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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

To Email or Not to Email: Is Email Marketing for You?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Email marketing can be an extremely powerful form of marketing. It lets you get into your markets’ inbox and deliver messaging and value like few other tactics do. Email marketing success stories are common, but is this kind of marketing for you?

Many businesses can benefit from email marketing, but by asking yourself these questions you can determine if you should use your time and resources to start a campaign.

Does my Market Want to Hear from Me?

First, decide if your market wants to hear from you. Think about what you could offer through emails and what your market is looking for. If you can fill that need, email marketing could work for you. You can also do surveys or polls on your website and find out if people would be interested in getting emails from you.

Do I have Something of Value to Share?

The best and most successful email marketing campaigns provide value. They offer something people want, need or benefit from. If you can’t provide value, you will struggle to gain subscribers, maintain a strong email list and get benefits from your campaign. Think about what would benefit your market and then find ways you can use email to provide that benefit.

Can I be Consistent?

Like other marketing tactics, email marketing requires consistency. You need to keep providing value to your subscribers while also benefitting your business. If you don’t think you have the time, resources or content to send regular emails, this tactic may not be a good fit.

There isn’t one answer to how frequently you should send emails. Your frequency will depend on your business, the kinds of emails you send and your market. You will most likely need to do some testing before you find the perfect frequency.

How can my Business Benefit?

Before you pursue email marketing, make sure your business will benefit from it. Email marketing can help you boost sales, increase traffic, improve brand awareness, build your reputation and accomplish all kinds of things. Look at your business and marketing goals and determine whether or not email marketing can help you.

Do I have a Strategy?

If you want to use email marketing successfully and to reach your goals, you need to have a strategy. Random emails that are sent without specific messaging, calls to action and thoughtful layouts won’t benefit your business.

When you decide to use email marketing, keep things like your goals and market in mind as you build a strategy that will ensure you are successful. Each email you send should be part of a bigger plan and fit into a bigger marketing picture.

Email marketing is a great way to promote your business, reach your customers and accomplish a variety of marketing and business goals. But, before you start using this form of marketing, make sure it is the right fit for your business and market so you will be successful.

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Don’t Stop after you Publish! What to do After you Post to Your Blog

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Image courtesy of Patsy/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Patsy/Flickr.

Publishing content to your blog is a key part of Internet marketing, search engine optimisation and content marketing. But, publishing blog posts is only the first step. To leverage your content and get the most out of each post, you need to follow up with a few key steps.

These steps should be part of your general Internet marketing strategy and your social media marketing plans. If you aren’t following up each blog post with these actions, you could be missing out on some of the benefits of blogging.

Create a Shortened, Trackable URL

Your content management system will most likely create a URL for your blog post. Take that URL and shorten it with a service like bit.ly so that you have a shorter version of the URL that you can track to find out how many people are clicking on the link and get an idea of what kind of content your audience likes.

Share through Social Media Accounts

Blogging brings more value when people see your content. Whenever you post to your blog, you should instinctively share the post through your social media accounts.

Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other social media account, share each blog post there to reach your market and drive traffic to your site.

Incorporate into Email Marketing

If you use email marketing at your business, find ways you can use your blog posts in your campaigns. New blog posts can help you get your messaging in front of your market, inform your customers and drive traffic to your website.

You could include links to your blog posts in a marketing email or you could let readers subscribe to get email updates whenever you post to your blog.

Schedule the post for Future Use

Posts that have information that will still be relevant and useful later can be scheduled to be used again. If you use a social media scheduling tool, schedule the URL to be shared again later as part of your content marketing plan. Otherwise, include it in your marketing calendar to use for social media, content or email marketing again later.

Use for Content Inspiration

You can use your blog posts to brainstorm ideas for more content. Do this formally by creating multi-part posts, blog series or theme days or just informally by finding ways to expand more on the topic or blogging about related ideas.

This kind of blogging also gives you a good opportunity to build internal links on your blog and website, which can help with SEO.

Respond to Comments

Finally, don’t disappear after you publish a post! Keep checking in and responding to comments. It is especially important to respond to the first few comments because it will show other readers that you are listening to them and are there to answer questions.

All of these steps will help you reach your market, gain customers and get more value out of your blog. Start seeing more benefits by including these tips in your Internet marketing plan.

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7 Easy ways to get More Social Media Engagement Today

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Getting more engagement on your social media accounts can increase brand awareness, boost sales, drive traffic and encourage customer loyalty. Many businesses are constantly looking for ways to get more “likes,” comments and shares on social media.

To get the best engagement and see long-term benefits you will need to use some strategic social media marketing plans. But, here are seven quick and easy ways you can start getting more engagement today to jumpstart your accounts.

Start Asking Questions

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start getting some engagement is to ask questions. Ask for product feedback, opinions, reactions to events or responses on anything that will interest your market. People love to talk, especially about themselves, so use this to generate some responses and conversation.

Participate in a Group or Community

Groups and communities are the perfect place for conversation and interaction and can even help you gain more followers. Find groups that are related to your industry or community and that are likely to attract people who would also be interested in your business. Join existing communities or set up your own groups and start inviting people to join them.

Mention and Tag other Users

Generate responses and conversations by mentioning and tagging other users. Do this with a status update or by sharing content from another business and giving it credit. When you mention others in your posts, they will be more likely to respond, starting a conversation, or even share your post with their followers, helping you reach a larger audience.

Start a Conversation

Start a conversation by asking another user a question or commenting on someone’s post. As you start a conversation with someone else, other users may also join in and before you know it, you will be involved in a conversation with a group of people and eliciting all kinds of engagement.

Post Something Different

If your followers are used to the types of things you post and are no longer interested in interacting with them, change things up. You may want to make some permanent changes to your overall social media strategy, but you can test some different tactics by posting something new.

Post something that is different from what you normally post and go with something funny, entertaining, touching, amazing, awe-inspiring or even controversial. Sometimes all it takes to start generating more comments and interaction is a small change in what you post.

Crowdsource Something Simple

Crowdsourcing something simple, like a photo caption, is a great way to get people talking and involved with your brand. Other ways to do this include asking people to vote on a new blog design, asking people to comment on which of your products they like best, using fill-in-the-blank posts or asking for photo submissions. This tactic is similar to asking questions, but it involves more creative interaction.

Do a Giveaway

Giveaways are popular on social media and they are an excellent way to gain new followers, get comments and encourage people to share your posts. Make sure the giveaway is for something your market values and that it requires people to somehow interact with your brand on social media.

All of these tactics can help you generate more interaction on your account right away. Start using these tips and then when you find what works for your market, consider changing your social media marketing strategy so it will be more effective.

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Simple ways to build Brand Awareness on Social Media

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Increasing brand awareness through social media isn’t a unique goal. Many businesses use social media, and other forms of Internet marketing, to make their brand, business, products and services more recognisable.

When your market knows who you are and what you provide, you can increase sales, become an industry leader and build trust with your market, which will help your business grow. With just a few easy tactics you can start building this kind of awareness through social media.

Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns are a great way to promote your business and attract new followers on social media. Design a campaign specifically for people who don’t already know about your business or who have a very limited knowledge of what you do. The ads can be used to drive traffic to your website, increase sales or build your social media following.

Strategic Posting

Your social media campaign should give you direction and purpose. It should help you avoid random or unorganised posts and messaging. Make a plan that outlines what you want to tell people about your brand and what kinds of actions you want people to take, and then make sure your posts will help you accomplish those goals.

Develop a Personality

Part of your brand is your personality. Clearly define if your brand is fun, spontaneous, professional, casual, friendly or serious and then make sure that personality shows through on your social media profiles and posts.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and post monotonous content or updates that are dry and lack feeling and personality. Break out of this by becoming more human and conversational on social media.

Have Conversations

Social media is meant to be conversational, so talk to your followers! Accounts that respond to questions, ask for feedback and interact with others attract more followers. Having conversations can also help you get in front of more people and build your social media presence.

Some easy ways to have conversations include:

  • Asking Questions
  • Thanking Customers for Feedback
  • Commenting on Customers’ Posts
  • Interacting with other Businesses
  • Responding to Comments on your Posts
  • Giving Shout Outs to Partners or Community Members
  • Thanking Customers

As you start having conversations it will become a habit and before you know it your accounts will be a hub for your customers and draw the attention of people who haven’t heard of your business.

Be Consistent

It’s hard to establish a brand and increase awareness when you aren’t consistent. As you start to include these strategies in your social media plans, be consistent. This means posting regularly, continuing to have conversations and maintaining your presence.

When you are consistent you will establish your place on social media and you’ll become part of larger conversations. You’ll also be more visible to other users, which will help you raise brand awareness.

Using social media is a great way to increase brand awareness and by adopting just a few habits and making sure you are using your accounts strategically, you can inform your market about your business and grow your customer base.

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5 Major Digital Marketing Changes to Watch For

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Accenture Interactive recently did a study that reveals how chief marketing officers across several industries feel marketing will change in the coming years. The study found that 78 percent of all CMOs surveyed agreed that “marketing is expected to undergo radical changes over the next five years.”

What are these changes? The world of marketing is always changing and with technology it is changing very quickly. Some of the expected changes were revealed in the study, which asked CMOs what they expect to see. Here are five of those changes and what they mean for your business.

Digital will Account for more than 75% of Marketing Budgets

Digital marketing is becoming more and more vital to business’ success. In the coming years, your company will need to embrace digital marketing tactics like search engine optimisation, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising. All of these forms of online marketing can help you build your brand, increase awareness, boost sales and accomplish all kinds of business goals.

Mobile Specifically will Account for More than 50% of Marketing Budgets

We’ve known for a while now that mobile marketing is growing quickly. In the next few years, many expect it to account for more than half of marketing budgets. If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to embrace mobile marketing.

Mobile marketing can include things like social media, mobile apps, responsive site design, text message marketing, email marketing and sophisticated technologies that allow businesses to track customers, through their smartphones, as they come into their stores.

Earned Media will be more Important than Paid and Owned Media

Earned media is becoming more valuable. Focusing on things like distributing press releases, providing high-quality content and reaching out to bloggers will result in coverage that will bring brand recognition and site traffic.

Earned links are also an important part of search engine optimisation, so producing content that people will want to link to is important to multiple aspects of Internet marketing.

Marketing Campaigns will Begin Unfolding in Real Time

Real-time marketing is made possible with social media and the ability to quickly update blogs and websites. This kind of marketing is often in response to news events or pop culture or just as a way to make a product launch more exciting. You can lay the groundwork for this kind of marketing by building up your social media and blog followings and keeping tabs on what is happening in your market, industry and community.

Analytics Skills will Become a Core Competence in Marketing

Website, social media and other social media analytics can tell you whether your marketing is working and can help you understand how to make your campaigns more effective. Keeping close watch on how your tactics are performing, how your market reacts and what kinds of results you are getting will help you enhance your strategies.

There’s no question that digital marketing is the way of the future. Your business will need to use online tactics and strategies to keep up with its competition, reach its market and succeed.

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Does Social Media Benefit SEO Efforts?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Social media marketing and search engine optimisation are two popular forms of Internet marketing. In fact, for most businesses, they play a major part in their overall marketing and communications plans. One of the most common questions people have concerning these topics is “Does social media benefit SEO efforts?”

The answer is “yes and no.” While this seems like a frustrating response, when you understand how the two can work together, you can find ways to make your Internet marketing even stronger.

What Google Has Said

Earlier this year, Matt Cutts said that Google sees Facebook and Twitter pages like other Internet pages, crawls the content when it can and returns the pages as search results. But, he went on to say that Google’s algorithm doesn’t specifically use things like number of followers or “likes” to determine how to rank a social media page.

Google never comes right out and explains its algorithm in full, but these statements do tell us a lot about how the search engine takes social media into account as it ranks pages.

Keep in mind that some social media sites, like Twitter, use no follow links, so they aren’t the best solution for link building strategies.

Should I use Social Media for SEO?

However, social media could help your SEO strategies if your goal is to get your social media pages and mentions ranked by Google. Working to promote your brand on social media could mean that social media pages related to your business will get higher rankings.

While you shouldn’t rely on social media to build links to your site, you can use it to promote your content and generate some earned links. If people see your content on social media, they may be more likely to link to it from their own website or blog, which will help your SEO efforts.

Social media can also help you drive more traffic to your website and encourage engagement, two factors that may also influence your search rankings.

Social Media and SEO Produce Similar Results

With all this discussion about social media and SEO, it’s important to remember that both tactics can be used to produce similar results. While they can’t always work together, they can both be very beneficial.

For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your sales page, you could do this with social media, SEO, and in most cases, a combination of both. Other benefits that both strategies can bring include increased awareness, site engagement, more email subscribers and more sales.

Remember that while social media and SEO can help you accomplish different goals, they can also help you achieve similar things. When you can work toward marketing goals with more than one tactic, your results will often be better.

The complicated answer to this question is that while some social media factors don’t impact search rankings, social media can be used to supplement SEO campaigns. Use both of these tactics to reach your market, raise brand awareness and increase site traffic.

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4 Reasons you Need a Facebook App

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

One way you can bring something new to your Facebook marketing strategy is to use Facebook apps. A custom made app can help you run contests, collect email addresses, offer games and make it easier for your market to engage with your brand.

The benefits you’ll see from an app will depend on the kind you use, but all businesses that use Facebook apps can expect to see some general benefits.

Branded Account

First, Facebook apps are a great way to help you brand your account’s page. You can use your profile picture, cover photo and posts to show people that your page is an official part of your business and increase awareness, but an app lets you take this branding to a whole new level.

A custom app can include your logo, brand colours and a design that matches your overall brand, reminding people that use it that it belongs to your business.

Incentive to Follow You

An app adds value to your Facebook page and can incentivise people in your market to follow you. When people know what you have to offer, they will be more likely to follow you for easy access to the app.

Of course, you will still need to make sure your posts, the content you share and the conversations you have with your followers are valuable, making your entire Facebook experience something people won’t want to miss out on.

Increased Engagement

Using an app gives your followers and market another way to interact with your page and business. Now, in addition to being able to post comments, answer questions, “like” posts and share your content, they can interact through your app.

Think about what kind of goal you want to accomplish with your app and then make sure its design and function will help you get there. Your app should be easy to use and intuitive for visitors.

More Page Visits

While people in your market may only see your posts in their newsfeed, and rarely look at your page right now, an app will give people a reason to go directly to your page. For example, they will now navigate to your page to enter a drawing, play a game or otherwise use your app.

You can take full advantage of this perk by using an app that encourages people to visit your page daily or weekly. The easiest way to do this is to do a giveaway every week that requires people to use your Facebook app to enter it. As people are coming back to your Facebook page on a regular basis, be sure to keep it updated with current posts, links to your website and other information.

Facebook apps are a great way to enhance your page and make your social media marketing more powerful. Your app will work best when you use it in conjunction with a Facebook page that is frequently updated and already has a strong following, so work to build up your account before you launch an application.

We help businesses create custom apps to improve their social media marketing strategies and get better results. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out how you can benefit from a Facebook app.

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Give your Internet Marketing a Boost this Summer

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Summertime is a great time to give your Internet marketing a boost. Right now, people are enjoying warmer weather, going on vacation and looking for projects and entertainment to keep them busy. Taking advantage of the coming months can give you a great opportunity to make more sales and attract new customers.

Depending on your business and the kind of marketing you are using, there are so many ways you can enhance your strategy and breathe new life into you promotional plans this summer. Here are a few ideas to get your creative ideas flowing.

Reassess your Search Engine Optimisation Plan

It is essential that you reassess your SEO plan on a regular basis. Trends, search engine algorithms and your business’ needs and goals are always changing. Identify what your current traffic and sales goals are and make sure your SEO plans are in alignment and will help you succeed.

Look at things like keywords, content plans, on site optimisation and other factors and determine whether each part of your strategy is working to its fullest potential.

Do Something New with Social Media

Are you stuck in a social media rut? If you have found yourself posting the same kind of content over and over and if your audience isn’t growing or engaged, it’s time to try something new. You can rethink your strategy entirely or you can just run some special summer campaigns.

Holding contests, offering discounts, adopting a hashtag or using a specific theme can help you breathe new life into your social media marketing.

Clean up Your Website

Over time, business’ websites can become cluttered and lose focus. You’ve probably added pages, buttons, images and forms over the past several months, or even years, and your site could be overwhelming and confusing to visitors.

This summer, take some time to clean up your website. Remove clutter and pages you don’t need anymore and make sure things are clear and streamlined so people will respond to your calls to action.

Now is also a good time to make sure your site is fully optimised for search engine optimisation so your pages will get higher rankings. Some things to look at include keyword use, conversion rate, site speed and how easy it is for search engines to read and rank your pages.

Plan Upcoming Ad Campaigns

This summer is also a good time to look forward and start to plan some ad campaigns. Pay per click and search ads can help you promote your business and drive traffic to your website. For these campaigns to be successful, you need to strategically plan your keywords, the sites you use and ad copy to attract and target your key markets. If you start planning now, you’ll be ready to launch effective ad campaigns that can help you increase your sales and have a strong finish to the year.

Take some time this summer to revitalise your Internet marketing tactics. When you boost your SEO and social media campaigns and clean up your website and plan some upcoming ad campaigns, your plans will be ready to help your business be successful for the rest of the year.

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How to Avoid Google’s Press Release Penalties

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Rob Pegoraro/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Rob Pegoraro/Flickr.

While we can’t say for sure, it seems that Google has recently started ranking press releases on major press release sites lower. Research done by Search Engine Land and SEER Interactive found that Google’s recent algorithm update, called Panda, could have hurt press release rankings.

The research shows that press releases on major sites like PRWeb, Business Wire and PRLog decreased in rankings after the update. In fact, Search Engine Land found that some of these sites’ SEO visibility decreased significantly.

  • PRNewswire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 63%.
  • PRWeb’s SEO visibility decreased by about 71%.
  • Business Wire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 60%.

It might be a bit strong to say these numbers show “penalties,” but the fact remains that press releases aren’t ranking as high as they used to. Of course, this could be for a few different reasons, but the decreases are significant enough to encourage businesses to be careful about how they use press releases.

Press Releases are Still Beneficial

Press releases aren’t going anywhere. They are still widely used in the public relations and journalism industries to inform media outlets and publics about news items and events. They are the perfect way to make announcements and keep people informed about business and industry happenings.

But, like other content marketing tools, press releases need to be used correctly if you want to see SEO benefits. Remember when Google warned businesses to use guest blog posts wisely and to provide real value? The same idea holds true here.

How to Use Press Releases the Right Way

There is no reason to stop using press releases altogether. The key to benefiting from them is making sure you are using them the best way possible.

Stick with Real News

Originally, businesses used press releases to tell media outlets about newsworthy stories or information. Stick with this original use and only use press releases when you have legitimate and valuable news to share. Things like new locations, changes in leadership, new product launches and events are great for press releases.

Use Distribution Channels Carefully

Choose strategically how you distribute your press releases. Start by sending them to media outlets and industry bloggers and posting them on your own website. If you choose to publish them to press release sites, only use the highest quality sites.

You don’t necessarily have to avoid the sites mentioned above, but keep in mind that your press releases may not get the highest rankings if you use them.

Choose Value over SEO Optimisation

Like all other SEO tactics, choose value over optimisation. Focus first on providing information your market wants and needs, and let keywords fall naturally throughout the release. All links should be relevant and helpful, adding real value to the press release.

Press releases are an excellent, and in some cases essential, Internet marketing tool. When you keep these guidelines in mind you can use them to drive traffic to your website, earn links, raise awareness, increase rankings and promote your business.

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Tips for Strengthening your Brand Online

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Image courtesy of Pascal/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Pascal/Flickr.

A major part of Internet marketing is strengthening your brand online. You want people to recognise your content, website, blog posts and even social media accounts as part of your business. When all of your online tactics fit your brand, your marketing campaigns will be more effective.

Start with your Website

First, make sure your website is branded. Things like the colours, images, style, layout and copy should all speak to your brand and help you tell your market who you are. Make sure your website reflects your values and has the tone you want to convey to your customers.

For example, if you have a very professional, business-to-business brand, your site should be a little more formal and streamlined. On the other hand, if your business is casual and targets a laid-back public, your site could be more colourful, have a unique layout and use less formal copy.

Leverage Social Media Settings

Now, use social media settings to brand your account pages. Using things like profile pictures, cover photos and other custom options will make your social media pages look like they belong to your company. This is beneficial because it helps you own the property and helps your market associate it with your business.

Also keep in mind that the style you use when posting can help you brand your pages. The tone you use for status updates and the type of content you share will also help you solidify your brand.

Translate Traditional Marketing to Online Marketing

Look at your brand and find ways you can translate it into online marketing. When the brand you use for your stores, printed materials and traditional marketing tactics match your online tactics, your brand becomes much stronger.

Choose elements like colours, logos and styles that you can easily use on your blog posts, social media accounts and other online strategies to make your brand more complete throughout your marketing, both online and offline.

Be Consistent with your Voice

Some online marketing channels, like social media or even your blog, do require a more casual tone. These spaces are usually a little more casual and a conversational tone can help you generate some interaction.

However, don’t change your voice widely from tactic to tactic. Maintain the same voice across all your channels so that people will understand what your business is all about. People will be confused if you use very formal styles on your blog posts and then extremely casual styles on your social media posts. Instead, find a middle ground that lets you meet the needs of the platform but also allows you to maintain your own, unique brand.

Strengthening your online brand is all about finding ways you can translate your brand to online mediums. Use colours, tones, styles and other elements to make your website, blog and social media accounts part of your brand.

When all of your online content and properties are aligned and branded, you will be able to increase brand awareness and build an online voice for your business so you can reach and influence your market.

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