AMP Is Here!
Are you 2022 ready?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that mobile-first design is critical to your online marketing strategy.

Read on to find out why this may be the single most important factor for your online presence.

Read the full article below.


SPEED IS ALL IMPORTANT

Did you know that online retailers experienced a 13% increase in sales by reducing page load speed?

Did you know that Walmart increased conversions by 2% simply by improving their page speed load time by 1 second?

Did you know that you can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce your Bounce-Rate by improving your page speed?


Mobile Devices Now Dominate The Internet

Do yourself a favor, if you haven’t already - go into your web analytics and do a comparison of 2019 to 2018 and 2017. I’ll bet you’re seeing the exact same thing.

Are you paying attention? Do you know what this means? What can we do to capitalize on this?

This Site (iRazor.io) rated by Google Page Speed Insights

The website you're on right now - iRazor.io - was built on state-of-the-art AMP Technology.

Note: You may see different results depending on your own connection speed, bandwidth and device.

To put this in perspective, the average website takes 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27 seconds on mobile. Source | BackLinkInfo

As you will learn below, in 2022 and beyond, speed is all important.

Test your own site speed here > 


According to  a 2020 Kissmetrics infographic, if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, over 25% of users will click away and choose a different search result.


Accelerated Mobile Pages

Benefits of AMP

Google AMP pages are developed in a new HTML language to consume page loading speed and reliability, AMP web pages are 85% faster than non-accelerated mobile pages.

We are way beyond simply "responsive" websites. AMP sites work on ANY device (Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Notebooks, even large TV screens such as those used for Digital signage. It's no longer necessary to build for a known screen size.

A 1 page visit to your website is a "Bounce". This typically means your users are not interacting with your site. Google and other search engines see this activity. If a website is not engaging or if the site visit is only a few seconds, this can significantly reduce your visibility online.

Google - and other search engines - know when you're using a mobile device. This ads yet another key ranking factor. If a user searches for your company and they're using a smart phone, Google will often give preference to AMP sites over larger sites that are not mobile friendly resulting in better search engine placement.

Since AMP is optimized for mobile devices, the code is elegant and stream lined. Images are optimized for the fastest possible load speeds. HTML and CSS are "Minified" and 3rd party scripts are typically unnecessary resulting in light weight, fast loading pages, even over a slow cell connection!

AMP was created by Google, so it's as Google-Friendly as you can get. Did you know that AMP technologies supports Personal Web Apps? (PWA). With AMP you can deliver your website as a simple installable app so users can interact with your organization EVEN WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE INTERNET ACCESS!

PWA's reside locally on the user's phone. Your company, your brand, accessible as a clickable icon right on your users phone. Ask us how.


  More than you think...

Oh Boy! Here we go again, another new web standard. Are you familiar with AMP? ou should be because it’s a game changer.

Here’s why;

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years you’re likely aware of the accelerated adoption of smart phones and associated technologies.

Now more than ever people are using their phones (and or tablets) to browse the Internet.

I see this every day when reviewing web analytics for my clients. If you use Google analytics you know that you can easily view your website’s traffic by device, desktop, tablet, phone etc.

Do yourself a favor, if you haven’t already - go into your web analytics and do a comparison of 2019 to 2018 and 2017. I’ll bet you’re seeing the exact same thing. Are you paying attention? Do you know what this means? What can we do to capitalize on this?

Enter AMP. (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP is a fairly new web standard being heavily promoted by Google - and now others - that gives preference to AMP compatible pages on mobile devices. Did you catch that? Do you understand the significance?

Google of course knows whether or not its users are on a desktop or a tablet or a smart phone when interacting with its search engine. What this means for us as online marketers is that search results may differ, in fact likely WILL differ depending on the device the user is searching from.

So if you’re not checking your search results by device type you could be missing a significant opportunity.

Here’s a real-world scenario;

User "A" searches on “Hair Salon” from their desktop and they are presented with a listing of websites that meet the search criteria. Via reverse IP look-up Google also knows your approximate geographic location. So even if you don’t type in a geo-locator (city) google assumes that you’re looking for a hair salon somewhere close to you. (This is not always the case).

User "B" executes the exact same search from her cell phone, from the exact same location. She gets an entirely different set of listings because Google is giving preference to AMP compatible websites because the user is on a cell phone. AMP sites are more phone-friendly.

Understand that we’re not talking about simple “responsiveness” here. Lots of non-AMP websites are responsive these days and can change their presentation to optimize for the viewing device. We’re way beyond that now.

AMP sites are truly “mobile first”, and they are lightning fast. Here’s an screenshot of this website (iRazor.io) run through Google's Page Speed Insight tool

Try viewing this website (iRazor.io) on your desktop, then your tablet, then your phone. We're still making some tweaks but you’ll get the idea. This website shows a Google Page Speed Optimization score of 98%.

Test your own site here for free >

This website has been built specifically to capture mobile traffic which is the vast majority of business across all industries. Mobile is king. Get used to it.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It never ends right? There will of course be something new next year as well but this is one you can’t afford to miss.

Here’s a great resource to learn more: https://amp.dev/

There are also a number of great videos on YouTube. All About Amp >

Watch for an upcoming article on 5G technology... this will push us even further into the new mobile economy.

Happy Holidays!


More Articles

SEO Simplified

Part 1 | Humble Beginnings

I find it funny that when I began my Internet Marketing career nearly 17 years ago, almost nobody knew what SEO meant. How times have changed

But just in case there are some newbies out there, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization; the art/science of optimizing your site or blog content for maximum search engine rankings.

In laymen's terms it means making your web site and pages "relevant" for your chosen keywords and phrases. To understand relevancy, it really helps to understand how Google - and other search engines - came about. Bear with me non-geeks, it's actually pretty interesting.

I've been a propeller-head for as long as I can remember. Back in the day, before Google was, we used archaic commands such as Gopher; Finger, Whois and a host of others protocols to find online resources.

Show of hands... how many of you remember the "Modem Mating Call"? 

This was of course well before the hyperlink was invented, the World Wide Web had yet to come into existence so you had to be a geek to use the Internet. Mostly you found online bulletin boards which had locations to other bulletin boards and so on. Or perhaps a friend told you about an online board or maybe you found a resource in a printed publication. It was very messy and cumbersome.

In March of 1989, Tim burners lee invented and demonstrated the HTTP protocol which allowed "Hypertext" and thus the hyperlink came along. Now anyone who could click on a link could navigate the World Wide Web. That's when things exploded.

Sure now it was s lot easier to navigate the web but it wasn't at all organized.. yet.

Enter Google

Did you know that Google was really never supposed to be? You see, Sergey Brin and Larry Page - The founders of Google - never really intended for Google to become a company, at least not at first. They were both in college at Stanford together and basically needed a project they could develop so they could write a thesis, graduate, then get a "real job".

Since the Internet was in its infancy, for their project they decided to write a search algorithm that could crawl the internet and create a simplified directory listing of all internet resources so non-propeller heads could easily find them. So that's what they did.

But unlike others with similar ideas, Larry & Sergey included a ranking algorithm. So rather than just getting an alphabetical listing of every online resource, they used a number of very basic criteria to "weigh" the relevance of one site over another with the goal of showing the best - or most relevant - sites first.

So let's say you have 2 sites about Horse Racing, how do you determine which is more relevant? Initially it was all about keywords. Does the phrase "Horse Racing" appear on the site? If so, how many times? Where was the phrase located? At the top of the page? Again this was way back before CSS so H1 tags, image tags, meta tags and title tags weren't even in use yet.

To make matters worse Google didn't have access to traffic data so in those early days they couldn't even tell how much traffic one site (or resource) was getting over another. Still, it was better than we had before so we were happy.

P.S. Did you know that at one point early on, Google was running out of money so they offered their search algorithm to Yahoo for 1 Million U.S.? Yahoo said "No Thanks". Doh!

Check back soon for part 2. If you're going to be an Internet Entrepreneur, you really need to understand where we came from, so you can see where we're headed.

In the meantime, check out my other post about "Googles Golden Triangle". That explains the WHY of SEO..

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page > 

SEO Simplified - Part 2

Part 2 | Humble Beginnings

Continuing our discussion of SEO, let's pick up where we left off yesterday...We'll stick with the Horse Racing theme...

So if you read part 1, you should have a pretty good idea of how Google started and why. Basically, they just wanted to "Organize" the Internet, but they wanted to do it better than everyone else. That's where the ranking algorithm comes in which is probably the single most important factor that has made Google such a behemoth.

Rather than listing every horse racing site alphabetically, Google - and now other search engines - use their own proprietary ranking algorithms to determine where each site is displayed in Organic (Free) listings.

Why do we care about Google rankings? Because they higher you are on the page the more eye-traffic, clicks and sales you make. Being at the top of page one on Google is like having a front page ad in the industry leading magazine in your niche.

(Refer to my other post about Google's Golden Triangle for more information).

So fast forward a few years, the technology has improved, CSS and other technologies now give us Metadata that makes it easier for Google to understand what's important on a web page. You might say it's now "Context Aware". Sort of…

Google is after all just an algorithm; it doesn’t truly understand the difference between Apple the fruit and Apple the Computer -Yet.

Initially metatags such as the H1 tag were primarily used for CSS Styling, but it’s also a measure of how important a keyword or key-phrase might be given that the H1 tag is supposed to represent a top level heading. Therefore Google gives more “Weight” to a keyword/phrase found in an H1 Tag than it does for the same keyword found in body copy.

Taking that a few more steps, if Google also finds our target keyword/phrase in the TITLE of the page, and in the URL of the page, and in image ALT text, etc etc, our page gets “Points” for the proper use of our keyword/phrase.

As you're likely aware there are a ton of free SEO tools and some of which actually do an OK job at grading a pages optimization. But there's more to it than on-page SEO.

Google now has the ability to measure off-page factors as well, which are then added to the ranking algorithm. It’s these off page factors that really make the difference these days. Here's what I mean:

Sticking with the Horse Racing theme, let's say you have to websites that are IDENTICAL in every way. Of course they have different domain names but let's just call them Site "A" and Site "B". Each site has the exact same number of pages, the exact same text, images, alt tags, descriptions, etc etc.

However, thanks to its extensive index (and now of course their "Free" analytics which EVERYBODY uses) Google now has the ability to see how many other websites or social media sites, or blogs or forums reference your site. You could think of each inbound link as a “Vote” for your site.

Let’s take that then to the obvious conclusion;

Sites A and B are identical EXCEPT that Site A has 100 incoming links or “votes” while Site B only has 5. Guess who gets the most link juice?

Site A of course. It’s more popular. If it’s more popular then Google give it more points for relevancy. Due to the fact that you're probably using Google Analytics, Google also now knows how many visits your site is getting, what keywords are used to find you, bounce rate, visitor time on site, etc. They also know how many social mentions you're getting on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc etc.

Relevancy is what generates ranking positions. From a pure SEO perspective It doesn’t matter how pretty your site is, it doesn’t matter how eloquent your writing, how great the photos, how well organized the content. The most relevant guy wins. End of story.

I'm really over simplifying here, but as long as you understand the concept of relevancy with regard to SEO you can be smarter with your SEO efforts.

I can see this subject will require at least another 1 or 2 posts so let me leave you with these questions:

1. What is the impact of a 1 page website on SEO?

2. Can you build a 1 page website that is highly relevant for multiple keywords and key-phrases?

3. What are some other key factors that affect Google's ranking algorithm?

And a bonus question....

Why do you think Google offers web analytics for free?

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page > 

Perception Vs Reality

How to get it right

Good evening fellow Propeller-heads! This article is a follow-up to the "Think Differently - Fosbury Flop" article, based on questions and user feedback.

As a professional "Googologist", I focus on effective online marketing strategies, ideally driven by my clients overall marketing plan. Hopefully that plan is well-conceived and appropiate to my clients business model and clients, but that is often NOT the case.

Online marketing is really no different than traditional marketing, except that it provides the ability to interact with our clients better than any other medium. A poor or inappropriate marketing strategy will fail online just as surely as it will offline.

You see, a website is not the "thing" just as money is not the "thing". Its really about what you can acquire with those things. Just as you need cash to purchase that shiny new laptop, you need an effective online prescence to get what you REALLY want which is more and better leads.

"Nobody really needs a drill, what they really want is a hole!"

Heres a scenario;

Suppose I offered you 2 proposals, both for $25k.

Option 1: I will build you a GORGEOUS website that nobody can find.

Option 2: I will build you a butt-ugly website that generates 50 to 100 targeted leads a month.

Which option would you choose?

Don't worry, I do both, just trying to make a point here).

Of course the goal for most for-profit companies is to convert those leads to paying customers, which then converts to dollars, which converts into new equipment, a larger facility, more employees, a bigger marketing budget, etc.

A beautiful website is useless if it cant be found on Google. If it cant be found, you'll get no traffic, no leads, no clients and no revenue. Its just like those business cards in your desk drawer, they're useless until you give them to someone.

Particularly when so many people are clamouring for attention.

How do we get noticed amongst all the noise?

Today, every communication channel is being overrun because people, businesses and organizations respond to the “noise” by simply increasing the volume, sending out more messages, yelling louder. Of course all that does is increase the noise level. You see the problem.

So really today what we need is to stand out from the crowd to get noticed. I’m now going to tell you a great story of someone who did exactly that in a very competitive market.

Story: "Whats the problem with Pink Salmon?"

This story is coming from memory so it’s probably not entirely accurate but you’ll get the point. For those of you don’t know about canned salmon, it is approximately 95% pink because most salmon are pink. That is your average salmon. Far and away the most common. Perfectly normal, nothing wrong with it. It is the accepted standard.

Back in the early 50s there was a fellow who somehow or other got hold of WHITE salmon which is quite rare. Exactly the same as pink salmon except for the color. No pluses or minuses, simply a different color.

But “white” salmon was also not known as a normal staple by most citizens. It wasn’t what they were used to buying. Do you know what his sales pitch was?

“Buy our white salmon, guaranteed not to turn pink in the can!”

By this simple statement this marketing genius was able to re-position his competition to make it sound like if you bought their (pink) product you were buying something substandard.

Get the point?

Perception and reality have nothing to do with one another. If you were a professional marketer you would understand this concept immediately.

If you are “perceived” as being better than the alternative - that is all that is required. Doesn’t matter if it’s true. Of course you should be able to back this up, just as this guy did. He didn't lie, his salmon really didn't turn pink as promised. Of course that was completely irrelevant, nevertheless quite effective.

For example;

GreyGoose Vodka is selling for $50.00 a bottle, yet it's not as good as a number of other lesser known brands.

Notice the new pitch from liberty mutual? " You only pay for what you need".
(Hmm, Does that mean I am paying for insurance that I don't need now? Perhaps I should check look into that.)

Somebody at Liberty Mutual knows what they're doing!

Hopefully I’ve given you something to think about.

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >

Lets Think Differently

Are You In?

Good evening everyone. It’s the holiday season again and as is typical, work is a bit slow, Clients waiting on next year’s budgets, everyone is tied up with Xmas, shopping, family stuff. I usually take this time of year to go through my contact list, purge old emails, backup my files, update passwords, profiles, etc. You know, just general housekeeping stuff.

I was also thinking about the “Fosbury Flop”. (Below)

So while I’m going through my old contacts deciding who to keep and who to throw out, I called an old friend that I used to work with back in the day. He now owns his own successful company using his considerable skills to help his own clients generate and close new business. As usual, we eventually got around to discussing modern day sales and marketing, something we’re both passionate about.

We both agreed that while we have more communication channels than ever before that the noise is increasing at an exponential rate. It is getting harder and harder to reach our ideal customers.

The solution everyone seems to have come up with is to play the numbers game, to simply Increase the volume of their marketing efforts, to use more channels than ever before, to over-communicate in the hopes that 1 out of 10 messages actually gets through the noise.

Of course all of this has the unintended consequences of simply increasing the noise level by another order of magnitude. You see the problem.

It’s time to think differently. We simply cannot keep doing more of what is already not working. You can do it now or you can do it later but eventually you’ll come to the same conclusion. It is inevitable.

Enter the “Fosbury Flop”.

What is the Fosbury Flop ? Here’s a summary from Wikipedia..

Description- The Fosbury Flop is a style used in the athletics event of high jump. It was popularized and perfected by American athlete Dick Fosbury, whose gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics brought it to the world's attention. Over the next few years, the flop became the dominant style of the event and remains so today.

This was a entirely new athletic technique for high jumping. Everyone laughed at Dick when he first did it. Now everyone does it that way. Fosbury was not afraid to think differently.

I have always been a non-conformist so this idea really appeals to me. If the crowd goes left I sometimes go right simply because its the road less traveled and you never know what you may find down there. Sure others say “I’ve been down that road I know what’s there it’s not worth your time” but every once in a while a Fosbury comes along and changes everything.

So to my friends and acquaintances I encourage you to think about that. Are we simply going to keep doing what we’ve always done with diminishing returns? Or are we going to think and act differently even if it means taking a risk?

What say you? Am I the only one seeing this? Does anybody else have this figured out yet? I’ve got some ideas.

I’d love to start a discussion. (And no I’m not trying to sell you anything).

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >

The Art of Persuasion

Thought of the Day...

My favorite quote of all time has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln who said;

"If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree.... I'd spend the first seven hours sharpening my axe".

What does this mean? It means putting yourself in the optimal position to get the results you desire as efficiently as possible. It means doing your home work, knowing your Niche, and knowing your audience, intimately. In particular their key emotional drivers. Why is that important? Because in every case, a purchase comes down to an emotional driver. No if's and's or but's.

Basically you have to convince your ideal customer that the value of what you have to offer is greater than the cost of acquiring it. To do that, you must be persuasive.

Perhaps you've heard the following anecdotes;

Don't sell the mop, sell the shiny floor. (So I can feel proud of my home)

Don't sell the car, sell the roar of the engine. (So I can impress girls)

Don't sell the mattress, sell a good nights sleep. (So I can feel more energetic)

Do you see the difference? Nobody wants a drill, what they really want is a hole. Think like this and you're well on your way.

Throughout my career as a "Googologist", I've read countless books on every facet of online marketing. One of my all time favorites is "Influence, the psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini".

You can get it here at Amazon >

If you're serious about making a living online or promoting your physical storefront online, you will be well rewarded for learning everything you can about persuasion marketing and psychology. And you have to be damn good at it. After all, there is no friendly salesperson helping your customers on your site. Answering their questions, pointing them to the cash register etc. You have to anticipate your audiences fears, desires and motivations.

Here's a simple example;

How many of you get spam? Everyone? I'm shocked. Lol. We all probably have our own ritual of "The Daily Purge" where we go through our email and purge the emails for Viagra, the prince from Africa who needs your help transferring $50M dollars, The endless multitude of "Buy My Sh!t" offers. You all know what I mean. You and your customers know that it will only get worse every time you give up your email.

So when you - or your customers- are hovering over the Submit button, what are you/they thinking about? Most likely it's one or several of the following fears:

Problem 1....Eeesh, if I give them my email will they sell it to every spammer on the planet?

Problem 2.....Do I even know if this has value for me before I give up my email? Are they going to email me every day? (Very common mistake).

Problem 3.....If it turns out I don't like what I get, is it going to be a major pain to unsubscribe?

By thinking through user psychology, you can allay their fears. Here's a few simple and mostly common sense tips.

First, make SURE your customer knows what you want them to do, as in "CLICK HERE DUMMY!" Use a BAB (Big A$ Button - if you can't see it clearly from 5 feet away, it's too small. You've probably seen a "Squeeze Page", they are purposefully designed for this.

Second, make sure you have text right near the submit button that states something like "we respect your privacy" or "we hate spam too!" Along with the link to your privacy policy. Use a pop up for the PP so you keep them in the funnel. Don't give them an excuse to jump the fence. They close the pop up (which hardly any one reads) and they're right back at the BAB. Pop ups aren't just for the cool factor, there are times to use them and times not to. Again, purposeful design.

You thought the Privacy Policy page was just legal gibberish? It's not, it's a persuasion technique. That's why every site should have one. Take it further and let them know how often they will receive communications from you and keep your promise. Problem 1 Solved.

Problem 2... Prove Value FIRST! How about a link to a few of your previous emails or information you've previously sent before they subscribe so they can see it's worth their time. That and a well designed intro video will increase your CTR. Problem 2 Solved.

Problem 3.. Is it going to be a pain to unsubscribe if I don't want to receive correspondence from you? Let them know that if they do decide to unsubscribe, that you've made it super simple such as having a graphic or text to the effect of "1 Click Unsubscribe". Purposeful design. I shouldn't even have to visit a web page, and enter my email address then choose to opt out of your 12 different newsletters. (Another common mistake). 1 Click.. that's it. Be smart.

Oh, and lastly, don't ask for more than the minimum of information you need to continue to warm up the customer and move them towards a future purpose. I typically only ask for their first name and email.

I really only need the name so I can customize my emails, I.e. Dear [FIRSTNAME], yadda yadda...

Remember, this is a first date, they need to get to know you before giving out too much personal info, don't you feel that way? How would you feel if your on your first outing your date asks:

So, approximately how much are you pulling down per year? Did you do well in college? Is your family wealthy? Have you had lots of previous girl/boy friends? You get the idea.

As a marketer, I don't even need a name, just an email. If I can get the name and other info great. but don't ask me to give that up until I know you're worth my time. Remember that unsubscribe button is just a click away. Don't give me a reason to use it.

As you prove value, they get to know you and trust you. Today's marketing automation does a great job of building out the customer profile with future communications, surveys, etc.

Since I suffer from "IDKWIDKY", I would love to hear about other books you all feel have been invaluable to you.

So give it up people! Tell me where to learn what I Don't Know... yet

(Pronounced "IdkeeWidekee" - IDKWIDKY = I Don't Know What I Don't Know Yet).

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >

The Cookie Explained

What Are They? | Part 1

Good day everyone. Hope you're all honing your superpowers!

Last week I wrote a (hopefully) understandable post about how tracking pixels work and why they're so important in understanding user behavior. If you haven't read that yet, do that first then come back to this post, it'll make more sense.

Rather than going into a detailed explanation of cookies, I'd like to tell you a story about a 1 Year gig I had with Mattel back when I lived in Wisconsin.

The project was specifically for implementing WebTrends, a high-end analytics software ($1M Plus) used by Mattel in their American Girl Division based in Madison Wisconsin. (Guys you've probably never heard of American Girl (AG) but trust me, just about every female on the planet knows who they are – Watch how their eyes light up when you mention them).

At the time I was the Online Marketing Director for a large company in Green Bay who had bought my company to add Online Marketing to their offerings.

I'd have to say that throughout my 21 year career in Online Marketing, I have never worked with a company that was more sophisticated with their online marketing than Mattel. These guys really have it going on. A lot of very smart people and this was several years back.

American Girl uses almost every form of online (and offline) marketing under the sun. They have Retail Stores, they've made American Girl movies, Videos, Books, they use SEO, PPC, PPV, Email Marketing, Banner Advertising, Retargeting, Remarketing, Billboards, TV, Radio and probably a handful of other channels I've forgotten.

The objective of the project was to track users across all of these channels and to build a profile to understand their interactions and to make offers that were most relevant to each user. Mass-Customized marketing at its finest.

AG is an amazing company, started by a sharp little old lady (Pleasant Rowland) in her basement; she came up with the idea not just to sell dolls but to sell story lines for each doll, and accessories to match. So if you bought the "Molly" doll, you bought into the story, you'd buy the doll, the books, videos, clothing outfits, even pets that were specific to that doll. The idea found fertile ground among young girls, and Pleasant later sold to Mattel for umpty million dollars. A true success story.

Now here's the trick: how do you market to someone if you don't know who they are? Often, at least at the beginning of the relationship, we may not even have an email address; we only have an anonymous "Signature". Here's what I mean...

Someone visits the AG site for the very first time, could be a little girl, could be her mom or her grandmother looking to buy something for their daughter or granddaughter. They hit the site and thanks to the mighty pixel we begin the first step in building out the user profile EVEN THOUGH we don't yet know who he/she is.

Thanks to the tracking pixel, (See "The Mighty Pixel" article) we DO know that they came from a specific IP address (Which is typically static), they visited these specific pages, they stayed on the site for X amount of time, they're on a Mac computer running the Safari web browser at a specific screen resolution, etc etc.

They haven't made a purchase yet so we don't know who this person is - i.e.we don't yet have a name - but we DO have a fingerprint/digital signature. In addition to the unique fingerprint, we've also dropped a cookie on their hard drive as sort of a temporary "ID" that stores useful information for later use.

Tip: if you wanna see cookies on your own computer using chrome as an example, enter this into the address bar on Chrome: chrome://settings/content/cookies. Go ahead, open one up, they’re just simple text files for storing information. Unless you're blocking and clearing cookies on a regular basis, I can promise.. you've got em.

So now we have a Digital Signature and we have a Cookie that resides on the user’s computer that contains additional information. Just as JavaScript fires a pixel as explained in the mighty pixel post, there is likely another JavaScript (or similar technology) that upon loading the requested page says "Hey, do you have a cookie for me?". If there is a cookie, say for American Girl, we retrieve the cookie and now we know we're communicating with Anonymous Potential Customer #4-23378332.

"Well yeah, I get that but what use is it if I don't know who they are?"

THE CHALLENGE!

OK, I can see already this is going to be at least a two-part post, so before I write the second part, I’m going to challenge you with the following scenario. Let's put our super power to work on this and see what we can discern.

What can you tell me about this fictitious anonymous user based on just the following information?

This user has recently visited the AARP.com, TheNationalHotRodAssociation.com and E-Trade.com. This user’s IP Address is 52.146.70.209

Bonus Question: You get extra brownie points if you can answer this question: WHERE is this user located?

What can you tell me about this person based on ONLY the above information?

Put your thinking caps on, this is important to understand.

Be sure to come back for part 2. It's about to get interesting!

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page > 

The Cookie Explained

How to Use Them | Part 2

This is the continuation of my first Blog post on “The Cookie Explained - Part 1”. If you haven’t read that post, read it first then come back here.

The Challenge Answers: In the first post I made the following challenge:

What can you tell me about this fictitious anonymous user based on just the following information?

This user has recently visited the AARP.com, TheNationalHotRodAssociation.com and E-Trade.com. This user’s IP Address is 52.146.70.209

Bonus Question: You get extra brownie points if you can answer this question: Where is this user located?

What can you tell me about this person based on only the above information?

Here are just a few of the possible answers.

AARP.com – Likely of Retirement age right? Wouldn’t suggest selling this person a subscription to Teen Magazine.

TheNationalHotRodAssociation.com – Hope I didn’t offend with this one but wanted to make it obvious. If our anonymous user visited this site, what is their likely gender? Probably Male (Though these days that’s not a given).

E-Trade.com – This person is likely an investor – or an investor wanna-be so likely has disposable income and may be open to other investment opportunities. Couple that with the fact that we already know they're older from their interest in AARP.com.

So now we know our Anonymous user is likely 50+, Male, and is an investor or has disposable income. This is just a simple example of the kind of intelligence you can get through analytics and metadata. Based only on this limited information, our marketing just got a lot smarter right?

Bonus Question Answer – Our Anonymous user came from Washington Virginia (See https://www.iplocation.net/) Of course you can get this information from Google Analytics in a nifty interactive map.

So lets’ get back To The Cookie and the American Girl Story…

As you can see from the above challenge, we can make a lot of very educated guesses as to various traits from our anonymous user, but we still don’t know WHO they are…. Yet.

What American Girl did that was so impressive was to log all this user data into a data warehouse or a “Cube” so that they could connect various data points sometime in the future. Remember, we’ve dropped a cookie so we do know when we’re communicating with Anonymous Potential Customer #4-23378332.

What happens next is both amazing and a bit spooky. And remember, this was several years ago.

Scenario….

Martha Jones is a 62 year old grandmother just coming home to Chicago on a flight after visiting her precious 7 yr old granddaughter, who is of course the bestest, funniest, most prettiest, smartest grandchild in the history of man. (You grandparents know what I’m talking about, and no we don’t want to see pictures).

On the flight home, she’s reading an in-flight magazine and sees an ad for American Girl, thinking this would be the perfect gift for her granddaughter. She pockets the magazine, and takes it home. Martha is now Brand Aware.

After a few days, life has returned to normal, Martha has gotten unpacked from the trip and put the in flight magazine with the bookmarked American Girl ad next to her computer.

That evening, Martha opens the ad. Seeing the web address, she opens her browser and visits www.americangirl.com. The website records her initial digital signature/IP Address and drops a cookie on her hard drive assigning her an ID of “Anonymous Potential Customer #4-23379481”. This is the first indication that Martha exits, even though AG doesn’t yet know her name.

Martha spends about 30 minutes on the website, looking around at all the myriad of offerings. She quickly becomes overwhelmed at the choices, but she hits the “Molly Doll” page at least 3 times during her browser session. Thanks to the tracking pixel and the cookie, all of this data is recorded into Mattel’s data warehouse.

During this web session, Martha learns that there is an American Girl retail location in Chicago, and it’s only 22 miles away! The website is great but she wants to see Molly for herself so she calls up Gladys and Maude, whereupon they schedule a trip for Saturday into the city. Gladys and Maude, who surprisingly enough also have the worlds’ most amazing granddaughters have just become brand aware too.

Saturday rolls around so Martha and her posse all head to town to see the AG Store. While there she is amazed at what she finds. The product, presentation and branding are state-of-the-art. If you've ever been to an AG store you know what I mean. (If you're a guy, I don't suggest going by yourself - You'll just get funny looks).

Though she’s not yet ready to commit to a buying Molly, she does find a great little book about the character Molly whom she had just looked at on the website a few days before. Martha makes the $12 purchase using her credit card. This of course contains her name and address as well as CC info. She also opts to have her receipt emailed to her at MJones44567@Gmail.com.

This information is written into the data warehouse and is tagged as “Martha Jones”.

We now have two discrete collections of data in the data base but they haven’t yet been associated to one another…. Yet.

A few days have passed, Martha has read through the Molly book. She knows all about the Molly Story and thinks this would be perfect for her granddaughter. That evening, while watching Murder She Wrote, Martha visits the American Girl Website once again. The home page loads and right at the top of the page is an offer for the Molly Doll Collection. Wow what a coincidence! Exactly what she was interested in. It’s almost like AG can read her mind.

Of course, AG can’t read her mind but thanks to her previous website visit and the cookie, AG knows that she visited the Molly pages during her previous visit. So when the page loads, the cookie is retrieved from her computer, the AG server says “AHA! This is Anonymous Potential Customer #4-23379481. She was just here a few days ago and we know she’s been lurking around the Molly pages, so let’s pop up an offer for something we already know she’s interested in”.

Now remember, at this point the website/data warehouse doesn’t yet know that “Anonymous Potential Customer #4-23379481” is in fact Martha Jones who made a purchase at the retail store. After all, Martha hasn’t yet purchased from the website.

In reading through the Molly offer, Martha sees that if she’s a member of the AG Fan Club, she can get special offers and discounts if she signs up with her email address and provides her name, address, phone, etc.

By now Martha is pretty sure she’s going to buy a Molly doll for her granddaughter so of course she creates her fan club account, enters her email address and WHAMO! The data warehouse now associates the email address from her purchase at the retail store with her CC info, name, home address AND her purchases.

AG now knows that Martha Jones and Anonymous Potential Customer #4-23379481 are in fact the same person. All of that information is now migrated to Martha’ profile where we now have a 50,000 foot view of Martha’s interaction with the company including what happened previously before we even knew who she was. Sort of like reaching back in time. How cool is that?

The website will now recognize when Martha returns, what she’s purchased in the past – her interactions with the company both online and offline - what she’s expressed interest in and through some database magic, it serves up the Molly Ad to Martha based on her profile.

Now THAT is impressive. It took some very smart people to figure this out.

So ask yourself; If you could combine all this metadata and behavioral data along with the metadata and behavioral Facebook has about your potential customers, do you think you could market smarter?

Of Course!

Sorry for another long post, I hope you find this helpful. If so, perhaps we can dive a bit deeper and discuss Re-marketing. If you understand the info above, you’re already in a great position to understand how to use re-marketing to make your advertising even more effective.

Re-marketing is a clever way to connect with visitors to your website who may not have made an immediate purchase or inquiry. It allows you to position targeted ads in front of a defined audience that had previously visited your website - as they browse elsewhere around the internet.

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >

How to Sell More Hamburgers

..Or Anything Else

I'm about to share with you one of the most powerful concepts in marketing. You may have heard this story in the past, if so, it’s a good reminder. If not, we’re certain you’ll get the point.

Selling More Burgers?

There’s nothing new about internet marketing. The "cutting edge" online marketing strategies that we use today were actually pioneered by old school direct marketers long before the internet was even invented.

Back then, these "paper-and-ink men" who would usually send their sales copy out with a stamp, rather than a mouse-click.

But there's a big difference between marketing today, and marketing back then. While today, we can send an email to thousands of people practically for free – the "pen-and-ink men" would need to pay up-front for paper, stamps, envelopes, printing costs, and someone to stuff thousands of envelopes! This meant the stakes were much higher back then, compared to today.

If the "pen and ink" men couldn’t make enough money to pay for stamps and envelope-stuffing, there was no cheap-hit second chance - no sticking up another web-page and trying again! So they had to create profitable marketing campaigns every time - or risk going bankrupt!

This profit-or-die world of direct marketing back then created some of the sharpest, most street-smart marketers seen today - and one of the sharpest of them all was Gary Halbert.

Gary had a reputation in the industry as the "The Prince of Print" - he was a master of the written word. Equipped with nothing more than a pad and pen, he would seduce crowds of people to buy just about anything: ...the latest Rolls Royce convertible, celebrity diet plans, perfume fragrances, martial arts courses, guides to good sex, histories of a surname...

You name it; he sold it - making him millions of dollars along the way! ...And he did it all before the internet was even a twinkle in some computer engineer's eye.

But it wasn’t just his marketing skill that set Gary apart as the "Prince of Print". Gary also was incredibly generous in sharing what he knew about marketing. Keep in mind that the lessons Gary had learned came as a result of a lifetime of very difficult (and expensive) learning experiences. What he knew cost him a lot to learn!

But he'd share what he knew liberally, through his newsletter "The Gary Halbert Letter" - or every once in a while, in a classroom-style setting, at a marketing seminar. One of these seminars in particular is now part of internet marketing legend - people still speak about this event today.

Something happened this day...

It was still early in the day, and Gary had already given away more pearls of marketing wisdom than most seasoned pros would gather in a lifetime. He was just about to start talking about the difference between a successful marketing campaign, and a marketing flop. And then... Gary paused…

Turning to the audience, he asked a single question. This question was so simple, yet so devastatingly powerful, that people in the direct marketing world still talk about it today. Facing his students, he asked:

"If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who could sell the most hamburgers... ...What advantages would you most like to have on your side to help you win?"

The room fell silent for a moment – you could almost hear people think. Everyone respected Gary Halbert as a wise marketer, but few people saw him as a jolly and affable old man. To most people, Gary Halbert was arrogant and pompous! Every one of his students wanted the satisfaction of being able to knock Gary Halbert off his insufferably smug perch - just once – and here was their opportunity!

Almost at once, they began shouting a volley of responses:

"I would use the tastiest, freshest hamburger meat!"

"My prices would be the lowest!"

"I'd want a world-famous recipe!"

"I'd offer customers credit, so they could pay later!"

"I'd have more staff so that I could serve more people faster!"

"I'd sell my burgers wholesale!"

Gary Halbert listened patiently to all of their answers, until everyone had their turn. "OK...' he replied, smugly smiling the weathered, all knowing grin of an old master. "I'll give you every single advantage you have asked for... I only want ONE advantage and, if you give it to me, I will whip the pants off all of you when it comes to selling burgers!"

The students leaned forward in their chairs. What answer could they have possibly missed? Sure, Gary Halbert was a brilliant sales person - but how could he possibly complete against every other advantage - let alone beat them all at once?

"The only advantage I want is.....A Starving Crowd!"

Gary knew something that the other marketers had overlooked... He knew the value of a large market, full of motivated buyers.

You can have every other advantage in the world – the best location, the best reputation, the best prices, the best terms, and the best product – but if you can’t find people hungry for your hamburgers, how can you possibly expect to make sales? It had taken years for Gary Halbert to realize that the most important element of any marketing campaign is the quality of your target market.

The master had taught his students well. That's why this story is retold by direct response marketers to this day. It's because this story shows the value of getting the market research phase right!

Personal Note: I highly recommend you read the" Niche Marketing Blackbook" (it's free - Google it). This may be the most important information you ever read for your online marketing career. Most of this information is from that book.

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >

The Mighty Pixel

It's so Small! How Can it be so Important?

I'm seeing lots of questions on multiple online marketing forums about "pixels", many of you have learned you need them but you may not understand what they are, how they work, and why they're so important. Lemme break it down for you...

A pixel is exactly that. A single pixel image. It's just about the tiniest file you can send or receive so when it's transmitted, it's nearly instantaneous.

CAUTION! GEEK STUFF AHEAD! You can do it, press on, it's worth it.

So think in terms of "client-side" and "server-side". The CLIENT (Geek-Speak for User) is the browser used to request a web page. This of course is what we want, for lots of clients or users to visit our sales pages right?

The SERVER-side is the actual web-server that serves up your website. these days likely housed at a cloud hosting site like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure just to name a few. So somewhere, there is a server, a computer who's only job is to store web pages and to provide them when requested. That's the web server.

When you create a page on your website, you're saving it to a folder somewhere on the web server. Not really any different than saving to your own computer really. In fact, I have 3 web servers and the assets for each website are stored under a "websites" folder on the servers D-Drive.

If you've made it through that, here comes the cool part. Bear with me.

So you've got this great eCommerce site, blog, sales funnel, but you need more than just hit data to make good decisions right? For example, where did this user come from? What keyword did he use to find me? What was his path through my site? How long did he stay? Did he buy? Did he even make it to my buy page?

How do we get this data? You guessed it. The Mighty Pixel! Here's how it works:

The User (Client) hears about you due to your outstanding marketing. He then requests your web-page by clicking a link or typing your URL into his browser.

The pixel code you're using is JavaScript, it doesn't matter if it's for Google analytics, Facebook analytics, or any other third party tracker, they almost all work pretty much the same. Your JavaScript "Fires" when the page loads on the clients browser. Before your beautiful, well designed page even finishes loading the JavaScript requests a special pixel from the server. It happens nearly instantaneously.

But the real reason for the request is to uh... "call home to momma" and to pass along some helpful info. After all, you can't even see the pixel on the rendered web page. In fact it may be a white pixel on a white web page.

So the client says "gimme that web page", the server says "here you go" and provides all the assets the client needs to render the page on their browser. Text, images, tables, style sheets, JavaScript, etc. (including our special Pixel) This happens seamlessly.

There's some stuff going on behind the scenes that you're not really seeing. When your browser (or your customers browser) is communicating with the web server it's passing lots of useful data such as the users IP, their device type, browser & version, time of the request, referring site, search keywords, and so on.

For you super geeks, the "Request" from the client looks something like this:

192.168.198.92 - - [22/Dec/2002:23:08:37 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 6394 www.yahoo.com "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1...)" "-"192.168.198.92 - - [22/Dec/2002:23:08:38 -0400] "GET /images/logo.gif HTTP/1.1" 200 807 www.yahoo.com

If you're a super nerd, open Google Chrome's inspector window (Ctrl + Shift + I) , and you can see the communications happening behind the scenes.

You see all that metadata? It may look funky but there's GOLD in that data!

So when my home page or my sales page loads, the Pixel is requested and all that metadata is sent to the server where it's then converted to charts and graphs that we humans can use and understand to make good decisions.

When the user responds to my killer offer and submits his email, my thank you page loads, and you guessed it, it requests the same pixel. But now the browser says "Hey, I'm the same browser session (User) that requested your home page from this IP address a bit ago. Now I'm requesting the Thank You page, and oh by the way it's been 90 seconds since I began my visit to your site.

And wouldn't you know, your phenomenal video is 80 seconds long. As a good marketer does, you're paying attention to your analytics right? RIGHT?

Based on that tiny pixel you now have insight as in...HEY! That guy watched my whole video! AND he hit the Thank You page which he can only get to if he submitted his email! AND he found me from a google search where he searched on "work from home jobs". AND since google can map IP's to geography, I know he came from Milwaukee Wisconsin and visited my site at 7:30 pm! I also dropped a cookie on his computer so when he comes back I'll recognize him.

How cool is that?

All due to the humble.... yet mighty.....pixel.

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >

Google's Golden Triangle

The Importance of Search Engine Rankings

Good day everyone! As of late my posts have been a bit tech heavy so I thought i'd give you some eye candy today.

If you've read any of my previous posts you may know, I once owned my own online marketing company which I sold to a larger firm in Green Bay Wisconsin. I then worked for the acquiring company for 6 years as their director of online marketing.

As part of a larger company, I now had access to resources I simply didn't have as a small 12 person firm. One of the best benefits was an ongoing training budget which I used to the full.

Probably my most memorable event was the opportunity to go to California back in 2006 for the Search Engine Strategies conference. I even got to visit the Google campus. Way cool! (I was particularly impressed with the corn dogs in the lunch room, they were HUGE!)

The Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference was the GoTo conference for Online Marketers, it was - and is - the best place to stay current with online marketing technologies, to learn, meet vendors, etc.

During the SES conference that year, the big buzz was all about the first Eye Tracking study that had been released by a company by the name of Enquiro. PPC was still in it's infancy, everyone was still focused on SEO or "Organic" listings, so Search Rankings were extremely important. PPC or "Pay-Per-Click" advertising was still in it's infancy.

Of course we all knew that being at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) was extremely important, but Enquiro was the first company to really show empirical proof of that with such a visual impact. They coined the phrase "Google's Golden Triangle".

In a nutshell, what they did was to task a very large group of individuals to perform thousands of searches in front of computers which had been modified with eye tracking technology. Essentially, as users ran various searches - some planned, some free-form - the eye tracking equipment mapped where their eyes tracked across the page. This data was then compiled into what we've come to know as a heat map. (See Above).

The image you're seeing above shows all of that data aggregated into a 1 page heat map but it represents thousands of searches. The pattern is unmistakable and has come to be known as "Google's Golden Triangle". If your listing was in the triangle it was golden because you were getting the highest visibility, thus (presumably) more traffic and more sales.

What is Google’s Golden Triangle?

The Golden Triangle is a distinct area of intense eye scan activity that is shown in the diagram below. It’s important to understand that the Golden Triangle pattern is seen in first time visits to a results page. I find it easiest to think of it as a storm map. The darker the area (Red) the higher the eye traffic.

The red lines below the triangle indicated various screen resolutions. Remember this was well before mobile and responsive web technologies had become mainstream. The larger your monitor the more listings you could see "Above The Scroll".

The purple "X's" are where users clicked in relationship to where they viewed. You can see that the vast majority of clicks occurred at the top left in the Hot Zone, then trailed off significantly as users moved into the cooler sections further down the page.

Now keep in mind, this was a life time ago in Internet terms, Google SERPS look entirely different today but it's still information worth knowing. Since then, millions have been spent by others including large online retailers who applied this same tech to their own sites.

The same eye tracking study also indicated that the number of people who examined page 1 results was about 100% as you'd expect. That number fell off to 17% for page 2 and 4% for page 3 (The study assumed at that time that the typical google user had their browser set at the default 10 results per page).

Long story short, if you weren't on page 1, you were missing as much as 83% of potential traffic. Even if you were on page 1, you really needed to be in the Golden Triangle to take full advantage of Google Traffic.

This is when I REALLY got interested in SEO and within a year I completed by Google Certification. Since then, I've acquired thousands of page one listings for clients all across the US.

Alas, I feel that SEO is gasping it's last breath. (I can't believe i'm saying this...) Remember Google doesn't make a penny from your SEO/Organic Listings, nor do they offer any type of performance guarantee for non-paid listings. They're not Evil, but they are a for profit company... follow the money.

So think hard about your online marketing. What is Google going to look like 3, 6, 12 months from now? Your organic rankings are already pushed below the scroll in most cases by top of page PPC ads, map boxes, and other content. Getting into the Golden Triangle these days is nearly impossible unless you've got VERY deep pockets.

Now with the explosion of mobile devices, users may only be seeing the top 3 or 4 PPC ads. We already know that usage patterns changed based on the context of the device they're using to browse the Internet.

What damage will be caused by the next algorithm update? If your livelihood is based upon Google rankings, you should seriously consider joining the Dark Side of PPC advertising, or at least dip your toe in the water.

I'm just sayin....

Link To Original PDF Excerpt > 

Note! Some of this information may be out of date. I'm resurrecting some previous articles that I feel still have value.

Read the original article on our LinkedIn page >


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