How To Innovate For Free

How To Innovate For Free (Or Close-To-Zero Budget)

This is an excerpt of an article by Ivan Wong that was published by Web In Travel, Asia’s leading travel distribution, marketing and technology conference.
Read the full article here.
I started our WIT Ideas Lab workshop by posing the question “Is it possible to market online on a zero budget?”
One key premise was that marketers on zero budget would have to avoid paid advertising channels, and focus instead on attracting visitors through free traffic sources including the search engines, video and social media.
In this regard, some relevant quotes arising during the discussion included “content is king”, “social networks build trust and act as your personal information filter”, “content shapes the brand, especially user generated content”, “destination research is 70% of time online in travel” and “the ultimate aim is to convert lookers to bookers”.
We also considered some case studies of innovative use of social media for viral marketing, including the “Best Job In The World” campaign by Tourism Australia. Though not done for free, this campaign generated over US$150 million worth of media exposure on a US$1.2 million budget.
Some free tools were presented to assist in each step’s activities:
Market research tools: Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Kayak Trends, Google Trends.
Content creation/publishing tools: Free blogging software like WordPress, Animoto for producing viral sales videos.
Traffic generation sources:
For a typical travel business doing online marketing, there are a myriad of marketing channels to choose from. Citing the results of a recent HeBS survey in which hoteliers were asked to select their top three Web2.0 initiatives, I suggested that marketers start generating targeted online traffic by optimising for Google, using TripAdvisor, creating profiles on social networks and blogging on the hotel website.
Measure conversions: Use Google analytics to measure conversions and marketing success.
Read more at the WebInTravel Newsroom.

New Release of Search Demand Figures by Google and Its Impact on Keyword Research

With the recent release of search demand figures by Google, keyword researchers can now view search volume data in Google’s keyword research tool. From Google’s website, the release of these approximate numbers are intended to provide better insight into keywords’ monthly and average search volumes than previously provided by the free AdWords tool. I believe that this is an exciting development for keyword researchers. As an example many researchers rely on a measure called KEI to determine how effective a keyword is for your web site. Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) was invented by a leading SEO Expert called Sumantra Roy.
Many experts nowadays say that KEI is only useful to make an initial assessment on a keyword, and that further research should be done on the strength of the competitor websites ranking high for the keyword. Even so, I still use it as an useful example of how the Google data can be used to make a quick relative assessment of a keyword’s suitability. The formula to calculate a Keyword’s Effectiveness Index is KEI = (P2/C), or a keywords popularity to the power of 2, divided by the keywords competition. The theory was that the higher the KEI, the better the keyword effectiveness. High KEI keywords are usually easier to optimize and rank highly on major Search Engines. The exception is when high KEI keywords also have unusually large number of competing web pages. In the past, keyword researchers had to obtain this popularity data from other sources like Overture “Searches” or WordTracker “demand” data.
This popularity figure was then combined with Google’s competition(“Results” in Google searches) data to produce a KEI figure. However as KeywordDiscovery and WordTracker rely on extrapolated data from ISPs to produce their figures, the data obtained is more useful for relative comparisons. Now that demand data can be obtained directly from Google itself, this will have a positive effect on keyword research as the accuracy of demand data is now much better than was available before. KEI can be calculated from freely available Google data, and this will also open up many more implications for SEO and PPC analysis work.
Learn how you can SEO your website through MapleCommerce’s Advanced SEO workshop trainer Ivan Wong.