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New Social Media Marketing Study Makes Me Wave Caution Flag

I really like Social Media Examiner. Founder Michael Stelzner and his team create tons of outstanding content. Weighed carefully, the insights can be invaluable for any professional working in social media.

The problem is that social media is only one of many tools that small businesses can use to generate more leads and sales. Nurturing an e-mail database is a must. Creating and updating a reasonable web site is essential. You can always dive into paid search, SEO and link building as well. Where are you hunting for that next customer online?

Social Media Examiner just released the "2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report," a comprehensive resource with 50 pages of analysis and charts based on a study of 2,800 marketers.

Get the social media study.

But I think it's a good time to wave the caution flag because marketers and small business owners can get caught up with the excitement of social media without thinking through whether it's a good fit given their resources and priorities.… Read more

Why Small Business Owners Fail with SEO Strategy

web-design-seoI used to say that small business owners and other executives fail with an SEO strategy because they ignore it or it really never makes it on the priority plate.

But that's only part of the story.

They try and fall short because of the overused Field of Dreams scenario.

I just spoke with an owner - a very smart guy who designed a great fashion product. The problem is that he doesn't know much about marketing. He trusted some folks who did his SEO.

They assumed with their SEO strategy that it's a one-time exercise. It isn't. They have keywords in some of the ideal places. So what? What if they're the wrong words? They had no plan to test different scenarios. Complicating matters is the scarce content. You have to love the images - hard to miss. But how will the site excel without content?

It's a niche business.… Read more

SEO Speaker at Content Marketing World 2014 Workshop – Promo Code

As an SEO speaker, I'll be leading a half day workshop at Content Marketing World 2014.

It's not until September, but you can register now (prices keep increasing over time).

Register here (the SEO workshop is an extra cost beyond the regular conference).

Promo code: MurrayCMW (save $100).

I'll help marketers look way beyond all of the hype, myths and basics with the hands-on SEO workshop that will show you how to leverage your expertise to define, shape, refine or repair your company’s SEO strategy.

You will walk away with rich insights and tips about practical keyword research and selection tactics that you can easily pick up take to your office to reinforce your brand, develop more leads and boost your sales.

Explore an array of sensible inbound link building methods that you can use on-the-spot.

I'll also dive into web site analytics and help you connect the data with suitable KIPs that work for your company.… Read more

Native Advertising for Content Marketing in 2014: Use Caution with Ad Format

Native advertising trendsNative advertising continues to get a great deal of attention throughout online and content marketing circles.

Publishers love it as a source of new revenue. Some marketers can’t get enough of it either as they enjoy finding new ways to call attention to their brands.

Like any marketing opportunity, you will want to think through the opportunity. Does native advertising make sense for your business and in what context? How can you make sure it doesn’t backfire?

For simplicity sake, I’m primarily referring to the form of native ads that appear with news publishers’ web site editorial content (not Twitter promoted tweets or Facebook sponsored stories). It’s “native” because the reader typically sticks with the web site page instead of rushing off to the web site for the brand.

Here are a few ideas to consider followed by additional viewpoints:

1. Provide exceptional content.

Readers will decide whether they like the native advertising model.… Read more

SEMPO Study: Online and Content Marketing, SEO Trends in 2014

Eager to perform even better, marketers can take note of trends and glean some key lessons from a SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2013, released last month by Econsultancy.

The report, now in its ninth year, offers some good insights about what online marketers worry about and how they’re spending their money on SEO, paid search, social media, mobile, e-mail and digital display marketing. The full report is available to SEMPO members, but an executive summary is available.

The good news is that online marketers clearly value online marketing based on responses from 400 companies and agencies. But they continue to fall short when it comes to integration. Sadly, the silos are apparent. Will that change in 2014?

At least content marketing comes out on top as a discipline that’s “highly integrated” with SEO (45%). Other digital marketing disciplines really don’t have much to do with SEO. For example, marketers say that email marketing is only “highly integrated” with SEO 13% of the time.… Read more