SEO "Dinosaur" Tactics That You Should Retire – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

It’s tough to admit it, but many of us still practice outdated SEO tactics in the belief that they still have a great deal of positive influence. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand gently sets us straight and offers up a series of replacement activities that will go much farther toward moving the needle. Share your own tips and favorites in the comments!

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to go back in time to the prehistoric era and talk about a bunch of “dinosaur” tactics, things that SEOs still do, many of us still do, and we probably shouldn’t.

We need to replace and retire a lot of these tactics. So I’ve got five tactics, but there’s a lot more, and in fact I’d loved to hear from some of you on some of yours.

Dino Tactic #1: AdWords/Keyword Planner-based keyword research

But the first one we’ll start with is something we’ve talked about a few times here — AdWords and Keyword Planner-based keyword research. So you know there’s a bunch of problems with the metrics in there, but I still see a lot of folks starting their keyword research there and then expanding into other tools.

Replace it with clickstream data-driven tools with Difficulty and CTR %

My suggestion would be start with a broader set if you possibly can. If you have the budget, replace this with something that is driven by clickstream data, like Ahrefs or SEMrush or Keyword Explorer. Even Google Search Suggest and related searches plus Google Trends tend to be better at capturing more of this.

Why it doesn’t work

I think is just because AdWords hides so many keywords that they don’t think are commercially relevant. It’s too inaccurate, especially the volume data. If you’re actually creating an AdWords campaign, the volume data gets slightly better in terms of its granularity, but we found it is still highly inaccurate as compared as to when you actually run that campaign.

It’s too imprecise, and it lacks a bunch of critical metrics, including difficulty and click-through rate percentage, which you’ve got to know in order to prioritize keywords effectively.

Dino Tactic #2: Subdomains and separate domains for SERP domination

Next up, subdomains and separate domains for SERP domination. So classically, if you wanted to own the first page of Google search results for a branded query or an unbranded query, maybe you just want to try and totally dominate, it used to be the case that one of the ways to do this was to add in a bunch of subdomains to your website or register some separate domains so that you’d be able to control that top 10.

Why it doesn’t work

What has happened recently, though, is that Google has started giving priority to multiple subpages in a single SERP from a single domain. You can see this for example with Yelp on virtually any restaurant-related searches, or with LinkedIn on a lot of business topic and job-related searches.

You can see it with Quora on a bunch of question style searches, where they’ll come up for all of them, or Stack Overflow, where they come up for a lot of engineering and development-related questions.

Replace it with barnacle SEO and subfolder hosted content

So one of the better ways to do this nowadays is with barnacle SEO and subfolder hosted content, meaning you don’t have to put your content on a separate subdomain in order to rank multiple times in the same SERP.

Barnacle SEO also super handy because Google is giving a lot of benefit to some of these websites that host content you can create or generate and profiles you can create and generate. That’s a really good way to go. This is mostly just because of this shift from the subdomains being the way to get into SERPs multiple times to individual pages being that path.

Dino Tactic #3: Prioritizing number one rankings over other traffic-driving SEO techniques

Third, prioritizing number one rankings over other traffic-driving SEO techniques. This is probably one of the most common “dinosaur” tactics I see, where a lot of folks who are familiar with the SEO world from maybe having used consultants or agencies or brought it in-house 10, 15, 20 years ago are still obsessed with that number one organic ranking over everything else.

Replace it with SERP feature SEO (especially featured snippets) and long-tail targeting

In fact, that’s often a pretty poor ROI investment compared to things like SERP features, especially the featured snippet, which is getting more and more popular. It’s used in voice search. It oftentimes doesn’t need to come from the number one ranking result in the SERP. It can come number three, number four, or number seven.

It can even be the result that brings back the featured snippet at the very top. Its click-through rate is often higher than number one, meaning SERP features a big way to go. This is not the only one, too. Image SEO, doing local SEO when the local pack appears, doing news SEO, potentially having a Twitter profile that can rank in those results when Google shows tweets.

And, of course, long-tail targeting, meaning going after other keywords that are not as competitive, where you don’t need to compete against as many folks in order to get that number one ranking spot, and often, in aggregate, long tail can be more than ranking number one for that “money” keyword, that primary keyword that you’re going after.

Why it doesn’t work

Why is this happening? Well, it’s because SERP features are biasing the click-through rate such that number one just isn’t worth what it used to be, and the long tail is often just higher ROI per hour spent.

Dino Tactic #4: Moving up rankings with link building alone

Fourth, moving up the rankings on link building alone. Again, I see a lot of people do this, where they’re ranking number 5, number 10, number 20, and they think, “Okay, I’m ranking in the first couple of pages of Google. My next step is link build my way to the top.”

Why it no longer works on its own

Granted, historically, back in the dinosaur era, dinosaur era of being 2011, this totally worked. This was “the” path to get higher rankings. Once you were sort of in the consideration set, links would get you most of the way up to the top. But today, not the case.

Replace it with searcher task accomplishment, UX optimization, content upgrades, and brand growth

Instead I’m going to suggest you retire that and replace it with searcher task accomplishment, which we’ve seen a bunch of people invest in optimization there and springboard their site, even with worse links, not as high DA, all of that kind of stuff. UX optimization, getting the user experience down and nailing the format of the content so that it better serves searchers.

Content upgrades, improving the actual content on the page, and brand growth, associating your brand more with the topic or the keyword. Why is this happening? Well, because links alone it feels like today are just not enough. They’re still a powerful ranking factor. We can’t ignore them entirely certainly.

But if you want to unseat higher ranked pages, these types of investments are often much easier to make and more fruitful.

Dino Tactic #5: Obsessing about keyword placement in certain tags/areas

All right, number five. Last but not least, obsessing about keyword placement in certain tags and certain areas. For example, spending inordinate amounts of time and energy making sure that the H1 and H2, the headline tags, can contain keywords, making sure that the URL contains the keywords in exactly the format that you want with the hyphens, repeating text a certain number of times in the content, making sure that headlines and titles are structured in certain ways.

Why it (kind of) doesn’t work

It’s not that this doesn’t work. Certainly there’s a bare minimum. We’ve got to have our keyword used in the title. We definitely want it in the headline. If that’s not in an H1 tag, I think we can live with that. I think that’s absolutely fine. Instead I would urge you to move some of that same obsession that you had with perfecting those tags, getting the last 0.01% of value out of those into related keywords and related topics, making sure that the body content uses and explains the subjects, the topics, the words and phrases that Google knows searchers associate with a given topic.

My favorite example of this is if you’re trying to rank for “New York neighborhoods” and you have a page that doesn’t include the word Brooklyn or Manhattan or Bronx or Queens or Staten Island, your chances of ranking are much, much worse, and you can get all the links and the perfect keyword targeting in your H1, all of that stuff, but if you are not using those neighborhood terms that Google clearly can associate with the topic, with the searcher’s query, you’re probably not going to rank.

Replace it with obsessing over related keywords and topics

This is true no matter what you’re trying to rank for. I don’t care if it’s blue shoes or men’s watches or B2B SaaS products. Google cares a lot more about whether the content solves the searcher’s query. Related topics, related keywords are often correlated with big rankings improvements when we see folks undertake them.

I was talking to an SEO a few weeks ago who did this. They just audited across their site, found the 5 to 10 terms that they felt they were missing from the content, added those into the content intelligently, adding them to the content in such a way that they were actually descriptive and useful, and then they saw rankings shoot up with nothing else, no other work. Really, really impressive stuff.

So take some of these dino tactics, try retiring them and replacing them with some of these modern ones, and see if your results don’t come out better too. Look forward to your thoughts on other dino tactics in the comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Reblogged 1 month ago from tracking.feedpress.it

10 things you should know about Romesh Ranganathan

In case you haven’t heard, comedian, actor, producer, and all-round jolly good bloke Romesh Ranganathan will be our celebrity host at this year’s dotties awards, where he’ll be handing out awards to the winners, and hopefully treating us to some of his deadpan comedic delivery.

In anticipation of his appearance at the dotties, and for those of you who may not be too familiar with his work, I’ve got 10 things that you should know about Romesh Ranganathan.

2 x 10 + 1 = Romesh done

Romesh made his comedic debut in 2010, whilst still working his job as a mathematics teacher in his hometown of Crawley, West Sussex. He joins the list of comedians who used to be teachers, which includes Billy Crystal, Greg Davies, and, uh, Roy Hodgson.

His jokes are stinkers

His debut live show, Irrational Live, dominated the country in 2016 with a string of sold-out shows, one of which The Guardian described as having ‘irresistible gags with stink-bomb impact’. It was later released as a concert film, becoming a bestseller in the process.

You’ve probably seen him on a panel show

The last four years have seen Romesh establish himself as a regular or guest on several panel shows, including Mock the Week, 8 out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, The Last Leg, Have I Got News for You, and QI.

He’s on the telly a lot

Alongside his stage and panel show performances, Romesh has also starred in a number of other TV programs. These include:

Asian Provocateur – The first series, on BBC Three, saw Romesh travel to Sri Lanka to learn about his parents’ country of origin and its culture, meeting family members along the way. The second series, Mum’s American Dream, saw Romesh and his mother, Shanthi, travel to the US to meet more family members.

Just Another Immigrant – This American docuseries premiered on Showtime in June 2018. It follows Romesh, along with his wife and three children, his mother, and his uncle, as they immigrate to the US. As the series progresses, Romesh and family attempt to rebuild their life from scratch, and Romesh attempts to sell out a 6,000-seater venue in just three months.

Judge Romesh – Falling somewhere between Judge Judy, Judge Rinder, and The Jeremy Kyle Show, Judge Romesh sees him settling disputes in a fictional civil court. The first series finished its run at the beginning of September and was screened on Dave.

And he’s got even more on the way

I wonder whether Romesh finds time to sleep, because his new TV series, The Misadventures of Romesh, sees him travelling way, way out of his comfort zone and away from the world of complimentary breakfast buffets to some of the most unlikely places on earth for a holiday.

A man of many talents

Romesh has also performed as a freestyle rap artist under the name of Ranga, and he once managed to reach the finals of the UK freestyle competition.

You can find a video of Romesh battling another comedian on YouTube, but there’s a bit too much foul language for me to embed it on this blog, so here’s a clip of him freestyling on BBC Asian Network instead:

Part of the VGang

Romesh is vegan, having been vegetarian up until 2015. He wrote an article for the Guardian last year about how you can survive Christmas as a vegan. Take a look at the article here.

Aquarius Comedian

Born on January 31st, Romesh is an Aquarian comedian, just like Hannibal Buress, Chris Rock, and me.

He’s got his own memoir

Next month sees the release of Romesh’s first book, Memoirs of a Distinctly Average Human Being. Being a distinctly average human being myself, I am very much looking forward to reading this and seeing how our lives compare.

Hip-hop saved his life

Romesh also has his own hip-hop podcast. Named after the Lupe Fiasco song of the same name, Hip-hop Saved My Life has featured guests such as Chali 2Na, Loyle Carner, DJ Yoda, Scroobius Pip, and his mum.

He also got a chance to meet Lupe Fiasco in an episode of Just Another Immigrant:

Now that you’re more closely acquainted with Romesh, perhaps you’ll want to submit an entry to the dotties? If you’re a dotmailer user, then take a look at the categories, and find out how to enter here.

The post 10 things you should know about Romesh Ranganathan appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Email design: how mobile should you go?

Email is your brand’s virtual shop window

Flashy email design, gripping email copy and intelligent personalization – these are the things most of us strive to deliver as email marketers. We want to get the look and feel of our brand spot on. Plus, we want to deliver memorable experiences that’ll help us shine  So sometimes we overlook the bare necessities, like ‘Can my customer see what I’m seeing?’. Email mobile optimization is one of those fuzzy areas of email design: some brands will nail it as a priority, while others haven’t even got it on their radar. Here’s why it matters:

For retail and ecommerce marketers, mobile’s taken over the market share. Mcommerce sales worldwide reached an estimated $1.357 trillion in 2017, or 58.9% of ecommerce spending overall. By 2021, mcommerce will account for 72.9% of the ecommerce market.” And for B2B businesses, it’s a similar story: 76% of Gen X buyers and 84% of millennials said their mobile device was critical to their work.

Email is STILL the top channel for marketers looking to maximize on ROI, delivering £32 for every £1 you spend. But in order for it to fire in all cylinders, it’s got to be optimized for your customers’ viewing preferences.

The customer experience should be seamless, whatever the device

Designing for mobile users shouldn’t be viewed as a separate component to your regular email design. Creating a smooth, effortless experience for your customers across all their touchpoints is the ultimate goal for any marketer – especially when 50% of consumers now regularly use more than four touch points during the buying process.

So the question is:

‘How mobile should I go with my email design?’

Every brand is different, and what works for your peers might not be the best fit for you. Deciding on the level of influence mobile has on your email design is the best way to ensure you’re optimizing content for your customers – without leaving any out in the cold.

Get to grips with just how many of your contacts open, click and convert on mobile devices. If you have a best-of-breed ESP, like dotmailer, you can access a detailed breakdown of email client share for every campaign you send. Find out the percentage of Iphone opens, for example, or build a more accurate picture of how many tablet engagers you’ve got on the books. A quick pointer: getting to grips with this information can also improve your send time optimization; a dip in mobile opens at certain times will highlight the times when it’s inopportune to push out marketing messages.

Once you’ve got the measure of mobile engagement, you can decide just how mobile you’re going to get. We’ve rounded up the important differences between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive email design to help you make up your mind.

Mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendly email design (sometimes called mobile-first or mobile-aware) is fixed width and optimized for reading on a handheld device. This design relies on a single column layout with large text and CTA buttons; the font size isn’t responsive, but is large enough to be read on smaller screens. Extra spacing around campaign elements allows for maximum ‘tappability’.

Mobile-friendly email designs are simple to create and guarantee customers will be about to view your creatives on any device. However, their primarily single-column layout offers limited design options, especially for meatier campaigns like newsletters.

Responsive

Responsive email design uses CSS media queries to create fluid tables and images, allowing your campaign to adapt for different screen sizes and orientations. You can prioritize different layouts, font sizes, colors and even content based on the device customers are using. Previously, Gmail didn’t support media queries – but that’s no longer the case.

Using responsive email design gives you much more control over your campaigns. The drawback is that the design process is more complex and will require some coding. Some best-of-breed ESPs will have responsive design baked into their platform as standard; brands using dotmailer can select which email content blocks they want to display on what device. Plus, all of our templates are designed to be mobile responsive – even the free ones.

What about hybrid email design?

Hybrid email, sometimes called ‘spongy’ email, uses a combination of percentage-based widths, maximum-widths and clever and complex workaround coding for Outlook clients to ensure emails are adjusted based on a device’s width. Hybrid design offers marketers universal ‘friendliness’, but requires more development knowledge – and can get messy if left to inexperience. Always test any new design across multiple devices and email clients to ensure you’re delivering a consistent customer experience

If you’re interested in building email campaigns with hybrid design, we’re here to help you. dotmailer’s talented Digital Creatives have the full mix of design and coding skills, and can help your team execute beautiful, consistent mobile-optimized campaigns and pages. Get in touch with your Account Manger or check out our Creative Services page.

What next?

dotmailer has a guide that goes into more detail on mobile email design. You’ll get real-world examples for top brands, more insight and a handy list of 10 best practices to help you stand out in any inbox.

Grab our free best practice guide on email design.

 

The post Email design: how mobile should you go? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Why should I implement user tracking software?

Now more than ever, brands need to be data-driven and offer a highly personalized experience. To get noticed in the inbox – over and above everybody else – it’s important to send timely, contextual emails that are meaningful to subscribers.

This is where user tracking software comes in; unlocking the power of web insight enables you to enhance the relevancy of your email campaigns. dotmailer’s web insight tool tracks the website behaviour of customers and prospects after they’ve clicked through from your emails. It gathers rich behavioural insights from your site visitors:

  • Duration of a user’s visit
  • Pages viewed
  • Point of drop out

This enriched data helps you quantify the impact of your campaigns, identify highly engaged subscribers and follow up with timely, appropriate content.

There are two key ways that our web behavioural tool can give your email marketing results a dramatic lift:

  1. Building segments that target individuals based on their web activity; for instance, those who’ve viewed pages which indicate a strong intent to buy or enquire.
  2. Powering your automations; i.e. a browse abandonment program that prompts the completion of a form or a cart recovery program that encourages the placement of an order.

Forest Holidays has recently enabled the dotmailer web behaviour tool to great effect. At present, user tracking is being leveraged to target individuals who’ve abandoned their basket by sending them a personalized, well-timed email. The results speak for themselves: a significant uplift in engagement and a 5% COS in the first 30 days of implementation.

If you’d like to know more about dotmailer’s web insight tool, contact your Account Manager, or take a free trial of our platform.

The post Why should I implement user tracking software? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 8 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Spotlight on Magento: Why you should choose dotmailer for Magento

In 2015, not only did we launch our dotmailer for Magento integration but we were also named one of its Premier Technology Partners. Our specialist Magento developers spent months preparing the integration so it would comply with the ecommerce platform’s codebase. The result? A super-charged tool that works in sync with Magento 1 and 2, and powers smarter, targeted, revenue-driven marketing.

The dotmailer for Magento integration takes the legwork out of marketing to your most valuable contacts, thanks to access to live data and via one interface. However, that’s certainly not the only benefit:

  • Automatic sync of your Magento subscribers, guests and customers
  • dotmailer ROI tracking within your Magento site
  • Rescue customers’ abandoned carts using triggered campaigns
  • Full campaign and contact reporting from within your dotmailer account
  • Plug-and-play extension with single sign-on
  • 24/5 support from Magento experts
  • An account manager to help you get the most out of the platform for your business
  • Multichannel automation, such as SMS

dotmailer for Magento in action

7 ways to make the most of dotmailer tools with your Magento contacts

There’s a long list of things you can do with the dotmailer for Magento integration – but here are a few of my favorites:

Automated abandoned cart emails
You can create your abandoned cart campaigns in dotmailer and then set the trigger from Magento within a minimum of 15 minutes of a cart becoming ‘lost’. You’ll be able to see the return on investment (ROI) and campaign drilldown reporting in your dotmailer account.

Download a free copy of our ‘Put the abandoned cart before the horse’ guide to see the true value of this automation.

Create segments for relevant content
Use your synced contact data fields to better target your audience. For example, things like category purchases, interests, birthday / anniversary / subscribed date / last purchased date are all relevant ways to deliver a more personal message.

Magento external dynamic content links (EDC)
Using links from your Magento site, you can display dynamic product content in your emails to customers; some of these include:

  • Recommended products based on items in cart
  • Recommended products based on order history
  • Manual recommended products
  • Bestsellers
  • Last order ID
  • Coupon codes
  • Wishlist products
  • Upsells and cross-sells
  • Most viewed products

Increase revenue with dotmailer’s automation Program Builder
Use the dotmailer program builder to create welcome, win-back, wishlist, loyalty and many more for revenue-generating campaigns that run themselves.

Catalog sync
dotmailer is releasing a new product block feature, meaning no more time-consuming product image uploads. It gives you the functionality to drag a block into your campaign and add an item by SKU – syncing the product image, URL, title and price, with a button to the item’s page.

Transactional email
We know that consistency is one of the keys to trust – so being able to brand transactional emails in line with marketing messages is an obvious benefit, What’s more, with the transactional email module, you can easily set up transactional data and view transactional reports through the dotmailer dashboard. Read more on using dotmailer for transactional emails here.

Order insight
Synchronizing the order history and insight of your contacts enables you to view all of their purchase history since becoming a guest or customer with you. This is truly invaluable in the drive towards relevancy in email marketing.

If you have any more questions, you can book a demo, register for a free trial account, reach out to your account manager, or attend one of our dotlive events. Check out the dotlive events calendar for upcoming Magento-related seminars, webinars and roadshows.

 

The post Spotlight on Magento: Why you should choose dotmailer for Magento appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The email marketing metrics you should be measuring

Have you ever had to answer questions from your boss about an email that didn’t perform as expected? You might have wished you had some accurate measure to back you up. The fact is, unless they’re looking at the right metrics, they could be missing the point entirely.

No matter how you spin it, emails are really important. Marketers love them, and consumers want them. The DMA can tell you that, and they do every year. But how can we quantify this?

Understanding the measurable success of emails is one of the most important tools for an email marketer.

That sounds like an obvious statement, but 55% of marketers in 2016 said they couldn’t calculate the ROI of email.[1]

The first step towards equipping yourself to deal with probing questions from above is to define what success looks like to your business. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of reporting data you now have at your disposal, or bogged down with KPI’s, industry norms, and board expectations. Instead, you need to focus on what you want your email to do. Are you a seasonal retailer looking for website traffic, or are you a B2B company seeking a high open rate from an informative email? Purpose is crucial. All audiences are different; therefore, not all marketers should be tracking the same measure of success.

Imagine you are an online shoe retailer. Do you care about open rates? Maybe. Or maybe it’s been a while since pay day. Perhaps some contacts have just bought a pair of shoes and they aren’t going to want to hear about all the other choices they could have made. So how about looking at click-to-opens? If I’m ready to buy a pair of shoes, I’m probably an active browser. I’ll open the emails, click through to the website and pore over pages and pages of options to find what I like. The more you measure this behaviour, the better you can drive it; and the more likely it is that a contact is browsing your website when they finally decide to buy.

For a B2B marketer, interactions can be less frequent and fewer in number. These companies need to identify how valuable each interaction is so they can make the most out of every opportunity. Your boss might notice a downturn in the number of emails sent, but miss that the messaging has become much more targeted. Highly tailored emails drive better engagement, leading to more website sessions and longer average dwell times.

Communicating your intent should be enough to get them off your case, right?

Wrong. Well, for most senior managers anyway. More engagement may well lead to more sales, but you need to prove it. While terms like ‘lifetime loyalty’ and ‘engagement’ excite marketers, for most budget holders they’re just a distraction from their sole concern: revenue.

Calculating the revenue value of an email address isn’t rocket science.

You can take the total revenue generated from email campaigns and divide by the average size of the overall email list over a given period (say, a year or 6 months). You can also attribute back the less direct email conversions, such as online to offline journeys, which you should take care to do. When setting your testing plans, benchmarking reports, or KPI’s, make sure you build in some value analysis to fend off any stakeholders who are less savvy when it comes to marketing.

Not only can these measurements help your board to better understand email success as a value, they will also gives you conversion and email acquisition figures to aim for in the future, supporting the growth of your email strategy and ultimate ROI.

It’s crucially important to consider the full customer journey when measuring email success. You need to think about which metrics drive your desired behaviours. Unfortunately, there is no set rule here. However, as email marketers, you’re best placed to create your own.

Want to know more? Download our cheatsheet: Track it and smash it: 6 email marketing metrics you must measure.

[1] DMA Insight: Marketer email tracking study 2017

The post The email marketing metrics you should be measuring appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The Magento Xcelerate program: A positive sum game

As an open source ecommerce platform, Magento is flexible and accessible for developers to work with and as a result, an active community of developers emerged on online forums and at offline meetups all over the world. Many of these were happily plugging away independently of Magento until the split from eBay in early 2015.

Free from the reins of eBay, Magento has decisively been reaching out to, promoting and rewarding the individuals, agencies and technology providers that make up its ecosystem. Last February they announced the Magento Masters Program, empowering the top platform advocates, frequent forum contributors and the innovative solution implementers. Then at April‘s Magento Imagine conference (the largest yet) the theme emerged as ‘We are Magento”, in celebration of the community.

The new Xcelerate Technology Partner Program focuses not on individuals but on business partnerships formed with the technology companies that offer tools for Magento merchants to implement.

 Sharing ideas, opportunities and successes:

This is the Xcelerate Program tagline, which acts as a sort of mission statement to get the technology partners involved moving with regards to continuously considering Magento in their own technology roadmap and jointly communicating successes and learnings from working on implementations with merchants.

“In turn, the program offers members the tools to get moving, through events, resources and contacts. Our goal is to enable you to be an integral part of the Magento ecosystem” Jon Carmody, Head of Technology Partners

The program in practice:

The new program is accompanied by the new Marketplace from which the extensions can be purchased and downloaded. The program splits the extensions into 3 partnership levels:

Registered Partners – these are technology extensions that the new Magento Marketplace team test for code quality. Extensions must now pass this initial level to be eligible for the Marketplace. With each merchant having on average 15 extensions for their site, this is a win for merchants when it comes to extension trustworthiness.

Select Partners – extensions can enter this second tier if the technology falls into one of the strategic categories identified by Magento and if they pass an in-depth technical review. These will be marked as being ‘Select’ in the Marketplace.

Premier Partners – this level is by invitation only, chosen as providing crucial technology to Magento merchants (such as payments, marketing, tax software). The Magento team’s Extension Quality Program looks at coding structure, performance, scalability, security and compatibility but influence in the Community is also a consideration. dotmailer is proud to be the first Premier Technology Partner in the marketing space for Magento.

All in all, the latest move from Magento in illuminating its ecosystem should be positive for all; the merchants who can now choose from a vetted list of extensions and know when to expect tight integration, the technology partners building extensions now with clearer merchant needs/extension gaps in mind and guidance from Magento, and of course the solution implementers recommending the best extension for the merchant now knowing it will be maintained.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com