A new adventure

Warning: this is going to be a personal life and studies related post, if you are not interested in it, just skip it :)

Finally graduated!

Finally graduated!

Hello dear readers! Sorry for the very long time I didn’t post but a lot has been going on in my life.

First of all: I graduated from my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Verona.

Now it’s time for a new adventure in Pisa! I will be studying a 2-years M.Sc. in Business Informatics (Computer Science applied to Business). You know, just to make life a little bit more complicated (and to follow what I am interested in) I decided to change school from Business to Computer Science with this particular degree that allows to use my Business skills as well. I will have to take some extra classes in basic CS topics such as Programming, Databases and Algorithms but it will be totally worth it. I’m really excited about this Masters.

Even if I ended up staying in Italy I didn’t lose my international instinct. As soon as I moved to Pisa, the first thing I looked for was the Erasmus Student Network section here, to continue to hang out with international people

Some news about me and summer announcement

Summer Schedule

First of all I would like to apologise with you. It has been two weeks since I last posted on this blog and my social network activity went down as well. I’m sorry, dear reader but don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you.

Due to some circumstances such as the upcoming deadline to finish my thesis about how digital marketing can help small and medium businesses to achieve their strategic goals, my application to the University of Pisa for a Masters Degree in Business Informatics (looks like I’m gonna become an analytics expert ;) ) and the consequent house seeking over there I didn’t have time to update my blog as regularly as I wanted.

To avoid any other problem I decided to announce that this blog is going on Summer Schedule from now ’til the middle of september. What does this mean? That I will not publish every monday as I did until now but less frequently (I hope to post at least 2 articles by the end of August anyways). My social network activity will be slowed down as well. This blog should go back to normal by mid-september.

Thank you for your patience and see you soon!
Alessandro

5 steps to build and improve your online presence

Being found online and acquire new followers is important both for people and businesses. In this post I will show you how to get started building your brand online, from some basic steps like “getting a website” to actively engage with present and potential customers. Let’s start now.

1. Get a website

Screenshot of my website. I'm using it for the same reason as you should: build my presence online.

Screenshot of my website. I’m using it for the same reason as you should: build my presence online.

The following statement is valid for both your business and for yourself as a brand: you need a website. If someone looks at you online what do they find? If the first result is some kind of information not managed by you, you are in trouble. You are leaving the control of how you are represented online to other people.

That’s why it’s very important to have a website like YOURBRAND.com or YOURNAME.com (.com is usually the preferred extension, but here you can find more information about what domain name and extension you should choose). This result is the most likely to be the first to appear on Google if you do a little bit of SEO. Having your own website means having full control of the official information about you and your brand, and this is the reason why it should never be replaced by social media accounts.

You can hire a web designer to make you one or “create” one by yourself via Wix or other automatic tools (I suggest to hire someone. It’s more expensive but it’s an investment worth the money. As I said above, your website represents you online. You cannot afford to appear unprofessional.).

Make sure your website is indicized by Google. A quick test can be done by searching “site:YOURWEBSITE.com” (without quotes and with the extension you have chosen for your website. In example for this blog the query is “site:alessandromarrella.com” – click the link to see an example on google). For tips and guides on how to be indicized visit the Google’s Webmaster Tools Support Page.

2. Set up Google My Business

Google My Business

Google My Business. Image © Google

Google My Business (formerly known as Google Places) allows you to submit your website to Google and to be listed on Google Search, Maps and Google+. Registering your business will allow you to manage the information available on Google (you can show what time you are open, phone numbers, upload photos…and more), engage with users on Google+ (no, it’s not dead… it’s growing every day more), read and respond to reviews and integrate your listing with Google Analytics. Adding your organisation is very easy. It just requires to follow step-by-step the instructions on the Google My Business page.

3. Create social media accounts

Even if you don’t plan to use all the social media, it’s important to create accounts on all the main ones. Subscribe to Facebook (with a page, not with a personal account), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ (if you followed the step above, you should already have a Google+ account), Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr… I suggest to look for your name on KnowEm and subscribe to all the social media relevant to your niche. You don’t have to be active in all of them (see next point). But having an account prevents “identity thefts”.

4. Be part of the community (and create one around your brand)

Join the groups that include people and brands in your same industry and groups participated by potential customers. Don’t just post your content, be helpful and create value to the communities you join. Reply to questions you know the answer or simply post useful stuff (see next point). It’s the best way to develop a good reputation online. With your social media accounts follow the same rule. Choose the platforms populated by your potential customers and where they are more likely to interact with you (i.e. Facebook is not a great place for “technical” stuff, Google+, StackOverflow and Quora may be more adapt). In other words, be a good fit in the context you want to engage. You can build “sense of community” around yourself as well. Check out the following Slideshare by Richard Millington to discover how:

(In the following link you can find a full collection of great Slideshares from the MozCon 2014 curated by me on LinkedIn)

5. Create and curate Content

It’s a trend between Digital Marketers to use the phrase “Content is King”. Raise your hand if you never heard/used this phrase. There is a reason behind that. I don’t know if you read my article about how can you attract and convert customers with Inbound marketing but the moral of the story is that if you provide great, useful and educational content you have a great opportunity to attract (and not annoy) people. If you didn’t do it earlier, read my article now.

But creating new content is not the only way to satisfy your potential customer’s needs. You can also curate and organise other people’s content. In a world where everybody is producing content to attract more people (do you really think that you are the only one reading this?) good curators will probably become the future authorities. I personally don’t read all the articles from the websites I subscribed to (even if I’m really interested, I subscribed!) but rely on communities that provide me the best articles to read, commented.

If you cannot produce your own content, be a curator. If you do it right, you will gain authority. If you want to discover more about content curation, you should definitely listen to this podcast.

Did you notice how many links (some of them external) I put in this post? This is an example of a mix between creation and curation. If I didn’t post something that can help you, I find an external resource and provide it to you. The only important thing is to satisfy your needs and questions. It doesn’t matter if I’m not the source.

Bonus step: Subscribe to my newsletter

This will not be the only post helping you building and improving your presence online. Subscribe to my newsletter and you will receive directly in your inbox updates and tips to succeed online. You just have to fill the form below.

Any other tip? Did I miss anything you would like to know? Post a comment below!

How to get the most out of the new twitter analytics

Last week Twitter updated their analytics dashboard. I decided to check it out and post here my advices to get the most out of it.

The data available

The dashboard is divided in 3 main sections, accessible through the top navigation menu: Tweets, Followers and Twitter Cards.

Continue Reading…

This is a Lean Blog

For those not familiar with the “lean” concept, it’s basically a methodology that allows startups (but not only, every kind of business can use it) to experiment and change the product even before building it.
For this blog I use the same approach. Until yesterday it was about Digital Marketing (with more focus on inbound and content marketing) but looking at the results of some of my experiments (that I will share in a few months, when they are more “complete”) Marketing is not appealing the right audience I wanted to.

I’m looking at you, small business owner,

and at you, startupper,

and at you, fellow web & technology aficionado
(no, I don’t like the term aficionado).

You are my target audience.

I want to let you know that I’m developing a kick-ass content calendar, that I hope you will like. But if you won’t don’t worry. I’m not afraid to pivot. Even if it will cost me some audience in the beginning of this journey (this post will cost me some audience as well).

P.s. For those interested in the Lean Methodology, you MUST read this book (yes, ok, it’s an affiliate link. But it’s worth it!)

See you soon (if you are my audience),

Alessandro

 

How can you attract and convert customers with Inbound Marketing

Last week I wrote about Android and the future of digital marketing, highlighting the importance of rich snippets to integrate with wearables, cars and TVs. This week I want to focus on something even more important than search-optimised markup to be found on Google: the Searcher. The person who is looking for some information and that you have the opportunity to reach. But how can you do it?

You might think you could:

  • Advertise with Google Adwords focusing on those keywords and topics
  • Advertise on the Social Networks based on interests or on a lookalike audience
  • Create an awesome youtube ad
  • Do some email marketing

All of these solutions pointing to an awesome, profile oriented landing page that will lead the customer into the sales funnel. Will it work?

Yes, probably. But people will hate you (a little bit).

Continue Reading…

Android brings digital marketing to a whole new level

Last week brought great changes and new opportunities for digital marketers. Google I/O introduced some technological innovation that cannot be ignored. Here is an analysis on what the technology will probably mean for marketing in a few months very soon.

Google Watch and Android Wear: what will wearable technology mean to digital marketing?

Continue Reading…

What the heck does a Doge do in my “about me” page?

Doge Meme

Doge

 

Super short update today. I decided to create an “about me” page to tell you something about me (don’t you say?) and the reasons why I created this blog. I decided to put a famous internet meme in a page that should give me authority. Do you want to know why? Check out the page and you will discover it :)

If you don’t want to lose my updates, subscribe to my newsletter:


Alessandro

 

5 reasons why social networks don’t replace your website

“Why should I have a website? People spend most of their online time on social media (external link). It’s better to concentrate all my efforts and budget on my Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn page.”.

As a small – medium business owner, it’s easy to fall in this temptation. You set up a few free pages on some social networks, you manage them through their simple WYSIWYG interfaces and, if you have budget, you invest a little bit of money in promoting your posts. It requires less effort and you can potentially reach a lot of people.

So why should you have website?

Continue Reading…

Google releases Web Starter Kit (beta)

There are basically 2 schools of web designers: those who don’t mind using frameworks for their job, and those who think that all these tools are killing creativity and selling out their job. Google, with Web Starter Kit, tries to make both happy.

Continue Reading…