Monthly Archives: January 2009

Green Jobs Definition and Background

OK, so maybe the title is a little misleading. It’s difficult to define a term like “Green jobs” that only became widely acknowledged (in the United States) a day ago. There is already a Wikipedia entry with a decent amount of content, but the fact it shows up third on Google natural search results for a “Green jobs definition” query should provide an indication on its relative search popularity. The Google External Keyword Tool shows 201K Broad Match searches for “Green jobs” in December 2008.

greenjobssearches

Not too much search activity. Considering Google has been able to determine flu trends in the US using their search data, this shows we are still in the infancy stages of mainstream awareness. A poll conducted by the NY Times in 2007 showed 52% of respondents were willing to make extraordinary efforts to help the environment (or at least hurt it less) at a personal expense. I read that in the print edition. I’ll try to find it online and post an update. I know for a fact two things have changed since then.

  1. The state of the economy has certainly decreased that 52%
  2. The NY Times print edition will not be around for much longer

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I finally created an account on Twitter last Friday. I figured it was the right time since I recently entered myself into the blogosphere. My assumption was there are already many plugins for WordPress to integrate with Twitter. Seems like a match made in Heaven to me. Programmatic real-time Tweets generated for new blog posts. Programmatic real-time widget on my WordPress page for new Tweets. Content begetting content – a UGC dream.

My assumption was correct. There is an ample supply of well-executed plugins, widgets, and code snippets to elevate the symbiotic relationship between WordPress and Twitter. I’m going to try Twitter Tools developed by Alex King because it was the first organic result in my Google query for “wordpress twitter.” It is force of habit. I completely disregard paid search results for some queries such as this one, but focus exclusively on paid search results for other queries (for example, when I am searching for the best price on a specific model of a mainstream consumer electronics good). I digress, but search engine user behavior is fascinating to me and is worthy of a dedicated post.

Within hours of creating my Twitter account I was following nine other accounts and had three people following mine. Don’t know if there has ever been another form of self-expression that is able to generate unsolicited interest from total strangers. I have to admit I am currently addicted and have logged in to my Twitter account regularly (including from both my Treo and Blackberry) since its creation. However, I was addicted to the Nintendo Wii when I first purchased it. It now has a quarter inch layer of dust on it as well as its controllers.

Work/Life Balance – Reality or Unicorn?

Exactly a year after I left my previous company to join my current one, I met up with my old boss for happy hour tonight. If not for him, I would certainly not be where I am today from a career standpoint. Giving him my two weeks notice (which was actually three because I bypassed the week in between jobs to make sure the transition went smoothly) was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

I had been there for three years and despite my allegiance to him, I knew it was time to move on to new challenges. It wouldn’t have been fair to the company, my beloved boss, or myself to stay there. I was burned out and simply couldn’t produce at the level I had sustained for the first 36 months of my tenure.

It turned out that the person to whom I would be reporting at the new job was a co-worker of my old boss and several other key players on his team. <!– Cliche Warning –> Small world!

This is certainly not an indictment against my former employer, but I am very grateful for where I am today professionally. Devoting one’s life to work can only last so long. It’s simply not sustainable. <!– Cliche Warning 2 –> Slow and steady wins the race. All work and no play makes Jack physically ill. Trust me on this one.

I used to say, “I’m still young and need to focus on my job while I am able.” At 32 years of age and rebounding from a 12+ year relationship that undoubtedly was undermined by my commitment to work, I am finally starting to realize there is more to life than to reaching the highest tax bracket. Besides, if I get there within the next 4 years, I will be hit with a luxury(federal income) tax of 40+%. Steinbrenner family: I feel your pain!

PPC Traffic Projections and Investment Cases Part I

CEO/CFO/CMO: I’m sick and tired of hearing you complain about lack of budget and what you could do with $X additional budget for PPC. Create an investment case and provide an aggressive ROI/ROAS number to justify the incremental budget, you <expletive deleted>.

Direct Report Responsible for SEM Initiatives: Yes, sir/ma’am! (Mutters under breath, “How the !@#$ am I supposed to do that?”)

CEO/CFO/CMO: I’ll operate under the assumption you have the predictive forecast modeling in place already… So you’ll have the investment case to me in 15 minutes, right (It’s 6PM local time)???

Direct Report Responsible for SEM Initiatives: You betcha (Mutters under breath, “How the !@#$ am I supposed to do that?”)!

Direct Report Responsible for SEM Initiatives (Subsequently referred to as “SEM Analyst Who Is Severely Overpaid”) action plan: Crap, let me search for “PPC Traffic Projections.”

SEM Analyst Who Is Severely Overpaid: “Wow, the first organic search result is from Ian Leong’s SEM blog! He sure is reputable, credible, synonyms^100.”

12 minutes to go until guaranteed delivery time…

Measurable return and ability to predict site traffic impact are a couple of the greatest strengths of online advertising. Personally, I like to start with clearly defining the goals/objectives for the investment case.

Is visitation lift your primary metric for defining success? Or is there a conversion point (form submission, white paper download, product purchase) downstream that you can use to determine cost per lead or cost per acquisition? If branding (difficult enough to quantify) is your primary objective then I would consider adding a display advertising component. Otherwise, stick with paid search. Don’t underestimate the branding effect of search either. There is a great section on this in the 2009 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide from MarketingSherpa. No, I don’t work for them :) You can find similar research conducted by Enquiro here.

The Google External Keyword Tool can be used to estimate search impression volume for your keyword list and get average CPC’s for each. From there, you should probably extrapolate the total number of clicks based on three clickthrough rates (0.5%, 1%, 1.5% for example).

(Impressions) x (CTR) x (CPC) = Estimated Cost (Insert your budget here)

Now solve for total clicks using basic algebra. You DO remember how to manipulate numerators and denominators on each side of the equation, right? The methodology for display ads is similar except you will most likely be using CPM instead of CPC.

Once you have total clicks, you can take it further to attempt to close the loop. Take your existing site conversion data (visit to lead ratio, click to download ratio…) and cut it in half to be safe since your campaigns will obviously not be optimized at launch. Use that number to see what impact on conversion the incremental visitation will provide.

People who consider themselves “experts” in their fields tend to oversimplify things and fail to expand on points where “lay(wo)men” need further clarification. Although I don’t consider myself to be a SEM expert, I do believe I am well versed in the search space. Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to discuss this subject further or just to tell me I am an idiot :)

SEM Analyst Who Is Severely Overpaid: This guy actually sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. I can’t wait to read Part II of this series to see what else I can steal to repurpose for my own benefit!

Ian Leong’s response: Fret not, SEM Analyst Who Is Severely Overpaid! Plenty more tips you can take credit for after this message from our sponsers.

<Insert Interstitial, Roadblock, Intercept Survey…>

God Yelps Those Who Yelp Themselves

OK, so via an industry email I received today, there are now at least five lawsuits in the state of California alone against people who posted negative reviews about service providers from whom they received sub-par service. The fact these complaints were not dismissed immediately really irks me. Freedom of speech should apply to Internet content – specifically to user reviews.

Filtering of negative opinions renders online reviews useless. If I wanted to see the idealistic perspective of a service provider, product, or website I would simply peruse their marketing collateral. To the plaintiffs in these lawsuits: If you are so concerned with libel and defamation resultant from these negative reviews, why don’t you ask some of your satisfied customers and clients to post retorts on the same sites in response to the allegations of deficient delivery of value? Review sites are generally open forums where each side has an opportunity to defend his or her point of view. If you are unable to settle a dispute amicably then maybe you should take a step back and review your value proposition. In tough economic times, people try to maximize their dollars spent. Take care of your clients/customers and they will take care of you!

My finishing argument: Ultimately, regional judicial systems should not be setting precedents regarding user reviews on the WORLD WIDE Web. Ten years subsequent to the mainstream adoption of the Internet, we still do not have de facto standards by which to model our online behavior.

California Anti-SLAPP Project: http://www.casp.net/

Shame on Me!

I have been meaning to set up my own blog for several years now. I run my own server, am proficient with PHP/MySQL, and earn a living using my knowledge of Internet marketing (limited as it is, I still bring value to the table for my employer somehow).

Coincidentally, a conversation with a co-worker was the stimulus I needed to finally get off my rear and share my ridiculous opinions to all who find my blog and waste precious minutes of their lives perusing my soapbox rants. Selfishly, I am starting this blog for two reasons: 1) To stay sharp in all the skills/experiences I have been fortunate enough to acquire at this point in my life – Coding, Management of Information Systems, Offline/Online Marketing, eCRM, Drip Marketing, Data Warehousing, and People Skills.

Speaking of People Skills, here are links to a clip from one of my Top 3 favorite movies of all time followed by a parody done by the fabulous writers at Family Guy.

Original Office Space Clip

Family Guy Spoof

Please watch the videos in order so you are able to appreciate what the folks responsible for producing Family Guy really did to recreate the original scene. While we’re on the subject of how great they are, the spoof on the ending scene of the original TV series Incredible Hulk is amazing. Brings back great memories of my childhood.

Right, so I might have ADD… In case you do as well, my second impetus is to see what I can do in the search engine optimization space. OK you got me – I spelled SEO out for a reason. The title of this post is terrible, but it’s my initial attempt to determine the natural ranking factors for blogs. See, I told you my motivations are selfish :)

Enough of my rambling, but caveat emptor. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves subscribing to this RSS Feed. This message will not self destruct unless a noindex is inserted.