Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’

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.


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 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 Top Ten Viral Ads of 2010

Now that we’re finally living in the year 2011, reports of what was “in” digitally last year are coming out of the woodwork; and when it comes to internet marketing, 2010 was big year for online ad viewing, posting and sharing! It seems as though television ads have inspired people to go online to review these popular advertisements and share them with their friends and family.

The numbers are in for the most popular television ads that gained viral popularity. So which ads made the top ten list for 2010?

Check out the countdown below and see if you’re favorite online ad made the top list!

Number 10: E-Trade Super Bowl

Number 9: Gillette Perfect Length

Number 8: Pepsi- Oh Africa

Number 7: Old Spice – The Return of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Number 6: DC Shoes- Gymkhana Three

Number 5: Nike – Write the Future

Numbe 4: Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Number 3: Doritos – Crash The Super Bowl 2010

Number 2: Old Spice – Odor Blocker

And drumroll please….

The Number 1 viral ad of 2010 is:

Number 1: Old Spice – Responses

Top Ten via Advertising Age

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 Internet Marketing and the Holiday Season: Economically Speaking

We all know the economy isn’t what it used to be, and while there still continues to be speculation regarding whether the economy will ever recover and when, business must still go on. Companies are shifting more and more towards internet marketing rather than traditional marketing considering it is cost friendly, and that’s important if you want to survive the recession and still achieve your company’s online marketing objectives.

With the 2010 holiday season right around the corner we will see consumers smart shopping for the best deals and ads online rather than leaving the comfort of their home to shop in chaos. With this popular method of shopping, internet marketers should make preparations before the holiday season hits and make sure they are on top of their game when it comes to content editing, analytics and measurements.

One of the benefits of online marketing is that it requires more of your time rather than dollars. Make sure your company sites, blogs, and social media pages are up to date with creative and effective content…and are updated frequently. By doing this, you will attract potential consumers much better and maintain the ones you have already established a relationship with because maintaining the customers you already have is just as important as attracting new ones. If you are always putting out fresh and interesting content then you should expect positive responses from your site visitors. This should be constant regardless of the season, but during the holidays consumers are paying closer attention to what differentiates you from your competitors. This also works hand in hand with search engine optimization. By making sure your site has great content you will make your company more visible and search engine friendly.

Also, make sure to stay on top of your website measurements so that you can recognize trends and popular promotions you may advertise again next holiday season. This is also beneficial when you start receiving sales leads, you should note what company specials you offered were well received and which marketing methods proved more effective. Make sure you’re staying on top of new developments and improvements to popular marketing tools like search engines. You can measure your site’s peak traffic volume and performance as well as analyzing past holiday season shopping trends.

Don’t just advertise, connect with patrons. A good way to connect with consumers is by blogging. If your maintaining a a blog, again make sure it is filled with relevant and creative content and it provides details about your products and services. Blogs are the best forums to do this with considering there aren’t any character limitations, it’s an outlet for customer feedback and reviews and it’s free! The same goes with other social media sites when it comes to customer feedback and interactivity.

While it seems the worst of the economic downfall may have passed, it still has yet to fully recover. Recession can be a scary word for business owners, but there’s no need to panic considering there are tons of resources out there that can allow your company to market economically and effectively.

postheadericon Internet Marketing Trumps Traditional Marketing

So it’s pretty evident that technological advancements won’t be slowing down anytime soon or maybe ever. In fact, I’m sure we haven’t seen anything yet and as we move further and further away from the Dark Ages digital marketing is proving more effective and even preferred compared to traditional marketing. More and more we rely on technology to do almost, if not all of the work for us which is proving it’s effectiveness on the way we shop, sell, and advertise. There are quite a few ways marketing digitally has made campaigning for your company online easier and more accessible.

1. Cost Effective: I’m sure we can all agree that it doesn’t hurt to save a little money. The cost to advertise and market in a print ad or a television ad can definitely break your budget, which is where internet marketing saves the day. Internet marketing offers sources to market your company for an inexpensive rate and depending on the source, can even be free! Isn’t “free” such a great word? Whether it be pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, or even hiring a professional to do all of the above, there’s no denying that at the end of the day you save more and you still get your message out there to the masses. If you compare the cost of printing ads in a newspaper as opposed to the expense [or non expense] of a social network or e-newsletter, you will see which method proves to be victorious.

2. Easily Measurable:  When you advertise your company digitally it’s easier to measure trends as opposed to putting faith into conventional advertising where results aren’t as immediate. You can measure the amount of people who visit your site, your social media pages, blogs, and any other internet marketing tools you may use. You can see everything from how many people click on your web links, viewed your page[s], what special offers were more popular, and even content they have shared from your company’s website. Through these measurements, it is also easier for you to interact with your fans and consumers considering you know who’s visiting your sites and again depending on the marketing source, you may also get insight on their needs and wants through their online comments and reviews.

3. Attaining Your Target Audience: Your target audience is a group of people that you market your products or services to based on their needs and wants. Basically, the people you know will buy your product. By knowing your target audience it makes your marketing campaign planning simpler and again easily measurable. Even if you don’t have an idea of whom your target audience is, online marketing can still assist in identifying your audience through tools like analytics and measurements. It is very difficult to find your target audience through traditional marketing considering it’s hard to measure who’s read or watched your ads and feedback isn’t as attainable.

4. Internet Marketing is a Consistent Source: When you market on the internet, it’s easy for people to find your company and services considering any content you put online is permanent. This means that fans and potential patrons can research and find your company based on specials, advertisements, and search engines anytime they want. Your company becomes more visible and it’s convenient that consumers can always search what they need and find your company to be a great match. Anything done in print can easily be tossed away and never be seen again, as well as television ads where you may see a commercial one minute and then the next minute it’s gone and you can’t go back to review it whenever you like.

These are only a handful of reasons why big and small businesses are jumping on the internet marketing bandwagon. While there are so many benefits from switching from traditional marketing to internet there are still some that haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. But eventually we all will have to face the music; internet marketing is King.