Posts Tagged ‘how-to’
Friday, May 17th, 2013
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 7th, 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.
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The right keywords for your brand and company are the foundation of a successful search engine optimisation strategy. If you’re just starting SEO at your business, or if it is time to revamp your current strategy and reassess the way you do things, choosing keywords is a vital step in the process.
Brainstorm Keywords that are Relevant to Your Brand
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that are associated with your brand. Your list could be quite long, since it will include very general words as well as more specific words that reflect your business, what you do, your products and your services. Remember that the point of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as possible, so don’t hesitate when building this list.
Put Yourself in Your Markets’ Shoes
Now, consider your markets and think about what kinds of words they may use when they conduct searches. Think about words people would use if they were specifically looking for your business and words they might use if they are looking for the kinds of products and services you offer. This part of the process requires you to think differently, since you are likely very used to thinking about your business from an insider’s point of view.
Check Your Analytics
If you already have a website or blog with analytics, check to see what kinds of search terms are bringing people to your website. As you look at this list, add keywords you haven’t already thought of to your list of potential keywords.
Narrow Down Your List
At this point you likely have a nice long list of potential keywords. You probably have more than you need or that you can realistically target. Go back down your list and cross off the keywords that are extremely general and highlight the ones that you think will bring the best results. You may want to keep the words your audience is already using to find your website and words that are more unique to your specific business.
Add Long Tail Keywords
Examine the remaining keywords and add long tail keywords wherever possible. Long tail keywords are key phrases that make a more general keyword more specific. For example, a general keyword would be “printing services” long tail keywords would be “London printing services,” “affordable banner printing services,” or “sign printing services in London.”
Research Search Volume and Competition
Use a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to decide which keywords you should target. Search for the keywords you have on your narrowed-down list and look at how many people search for the term and how competitive it is, or how hard it is to rank for the keyword. Google’s tool allows you to see related search terms, which can help you add more targeted keywords to your list.
When you finalize your keywords, keep in mind that you may have a few different categories of keywords to target. You may want to try to rank your product page for one keyword, and your home page for another keyword. You may also decide to use different keywords for different link-building and SEO techniques.
Many businesses want to know how many keywords they should target, but the answer to this question will be unique to each business and its goals and industry. Every business and every campaign will require a different amount of keywords. Also keep in mind that as your campaign develops and you begin ranking for certain words, or as your business changes, your list of keywords will also likely need to change.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr.
If your business doesn’t use social media marketing or if it is not using it very successfully, it can be overwhelming to try to build an online presence. Some businesses are tempted to start using all social media channels available, only to find that their efforts aren’t paying off.
By strategically implementing a social media marketing plan, you can make sure you are using the channels available to you to their fullest potential and reaching your target market with the correct message.
Prioritize Social Media Networks
Not all social media networks lend themselves to all businesses. It’s very likely that there are two or three networks that are better for your business than others. Consider your business goals, where your target market is likely to be, and what kinds of messages you want to send through social media. Then, prioritize social networks starting with the ones that are most likely to help you reach your goals.
Start Small and Focused
Start with the first few networks on your prioritized list. Set up complete and optimised profiles for these accounts, post to them often, build a following and engage with other users. You should also promote these accounts on your website and blog and through other marketing channels as appropriate.
The idea here is to build very strong accounts on a few networks and to get very good at using them for social media marketing.
Translate Your Tactics
Once you start to see results from a few social media channels, you can branch out and begin to use others, using some of the same tactics you’ve already practiced. Of course, each channel will require slightly different tactics, but the things you’ve learned about how your company, target market and social media work together can help you be successful on new social networks.
Follow Your Market
As you decide with additional channels to add to your strategy, follow your market. Remember that where your market is and where your business has an online presence need to be the same. For example, just because you build a very strong presence on LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to reach your target market if it is more likely to use a service like Twitter.
Slowly Build a Larger Presence
The businesses that are the most successful on social media slowly build a presence, rather than spread all their resources too thin. By focusing on just a few channels to begin with, and then slowly joining other networks and expanding your social media marketing efforts, your business will gain more from social media. Businesses that try to take on too much in the beginning may have a lot of social media accounts, but they generally don’t have a very strong presence in any of them, meaning none of their accounts are especially valuable in helping them reach their goals.
Creating a strong social media presence that brings rewards takes time. It will take strategy to reach your target market and then build a following and to build accounts that will help your business reach its goals, grow and be successful.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Chris Blakeley/Flickr.
According to the Content Marketing Association, 82 percent of consumers like reading content from businesses when it is relevant. In general terms, relevant content is content that speaks to your audience. It is content that provides helpful information and is applicable to your target market.
Marketing experts often tout the importance of relevance in content marketing and search engine optimisation plans, but how do you discover what “relevant” means for your company?
Study Your Audience
The best way to find out what is relevant for your market is to study it. Learn about its demographics, its needs, its tendencies and what influences it. You can use market research your business already has or you can do new, content-specific research. When you understand what makes your audience tick, you can develop content that is relevant.
Know Your Place and Fill a Need
Once you have a strong understanding of your target market, understand where you fit in. The place you hold in your potential customers’ eyes will depend on what kind of business you have. For example, if you sell an online video streaming service, you fill an entertainment need. Or, if you are a healthcare company, you fill an informational and health need.
Your business probably already strives to meet the needs of its market, so carry that same strategy over to your content marketing campaigns. However, keep in mind that the need you fill with your content may be slightly different than the need you fill as a business.
One excellent way to find out how you can deliver what your market wants is to do research. Surveys and focus groups can give you a good understanding of what your market wants and can direct your content marketing planning.
Get Creative with Your Content
Not every audience needs another article or another YouTube video. When you understand what your audience needs, be wiling to creatively fill that need. For example, maybe you have an audience that doesn’t have time to read long articles. Visual content may be more useful for that audience.
Providing relevant content is not just about the themes or the message in your content, it is about creating content that is accessible to your market.
Stay on Message
Content that is based on a well-researched message rarely fails. You can make sure your content is relevant to your brand’s audience by sticking to one message. This will avoid confusion and will allow your content to resonate with the audience as you fill its need.
Avoid Unnecessary Content
Content that is created just for the sake of content is an enormous waste of time. When you use content marketing, it can be tempting to try to produce content in mass, just to get the job done. However, this strategy rarely works and is a waste of time and money. Instead, make sure every piece of content you produce will fill one of your market’s needs.
Relevant content can help you build an online presence and better reach your audience. If you provide content that fills a need and sends your business’ message, you will have a much more successful content marketing campaign.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Creating websites that are optimised for mobile use is a current marketing trend, and for good reason. More and more people are browsing the Internet from their smartphones, meaning the small screen is an excellent place to reach your target market.
One of the most popular smartphone uses is accessing social media. Fast mobile browsers and various apps make it possible for people to reach out to their friends, post pictures and status updates, and connect with your business, all from the palm of their hand.
Making your social media marketing campaign mobile-friendly is relatively easy, considering the number of social media apps that already format social media sites for a small screen. But, there are still some things you can do to make your campaign more effectively reach a mobile audience.
Use Mobile-Ready Apps and Landing Pages
If you use Facebook apps, make sure they are mobile ready. If a user accesses your app from the Facebook app, and lands on an app that is not optimised for his screen, he’ll likely exit the app.
Likewise, make sure your landing pages are mobile optimised for the same reason. Any page you send social media followers to should be mobile friendly, whether that’s your own site or a landing page.
Keep it Simple and Short
People who access social media from their smartphones are usually on the go. They don’t have a lot of time to read long posts or follow complicated directions. Your social media posts should be short and to the point and your campaign should be designed with this in mind.
Another benefit to keeping things short is that short messages and campaigns are often more memorable than long, complicated ones.
Use the Mobile Aspect to Your Advantage
Since mobile social media use is so popular, you can integrate the mobile aspect into your campaign. Smartphones and apps make it easy to make things like check-ins, photo contests and QR codes a major part of your campaign. You can make mobile work for you by creating a campaign that utilizes the fact that your market is on the move.
Enhancing your social media marketing campaigns by making them accessible to mobile audiences can make your strategy even more effective. Using mobile-friendly apps and landing pages, keeping your messaging short and using the fact that your audience is on the go to your advantage are simple ways you can start mobile optimising your campaign now.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Widjaya Ivan/Flickr.
Google Plus is an excellent content marketing tool from both a social networking and search engine optimisation perspective. The growing user base allows you to get your message in front of a bigger audience that can also help you share your content. From the beginning, it became clear that Google was going to use Google Plus to help it determine where a page appears in search results. You can leverage these benefits by using Google Plus wisely.
If you haven’t already set up Google Authorship for your blog, you’re missing out. Google Authorship links your blog posts to your picture and profile, links all of your content together and ranks pages linked to your name higher. Have you ever noticed a Google search result with someone’s name and picture next to it? This is Authorship in action.
Enabling Authorship on your blog links your Google Plus profile to your content, so when one of your posts appears in search results, your name and picture will be next to it. This is a great branding opportunity, and it also helps with SEO efforts, since Google ranks Authored content higher than other content.
Another benefit of Google Authorship is the related content listing. When someone stumbles across one of your blog posts on a page of search results, he may also see links to other content written by you. This can help you build your brand and increase traffic to your content.
Google favors legitimate content, and it uses Google Authorship as one way to differentiate between genuine content and spammy content. Using Google Authorship will help your page rank higher as Google recognizes it as natural, high-quality content.
Build a Google Plus Audience
Just like any other social network, the audience you build on Google Plus can help you gain more traffic, which can increase your page rank. When you have a large, engaged audience that clicks on the posts you share and that passes your content on to their connections, you’ll start to see results. You can grow your audience by using hashtags and participating in Google Plus communities.
Depending on your business, you could even start your own Google Plus community to create another channel you can use to reach your target market and communicate with it on a regular basis.
Use Links and Keywords Wisely
Google Plus allows businesses to use links in their about section, an opportunity you should take advantage of. Of course, these links are very helpful for your audience, but they can also boost your rankings. Use keywords as the anchor text for links that go to your website, but make sure your content is still people-friendly and doesn’t look spammy or forced.
Your keywords should also be used in your Google Plus posts, so that your posts will appear in search results when your connections search for those keywords, thanks to Google’s Social Search.
Google Plus is a growing social network with an added advantage: it very directly impacts search results. You can optimise your content marketing tactics by using Google Plus features to gain more traffic and better search rankings.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are lots of well-known search engine optimisation tips for blogging. You know that you need to use keywords, share your blog posts, and build links to them. However, have you ever considered why blogging is such a vital part of an SEO strategy?
Blogs House Fresh Content
It’s no secret that search engines love new content. Websites that are regularly updated with new content are crawled more often, which means they often earn higher page ranks and appear higher in search results than other sites. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site always has fresh content.
Blogs Drive Traffic
The amount of traffic a website receives is one factor that determines what kind of page rank it has. Interesting, controversial, insightful and helpful blog posts can drive traffic to your site. If you share your posts through social media accounts, RSS feeds, press releases, email marketing campaigns and newsletters, more people will visit your website.
Blogs Help with Off Site Link Building
Link building is an essential part of SEO and more recently, natural links are becoming more valued by search engines. Your blog can help you build natural links to your site as people share your posts across social media and other websites and blogs.
Blogs are a Place for Internal Link Building
It’s incredibly easy to link from your blog posts to some of your previous posts or site pages. Internal links are a powerful SEO tool that you can put to use every time you write a blog post. Add anchor texts that are keywords and you’ll see even more benefits.
Blog Post URLs are Easy to Crawl
The easier your site’s URLs are to crawl, the easier it will be to gain rankings. Most blogs have basic, understandable URL structures that make it easy for search engines to crawl and rank your site. Each time you write a blog post you are adding content that search engines can easily crawl.
Blogs Create Site Activity
The level of activity on your blog can influence your search rankings. Sites that have more comments and user interaction usually rank higher than those that do not. You can use your blog to build a community around your site that encourages people to link to and comment on your blog posts.
The ability to earn higher search engine rankings is one of the biggest benefits of maintaining a company blog. To make the most of these benefits, create an attractive blog with unique and interesting content. Then, use a content calendar, internal linking strategy and social media strategy that helps you leverage each post.
Measuring social media can be difficult. How do you know how all those posts, shares, tweets and “likes” are impacting your bottom line? While there are lots of ways you can estimate the affect your social media marketing has on your business, one recent study claims to have found the dollar value of each Facebook “like”: $174.17.
The study, by Syncapse, researched how 2,000 Facebook users’ “likes” impacted 20 major brands. It took into account brand loyalty, page recommendations, product spending, media value, brand affinity and acquisition cost. Interestingly, the $174.17 value is a 28 percent increase from the value reported from the same study in 2010.
Syncapse also found that people who “liked” a business on Facebook spent $116 more, per year, on the brand than those who did not “like” it. People who “like” a company on Facebook spent 43 percent more in that company’s industry than those who do not “like” the company. The research also revealed that when a Facebook user believes his or her opinion shapes a brand he or she is more likely to react positively on social media.
How You can get the Most Value for Your “Likes”
So what does this research mean for your company? How can you get the most out of your Facebook “likes?” Perhaps most obviously, the study means your business could see more sales if it is able to attract more Facebook “likes.” Of course, this isn’t the only factor that will help boost your sales, but the research shows that people who “like” your business on Facebook are likely to spend more money on your brand than those who don’t. You could also benefit from “likes” at other companies in your industry.
One of the most important factors in Facebook marketing success is finding the right market. If you are able to find your potential customers and encourage them to “like” your page, this study suggests you will see a change in your sales.
Image courtesy of GOIABA – JOHANNES FUCHS/Flickr.
Getting more Facebook fans can sound easier than it is. To successfully build an audience, your business needs to post interesting and useful information. Social media users are already overwhelmed by posts, pictures and marketing noise, and if you don’t have a good reason for people to follow your brand, they probably won’t.
As the study suggests, showing your social media followers that you value their opinions is extremely important. This strategy can help you gain a loyal following and build a positive reputation. Listening to your market can involve reaching out to potential customers, responding to posts on your social media accounts and asking for your followers’ opinions. Remember, if you do ask for your fans’ opinions, be ready to show your market how you are listening. Even if you aren’t able to implement every suggestion, find other ways to let your audience know you are listing and take their comments seriously.
Facebook, with its huge audience and long list of features, can be a very powerful marketing tool. When you know how to reach your market and make them feel valued, your Facebook marketing can have a direct impact on your business’ bottom line.