the question of how someone learns about online marketing so they can get started.

My first reaction is that its a great career move for people to learn about (actually, maybe not for engineers who might do better as programmers than marketers). But for most people, it's a good career area so learning about is seems worthwhile. The flip side is that learning it can take make years and is never fully finished. There's a lot to learn and things keep changing.  And there are rapidly emerging courses and even degrees in this area. But they still tend to lag state of the art.

Where does one start?  First, you should think about how broad the concept of online marketing is.   What are the areas within online marketing?

Social media - Learn how Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, endless forums, Ning Groups, Yahoo groups, blogs, even YouTube, and so one can be marketing tools.
Email/Newsletter Writing and Management
SEO - Search engine optimization. The art of trying to get your website to appear in a good position in natural (ie non paid) search results.
PPC - Paid advertising in which you pay for each person who clicks on your advertisement. Google's adsense is the biggest program.
Affiliate Marketing or PPA - Advertising in which you pay per action (usually signup) of the visitors. People offer their programs and the publishers pick which ones to put on their site. Big ones are CJ, Ebay, Amazon, AffiliateFuel, etc.
Sales funnel - A part of a website designed to convert interested visitors into paid customers.
Network marketing - A type of online advertising.
Google Analytics
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Optimizer
Web design

One thing that I should mention is that trying to "learn online marketing" is a Heruclean task. I have taken it on since I felt it was key to my career and future but most people prefer to think of their business as soemthing else and just to pay others to do the online marketing.  I instead think of marketing as everything I do. Like as they say in the film: "everything is kung fu!"  This one of my types of analogies.

One you can read through this blog, take a course, or otherwise go reading about the web.  You can also just start giving it all a try. Locally, you can join groups and go to their meetings listening to the speakers. I did a lot of this for years. There are meetup groups on SEO and online marketing and social media.  Locally, there is SFIMA and the Interactive Direct Marketing Group and other local groups.

Here's a hint. Try doing things.  For instance, if you are reading this post, write a comment.  Summarize the one thing that you learned, or would have liked to learn, from this post. It'll help you retain and process what you've learned. And you will have started to be active online!

Here's a  free ebooks on online marketing. It's a Hubspot marketing piece but as agencies and services go, they are topnotch.  (no, they did not pay me to say that although I'd appreciate a little link-love from them).

There are some good newsletters (websites) to read current and back issues such as:

Note to self. It would be fun to build a online marketing term game on VSC.

Another interesting point about marketing is the advantage of being a little controversial. I fear that this is one of the problems with the Common Core, too many people just like to talk about it to foster controversy.