This is featured post 2 title
Replace these every slider sentences with your featured post descriptions.Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these with your own descriptions.
This is featured post 3 title
Replace these every slider sentences with your featured post descriptions.Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these with your own descriptions.
This is featured post 4 title
Replace these every slider sentences with your featured post descriptions.Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these with your own descriptions.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
To be successful in marketing you need to do more than read case studies of discuss theory. Behavioral data is what's best for improving your knowledge and learning. Once you've collected your ideas, keep them in a safe place - write them in a notebook or keep them on you phone/ipod. It's best to choose which ideas you feel would apply to your business and are relatively easy to implement. Some of the most powerful marketing ideas I've ever had came from others!
Make it a habit of trying new marketing concepts. For example, you may have noticed a type of merchandising that might work well for your products or services. Can you change a display? Use what you've learned. The more you do this, the more you'll see results. Over time, these results can add up significantly. If you want to improve your marketing, get out, get informed, and get learning!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Okay, so maybe you need experience across a lot of disciplines to make a real difference with marketing today. From advertising to direct marketing to PPC, today's marketing professionals need to have a wide knowledgebase and be able to deliver the goods.
From my perspective, the basic principles of "listen to your customer" and "think value" still reign true. Here are some tips for staying on top of your marketing game:
1. Always be reading and learning. Learning can happen in many ways. Whether you're reading an expert blog post, news, or the latest marketing book to hit the shelves, never assume that you know-it-all.
2. Listen to your customers. The have an uncanny ability to tell you how it is. Are they happy? What do they like about your products, services, communications, etc.? Are they unhappy? Why? What can you do about it.
3. It's about message points. Are you controlling all of the touch points that communicate something about your brand? When someone calls your office, are they receiving a consistent user experience that embodies your brand and what you stand for? Think about your key messages and where they are communicated.
4. Keep it simple. During my career I've probably thrown out a forest worth of useless collateral. I'm not someone who has loads of time to read about your product. Show me how it works, what it does, and how it's going to make my life easier and maybe we'll talk about it:)
5. Create a dialog. Whether interacting with your internal marketing team, the salesforce, or your customers remember that communication is a two-way street!
Give consideration to each of these aspects of marketing. Always be learning, asking yourself questions, and challenging the status quo. Even when things are going great, they can be better!
Monday, November 30, 2009
The first step is finding a keyword that isn't all that competitive. Once you do, the next step is to make sure that the keyword you've selected gets enough traffic. Don't overlook this important aspect of keyword research. I worked with a company that was proud of their number one rankings. When I did some research to discover the type of traffic they could expect, I found less than one hundred searches per month on the keyword they selected. Even with top rankings, they would never see the traffic they expected.
After finding a keyword or keyword phrase that is not competitive but receives an sufficient amount of traffic, you should spend time researching your competition for that keyword. An effective technique is to visit each of the top ranked sites, competing for the chosen keyword, and analyze them. Pay particular attention to the Google Page Rank of competing sites and number of inbound links. If sites are well established and have been online for a long time, it may be difficult to outrank them.
After you have selected the keywords you want to compete for, it's time to enhance your web pages using the chosen keywords. Begin by enhancing your meta tags, page titles, and copy, including your keywords where appropriate. By including your keywords in this manner, you're indicating to search engines what your web site is about. This allows search engines to rank your site for appropriate keywords. In addition to the on page factors, Google takes into consideration a variety of off page factors to determine web site ranking. Off page optimization involves generating links from third party websites. Focus your efforts on link building through article directories, web site directories, blogs, social bookmarking sites, and other sites.
When focusing on link building, you should plan to implement link building strategies on a regular basis. Focus on attracting links from sites within your given niche. You should also be focused on sites that have an established age, Google PR, and other authority attributes. When attracting in bound links, do so in a manner that is slow and steady. Building links too quickly can have a negative impact on your web site as search engines may believe you are arbitrarily building links. Once you have determined the right keywords and have taken care of your on-page optimization strategies it's time to focus on off page strategies to improve rankings.
Top search engine ranking secrets revealed. Visit the Internet marketing forum to discover how today's leading seo experts achieve top search engine rankings.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
If you're already online, you probably have a list of some kind. Whether you have 100 names or many more, your list is your greatest ally in succeeding online. And keep in mind that you have the right to email individuals who have emailed you as well as signed up for your list. Many web marketers overlook all of the individuals who have submitted questions and comments as being potential prospects. To improve conversion rates, you must focus on building your list from your traffic and utilizing that list effectively.
There are a variety of productive ways to utilize your list. Begin with an auto responder service. Auto responders allow you to set up an automatic communication stream that works twenty four hours a day seven days a week. You simply set up all of your communications in advance so that users, upon registering, are scheduled to receive emails at set intervals. This is ideal for moving potential customers through the decision making process.
Another way to use your list properly is to communicate pre-sell information about new products, services, or programs. By creating a sense of anticipation, your list will perform. Many products lend themselves to this type of list utilization. Although notification periods vary, letting you list know about upcoming events or products available for a limited time creates significant interest and leads to conversions. Don't under estimate the power of pre-notification.
The third way that you can use a list to improve conversion is through list growth. As your list grows, your total conversions increase as well. Ten percent of a hundred is a lot less appealing than ten percent of a thousand. Focus on building your list with the help of your list members. If you have something valuable to offer, encourage them to share with others who may benefit. This list growth serves you over time.
The last methods for improving conversions is constant communication. If your customers are not in the buying mood, staying in touch puts you at the top of their decision tree when considering a purchase. Your best bet is to develop a communication vehicle that doesn't over or under communicate. As always, proper process should be followed for opt outs. Regardless, don't email and stop unless someone opts out.
The time to start building your email list is now. In parallel, be sure to focus your energies on leveraging that list using the proper techniques. Having a great list is fine but unless you utilize it properly, you'll never see the true value inherent in the list itself.
Looking for Internet marketing help? Take a look at our SEO consulting program. For answers to your most challenging questions, visit the Marketing Forum.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
The question we need to be asking ourselves now is essentially what's next for the web. Will we be focusing on second life and avatars or is there some other direction we will be going in? The answer is already here in the form of Web 3.0. The evolution of the web is based upon sites that utilize consumer behavior to improve the user experience.
The idea behind Web 3.0 is really simple. Leverage the data you have on individuals to improve their future buying experiences. This data comes from a variety of sources but is designed to eliminate the endless searching you might do for a simple task online.
Enter behavioral data and the concept of Web 3.0. In the next iteration of the web world, users' activities are being tracked closely. These activities include a range of behaviors like their on-site behavior, purchase history, order frequency, size, and quantity as well as tastes and preferences they have exhibited while surfing the Net.
The beauty of behavioral data and predictive modeling is that past data can be used. Tools like a retail recommender or recommendation engine take this data combined with real time behavioral data to make sophisticated calculations that are designed to shape the buying experience. Web 3.0 allows for updating and refining that information in real time. As more behavior is tracked, profiles become more robust and more accurate.
Web 3.0 intelligence anonymously and securely analyzes every customer and web browser to your website. Learning patterns and the context that drives buying decisions will be used to create a highly personalized user experience for each individual. This may be a point of concern for all of you privacy buffs out there but the reality is that web sites track user behavior today and the information becomes more and more sophisticated.
Some individuals are going to be significantly concerned about what data is being tracked and how that information is being used. I believe that all users must give their permission to be fully engaged in a Web 3.0 world. Once information is given, the user experience can be liberating, allowing your past behavior to shape your buying experience. This might actually cut down on much of the inaccurate and unrelated solicitations you receive today.
Web 3.0 is upon us. As web sites continue to collect and use more of your behavioral data, your online buying experience is going to change. One can argue if this change is for the better. However, I believe that it can dramatically improve your buying experience and improve the way retailers market products and services.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Follow these guidelines and make sure you avoid duplicate content penalties. Get more great marketing advice at the Internet marketing forum.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Here are a few SEO tips you can use starting immediately to make your site more search engine friendly and begin enhancing overall rankings on all types of search engines.
Optimize Your Website Name. If you have not yet picked a URL for your website then consider purchasing one that includes your keyword but is broad enough to represent your business. Additionally, try to find a website name that is memorable. This helps with word of mouth and repeat visitors. Include your main broad keyword into your URL.
Optimize Your Page Title and Header Tags Including H1 and H2. Develop a title that is relevant to your website content and which has no more that sixty characters. The reason you want to keep your title to a fixed width is because longer titles wont display fully on search engine results listings. The title is important because it gives you an opportunity to display your keywords and entice browsers to click on your link.
The first headline that appears on your page should include your keywords and be in the form of an H1 tag. The sub text should be presented as an H2 or H3 header. This reinforces the importance of your keywords and indicates prominence oriented around the specific content included on your web page.
Optimize Your Meta Tags. Search engine optimization experts debate the value of meta tags for search engine ranking enhancement. I can tell you that meta tags include a variety of tags including title, description, and keywords. Even though meta tags are less important that it was many years ago, it still plays an important role in optimization.
Today, meta tags are used as a starting point and a reference point for search engine crawlers. Your meta tags need to be aligned to your page content and also include your keywords. This creates consistency, something that search engine spiders yearn for. So make sure to fully develop your description and keywords. I suggest limiting your keywords to no more than twelve and limiting your description to about 150 words maximum.
Optimize your keyword density. Keyword density is an important factor in search engine rankings. Your keyword density should be no more than 5 percent on any given page. Instead of focusing on keyword density alone, you are better off focusing on the placement of your keywords and treatment of your keywords. Focus on H1 and H2 tags and place keywords through out your web page. You should have an instance of each keyword phrase in bold, italics, and underlined to complete your on-page optimization effort.
Varying Your Keyword Phrase. Each time you list your keyword phrase, change it up a bit. Rather than stuffing your site with the same keyword phrases again and again, use keyword variety. One way to do this is to add a word or two before your keyword phrase and after it. Creating variety is critical because it shows each search engine that your site is really about the core content you are promoting.
The most important part of any SEO effort is to make your website appear natural and have a good flow. You want to make sure that your site presents valuable content and follows on-page optimization best practices. Use these suggestions as a guide, you will be on your way to a fully optimized website.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
There is so much competition today that the messages you use need to be unique. The effectiveness of any marketing campaign is directly correlated to the quality of your list and offer. Before you even begin, think about your product and what motivates people to buy.
Over the past twelve years I have discovered that marketing results are relatively consistent when sound marketing practices are applied. These techniques can be effective in virtually any industry and with any type of campaign you have. Consider developing your marketing campaign using these strategies:
Set specific marketing goals. Before you start, think about what you want your marketing campaign to accomplish. Most marketers focus on conversion but you need to define what that means for you and your business. Some marketers are looking for a sale while others are looking for a download. Before you get started, consider what action you want your respondents or visitors to take and how you are going to measure the result.
Segment your market. Don't try to market to everyone. If you do, your campaign will not be successful. On the other hand, if you consider the specific audience you're looking to attract and find them, your chances of success increase tremendously. Review your current customer and find others like them if you wish to generate a positive return on investment.
Identify key messages. What are the key messages that resonate with your audience? Have you used successful headlines or email subject lines in the past? If you have, use these as a baseline and build from there. You need to speak in the language that resonates with your customers if you are going to get their attention and gain their trust.
Determine which offers you are going to test. The only way to ensure a successful marketing campaign is by testing various offers. The offer is a key component for driving results and can always be improved. Your best bet is to test multiple offers by splitting your list, your web visitors, or viewable audience. Once you find and offer that works, try to beat its results during the next campaign.
Leverage an integrated marketing approach. Use more than one type of media if you wish to enhance your results. Do not settle for a single email, post card, or advertisement. Rather, discover the media that your segment uses to get their information and buy their products or services. This can help you determine the best way to reach them. Once you develop a campaign, utilize as many of these media types to convey your message and offer.
I have found that using these techniques are paramount to producing a favorable return on your marketing investment. In addition be mindful of campaign timing. Even if all of the above criteria are met, your campaign may still fall flat if you have not exposed your audience to the right message at the right time.
Consider each of these steps before creating your next marketing campaign in print or online. Your marketing is only going to be successful when you set specific goals, segment your market appropriately, use effective messaging, and create a compelling offer. Experiment with different media to get your message across and deliver a winning marketing campaign.
Michael Fleischner is an Internet marketing expert, author, and blogger who helps small and medium sized businesses enhance their marketing effectiveness. Discover helpful marketing strategies at The Marketing Blog.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
What's great is that I found a lot of information about Google's Quality Score. Quality Score is important because is determines how much you spend per click. Based on everything that I've read, here are the top tips for improving Google Quality Score.
1. Keep copy relevant to landing pages and include the keywords you are bidding on within your page.
2. Keep the keyword density on your page to around 2%. Again, this speaks to relevance in relation to your ads and keywords.
3. Do your best to mask affiliate links. If you don't have your own system for masking these links consider using tinyURLs.
4. Have a number of content pages accessible from your landing page. This can be articles, blog/blog posts, or related content.
5. Include the main keywords you are bidding on in the URL of the site.
6. Use each of your meta tags appropriately (don't stuff), including relevant keywords, description, and so on.
7. Provide links from your page to a number of authority web sites. Google likes to see that!
8. Submit your xml sitemap via Google web master tools once your site is completed.
9. Include sections such as about us, terms and conditions, and contact page. This identifies your site as a legitimate business.
10. Exclude any pop-ups or pop-unders from your site.
Whether you are a heavy users of Google Adwords or a casual user, ensuring a high quality score is essential for producing profitable campaigns. Begin your development with a focus on quality score and you're sure to improve the profitability of each campaign.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The first thing that article writing software provides you is a deep understanding of the power of niche marketing. Trying to create an article that will be read and acted upon by everyone is a big mistake. By trying to appeal to the masses you will appeal to no one. Focus your article marketing on a particular niche and write something that is of interest to the audience you are trying to reach. This improves the chances of converting readers to customers.
After writing your article, consider the appropriate category the article belongs to. When creating content for a specific audience, you want that content to appear before the right individuals who will benefit from and act upon the content. Choose your category carefully because it could make the difference between low and high conversion rates.
Most pieces of article creation or article submission software provide tools like spell check and grammar check. Too often people using these tools ignore the warnings provided. Doing so reduces your credibility as an authority figure and undermines the effectiveness of your article. Always spell check your content before submitting.
From there, you will find that article creation software will help you identify everything needed to submit to various directories. You will be forced to go through and submit the different information that directories require such as keywords, a brief summary, title, the article itself, and a resource box. If you are confused with any part of this, the software will walk you through to help you better understand.
The final feature of article writing software is that it can provide image verification. Essentially, when submitting to directories, users are often asked to verify an image or code. To submit your article, this code must be entered. The proper piece of software can do this for you, speeding up the submission process and avoiding any obstacles you may encounter.
The process of article writing is effective for improving organic rankings and driving traffic to your web site. To be effective, you need to know how to write effective articles, how to complete online submission forms correctly and choosing the most appropriate category for your article. These are just a few of the many ways you can benefit from article creation software which can lead you through the process step-by-step.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Hey all.. I've been getting lots of questions on the success of my article marketing. Not only does article marketing drive a significant amount of traffic to my web site, but it helps tremendously with my search engine rankings.
In this video, I show just one of my articles and how it's produced more than 43,000 unique inbound links to my main web site. I've also provided a review of the top article marketing tools and resources available at www.Culzee.com. Be sure to check it out!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
By working with literally hundreds of small and medium sized websites, I have found that top ranked sites have a number of factors in common. What are they? I'm about to share these factors with you and explain what separates those in the top Google positions and those that are never found on page one of search results.
The first search engine ranking factor has to do with the anchor text of all inbound links to your website. Google and other search engines use the anchor text from other sites linking in to determine what your site is about and what it should rank well for. If websites link in only using a URL, and not your keywords in the anchor text, email them and ask them to update your link. The link should always appear with your most important keywords.
The second most important aspect of search engine factors is to include your keyword or keyword phrase in your title tag. This is important not only for search engines to identify your page but it becomes what is displayed in search engine results lists. In addition to the title tag, make sure to include your keyword and keyword phrases in both the description tag and keywords meta tag.
The third ranking factor to consider for your web site is link popularity. This phrase has been talked about in search engine circles for a while but can be equated with Page Rank. The concept of Page rank or link popularity for that matter take a number of factors into consideration to identify the quality of web pages from an external perspective. The largest factor that influences search engine rankings is the number and quality of links that are pointing to a web site or web page.
The fourth ranking factor to consider is the variety of domains linking to your web site. If you have hundreds of inbound links from a single web site, they carry less weight than only a few inbound links from separate and distinct sites. The key here is that different sites are essentially placing their vote. Focus on diverse link building strategies among many different web sites.
The fifth ranking factor is placing your keywords in your root domain. If you are unable to acquire a domain that has www.yourkeyword.com as the format, don't despair. You can vary your domain by including words before or after your keyword. Short of being able to acquire such a domain, place your keywords using a sub-domain structure or placing a folder on your root domain. This can have a positive impact on your overall rankings.
All of these factors are important for top search rankings. Don't overlook any of them if trying to improve your search rankings for particular keywords or keyword phrases. Also, be sure to continually read up on the subject or consider any one of a number of SEO training programs that can show you how to have more impact with your optimization efforts.
Michael Fleischner is the Author of SEO Made Simple and offers SEO training for small and medium sized businesses. Be sure to get free search engine optimization and Internet marketing help at the Internet marketing forum
Monday, August 24, 2009
That's right... since the beginning of time, people have been networking to expand their business and broaden their horizons. the key with networking is getting started and carefully choosing how you are going to make connections. Today, with the help of the Internet and applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, your job is easier than ever.
Start by identifying the group or "groups" you want to target. Search for these groups online and off. Start with the major online social networks and join respective networking groups. You can often do so by sending an email or sending a request to join.
After you've been accepted into a group, don't enter like a bull in a China shop. Rather, make comments on occasion, try to connect with a few individuals vs. everyone, and provide value through comments or information that may be relevant to the group.
Consider advancing your networking strategies off line as well. You can call your local chamber of commerce or search online for groups that meet locally to discuss your expertise or area of influence. Networking face-to-face can pay huge dividends.
No matter what type of networking you're most comfortable doing, get started. The key to any successful networking strategy is to try a number of things until you determine what the best fit is for you and your business.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Today's marketing tip is about adding a bookmarking button to your Web site. Bookmarking is simply giving your visitors a way to mark your web page, making return visits as easy as selecting from your browser's "Bookmark" button.
Here's how you can quickly add bookmarking to your Web site. Start by visiting the AddThis Web site and selecting where you would like to place your bookmarking button. Select from a website, Blogger, WordPress, or MySpace page. The next step is to choose the type of button you would like to use. There are a variety to choose from. Simply select the one you prefer.
The last step is to determine if you want to add analytics to your button. Analytics allow you to see how frequently your button is used. This is helpful if you want to keep track of your visitors and their activities. You can also test multiple buttons to determine which one is more effective.
Once you've chosen all of your options, "get your button". By clicking on this option, you are provided with html code that can easily be added to your website. If you need help adding the button to your site, don't hesitate to ask a programmer or find one using eLance or some other type of online service.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Are you using social media?
Are you one of the millions that are already using social media? Or, are you someone sitting on the sidelines? You may be thinking that it's too late to start or that social media doesn't impact your business. However, I believe the contrary. That is to say that it's never too late and in fact, tapping in to social media can do a lot for your business.
1. Social media is how more people are choosing to communicate. If you aren't providing access to your company via social media, then you may be missing the boat. Companies that are more in tune with how people communicate are more successful.
2. You could be overshadowed by your competitors. Are your competitors everywhere? Social media helps from a branding perspective that simply can't be overlooked. Make your presence known with content on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites.
3. Companies are automating their social media. With tools designed for Twitter automation and sophisticated content management systems, companies are outsourcing or automating much of their social media - making the process effortless and cost efficient.
4. Social media is growing every day. More and more people are going social media sites every day. This allows for segmentation and targeted messaging. Consumers want to work with companies that know what they're doing online. If you aren't present, you may be impacted by a lack of trust.
5. Sites like Facebook are adding new features everyday. These features can improve the dialog with your customers and prospects. If you're not using these tools already, you could miss out on some of the most advanced opportunities to have a one-on-one dialog with your customers.
If you're not using social media already, get started today. Put together a plan or simply start with a specific goal. What sites will you join? For what purpose? How often will you participate in the dialog? What are you striving for? It's never to late to get started so start today.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Over the past year, I've heard from countless marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and small to medium sized business owners that finding the right information online is often a difficult and time consuming process.
If you're like me, when you're searching for answers, you want them fast. After doing some research I decided to take matters into my own hands - to find a solution for this ever increasing problem. The need for on demand solutions to the most difficult and challenging marketing questions.
The Internet Marketing Forum is now live!
Even though I've been on the Internet for more than a decade, I was never a big fan of message boards and the like. Quite honestly, until about a year ago, I had never even posted on a forum. But I quickly learned the value of becoming a forum participant from both the perspective of posting questions as well as contributing with answers and explanations on topics aligned with my experience.
After making a rather substantial investment to update MarketingScoop.com (my main marketing website) by adding a forum, I'm happy to announce the beta version went live earlier this week. I've already received great feedback from visitors and have already started work on a version 2.0.
Now It's Up To You!
The success of this forum, designed for those interested in marketing, is entirely up to you! I know that each of us needs a resource to connect with others in marketing and who have skill sets outside our own. This community can also help to validate Internet marketing concepts and ideas. I encourage everyone reading about this release to visit the Marketing Forum and register for free.. make a post, answer a question, and let the marketing community know you're out there.
Please give me your feedback! This forum is intended for us... marketing folk (with a bent towards online marketing) so let me know what you think. What would make it better? How can we improve it?
Special Bonus: For anyone visiting the site and registering (FREE) within the next 48 hours, I'll gladly email you a sample chapter from my top selling book, "SEO Made Simple: Strategies For Dominating The World's Largest Search Engine". Simply comment on this post with your email and feedback. I won't publish any comments that include email so your info is safe.
All the best and happy marketing...
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Building your web site's popularity is essential for improving your search engine rankings. Major search engines like Google apply an algorithm to define the value of your web site or web page. This in turn drives your search engine ranking for specific keywords. One way to think about the process of web site ranking is like a voting machine. The more votes you get the better your site ranks.
When evaluating a web site I'm always sure to evaluate the content of the site. All content should be designed for the browser and then considered appropriate for search engine spiders. After validating the link structure of the web site and checking to make sure that pages load quickly, it's time to focus on link building.
One particular link strategy is related to directory submissions. Essentially you find directories that are well established and relevant to the subject matter of your own web site. The site I was working with had about 300 directories that would be ideal for a site like has. As a result, and due to the urgency by which he wanted the work done, we chose an automated directory submission service.
In as little as forty eight hours of the website being submitted through an automated submission service, rankings for particular keywords were negatively impacted and significantly. We lost anywhere from ten to thirty spots on search engine rankings. One might be able to argue that the auto submission was not detectable and therefore could not have had this effect. I disagree as there were no other factors related to SEO that we were working on at the time.
The team was not working on any other form of link building and as a result, what happened seems to be directly related to the automatic submission service. The challenge with these types of services is that you really can't tell what type of activity they are engaged in when submitting to directories. All that I know for sure is that our rankings dropped significantly after the submission date.
If you are familiar with search engine optimization and building links to improve your search engine ranking, be cautious of automatic submission services. Whether it be for search engine submission or directory submission, you can damage your current rankings. Major search engines seem to be catching on to automatic submission sites and are having an impact on results. I still encourage you to submit your website to a small number of choice directories but do it one site at a time.
Achieve top search engine rankings with the help of our SEO training program. For helpful tools that can dramatically improve your search engine rankings, read our Instant Article Wizard Pro Review and discover the fastest way to rank on #1 on any search engine.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Most businesses don't realize it's not just about capabilities and industry experience; there's a host of other factors that come into play. Here are some best practices to consider when selecting a marketing company:
-Money Matters. Establish a budget range and timing upfront, or you'll prolong your search for a marketing company, spin wheels and waste time. You can spend weeks or months interviewing creative design firms, advertising agencies or PR firms and after rounds of meetings and proposals, experience sticker shock and find it's not a good fit after all.
-Right-size. Get an idea of the size and scope of the marketing company's average clients over the past 12-18 months. If you have an accurate picture of their typical engagements, there's a greater chance the relationship has the potential to grow over time.
-Manage Expectations. Develop a clear scope of work, concrete deliverables, and a timeline. What happens in the first 30 days? What are the deliverables after 3 months? What are the key points for approvals? Tie a fee schedule to key milestones.
-Recent Results. Most marketing companies have downsized staff to some degree. Be sure to check to see if the top talent that developed the memorable creative design portfolios, advertising or PR campaigns still active or laid-off and long-gone? Look for recent successes, and meet the team.
-Expertise. Is their work good or great? Amateur or expert? Is the work adequate, or do you admire it? Look for seasoned marketing professionals, proven track records with successes against similar objectives, and lots of examples and case studies to prove it.
-Culture counts. Are they communicative and responsive? Are they too schlocky? Or, too corporate? Would they fit in your office environment? How they act, think, what they value, their style and how they communicate should be ideally aligned with your team's culture. Don't and Pitfalls:
- Assume "full-service." Larger, integrated marketing companies have the in-house staff-although you may pay for overhead you don't need. A smaller marketing company may claim to be "full-service," but actually outsources to accommodate clients' needs. Specialty firms offer value. Identify your needs, understand what's handled in-house and meet the team.
- Avoid 'signature' looks. Be wary of a creative design firm or advertising agency that has a signature look, or canned cookie-cutter approach. Does all their work have a similar style? Your brand should come first-not theirs. Look for a varied creative design portfolio, across industries. Range is power.
- Fall in love for all the wrong reasons. Yes, chemistry is very important. However, it should not be the primary decision driver. You need to remain objective when it comes to finding a marketing company. Think rationally, and value big ideas that can drive your brand and your business.
- Issue a blanket RFP to a long list. An RFP usually calls for a disaster. Because it's time consuming to provide an intelligent response, RFPs often alienate the super stars that may be just the ones you need. Do your due diligence or hire a search consultant to help you develop the right marketing company short-list in advance.
These tips will help you maximize your resources and get the best return on your time and investment. If you've never completed the process of choosing a marketing firm on your own, be sure to check references and interview a minimum of five firms. This will give you plenty to choose from and help in the decision making process.
Guest post by: Michele Harris, Founder and President of Smarti Solutions, the leading marketing company search firm for the mid-size marketplace. Michele has 18 years experience developing revenue-rich marketing and business development programs for a client portfolio that reads like a veritable "Who's Who" among Fortune 500 companies and the nation's premier marketing companies.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I sat in on a Webinar today that talked about optimizing landing pages and improving conversion rates. This is something I do on a regular basis and is essential for anyone trying to improve search engine ranking. The key is to do A/B testing ALL THE TIME!
The easiest way that I've found for regular testing is to use Google Webmaster Tools. This is incredibly helpful because they have something called Google Website Optimizer. This allows you to test either a single web page element or multiple elements (multivariate testing). Regardless of which one you choose, Google does all the heavy lifting.
So today's marketing tip is this. Sign up for Google webmaster tools, learn more about A/B testing, and start evaluating how to improve conversion rates on your web pages. You'll learn a great deal about browser behavior and more importantly improve conversions.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
As a marketing person who has always been involved with promotion - from print to the web - organic and paid search marketing has always been important to me. I've taken dozens of courses, seminars, etc. on both of these topics (I even wrote a book about it) yet I still feel like there is always more to learn.
Now the rest of the free world seems to be focusing on taking their online marketing to the next level. What does this mean for each of us? I think for some of us it means that we're in a good position to teach others about doing business online, what works, and what doesn't. I think for others who are less experienced in this area, it's more of a wake up call.
If you're not comfortable with doing business online, search engine optimization, or even PPC marketing, then get comfortable. Take a course, an online seminar, or do-it-yourself. I was reminded while reading a book last night that nothing can take the place of actual experience. Do you have your own Adwords account? Website? Blog? If you don't, get started. This is the best way to learn and costs very little.
By staying on top of your game you can help others and more importantly help yourself. Where do you stand on this topic? Do you feel that seo and ppc are now part of your discussions more than ever?
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tactic #1: Referrals. This is something this is largely overlooked but very effective. Reach out to your current customer base and ask them for referrals. Even better, provide an incentive for signing up and/or referring new customers to your product or service.
Tactic #2: Introductory Pricing. This is usually called try before you buy and is a great way to get people started. Offer an introductory fee that is a fraction of what it normally costs for a month of your service. Or offer first time buyers a 30% discount. All you need to do is break even on the first purchase as many of these customers will become repeat buyers.
Tactic #3: Offer Value Add. One of my favorite tactics is to offer a free guide or work shop. This equates value to you, your service, or your product. Offering something that gets people engage at little or no cost is paramount to success.
Try these marketing tips to see if you can drum up some new business! After giving it a try, be sure to comment below so that others can learn from your success.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I'm sure we'll be good to go by tomorrow but I sure learned my lesson. Back up your site weekly and make sure that your host has the required protections to keep spammers out. MarketingScoop has been online for 5 years and never had a single issue related to security. Clearly no one is immune.
So today's marketing tip is simple. Back up, be secure, and if an issue strikes, make sure you have competent people to help you resolve what ever comes your way. I know that I couldn't have succeeded without the help of talented and qualified people!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
When something is scarce, it costs more. If you really want that item, product, or service, you need to move quickly before they are all gone! Consider using the element of scarcity in your next marketing campaign. This can be done in a variety of ways.
If you are running a promotion, make sure it has an expiration date. Individuals will want to take advantage of a discount or promotion before the end date. This helps you make the most of your promotion and drive an optimal number of responses.
Advertise the fact that you have a limited supply. If someone really wants what you are offering, they are going to want to move quickly. Offering a VERY limited supply can make people response even more quickly.
Publish that you only have a certain number of products available. Some promotions say that only the first 20 people will be able to receive something or that only 100 dolls are available. That drives action and action drives sales.
Consider placing a limit on your supply or managing your promotions around a specific date. Limiting your availability, creating scarcity is a great marketing tactic!
Friday, June 12, 2009
The benefit of much of our technology is that it brings us closer, gives us a window into someone else's world. This factor can't be underestimated. There is real value in following someone you respect, can learn from, or brings you closer to your goal.
My recommendation is to start following people who you are curious about or can learn something from (inside your industry or out). Follow their posts and links, read what they're reading and find value. This can help you stay on top of your game, learn, and grow.
Are you finding other Twitter benefits?
If you've discovered other benefits of using Twitter, then let us know. Be sure to comment on this post. In short order, I'll be adding the "retweet" functionality so that readers can post this information to Twitter.. until then, be sure to comment. -thanks!
Friday, June 5, 2009
uVizz is the first platform for user-generated advertising on social networks. It gives social network users the ability to create videos for advertisers that cause buzz. The videos then spread among users on social networks around the world. What makes our system unique is that we reward the users for their roles in video creation and delivery. They'll be referring the videos to their friends who they think will be interested.
By doing so, advertisers are able to have their brands included in social network conversations. uVizz works for any budget (large or small), allows advertisers to specify demographic requirements for video views, and enables them to lock in the cost of an actual user exposure. Advertisers have complete control over the video approval process and can start a campaign with as little as $100.00.
The clear advantage for advertisers when using uVizz is the "Unique Video View". They are only charged for a view when a user watches a video for the first time and meets the advertiser's defined demographic profile (age, gender, and location). Should a user meet the demographic profile and want to watch the video multiple times, the advertiser is charged only once. All other views by that person are free. We're able to provide this because users will add uVizz to their social network profiles, which enables us to know who they are and their demographic information. We track them in the system and know what videos they've created, watched, and referred to their friends. The charge for a Unique Video View is just $0.15.
We’ll be launching uVizz on June 15th. We'll be live with Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and Friendster. During the last few months, we’ve started signing clients and ad agencies from around the world. The feedback we’ve received has been fantastic. The agencies are very impressed with the way uVizz will enable their clients to safely integrate user-generated videos into their marketing strategies.
I'm not big on endorsing someone else's product without using it myself so if anyone begins using this new application and can comment via this blog, please do so! To learn more, visit http://www.uvizz.com
Monday, June 1, 2009
This tool checks your code against W3C standards. When coding standards are up to snuff, you have a much better chance of having your website crawled quickly and thoroughly by search engines. You want to make things easy for the search engine spiders who will ultimately determine where you rank.
The validator is quick and easy to use. Simply enter your URL and captcha text and you're off and running. When the detailed error report comes back, make corrections to your code. If you're having trouble, find a programmer using eLance or GetAFreelancer.com.
Best of luck!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
With more marketing happening online, the traditional forms of marketing are getting more attention. I recently received a business card that used the back to invite me to a free online demo. I simply had to visit a web page and register with a name and email.
Not only did the use of the business card help to drive me online, but it allowed me to take advantage of a very "special offer". You know as well as I do that the offer wasn't all that special but it certainly got me to take action - online.
Consider your business cards. Are you using them to push information to prospects that don't want your product or are you using it to drive prospective customer's online. Consider a promotion or teaser that can drive anyone who has your card online.
You'll not only have a reason to distribute your business card more aggressively, but you'll leverage a pretty common marketing expense you may otherwise have forgotten!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
One of the most popular methods of site promotion was article distribution. You simply write an article and submit that article to article directories, blogs, and other sites that may publish. Essentially, this distributes your single article to many web sites.
There are now many more tools available for creating unique content. I have personally used Instant Article Wizard, but I know of at least 4 similar tools that can help generate unique content for you to publish to your website and other sites that can provide back links.
The key is to focus on creating unique content on a regular basis. In addition, you want to think about distributing unique content. There are other tools available for distribution purposes. Many of these tools are available on a monthly basis and allow you to distribute unique content.
Consider how to create unique content and build links to your website. Google love unique content and you'll love the positive impact on your search engine rankings.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Despite popular belief, search engine optimization isn't entirely free. In fact, some companies spend tens of thousands of dollars each year trying to get their websites ranked in the number one position organically. This is not only expensive, but can take loads of time. If you think SEO is free, than think again. However, if you have the time to spend, you sure can save a lot.
Before starting your search engine optimization journey you need to think about the keywords you will be building your program around. Keyword selection is one of the most important aspects of SEO because if you spend you time optimizing for keywords or keyword phrases that no one is searching on, your search engine optimization efforts are wasted. There are plenty of tools available for free that can help you find keywords that are relevant to your niche, have adequate volume but at the same time aren't overly competitive. This is essential if you want to achieve top rankings for highly search keywords.
Before choosing a keyword phrase for search engine optimization purposes, size up your competition. Look at the number one ranked website and learn more about them. Consider the websites age, Page Rank, and number of in-bound links. This can give you a good understanding of how solid a competitor that site is.
You can also discover about a topped ranked website by researching it via Alexa.com for additional ranking information. Shoot for keyword phrases that have less than 2 million competing pages, less than PR 6, and less than 500 in-bound links. If the top competing websites are too large, you should pick a different keyword phrase to focus on.
Upon deciding which keyword phrase is ideal for your search engine optimization campaign, the next step is to design your site in a way that is both easy to read and highly accessible by all search engines. Consider breaking up your search engine optimization campaign into on page optimization factors and off page optimization factors. By addressing both, you can quickly influence rankings in a positive way. Consider starting with site design that integrates SEO best practices including meta tags, headers, and typeface. Once complete, turn your attention towards building links to your web site.
I'm often asked for the one magic formula that will raise someones search engine rankings above all others. The answer is very simple, in bound links. Google evaluates the quality of a website based on a number of factors but the most important include page rank and inbound links. Focus on building inbound links from third party sites that are well established, have a number of sites linking into them, and carry a Google page rank of three or more. This will improve your rankings very quickly.
Succeeding with organic rankings is easy if you take the time to optimize your site and focus on building in bound links. The result is a site more valued by search engines, improving rankings for keywords and keyword phrases. Stay the course and build links over time. This ensures that you outrank your competition over the long term.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I've been testing offline campaigns for over a ten years. The only change in the last few years is that many offline campaigns have been expanded to have an online component making it easier and quicker to track results. A good example is when you send a post card or publish and ad and have individuals fill out an online request form. This shows you quickly what type of results your campaign is generating in real time.
I recommend that you read, "Tested Advertising Methods" by John Caples the father of direct response marketing. You'll learn the methods John has used to evaluate campaign effectiveness. When marketing offline, you should always test one element at a time such as your headline. Split test ads or run them consecutively within the same publication.
Your direct marketing should always have a direct response mechanism. This can be an eight hundred number, an email address, or business response card. By having a direct response element, you can always test the response of your print campaigns. Different methods require different measurement techniques.
Test your print campaigns by publishing multiple versions of your creative in each campaign. Put in some type of mechanism to measure results that you can tie back to the unique version of your post card, magazine ad, or prospecting letter. You'll always be able to test and improve your print campaigns.