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Ten Online Marketing Resolutions for 2014

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January 2014

by Deltina Hay

Here are ten digital marketing tactics to help you jumpstart your online marketing for the new year. Some of these tactics were hammered into your brain throughout 2013—and for good reason. Google Authorship, Rich Snippets, and Mobile Marketing should already be staples in your online strategy. But this group includes tactics that even seasoned marketers will want to know about and implement in the coming year.

Google Authorship

Google Authorship provides a way to connect your Google Plus profile with all the places where content you’ve created appears online. Once a source is correctly connected to your profile, Google will display your “Authorship” information when the content appears in search results.

Figure 1 shows how Authorship displays in search results. Figure 1 shows

Figure 1

Note that the listing includes an author image and information about the author’s Google Plus profile. These extra details within search results are called “Rich Snippets” (see Figure 2).

The first step in establishing Google Authorship is creating a Google Plus profile at plus.google.com. Once your profile is complete, you can connect all the places you contribute to online by adding a special link to each source article or blog post and a reciprocal link to the source within your Google Plus profile. Read more about this process at plus.google.com/authorship.

Rich Snippets

Authorship is only one example of what Google calls Rich Snippets. These extra details displayed within Google search results include author information, product and book information, prices, starred reviews, and more.

Rich Snippets can be added to any Web page using special metatags called microdata. Figure 2 shows a Web page that is marked up using microdata metatags. The tags in this case include information about the book, the price of the book, and starred reviews.

Figure 2

If you have a WordPress-powered Website, you can use a plugin to help add microdata to its content. Schema Creator by Raven is one plugin that works well (wordpress.org/plugins/schema-creator).

If you have an HTML Website, learn more about how to add microdata to your site at Schema.org or on the Google Rich Snippets help page (support.google.com/webmasters/answer/99170).

Mobile Marketing

How you take advantage of the mobile Web depends on the types of books you publish as well as on the type of online presence you maintain.

Steps to consider include:

● making sure your Website is optimized for mobile devices

● determining whether you need a mobile app, and finding the right mobile app solution if you do

● making your print marketing options mobile friendly—for instance, using QR codes

● launching a location-based marketing campaign if you publish titles with local and/or regional appeal

● providing mobile options in your online ad campaigns

● deciding whether to make a book into a mobile app

You can learn more about the mobile Web, and download worksheets, at TheBootstrappersGuide.com.

Twitter Cards

Have you noticed that certain Web references within the Twitter timeline include additional information while others do not? For example, clicking on “View Media” or “View Summary” in the screen shown in Figure 3 would bring up additional details about the referenced Website or media.

Figure 3

This additional information is called a Twitter Card. Twitter Cards display information about Web pages, blog posts, images, or video. The “View Media” option reveals images or video that can be played right from the timeline, as Figure 4 shows:

Figure 4

The “View Summary” option reveals more information about a Web page or blog post, as seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5

Twitter Cards can be incorporated in any Website or blog using special metatags provided by Twitter. Learn more about how to incorporate them at dev.twitter.com/docs/cards.

LinkedIn Company Pages

If you haven’t seen the new LinkedIn Company Pages yet, you are in for a treat. LinkedIn has completely revamped those pages to accommodate more details about your business and give you the ability to add product pages. The new Company Page format is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Visitors can learn about your products as well as explore career opportunities at your company.

The product pages (Figure 7) include room for tons of information about books and/or other products, a place for promotions, a section for a YouTube video about a product, and an option to request recommendations.

Figure 7

Facebook Page Applications

Facebook has made it more and more difficult for developers to maintain applications for Facebook pages. This has limited our ability to incorporate custom functionality into Facebook Business pages. But a number of affordable and reputable services offer some nice options for adding functionality to your Facebook pages—including video galleries, contact forms, contests, and more. Some of them even have free options.

It is a good idea to research a service before using it, though. A few that I know have good reputations are ShortStack (shortstack.com), Pagemodo (pagemodo.com), and TabSite (tabsite.com).

Optimized Landing Pages

One of the biggest mistakes people make when marketing online is neglecting to carry the process all the way through. Getting the word out about your books using AdWords campaigns, social media campaigns, press releases, and so forth is only the first step toward getting results.

Where you send your prospective buyers from a campaign—the landing page—is just as important as the campaign itself.

I discussed landing pages in detail in “Keys to Conversion” (July 2013), but in a nutshell, you want your landing pages to be:

● relevant to the ad or offer that sent the person to the page

● short and to the point—avoid scrolling and excessive text

● mobile friendly and fast loading

In addition, a landing page should have only one call to action prominently featured. This may be a big “Buy now” button or a form for gathering contact information.

Real-Time Google Analytics

Google has added a number of features to Analytics over the past couple of years, including Real-Time Analytics.

Figure 8 shows the real-time results within Google Analytics. This is a great way to track how well current campaigns are performing in real time.

Figure 8

For instance, you can see:

● how many people are on the site right now

● their geographic locations

● the traffic sources that referred them

● which pages they’re viewing

Learn more about Google Real-Time Analytics at support.google.com/analytics/answer/1638635.

YouTube Partnership

If you have an established YouTube channel, you should become a YouTube partner. YouTube opened its partnership program to any channel owner in good standing as long as the owner is monetizing at least one video (and therefore allowing YouTube to place ads within it).

There are many advantages to becoming a YouTube partner, as explained on the YouTube help page (see support.google.com/youtube/answer/72855). But by far the most useful feature for people who sell products is the ability to include links to their own Websites within videos.

Figure 9 shows a video with a custom annotation, including a link from within the video directly to the product page on a Website that is officially “associated” with a YouTube partner channel.

Figure 9

Cool Automation Tools

My new favorite toy is a brilliant tool you can use to create your own social media automation tasks (Figure 10).  The tool is called IFTTT (IFTTT.com). IFTTT is an acronym for “If This Then That,” and it’s pronounced like gift without the g.

Figure 10

IFTTT lets you create automation tasks using what it calls recipes. A recipe consists of a trigger and an action, and ingredients include the elements that make up the trigger or action.

To demonstrate, I created the two recipes shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11

The first one automatically posts any tweet I post to my Twitter account with the hashtag “#fb” to a specific Facebook page.

The second recipe automatically posts any tweet I post to my Twitter account with the hashtag “#li” to my LinkedIn profile.

Plenty of shared recipes are available, but the beauty of this tool is that you are limited only by your imagination as to what types of online tasks you can automate.

Here’s to your successful online marketing in 2014!

Deltina Hay is the current chair of IBPA’s board of directors. The author of three books on social media, the mobile Web, and search optimization, she is a veteran Web developer and new-media expert who teaches five-star online courses at DeltinaU.com.

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