Posts Tagged ‘Online Marketing’
Monday, May 20th, 2013
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?
Thursday, May 16th, 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.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
As you’ve probably heard, Google just wrapped up its developer’s conference known as Google I/O. The annual conference is the venue for new product releases, major updates and announcements that have the potential to impact consumers and businesses.
Here are the biggest announcements from the conference:
New Google+ Design
Google+ has been gaining momentum, and Google unveiled a new design to go along with all the growth. It’s true that Google+ may not exactly be Facebook, but it does have 190 million users, and the value it can bring to search engine optimisation campaigns is no secret.
The new multi-column layout displays posts in an entirely new way, which is reminiscent of Pinterest, and boasts bigger photos and makes it easier to use hashtags. Google Hangouts has updated messaging features, notifications and saved conversation features.
Faster Chrome Speeds
Google’s browser, Chrome, has more than 750 million users. At Google I/O the company announced that users will now see faster video speeds and payment processes. It has also launched a few experiments and projects that show off just how fast Chrome is and to give businesses an idea of how they can benefit from the speed.
Talking Search and Google Now Geographical Reminders
The way users use Google’s search engine has changed: people can now ask Google a question (vocally) and the site will speak an answer. This feature is available for laptop and desktop computers using Chrome. Google Now also received a major update with the ability to provide geographical reminders. Users can now get a reminder at a specific location (like at the office or at the store) on their mobile devices.
Google Play Music All Access and Google Play Leader Boards
This new product may signal that Google is interested in competing with companies like Rhapsody and Spotify. Google Play Music All Access is a subscription-based music service that lets users listen to millions of songs for a flat monthly fee.
Google Play was updated with real-time multilayer leader boards, so players can more easily compete with their friends.
Enhanced Google Maps
Google Maps has been enhanced with added features, and better images, that are intended to make the service more personal. Users can star favorite places, write reviews, and see business descriptions on maps. Google Maps is already a powerful app and it was widely celebrated when it debuted on the iTunes store, making it available to iPhone users. More personalization and more unique features will likely make this app even more popular.
This year’s Google I/O updates didn’t disappoint and developers, businesses and users everywhere are excited about the changes. Will your business benefit from these announcements?
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.
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
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’.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
What kind of social media marketing does your business use? Do you use paid marketing or do you use social media in the more traditional way, writing posts, adding pictures and connecting with other users? Both of these approaches can be very successful ways to market your brand, and each has its pros and cons.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social media marketing encompasses any social media marketing tactic you have to pay for. Some common examples include:
- Promoted tweets and posts
- Social media ads
- Sponsored posts
- Promoted accounts
Businesses that use paid social media often do so with very specific goals in mind. Sometimes these goals include raising awareness, but more often paid social media is used to drive traffic, promote an event, gain customers, publicize a contest or generate leads.
One of the main advantages of paid social media marketing is that your content is almost guaranteed to be presented to your target market. Most social media networks allow advertisers to select specific demographics, allowing them to control where their content goes.
The downside to this is that some users are wary of ads and don’t respond to them at all. Some members of your public may be less likely to trust ads than they would be to trust traditional social media posts.
Traditional Social Media Marketing
For the sake of this post, traditional social media marketing is defined as tactics like status updates, pictures, comments, responses and social media shares. This type of marketing is similar to the way social media is used by your target market, except you should have a strategic campaign behind the way you use your accounts.
Traditional social media marketing allows your business to have conversations with and interact with your market. As customers or potential customers comment on your content or ask questions, you are able to respond. Paid social media marketing doesn’t allow for this.
Using social media this way is also more natural and may be more effective for an audience that is prone to tuning out advertisements and content that is too sales oriented. With traditional social media marketing, your brand can become part of larger conversations and a community, which can be extremely beneficial.
Much of marketing and sales is based on relationships. Traditional social media marketing allows for the growth and fostering of these relationships. If you are seeking to add a level of transparency or approachability to your company, these kinds of tactics can help.
However, traditional social media marketing often takes more time and requires you to work harder to build an audience and to get your message to the right demographic.
The Best of Both Worlds
Most businesses use a combination of paid and traditional social media marketing. Both strategies have their place and both have strengths and weaknesses that can compliment each other. According to Nielsen, advertisers and agencies use the free social media tools slightly more than they use the paid tools. But, 64 percent of these businesses plan to increase their social media spending in 2013.
The way you use social media marketing to promote your brand will depend on your business and your goals. As you decide what kinds of results you want to get from your social media involvement, you can decide if paid or traditional social media marketing is best for you.
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.