Three must-have 'marketer’s little helpers'

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Three must-have ‘marketer’s little helpers’

I’m a believer in every Mommy (including this one) having her “little helpers” (aka an evening glass of wine or 4).

But the little helpers of the marketing variety are almost even better. They give me my time back – and give me an advantage over some of you.

The premise of these little helpers? If you spend more than 1-2 hours a day digging around to find information and data, you’re wasting your time. The key to “looking on top of everything” without working 95 hours a week is a fine-tuned funnel of information that comes to you – instead of you going out to find it.

I use a variety of tools and settings to make this happen, and I’m sharing three of my top secrets of the trade here.

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Helper 1: Make Twitter your feed reader

An RSS feed reader brings in a huge volume of junk. In fact the last time I looked at my feed reader, it was a huge messy pile of crap and I just gave up and never looked again.

I’d rather read things that are vetted and recommended by my peers – thus I use Twitter as my feed reader. If Kim Krause Berg recommends an article on usability – I know it’s worthwhile. If Avinash Kaushik says “read this analytics article,” I read it, because it’s stupid not to take recommendations from industry leaders.

I would never know what they recommend if I weren’t actively following their social media updates or going out to read their blogs on a regular basis. I don’t have time to just browse blogs, so I watch my stream for the things they recommend.

Action Item: Follow the industry professionals you most respect on Twitter, then create a list that says “Read What They’re Recommending.” You can see how I have mine set up – or even poach it for your own.

Helper 2: Monitor rankings with Raven Tools

It’s not a secret – I’m a Raven fan-girl. I readily admit it.

I’m also a reluctant fan of rankings. I once had a heated Twitter debate with Google’s Matt Cutts about the need to report ranking changes to clients. I believe in it – not because I think it’s the most important thing we’ll ever do, but because it’s the most important thing that many clients understand.

Sometimes we forget that we live, breathe and dream search marketing. Most of my clients have about 300 other things they live and breathe ahead of online marketing. My job is to educate them on what matters. Yes, revenue is what really matters, but 5 years ago when they first got a website rankings mattered … so rankings still matter to them. I can belittle their understanding and tell them not to care about rankings – or I can report rankings alongside revenue data. I prefer the latter.

So instead of manually digging around to find rankings for my clients, I use Raven’s SERP Tracker and have it send me a weekly report that shows my gains and losses against the competition. This is also a great way to look like you’re 100% on top of it by spending 10 minutes setting up a report and 2 minutes reviewing it once a week. I can see fluctuations in rankings and make adjustments if I see a trend in my keyword history reports. I can also see if a competitor is ramping up their game and make adjustments to advise the same for my client.

Personalization of search and Google’s Search Plus Your World have given me serious headaches the last few weeks, but slowly clients have come to realize that we’re looking at approximate data – and that my results in Colorado, while signed into an account, are always going to look different than their results in North Carolina while not signed into an account. I’m still going back and forth on reporting “average” rank or “not average” rank (honestly, I don’t know what it is if it’s not average). If anyone here has a strong reason why or why not, I’d love to hear it.

Helper 3: Use your Google Analytics Dashboard

When you’re in charge of 15-20 clients, the analytics review alone can take hours every week. I have a trick for taking a quick look at every client without spending an hour each clicking in and out of reports – you must use your dashboard in Google Analytics. I have every client’s dashboard set up the same way – titles below represent the widgets of data I put in every dashboard.

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Because I work in travel, we generally compare year-over-year statistics as seasonality causes huge fluctuations in traffic. I can’t compare February to January in certain parts of the country, or this week to last. Set your analytics up to best suit your needs on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

So those are my top marketer’s little helpers. Ultimately the old idea to “work smart, not hard” comes into play for me a lot. I have systems in place bring me information, so I’m not spending my time finding information. I’m finding ways to turn information into money. You may be using some of these already, and if you have more I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Carrie is the Director of Search Strategies at Blizzard Internet Marketing and specializes in Advanced Architectural SEO Techniques and Pay Per Click Dominance with an emphasis on tying all aspects of online marketing together. Find her on Twitter at @carriehill.

Do more, spend less. It’s what we’re all about at Raven. Find out more – sign up for a free 30-day trial today!

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