Marketing

  • google
    4 Free Google Tools Your Business Can’t Grow Without 4 Free Google Tools Your Business Can’t Grow Without

    4 Free Google Tools Your Business Can’t Grow Without

4 Free Google Tools Your Business Can’t Grow Without

We’ve covered SEO, YouTube marketing and customer retention in recent blogs. Now let’s pay attention to the 800-lb gorilla in online marketing.

I’m talking about Google, of course. In addition to PPC (AdWords) and organic search optimization (on-site linking and content development), there are ways to leverage Google to promote your business and grow your customer base. Think of this as low-hanging fruit that will raise your profile online.

These tools that are free and relatively low-effort. Let’s take a closer look.

 

  1. Google My Business

Want some free advertising on Google? Then claim your Google My Business (formerly Google Places) listing to have your business featured in search results and in Google Maps.

After logging into your Google account (or creating one if you haven’t already), you can claim your business listing or enter one if they don’t already have it. This process will also create a Google+ profile for your business, which will link you to the network of Google platforms and tools.

With a Google My Business listing, searchers will see your location, address, phone number, reviews, hours and a photo. That’s a ton of your business information shown to a customer on page one of the search results page.

Don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront? No problem. If your business serves customers at their homes or business, you should list your business as a “service area business.” Or, if you do business completely online, list as a “Brand” and your Google+ page will link customers directly to your ecommerce portal.

GMB also gives you a review page for your customers to leave public feedback. You should always encourage customers to leave a review. If you use WordPress, the best free plugin to showcase your Google My […]

  • customer3
    Stop being dumb. Listen to your customers. Stop being dumb. Listen to your customers.

    Stop being dumb. Listen to your customers.

Stop being dumb. Listen to your customers.

Once upon a time, customers didn’t know how to solve their own problems. They had to rely on salespeople who had “solutions.”

Salespeople didn’t necessarily always have a deep understanding of what the problem was, because they didn’t have to. What they were selling was “close enough,” and the customer could take it or leave it.

Today, customers are more in control than they have ever been. They make their purchasing decisions (researching products, comparing pricing, reading reviews) before they ever talk to a salesperson or end up on a website with intent to buy. This means it’s up to you, the business owner and/or the salesperson, to build a relationship early on and show the customer how the product or service you offer uniquely solves the problem they’re having.

Think about it. Your customers hope your product fills a basic need or desire they have. You have only to convince them that it does. That’s your job.

Remember: Your business isn’t about your product or your service. It’s about your customer. And it’s about building that relationship. Part of relationship-building is building trust. You want lifelong customers here—not one-night stands. So stop trying to score on the first date.

What does this mean? If your product is inexpensive and the market is based entirely on impulse buys, a “buy now” button on the first point of contact may be appropriate.

But if you’re selling a high-dollar product or an ongoing service, or if your business model is B2B (where buying decisions might require the approval of several decision makers), you need to shift your focus from closing the deal immediately to educating your customers and building trust.

A “learn more” button on your website that collects names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other […]

  • businesswoman thinking and plan business strategy
    Develop a Content Marketing Strategy that Doesn’t Suck! Develop a Content Marketing Strategy that Doesn’t Suck!

    Develop a Content Marketing Strategy that Doesn’t Suck!

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy that Doesn’t Suck!

Time for a story.

Once upon a time, the “content farm” model meant business websites could publish tons of keyword-stuffed content and rank high for every search term under the sun, even if the content was useless to anyone.

Then came Google’s Panda update in 2011. The search giant started to look at the editorial focus and content quality of the overall site. The low-quality content sites tanked in the rankings, and since then businesses have to be seen as an authority in their niche to rank well.

In short, you have to not suck.

This is a good thing. A content marketing strategy that doesn’t suck will give you predictable, cost-effective, and scalable traffic and lead generation.

A content marketing strategy that doesn’t suck will support your sales team by building brand awareness using social media, blogs, infographics, and premium content like online tools, ebooks and webinars.

These efforts won’t be rewarded right away. You probably won’t see much of a return on your investment of time and effort for many weeks.  Creating great content isn’t easy, but business owners who are doing it right find that paid search (pay-per-click, or PPC) and other traditional forms of paid advertising are more expensive and not as effective.

Indeed, content can snowball and deliver exponentially awesome business results.

Think of content marketing as an annuity. Annuities are a popular choice for investors who want to receive a reliable income stream in the future. They have to put in a little now, and next month, and the month after that … It takes time and patience. And it’s boring. But in the end, slow and steady wins the race.

As a business owner and entrepreneur, how can you come up with a reliable content marketing strategy for 2016 and beyond?

Before we can answer this, […]

  • L1
    The Business Owner’s Crash Course in Advanced Social Media Marketing The Business Owner’s Crash Course in Advanced Social Media Marketing

    The Business Owner’s Crash Course in Advanced Social Media Marketing

The Business Owner’s Crash Course in Advanced Social Media Marketing

Entrepreneurs and business owners in general are guilty of a BIG mistake.

 

Over and over, they tend to see social media as more of a nuisance than an opportunity. It’s not that they don’t understand the importance of social outreach. It’s that they don’t have time for it.

 

They’re also wondering if it’s worth their trouble.

 

Today I’m going to talk about why social marketing is worth your trouble and how you can do it effectively. Here are the strategies that I’ve seen work. These strategies not only help busy entrepreneurs get their brand in front of a huge audience—they also actually end up bringing a huge return on a relatively small investment of time.

 

Note: Most of these points pertain to your blog and to Facebook, but you’ll find much of it applies to Twitter, Instagram, and how you set up content on your business website as well.

 

Let’s get started.

 

Define Your Goals

 

Write out what you plan to achieve with social marketing. Do you want more interaction with potential customers? Do you want better relations with existing customers? Are you seeking new leads for sales? Or are you floating new product ideas to your customer base?

 

Have a clear plan for your social media strategies and your expected results. If you open a bunch of accounts and start posting without coming up with a strategy first, you’re doing it wrong. Your social outreach will end up being a huge time suck with little to no reward for your business.

 

Look Beyond Facebook

These days Facebook makes it hard for businesses to market to their fans. You can post to your page and only a tiny percentage of your followers will even see it. Facebook wants you to pay for more visibility; […]

  • email-marketing
    12 Strategies For Killer Email Campaigns 12 Strategies For Killer Email Campaigns

    12 Strategies For Killer Email Campaigns

12 Strategies For Killer Email Campaigns

You work hard to build your reputation as a legitimate marketer. But how do you know if your subscribers will even see your email? A lot of the things that are out of your control can send that carefully-crafted message straight into the spam folder.

Changes in the laws, ISP protocols and spam filter technology mean that email marketing is constantly evolving. You can stay a step ahead of the competition by knowing the latest best practices.

If you’re a marketer looking to boost click-through rates, consider these 12 killer email marketing strategies before you hit send:

Don’t be annoying. More than 62 billion pieces of junk mail are produced annually. More than 300 billion spam emails are sent annually. Sure, they don’t end up in our landfills, but spam can be even more annoying that unwanted paper mail. “More” is not always the answer. You can send emails several times a day—that sure doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.

Personalized email works. Modern day spammers have eliminated all elements of personalization. Their emails and social media posts don’t seem to know the audience at all, or even really want to. The more personalized your email is, the better it will convert. Segment your list based on user interests or prior behavior. “Dear friend” won’t cut it when you can say “Dear Mr. Henderson” instead. Find ways to make it happen, and you will reap the rewards.Your open rates will improve, and so will brand loyalty.

Incorporate lead intelligence into your process. Using leads in your marketing and sales processes means sending multiple versions of your email with customized offers to users based on their on-site behaviors and purchasing patterns.  Your lists should be based on interests. The old […]

  • image_thumb
    Responsive vs. Intentional Design: Delivering the Cross-Platform Message Responsive vs. Intentional Design: Delivering the Cross-Platform Message

    Responsive vs. Intentional Design: Delivering the Cross-Platform Message

Responsive vs. Intentional Design: Delivering the Cross-Platform Message

The Internet is bringing us together, no doubt about it. But unfortunately, the multitude of Internet platforms is pushing us further and further apart.

Have you ever been using Facebook on a desktop computer and clicked on a link posted by a friend on his or her smartphone, only to be taken to the mobile version of that website? It looked pretty weird on your big desktop screen right?

Responsive web design and Intentional web design are big news in 2013. And they are two ways mobile marketers can address these kinds of cross-platform discrepancies.

With responsive design, social sharing doesn’t have this problem. The link sent from a tablet to a mobile phone to a desktop computer would always be the same link, and because the link would be responsive to that device, the site will always appear custom-tailored to any and every device.

Responsive design means creating one site that is responsive to different sized screens. It is replacing the practice of creating completely different sites for different devices. Responsive design improves the user’s experience with easier navigation because the sites they visit are customized for the device they are using. Developers don’t have to worry about creating a whole new website every time a new device is introduced into the market.

Programmers create responsive design using CSS and media queries. When your message is opened on a small screen, it “knows” to load a different set of styles to resize and format for a mobile layout. Since responsive design keeps the code for all of the sites in one place, it is easier to make adjustments than having to go into each separate site to make the necessary changes.

But you aren’t here to discuss programming. We’re […]

  • 1000-push-notifications
    Push Comes to Shove: Market Wisely With Push Notifications Push Comes to Shove: Market Wisely With Push Notifications

    Push Comes to Shove: Market Wisely With Push Notifications

Push Comes to Shove: Market Wisely With Push Notifications

Push notifications are part of what makes mobile technology awesome.

Here’s something that you couldn’t do a few years ago: Without having your email program open on your phone, you might look down and see an icon that tells you that you have a new message. Touch the icon and you’ll open the program, where you can read, respond, delete, whatever.

Of course, that’s just the most common example. Push notifications can do all kinds of things. This includes helping mobile marketers establish and build a dialogue with consumers.

This powerful tool was popularized by Apple’s Push Notification feature in iOS 3.0 back in 2009 (ancient history by mobile marketing standards). Apple’s cool new feature let apps send information to a user’s phone even when the app wasn’t in use.

Now, thousands of apps come with bundled adware that shoves marketing onto smartphone screens. But many of these apps don’t give any warning about the ad invasion when the user is signing up to download the app (or maybe the warning is buried in the fine print of the  “terms of service”—and let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for that).

Technology writer Juli Monroe recently wrote about how push notifications are wearing out their welcome:

“Why do I need Dropbox to send me notifications? When I downloaded the Dropbox update today, I noticed that it now wants to notify me when someone shares a folder with me. I already receive an email for that. I don’t need a push notification too. Guess who’s getting removed from Notifications?”

These kind of annoyances were inevitable from the beginning. A lot of mobile marketing firms work with app developers looking for ways to make money from their software. By bundling their […]

  • futuremobil
    The Future of Mobile Advertising The Future of Mobile Advertising

    The Future of Mobile Advertising

The Future of Mobile Advertising

What will the future of mobile advertising look like?

If you have experience with display ad campaigns for desktop computers, and you’ve been doing them for a while, you may find yourself tempted to replicate the ads you’ve done in the past when it comes to mobile. But you stand to gain a lot from getting to know the mobile platforms and the unique challenges and opportunities they offer.

Think about this: Unlike any other advertising medium, mobile technology is the platform people tend to carry around with them every waking minute of the day. It’s the platform people turn to several times an hour, all day long. And trust me—they probably love their Droid (or iPhone, or Galaxy, or Blackberry) more than they love the computer on their desk. Mobile retail revenue in the United States is expected to hit $12 billion in 2013, a 62 percent year-over-year increase. Are you ready?

Now you see why we, as advertisers and marketing innovators, have to think beyond the desktop display ad. We have to create an experience for the viewer that translates well across the wide range of Internet-connected devices.

And how do we make digital advertising more integrated across these devices? How do we manage our advertising product development efforts to make sure we deliver a consistent message from the billboard to the side of the city bus to the magazine spread to the iPhone screen?

1. Attribute across channels. Reporting on performance across channels, including all forms of display ads, is one of the secrets to masterful marketing. Establish customized tiers and weights for each channel you’re working to attribute credit for every customer touchpoint across your digital media channels. Then you can get a […]

  • mobile
    3 Secrets to Master Mobile Marketing in 2013 3 Secrets to Master Mobile Marketing in 2013

    3 Secrets to Master Mobile Marketing in 2013

3 Secrets to Master Mobile Marketing in 2013

What will the future of mobile advertising look like?

If you have experience with display ad campaigns for desktop computers, and you’ve been doing them for a while, you may find yourself tempted to replicate the ads you’ve done in the past when it comes to mobile. But you stand to gain a lot from getting to know the mobile platforms and the unique challenges and opportunities they offer.

Think about this: Unlike any other advertising medium, mobile technology is the platform people tend to carry around with them every waking minute of the day. It’s the platform people turn to several times an hour, all day long. And trust me—they probably love their Droid (or iPhone, or Galaxy, or Blackberry) more than they love the computer on their desk. Mobile retail revenue in the United States is expected to hit $12 billion in 2013, a 62 percent year-over-year increase. Are you ready?

Now you see why we, as advertisers and marketing innovators, have to think beyond the desktop display ad. We have to create an experience for the viewer that translates well across the wide range of Internet-connected devices.

And how do we make digital advertising more integrated across these devices? How do we manage our advertising product development efforts to make sure we deliver a consistent message from the billboard to the side of the city bus to the magazine spread to the iPhone screen?

1. Attribute across channels. Reporting on performance across channels, including all forms of display ads, is one of the secrets to masterful marketing. Establish customized tiers and weights for each channel you’re working to attribute credit for every customer touchpoint across your digital media channels. Then you can get a […]