An Interview with Kate Morris – Search Marketing Specialist at Marketing Demons

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We’re starting a new interview series on our Internet marketing blog which will be featuring industry professionals. Jon Henshaw kicked of this new series last week with his interview of Tamar Weinberg about her new book, The New Community Rules.

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Kate Morris, a founding demon of Marketing Demons. Kate is a regular speaker at industry conferences, including PubCon and SMX.

Kate Morris - I'm a Social Tool

How did you get started with Internet Marketing?

I got started how most of us got started, I fell into it. I was an intern at a marketing agency and they had a client that wanted to try PPC advertising. So I got asked to figure it out. From that position I was picked up by Apogee Search parent company, LeadsCustomersGrowth, and began learning about SEO and more PPC tactics.

Describe the work and services you provide with Marketing Demons.

Marketing Demons was started as a different Search Marketing agency, one that would mold to the needs of the client depending on if they wanted training, management, or just one off projects. It has changed a little since it’s inception to be a collection of independent consultants that work together to provide the best service to their clients. We work together when necessary, but independently the rest of the time. It’s the best of both worlds. We have talent in SEO, PPC, and Social Media just to name a few.

With Google seemingly favoring large brands in Search, can a small business still compete in the online world?

Yes, small businesses can definitely compete in the online world. The change is not to put small businesses out, but rather serve up the best results for the end user. Basically Google is making it harder to start a business with just some affiliate links and a good website.

If a small business can identify a business area that has a need, and fulfill that need with new products and services, they will do great. Just copying what has been done and hoping to steal market share is just getting more difficult. I have a client that consistently out ranks their better known competitors because they focus on their niche. The most popular keyword with the best conversions — they hold the top rank in the SERPs and have for a number of years.

One of your presentations at PubCon Vegas 2009, Twitter Landscape: Hot Topics and Trends, suggested ways for companies to integrate Twitter into their business.How would you suggest companies begin to measure the success of a Twitter campaign?

I am not going to lie; it is harder to track successes with Twitter. As I said in my presentation, this is a new world based on the old marketing standards of brand and communication. It was always hardest to measure brand impact.

With Twitter, businesses need to be tracking all URLs they put out. They also need to be tracking any new ones (check your referring URLS). When posting new content, ask that people use a specific URL shortener that you can track.

On top of that, run a good social media mention tracker. Stay on top of how often your brand is mentioned and start setting benchmarks. You want to make an impact, and every time your business or product name is mentioned, that is an impact.

You mentioned Marketing, Customer Service, and Development as three areas for integration. Why these three areas? Are there any areas you wouldn’t recommend?

These are the three most dominant areas for integration that we have seen thus far. I am not sure I would integrate social media into billing *smiley face* but there are no limits to what social media can do in the future. It’s up to the end user and how they react to it.

Besides Twitter, what other Social Media methods / sites should a company look to pursue?

My favorite answer: It depends. Your industry might have some awesome communities that you need to be a part of. The two biggest are of course Twitter and Facebook. But don’t just set up accounts there and stop. Find out where your customers are and engage them there if it makes sense.

As SEO and Social Media continue to evolve, where do you see the challenges for Internet Marketers in the future?

The challenge in the future is going to be standing out. All the Online Marketing success stories until now are those that were first movers. When you are a first mover, there is more risk involved and better rewards. People increased their business sizes ten-fold in some cases by just launching a site and optimizing it. As more businesses move into this space, we will see the same thing there as we did other marketing channels. The SERPs are getting more crowded as we all compete for people’s attention. As Internet Marketers we have to be in touch with trends and ways to find the best traffic for our clients. This is getting harder everyday.

Your PPC Presentation at PubCon Vegas 2009, Landing Page Optimization, recommends that you should never build a landing page without a call to action. What are some of the most effective landing page call to actions you’ve seen and why?

The most effective landing page call to actions are those that are short and easy to fill out. The best ones I have seen are those from the major insurance companies. They ask the least info and do it in the best fashion.

You suggest that forms be as short as possible. What’s the minimum amount of information you recommend collecting? (Phone number, email address?)

If it is a typical business, name and email address. Maybe phone number. You should never need more than that. Anything else can be accomplished by phone.

Many people use dummy email addresses and phone numbers when filling out online contact forms. Is there any way to encourage the user to leave their real information?

If you give them a reason to (discount or free information) they will give you the right information. Ultimately they want what the form is promising. So send it to them via email, not on the next page. That way you get the best information possible.

What were your main takeaways from PubCon?

My main takeaway from PubCon was that you don’t have to go home with step-by-step instructions. It’s what the speakers say and other people you meet that inspire ideas that make the best take home objectives.

But if I had to pick one tip … it’d be Jon Henshaw’s presentation. No, I am not saying this because it’s a Raven interview, but that presentation had the best list of tools ever.

How have you been able to use Raven in your own campaigns?

I use Raven to track SERPs for all of my clients, social mentions, links and so much more. Raven has changed how my week is planned out. A lot of things are automated, so I login and do analysis. The best time saver ever.

If you could describe Raven tools in three words, what would they be?

Simple, Adaptable, Ever-expanding

  • Fantastic interview. Particularly like this bit:

    “The change is not to put small businesses out, but rather serve up the best results for the end user. Basically Google is making it harder to start a business with just some affiliate links and a good website.”

    It’s about creating value for visitors right? Posting great content. Offering great materials. Promoting great offers. You don’t need Apple-sized marketing budgets to do that – time and inspiration!

  • Hi Ed! Exactly. I have affiliate sites, so I am not saying that they are wrong, but you have to give the end user a reason to be there. Offers, content and materials are exactly what I am talking about.

    Thanks for reading!

  • All good tips from Kate. She’s been in the trenches and knows her stuff.

    She’s also one of the nicest people I’ve met and maybe the single reason I had such a good time at SMX East.