Thursday, December 3, 2009

When it comes to online content, more niche usually trumps more masses

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RT @AnthillMagazine: Gartner predicts top 10 consumer mobile applications for 2012
The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Search Users Seek, Social Media Users Discover

Together search and social media are redefining the way consumers discover, consider and align with brands.

Find out more in Traffika's latest blog post.
How Twitter lists can damage your brand

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Is your website easy to buy from? Tips you can test to improve your site's checkout process
Brands have lost control. And what to do about it nice post from @joellimjohan

Monday, November 16, 2009

Congratulations to @springfreetramp for cracking the 1000 facebook fans! Your campaign is rocking along facebook

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A great summary of a keynote from Tony Hsieh at @zappos: Let customers do your marketing for you
5 Hot Social Shopping Trends to Watch For via @mashable socialmedia ecommerce shopping
Bing Adds Wolfram Alpha to Search Results via @mashable bing search
Facebook Ads Now Let You Target Friends of Your Fans via @mashable socialmedia facebook

Friday, September 4, 2009

Digital Futures - A great success

I had the privileged of presenting at the Digital Futures conference yesterday hosted by the Innovation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

My session was on driving and converting traffic. I've posted a more comprehensive debrief over at the Traffika More Quality Clicks blog, but below is my presentation from the day.

You can also see the Tweet stream here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

6 Internet Marketing Game Changers? New Traffika Post

I've just put a new post up on the Traffika More Quality Clicks blog that looks at a number of recent announcement in the internet industry and considers their implications for brands, agencies and businesses in Australia when developing strategy and reaching customers?

For all the details go to

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Socialnomics - The Audience Has Already Shifted.

I've put a new post up on Traffika's More Quality Clicks blog about the recent Socialnomics video.

If you haven't had a chance to see the video yet, I've embedded it below.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Reaching Global Audiences With Search Engine Marketing - New Traffika Post

I've just put a new post up on the Traffika More Quality Clicks blog that looks at planning a global Search Engine Marketing campaign.

For all the details go to

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Social Media in the Marketing Mix - New Traffika Post

I just put a new post up on Traffika's More Quality Clicks blog. It covers off a presentation I made a couple of nights ago about Social Media For Business at the Digital Strategies for Business Success seminar.

For all the details go to

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Us Now - the power of mass collaboration & the Internet.

Just finished watching this eye opening film Us Now about the power of mass collaboration, government and the Internet.

Some very interesting insights into how the web and social media are causing a power shift of seismic proportions.

It includes some great examples of how social media is changing the way people communicate and decisions get made right now.

After watching it, I am left thinking about 2 words..... Imagine If?

I've embedded the trailer below or you can watch the full film online for free at


Friday, July 3, 2009

Facebook Fanomenon - 3 Tips for Building Your Brands Facebook Fan Base

Facebooks' relentless growth and roll-out of new products and features to create more value for users and brands seems to be gathering pace rapidly with a string on new API features and astonishing growth in new users.

According to Inside Facebook, the social networking giant is now growing by over 700,000 new users per day with a user base of around 250 million.

There is the plethora of new tools Facebook has opened up to brands like Facebook Connect, Open Stream and Live Stream that brings the viral power of social media to 3rd party websites outside of Facebook.

Then there is the Facebook Page for businesses - "a public profile that enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users". This is the starting point for building a brand presence on Facebook.

With the massive scale of Facebooks' user base and all these options available, it is understandable that businesses might feel lost when trying to understand how best to establish and build a brand presence for customers, or fans, to connect with them on Facebook.

While the tools from Facebook are free, like any marketing initiative it is important you have a strategy and plan in place before rushing out and jumping on the Facebook bandwagon. Many a brand has come unstuck by poorly executing their entry onto Facebook.

Once you have determined that Facebook is right for your business and established your plan you need to register your Facebook Page for you business. This will establish your brand presence and protect IP from imitators or cyber squatters.

Much like your corporate website, a Facebook Page isn't much value without visitors to your page. In the same way that you 'friend' your personal relationships on Facebook, customers and brand advocates 'fan' your business Facebook Page.

Building a fan base is critical to the success of your Facebook Page and here are 3 tips to get you on the way.

1. Value, Value, Value
If there 2 things that are going to destroy your reputation on Facebook quickly its spam and poor quality content. While Facebooks' user engagement time is impressive, if the quality of your page is poor and the value it provides low, visitors will leave your page, never to return again.

Your page must provide value - engagement, entertainment or education - pick 1, 2 or all 3, but provide genuinely valuable content.

There are so many content options available: 3rd party applications, news streams, videos, games, FAQs, blog feeds and the list goes on. Invest the time in creating valuable content.

2. Tagging
Everyone loves to see their own name up in lights, the viral power of Facebooks' news feeds help spread the word.

Uploading and tagging pictures and videos of company events that feature your customers, team members, partners, suppliers and even competitors will dramatically extend your reach by featuring in their personal newsfeeds.

3. Competitions & Sweepstakes
Facebook users love competitions, and lets face it, who doesn't want to win something for nothing? Many brands, both large and small, have successfully used competitions and sweepstakes to grow huge fan bases on Facebook.

Competitions that include a tagging element (like Dunkin Donuts recent Keep It Coolatta promotion) are a great way to get fans engaging with your brand and virally spread the good word on your business.

The are some great Facebook Apps available to help you quickly build and launch a Facebook competition, one we work with is WildfireApp. So no matter what size your business is there is no reason why you can't successfully run a your own competition on Facebook.

Like any new medium there is still so much for brands to learn to truly harness the full potential of Facebook.

If you have had experience and learned some lessons on using Facebook for business I'd love to hear your comments?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Landing Pages - Does Size Really Matter?

It's an age old question, does size really matter? When thinking about landing page design this highly provocative question still rings true.

My company helps our clients get more value from their landing pages, aiming to squeeze every last conversion from what on the surface looks to be a simple internet marketing process - get some qualified traffic to a web page and enable that traffic to convert to leads or sales.

What we find time-and-time again is landing page design is a highly complex process that is part art, part science and part voodoo magic!

There is no shortage of tools available to help with landing page optimization including Google's free Website Optimizer for A/B split and multivariate testing. But tools and data analysis will only get you so far because at the end of the day the human element, and in particular user intent for arriving on your landing page in the first place, often plays the deciding factor.

This often intangible element of 'user intent' can be difficult to plan and design for, particularly when users are in the early stages of the conversion or buying process.

Our clients often wonder if we can't be exactly sure of where the website visitor is in the decision making process is it better to have a long form landing page that contains loads of information about the company's product, offer and business or is a 'less-is-more' approach more effective to gently move the prospect step by step through the conversion process? Does the size (length) of the landing page really matter?

It depends.

There really is no right or wrong answer, it comes down to establishing a proper testing framework so as many variables as possible can be isolated and analyzed effectively and contextually. This also means being able to issolate user intent.

As a side note, pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising can assist in issolating user intent, by grouping keywords around key themes and sending that visitor to a specific landing page that considers where that visitor may be in the conversion decision process based on the keywords they have searched for.

But back to the question at hand...

As a general statement for highly targeted lead generation campaigns (like B2C competitions or B2B whitepaper downloads), I've found that short and simple landing page design works best. A single and very simple call to action and everything on the landing page above the page fold.

For more complex conversion goals (like early stage eCommerce research or detailed information products) a multi-step conversion funnel where the objective of the landing page is to have the visitor complete a micro conversion (like clicking a link to learn more) also works well.

There is also a place for the long form conversion page, and we generally see them tailored to information or digital products where the credibility of the product and the desire to own them is built up over a very long page with techniques like customer testimonials and free offers.

Determining which one will work best for your product and your business is a structured process of testing, measuring and optimizing. The true measure of a sucessful landing page is really only determined by how it meets the stated objective of the campaign (more views, more clicks, more leads and ultimately more sales).

If you have experience of which type of landing page works best for certain products, I'd love to hear you comments?


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Publisher Yields Vs Advertiser ROI - Money Talks.

Risk free advertising. Only pay for the ads that work. At least that's the promise of performance media. Actually achieving this scenario, at scale, is part art and part science.

With the seemingly insatiable growth of performance based online media buying it is interesting to watch the 'ying and yang' of the publisher and advertiser relationship.

Publishers are reluctantly offering more and more performance based products to help monitised their unsold ad inventory and meet market demand from advertisers. They do so very cautiously in the hope they are not canabilising their premium products or placing too much downward pressure on their yeilds.

It's a tough spot to be in: millions of unsold ad impressions and huge market demand to buy this inventory on a performance basis. So what's a publisher to do? At least get some return on this inventory and sell it to the highest bidder, or, carefully manage the sell through to protect yields, often hindering the advertisers ability to get scale from their creative and product investments.

I have a number of clients who have uncapped marketing budgets - they will continue to invest in buying advertising as long as they can acquire leads or sales profitably. It's called sales lead advertising, but for too long traditional media publishers have conditioned marketers to think it should be the other way around with advertising lead sales.

So how do we bring both sides together to reach a win/win?

Publishers need to play nicer and do 2 things:
  1. Lower the barier to entry for test campaigns. Having high test campaign budget threshholds, or worse still, forcing the advertiser to pay on a CPM basis for test campaigns, sends a very clear message to advertisers - the publishers is not interested in a developing a long term win/win relationship.
  2. Enable better inventory targeting options on performance buys. Just by enabling advertisers to target who / where the ads are displayed is going to have a positive impact on yeilds as there won't be running hundreds of thousands of wasted impressions to an uninterested audience that never had a chance of converting anyway. The technology exists to do it, yet there is resistance for fear of devaluing premium products.
Advertisers need to focus on 2 things:
  1. Invest the time and resources in developing and testing optimal creative and landing pages. A key component in the publisher yield formula is conversion rates. Until advertisers can reliably deliver high converting campaigns (that back out to acceptable yeilds) the publishers are going to be reluctant to support the advertisers campaign. In most cases advertisers are better to compelete conversion optimisation and A/B or multivariate testing on traffic from a paid search campaign first and then once the conversion rates are optimised roll out the campaign through the performance networks.
  2. Paying the publisher as much as possible, within the bounds of their ROI objectives. Bottom line is money talks. The higher the campaign converts and the higher the payout rate the stronger the publishers yeilds. Which translates into more inventory alloacted to the advertiers campaign, mores conversions, more leads and ultimiately more sales.
As the performance media sector continues to mature it is exicting to watch the evolving product development of the publishers and the increased sophistication of savvy advertisers to optimise CTRs and conversion rates.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Internet Marketing - where are we heading?

Big thanks to Trevor Holmes and his team at ENACT for inviting Russell Bullen and I to present at the ENACT National Conference in Cairns last friday.

We meet some great people and had a wonderful time with a very engaged group throwing out lots of very good questions for us.

The theme of the presentation was 'what direction is internet marketing headed and how do ENACT Business Archiects ensure their clients take adavantage'. A copy of the presentation is below.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What does the dancing Sasquatch guy and Twitter have in common?

This video has been floating around youtube for the last couple of weeks. The video is of this lone guy dancing on hill and as the song builds more people join him until there is an entire crowd dancing with him.

It's interesting to see how once the number of people reached a tipping point he soon had cricital mass... very similar to Twitter's stellar growth recently.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Mad Avenue Blues

Found this very funny parody on the changing media and advertising landscape at John Battelle's Searchblog.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

4 ways to make the most from your Search Engine Marketing in tough times.

Armed with the right strategies and tactics, marketing and acquiring new customers in an economic downturn presents huge opportunities for savvy business owners and marketing managers.

Now more than ever consumers and business buyers are turning to the Internet for help in finding value and making purchasing decisions.

I’ve raided my Search Engine Marketing ‘war chest’ for the top tips to help you prosper in today’s economic climate.

Tip 1 – Know what your customers are looking for.
Who are your customers? What are they searching for online? What makes your existing customers buy from you? These are all questions that need to be answered before starting any Search Engine Marketing campaign.

A great place to start looking for answers is Google Insight for Search, a free tool that enables you determine what trends are happening with the way customers and prospects are searching for information and which message will resonate best with them.

Matt Forman Post - Google Insights Screen ShotGenerally, consumers today are looking for great value. As an example, I compared 3 search terms for the mobile phone industry: “best mobile phones” vs “cheap mobile phones” vs “mobile phone deals”.

As can be seen from the data there has been an upward trend in consumers searching for “mobile phone deals”.

You can also see the areas within Australia where more consumers are more likely to be looking for deals on mobile phones with Queensland and Victoria showing the strongest trends.

You can use this information as a starting point for your keyword research and developing your keyword list.

If you already have a website and are using Google Analytics this is another great source of information and insight for how your customers are getting to your website and can be used to identify trends in which keywords they are using (and not using) to find you.

Tip 2 – Keep your ad copy relevant and focus on value.
Now that we know that today’s consumers are looking for great value, and we have an idea on the type of keywords that will work best in finding your audience, we now need to ensure we get them to click on your ad and visit your website.

Keeping your ad copy contextually relevant to the keywords that triggered your ad is paramount. If people are looking for value then you’re ad copy needs to focus on value. Including specific offers or savings is a tactic we are seeing work very well.

Including the search term in the headline of the ad is a great tactic for increasing Click Through Rates (CTR) and will potentially help with where you ad ranks on Google’s search page by improving your Quality Score (QS).

In the example I’ve also included value terms like ‘Save 10%’ and created a sense of urgency by stating the offer is available ‘This week only’. These are all techniques for improving your CTR and getting more qualified customers to your site.

Tip 3 – Make your landing page relevant and easy for them to take the next step.
Getting the right audience to click on your ad and land on your website is only half the equation. Once you have them there, it is critical you convert the vast majority into taking action.

A landing page is the first page a website visitor ‘lands on’ when clicking through from your Search Engine Marketing ads.

When arriving on your landing page, visitors spend just a few short seconds evaluating your site and scanning it for relevancy to their needs. If you can’t grab their attention and make it very clear what they need to do next in order to move through the buying process they we will leave, most likely never to return again.

In our example there a few techniques I have used that will help to optimise your conversion rates.

Firstly the page heading "Best Mobile Phone Deals" matches the title of our ad and the context of the keyword that brought the user to the page.

Secondaly the content on the page is actually about a mobile deal, a simple concept hey? But its amazing how many landing pages I see that don't have content that matches the keywords that the user searched for.

Thirdly we've made it very clear what the user is supposed to do next, click the BUY NOW button.

Tip 4 – Track your performance and allocate your budget based on results.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

With the wealth of data available through Google Adwords and Google Analytics there is no excuse not have a firm grasp on which keywords and ads in your search engine marketing campaign are performing and which ones are not.

If you have a website and haven’t already got Google Analytics tracking code installed, do it today. It’s free and is a simple matter of pasting a few lines of code in the template of your web pages.

The next step is create ‘actions’ in your Google Adwords account so you can accurately track and measure which keywords are converting to sales and what your Return On Investment (ROI) at a keyword, ad group and campaign level.

In this example we have set-up an action to track a sale when a visitor purchases a mobile phone.

We also know from our sales history that an average online sale is worth $99 so we have attributed a value of $99 to each action.

Now the action is set-up, Google automatically generates some tracking code which you can copy and paste on the order confirmation page of your website.

Within a few hours you’ll start to see data coming into your Adwords account which you can now use to determine which keywords and ad groups are performing the best and to allocate more budget to.

A recent example from Google’s Top Tactics for Tough Times article demonstrates this point perfectly. By being smarter about how to allocate your marketing budget, you are able to generate expotential returns without having to spend a single cent more on advertising.

So in conclusion, while events like the GFC (global financial crisis) force us to look harder at the return on investment form our marketing, it always a good time to be marketing smarter and acquiring new customers in most profitable manner.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Social Media... Would You Like Service With That?

We've all seen the business & media headlines... Facebook and Twitter are taking over the world.

Digital agencies are rushing to help businesses and brands make sense of this new communication channel with new social media marketing and social media optimisation services springing up every day.

But if social media is about conversations and participation, just how do brands reach these huge audiences with their message, particularly when consumers don't want to be interrupted from their conversations?

While the media channels may have changed, basic business principles still apply. If you look after your customers and give great customer service they will be your biggest fans and the best source of referrals for new business.

By its conversational nature, social media is the perfect customer service tool... if it's used correctly.

I had a perfect example this week of customer service over social media gone wrong.

My company has recently started using a software-as-a-service accounting solution named saasu. The software is great and works well for a business of our size. Because we are new to using the software I needed some help in training and also integrating it with some of our other business systems.

I visited saasu's website looking for help and went to their Contact Us page. In addition to the standard email form and phone contact details there was a 'Social Media' contact option. "Post a tweet question using Twitter and get a chirpy answer!" it said.

Great I thought, I use twitter regularly and if they can answer my question publically on twitter maybe it will help other users of their software. So off to twitter I went and sent them the 'chirpy tweet' below.

"@saasu I need some help with consulting & training on sassu in Brisbane area. Can you recommend anyone or have someone contact me?"

2 days later I still had no reply.... hmmm.... maybe they didn't see it? So I retweeted.

Another 5 days pass and still no reply. By this time I had given up on getting a reply and took matters into my own hands, using Google to track down a consultant that could help with our training.

Then on the 6th day I received a phone call from someone at saasu. While I appreciated the personal contact I it was strange as I hadn't posted my phone number on twitter. Perhaps they looked up my customer record.

The saasu representative was very apologetic for taking so long to respond and suggested that the reason why it took so long was because I wasn't following them on twitter????? I don't get it???? "Post a tweet question using Twitter and get a chirpy answer!" was what their website said. It didn't say I had to follow them.

He offered to email me a list of consultants I could contact, but because I had already sorted it out on my own the opportunity had passed.

How could have this been handled better?

For starters, if you are going to embrace social media as a communication channel for your business then you had better have the tools in place to monitor it effectively and the resources in place to respond in a timely fashion.

Secondly, social media is about sharing and collaboration. If they had responded to my tweet with a link to a list of consultants or partners on their website, not only would it have answered my question but it could have helped existing or potential saasu customers looking for answers to the same question.

All's well that ends well, their software works well in my business and our training is happening on Monday. It is great they are embracing social media in a way and maybe my experience was just a few early adopter teething problems.

If you've had experiences of great, or not so great, customer service over social media, please let share it by commenting below.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Top 3 Internet Marketing Tips

I had the pleasure last night to be a guest speaker at Enterprise Tuesday’s at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Innovation Centre. It was a great night and hugely entertaining with Russell Bullen from OMC the MC.

Russell used the analogy of a good website being like a cool party, where everyone likes to hang out and have a good time, and with that introduction asked if I could provide my top 3 internet marketing tips for getting the ‘cool kids to come to the cool party’.

Tip 1: Know Your Customer
Most people in Australia would have heard of the infamous Cory Worthington, a young 16 year old kid with a bad reputation as a party boy. Most people I ask say there is no chance they would like Cory at their place for a party.

I’d say it depends on what type of party I was having. For certain types of parties it would be great to have Cory there, he might attract other people like him, they would stay at the party longer and have more fun while they are there.

It’s exactly the same with your Internet Marketing. You need to make sure you don’t waste your precious marketing budgets on attracting the wrong type of visitors to your website.

Knowing your customer and having a very clear idea of who they are and why they buy from you is the first step in any Internet Marketing campaign.

You’ve probably already got a reasonable understanding of who your customers are already. But it never hurts to get to know them a little better.

The first place to start is your existing customer database and sales data. You mine this information for demographic and geographic insights. Basic things like age, gender, position in the organistion and geographic location.

If you have an existing website it can also provide some great insights by using your Google Analytics data. Your analytics is a rich source of information about who your customers (and are not), where they are coming from and what search terms they are using to find your website.

You can do some research with a quick exit survey from your website. If you have an email database you can email your customers and have them complete a short online survey with a free tool like Survey Monkey. Offer them an incentive to complete the questionnaire – like % off coupon for their next purchase with you. This way you can learn more about your customers and increase your sales.

Once now you know who your customers are, you can use a tools like Google Ad Planner to find other websites they visit. And then target your advertising on to these websites.

Tip 2: Know How Much Each Customer Is Worth
You need to know how much a customer is worth to you. Without this information it will be difficult to set accurate and realistic marketing goals.

There are lots of different ways to measure the worth of a customer and the method you use will vary depending on your business. Generally we work with our clients to determine a Life Time Value or LTV. This is simply how much a customer is worth to you over the life of their relationship with your business.

There are different formula’s for calculating Life Time Value, but I’ll give you an example using the simplified method.

Say in your business your average customers spends $100 each time they buy from you. And they buy from you twice per year. So they are worth $200 per year to you right?

Then assume they continue to buy from you for another 2 years, so in total they are your customer for 3 years. And they spend $200 per year. So they are worth $600 to you. Or in other words their Life Time Value is $600.

The formula looks like LTV = (Average Transaction Size x Transactions Per Year) x Years Continue To Buy

The reason why it is so important to understand how much a customer is worth is because once you know how much a customer is worth, it makes it very easy to determine how much you can afford to pay to acquire that customer. This is referred to as Cost Per Acquisition or CPA.

I’ll give you a simplified example.

Let’s assume that you are prepared to invest 10% of your revenue into marketing and customer acquisition.

So if your customer has Life Time Value of $600, and you invest 10% into marketing, you can afford to pay $60 to acquire that customer. There is a little bit more to it than just this, but you get the gist .

Having a thorough understanding of your LTV and CPA, eliminates much of the risk from your marketing efforts and helps provide better cash flow and profitability forecasts.

Tip 3: Test, Measure, Optimise and Repeat.
Internet Marketing is part art, part science. And if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Because of the nature of Internet Marketing you can measure just about everything. But because you can measure everything, doesn’t necessarily mean you should measure everything.

It’s important to understand your goals and objectives upfront. Then focus on testing and measuring only the drivers or the KPIs that contribute to the achievement of your goals.

There are some great free tools you can use to do this and Google Analytics is a great place to start.

Google also provides another free tool called Web Optimizer, which enables you to complete more scientific testing of your website pages, like A/B Split and Multi-Variant Testing.

By knowing your goals and objectives upfront, like what you can afford to pay to acquire a customer (your CPA), you can then set-up your internet marketing to measure against these goals.

You can test things like your ad copy, web page copy, images, banners, websites you advertise on and databases you market to, against this goal. And allocate and optimize your spend accordingly.

There are always improvements that can be made and it’s important to always be finding ways to optimize your marketing efforts. So once you test and measure your ads, make some changes to optimize it, test and measure it again. Then repeat the process.


Friday, May 22, 2009

To Blog, Or Not To Blog?

Welcome to my blog. Something I hope will become a place of great value for me and my readers.

I've known for a long time the "I must start blogging", but as I get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of running an Internet Marketing company and spending time with my beautiful family, writing my blog just seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list.

But no more! Starting today I am going to be regularly posting my thoughts and insights on Internet Marketing, Online Media and doing business in the digital economy in Australia and around the world.

The web is about sharing so please comment and contribute to my blog freely. If you would like to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin

Matt Forman