Archive for November, 2010

postheadericon Social Media Dos and Don’ts

Social media marketing is a great recipe of interaction and opportunity mixed with convenience for both corporations and consumers. If done properly, you can have a pretty successful impact on your consumers and heighten your company’s overall effectiveness.

One of the biggest social media mistakes, and most common, that a company can make is having hundreds to thousands of fans/friends on their social networking page but never interact with any of them. It’s not so much about how popular you are, or how many fans you have, it’s a matter of how influential your company is. Like it’s been stated before, you make the most of social media marketing based on what you put out and your interactivity with your consumers. One of the best aspects of social media marketing is the access you have to connect and communicate with your target audience, potential consumers, and loyal patrons. Make sure you regularly interact with your customers and potentials so that they know that you’re reliable and genuinely interested in hearing from them. Remember, the whole point of social media marketing or networking is to be….social.

You also don’t want to have hundreds to thousands of fans/friends and a lot of them don’t even really need your services. Ultimately this will only be followed by lack of sales leads and those fans will eventually “unlike” or “unfriend” you.

Content is always a topic of discussion here and I always encourage quality and creative content that will keep your consumers intrigued. You do want them to continue visiting your page right? What better way than to convince them through direct dialogue and personal approaches? Customers can always appreciate genuine and honest messages with a mix of entertainment, if possible.

To successfully run an online social campaign you must be consistent. Not only consistent with your content and brand stances but also by simply regularly updating your social pages. There’s nothing more frustrating for a consumer than to go to a company’s profile or site only to realize they haven’t updated with any new information or promotions in months, even years. It can be pretty discouraging for that visitor and they may not consider your company when it comes to their needs. This also works in favor of your corporate site.

It’s also good to stay up to date on the latest social media enhancements and sites so that you’re not out of the loop on tools that can benefit your company’s campaign. Of course that only applies to tools that are relevant to your company and will actually work for your brand, not against it.

Something that can be easily neglected is your avatar, or profile picture. This is usually the first thing visitors see when searching for your brand and when they visit your page. It’s wise to be creative but also stay within boundaries of professionalism and relevance to your brand’s logo or motto.

Also   to analyze your consumers’ behavior and trends is a good forecast for future traffic on your site. It’s good to measure not just your company’s website performance but also your social media pages’ performance.  This is the best way to get insight on your brand’s influence and an indirect source of customer feedback from your fans and friends.

There are countless points that can be made when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing and while I’ve given you a handful, it is always good to stay on top of your online media campaign; whether it be through analytics, simply comparing your pages to other companies’, or just consistently researching new tools to accelerate your brand’s performance on the World Wide Web.  Online social media marketing can be very beneficial if used adequately for your brand and as long as it reaches the audience that needs to hear your message. Don’t forget, you are in control of what you share!

postheadericon Make the Most of Email Marketing

Contrary to some beliefs email is still alive and well in the internet marketing world. It’s not so much about whether or not email marketing is effective, it’s how you utilize this tool that makes it beneficial or not. Knowing how to market through emails and newsletters just like any other method of marketing is only as powerful as you allow it to be. You should consider some of the following points so that you don’t make the mistakes of aimless email marketing.

Identifying your target audience is the first step to making email marketing work for your company’s benefit. When you know who you are targeting your message to, everything else will follow including the fact that it could save you time and even money while producing sales leads. Knowing your customer’s profile which consists of their wants and needs is pivotal. Once you’ve grasped their needs then you can know what approach to take when marketing to them through email. Even sending test emails may be a good way to help you to find your target and analyze responsiveness from your recipients.

Once you’ve figured out who you want to target your brand to, you can poll your visitors and find out what exactly they’re looking for and make sure they submit their email information. By asking for their input they feel like they have an important role in your company rather than just receiving another irrelevant spam email that will ultimately get deleted.

The content you produce is an important factor. Creative content is an attention grabber of course but even throw in some incentives for your audience. People love free stuff, and knowing that they can get something out of your email or newsletter can alone persuade them to read your message regularly and even become a loyal customer. Your words are what will ultimately sway them in your direction so make sure you have a convincing tone and let them know that it’s the best decision to come to your company for the best in what they need or want and why. Honesty, creativity, and just being genuine in your message will take you far.

Having an eye catching email or newsletter template is also vital. The appearance is the first thing recipients will see after all and will influence the reader to even want to get to know your brand and what you have to say. Bold and clean cut templates will give off a sophisticated and professional energy with a little bit of excitement mixed in.

Email marketing is cost effective and influential as long as you know how to use it to your company’s advantage. There are so many online tools out there for marketing your brand and email is one of those tools that is as effective but should be managed with care. You want to make sure you get your message out there to your target audience and continue to expand on your brand’s image and performance.

postheadericon Internet Marketing Shouldn’t Be Boring, Right?

When you think of internet marketing or any type of marketing you automatically think of the words tedious and boring, right? Well who says marketing should be boring? I mean the tedious aspect is pretty inevitable but that doesn’t mean it should be so blah. In fact I think the internet is what has made marketing, in general, fun especially in this new era of the digital world that is being lead by the success of social media and networking. Let’s not forget the realization that there are multiple companies out there selling the same products and are after the same objectives. You want consumers to be able to differentiate your brand from your competitors because honestly competition has become steeper thanks to the budget friendly and convenient opportunities provided by viral marketing. So how can we make internet marketing hip with these viral tools we’ve been introduced to in this generation? Well there are a few tweaks to your marketing campaign that can make it a little more appetizing to the eyes of your consumers and may spark an interest in your business rather than your competitors’.

The top reasons users venture the World Wide Web is to research, shop, network, sell products, and of course entertainment.  We all know that social media is the biggest player in the marketing game but it’s not as effective if you don’t utilize it to your benefit and the right way. When I say the right way I mean in a way that will keep your fans, potential consumers and loyal customers intrigued. We always stress quality content anytime social media is mentioned but it is pretty essential if you expect a successful online campaign.

Fun and exciting updates that will benefit your consumers and entertain them is key. After all anyone can broadcast information about their products, including your competition, so that’s why it’s significant to do it in a way that will not only provide your fans with information but will also connect to them and will also relate to them on even a personal level. By producing creative brand advertisements that pertain a message regarding something serious or entertaining that your customers can relate to is a sure win. Universal issues like economic status and natural disasters that effect masses of people show that you aren’t just trying to sell them something but that you are genuine about your message. Incorporating humor or attractive visuals are what also make ads fun and entertaining. By incorporating pictures, graphs, diagrams and videos, you’ll grab the attention of your visual learners and give them something to look forward to, other than words on a page. This works especially when it comes to blogging considering you’re not limited to a certain amount of characters like Facebook and Twitter.

Another way to make content building creative and fun is with Voice Recognition Software. Sometimes you may find yourself with writers block and staring at your blank document without an idea as to how you will get the right words on the page. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about something than it is to write it. With Voice Recognition Software you can record your ideas by simply talking about them, it’s a conversational tone which can be more effective when it comes to connecting with your audience. Not to mention it’s a much faster way to spew out content for your post. An hour or two of blog posting can be condensed down to 20 minutes just like that!

You can also try video blogging, also known as vlogging. This gives your viewers a sense of security when they can put a face to the brand; it also reaches them on a personal level and can be fun for whoever is doing the vlogging since you’re connecting with your audience. Who doesn’t like to not just talk but show their excitement about new products and specials while convincing users to come to trust your brand over the others.  Personally, when a sales rep or anyone who is trying to sell me something is exemplifies their enthusiasm about the product through their voice and expressions it becomes contagious and more than likely will generate a sales lead.

YouTube is a prime example of vlogging and how impactful it can become. You can post videos to your company blogs and of course generate interaction from your fans. Having a great voice and knowing how to present information on video blogs is also something to keep in mind, because again you want to keep your visitors interested in your business just like with any other platform so you will need someone who is passionate and isn’t shy in order to get the message across creatively and adequately.

Providing an outlet for customer feedback is a great way to interact with your customers and make it fun for both parties.  When consumers feel like they have a voice on a certain platform that is relevant to their lifestyle they will definitely use it.  This will also give your audience something to look forward to and can be fulfilling for you, especially if you’re actually interacting with them through forums and discussion boards. Mobile marketing is becoming more and more popular as carriers are making it easier to conduct it. Before you know it you will be able to see ads throughout various features and apps on mobile devices, which is pretty cool. You will grab the attention of the recipient no matter where they are and it’s convenient for them to take advantage of your offer whether they initially needed it or if it’s because you reminded them [wink].  It’s like advertising on the go. This is probably more fun for the advertisers and more convenient for the consumers if anything.

Internet marketing and marketing overall doesn’t have to be such a “snore-fest” as long as you are taking the right approach to these new digital tools that we’ve been seeing everywhere. If there’s only one thing you remember, it’s creative content building. You can never go wrong by producing quality content that is both entertaining and informative. Research your platform options and what is relevant to what your brand stands for and that’s a good recipe for a successful internet marketing campaign.

postheadericon How’s Your Image?

Let’s face it, you’re probably not the only company out there selling the same product or service and it can get pretty confusing for consumers to know which brand to run with, which is why it’s important to make the decision for them by maintaining a positive social image. Naturally when consumers are searching for a product, they want to go to the best company for the best in quality. Consumers look at which brand is the best based on a number of things but above all they will want to go to a familiar name that they feel they can trust. So the question is: Does your brand have a positive online reputation?

You may want to know why it is so important to have a positive online presence in the first place or even an online presence at all. Well, the internet is where it’s at right now, for everything. More and more businesses are jumping on the internet marketing bandwagon which creates heavier competition. You want to make sure your company is what’s in and up to date on the newest marketing technologies for your benefit. When you stamp your brand in the online marketing world you can expect higher performance, generate an increase in sales leads and even establish higher rankings within the search engines. You want to be accessible to your target consumers in any way possible so that they don’t miss out. Realistically, while traditional marketing is still effective, internet marketing has taken the lead role considering its cost friendly, convenient for both companies and consumers to interact and it’s not as time consuming when it comes to reaching a mass group. All you have to do is click a button and you can send out emails, share corporate updates for your customers, and send out special offers without the hassle of printing and delivering.

The foundation or the premise of attaining a positive online social image would be having a quality website. You should look at your corporate website as a formal introduction where your visitors can learn as much as possible about what your company offers and you want to make sure they visit again, refer you, and/or transition from a visitor to a sales lead.  Content management, performance, and appearance are important factors when a user visits a site. You should make sure your site’s appearance is clean and not cluttered with too many graphics which can cause slow loading time. Watch your content to ensure there aren’t any grammatical errors. Make sure your site’s content is creative and informative at the same time. We know reading can be boring for some so it’s definitely a plus to engage your audience with content that they can relate to and that is entertaining.

The same concept goes with social media content. Is your company socially responsible? Social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogs, and others alike are great outlets to provide entertaining and effective information to mass groups and target audiences. Joining sites like this alone already gain you cool points considering social networking sites are all the rave and has formally introduced us to this new generation of marketing. vlogsPlatforms like these allow a company to be as accessible as necessary to inquiring patrons and provide a home for loyal customers to visit whenever they need your services again. Content management again is significant so it’s wise to provide creativity and influence with your words. Even with video blogs, or vlogs, it’s important to have an outgoing personality and the proper knowledge to get the message across to viewers. When you incorporate social media platforms onto your website like vlogs, Facebook and Twitter plugins as well as links to your company blog, visitors will feel like a kid in a candy store almost.

By participating in forums and discussions with your consumers this will leave a positive influence. When people know that they can interact with staff members, support, or even company heads they will put more trust into your brand considering they feel like they have a voice with your business and it’s valued. I mean after all when you’re a consumer you want to feel like you’re in the best hands with whatever company you choose, right? What better way to feel secure than knowing that you can always ask a question and get a response from a representative or post a review on a company’s site.

All in all you want consumers to come to your company before going to your competition for their needs and you want to build a trusting relationship with them so that they will come back again and share their positive experience with others. By maintaining a positive online presence you can expect a boost in your brand’s overall reputation while acquiring an increase in sales and business performance. Considering all of the benefits of online marketing, how can you not take advantage of the resources? You are in control of what you share so make sure it’s worthwhile, efficacious, and entertaining. Otherwise why do it if you won’t do it right? Another plus is that you can always hire an internet marketing company to handle it for you to make sure what you share virally will only guarantee a positive image.  So I guess the real question at this point is: Why not?

postheadericon Choosing the RIGHT SEO Company for You

Internet marketing is evolving more and more and businesses are constantly trying to catch up with the digital enhancements that frequently occur. There are many effective online marketing tools out there but that doesn’t mean effective for everyone

How do you know which marketing tools are the right ones for your online marketing campaign? How do you use them for your company’s benefit? These are only a few of the many questions companies ask themselves when trying to develop an internet marketing campaign. I mean, let’s face it, traditional marketing isn’t the same anymore and it doesn’t help that we are finding ourselves growing in a digital world. So it’s only natural that we would throw the traditions out the window and convert to a new generation of sales leads. With all of that being said, businesses, small and large, naturally would rather have a professional guide them to ensure a successful marketing campaign for the company. The only thing is, knowing which SEO company is right for your business.

Know your companies objectives. If you have a plan for your marketing campaign, then you’ve already conquered the first step. Knowing what you want and how you want to get there will help you determine which SEO company is right for you considering you will know what to look for and what to expect from a professional. You should always have a strategy for your campaign so that you don’t lose your target goal in the mix of digital marketing lingo and confusing advice that you may not need.

Research is everything. It’s wise to research the company you are looking into so that you get as much background information as possible. After all, you want to make sure you can trust the company.  Check their website and portfolios to see some of their previous work so you will have examples of their performance and even their work ethic. Also, ask them about their reviews, feedback and if they have any references. Do they have any success stories on their website or anywhere for your viewing? It’s important to see any interaction from their previous or current clients so that you know they are worthy of your trust and your money. You also can’t go wrong asking the people that you trust for their references.

Find out what they can do for you. It’s always wise to ask as many questions as you can think of. You can call in a consultation or you can meet in person to ask the tough questions you really want answers to. Asking questions like, “How can you provide a high SEO ranking for my company?” or “How long have you been providing optimization for businesses?” can steer you in the right direction in finding out their process and methods for helping your company reach your marketing objectives. Also requesting proposals are the best way to go. This should give you all the information and all the answers you will need to help make your decision on whether that SEO Company is right for you.

So as you see, hiring a professional SEO company to handle your internet marketing campaign can be pretty beneficial, rather than going it independently. Now finding the right SEO Company for your business is the challenging part. As long as you have a clear marketing plan and you trust your gut you can only find the best to meet what you need.

postheadericon Marketing & Advertising: Know the Difference

Advertising and marketing are commonly perceived to be one in the same, but this is a misconception. While there are similarities between the two, no doubt, there are differences as well. So how do you know if you’re running a marketing campaign and not just an advertising campaign? Well there are a few factors that separate the two into their own entities while still supporting each other within a campaign to reach the same objective.

For starters, advertising is the presentation of a product while marketing is the process that introduces the product or service to the public. Advertising is only a step in the process of marketing and marketing takes time. It’s a never ending campaign of advertisements, press releases, social influences and more, while advertising is the placement of ads and banners presented through print, television, radio, the World Wide Web, and other sorts of media. The goal for ads is to lure a target of consumers by persuasion to what the company is trying to sell. There is much more detailed and continuous planning, strategizing, measuring, designing, predicting, and targeting that comes along with marketing. To sum it up, marketing is an evolving complex process that is constant and should be consistent.

With marketing it’s not just about advertising but you also tend to study behaviors of consumers, measure company performance levels, and at the end of it all bring awareness and social responsibility to your brand in the most positive light. Marketing can really make or break a company compared to advertising. When you advertise a product and generate sales from that ad, your objective is automatically accomplished whereas marketing is continuous even after a purchase has been made. You want to connect with your consumers and maintain a relationship with them.  After all a successful business thrives off of loyal customers who will return repeatedly for services, which means you will constantly have to keep them interested and convince them to refer you and share your information to their friends and family above your competitors while trying to acquire the trust of new consumers. The best way to think about it is advertising is a component of the broader picture which is marketing.

The goal of advertising and marketing is to bring awareness to a brand or product in order to achieve the company’s objectives. While advertising is just one of the many steps in marketing it is vital nonetheless, though too often people are confused by the two. It’s pretty simple, if marketing was a pie, advertising would only be one slice out of many. What a delicious way to think about it!

postheadericon The Crystal Ball of Internet Marketing

What Does the Future of Internet Marketing Hold?

It’s no secret that internet marketing has proved victorious over traditional marketing and has increased brand awareness for businesses. But what does the future hold for business internet marketing campaigns? We know it’s prevalent now but will it always be this way and how?

With the creation of budget friendly online marketing tools such as Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click, Social Media, etc., it’s no surprise that companies are jumping on the bandwagon and taking their marketing campaigns viral. Not only has internet marketing provided a relief in the financial pockets of CEOs all over, the digital world has offered a more effective and convenient way to reach out to mass consumers without breaking a sweat. No longer will we live in the Stone Age of traditional marketing but instead we should expect to see enhancements of what we’ve already gotten a sample of, from the digital marketing world.

Social Media has definitely paved the way for the future of web interactivity amongst users.  With sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs you can’t deny that they, amongst other social sites, have set the bar for what the future may hold not only for consumers and web users but for businesses as well. Now, I usually don’t like to use the word never, but in this case; marketing campaigns will never be the same again.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Blogs can only make us anticipate so many different possibilities for how social media could advance, but for the benefits of marketing and advertising is another story. I’m guessing we can see more direct connectivity between company websites and their social media pages, when I say that I mean we just may start to see websites and social pages collaborate into one site.  Can you picture that? Imagine having a company site where you have members, fans, or followers and they can interact with the company and each other through comments, likes, links, videos and other methods of sharing. You’ll only need to visit one site to get their facebook, twitter, blog, website all at one time. Pretty cool huh?  With sites like these and future advancements, brand awareness and social image will more than likely be easier to develop and maintain. It’ll be much easier to keep track of client requests and reviews while also offering feedback more conveniently.

Perhaps another form of progression in the marketing world would be mobile advertising and marketing. We’re seeing mobile devices advance more and more and it’s pretty exciting to think about. Mobile devices will not only be just a tool for communication but also a source for marketing, shopping, and sharing. Consumers can just go to their hand-held device whenever they want to search for a business, product, video, etc. Newsletters and email marketing could also excel their performance through mobility considering people are continuously connecting their email to their mobile phones so that they don’t miss out on anything when they’re on the go. Now imagine ads and such within those applications. Not to mention mobile phone service providers will continue to find ways to make phones more user friendly which both consumers and marketers can benefit from.

Search engines will also face big changes, I predict. Searching, just like mobile devices, will become more user friendly, faster, and cleaner. All in all search, will be a lot more convenient for web users. For instance, Yahoo recently has enhanced an image search and applied a pane module that allows users to flip through different types of information regarding what they’re searching for. Basically users get a preview of all forms of social marketing that site or subject matter has to offer all at one time. I can only imagine how much improvement we can expect to see with enhancements like this with major search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing. Perhaps we can see a preview to a website regarding our keywords in the search engines? That would be pretty cool! Or maybe even a voice activated search where you don’t even have to type anything, just use your voice to guide your search through your mobile phone and computer. We also can’t rule out a possibility of a new search engine debuting sometime within the next decade. Even one more powerful and popular than Google?! Yikes!

So as we see there are some pretty key elements when it comes to predicting the future of internet marketing. Social media has definitely set the tone for the expansion of marketing possibilities and will be the leader for future advancements when it comes to corporate marketing campaigns. Who would’ve thought business could be so hip? We should not forget though, that word of mouth will never die out. It’s the best form of marketing there is, or at least that’s what I think. You can never go wrong from having positive buzz about your company and sharing will only become more popular as we see the web make it much easier to accomplish that. With all of the possibilities out there in the digital world,  it’s inevitable for business competition to become much more stiff, and I can only see internet marketing working for, rather than against, your company’s campaign. I think it’s pretty safe to say that internet marketing isn’t going anywhere, in fact, it’s moving faster than ever and it’s future is looking better than ever.