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5 Keys To SEO and Your Home-based Business

Posted August 28, 2013 by fran @ 11:56 am

When operating any home-based business, it is vital to establish an effective Internet presence. This takes more than merely building a website. Before a customer can view a highly informative and well-coded site, the customer must reach that site. One of the best ways to achieve unique views and generate leads is to maintain the top position for a relevant search engine result. Driving business becomes much more difficult as the site decreases in its rankings.

When a search engine crawler gathers information about a site, the site owner wants that crawler to tell the search engine that that site best matches a particular set of keywords. Optimizing a site for search engine results is called search engine optimization (SEO). If you own a home-based business and you want to optimize your own website, there are several things to keep in mind.

1. Seek professional help to optimize success

SEO is an industry in itself. Countless service providers ranging from sole proprietors to dedicated professional enterprises like http://www.eversparkinteractive.com/ will ensure that a site obtains and maintains a high site ranking. Unfortunately, marketing budgets for home-based businesses are often nonexistent. Hiring a qualified expert in SEO can cost thousands of dollars. As a result, many business owners will attempt to go it alone.

This is usually a mistake. SEO requires a fine touch with respect to keyword densities and relevant content. The ideal techniques for optimizing a site for search engine results can vary between search engines; for example, different sites will respond to different keywords densities and content levels. To the crawlers, sites with too few relevant keywords appear to be irrelevant while sites with too many appear to be spammy. Hitting these narrow ranges is a job for a professional, as is structuring the site.

2. Not all “experts” are created equal

There are a variety of techniques that some SEO professionals use to improve their clients ratings. Some of these techniques can lead to short-term gains at the expense of long-term placement. Link building networks and software that can instantly produce thousands or millions of new links can raise a site to the top position quickly; usually, this is long enough for the “expert” to cash the client’s check.

However, without quality connections, the purported gains will not last. The site may actually be penalized for attempts to “bomb” the engine, reducing its ranking further than had nothing occurred. Most crawlers will look for quality links and only maintain sites with those results. Any professional organization that you choose to do business with should have a history of maintaining and optimizing successful web sites.

3. Optimized sites require maintenance

Search engines periodically change how their crawlers operate. Even without an update, SEO experts often discover new techniques to improve a site’s ranking, which can push down sites using older techniques. Additionally, site owners routinely move around content or discover that certain wording resonates with their customers more effectively, which can negate prior work or make the site effectively invisible to crawlers.

4. Target the SEO focus

The Internet is a worldwide phenomenon and anyone can look at any site from any location. Unfortunately, a homeowner in Miami is unlikely to require the services of a plumber from Seattle. For a service business targeting specific markets, optimizing the site for customers looking for relevant businesses in that location can save money and trouble. Targeting based upon location improves the relevance of the results, leading to improved rankings and a higher likelihood of greater traffic.

5. Uncommon keywords are key

Specific keywords are less competitive than generalized keywords. This will usually mean a higher success rate and an improved chance of achieving a high ranking if the site is properly optimized. Spending the same money to obtain a high ranking with a slightly less common search phrase is much more likely to drive business than spending money to achieve a second-page result for a more generic phrase.

Whether your business involves international shipping or localized services, having a website is necessary in the modern world. Any site that exists to drive business should be optimized for search engine crawlers looking for results relevant to specific search phrases. What those phrases are will vary between industries; blue-collar businesses may target searchers looking for “24 hour” service in that particular industry in that particular location, while white-collar businesses may target customers looking for “cost-effective” solutions. As with any other marketing activity, SEO requires business owners to understand their customers and their market.

Author Bio: As a home-based business owner, writer LaGeris Underwood Bell can attest to both the importance of establishing a strong online presence and to the vital need for SEO-savvy professional help as keys to entrepreneurial success.

 

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/3657122566/

Filed under: Company Headlines

The AdMedia Team Hits the Ice

Posted August 20, 2013 by fran @ 10:57 am

It was a hot, sunny, 90 degree Friday in Southern California. With so many options of fun things to do in the LA area, the team at AdMedia went with the obvious choice — we went with the traditional LA activity of ice skating!

Ice skating isn’t the most synonymous activity associated with Southern California, but there are still a handful of ice rinks in the area. And it just so happens there’s one right next to our office. It was a simple one block walk to our local ice skating rink where the AdMedia team got together and hit the ice.

 

For most of that Friday morning, the AdMedia team skated, glided, raced, slipped and fell around the Pickwick ice rink in Burbank. Unfortunately, we did not find the next coming of Katarina Witt or Brian Boitano. Nor did we find the next Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby. What we did find was a great way to hang out and blow off some steam at the end of a busy week. A lot of team members got to skate for the first time and some actually knew what they were doing. And for a few of AdMedia team members, it was a humbling experience falling on the ice in front of colleagues.

 

At the end of our special fun day, we had gourmet pizzas waiting for us in the conference room. Tomato & Basil, Pesto, and Chicken Barbecue were just a few of the flavors that the team got to enjoy. It was a perfect day to take a couple of hours out for ice skating and pizza. You can say it was the perfect ending to a fun team building day and a hard-working week at AdMedia.

 

Why Publishers Should Think About Advertising Too

Posted August 14, 2013 by fran @ 1:19 pm

If you’re an online publisher then you’re probably familiar with serving up ads on your site to earn revenue, but have you ever thought about buying ads of your own to do the same thing?

It may seem counter-intuitive when you come across the idea. After all, you’re producing content to make money, not spend it all on online advertising, right? Here’s the thing though, in the business of online marketing and advertising, you often have to spend money–at least at first–to make money.

You need to invest in a lot of things, including yourself, your education, technology, and getting your name out there. Let’s focus on the last point. When starting from scratch, getting your name out there can be an uphill battle. Building an audience takes a lot of time and resources, and you need to produce awesome content often and at a consistent basis.

Say you’re already doing that. What if you’re already exerting a ton of your time and effort in producing great content, but it doesn’t seem to be paying off?

If you already have a great website with useful content in it but you aren’t getting the amount of traffic that you know it deserves then you probably need a boost to improve your numbers. That’s where advertising comes in.

When done right, online advertising can pay off tremendously. As long as you know your target audience and where to find them, you stand a good chance of reaping the benefits of your advertising investment.

See, online ads can bring in more traffic, which could then translate to more readers and revenue (either through ad clicks or with the purchase of your products / services). Serve up relevant, targeted ads to in front of users that you know will love you’re content, and you’ll start seeing some improvements in your metrics in no time.

They key is serving up those ads to users that count. What’s the use of a million impressions if those users have absolutely no interest in what you have to offer? If you haven’t done so yet, conduct market research on your audience and determine where they hang out online and what ads and messages appeal to them the most.

By the way, before you start thinking that market research involves dropping a ton of cash on focus groups and what not–stop. In this day and age, even a one-man team can conduct effective market research without spending a dime. How?

Below are a few ideas:

- Send out a quick survey to your subscribers and ask for feedback’

- Read comments on your blog to get an idea of what types of content resonate most with your audience

- Turn to social media. Check out the pages that your target audience likes on Facebook, join relevant groups on Linkedin, and see who they follow on Twitter

- Conduct surveys using free tools such as Google Docs or GoPollGo

- Tweet out a question / post it on Facebook and take note of the responses

Doing the things above should give you a wealth of data and insights about your target audience. Take those insights and use them to create engaging ads that would drive more traffic (and eventually revenue) to your site.

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

How Metro Dominated Video, Web, Social, and Mobile with a Single Campaign

Posted July 24, 2013 by fran @ 1:45 pm

We’ve talked about cross-channel advertising and marketing quite a bit on this blog and for good reason: It’s future of online marketing. As consumer attention gets more and more fragmented by the amount of information and the wide range of channels at their disposal, it’s essential that businesses utilize more than one device, channel, or platform to reach their target audience.

As a case study, we’d like to bring up the public service campaign of Metro Trains Melbourne. You remember, them right? We melted with cuteness over their Dumb Ways to Die music video in November.

To refresh your memory, the Dumb Ways to Die campaign featured a bunch of adorable–but regrettably dumb–characters that did a bunch of stupid mistakes that led to their tragic (but cute) downfall. The video was released by Metro Trains Melbourne to encourage the public to put safety first when they’re around trains. The music video also featured a catchy song that got stuck in people’s heads (but in a good way).

Cross-Channel Marketing: You’re Doing It Right

The campaign went viral, racking up millions of YouTube views in a short period of time. It was a smashing hit, and considering that the campaign was a public service announcement, it was a colossal achievement.

The Dumb Ways to Die campaign was shared and viewed so many times that it pretty much dominated YouTube, the blogosphere, and social media. And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better, it dominated the mobile arena as well.

How? By creating an app.

Released a couple of months ago, the Dumb Ways to Die app by Metro Trains Melbourne, it quickly rose to the top of iTunes’ games category because of it’s fun and addicting nature.

Dumb Ways to Die lets you play a number of games featuring the same adorable characters from the original video that we all know and love. Your job is to save them from themselves and keep them from dying.

Remember that guy who died trying to fish out a piece of toast using a fork? Well in the game, your mission is to help him gingerly take out the toast without the fork touching the toaster. Then that character that used its private parts as piranha bait? Help keep them safe by flicking to pesky fishes away. There are more fun games in store, so do yourself a favor and get it from the app store now.

The app is so successful, it’s been downloaded millions of times and at the time of writing this has 49,754 reviews. (Average rating is 4.5 stars).

What you can learn from Dumb Ways to Die

Aside from staying safe around trains, the Dumb Ways to Die campaign teaches us a very valuable lesson in online marketing: Use multiple channels. What’s great about Metro Trains Melbourne is that it didn’t stop with video, web, and social channels–it took the campaign to a whole new level by thinking outside the box and releasing an engaging app.

Filed under: Company Headlines

3 Killer Ad Combinations to Reach Your Customers

Posted July 10, 2013 by fran @ 1:43 pm

The rise of numerous advertising platforms and solutions on the web can be both good and bad for businesses.

On one hand, it’s great because there are so many options to choose from. You’re well-equipped to reach your target audience via multiple channels. As for the not-so-great side of it all? There are so many options to choose from. It can be quite overwhelming and you’re left asking questions like “Where should I advertise?” or  “What’s the best ad solution out there?”

The answer to those questions will depend on number of things, including your goals (is it to generate sales or to build your brand) and your target customers. While advertising across multiple channels will certainly help you cover more ground and increase your site traffic much more quickly, this route may not be the best one if you’re on a budget or if you don’t have the resources to manage multiple campaigns at the same time.

If you’re trying to decide which best route to take for your online advertising needs, below is a quick guide to give you insights on the different ad solutions and combinations that you can try:

Display + Remarketing

Serving up display banner ads on websites relevant to your business is a great way to bring attention to your brand. But if you want to take your display ad campaign a step further, you should try adding Remarketing to the mix.

Known as one of the most innovative ad solutions on the web, Remarketing lets you bring back lost visitors to your website. For instance, if a shopper visited your website without buying anything, the Remarketing technology will kick in and “follow” that user to other parts of the web.

That way, when the shopper is checking their email or reading news sites, they will see ads for your company and be reminded to go back.

Video + Social

These channels are two of the hottest ones in online advertising mainly because they’re highly interactive and engaging in nature. They also go hand in hand when it comes to making content go viral, as video is becoming one of the most shared content type on social media.

To take advantage of this combination, you can encourage social sharing within your videos. Produce a funny or witty advert and actively encourage users to share it. Fortunately for you, video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo make it extremely easy to share media with a click of a button.

Alternatively, you may also want to look into FooterRoll, an ad solution that comes in the form of a toolbar with social buttons and an expandable video ad.

Remarketing + Insert Ad Solution Here

One of the many reasons why we love Remarketing is that it has the ability to enhance just about any ad campaign. For instance, you can use Remarketing with social media so that ads for your company show up on people’s newsfeed after visiting your website.

Or you can use Remarketing with video by displaying your ads on top of videos that your users are watching. Alternatively, you can also use Remarketing to follow your on-the-go customers by serving up ads on their mobile phones. The possibilities and opportunities are endless thanks to flexibility and versatility of Remarketing advertising.

Image credit: jared on Flickr

 

 

Filed under: Company Headlines

AdMedia Goes Bowling!

Posted July 2, 2013 by fran @ 12:29 pm

Last Friday, the AdMedia team headed to the Pickwick Center (just one of the many recreational facilities in Burbank) for a couple rounds of bowling! There’s nothing like kicking back after a week of hard work, so all of us were more than happy to participate.

A lot of AdMedia employees played like pros out there. Daniel P. for instance, one of our savvy ad execs, bowled an impressive 6 strikes in a row, leading to a total of 255 points! Then there were some of us who were just happy to knock down a pin or two. Regardless of the scores though, we all had a ton of fun.

Check out the photos below and see us in action!

And if you’re looking to join this fun team, be sure to swing by the AdMedia Career Page to view our latest job openings.

          

Filed under: Company Headlines

3 Ways to Make Mobile Ads Work for You

Posted June 20, 2013 by fran @ 1:12 pm

Getting started on mobile advertising? Or maybe you’re already doing it but you’re looking to boost your CTRs and conversion rates. Whatever the case is, optimizing your mobile ads is critical, especially now that more and more users are flocking towards the mobile arena.

Below are a few best practices that you can apply to your mobile ad campaigns to ensure that they give you the best possible results:

Evaluate your options -  Recognize that there is no such thing as “one size fits all” in mobile advertising (or any other ad format, for that matter). You have a lot of options when it comes to this platform. For instance, will you be targeting iPhone users, Android users or all of the above? Will you serving up ads on both tablets and smartphones or both?

Take note that it isn’t just about the type of device that should be taken into consideration. Software-wise, mobile advertising gives you a number of options as well. There are mobile websites, mobile apps, and social media apps that support ads.

Not to mention that TYPE of ads that you’re going to use. There are banner ads, video, audio, in-apps, and more.

Be sure to consider all your options. Conduct the necessary market research to determine which devices, ad formats, and apps/websites resonate most with your target customers, and make a decision from there.

Be creative – When it comes to deciding what types of ads to display, it’s all too easy to go straight for display ads (i.e. banner ads and videos). And while display can certainly be effective, it’s important to note that it’s not the only ad format that’s available, especially on mobile.

You opt for audio ads and advertise with apps like Pandora or Spotify, for instance. Another thing that you can do is partner up with other developers and offer incentives to get people to check your company out. For example, a lot of gaming apps offer extra coins or points to users who would view and ad or download an app.

Find your categories – When you’re advertising within other applications, be sure to select your categories (and even subcategories wisely). If you have the option of handpicking the apps to advertise on then by all means, do so–it’ll boost your clicks and conversion rates.

For example, if you’re advertising a shopping app, then advertise on fashion-related apps where shopaholics hang out.

Image credit: Johan Larsson on Flickr

Filed under: Company Headlines

Be More Interactive with FooterRoll

Posted June 12, 2013 by fran @ 3:58 pm

FooterRoll. That’s a funny word, but what is it? AdMedia describes this amazing tool as an “all-in-one solution”. FooterRoll is a comprehensive tool that is interactive and informative at the same time. People are able to search for information through a non-obtrusive bar within the site that they’re already on. The ads provided by FooterRoll are relevant the content of the website you’re currently visiting. This is a great way to engage visitors.

With FooterRoll you can share content with your friends. This is done right from the interactive toolbar. FooterRoll is an awesome way to increase your chances of going viral. Just thinking about how many people are using social networks right now! You have the potential to reach millions of users. You are able to completely customize FooterRoll, which makes this tool ten times more convenient than the other current tools out there. It is search enabled, which means that this will only enhance your browsing experience. FooterRoll’s full screen videos and ads perfectly complete the ad experience and takes ad interaction to another level altogether.

So why aren’t you using FooterRoll? If you’re an ad company looking for something new, or if you’re looking to launch a campaign – no matter your quest, this should be thrown into the mix!

Let’s look at some of the best ad tools out there and compare them.

Google Adwords: This is the most popular option on the market. We all know that Google is one of the biggest companies in the entire world, simply because it is the number one online search engine. Now, with AdWords you can create hugely targeted content based ads.

Facebook Ads: Coming in close second – people come to Facebook Ads for the same reason they come to Google. There are billions of users! By making the decision to sign up they are already increasing their chances (by a lot) of going viral.

Pay Per Click Search Engine: A great way to do a study on different platforms.  Many companies utilize pay per click on their sites.

7Search: A great example of utilizing the pay per click feature. It is one of the biggest competitors when it comes to SEO. Having been around for more than a decade, this company really makes an effort to show the noobs how it’s done.

AdBrite: This is fast growing online ad tool. It gives you access to campaign analytics and data, which in turn gives you more control over your own campaign.

All of these companies are good. Don’t get us wrong, but if you look them up and really do your research, you’ll find that they are all pretty similar. Sure, they have little things that allow them to stand apart and fight the urge to be recognized as one huge advertising blob, but if you compare each one to FooterRoll there is no comparison.

FooterRolls takes pride in being cutting edge and highly interactive. More and more people in the ad community are flocking to FooterRoll. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

 

Filed under: Company Headlines

Display Advertising: 3 Highly Effective (Yet Often Overlooked) Places to Show Ads

Posted May 30, 2013 by fran @ 3:57 pm

You know how people say that timing is everything? Well in display ads, positioning can be everything as well. People have become so accustomed to seeing ads at the usual places (i.e. sidebars, top of the page, etc.) that they hardly even notice them anymore.

Whether you’re an advertiser frustrated with people simply glazing over your ads, or a publisher looking for more dynamic advert placements, below are a few highly effective (yet often overlooked) locations where you can display ads.

Checkout pages – Shoppers always pay close attention to an online store’s checkout page because it usually contains important information such as shipping info, confirmation numbers, and the like. That’s why displaying relevant ads on these pages is a great tactic to get users to view and click through them. Use the checkout page to suggest products related to what the customer just bought. Doing so will increase clicks and conversion rates.

Thank you pages – Thank you / confirmation pages that show up right after a user submits a form also serve as great locations for your ads. Like checkout pages, users who arrive at thank you pages are more inclined to look at and read ads. Additionally, since they obvious just completed a specific call to action, these users are more engaged than your average visitor. Take advantage of that engagement and serve up your ads when they count. (Note: Be sure that the ads are relevant to what they signed up for to maximize clicks and conversions.)

Emails – Why are users more inclined to click on ads that they see via email? Simple. It’s because they’ve already subscribe to the emails that land in their inbox, and they’re most likely interested in the content of those messages. And the fact that they actually OPENED the email further validates this. Make users’ interest work for you by selecting ads that are related to the content of the message. Doing so can tremendously boost your CTRs and conversions.

Remember: It’s not always a question of “where”. HOW you display ads is equally (if not more) important.

While location, location, location  is really important in display advertising remember that manner of how the ads are served up also matters a great deal. Let’s say you don’t have the option to place your ads in the above-mentioned locations and you’re stuck with the traditional ad spaces like the sidebar.

You can still grab user attention and get those clicks and conversions by implementing these two things:

Behavioral targeting – Serving up ads at the most optimal time and environment based on users’ browsing history, location, previous searches, online behavior on more.

Remarketing – If people leave an online store without buying anything, you can implement Remarketing to bring those users back. The Remarketing technology will then serve up your ads even when users are browsing other sites (i.e. checking their mail, reading blogs, etc.)

Quick tip: Supercharge your Remarketing ads by implementing Cross-Channel Remarketing which enables the system to display ads across multiple platforms and channels, including mobile, social media, search, apps, and more.

Image credit:  pasukaru76 on Flickr

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Filed under: Blogroll

3 Reasons Why People Aren’t Clicking Your Ads

Posted May 15, 2013 by fran @ 3:12 pm

So you’ve designed the perfect ads for your awesome product and you can’t wait for people to start noticing them. You set up your online advertising campaign, launch it, then…. crickets. Your ads are live, but for some reason people just aren’t clicking them.

Sound familiar? If your ads aren’t performing and you’re stuck wondering what’s up with your abysmal CTRs, you may want to back track and see if you’re committing any of the following mistakes:

They’re vague

Your ad copy should concisely answer the following questions: a) Who is this ad for?; and b) What should people do when they see the ad?

Those questions seem pretty basic, but you’d be surprised at the number of companies that get this wrong. Let’s break them down, shall we?

a. Who is this ad for? – In other words, who is your target audience? Who are your customers?  If they see the ad, will they immediately know that it’s meant for them? A huge mistake that businesses make in this aspect is trying to appeal to everyone. They use broad ad copy to try to accommodate every single user. The result? Poor ad performance. Remember, if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.

Write your ad with a specific target audience in mind. Zero in on the demographic and sociographic of your ideal customers and gear your ads towards them and ONLY them.

b. What should people do when they see the ad? – Make sure that you have a clear call to action on your ads. Spell out what you want people to do. Do you want them to sign up? Download a free e-book? Call you?

Whatever it is, be straightforward and unequivocal about it.

They don’t answer the most important customer question: What’s in it for me?

You have a great product and you want to showcase just how awesome it is. We get it. The question is, will your users get it as well?

While it may be tempting to brag about the awards that your product has won or the cutting-edge features it has, it may not be a good idea to populate your ads with these things alone.

Try to focus on the benefits that your product provides rather than its features. The latter tends to resonate more with people.

For instance, if you’re selling a phone with a 100 mega-pixel camera, the sophisticated camera would be the FEATURE, while the BENEFIT would be the fact that users will be able to take better, high-quality photos that they can post on Instagram or Facebook.

Features merely showcases what the product does, but the benefits show what it DOES FOR USERS. They answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Take note: Features TELL, but benefits SELL.

The offer isn’t compelling enough

Sometimes you need to offer a little extra something in order to really stand out.

For example, if you’re putting up ads to get people to sign up to your newsletter, give away a free eBook or report to incentivize them even more. Want to get the word out about that sale you’re having? Offer a coupon right on the ad itself to really get people to click through your site.

In this day and age, everyone is competing for consumers’ attention, so you need to find a way to offer real value to your customers in order to get them to listen to you instead of your competitors.

Image credit: StockMonkeys.com on Flickr

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Filed under: Company Headlines
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