Category Archives: Smart Insights

Google still wants its own home page for your business

One thing which Google has always had in the back of its mind is to provide an ‘alternative web’. Never forget that the search engine already has a copy of just about the entire public web. It’s available by clicking the little arrow next to any Google result.


For an increasing number of searches, Google is already scraping data from websites and presenting it to users so they don’t need to visit a particular website. Type in the name of a film on general release and you’ll get all the local showtimes presented to you, for example. Ask for a definition and you get one, lifted from somebody’s website without express permission.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if you type in the name of a business, Google would like to present you with an ‘alternative home page’ for that business. This would bring together fundamental information about that company, along with a range of resources not on the company’s website, such as its LinkedIn page. It’s already gone a long way towards doing that for large companies.

The Google+ system was a key component in this, but its failure to be enthusiastically taken up by companies has been a setback. That big information panel about a business is still largely driven by its Google+ page, but it’s clear that Google is going to have to go elsewhere to find the data it really wants. Companies just aren’t handing over the information as Google hoped.

Google Posts is something which we might hear more about in the future. You might see a comment box on the right on this search as an example. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that everyday businesses like our own might be offered this capability in the future. As with most things Google-related, it’s going to be hard to say no.

You know that tiny bit of text at the top of your emails…?

A really short post today, because I just want to point you to an excellent article about an undervalued part of your marketing emails. 4 ways to use a preheader in your marketing emails on the Smart Insights blog looks at that tiny bit of text which most companies put right above the title at the top of their emails – something which doesn’t really have the value it used to have, but which has just been left in place, without much thought, by most of us. The article explains why you should give it more consideration.

Read 4 ways to use a preheader in your marketing emails on the Smart Insights blog.

Twitter advertising now a real option

A short one today, because somebody else has already written this up well. Twitter advertising is now within the reach of UK businesses, as the big budget requirement has been removed, and you can read the background in Two major new Twitter features – one paid, one free by Dave Chaffey on the Smart Insights blog. I suspect Twitter is of significantly more interest to B2B advertisers than, say, Facebook, and as the advertising is on a pay-per-click basis, it’s well worth investigating. Let me know if you give it a try.

Two major new Twitter features – one paid, one free

Create content that’s interesting and the results will follow

I’ve been reading several articles recently which wonder if search engine optimisation (SEO) is dead. Really this time – it apparently might be according to one typical example on Smart Insights. For most of us, nothing’s changing that much. However, perhaps the most well-known company in the world for providing support tools to search marketing consultants recently changed its name from SEOmoz to just Something is happening, and – gratifyingly – I think it’s backing up what I’ve been writing about here for a long time.

The thing is, search engine marketing is at least as important as ever. Quite simply, you should be able to get more sales enquiries from Google than you can from a stand at WidgetEx or coverage in What’s new in Widgets magazine. However, what’s changed is that the market (that’s you, dear reader) is realising that the free ride in Google is over. And the people who sold you a cheap ticket to jump the queue can’t do it any more. If there is still a VIP entrance to get to the front, it comes with such a high price tag that it’s only affordable to those who can really make the most of it.

There’ll always be people who’ll convince you they have a secret formula to success. But Google is such a mature product now, run by such clever people, that any shortcuts will turn out to be very short-lived. For the rest of us, our best bet is to learn the rules and just be smarter than the opposition. Create content on your website that’s interesting enough for people to want to read it, and the results will follow.

Don’t waste any of your customers’ time

A fine article on the Smart Insights blog called Which works best? Specific or general subject lines? explains why the number of people opening your emails may not be a good measure of their success. We all know that the subject line is critical in getting people to open the email, so if you’re sending an email where only a proportion of the audience will be interested in the offer, it’s tempting to hide the specificity of the content (as described by the subject line) to maximise the open rate. For example, if your audience comprises red widget buyers and blue widget buyers, and you have a blue widget offer, it’s tempting to label the email simply “widget offer”, so as not to put off the red widget buyers.

This would be a mistake. “Blue widget offer” would get more blue widget buyers to open the email than a less specific subject line. And there’s no point in persuading the red widget buyers to open the email anyway. Don’t waste the red widget buyers’ time just to get your name in front of them, or (worse) just to get your open rates up.

Best of all, of course, would be to send the email only to the blue widget buyers in the first place.