The skills we teach deliver real ROI.

December 2011 archive

Buy 1 Get 1 FREE When You Register in January! – EXPIRED

ASPE is ringing in the new year with our latest BOGO offer to you: When you register before January 31st for any of our currently scheduled training courses, you will receive a 2nd seat in the same session absolutely FREE! This applies to both our public and virtual courses for the entire year. Register before the end of January to make sure you won’t miss out on on this offer!

Use code BOGOROI at checkout to receive your FREE seat!

Are you thinking that this deal is way too good to be true? There must be a catch, right?

Wrong! It’s not, and there isn’t any catch. Because we know that the majority of our clients get new training budgets at the beginning of the year, and often find trouble getting approved for training later in the year, we wanted to help by offering this special Buy One, Get One promotion now to ensure that you will fit in training for the first six months of the year. We are so confident in our product that we want you to bring a fellow friend or colleague. Here at ASPE, one of our main company goals for 2012 is to train as many people as possible. From our free web seminars to special promotions offering free seats in our classes, we believe that you will make us your preferred vendor after you experience ASPE and the Real Training difference.

Take a look at our ROI curriculum page to find some courses that meet your training needs. We can’t wait to see you in our classrooms!

Sadly, our third party delivered classes are excluded from this offer. They are:

Our courses that include an iPad will also be excluded:

Three Crucial Social Media Mistakes

The world is currently experiencing a revolution of titanic proportions.  Governments are toppling.  Wall Street is in an uncomfortable spotlight.  Politicians, athletes, and other celebrities are imploding due to their social presence.  Web 2.0 has evolved from incorporating social media into anything with an online footprint.  Blunders are happening daily, and these mistakes are taking decades of accepted wisdom and rendering it useless.

Governments, politicians, celebrities, and companies need to drastically rethink their approach to social media.  Operating using the same paradigm that worked since World War I will cause epic failure today.   This is especially true for companies who have to answer to stockholders.  A simple mistake cannot be erased, it will go viral.  It can only be contained and explained.  It can cause your company irreparable damage if you do not act properly.

What is the best defense?  A good offense.  That is how you need to treat your social media presence.  Social media is not simply another medium by which you pump out impressions, coupons, and mindless advertising.  For the first time in the marketing realm, it is an avenue by which you can measure your efforts.  You can directly engage with your customers.  You can provide truly useful content that will forge the future of your company’s reputation and success.

3 Areas You Need To Dedicate Resources

1.  Measure

How do you know when you need to fill up your car’s gas tank?  How do you know how much money you need to divert to your 401(k), IRA, and savings account?  How do you know what amount you ask for when selling your house?  You use numbers to guide you.  More specifically you are using discrete statistics that provide you necessary information on how to best apply your resources for the desired outcome.

So, why aren’t you using the same tactics with your social media campaign?  You cannot accurately attribute impressions, conversions, ROI, or any other data point if you are not measuring.  The days of putting an ad in a magazine and hoping for a conversion is over.  Today, you can measure everything.  You can determine the source of traffic, what functions the user performed while on your site(s), what  interests they have, and what their demographic and geographic location is as well.

2.  Provide Content

When you want to stay informed of what is going on in the news, what sites do you visit?  How often do you visit them?  How relevant are the articles to what you desire to learn?  Think about what attributes make these sites desirable to you.  The reason is content, a ton of it, and it’s being constantly updated.  A newspaper is outdated by the moment it is printed, just as a new car is worth less the moment it leaves the dealership.  Don’t let your social media presence become a newspaper or car – irrelevant and less valuable.

No matter the platform you choose to dedicate your resources, you must provide fresh, relevant content that people want to consume.  It is your job to create content that they want to share.  Most marketers will probably never reach the ultimate goal, which is to create something that goes viral.  But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.  Profess your knowledge using your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, whitepapers, etc. – crosslink them all.  If you don’t already know what your customers want, find out, and give it to them!

3.  Engage

Think how you like to interact with brands you enjoy.  The brand may be an international conglomerate or a local business owner.  Who among us doesn’t feel appreciated when we walk into a store and are immediately addressed by name, are seated at our favorite table without asking, or have our favorite product being readied upon our arrival?  It feels good to be noticed, appreciated, and not treated like a metric to increase profitability.

Take this knowledge and apply it to your social media efforts.  You need to actively attend to your various social media platforms.  You need to interact with your customers as a human being, not as a robot.  Be helpful, not with the intent of securing a conversion on that interaction, but creating a long-term relationship.  You have unique knowledge visitors to your site(s) desire; remember they dedicated their valuable time to you.  Don’t become the used car salesman using the bait-and-switch tactic.  Don’t think about the fraction you’ll earn on a quick conversion, think about the value of gaining a lifelong friend.

If you aren’t measuring your social media efforts, you are simply driving down the road without any headlights on, hoping you are aren’t going to fall off a cliff.  If you aren’t writing desirable content consistently, you aren’t reaching you customer base when your competitors may be.  If you aren’t treating your customer’s time with respect and engaging in meaningful interactions, you are simply alienating another potential source for success.

Web Seminar Recap: Personal Brand Challenges – Loyalty and Legality

In our society, technology continues to rapidly outpace our culture’s ability to keep pace. From the challenges of internet taxation to privacy concerns brought on by Facebook and Google, legal and ethical practices lag seriously behind the pace of the technology. The inherent necessary changes cause significant problems and challenges. On Thursday, December 15th ASPE President David Mantica and ASPE Marketing Director JT Moore presented the free web seminar “Personal Brand Challenges – Loyalty and Legality.” In this web seminar, David and JT discussed the legal and professional challenges brought about by internet marketing’s empowerment of personal brand development, the issue of loyalty and intent when building a personal brand, some basic legal precedents that are out there, and how employment law and work product ownership can potentially increase the risk involved in personal brand development.


The Topmost Metrics for Google Analytics Beginners

The first three statistics you need to address in Google Analytics to target your customer and save resources.

As a beginner in Google Analytics (GA), you want to learn the most efficient way to get off to a good start and benefit from the vast power of GA.  The best way to do this is to consider what your goals are in having a website, and furthermore, in using GA.  The primary reason to drive traffic to your website is so your content will be digested by your targeted user.

Therefore, there are several key areas where you need to dedicate your energy.  Where is your traffic coming from?  If they did not type in your URL directly, what caused them to click on the link to your website?  And, are they staying on your website once they arrive?

3 Key Statistics

Traffic Sources

GA breaks down your traffic sources into three different categories: direct traffic, referring sites, and search engines.  Traffic sources can be further aggregated to include additional marketing sources your company may be using.  These may include bulk mailings, email advertisements, or print media with vanity URLs.  Once you know from where your customers are, or are not, reaching you, you can adjust your efforts accordingly.


GA further subdivides your traffic sources by which keywords users have submitted to search engines, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.  These metrics will guide your Google Adwords campaigns as well as help you write better targeted copy for your webpages.  The keywords report is an invaluable resource to optimize your search engine optimization (SEO) energies.

Bounce Rate

The number of people that decide to leave your website immediately after arriving is called the bounce rate.  If you are not using well defined landing pages your bounce rate will be high.  You may expect some pages to have a high rate, such as a news item.  However, if you are attempting to attract traffic to your site in hopes of further engagement, a high bounce rate is bad.  GA will show which pages are poor performers.

Once you are drawing users to your website and keeping their interest long enough to achieve your conversion goals, GA has vast metrics which can help you.  However, the beginner should concentrate on what source their customers are coming from, how they are attracting them, and how long are they remaining on the website.

The Real ROI of Social Media

There is a wealth of tools available to help businesses navigate the rapidly growing terrain of social media marketing.  But before opening the toolbox, in order to make the strongest impact, it’s important to first take a holistic view of the power behind a social media strategy.

Here are some key considerations


1.  The goal of a social media campaign is to generate interest in your brand. Sales will follow organically.

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook give businesses a non-intrusive method to distribute information about their products and bolster credibility in the marketplace by sharing information related to their industry. Demonstration of this subject-matter expertise, in turn, can pique consumer interest, which then leads to an exploration of the products and services of the information sharer.

Although we’ve been calculating ROI since the day we sold our first cup of lemonade from the neighborhood cul-de-sac, in the social media space, what’s equally important is ROC (Return on Conversation).  Social media is a breeding ground for opportunities to generate interest from and engage in conversations with potential clients.

2.  You can’t put a price tag on positive conversations about your brand.

Every conversation is an opportunity to build trust and credibility—the pillars of brand loyalty—with potential clients.  Nearly all of us carry a giant megaphone in our pockets (literally), ready to share our perspectives on a particular service or product.  Mobile technology allows us to instantly share our experiences, both positive and negative, and it gives us immediate access to information that influences our buying decisions.

Before making a purchase, we check message boards, read reviews, and request feedback using Facebook or Twitter.  If a friend or trusted contact speaks highly of a company or product, we’re more inclined to buy.  Research is everywhere; just a few taps on a touch screen or mouse clicks away.

That’s the true power of social media: everyone has a voice.

Now that we understand ROC and its potential to help generate brand loyalty (i.e. recurring revenue streams), it’s just about time to open the toolbox.  Before you do, here’s one last consideration.

3.  Invest the time to craft a compelling social media strategy.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every business. So it’s important to develop a baseline knowledge of the strategies and tools available to help you measure success and maximize your reach.

4 Tips for Marketing with Facebook

Here are 4 great tips on how to begin your Facebook marketing campaign.  You will have the answers to questions like: When to use CPC versus CPM?  How to target your desired demographic?  How to test your content? And, what type of landing pages are ideal for you?

1. Cost per click vs. cost per impression

To start your Facebook marketing campaign you have the option to use cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM) revenue model.  The goals of a CPC ad are more targeted for sales. CPC is recommended for companies where they have a specific goal, i.e. to sell a product.  On the other hand, CPM is most effective for advertisers who are looking to create awareness about a brand or event.  A company who is hosting a charity fundraising event will benefit more from the CPM model because a targeted user will see the ad multiple times.

2.  Test your ad copy

Facebook has the ability for advertisers to run multiple ads; this is a great place to test different ad copy!  While keeping your demographics the same, play around with different titles and the ad’s body copy.  A bar that is targeting a specific location and gender could test a title using “Mike’s Bar” and “Mike’s Bar – Voted Best Wings.”  This would test the value of adding “Voted Best Wings.”  By looking at the click through rate (CTR), Mike’s Bar would recognize if being known as a wing place helps or hurts them.  An improved title will increase CTR.  By testing, the best title can be identified.

3. Lower your target number

Facebook allows you to customize your target audience through a user friendly set of options.  The options include: age, relationship status, location, and likes & interests.  As you change the settings, Facebook shows a count of the number of people you are targeting.  Consider you are a wedding photographer in Ashville, North Carolina, you will want to make your target audience as specific as possible.  For example: engaged, 10 miles around Ashville, women, etc.  Women are more likely to be making the wedding decisions and if you are unable to travel far outside of Asheville, your settings should reflect this.  The more segmented your ad, the more likely a future customer will become a reality.  You don’t want to waste your money on people who have no ability to be a customer, i.e. someone who is not in your area or engaged.

4.  Keep with social vs. product page

Once someone decides to click on your Facebook ad, where should they be taken?  You have the option to keep them in social by bringing them to your Facebook page or another social page.  The other option is to send them off to your product or service website.  When making this decision, look at your key goals.  If your goal is to increase brand awareness by increasing your Facebook “likes,” send them to your Facebook page.  If your goal is to have people register for an event, take them to the event website.  When people are on Facebook they are in “social mode,” and to take them out of this can cause quick bounce rates.  If you move a user from Facebook to another social page, like a contest or product review, conversions tend to be better.

Web Seminar Recap: What the #$!% is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

We hear the term SEO thrown around all the time, but what does it really mean? How does it work? How can I get my business started with Search Engine Optimization? And how do I do it well? On Wednesday, December 7th ASPE Electronic Marketing Specialist Traci Lester and ASPE Marketing Director JT Moore presented the free web seminar “What the #$!% is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?”. In this web seminar, Traci and JT discussed SEO basics, how to drive more organic traffic to your website, how to rank higher in Google search results, the elements of your site that Google (and other search engines) looks at when determining your rank, setting your URLs properly, how to adjust web page titles, what meta descriptions are and how they are used, how to properly use meta keywords, and optimizing your page content for Google.

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right). Have a better understanding of how to create better pages, and rank higher.

Do you have a question for Traci and JT? Leave your comments or tweet us! Follow @ASPE_ROI and use hashtag #ASPEEvents.

Tools to Engage Influential Twitter Users

To begin your success on Twitter, identifying influential Twitter users should be your first step.  This will give your company a group of people to strive to engage with and give you direction.  The following 5 tools are going to make gathering your list of users much easier.

5 Online Tools


Wefollow is a great place to start your quest of interacting with influential Twitter users.  Users are categorized, “tagged”, by interest then ranked based on their number of followers.  The different tags are endless and include: bicycling, journalism, SEO, food, and social media.  If you plan to target an industry, Wefollow is the best place to start!

When you add your account and tag it to a category, you will be ranked and listed in that category.  This ranking will help you attract new followers.
Twellow is a resource to gather a more specific target list.  Twellow is “the Twitter yellow pages” and is a search engine for Twitter profiles.  You can search for multiple qualifications at the same time; for example, “New York mobile marketing” has three different qualifications.   Twellow searches through all profiles that are public.

TwitterCounter is a tool used to learn more about your own Twitter account, as well as others.  TwitterCounter shows statistics on your followers, those you follow, and tweets.  Information is displayed in a graph where you can view hourly, weekly, and monthly statistics.  Based on your history, TwitterCounter can forecast the number of new followers you will gain.  To get the statistics for any user, type in their Twitter name and immediately the results are given to you.
Topsy is a search engine for Twitter.  Enter in a keyword and Topsy will give you real time results by searching through Twitter.  You can narrow your search to within the past hour or broaden it to the past 30 days.  This is a useful tool to track what is being said about your brand and competitors.
Now that you have targeted the most influential Twitter users in your field, you need to start the conversation and keep track of your followers and who you are following.  Through Tweepi, you will be able to do four actions:

  • Flush: Tweepi will set you up with a spread sheet of all of the users you follow who do not follow you.  Do not unfollow users simply because they are not following you back, if they contribute great content.
  • Reciprocate: Here you will find a list of users who follow you while you don’t follow them.  Following users who want to have a conversation with your company is crucial to your success using Twitter.  Don’t follow spam accounts or irrelevant users because this will clog your Twitter stream with content that isn’t useful.
  • Cleanup:  The cleanup spreadsheet shows you who you follow along with statistics about their Twitter usage.  This is the place to unfollow users who haven’t tweeted in a few weeks.  Inactive users are just increasing your following number and distract you from engaging with prospective or current customers.
  • Follow: By entering an “interesting tweep’s”  Twitter handle, Tweepi will show you their followers.  This is another tool to find relevant and influential users in your field.

Beware of online advertisements that boast “3,000 new followers on Twitter for just $9.99!” The only way Twitter will be useful for your company is to put in time to engage with relevant consumers.  You only want followers who are in your target audience, not 3,000 fake Twitter accounts.

3 Best Ways to Get a User’s Attention and Engage

Now that you have a group of influential users, you must get their attention to begin to engage with them.  Repeated exposure to your brand is the way to get an influential Twitter user’s attention.  Here are 3 ways you can begin the conversation.

  1. Blog comments: Twitter is frequently used by blog authors as a way to share new blog posts.  When you see a new post, read the post, and if you have a relevant thought about it, comment!   If you frequently comment, the author will begin to notice your company.
  2. Answer questions on LinkedIn and Quora: Both sites proved the ability to ask and answer questions. To engage with people answering questions is the way to start.  As always, only respond when you have a new, useful answer, not a repetitive one.  Once you begin to have a presence on LinkedIn or Quora as someone who contributes helpful content, you will have the privilege to ask questions.  It is good etiquette to answer many more questions than you ask.
  3. Retweets and promotions: If you come across a useful blog post that is shared through Twitter, retweet it!  If you have enough characters, add a note. By retweeting an event or cause looking for donations, the other party will be appreciative.  In turn, they are likely to thank you and notice your company.  For example, if @FoodBankCENC is promoting a food drive in your area, and they are a target Twitter user, put out a tweet promoting their food drive.

Making Twitter Really Tweet

Tools that will help to not only manage your Twitter account, but will also provide a more efficient Twitter experience.

Most of us use Twitter on a daily basis.  Whether it’s for social purposes, to land a job, or to help expand a brand.  Whatever our reasons, we’re always looking for ways to manage the contacts in our lives.  With these 11 tools, managing your Twitter account will be as easy as 1-2-3, as you will be in control of who you choose to stay in contact with (and how), and who you decide to let go.

FollowLists allows you to group your tweeps (followers) by a specific category, making it easier for you to find a contact, or contacts.  For instance, if I wanted to create a list where I could group my friends that I have for girls night every Friday, all I’d do is type ‘Friday night girls’ in the ‘Name Your Follow List’ field, then add a name in the ‘Add Profile to List’ field, then simply click ‘Add’.  After adding the desired profiles, click on the ‘Create List’ field and my list will be created for me in seconds!

Fast Features:

  • Group lists by category.
  • Search contacts with ease.
  • Create your list using three simple steps!

TwitIQ is a monitoring tool that enables you to view real time updates.  With images and video previews, you can see what a link contains before you visit it.  TwitIQ also allows you to learn more about your followers by seeing the specialized areas of interest that they participate in.

Fast Features:

  • Tweet stream filters.
  • Support for multiple Twitter accounts.
  • Full Twitter view / Update features.
  • Keyword and topic insight.

Help to de-clutter your Twitter account by saying ‘Goodbye!’ to those inactive friends.  With Twitoria, you can track who has been active and those who haven’t tweeted in weeks.  All you do is type your username in the ‘Enter Your Twitter Username Here’ field, and then choose an inactive option in the drop down menu.  In a few seconds, you’ll see which of your friends you can delete so that you can free up space for more active friends.

Fast Features:

  • Delete inactive users.
  • Track user activity.

Twollo is a feature that allows people to be grouped, automatically, according to interest.  Because it is keyword based, you are able to expand your following instantly!  Twollo works in the ‘background’ which means once it’s installed, you don’t even have to think about it.  Just log in, and you’re all set to explore new friends with the same interests!

Fast Features:

  • Group users by interest.
  • Automatically performs future groupings.

It’s easy to see how many you’ve lost or gained as a follower, with TweetEffect.  Sometimes, we tweet something that people like, and sometimes we tweet something people don’t like.  As a result, our number of followers increases and decreases daily.  With TweetEffect, you’ll be able to see how many you have lost and how many you have gained.  Simply type your Twitter user ID, and click on the ‘Tell Me About My Effects!’ button.  Once the results appear, you’ll be able to gauge how popular, or unpopular your tweets really are.

Fast Features:

  • Track followers gained.
  • Track followers lost.

Tweeter Karma is a tool that will allow you to help manage your follow / follower list by revealing everyone who follows, or doesn’t follow you.  Based on your search results, you can decide if you will remain a follower or not.  There is an option to either bulk follow, or bulk un-follow.

To get started, just sign into your account, allowing Tweeter Karma to access your data.  Next, click on the ‘Whack!’ button, and simply choose to follow or un-follow accordingly.

Fast Features:

  • Follow users if they follow you, or un-follow if they don’t.
  • Bulk follow / un-follow actions.

Friend or Follow is another tool that allows you to see who you are following, that’s not following you back and visa versa.

All you do is type in your Twitter Username in the appropriate field, and then click the ‘Submit’ button.  Your results will appear shortly thereafter and you’ll be ready to tweet with active followers, as well as establish relationships with new ones.

Fast Feature:

  • See those who you follow, but don’t follow you.

Help to control what you see and what you don’t see with the Twitter client, Twalala.  This web-based tool is designed to help you filter your twitter stream by essentially “muting” undesired tweets by searching for keywords and phrases, all while preventing you from missing out on your replies or direct messages.  You can also un-mute followers at your discretion.

To start, you just login.  Once in, you will see your home stream screen.  Next, highlight the names you would like to mute, and then click on the red slash button.  To reverse a mute, simply click on the large gear at the top of the screen on the ‘Settings’ page.  That option will remain saved until you decide to change it.

Fast Feature:

  • Mute undesired tweets.

Ever wonder if your friends who haven’t met each other are following each other on Twitter?  With the Doesfollow application, you can see just that.  Doesfollow allows you to see who’s following whom, and who is receiving negative or positive responses.

Type in a name after the ‘Does’ field.  Then type another after the ‘Follow’ field.  You can also swap names using the ‘Swap’ button.  Finally, click on the ‘Check’ button.  Your results will appear shortly, leaving you to join in on the conversation!

Fast Features:

  • See who follows who.
  • Track positive / negative responses.

Discover, protect and manage your Twitter relationships by using Refollow.  With Refollow, users can see who has either left Twitter, or who has been inactive for a while.  Tweeters then have that choice to drop those people a line to bring them back into the fold, or unfollow / block them.

Refollow allows you to connect with those who follow you, but also those who you may not be following.

To use the Refollow feature, simply login.  Once you see your friend list, choose a filter of your liking.  The Refollow feature will allow you to lock those who you don’t wish to be included in your filter request.  Then, Tweet as desired!

Fast Features:

  • Keep or delete followers based on activity.
  • Connect with those who are following you, that you don’t follow.
  • See contacts who have left Twitter.

BrandChirp is a marketing tool that helps businesses expand their brand on Twitter by helping to monitor and manage brand activity.  The tool allows for greater connections in order to build your business, and helps to generate a larger customer base.

Fast Features:

  • Brand Management – Monitor the progress of your brand on Twitter.
  • Targeted Follow – Follow users based on keywords
  • Follow Stats – View the people you’re following based on tweeting activity.
  • Expand your connection base.

Hopefully, these tools will help you to design Twitter and will prove to be most effective in all of your social media needs!