[row][col span=”md-6″]As Wil Reynolds said, real-company stuff (well, “stuff”) works. It will improve offline and online presence and sales, but what kind of places should you look to find what your real company stuff (RCS) is doing for you online? How will it differ from your direct marketing efforts? Since RCS is about building a community and doing something for your customers, the main goal isn’t necessarily catching traffic. However, knowing if the results of your RCS are moving your ROI in the right direction, then creating more opportunities for fun, creative real company activities suddenly becomes easier and better invested in. This is a win-win situation for both the company and the customer, so knowing how your RCS is working for you is a necessary step.[/col][col span=”md-6″]
What does Real Company Action Mean?
Made famous in a presentation by Wil Reynolds at SEER Interactive, “Real Company Actions” (or any variation on that theme) are simply the stuff that Real Companies do. This refers to things like community outreach, new initiatives, and real, tangible actions as opposed to puffed up PR and empty blog posts. The basic goal is to focus on building things that help people, fostering community, and offering real value – instead of spending time chasing metrics that don’t matter through tricks and games.
Analyzing Natural Links
[row][col span=”md-6″]Performing offline activities is a great way to get links back from sites, especially ones that have excellent domain authority, like news sites. These sites are more likely to give appropriate credit when they report on your doings as well. Perform a link analysis at least two weeks after launching your RCS efforts. In the new links that show up, check and see what the content that links back is referring to – if the RCS effort was successful, chances are you’ll run into news and PR sites talking about it. [/col][col span=”md-6″]Additionally, local bloggers may make reference to the RCS you’ve been doing, and this is a great way to build a relationship with bloggers without the need for an out-of-the-blue email. Take these links that reference (directly or indirectly) your RCS, and make sure to log them as such in your link spreadsheet. They shouldn’t get lumped into the same categories as your other link building efforts, or else you’ll forget that they came from RCS, and not credit the right efforts for success.[/col][/row]
Things to Think About:
- 1. The domain authority of the links
- 2. How many links were generated?
- 3. How strongly referenced your company was (was it a courtesy link, or did they say to check you out?)
- 4. Were you able to reach out to the author to build a relationship?
All of these will help determine the value of those links, but they should be valued in a different way from a fully-online built link. Some of these authors and bloggers could have reach and influence not only in your vertical, but outside of it as well (especially in terms of a news organization).
This would be an opportunity to gain customers who may not have known about your company from your online efforts.
Finding Mentions and Discussions
[row][col span=”md-6″]Many of your real company activities will stir discussion online, some of it casual, and you’ll want to find these types of mentions to measure buzz. Google Alerts is a good place to start; make sure to set it up with several different brand-based keywords in order to catch mentions. Some of these may be forums and other casual discussion, but should still be measured as awareness. Others may be more formal mentions without a link back – it’s good to note these so that these people can be reached out to for an easy link back and a new relationship. Because the blogger or website own has already posted about you (for good or for bad), obtaining a response is far easier than a cold outreach effort to try and get them to talk about you. [/col][col span=”md-6″]Casual mentions can be just as important as traditional backlinks because you’re able to measure a response that tends to lead towards the customer. Although industry articles can garner reach, sometimes it can be difficult to judge how well the customer is engaging with them. With forums, comment sections, and other forms of short, casual interaction, you can analyze a primary source of interaction between potential customers. Instead of an insider saying “people were stunned at [your company’s action]” you can see that visitors have indeed said “I had a good time at [your company’s event”. While both are effective for analyzing the effectiveness of your RCS, the second example is often more natural, direct, and honest.[/col][/row]
Landing Pages – Where Would a Real-Company Visitor Go?
Visitors who come from real company activities may not necessarily end up on the front page, and with a little research, you can preemptively give them a page that would rank well for the terms they’re searching for.
If your RCS is a time-specific event, having a landing page just for that is needed, and can provide a much more concrete example as to how much traffic your RCS is actually generating.
- 1. What keywords would a person who experienced your RCS type in?
- 2. What kind of information would they want to know (time, details, phone number)?
- 3. How can they convert as a result of your RCS (i.e., how should you frame your call to action)?
- 4. Are the people who visit going to convert immediately, or should they be funneled to other parts of the site?
Thinking about these types of components on your page beforehand will help you better analyzed the data that will come after.
Do the people who visit the page bounce often? Maybe they’re just looking for more information. Or, are the people who visit this page converting at a higher rate than your other landing pages? Was it because of the RCS, or is the landing page just more effective in other ways (design, call to action, etc.)?
Take into consideration that this landing page traffic is the result of an event outside the realm of normal SEO – it should be analyzed as more than just “the form was in the top-right corner”. It might be a reaction to the effectiveness of the event as well.
Lead Generation – What Are Your Salesman Saying?
[row][col span=”md-6″]Knowing how many of your leads are coming from your RCS needs to depend on more than just hearsay from your salesmen. It’s important to automate and numerically measure what leads are coming from your RCS. With marketing automation software, you can create a label just for people who mention that they heard about you through your RCS – it won’t be a perfect measurement, but you can compare it to the other statistics pulled from the strategies above, and determine how they measure up in proportion. Did a large percentage of those visitors convert? [/col][col span=”md-6″]In conjunction with an RCS-specific landing page, you’ll be able to create a more accurate profile of the type of person who reacted appropriately to your RCS, and compare that to your current personas of your customers. By matching those up, you can adjust your RCS strategies to either better fit your personas, or appeal to a type that are new, but especially responsive. RCS may be focused on building real value, but you still need to sell your product – and therefore you need to build real value for the people most likely to buy.[/col][/row]
Traffic – When Did You Start Doing Stuff?
What kind of person is the person participating in RCS, and what kinds of keywords would they use? Seeing the uptrends in traffic for certain keywords, mediums, and referrals is a great way to see how effective your RCS is doing.
Mark when your efforts launch to note the right changes. Keep track of how people are funneling to or from your RCS-specific landing page – not all of them would have landed on the right page, but could have gotten there if you provided navigation to it (and it might be a good idea to do so).
An uptick in traffic can occur as a result of your RCS, and through detailed analysis, you can determine that it did come from your RCS, and not as a result of another SEO effort.
While the landing page will help, you can also analyze search terms and browsing paths to determine which users are coming as a response to your RCS.
Traffic going through a certain browsing path may trickle down after the buzz of your RCS fades, and that can also be an indicator of which users visited your site as a result of the RCS.
Transferring Real Life Stuff to Online Success
You can create an excellent online profile through offline, real life activities and well…stuff. By looking at the key indicators and the changes in traffic, you can determine how exactly your offline activities have helped your online presence.
The intangible benefits of RCS are obvious – it’s a reputation builder that creates good things in your community and gives back to the customers that have stayed loyal to you.
RCS can provide tangible, substantial results in terms of the bottom lines as well, and knowing that it’s the RCS doing that is necessary when choosing the right strategies.
Some companies may be unwilling to take the risk of doing more RCS because it is often a heavy investment, but if they knew that the investment was paying off, they’d be more than willing to do plenty more of it, which not only supports themselves, but their customers and the community around them.