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Why Small Businesses Should Look into Online Advertising

Posted August 29, 2014 by fran @ 9:43 am

Why should small businesses think about going digital when it comes to advertising? The answer is simple: it’s on the internet that you’ll reach most people these days.

But what about the traditional means of advertising for small businesses? If you’re small, you’re probably limiting yourself to a local clientel: your target customers are going to be your friends and neighbors. What’s the point of putting up a website that attracts folks in New York City if you are operating a plumbing service in San Jose? Wouldn’t it be better to spend your money on direct mailings? ads in the local newspaper? listings in the yellow pages? your logo on bowling shirts and little league jerseys?

Well, think about it this way: how many eyes are actually going to see those promotions? I can speak from experience here: every piece of advertising that comes into my mailbox goes instantly into the recycle bin. I don’t even read the newspaper published for my county. Yellow Pages? Good grief, I don’t even keep my phone directory anymore. All my relevant phone numbers are on my smart phone already, and if I want to call a business, I’ll google them on the internet. And so, I think, will just about everyone else under the age of 65.

Let’s face it, we’ve bought wholeheartedly into the internet. Our eyes are fixed to the screen for hours throughout the day. The internet is our all-purpose go-to place for information. So shouldn’t small business owners be taking advantage of these facts to adjust their marketing strategies?

If your idea of high-tech strategies involve Madison Avenue ad-men and Super-Bowl extravaganzas, think again. On-line advertising can be inexpensive, easy to create, focused, and far-reaching. All you need is a computer with internet access, and a modicum of skills…..or an assistant with these skills. Inexpensive software is available to help you create banners, pop-ups, and side-bar ads.

Probably the most exciting, creative, and effective internet marketing is being done today on social media: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter, to name just a few of the giants in this regard. Using imagination and style instead of big bucks, small businesses can get their message out there; can use niche marketing to target customers in a specific town or even neighborhood; can streamline their activities to reach target customers; and best of all, can be available for web-searches 100% of the day and night.

For the small-business owner with imagination and drive, the internet offers some really amazing advertising opportunities.

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Does Your Business Need a Cloud?

Posted May 19, 2014 by fran @ 9:05 am

Cloud storage is becoming increasingly popular, and there are many perks associated with utilizing this option for your business. When you consider the fact that switching to the cloud can increase efficiency and reduce costs, it becomes easy to understand why industry experts have predicted that this storage method will be used by most companies in the future. Therefore, it makes sense for businesses of all sizes to get on board with this useful technology.

Top Five Perks of Switching to Cloud Storage

1. Your Business Will Save Money

As previously mentioned, cloud storage can help you reduce costs, and this is due to the fact that the provider will be able to distribute all of the expenses that are related with maintaining the infrastructure across multiple clients. Additionally, you will no longer need to pay for the hardware, maintenance and associated salaries that are necessary to store everything on-site. Some companies such as QTS, found at http://www.qualitytech.com/, offer their services nationally.

2. Improved Security

Keeping your vital information secure at all times should be one of your major concerns, especially if you store any sensitive data such as customer credit card numbers. Fortunately, a cloud storage provider has the necessary resources to implement the most up to date security techniques and software, and their physical location will also be heavily secured. This will reduce your liability risk, and it will also prevent you from needing to perform security updates on a regular basis.

3. Increased Mobility

Businesses that operate everything off of their own on-site servers are often limited in the amount of mobility that they can offer to their employees. Using cloud services will make it easy for everyone to access necessary data from their laptop or any other mobile device no matter where they are in the world. In other words, if you have an employee who is traveling for work or sick at home, they can still access everything that they need in order to remain productive.

4. Simplified Office Structure

Another big perk of using the cloud is that you will need less space and hardware to keep your business operating properly. After all, you will no longer need to have an extensive server system. Instead, you can run your daily operations from your office with simply an Internet connection and enough computers for each employee.

5. Ability to Alter Services as Needed

Utilizing on-site storage solutions makes it necessary to invest in the proper amount of space for your current and anticipated future needs. This can become extremely expensive, especially if you initial estimate is inaccurate. However, cloud storage providers make it easy to alter your usage based on your actual needs, and this is a much easier and cost-efficient option.

As cloud storage continues to grow, the odds are high that the cost will become even more affordable. It is also important to note that the added security protocols could help prevent your business from ending up all over the news as the result of a data breach. Therefore, it makes sense to consult with a cloud services company to learn more about how they can help your company succeed.

 

As a small business owner, writer Lisa Coleman is always looking for efficient ways to expand her business. She has found some great options by researching what cloud services can do to help grow her business without greatly increasing her costs.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86979666@N00/8219449629/

 

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Linked, Tweeted, and Pinned: Terms Every Business Should Understand

Posted May 7, 2014 by fran @ 12:01 pm

There are many things that small business owners must remain aware of, and the ever-changing face of technology is at the top of the list. After all, if you are not aware of even the most basic social media and SEO terminology, it will be very difficult for you to connect with your current and potential clients. Additionally, online advertising is rapidly becoming the most effective and inexpensive method of increasing brand awareness and sales, so it is critical to understand how Internet users communicate.

Social Media Terms

1. Social Media Sites

Every business owner needs to familiarize themselves with the most popular social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Many people believe that they only need to sign up for an account with one of the sites, but the reality is that this will cause you to miss out on a wider audience. However, if you do not have the necessary resources to maintain an account with all of the sites, you should at least utilize the top three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

2. Site Terminology

On Facebook, your followers are people who have liked your page. Communicating with people on Twitter requires posting a tweet, and people can share your posts by retweeting them. Google Plus provides a +1 button next to content and websites, and getting people to press this button can increase your search engine ranking.

The majority of these sites also use hashtags, and this is a phrase accompanied by the pound sign such as #socialmediasites. Hashtags allow people to find content that is relevant to one specific topic. Ultimately, regardless of the type of verbiage that each site uses, your main goal is to attract as many followers as possible, and you want to encourage each of them to share your posts with their extended social media network.

SEO Terms You Need to Know

1. SEO

This phrase is used often, and it stands for search engine optimization. To put it simply, SEO encompasses a wide variety of techniques that are utilized in order to improve a website’s search engine ranking so that it will become more visible to potential customers.

This can be done by several techniques, but for those who do not understand or simply need help can hire a professional company to improve their online presence. Fortunately, a professional SEO company can assist you with all of these vital tasks, and they can also help you with the development and management of your social media pages. There are some companies such as Everspark Interactive who also specialize in video marketing and can help through the creation of high quality videos for online marketing.

2. SEM

Search engine marketing, also known as SEM, can be used in connection with SEO to build an even higher level of brand awareness. Pay-per-click campaigns such as Google AdWords are an important piece of SEM, and it is also possible to purchase a spot within some search engine company’s rankings.

There are multiple other terms that can help business owners get the most out of their online presence, including developing a firm understanding of how keyword phrases and backlinks impact all of your online ads and your website. Keep in mind that connecting with your audience via social media is one of the best ways to encourage them to remain engaged with your products or services. 

Lisa Coleman is a blogger and business owner who loves to socialize through social media networks. She has found being a frequent visitor and promoter on such websites to be an enormous help for the traffic to her own site, and business marketing plan.

 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/66571228@N02/6325794426/in/photostream/

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Smart tips for Making the Most Out of Facebook

Posted April 28, 2014 by fran @ 10:09 am

 If Facebook was a nation, it would have been the third largest country in the world, given the size of the members, the social media giant commands.  Building up your presence on on the site can offer significant advantage to get an audience towards your Facebook Page or your website. Here are some smart tips for marketing on Facebook -

1.            Be clear about your goals

What are you really looking for?  More visits to your website or more Facebook likes? Do you want visitors to stick to your Facebook Page only or do you wish make them subscribe to your website for more updates? Depending on your business perspective, set a goal.  If you are a brand that represents a mall, you would like to use your Facebook Page to offer updates, inform fans about new stores being open and discounts available.  If you run a blog or have a travel website, you may want your visitors to actually come to your site and read an article or buy tickets, respectively.  The Facebook ad type depends on the kind of goals, you set for your business.

2.            Focus on entertaining, educating and soft-sell your website

Merely putting your website link every time on the Facebook Page may put off your fans. You may want to concentrate on getting more ‘likes’ and building a sizeable fan following. So, put a good mix of entertaining posts with hilarious pictures, inspiring stuff, niche-related posts along with links that take your readers to your website. This way, it appears that you are not spamming the Facebook Page with a self-centered motive.

3.            Facebook Offers

Pushing out ‘Facebook Offers’ is a good way to promote a deal to your Facebook uses. You can give away an ebook, an e-coupon or a discount that they can avail by going to your brick and mortar store.

4.            Make use of a mobile app

Develop a smart mobile app that makes it handy for people to check out information about your product or service. With nearly all of Facebook users having a smartphone or tablet, a mobile app can be quite useful because all they have to do is go through the app to find out the nearest restaurant or movie playing in their vicinity.

Image: “facebook business” by Sean MacEntee on flickr

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A Basic Overview of the Benefits of CPC

Posted April 2, 2014 by fran @ 1:09 pm

If you have invested some of your hard won earnings on advertising to encourage more people to visit your website, you need to make sure that you are going to get your money’s worth. The different advertising techniques that are available online now can basically be boiled down into three distinct groups. Many advertising companies will charge you to have your advert up for a certain amount of time, which doesn’t actually guarantee you any visitors to your website. Another system charges you per view of the advert, but it still doesn’t mean that anyone that looks at your advert will actually visit your website.

Your third alternative is CPC, or cost per click. This means that you, as the person paying for the advert, will only pay for each person that actually clicks on your advert, directing them straight to your website so that they can read all about you. This system works really well, because you are only paying for positive reactions to your advert, rather than just its existence on someone else’s webpage.

Another great benefit of CPC is that you can place your advertising in a place where your targeted audience or audiences regularly visit, and then see whether they are realistically drawn to your advert. You may assume that your primary consumers love gardening, for example, but find that placing your advert on a gardening website actually provides far fewer clicks than you were expecting. CPC can therefore be used as a marketing research tool indirectly, giving you a clearer idea of who your buyers actually are.

Lastly, CPC is highly flexible. You will be able to change, re-adjust, or completely remove your advertising altogether from a website if you do not believe that it is working. This quick turnover means that you will soon be able to hone your advertising skills directly to your clients, and see immediately which changes increase visits to your website. If you are considering a more active and incisive action plan for your advertising, then CPC has a wide variety of benefits that could be the difference for your website.

Filed under: Blogroll

Converting Window Shoppers: A Quick Guide to Remarketing

Posted March 7, 2014 by fran @ 11:00 am

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, bounce rates are linked directly to the way that a user found your site: low value referrals (e.g., links from Digg), direct links from other sites, search engine traffic, and loyal users. The first 10 to 30 seconds are the most critical; the vast majority of users will leave around the 10-second mark, but if you can keep them engaged for 30 seconds, the probability they will hang out for at least 2 minutes skyrockets.

Guides on increasingly the length of site visits and improving the quality of referral traffic are all over the web. But when all is said and done, factors like poor internet connections and prospects being pressed for time are way out of our control.

The best way to turn casual window shopping into a conversion is “remarketing.”

What is “remarketing”?

Remarketing gives those who’ve casually browsed through your website additional brand impressions of your company by showing your company’s banner ads on other sites after they’ve left yours.

How does remarketing work?

When a user visits your site, your site gives them a cookie, which is a tasty little text file that lets the user’s computer know that the user has visited your site. Among other uses, it can be used to autofill forms when they return to your site or send you information about where the user came from (e.g., Google search results page) and how long the site visit was.

However, when used for remarketing purposes, cookies can help create a broader presence for your brand across the web. If Company A detects that a user on their site has also visited Company B’s site, it can automatically generate a banner ad for Company B’s site – that’s like driving ahead of your potential clients during their daily commute and putting up billboards along their route.

Is that legal?

Not only is it legal, but it’s also safe for online users and websites to implement when done through a reputable company. Cookies cannot be used to transmit viruses or give companies access to a user’s private files. They can be erased easily from a user’s browser through a few clicks of a button. They also benefit both the web user by providing advertisements tailored to their personal interests and the company engaging in remarketing by staying on the radar.

How do I get started? 

Like any other marketing strategy, figure out your goal and budget first. From there, you can work with your marketing team to figure out which remarketing strategy you’d like to use, whether you want to take advantage of text advertisements or full color banners.

Make sure you’re working with marketing professionals that can help you choose the best remarketing key words to target your ideal clients – whether it’s browsing prospects or customers who’ve already made a purchase from you in the past.

From there, continue working with your marketing and web site development teams to research the technical aspects of including code on your site for remarketing, selecting the key words you want to target, and the frequency you want to appear on your window shoppers’ browsers (don’t want to creep them out).

Good luck with remarketing, and keep expanding your brand!

 

Jana Quinn is a blog writer, social media dabbler, and promotional product describer who’s been publishing her take on marketing and geekdom since 2005. Read more of her content at the Quality Logo Products blog and see how many Die Hard references you can spot.

 

Filed under: Blogroll

2 Ads That Prove Honesty is the Best (and Most Entertaining) Policy

Posted February 13, 2014 by fran @ 1:16 pm

In the advertising world, companies are known to promote only the positive features of whatever they’re selling. They focus on the good and broadcast the benefits of their offers–and that’s fair. They are after all, trying to entice people to buy.

And while this practice is certainly the norm, some brands are proving that complete and brutal honesty can actually work in generating positive buzz. Below are two great campaigns that prove honesty really is the best–not to mention the most entertaining–policy.

Check them out and see if you can apply more honesty in your own online advertising campaigns.

1. Bodyform Responds :: The Truth

In 2012, sanitary napkin company Bodyform got a satirical rant on its Facebook page. A guy named Richard Neil accused the company of lying to him in their ads. He said:

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger

About a week later, Bodyform responded to Richard by posting a hilarious video that featured the company’s fictional CEO, Caroline Williams. In it, Williams apologized and came clean about what’s it really like for a woman to be on her monthly period.

“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there’s no such thing as a happy period,” Williams continued.

The hilarious ad gained a ton of press coverage and millions of views, dramatically increasing Bodyform’s social engagement and exposure.

2. Dumb Ways to Die

We’ve covered Metro’s Dumb Ways to Die campaign quite a bit on the AdMedia blog, and for good reason: It’s adorable, funny, and to some extent, true.

Metro promoted train safety by being completely honest about what could happen if people don’t exercise caution when they’re around trains: they could die in the dumbest way possible.

The results of the campaign were overwhelming. Metro gained worldwide attention, media coverage, and tons of buzz.

Filed under: Blogroll

A Look at What Some Brands are Doing This Valentine’s Day

Posted February 10, 2014 by fran @ 1:52 pm

With February 14 just around the corner, we thought we’d take the time to put the spotlight on some of the advertising and marketing promotions that brands are implementing this week. If you’re still on the lookout for ideas that you can put into action this Valentine’s Day, below are some things that you can draw inspiration from:

Macy’s – The luxury department store got bitten by the love bug, and it wants everyone to know about it. In a press release published today, Macy’s emphasized that it has something for everyone this Valentine’s Day and shoppers can get the items they need online or from any of its 800 locations nationwide.

Macy’s highlighted some of its jewelry, fashion, gadgets, and home décor items that can serve as a great Valentine’s Day presents. It also used the announcement to plug its By Appointment, Personal Shopping Service for people who may need help selecting the perfect gift for this Friday.

Takeaway: Are you selling any products of services that would serve as great presents this Valentine’s Day? Put them out there by means of a press release. Doing so can help you get more exposure and even some media coverage.

Additionally, you can also leverage your V-day-worthy merchandise in your advertising campaigns. For instance, if you’re running display ads, be sure to include specific gift items in your ad creatives to inspire people to buy. You may also want to run remarketing ads on those items so you can gently remind shoppers to come back to your site and complete their purchase.

TGI Fridays – While Valentine’s Day is largely about dates and romance, it wouldn’t hurt to give some kudos to the wingmen (or wingwomen) who helped you get those dates. Popular restaurant chain TGI Friday obviously recognizes this which is why it launched the #THANKSWINGMAN Sweepstakes where it will be giving away $15 gift cards to 500 users who send a tweet to the chain with the hashtag #thankswingman

Takeaway: Launch a contest this Valentine’s Day! Come up with a great in-store or social media contest that offers prizes to customers who engage with your brand. The more creative, the better.

SNL Parody – On Saturday, SNL released a hilariously truthful spot about where men can shop for last-minute Valentine’s Day presents. Spoiler alert: It’s CVS. Click here to watch the ad, then when you’re done laughing, put the following tip into action:

Takeaway: Have a little fun this Valentine’s Day by posting humorous messages on your social accounts. It’s a great way to give people a laugh and can open up opportunities for shares, conversations, and engagement.

Image:  ButterflySha on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Chase Teaches Us a Great Lesson about Targeted Marketing

Posted February 6, 2014 by fran @ 11:47 am

The holiday season of 2013 may be over and done with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on it anymore. In the example below, you’ll learn about Chase Bank’s recent campaign and how it managed to take advantage of last year’s holiday season… even after two months.

See, to promote its Slate credit card, Chase recently sent a letter to consumers inviting them to get the card and move their balances with zero balance transfer fees. The letter’s headline reads, “Move your holiday balances to Slate and pay no balance transfer fees.”

Why it’s clever:

Chase is being really smart with the timing of its campaign. It knows that a lot of people probably have large balances on their credit cards due to the holidays, and it’s using that to reel people into getting its credit card.

What you can learn from Chase:

One important lesson to this is that targeting your advertising or marketing collateral  isn’t just about looking into people’s location and demographic. Timing, purchase history, and previous behavior also play huge parts in how you should target your ads and marketing messages.

In your next campaign, consider implementing a similar tactic. Don’t just think about who your customers are or where they’re from, factor in what they’ve been doing, what they’ve been buying, and if it’s the right time to approach them.

By doing so, you’ll be able to deploy more targeted and spot-on ads, and convert more users.

How to implement advanced targeting:

So do you need a huge budget and sophisticated technology to be able to effectively target users? Not at all. Talk to your ad network about their advanced targeting capabilities and how you can apply them in your campaigns.

For instance, at AdMedia, we implement behavioral targeting features together with geo- and device-based targeting. This way, we can zero in on users based on their previous behavior, location, and even their device (i.e. PC or mobile) and thus serve up the right ads. This enables us to effectively grab user attention and generate more conversions.

AdMedia also serves up Remarketing ads which target users who have previously visited a website. These ads get an extremely high click-through and conversion rate because they are geared towards people who are already interested in product or service.

Ready to take your user targeting to the next level?

If you’d like to implement advanced targeting on your ads, get in touch with AdMedia today and let’s discuss how we can optimize your campaigns.

Image  Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Monetizing tips for 2014 – How to get more traffic and clicks

Posted February 5, 2014 by fran @ 11:40 am

Marketing is undoubtedly regarded as one of the most essential steps in any business, which ought to be given emphasis from the onset. There is a lot that stands between creating a website and actually driving meaningful traffic to it while at the same time turning the traffic into actual sales or more clicks on your ads. Relying on traditional traffic generation strategies such as link-building alone will actually see you through a great loss in terms of potential customers. Here is a highlight of traffic building trends in 2014 that will help you get meaningful traffic and ultimately monetize it.

Use descriptions and titles which are irresistible

Meta descriptions and titles will determine the manner in which your page will appear on the search results and they remain very essential. Compelling titles coupled with interesting descriptions will actually make your website unique among the millions on search engines. When writing the Meta descriptions and titles, ensure you take an advertising approach by highlighting your expertise, using a unique sales proposition and clearly defining how a client will benefit from your content.

In as much as you want to keep the SEO standards, never go overboard. Use the primary key words at least once in your descriptions and titles but ensure that the flow is natural. If you are not sure of key word optimization, concentrate on readability rather than SEO.

Leverage the internal links

Getting your links from other pages is a well-known strategy for traffic generation. Do you need to give your page a boost with regard to ranking? Well, link it to some existing high-authority websites and be sure the ranking will improve significantly. Remember, your homepage is the most crucial and authoritative part of your domain. Ensure the entire trusted authority pages link from it and you will earn some meaningful traffic.

Compelling content is inevitable

Note the difference between this point and the power of Meta titles and descriptions. Compelling content refers to regularly updated and relevant information which is able to attract more visitors and spiders. The more visits you get, the more recommendations your page will have on social sites. There are three levels of content:

There is content which promotes a company together with its goods and services. Next is the kind of content which adds value to the products and services that you are presenting to people. This includes elaborate product descriptions, reviews, advice and regular updates on offers. Lastly there are articles and information which is meant to entertain and create good relationships between site owners and users. This is where you will create giveaways and competitions which have a close resemblance to the entity, but they may not necessarily generate traffic. This is all about content marketing and once it is done well, customer satisfaction is obvious and besides, it is a huge benefit in terms of SEO.

Make it fast

Google released new guidelines regarding the loading speed of smartphone sites in August 2013. In their recommendation, the key content in a page should appear on the user’s screen in 1 second or even less. Whether your site is responsive or rather you are using the dedicated HTML, you must take necessary steps to ensure it is fast. Away from the Google regulations, internet marketing experts from Croatia suggest you should put yourself in the shoes of a human user; why do you think someone will wait for so long while your competitors’ pages are opening so fast? There are various tools that you will use in testing the loading speed of your website. Do it and make the necessary changes.

In summary, it could take ages to receive and monetize your traffic if you entirely relied upon back-links. Make smart adjustments using the guidelines discussed here and you will be amazed by the drastic increase in traffic that your website will experience.

 

Filed under: Blogroll
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