Posts Tagged ‘brands’
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
A strategic content marketing plan has the potential to help your business earn higher search engine rankings, get more website traffic, raise awareness and increase sales. When you recognize the power of content marketing and are ready to start using it as part of your digital marketing strategy, how do you know where to start?
Content marketing is a large industry with many tactics. The exact strategy you implement will depend on your brand and goals, but the following steps can help you start creating a content marketing plan.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with content marketing. Do you want to reach a new audience or follow up with your target market? Or, maybe your content marketing goal is to get more leads or to create a social media buzz about your brand. Content marketing can help you accomplish all kinds of marketing goals, so decide what you want to get out of this strategy.
Step 2: Locate the most Beneficial Channels
Once you have identified what kinds of goals you hope to accomplish, you can choose which channels will be the most beneficial in helping you reach them. For example, if you want to reach a specific market, you can use the social media networks, websites or blogs that they are most likely to visit.
Keep in mind that while you may use a specific channel for other marketing efforts, that channel may not necessarily be the same channel you should use for content marketing. The channel you use will also depend on the type of business you have and the type of content you want to share.
Step 3: Create Quality Content
Of course, the foundation for your content marketing plan should be quality content. Focus on creating content that is geared toward your audience and that will help you reach your goals. Calls to action should be used wherever possible and your content should always be unique, helpful and engaging. Think outside the box and find new ways to get your audience’s attention and share your brand’s message.
Step 4: Measure Results
As you begin executing your content marketing strategy, measure your results. The things you measure will depend on your goals, but some numbers you could track include the number of shares or comments a piece of content gets, how much your audience engages with it, how many page views it has, how much it is shared and how many visitors respond to your calls to action. Some measurements are harder to track than others, but tracking the success of your strategy is vital to creating future plans that will help you reach your goals.
Step 5: Adjust Your Strategy Where Needed
Analyze the results of your content marketing efforts and decide if your tactics are helping you reach your goals. Then, determine if you need to make changes to your plan. You may have to try a few different strategies before you find the one that brings you the best results. You may also consider testing a few different strategies at the same time, so you can more quickly find what works for you. Your content marketing strategy will also likely change periodically depending on your current goals, your product offerings, your target market and industry changes.
Content marketing is a great marketing strategy that can help you build your brand and meet other business goals. The most successful plans are revisited often and adjusted as needed.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Image courtesy of Ruby Gold/Flickr.
Search engine optimization best practices are always changing. When search engines, like Google, update their algorithms website owners are often required to rethink their SEO strategies so they can earn the rankings they need.
Since SEO is always changing, the tactics that are the most effective are always shifting. In the past, link building was one of the biggest optimisation tools available. Link building is still effective, but changes to Google’s algorithm mean that the types of backlinks a page has can be just as important, if not more important, than the amount of backlinks links it has.
Implementing the latest link-building techniques can help you get better rankings and can even help you avoid being penalized by search engines.
Links from Legitimate Sites Carry More Weight
Google is placing more relevance on sites that are legitimate. Spammy websites that were built for the sole purpose of link building likely won’t help you earn rankings. Instead, get links from sites with high page ranks and that are real resources. Websites that see lots of activity (like traffic and visitors) are also great places to land links, since activity influences a site’s rankings.
Earned Links are Powerful
One way to get links from legitimate sources is to earn them. You can earn links through means like guest blog posts and press releases. Another great way to get these links is to get media attention. As news outlets, or popular blogs, notice your business and mention it, they will link back to your website, helping you build links from legitimate sources. Traditional press releases are one way to help get your business recognized by the media.
Social Media Links are now More Important
Social media is becoming a bigger part of SEO and you can use social networks as you build links. Add links to your social media profile pages and include links in your posts. Not all social media website content is crawled by search engines, but links on these pages can help you get website traffic. Since traffic is one of the main goals of SEO, you are in essence still getting the same benefits. A website’s traffic has also been shown to influence its rankings, so your site could rank higher based on how many visitors and how much activity it receives.
Link Bait can Bring Big Results
Link bait, like blog posts, infographics, videos and other types of interesting content can help you build links as it is shared across social media sites and other websites. Link bait is a very natural and organic way to build links, so search engines favor it. Another benefit to using this approach is that many types of link bait, like infographics and blog posts, can help with your branding efforts.
Some SEO experts believe link building and search engine optimisation is becoming more closely aligned with branding. They believe that as businesses focus on building their brands, link building opportunities and high page ranks will follow. As search engines change to value legitimate content more highly, and even to penalize low-quality sites, there may be some truth to this theory.
As you work to develop your brand, natural link building opportunities will likely follow. Link-building techniques that focus on leveraging legitimate websites, quality content, earned links, social media and link bait can help you earn higher search engine rankings.
Monday, May 20th, 2013
With 10.4 million users, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social media networks. With that growth, the company has added new features, like bigger pictures and a better mobile app, that benefit both everyday users and businesses. The latest of these new features is the addition of Rich Pins that include more details about products, recipes and movies.
More Information Attached to Rich Pins
The new feature brings pinning to a whole new level. Instead of acting as just a page full of saved images and links to web pages, users’ Pinterest boards can now hold more useful information and businesses can share more details about their products through pins.
When someone clicks on a Rich Pin for a product, he will see a bigger image of the product and information about where it can be purchased, if it is in stock, the item’s price and a link to the seller’s website.
Rich Pins for recipes include information about the ingredients needed for the dish, the number of servings it makes and even cooking times. Rich Pins for movies show the film’s content rating, details about the cast and even its Netflix rating.
In the Pinterest feed, Rich Pins will be noted with an icon so users can quickly see which pins in their feed have more content. Pinterest has stated that where applicable, any pins users have already created will be updated with the new features.
Businesses will Benefit
Rich Pins have the potential to help businesses get even more out of Pinterest. As businesses post products with more information, users may be more likely to visit company websites and make purchases. Pinterest is an extremely visual social media network and businesses that take advantage of this by posting images of products now have one more feature at their disposal. Rich Pins can help businesses enhance their Pinterest boards and their Pinterest marketing strategies.
Currently, eBay, Etsy, Neiman Marcus, Sony, Martha Stewart Living, Nestle Very Best Baking, and Netflix, among others, are all using the new Rich Pins. However, any business on Pinterest that has an account specifically designated as a “business account” can use the new feature.
How to Implement Rich Pins
Rich Pins are automatically populated with information about products, recipes and movies. To allow Pinterest to do this, your business will need to use meta tags correctly. Pinterest has a resource page that can help businesses set up Rich Pins, and if you have a web developer, he or she may be able to help with the technical aspects of the new tool.
Of course, after you set up Rich Pins for your business, you should use them strategically. Map out what you want to share on Pinterest, and then follow through by posting products with complete meta tags. You can also get more out of the new feature by making sure your pins are easy to find, which will inspire users to visit your site or buy your products. Using detailed descriptions, keywords and organized boards can all make your pins more visible.
Many brands are already using Pinterest to promote their products and services and to raise awareness of their business among their target markets. The new Rich Pins have the power to take Pinterest marketing to the next level by making it possible for business to include more information about their pins, encouraging users to take action and become customers.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Yahoo! has announced that it will work with Twitter to include tweets in the site’s newsfeed section. Yahoo! has long been a source of news about world events, sports, politics, entertainment and more, and the move seems to show that Twitter is becoming more recognized as an important news source.
In a Yahoo! blog post, CEO Marissa Mayer stated: “Updates direct from politicians, celebrities, media outlets, and other publishers have become an important source of real-time news and information.” The statement seems to reiterate a common theme in social media circles: traditional news sources can’t keep up with breaking news the way Twitter can.
Changes to the Yahoo! Website
Visually, the update is relatively small. In the stream of news articles, users will now also see tweets that contain breaking news or announcements. The tweeted news will include the Twitter handle of the person who shared the post underneath the headline. These posts will also include a “Follow” button, allowing readers to easily follow newsy accounts.
The Marketing Impact
It’s not yet known what kinds of businesses and whose tweets will be highlighted in the Yahoo! newsfeed. It’s likely that tweets from big corporations and news outlets, as well as tweets that are popular and newsworthy will be shared.
More and more people are using Twitter as a source for news, whether it is hard news regarding local, national, or international topics or news from brands, businesses and groups. This means that it is more important than ever that your business shares news through Twitter.
You probably already use press releases, blog posts and earned media coverage to promote your business and share your latest news with your market. But, are you also using Twitter to share news? If you aren’t, now is the time to start.
Even if your tweets aren’t featured on the Yahoo! News page, the move signals a change in the way people expect to be informed about news, and your business needs to follow by using social media to inform its followers. Consider tweeting breaking news, links to blog posts that announce a company change and even finding ways to relate current events to your business.
The idea of using a current event for marketing purposes is known as real-time marketing. You can use Twitter to execute these strategies by staying up to date with current events in your industry and community, and when these stories relate to your business, leveraging them to promote what you do. Be careful not to take over a story, or be insensitive to a situation, which is known as news hijacking, since this approach will only backfire and hurt your company’s image.
Social media and the way news is delivered is always changing, and the latest Yahoo! feature may be one of the first glimpses into how the two mediums could be used together. Businesses can take note and adjust their social media marketing strategies to allow them to leverage the newsy aspect of Twitter.
As Twitter becomes a more common news source, how will your business react? If you don’t already have a solid Twitter following, will this industry change prompt you to build a bigger presence on the site?
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Image courtesy of mkhmarketing/Flickr.
Are you using Twitter to promote your business and increase your revenue? Twitter can be one of the best ways to connect with your target market and to make potential customers happy customers. If you don’t already use Twitter as part of your social media marketing campaign, you may want to consider setting up an account today.
Who Uses Twitter?
First, it’s important to make sure your target market is using Twitter. Chances are that at least a portion of your market is already on the site, but some statistics from Quick Sprout can give you a good idea of what kind of people use Twitter:
- 500 million users send out about 340 million tweets every day.
- 24% of users are between the ages of 25 and 34, 22.5% are between the ages of 35 and 44 and 22.5% are between 45 and 54 years old.
- 60% of Twitter users are women and 40% are men.
- 60% of users have attended some college.
Twitter is a fast-paced social media site that attracts young and middle-aged adults. Many people turn to Twitter for news, information about events and updates from businesses.
The Power of Twitter
One of the things that makes Twitter unique among social media sites is that it has the power to unite groups of people. Brand advocates, sports fans and people with similar interests can connect extremely easily and conversations and entire movements can start with just a few tweets.
Trending topics, often identified with hashtags, can carry a lot of marketing power. If a topic relating to your business trends nationally or among a certain group of people, it receives a lot of attention, generates a buzz and can even drive site traffic and sales.
Twitter can help you directly communicate with your target market in real time, influence conversations and listen to what your market is saying. All of these actions can benefit your business.
Start Using Twitter the Right Way
So how do you start implementing a strategic Twitter plan?
Identify Your Twitter Market
First, find out which of your target markets, or which portion of your customer base, is most likely to be on Twitter. Make sure there is a large enough market on the site to make your involvement worth the time and resources it will take to build a Twitter presence. Knowing which of your markets is on Twitter can help you understand what kind of content to share and how you can use the site to your benefit.
Start Connecting with Customers and Influential People
Next, start following people within your target market and people that are likely to influence them. You may consider following industry professionals, thought leaders, community members and other businesses. If you follow people who are likely to be interested in your business, chances are they will follow you back.
Share Content and Join Conversations
As you build a following, begin sharing content that is relevant to your business. You can share your own blog posts and marketing materials as well as content that others share. Don’t share posts from you competitors, but sharing posts from people who are likely to influence or help inform your market are worth sharing. Sharing relevant content and using hashtags will also help you build a following that includes potential customers. However, don’t just use Twitter to push out information. Have conversations with other users and try to spark engagement.
If your target market is on Twitter, you can make the site a useful and powerful part of your social media marketing campaign. Connecting with the right people and sharing relevant content can help you build your presence on the site so that you can use Twitter to reach and influence your market.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Today is the much-anticipated annual Google I/O conference, where the company unveils new technologies, products and in a sense, forecasts the way technology will be used by businesses and consumers. Techies love this event, because it offers a glimpse of the newest technology and where the industry may be headed. But how do you, as a business, decide what technology to adopt and what new marketing tools to use?
It’s tempting to join the throngs and use the latest and greatest tools, but it isn’t always wise to do so right away, or even at all. Not all technologies are suited to all businesses, and not every market will respond to every new marketing tool.
Choose the Right Technologies
If you are considering using a new technology at your business, consider two factors: your business and your market. You already have a sense of what tools are conducive to your business and goals. If the new tool won’t help you meet your goals, or won’t make your job easier, it’s safe to say you are better off passing.
Also keep in mind what kinds of technologies your target market is most likely to respond to. If your podcasts are a powerful tool for your business, advances in podcast technology may be smart technologies for you to use. On the other hand, if your blog is more influential, you may not need to jump on the latest podcast-technology advances.
Where is Your Market Going?
Another important thing to consider is where your market is. If members of your target market are adopting a new social media network, your business might be wise to do the same. If your potential customers are using a tool you aren’t, you may be failing to use a channel of communication that could help increase your sales.
However, keep in mind that the only way you can answer this question when it comes to new technology is to wait and watch your market. The day a new piece of technology is released may not be the ideal time to make a decision on whether or not your company should use it. Instead, you may want to wait to see if your market, or even competitors, adopt it before you make a decision.
Are you Falling Behind?
One clear sign that it may be time to consider using a new technology is if your business is falling behind. If others in your industry, your competitors, your partners or your market have all began using a new technology, it may be time for you to start using it too. Businesses that can’t, or don’t, keep up with technology risk appearing dated and even incompetent. Most businesses benefit from a reputation of being up to date and agile enough to adopt new technology when needed.
Choose the Right Time
There are both benefits and risks to being an early adopter. Early adopters can find themselves ahead of the curve and on the cutting-edge of the newest technology, but they can also find themselves in tough spot. If you adopt a technology too early, before you have evaluated whether it will benefit your business, you could waste money and time and even throw your entire marketing campaign off track.
It’s extremely important to determine whether an investment in a new piece of technology will be worth it before you take the leap. Part of this decision-making process should involve evaluating when you should implement a new technology — whether you decide to be an early adopter or to wait to see how a market reacts to the technology.
New technology is appearing every day. Advances in social media networks, smartphone capabilities, and new technological tools can change your business’ digital marketing efforts. Knowing whether or not you should use new tools, and when you should implement new technology, can help you make wise marketing decisions that will help your business.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Your business blog is a marketing, search engine optimisation, social media and public relations tool. It allows you to reach your market, get your story out there and drive traffic to your site. As your blog acts in all these capacities, it can help you indirectly make money as your business grows. However, there are also ways you can earn money directly through your blog.
Whether your entire business is based on a blog or your blog is just one aspect of your business, these tips can help you earn more money from your blog.
Participate in Affiliate Marketing
When you become an affiliate marketer, you will partner with a company and get paid based on the number of products you sell or the number of leads or traffic you generate. Some bloggers see a lot of success with affiliate marketing, and this approach may work for your blog.
To make money this way, you’ll need a large audience and a good sense of how to pitch products to your market. Good affiliate marketers are able to persuade their audiences to purchase a product without losing readers. Usually affiliate marketing is implemented through links or ads on a blog and many times the links are included in actual posts. Marketers can sell products by posting product reviews or sales pitches or by simply mentioning and recommending products.
Earn Sponsorships or Sell Ads
Of course, your ability to gain sponsorships and use ads will depend on your blog. If your entire business is based on your blog, you may be able to take this approach. However, if your blog is just one entity of your business, you may not want to send potential customers to sponsors and advertisers, since that would likely hinder your own sales.
Many bloggers that have large, niche followings are able to earn revenue through sponsorships and ads. Sponsors who want to get their name in front of your audience and encourage your readers to visit their website will often pay a monthly or yearly fee to have their logo and links added to your site.
You can also sell ad space on your blog or write sponsored, or paid, posts to earn money from businesses that want to sell their product to your audience.
Sell a Product
This may seem like an obvious way to make money, but many people don’t associate product selling with blogging. You could use your blog to market an ebook, a newsletter subscription, a paid forum or any other product. The secret to doing this well is finding or producing a product that will appeal to your readers. For example, if you are a food blogger your audience may be interested in purchasing a cookbook you created or subscribing to your recipe newsletter.
Selling a product through your blog is slightly different than the classic business approach. Many businesses sell their products first, and blog second, treating their blog as a necessary aspect of their website. However, if you’re a good blogger, you could focus on building your blog, then introduce your products as an additional offering, next to your blog posts.
Your blog has the potential to add to your bottom line. Whether your blog is the foundation of your business or it is a branch of your larger organization, these strategies can help you reap monetary benefits from quality blog posts, a niche target market and a substantial following.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Last week YouTube announced that it would start offering new paid channels as part of a pilot program with a small group of partners. The fees will start at 99 cents per month and each channel will offer a free 14-day trial.
Some of the paid channels that have already launched include National Geographic Kids, PGA Digital Golf Academy, Pets.TV, UFC Select, and more. There are currently 54 paid channels (there are more than 1 million channels on YouTube) and the company says it will be adding more.
Currently, users subscribe through their account and once they have paid for a channel, they can watch it from their computer, TV, smartphone or tablet. YouTube also says that additional viewing options will be available in the future.
In a YouTube blog post the company states that the paid channels are a response to requests from video posters who are looking for more ways to monetize their videos and channels.
Can Businesses Create Paid YouTube Channels?
Businesses that are interested in creating their own paid YouTube Channel can fill out a sign up form. Currently, all submissions will be reviewed and may or may not be accepted as a paid channel partner.
Since the paid channel program is currently a pilot program, it remains to be seen how YouTube will develop it and how businesses will get to use the new option. However, assuming the service becomes more popular, businesses will likely get to be a bigger part of the program.
Will Your Business Benefit from a Paid Channel?
If your business already has a successful YouTube Channel it may very well benefit from a paid channel, since you could earn revenue from subscriptions, not just advertisements. If your business and products are conducive to things like previews, how-to videos, product reviews and event videos, it may benefit from paid YouTube Channels.
However, the benefits of a paid YouTube Channel aren’t just monetary. Businesses with successful videos and channels benefit from things like increased exposure, viral ad campaigns, social media buzz, raised awareness, increased site traffic and more sales.
How will Users React?
As with any major social media change, one of the biggest questions being asked is “How will users react?” YouTube users aren’t likely to leave the site in droves, since the site has become an Internet video staple, but will they be wiling to pay for content? Many feel social media should be free to use, much like email. Normally, businesses are able to profit directly through ads on the site, whether that be the social media business or the businesses that use the site. However, some sites, like LinkedIn do offer paid features, which seem to be successful.
Much like any other product or marketing tool, paid YouTube Channels will likely be successful if the content being shared is valuable to the audience, helpful, entertaining and useful. Channels that are able to provide the best content may find it easy to gain subscribers. Will you apply for a paid channel? Do you think the new feature will benefit your business?
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Facebook has unrolled a new feature: the ability to comment on posts from Bing search result pages. When a Facebook user searches for a term, Bing displays relevant posts from the user’s friends on the right-hand side of the page, where searchers can now add a comment. Another new feature is the ability to add a new Facebook post from Bing.
Last year, Bing added social search results from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but today is the first time users have been able to interact with those results from Bing. For users to use the new features, they will have to login to Facebook through Bing.
Are Social Results Helpful?
Social search results aren’t anything new; Google has been offering it for years. But, how useful are these results? If someone is searching for information through a search engine, does he care what his friends think?
There may be cases where social search results are helpful, but it may be more likely that the results are more for fun, adding a new dimension to social media. However, even if a searcher doesn’t think he cares what his friends have to say about a topic, he may still see related posts and be influenced by them.
Studies have shown that people value their peers’ opinions. When someone’s friends are all talking about a new product, that person is bound to become interested as well. People’s friends and family members also have a tremendous influence on one’s decisions.
For example, if a searcher is researching a product, and sees a post from a close friend that speaks highly of the product, the searcher is more likely to purchase that item.
How Can Marketers Use the New Feature?
Perhaps the biggest way your business can use Facebook and Bing’s new feature for your marketing campaign is to bolster your social media marketing efforts. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and with social search results, it becomes even more powerful. Knowing that your target market may see social media posts that mention your brand when they use a search engine, you can make an effort to create more of a buzz about your business on social media. As more of your customers post about your company, your business will be more likely to appear in social search results.
Encouraging customers to post positive messages about your business, products, services and events can have a big impact on your overall success. Taking advantage of this feature can help you leverage people that are influential over your target market, so you can gain more customers.
Another benefit of this feature is that it adds one more way companies can earn search engine results. If you are using a search engine optimisation campaign, you can add this feature to your list of tools that can help you earn higher rankings. While these rankings may not directly bring traffic to your website, they can help raise awareness about you brand and spur people to seek out your company.
Facebook and Bing have worked together in the past to bring new features to users, and this latest update is just another example of how the two companies are influencing the way social media and search work. Your business can take advantage of this feature by recognizing that your social media presence is growing increasingly important, that you can leverage comments from influential people and that you now have one more way to gain search rankings.
Image courtesy of mack2happy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Some say you should ignore your competition and focus on your own business and your own goals. However, you can learn a lot and even improve your own business and marketing by watching you competition.
Understand What You’re Up Against
When you know who your competition is and what kinds of marketing they use, you can better understand what you need to do to compete with them. You’ll now what it will take to stand out and get your target market’s attention, and you may even better understand what kind of messaging you need to use. Knowing what your competition does gives you a good look at the market and what your business will need to do to succeed.
You likely won’t have an inside look at your competitions’ success and failures, but you may be able to get a sense of what kinds of marketing strategies resonate with your market, assuming you share a target market, and what kinds don’t. Take note of what kind of messages your competition uses and what kinds of tactics they use, and then watch what happens. Are these businesses successful? Or do they seem to be falling behind? Analyze their strategies, and then use what you learn as you create and execute your own marketing strategies.
See What Your Market Sees
Your target market is inundated with all kinds of messages and advertisements, many of which come from your competition. When you step back and look at your competition, you can see the industry as your market sees it.
Try to set aside what you know about the market and your business and look at all the things your potential customers see as they learn about and experience you and your competitors. What would you change about your approach that would encourage people to choose your business over the competition? The answer to this question can help you make your strategy even more effective.
A screenshot of Samsung’s iPhone-mocking commercial. Image source.
Create Competing Campaigns
It’s not unusual for brands to create competing campaigns. Samsung has been known to produce commercials that openly poke fun at the iPhone and its users. This bold marketing strategy can work for some brands, but isn’t for every business. Whether this approach is for you or not well depend on your business, industry and markets. Even if you decide not to openly mock your competition, you can use subtle messages that oppose what your competition is telling its market.
For example, if your competitor claims to offer the most affordable products, you could run a campaign that highlights the idea that you get what you pay for, and that although your product is slightly more expensive, it is of a much higher quality.
Watching your competition can help you understand what you need to do to stand out and get your market’s attention. This practice can also help you see your strategy and tactics from your market’s eyes and even create campaigns that oppose your competitions’.