All posts by Dave Chaffey

Dave is editor of many of the 7 Step to Success guides on Smart Insights. He is a bestselling author, consultant and speaker who enjoys sharing tips, tools and techniques on all things digital, but especially those most influential in driving awareness, leads and sales. That's SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, Site Design and Analytics! You can connect with Dave through any of these social networks to receive his latest insights or to ask a question: LinkedIn - Google+ - Twitter - Facebook. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

A new free content planning template developed by Smart Insights and HubSpot

Regular readers may remember that, earlier in the year, we published some joint research with HubSpot to explore best practices in managing content marketing. Content marketing is still comfortably rated as the most commercially important marketing tactic for 2015 in my recent post exploring digital marketing technology options. Although content marketing is still seen as important by many businesses, our earlier research suggested that how to develop a content marketing strategy or plan is less clear. The chart below shows that the majority of businesses surveyed didn’t have a plan, but kudos to the 44% of businesses who do have a defined strategy!

The 4 Steps to creating a content marketing plan

To help develop a content marketing plan or review existing methods, I thought it could be helpful to apply some of…

An example analysis of Groupon's traffic showing a signficant proportion of direct traffic could be SEO-related

Gaining organic traffic from SEO is a significant inbound marketing investment for many businesses, so making the business case and demonstrating returns from SEO is important. The typical approach for this is naturally to use Google Analytics to report on the organic traffic segment. Since Google Analytics can no longer reliably provide SEO keyword data due to the growth in keywords marked 'not provided' we have written about how to use Google Webmaster Tools keyword data to determine keywords. We're alerting readers to this example, since it shows that you should make colleagues (or clients) aware that significant additional SEO traffic may be hidden as a referrer.

Case shows that 60% of direct traffic is actually organic search

This research summary of Groupon visitor referrers  from Conductor summarises the importance of SEO to Groupon based on their standard analytics. They comment: 'Groupon recently…

7 things marketers need to know about the impact of Google’s latest change on SEO

Importance: [rating=5] Recommended link: Google announcement - Helping users find mobile-friendly pages 1. Google will now give more prominence to mobile sites in the search results (SERPs). More prominence will occur thanks to a ‘mobile-friendly’ label: 2. This label will only appear in mobile search results. Which is what we would expect. 3. The change has been rolled out. We didn’t see this yesterday, but it is now visible, e.g. for a brand search for this site: 4. This isn’t a ranking factor change. Google has previously stated that mobile sites with errors may lose ranking, but this announcement just relates to the label. However, we can expect that this change will increase clickthrough rates on sites that have this label and decrease…

Will 'Facebook at Work' reduce the power of LinkedIn?

Importance: [rating=5] Recommended link: Facebook at Work This is an interesting development, particularly for B2B marketers, but also for all of us who use LinkedIn to progress our careers and seek jobs! The development has not been widely reported other than in an article from 16th November which described the forthcoming new service like this: "Facebook is secretly working on a new website called “Facebook at Work”... The Silicon Valley company is developing a new product designed to allow users to chat with colleagues, connect with professional contacts and collaborate over documents, competing with Google Drive and Microsoft Office, according to people familiar with the matter. The new site will look very much like Facebook – with a newsfeed and groups – but will allow users to keep their personal profile…

Updated report shows the why, what and how of selecting social listening tools

Listen first! is the first step in almost all advice on creating a social media strategy. To listen effectively you need to choose the right listening tool. There’s certainly no shortage of choice. Back in 2009 (and updated since) we created a comparison of 36 of the best known social media listening tools including free and paid. It seems the choice now is even more bewildering. An October 2014 comparison of social media monitoring tools by Ideya Ltd shows that there are at least 245 tools now available. Of these 197 are paid, with the remainder free or using a combined model. The 74 pages long report extract below, also published on the ( )…

Free Twitter Analytics service and self-serve ad platform rolled out [@SmartInsights alert]

Importance: [rating=4] Recommended link: Twitter SMB impact research 2014 has seen some great new opportunities for smaller businesses to use Twitter to expand their reach, generate leads and understand the effectiveness of Twitter. We previously alerted readers to the rollout of the free Twitter dashboard/analytics and the self-serve ad platform. Both updates removed the need for big budgets (minimum $10000) or verified accounts. These updates were great if you were in the right countries, but were limited to the US, UK, Ireland, Canada and select other countries initially. So this update is simply to share the news that access is now available to many more countries - so do share the word!

A big welcome to @TwitterAdsNord! Self-serve Twitter advertising is now available to businesses in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

— Twitter Small Biz (@TwitterSmallBiz) November 5,…

Our monthly round-up of the main developments in marketing

The main platform developments this month were Twitter Digits and the relaunch of Facebook Atlas which we report on in our Social Media section. We also heard about Google's reinvention of email through Inbox - although there's not much to report on just yet, we'll have to see when it officially goes to Public Beta - request your invite here!

Strategy and Planning

This month we’ve been focusing on an aspect of Digital Marketing that you don’t hear discussed very often, but we think will be discussed a lot more in the future as more businesses start to get the fundamentals of digital marketing right. That’s Digital Marketing Optimization - check out our post for why we see it is important and how the best results will go to those businesses who succeed in getting People, Process and Tools to work effectively…

What are your recommended Email Marketing techniques?

That’s the question we posed in our recent email marketing tips competition. Thanks if you contributed a tip or shared the suggestions! We had lots of great suggestions, so it’s a pity we don’t have a prize for all, but we have now selected 3 winners and there are 3 “highly commended” tips. I asked our judges Chad White who offered up 3 copies of his new book Email Marketing Rules and Tim Watson, Email consultant at Zettasphere and regular Expert commentator on Smart Insights to each choose 3 tips and explain why they liked them. I then decided on a winning three based on the depth of the contributor’s insight and those who gave a specific example of a test.

Three winning Email marketing tips

Here are the “lucky winners”:

1. Alan Moir on Personalisation.

In one…

What are employers looking for from digital marketers?

The latest research from Michael Page and EMR Recruitment shares trends in recruitment salary and skills trends in the world of digital.  Both surveys have highlighted optimism by digital professionals and employers as there are clear signs of continued growth for digital skills. Some of the marketing respondents who were surveyed said that they are focused on trying to keep their digital skills up-to-date through on the job training and self-learning. Over the past year, EMR's report shows that marketing professionals are now more satisfied with their salaries and bonuses - are these respondents just working for fantastic employers, or is it true across the UK!. Michael Page's interactive salary checker tool is a great way to check out salaries by county, sector, and digital specialism. Here is an example of salaries for roles in Yorkshire and the North East: …

Will Digits displace other email address-based user sign-in and authentication methods?

Importance: [rating=5] Recommended link: Twitter Blog Digits announcement This is another interesting piece of new jargon and associated tech that marketers need to ‘get their heads around’. Here’s a summary of my understanding. I’ve also gone a bit beyond the ‘copy and paste’ summaries of other announcements by digging out a couple of case study examples of brands already using Digits which show how important this could be as part of the overall digital marketing ecosystem. This is why I have unusually rated its importance as 5/5! 1. Digits is a new method of signing on to mobile apps and websites developed by Twitter. Twitter says it will reduce ‘friction’, enabling users to sign in to apps more readily. 2. Digits works by signing in with mobile numbers and confirming using an SMS . It’s similar to two-step…
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