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October 2011

The Value of SEO Optimization

I came across these resources that can help anyone understand the revenue potential of organic keyword ranking and the on page and off page elements required to achieve high rankings.  The entire process is referred to as SEO or search engine optimization.  Oganic results are those website listings you see in Google, Yahoo or Bing that were not paid for by the site owner.  They "organically" rank based on their value to the person doing the search.

The Value of Organic Search Click Through Rates

As you can see in this chart from Market Samurai, there is a significant difference in traffic generated based on your organic search results/keyword ranking.  The distance from #2 to #1 represents a 3x increase in organic traffic!!!  As an aside Market Samurai has a great tool for ranking and tracking keywords over time so that you can not only check your progress vis a vis the competition, but quickly identify those keywords that will result in the greatest revenue gain.

Organic Search Click through Rates
Source: Market Samurai

Methods for Achieving High Organic Rankings

There are many elements that go into achieving a high organic ranking.  As detailed in the table, these elements roughly divide into on-page elements such as the quality and length of the content and off-page elements such as trust as expressed by inbound links and social media.


Developing a strong SEO optimization strategy ensures that all of these elements are managed to achieve the highest ranking possible.  You can download the Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors here.


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Affiliate Summit West 2012 Voting is Open

Company logoImage via Wikipedia

Voting is on for Affiliate Summit West 2012 sessions. For those unfamiliar with the show, it's the largest annual gathering of affiliate marketers and a must attend for anyone involved in the performance marketing industry.

I've proposed a session on what to do when your merchant program is not meeting expectations. The session is called "Merchant Failure to Launch."  I need your votes to make sure that it is part of the show agenda. I'll be co-hosting with Deborah Carney, one of the best known podcasters and OPM's in the industry.

Please register here, and then click here to vote for the session. 

Thanks for voting and be sure to say hello at the show.

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What I Learned at Startup Marketing School

Last night I was a panelist at Startup Marketing School, an event organized by Charlie O'Donnel, a principal at First Round Capital.  The goal of the school is to address the lack of customer acquisition specialists in the startup marketing community.

In a spirited discussion moderated by Rich Ullman, co-panelist Deena Bahri, VP, Marketing at Birchbox, and myself, we addressed not only the knowledge gaps in start-up marketing, but many of the lessons learned, which I'll highlight here.

Start-up Marketing is a Shared Experience

- Everyone on the panel is being asked to operate a bootstrapped marketing department with scarce resources. "Treat money like it's going through your hands like barbed wire."
- There is tremendous value is sharing best practices among marketers as the experience across organizations is remarkably similar (a surprise since Mimeo focuses on B to B and Birchbox on consumer beauty products).
- Avoidance of montly expenses and costs are paramount until ROI can be demonstrated.
- Marketers are often asked to act as magicians, you can't market when the marketing department is suffering from starvation  As best put by Rich Ullman, "for Christmas my boss gave me a lottery ticket and said: this is the marketing budget."
- Lead marketers understand what needs to be done in terms of building a world class organization, but getting there is tricky given financial constraints

Measurement is Paramount

- Every CEO and marketer wants measurable results leading to exponentially expandable acquisition channels
- Startup marketing organizations cannot afford many of the needed platforms, and need to get by with lower cost options such as Google Analytics, which works well for Birchbox
- Organize your data around the best customers

Constant Testing is Needed

- Social media has mixed levels of reliability when used as the cornerstone of a "no budget" customer acquisition effort
- Best practices are easy to find, just view the email to conversion efforts of leading retailers.
- Speak to customers that have similar attributes to avoid confusing feedback, even in a small sample
- Avoid long term agency commitments until you understand the value an agency can bring.  For example, don't hire a direct marketing agency to a long term contract when you are just beginning to test the medium, hire for a project instead. 

Don't Discount Messaging and Value Proposition Identification

- Important building block to any marketers skill set
- Understanding the match between target audience and value proposition can help marketers avoid programs that fail
- At companies such as Birchbox, content and marketing are as "separate as church and state" in order to maintain the integrity of expert options expressed, which in this case are on beauty products and care

Manage Your Career
- Don't allow circumstance to limit your experience.  Go out and develop your own websites, blogs and apply different aspects of marketing to the experience

Thank you to Cooley for providing a great venue for this free to marketers event.

It's always helpful to go back to school and share ideas. You can find information on future Startup Marketing School classes here.