Google’s Project Fi

On Wednesday, Google unveiled its wireless service, called Project Fi, and it’s an appealing offer for smartphone users.

Customers will pay $20 a month for talk and text plus $10 a gigabyte of data (you pay for what you use). That makes the plan between $15 and $20 cheaper per month than many competing offers from the major carriers, making the search giant a viable competitor of Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and other service providers.

Google Project Fi

Google also said it would credit the accounts of customers who don’t use all their data in a given month and default to free Wi-Fi airwaves when available.

Google’s VP of communications products Nick Fox wrote:

Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi — whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave — you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat.

But don’t get too excited because it is invitation-only and you need a Google Nexus 6 to use the service.

Sorry, iPhone users!

Forget Half of What You’ve Learned. Mastery of Google is Key to Public Relations Succes

Google GIF

via Giphy.com

There is a growing dependence on search for information in the digital world. In fact, 89 percent of consumers use Google and other search engines to find information about products, services, and businesses prior to making purchases. And of those people, 87 percent won’t scan past page one of search results.

Google continues to improve its search engine so that users receive the most relevant content to their searches. Public relations professionals need to recognize the importance of having an SEO strategy and integrating Google Tools, such as Google AdWords and Google Analytics into that strategy.

OVERVIEW

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click marketing service that allows you to create and run ads for your organization. You can bid on the keywords you want to generate your ads appearing in the search engine results page. Google decides which ads are displayed and in which position based on each user’s maximum bid and quality score. Having a high quality score lowers your cost-per-click and leads to more impressions. You can improve your quality score by implementing relevant landing pages and keywords throughout your content.

Say that you work for Lego and want to set up a Google AdWords campaign. While current Lego customers are likely to search for the business by name, prospective customers are more likely to search by topic. So, you want ads to appear when people type in keywords and phrases related to Lego. Words and phrases like toy blocks, educational toys, minifigures, building blocks, and family owned toy company are just a few that come to mind.

It is important that the keywords and phrases describe what the organization actually does. It wouldn’t make sense for a Lego ad to appear for the search term “Star Wars,” for example, even though Star Wars is Lego’s most licensed toy set. It wouldn’t be smart for Lego to limit its brand to just its Star Wars sets. When in doubt, use Google’s Keyword tool to help you find relevant keyword ideas.

AdWords comes equipped with plenty of metrics that help you measure what is working in your campaign and what is not.

Google Adwords dashboard

The service will give you detailed reports on where and how often your ads appear, how many people click on them, which search queries drive the most visitors to your site, which keywords are most effective, and how many AdWords visitors actually order a product or service on your site.

If AdWords helps people get to your site, what happens when they arrive? This is where Google Analytics comes in. Google Analytics allows you to keep track of the unique people that visit your website, exactly when they visit, how they got there, what they do once they’re there, and how they interact with your content. This applies to blogs and other sites, too. By understanding the user interactivity, you can work the content around your users — an incredibly valuable strategy to the commercial success of your organization.

Suppose your marketing / PR campaign isn’t as successful as you’d have liked. Google Analytics will provide a real-time report with information about audience engagement and conversion activity to show you where your campaign is lacking. The service tracks which pages retain users the longest and when there is a spike in traffic, so you can better tailor your content.

Google Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics shows you exactly which sites and search engines refer visitors to your website, as well as the search terms they used to get there.The platform also tracks what people search within your site. This shows you what exactly it is your buyers are looking for, that way, you can provide your audience with the content they seek and convert one-time users into loyal customers.

In addition, by tracking the type of people who visit your site, where they are from, and how loyal they are to your organization, you can understand the real origins of your traffic and find the best places to invest in new opportunities.

Google Analytics will save you time and money and provide you with valuable information to help reach your goals. It is perhaps the best measurement tool for public relations practitioners and communications professionals. To ignore Google and its powerful tools would be a huge mistake. Instead, you should embrace it, learn it, use it and master it. It is the key to public relations success.
Related Posts:

The Difference Between Marketing and PR

The distinction between marketing and public relations can be frustrating when you’re starting out in the communications field. When I was declaring my major at the end of freshman year, I realized I was confused about the difference between the two. I shyly asked my professors and peers, but none seemed confident in their explanation.

Well, thank God—err, Al Gore?—for the Internet. It was around this time that Google became my favorite teacher and most trusted source of information.

And I knew others shared my need for distinction, too, when I saw the magnitude of findings on the search engine results page (about 14 million today). Luckily, it only took a few high-quality articles and blog posts to gain a sufficient understanding. Here is a summary of my findings:

  • Marketing focuses on products and services. Public relations focuses on relationships.
  • Marketing is a line function. PR is a staff function.
  • Marketing is paid media. Public relations is earned media. (Owned media can be either function.)
  • Marketing is telling people how great you are. PR is when others do the telling for you.
  • Public relations requires persuasion. Marketing requires $$.
  • Marketing is trading and sales oriented. PR is public oriented.
  • Marketing is about the 4 P’s: product, price, place and promotion. Public relations is about enhancing a company’s reputation.
  • PR creates the population around the product. Marketing sells the product.
  • Marketing you pay for, public relations you pray for.
  • An analogy: Marketing is the ingredients, PR is the cake displayed in the window.

marketing ingredientsCake Public Relations

But recently, the lines between marketing and PR are blurring more than ever. What’s the cause? The move to digital media brought by the Internet! Notice the irony here?

In the latest edition of his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott explains, “Prior to the web, organizations had only two choices: to get advertising or get third-party ink from the media.”

However, in a digital world, there is so much more: blogs, e-books, video, e-news releases, and other forms of online content that let companies communicate directly with audiences. Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow people all over the world to share content and information and connect with people and companies they do business with, or would like to.

It’s hard to tell anymore which department is creating and managing all that content, but I think it varies from company to company. Both are certainly capable. Marketers and public relations pros have both adapted to the changing technology. Marketing brought the traditional billboard ad to Facebook, and PR brought the media pitch to bloggers.

The convergence of marketing and PR online has to do with content. Technological advancements in how we receive our news updates, and how that content is delivered, and even the content itself, blur the lines between marketing and public relations. A simple tweet or Facebook post can introduce a new product (marketing) or explain a company’s take on an issue (PR). Similarly, a company blog can focus on what the company has to offer (marketing) or on building a company’s image (public relations). It’s all about the tools used.

Related articles:

marking pr advertising branding

Digital Media Consumption: Statistics and Trends

Curious about the latest stats and trends in digital marketing? GO-Globe breaks it down in an awesome infographic, with statistics on how much time people spend consuming digital media, through what devices, when, and how it’s changed–and changing–over the years.

These facts are helpful to marketers who want to better understand how to reach those key audiences and optimize digital content.

Digital Media Consumption - Statistics and Trends
Infographic by- GO Globe Hong Kong

Why I Got HubSpot Inbound Certified

Inbound Marketing Meme

I’m not sure what exactly piqued my interest in inbound marketing. Maybe it was HubSpot’s INBOUND 2014 conference, maybe it was HubSpot’s IPO. Whatever it was, HubSpot made inbound marketing a hot topic, at least in Boston. It certainly caught my attention, and I realized just how important and relevant it is. But what exactly is inbound marketing? This is the question I struggled to answer. And more importantly, how does one do it successfully?

These questions led me once again to HubSpot’s site, only I looked a little deeper this time. I came across HubSpot Academy and all it has to offer: certifications, webinars, examples, user groups, and more. The Inbound Certification, which is open to everyone, seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn and educate myself about inbound marketing. I earned my HubSpot Inbound Certification in one weekend.

The Inbound Certification

The certification consists of eleven courses that cover the core elements of Inbound Methodology. From the essentials of an effective inbound strategy to the fundamentals of blogging to cultivating happy customers, the classes provide a deep and clear understanding of what inbound is all about.

Each class is roughly 45 minutes long, and although this seems like lot to tackle in one weekend, HubSpot does a great job at keeping viewers entertained with amusing images, charts and graphics, along with a catchy tune that somehow didn’t get old. The courses are further broken down into chapters, and each course closes with a few key takeaways and additional resources to clear up any possible confusion. I appreciated the real-life examples provided to illustrate some of the more complex concepts.

For me, the sales and “smarketing” classes were totally foreign. I never learned past the attract and convert elements of the methodology. If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. Start taking some courses, and HubSpot will clear everything up.

What I Learned

I learned a heck of a lot from the inbound classes, including some best practices for the various social media platforms, the four elements of a quality landing page, and how to best align content with the buyer’s journey. By the end, inbound marketing will make sense, I promise.

I highly recommend this certification program to every marketer, especially college students studying marketing. Inbound is the future of marketing, and sadly, university programs take far too long to catch up. Fear not, this program has got you covered.

The Exam

The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice and true or false questions that address important lessons from each course. You have 75 minutes to complete the test and three chances to pass it. If you don’t pass the first time, you will have to wait 48 hours before giving it another go. To earn your official certification, you must receive a 75% or higher on your test. The certification is then valid for 13 months from the month you received it.

Here are some tips for passing the exam:

  • Watch the classes in a quiet space where you can focus and won’t be distracted—Some lessons are more complex and will require your full attention.
  • Take notes as you learn—This will help you make sense of things, and you can refer to your notes as you take the test.
  • If something is not clear, use the additional resources provided—Take advantage of the extra resources at the end of each class to really drive home an idea or concept.
  • Thoroughly read the study guide provided—HubSpot has an awesome study guide that will prepare you for everything covered on the exam.
  • Check out this article—The 45 Inbound Marketing Terms You Should Know

Good luck and happy studying!

Use The Best Colors For Your Website: color psychology

A lot goes into creating a website, and some aspects (like content) are certainly more important than others (such as color). But that doesn’t mean color is not important. Color is important. 

Many marketers know that color psychology has a huge impact on how people will perceive a business and how they interact with a company and its products.

So, do not carelessly pick your color scheme just to get things done. This is true for your website and your products. A study called Impact of Color on Marketing found that 90 percent of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone.

Another study found that 42 percent of shoppers form an opinion of a website based on design and color scheme, and 52 percent of shoppers don’t visit a website again if they don’t like its aesthetics.

It’s all about brand recognition. Colors play a substantial role in branding and have a big impact on how your brand is perceived. In fact, color increases brand recognition by about 80 percent. Color is important.

Did you ever wonder why there is an overwhelming amount of blue in logos and websites? It’s because it is universally appealing. Blue is honest and trustworthy; blue is safe. Any shade will do. Research shows that blue is the favorite color of the majority of the population, regardless of age and gender.

Favorite Color

Photo found at http://bit.ly/1xIM7oN

least favorite color

Photo found at http://bit.ly/1xIM7oN

A lot of sites go with this approach:

Facebook homepage

Twitter_homepage

Skype

PhotoShop

Maybe blue is even a bit overused, but it is safe and it appeals to most everyone. When to use blue:

  • Does your company succeed off of a high level of trust, like a bank? Choose blue.
  • Does your company appeal to consumer intellect? Choose blue.
  • Does your company appeal to both men and women? Choose blue.

Quick tip: it is important for new brands to specifically target logo colors that ensure differentiation from competitors (if the competition all uses blue, you’ll stand out by using purple).

Another common color used is green. Green symbolizes growth. Think of trees and plants—they grow. Green also signifies health and peacefulness. When people think of green, they think natural, calm, fresh, and full of life.

It is understandable then that big brands like Starbucks and Whole Foods use the color green.

Whole Foods and Starbucks use green to promote their values.

whole foods

starbucks_shared_planet_home_page

Another upside of green is that it’s one of the easiest colors for the human eye to process. Here are a couple of companies that make use of this:

Spotify

Android

When to use green:

  • Does your company want to advance the idea of health? Choose green.
  • Does your company want to create a feeling of wellness or freshness? Choose green.
  • Does your company have anything to do with food, health, or nature? Choose green.

Take a risk with orange. Although orange is on the list of least favorite colors for women, it works for some companies, especially those associated with risk-taking. Think Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The danger is the appeal.

When people think orange, they think energy, vibrancy, excitement, and some risk. Orange also symbolizes confidence and friendliness.

Here are some brands that are successfully using orange:

Home Depot uses orange to appeal to an adventure-taking crowd of DIYers.

Home Depot

Payless uses orange because of its association with “cheap.”

Payless

And some others:

Hubspot

Hooters

When to use orange:

  • Does your company want to inspire a sense of adventure? Choose orange.
  • Does your company want to encourage risk taking? Choose orange.
  • Does your company want to emphasize inexpensive products? Choose orange.

Conclusion: Once you select your color scheme, it’s hard to change it. Give it a lot of thought and get a lot of different input. Be sure you’ve chosen the color most appropriate to your brand, or else people will not make the proper associations and brand recognition, or worse, they won’t return to your site.

Here are some helpful articles:

What color does your online business use? Why?

Best Halloween Advertisements of 2014

Halloween presents a great opportunity for brands to engage and entertain and also show off their creativity. I look forward to the advertisements every Halloween, but this year only a few stand out. Here they are:

Snickers – Twisted

Snickers delivered once again this Halloween with a fun and spooky advertisement that’s consistent with its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign—only this time, the message is, “You get scary when you’re hungry.” This is true.

IKEA – Halloween

In this ad, Ikea Singapore parodied Stanley Kubrick’s classic, The Shining, and recreated the eerie Big Wheel scene inside one of its stores to promote Ikea’s late-night shopping hours. Kudus to the ending and the clever play on words.

GEICO – It’s What You Do

Geico poked fun at horror movie characters and their predictably poor decisions in its horror movie commercial, “It’s What You Do.” The ad is relatable and humorous with a fitting tie-in that’s certainly on-brand.

Something I missed? Share what you think is the best Halloween advertisement of 2014!

The Ten Critical Things Public Relations Students Must Know About Google Analytics

Knowing how your audience interacts with your website is crucial for your success. Google Analytics is free and relatively easy to use for tracking websites, blogs, Facebook pages and more.

 google analytics

  1. Google Analytics provides information on who visits your site, where they come from, and who is most valuable to your organization, which allows you to better identify your key audiences.
  2. The platform tracks the search terms people use to find your site and what they search within your site, which provides information on what your buyers are really looking for.
  3. You can learn how people find your site, whether from search engines, direct links, or referral links on other sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  4. Google Analytics tracks how many people visit your site and when spikes in traffic occur to show you what content is most popular.
  5. It tracks how much time people spend on your site and which pages retain users the longest so you can better tailor your content.
  6. The platform shows how people interact with your site, whether they download your documents, play your videos, or click your call to action links to help you best position your content.
  7. You can discover what keywords drive people to each page on your site and which keywords bring the most conversions.
  8. Google Analytics tells you which browsers/OS your audience uses to help you make smarter decisions on your sites layout and design.
  9. The platform shows which marketing initiatives and online ads of your campaign are most effective.
  10. It also allows you to pinpoint where people leave your site. If you know what exactly drives people to leave, you know what to focus your efforts on improving.