Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

postheadericon Are You Ready For Cyber Monday?

We all know about Black Friday.  Crazy prices, insane crowds, lines out the door, and complete and utter chaos.  In recent years, however, Cyber Monday has been gaining ground to match or even surprise Black Friday.  Cyber Monday is the e-commerce version of the famous Friday holiday.  However, if you run an online business and are planning on taking advantage of the new holiday, you need to make sure you are ready for it.  To help out, here is a checklist of things to do to make sure you are prepared:

1. Check your server capability

A lot of hosting companies limit the amount of bandwidth that their customers can use in a month.  If you are expecting heavy traffic to your website, the last thing you want is for your site to go down in the middle of the biggest sale you have every made.  Make sure you know how much bandwidth your host has given you and see if you can track how much bandwidth is being used over the course of the day.

If you are concerned over how much bandwidth you might use during the holiday, one of the best defenses is to minimize the amount of data downloaded by your potential customers.  A good web developer can help you to make sure that the images on the screen are only as large of a file as is needed and utilize a customer’s browser cache to reuse the same files as much as possible.

2. Check your shopping cart

While it is a wonderful to have customers making purchases on your website, you will only see the money from those sales if your customers are able to “check out.”  This seems simple at first, but updates to systems and operations can mean that your shopping cart may or may not be up to date.  Generally, if you are using a big name like Paypal, you should be fine.

3. Optimize your website for sales

Getting customers to your website is important, but you have to be the salesman.  You need to direct your customers with big headlines and images.  Call them to action with words like “Click Here!” or “Find our More!” to send your customers to the biggest sales.  Once they are looking at your website, they can spend as much time as they would like without worry.

4. Test new changes early

If you are planning to have special changes made to your website for the holiday, make sure that they are tested beforehand.  You don’t want your big changes to cause a big issue without the time to fix it.  Make sure you check and double check any and all changes that will be going up to your site.  Use unlisted subdirectories or dummy domains to test out exactly how the website will look before you flip the switch at midnight.

5. Promote, promote, promote

This is not one of those scenarios where the idea of “if you sell it, they will come” applies.  Your customers, both current and potential, need to know what your offering and the kind of deals they can expect.  Push it in blogs, and spread it through social media.  Tweet, post, and advertise as much as possible to get the most amount of customers to your website.  Remember, this holiday lasts one day.  If you don’t get your customers there for your big day, it won’t end up being much of a big day at all.

 

If you follow this checklist, your website should be primed and ready to make the most of Cyber Monday.

postheadericon The New Google Social Media: “Plus” or Minus

Well, it’s official.  Google has finally rolled out their new social media platform, Google Plus.  In a blatant attempt at coveting the mass market appeal that Facebook has been garnering since its inception 7 years ago, we now see Google trying to get into the social media game.  The platform, while still in its infancy, was started with nothing less than a full throttle exposure by Google, utilizing every aspect of its web presence to reinforce the potential uses and powers of the new social media outlet.  The three most powerful features, or perhaps most important when it comes to search engine optimization and web marketing, are the social media pages, the “+1” button, and the search engine integration.

Social Media Page

From a glance, Google Plus has all the basic features you would expect with social media these days.  There is a place for basic information, your profile, photos of you, contact information, and a space to say how you are doing (the basic equivalent of Facebook status or a Twitter tweet).  There is one minor difference in that when you are messaged, you are actually emailed (using your gmail account, of course), instead of the message being stored somewhere else.  In addition, you are able to easily search for people to add t your circle of friends based on pasty emails or using Google’s own search engine.  The biggest difference is the addition of the Google Plus Circles, which is how Google organizes your friends and family.  Facebook has similar organizational groups, but Google actually forces you to put all of your friends in a specific circle (even if it is called “Friends”) which would differentiate them from your family, coworkers, etc.  This could be very useful for when you want to share something that perhaps you don’t want your family or your boss to see, but other than that it doesn’t really add much that I can see yet.

+1

I mentioned in a previous post about the new +1 buttons that we are adding to all of our SEO clients pages.  The Google equivalent of a “Like” button, these buttons which are coded into the page help to both track who and how many people like a particular website, but also helps to bring inbound links into the page which increases the rankings of the site in search engines.  The biggest difference that I see between the way that Facebook did this and the way that Google is doing this is where the inbound links are going to be found.  For Facebook, this is was in a post made on the wall of the person that clicked the “like” button.  Whereas in Google, this is actually a separate tab, next to photos and basic info, that lists all the pages that particular person has +1’d.  The pages are listed in reverse chronological order so the first thing you see will be the person’s latest interest.

Search Engine Integration

Google’s new platform already proves that it has a significant amount of power behind it.  However, the real power behind the new social media platform is the integration with everything else that Google is already offering.  Google’s approach to business seems to be, if we can do 1 thing extremely well, we can probably do everything extremely well.  Oddly enough, they seem to be right for the most part.  From their original search engine to their power email solution, an internet browser, a smartphone operating system, and now its social media platform, there seems to be no end to what Google will do.  What makes it better is that everything is integrated.  On Google’s website now, you will see the +You button (which changes “You” to your first name when you are logged in) next to the web search bar.  From within the platform, you can use gmail to send messages, Picassa to share photos, and the search engine to find friends, and this is the tip of the iceberg for what I am sure Google will do.  This would make the new platform a very powerful tool in the internet marketing world, where social media has become the way businesses build reputation and create buzz about the company.  At the moment, it seems more geared towards individuals, but it is only a matter of time before Google branches out to businesses like Facebook has done.

What do you think?

We want to know you’re opinion about the changing social media environment and how Google Plus compares to Facebook.  Keeping in mind that it is still in beta and has not been finished yet (as if Facebook is ever actually finished either), what do our readers think?  Gives us a rating, 1-5, so we can find out how many people are using it and how they like it so far?

postheadericon BBB Rankings

We’ve all seen the logo of the Better Business Bureau on some of our favorite sites.  They are the ones who will rate a compnay based on how well their service is and how they treat their customers.  Suffice it to say that some of the best companies we know are ranked highly by the BBB, and it shows on their website.

Some of ActiveNation’s clients, including Virginia Green Lawn Care and Party Perfect, have been ranked with an A+ ranking and are therefore entitled and encouraged to place the self-updating logo from the BBB on their website.  This logo serves a multi-faceted purpose in terms of website marketing, and it is important to look at the various values of using it.

From a purely customer-friendly point of view, the BBB is a well known and respected organization and their ranking system is trusted by many.  Just seeing that a business has an A+ ranking is a good enough reason for many potential clients to give that company a call.

However, it also serves an SEO purpose, in that by listing your website with the BBB creates an inward link to your website while the logo on your webpage will actually link to your company’s profile on the BBB’s own website.  That means that when someone goes through the BBB, they find you.  When they go through a search engine, they find you.  When they click the BBB link on your webpage, they find you again.

There are a variety of organizations that are similar to the BBB, but this goes to show the benefits of being a member of any one of them.

postheadericon ActiveNation Returns Better Than Ever

We’re Back!

To our loyal readers, ActiveNation proudly returns to this blog after our months of being away. While we apologize for our lack of posts over these last few months, we would like to assure all of our followers that we are back from our hiatus.

In these last few months, we have been busy transitioning after our recent acquisition by Data Control, LLC, a local Richmond based database programming company that has been partnered with ActiveNation many times over the past years when we have needed each others’ services.

Now, as the two companies have merged into one, we have become a more efficient well-oiled machine that is ready to serve all of your search engine optimization, search engine marketing, pay-per-click management, and website development and maintenance needs and desires, as well as a variety of other programming services through our new parent company.

 

Moving Forward:

While we have been away, the world has kept turning.  The internet never stops changing, and so we must always be vigilant in our attempt to stay on top of the newest in internet trends.  While there isn’t enough space in this blog to go into detail about all the changes that have taken place, we wanted to list some of the topics to be covered in the upcoming posts, if only to whet your appetite.

 

The World Goes Mobile:

Smartphones have become the name of the game in the market of the modern age.  The internet is no longer limited to big bulky desktops or laptops where a local ethernet jack is readily available.  All of the world’s information now rests literally in the palm of our hand, and we must be prepared to face it.

Google Plus: The New Facebook?

Google has finally decided to get into the social media game with their new platform, Google Plus.  How will this affect the way we do business?  Is this the wave of the future or a fad that will fade into the background as quickly and quietly as myspace has over the past few years?

QR: Decoding the Trend:

If you have seen the square barcodes around, you know that these days people are being directed to websites and advertising material even when they are not surfing the web.  You could be walking around the local art museum or shopping mall, see one of these qr codes, scan it into your smartphone, and suddenly you are looking at the company’s specialized website.  How do we utilize this new trend in all of our marketing ideas?

 

It’s All About The Future

These topics and more are only the beginning of the latest in internet trends.  Internet marketing has become a whole new ballgame, and as we continue along the never-ending path towards website marketing, it will only get more exciting as the technology continues to radically change the way we do business everyday.

postheadericon Super Bowl Ad Blitz Winner

The votes are in for the 2011 YouTube Super Bowl Ad Blitz competition! Did your favorite ad win?

Well let’s find out…..drum roll please!

Click below for the winner of the Super Bowl Ad Blitz commercial as well as the runners up!

SUPER BOWL AD BLITZ WINNER!

postheadericon Super Bowl Ad Blitz

I know most people get excited when the Super Bowl comes around every year, mainly for the competition and the game itself. But for me, I get the most amped by the advertisements that will premier during the popular televised event. This year was no exception, especially after last year’s amusing and highly entertaining ad lineup. I anticipated a just-as-strong, if not stronger, lineup this year. So the question is, what was the best advertisement during the telecast? Was it any of the numerous and comical Doritos commercials? Did E -Trade keep us entertained while creating enough controversy again? Or did Chrysler take the crown with their ultra smooth and clever ads?

With that being said, Youtube has once again created the ad blitz contest gallery of Super Bowl ads that premiered the night of the big game. They’re asking for users to watch the ads and vote on their favorite one by February 14, 2011. According to the site, “The winning ad will receive ultimate video glory with YouTube homepage recognition on Feb 19th”. Voting will close at exactly 11:59 pm on the night of Feb. 14th so hurry and cast your vote!

I can’t wait to see which one will come out on top. I voted, in case you were wondering, and no I will not share who I voted for until the voting is closed and that’s that! I’d rather not influence anyone’s decision. Ha!

Go to the site below, cast your vote, and stay tuned to Feb. 19th to see which commercial made the Number 1 spot! We’ll make a post to announce the winner!

In the meantime, leave us a comment and share with us who you voted for. We love hearing  your input!

http://www.youtube.com/user/adblitz?feature=ticker

postheadericon Inspire Your Own Creativity

Don’t you hate it when you encounter spontaneous inspiration by something or someone but you forget the idea later or it’s not as innovative as it was initially? In the world of internet marketing it’s pretty easy to run into writer’s block or develop a brain freeze when trying to focus. Whether you’re trying to conjure up creative marketing campaign strategies or trying to clear your mind so you can tackle your reporting routine, there are plenty of ways to ignite that creative spark and effective thought process. Well I’ve outlined 10 essential and effective tips that have helped inspire my own creativity and have also helped me keep track of  my creative efforts.

1.       Record your ideas. It’s always beneficial to have a pen and paper on hand for those light bulb moments. Or even better, browse your mobile device for notepad like apps to record and organize your thoughts.

2.       If you dream it, you can conceive it. Daydream, doodle, ask questions, etc. All of these techniques will get your creative thought process going and will eventually manifest into reality.

3.       Do not focus on the competition…excessively. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing just enough so that you stay in the loop on what is and isn’t effective. But don’t obsess over their approach otherwise you can’t stick to your own identity.

4.       Brainstorm ideas with people you trust with your ideas and who know you well enough to give you genuine input.

5.       Eat Healthy. Spinach, milk, salmon, whole grain pasta, tofu and sunflower seeds are all proven to make you feel happier and more creative.

6.       Sleep on it. Sleep is a great aid in the thought process. Taking a power nap can refuel your brain and generate more room for your creative objectives.

7.       Listen to music. I’ve found that classical and jazz music soothes my brain and sparks creative energy.

8.       Exercise. This is a great way to clear your mind so that ideas will have room to pour in and out…of course once you get your mind off the pain in your body.

9.       Walk away. When you run into writer’s block or hit a creative wall, sometimes you should just stop, walk away, and then come back to what you’re doing. Sometimes when you’re focusing so much for such a long period of time, your brain can hit a roadblock. Give it a break and it will come back to you.

10.   Love what you do.  Have a passion for what you do and trust yourself. Confidence is a significant trait to have when you’re really trying to put things in full gear.

postheadericon Interesting Online Marketing Trend Tidbits

I stumbled across some pretty intriguing information regarding anything and everything an online marketer would want to identify their typical consumer’s profile  and when targeting their ideal audience. Check out some of the interesting tidbits I collected while navigating through different online infographics. Hopefully this will help some of you on your journey to successful internet marketing and even more specifically social media marketing!

Enjoy!

How Global Users Spend Their Time Online

  • Percentage of User’s Time Spent Online: 22% Social Media; 42% Viewing Content; 36% e-mail, e-commerce and other.
  • The average American spends up to 60 hours a month online which equates to 30 days a year.

via Visual Economics

via Marketing Pilgrim

Also:

  • 61% of adult internet users view videos online and 61% view online videos on a video sharing site.
  • The most common online video viewing and sharing age group is 18-29 at 78%, 30-49 age groups at 66% and 45% of 50+ ages watch videos online.
  • Men appear to watch more online videos than women. In fact 65% of men watch online videos while only 57% of women do.
  • The most popular age demographic in the blogosphere is the 35-44 age group with 28% and following closely behind at 25% are bloggers aged 25-34.
  • When it comes to what age group utilizes the internet the most, ages  18-29 spend more time online at 93%!

What do you think about some of these statistics?

postheadericon Get Your Website Buzzin’

Businesses are constantly trying to figure out the best ways to generate traffic to their website. With so many different outlets and resources offered out there, there’s no doubt you can attract visitors to your site, but which factors are consistent and the most effective? Social Media is a great resource when it comes to targeting different demographics that fit your ideal consumer profile. You can narrow anyone down based on age, sex, gender, location of residence, etc. so that you know who will benefit from your services more as opposed to others who wouldn’t care. This is also a great outlet to share information about your company, advertise and promote your site, and even offer incentives, specials, etc. to your fans.  Social media is the latest craze right now and it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon, so jump on the bandwagon and give it a try! Don’t be afraid to engage with your friends/fans either. Consumers and potential patrons want to know that you care and want to know that they have voice within your brand. A creative website name and creative content will surely earn you high marks when it comes to your visitor and gaining their interest. You want to be able to capture consumer attention from the beginning and convince them that your brand is like no other; in fact it’s better than the others. I like to call it “sweet talk”, tell your consumers not only what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Be honest but also a little entertainment can go a long way too. You also want to make sure you stick in their memory so the next time they want to go back to your site; they can remember your name. If you’re not sure exactly how to draw people to your site, or which sources would be beneficial for your niche business the best thing you can do is hire an expert. As skilled professionals, they can offer you more insight to who you should target and how to generate traffic to your site based on your key demographic. Not only that, but experts like Active Nation can manage your social media pages for you, update your blogs and analyze your website statistics to predict and monitor visitor behavioral trends. This will help you to know what works for your company and what doesn’t. Frankly, I would advise you to at least consult with an internet marketing expert either way so that you can weigh all of your options and know the best approach for your company to garner web traffic. You want to not only just attract new users to your site, but you also want to keep them coming back. Research all of the possible resources out there and make it work!

postheadericon A Peek Into Facebook’s Growth

Recently All Facebook posted this istrategylabs data. The data was apparently collected “directly from Facebook’s Social Ads system”. It’s basically information regarding different demographics of U.S. residents that are Facebook users. It’s a pretty interesting overview. What do you think about the info? Do you think this helps internet marketers with consumer targeting and online social media behavioral trends?