Posts Tagged ‘Online Marketing’

Saturday Sidecar: Too Busy – Or Too Broke – To Advertise

Written by Gina Blitstein on November 5, 2011. Posted in Saturday Sidecar

Marketing In Lean and Fat TimesMany sidecars suffer from an inconsistent work load. You’re often at the mercy of your customers, so you’re either busy – or you’re not. Sidecars rarely have much to spend on marketing to create more consistent influx of business, often falling into this “feast or famine” dynamic:

  • When there’s business, you work. At those times, you are occupied, content that you’re making money and you’re not thinking about where the next job – and the next – is going to come from.
  • When there’s no activity in your business, you wish you were busy. You scramble to drum up business and may or may not be successful at finding clients.

5 Start-Up Checkpoints

Written by Debra Leitl on September 19, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

5 Start-Up CheckpointsWhen you are starting an online business the hardest part is getting things off the ground in terms of making your presence known to the online community.  More often than not when you think of tackling this job you end up suffering from paralysis by analysis or not having a clue as to where to begin.  Don’t fret about it because you are not alone.  Here are a few simple checkpoints to follow which will help you to get started:

  • Consider Startup Listing Sites

New business startups can sometimes begin with sites like Mashable and others. These are well known blogs that like to cover new businesses online which are offering something new and innovative.  Depending upon how well you planned your new business getting coverage can be difficult but not impossible if you are doing something different than your competitors.

Top 10 Reasons to Be Excited About PubCon Las Vegas 2011

Written by Debra Leitl on September 9, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

If you have never been to a PubCon conference now is the time to jump on board and enjoy some of the expert knowledge that will help you to grow your business and increase your revenue. PubCon is one of the largest social media and search conferences in the world and is held in European cities as well as the US.  Here are the top 10 reasons you should seriously consider attending PubCon: 

1. Valuable Knowledge

PubCon makes a sincere effort to provide leading edge seminars on search and social media with presentations that are offered by experts which are considered to be in the top echelon of the field of social networking and business brand marketing.

2. Networking Opportunities

The idea of PubCon was initiated in an English pub where professionals gathered in an informal atmosphere to network and gain new ideas. The PubCon conference and expo provides many opportunities to network with others in the search and social media industry.

3. Stay on Top of the Newest Trends

PubCon focuses on the newest trends in online marketing and lead generation through social media. The conference speakers do not prepare their presentation until close to the conference date to ensure you are getting information on the very latest trends.

4. Receive First Hand Info from Top Internet Marketers

PubCon provides presentations from the who’s who of internet marketers to ensure the attendees get first hand reliable information on the latest marketing strategies. These are the people who have had proven success with the knowledge they offer to conference attendees.

5. Product Launches

PubCon allows leaders in the technology field such as Google, Twitter, and others to introduce new products before the rest of the world gets to see them. You will see the latest innovations demonstrated to get a preview of future technologies for online marketing.

6. Measure Your Skill Set

By networking with other top people in the internet marketing industry you can get an idea of where you fit in terms of your skill set which provides you with additional ideas on how to effectively sell your skills online.

7. Masters Group Professional Training

PubCon offers a professional training program that is delivered by the people who have achieved renowned success online. The training program takes place before the actual conference begins and consists of in-depth seminars by search and social media professionals.

8. Post Conference Resource Materials

When you attend PubCon you will be mailed a complete manual of the conference and expo along with a CD that contains presentations from the event. You can use these resources to take your business to the next level after the conference is complete.

9. Keep Up with Your Competitors

Since PubCon is widely known it is likely that your competitors will attend to pick up tips on how to maintain the competitive advantage. Social media changes so frequently attending PubCon will help you stay on top of the latest tips and techniques that will help you stay ahead of the competition.

10. Party and Events

Because PubCon started as a networking meeting in a pub there is a complete industry party and events itinerary to provide for fun and informal networking with the top people in the search and social media industry.

Have You Registered for PubCon?

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7 Reasons to Crawl Buck Naked to Search Marketing Expo – SMX East 2011

Written by Debra Leitl on August 15, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

If you are looking to sharpen your search engine marketing skills you should check out the Search Marketing Expo-SMX East taking place this September at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.  Search Marketing Expo is one of the largest search engine marketing conferences around the globe and is organized by Third Door Media which is the company that operates Search Engine Land.  If you have never attended Search Marketing Expo here are 7 reasons you should check it out this year: 

1.  Google Survivor Tips

Although Google doesn’t exactly admit it, the recent inception of Panda has affected more websites than the search engine giant has publicly admitted.  At SMX East you can get the inside scoop on the new algorithms that are used for ranking your website and how to improve your website if it has already been affected by Panda.

2.  Link Building

Learn the latest trends for building high quality inbound links to your website, creating anchor text that exhibits authority, and how to avoid the common mistakes marketers make when they design a link building campaign.

3.  How to Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly

Many online marketers fail to learn how to make their website search engine friendly and instead come up with a design that appeals to their tastes but lacks functionality.  You can accomplish both the former and the latter by learning the art of making your website search engine and visitor friendly.

4.  Ecommerce and Retail Search Marketing Strategies

If you run an ecommerce website the challenges you face are much different than those of other online marketers in terms of search marketing.  SMX East will be offering a host of workshops where you can learn how to be successful in reaching your ecommerce and retail audience through the search results.

5.  Pay Per Click

PPC advertising has gotten quite complex and if you do not know what you are doing you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.  Search Marketing Expo is offering a series of seminars on pay per click advertising including avoiding pitfalls, enterprise PPC strategies, tactics on paid search marketing, and much more.

6.  Social Media Marketing

Many businesses are still unaware of the power of social media marketing.  You can get ahead of the pack by learning the latest Facebook marketing tactics, SEO for Twitter, conducting local marketing in social media, and more.

7.  Attend Sessions Designed for Your Level

You do not have to be a search marketing guru to gain something from SMX East.  Instead there are sessions designed for all different levels of knowledge from beginners to those with intermediate knowledge and others who are search marketing professionals.

In the Comments, Please Tell Us the Conference You Would Crawl Buck Naked to Attend.

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Say Yes to Email Exclusive Offers

Written by Debra Leitl on August 5, 2011. Posted in Email Marketing

Email campaigns are an effective way to build a lasting relationship with your customers and maintain their loyalty.  One of the ways you can encourage loyalty from your customers is to provide them with value that they cannot find anywhere else.  By this we mean offering useful information and providing your customers with solutions to their problems.  One of the ways you can do this is through email exclusive offers. 

Why Exclusive Offers Work

Before we go any further it is important to emphasize the importance of building customer relationships by simply offering quality information.  You must do this first before you think about creating an exclusive offer for your subscribers.  Customers are more receptive to exclusive offers when you have created a trusting rapport otherwise it can look like you are just trying to attract customers for the sake of making a quick buck. 

That said, here is why exclusive email offers can help you maintain customer loyalty: 

  • Interactive Marketing: If you make exclusive offers fun and engaging this creates the same scenario as social media engagement where you are involving the customer in the buying experience.  If your customers make the special purchase from you and they have a positive experience doing it they will look forward to another exclusive offer in the future. 
  • Encourage Sharing: If you come up with a really great offer that is exclusive to your subscribers they will share it with their friends and encourage them to join your mailing list.  The offer could be something like a discount for joining your mailing list, or a discount with free delivery if you deal with physical products, and other worthwhile offers that are available for a limited time. 

  • Improve Open Rates: Coming up with great offers on a consistent basis will help maintain customer loyalty and improve open rates.  If your customers know you always come up with something good they will open all future emails to see what benefits you have to offer. 

  • Encourage Decisions: Although your most loyal customers will read your emails they also may tend to say, “Well I will wait until later.”  You know what happens here as the email gradually makes its way into a folder where it is forgotten or worse yet, gets pushed to the bottom of the Inbox.  By using exclusive offers with a limited time you compel your customers to make a decision and if your product is great you can rest assure they will be back. 

Once you gain the trust of your customers and build a rapport exclusive offers are an effective way to convert your subscribers to buyers.  Once they make a purchase you must follow through with great customer service and future offers that are appealing to your target market.  Finally, the important thing to remember is that consistency and quality is key since a one time offer will fall by the wayside and easily be forgotten.

If You Enjoyed This Blog Post, Get blog updates, plus:

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pURLs of Wisdom – Smart URLs Aid Conversion

Written by Debra Leitl on July 1, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

If you are trying to decide the best way to go about a direct mail campaign it may help you to know that the days of sending out a mailing and hoping for the best are gone thanks to the concept of pURLs also known as Personalized URLs. pPURLs directly target your market and solicit a much higher response rate than conventional direct mail campaigns through personalization. 

pURL campaigns are based on the premise that most people respond better when the marketing piece is personalized and addresses the recipient by name.  A pURL campaign works by targeting the prospect through direct mailing which prompts them to visit a web page that is specifically personalized with their name. 

What exactly is a pURL?

A pURL is a web page that has a personalized URL address that contains the customer’s name.  For example, if you send a direct mailing piece to the John Doe Company from the Widget Company which is your business, the URL address on the mailing piece might look like this:  www.widgetcompany.com/johndoecompany.html

When the customer sees their personalized web page the curiosity prompts them to visit the site. 

How a pURL Campaign Works

A pURL campaign begins with identifying your market and the message you want to convey for the direct marketing campaign.  The message is targeted toward the needs of your specific audience which means you must know your market and what they want. 

  • Direct Mailing Piece and Personalized URL Page: The direct mailing piece is typically a postcard that has the same design as the pURL page that the customer will visit after reading the postcard.  This is to create continuity and a uniform look to the campaign.  The direct mailing piece includes your marketing message, promotional offer, and the customer’s personalized URL address.  The pURL page is an extension of the direct mail piece. 
  • pURL: Once the customer receives the postcard and sees that they have a web page designed specifically with their name, they visit the pURL by typing the URL address from the postcard into their web browser.  The page has the same graphic look as the postcard and greets the customer while they enter their personal ID number from the direct mail piece. 

  • Survey: Once the customer enters their personal ID number their information is retrieved and they are presented with a brief survey that they fill out and submit.  The information is transferred to a centralized database for analysis and further personalized communication. 

  • Thank You Page: Once the customer’s information is submitted a thank you page acknowledges receipt and the customer receives the special offer via email or snail mail. 

When you put together a pURL campaign you can choose to use a full service company to do a turnkey pURL campaign, create the campaign yourself, or create the personalized URLs yourself and then ask a printing company to help you with the direct mail piece. 

pURLs aid conversion through personalization and they allow you to immediately track the micro site visits and track the survey results.  The information that you collect on your customers is used to generate reports and customize further communications.  This helps you to strengthen your customer relationships while increasing your return on investment (ROI) with a cost effective direct marketing campaign.

If You Enjoyed This Blog Post, Get blog updates, plus:

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How To: Find Your Target Market Online

Written by Debra Leitl on June 14, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

This is a very important question to ask yourself. There is no point in creating a product for a market if that market is not motivated to learn about the subject. If they are passionate about the subject then they are prepared to pay money for products related to that target and if they are prepared to buy that will mean more money in your pocket.

Join A Forum

Join ongoing conversations and share your knowledge with your target market. Once you have established some online street cred you can promote your website business for next to nothing. That has to sound good especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising right now.

Internet Forums Basics

Forums are places where people with similar interests can meet, exchange information and chat online. To become a member of an Internet forum you usually have to sign up on a membership site. This doesn’t necessarily involve any money. Sites want to keep up how many members they have.

The sites include other perks and ways to join in but the forum is where most people go to congregate and talk. You can use these forums to not only promote your website but also get a little extra that can add up to big benefits for your business.

Here’s how they work. Once you join the membership site, you can access the forum by creating a username and password. When you log in, you have access to all the different topics and threads (each conversation is usually started by forum members).

Choosing Forums

Not just any forum will serve your purposes. You want to find forums that pertain to your target market. For instance, if you sell bathroom fixtures, you’ll want to look for DIY home repair (do-it-yourself) forums for a start. Also, look into forums for construction contractors and home builders. They certainly use bathroom fixtures.

With these types of forums, half of the work is done for you. You are already accessing your target market, but the rest is up to you. That is why conducting yourself professionally on these forums is an important tip that makes this type of website promotion run smoothly.

Use The PDF: Finding Your Target Market Worksheet to identify target groups of people online.

Using the Forum

Before you jump into talking about your business, think about one thing. If the tables were turned and you were just a regular forum member, what would build your trust and what would break it down? People spamming would probably make you mad, but people who participate and also help others, would inspire your trust. 

You need to interact with people in the forum consistently before you start directly pitching your services or products. You can offer expert advice and get help yourself. Their advice to you can help you implement changes that will benefit your business processes.

Your Forum Signature

Use your signature  in your profile to promote your website and provide multiple ways for prospects to reach you with follow up questions. The more you post in existing threads and your own, people whose trust you gain will begin to click on that link and check out your website.

Internet forums that cater to your target market have a two-fold benefit. First, they help you get in touch with the type of person you seek for your business and second, you can establish yourself as a subject matter expert and use your signature line to clearly promote your website.

If You Enjoyed This Blog Post, Get blog updates, plus:

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Actionable Marketing Tips of the Month

Written by Debra Leitl on June 13, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

We have being actively brainstorming to come up with Month by Month Actionable Marketing Tips for the forthcoming year.

To do this we’ve been looking at our data and the projects that we have an ongoing vested interest in, and we’ve included some assumptions into the data based on behavior from previous years.

So Without Further Ado Here Are The…

October 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

Use your business’s FaceBook page to collect emails and offer email content directly within the rich active environment of FaceBook.

Re-purpose your email content in your wall and news stream after you send it to your regular email subscriber list.

Provide an link to your opt-in widget or embed it on your page so that readers don’t have to exit Facebook to sign up.


September 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

Before you start marketing your product or service online, be sure of what results you are looking for and have a clear objective in mind. It’s easier to work towards accomplishing your marketing plan with a goal in mind.


August 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

  1. Be Consistent – Stop and Start Marketing Takes More Energy than Building a Consistent Credible presence.
  2. Be Unique – Don’t flat out clone your competitors.
  3. Know how your target market will choose your product or service.
  4. Stop waiting for a ‘Better‘ economy.


July 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

In this month of “Mid-Summer’s Nights and Day Dreams” stay focused on the fundamentals of your small business.


June 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

Improve Your Local Google Ranking

  1. Include a link to your website in your social media profiles filled out with your business address.
  2. Insert your city or metro in your page titles.
  3. Claim your business page on Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook and of course Google.


      May 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

          1. Connect with your local business community.
          2. Schedule a local small business resource meeting to introduce your industry.
          3. Visit a local tradesman breakfast hangout, and start up discussions with the regulars about your business.
            Tradesmen are typically solopreneurs or small business owners who can spread your business awareness via WOM.

           


          April 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

           

          1. Read Up On HTML 5.
          2. Create a SWOT Chart Comparing Your Company to You Top 3 Competitors.
          3. Draft A Content Marketing Editorial Calendar.


            March 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

            1. Local Marketing Tips 
            • Include your address and local phone number on all pages of your website.
            • Use location – local keywords for SEO.
            • Guest post and comment on local blogs.
            • Become members in your local chamber of commerce.
            • Support community events.


              February 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

              1. Start an email marketing program
                • Start small with an email service like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.
                • Create a giveaway to entice people to sign up for your list.
                • Use your blog to create an RSS campaign if you’re short on time to create content for email.
              2. Participate in two new industry forums or Facebook groups
                • See what problems people are having and offer help or solutions.
                • Get to know others in your field-they might have referral business at some point.
                • If there is no Facebook group for your industry, start one and invite people through Twitter.
              3. Seek guest blogging opportunities
                • Look through blogs and websites for industry colleagues.
                • Email with an offer of 2-3 topics for a potential guest blog post.
                • Promote your guest blog post.
              4. Create a referral program
                • Decide on a simple give-back to customers who refer new business to you.
                • Consider giving the one-time referral discount to the new client and the referring client.
                • Tell your current clients that you have a referral program (via email, mailer, or phone), and encourage them to refer new business to you.

              January 2011 Actionable Marketing Tips

              1. Use Mobile to Connect with Your Customers.
                • Is Your Site Mobile Accessible?
                • Do You Have a Mobile App Idea?
              2. Use Social Media as an Integral Part of Your Marketing Plan.
                • Listen on Twitter.
                • Create A Page on FaceBook.
                • Contribute to a Social Bookmarking Site.
              3. Update Your Customer Profile for 2011
                • Update the devices used by your customers.
                • Update the geographic and demographics on your customer file.
              4. Write Your 140 character Twitter Pitch
                • Practice Practice Practice
                • Test Test Test
              5. Use an Editorial Calendar to Keep On Message
                • An editorial calendar is purely a schedule of where you are writing, what topics you plan to cover, and when you plan to write about those topics. 

              One thing to note about Actionable Marketing Tips: Always include room to seize an opportunity. There are tactics and tools that will pop up and demand your attention. Or, you just may not feel that particular marketing tactic at that moment. A solid marketing tip is a fluid document. It’s OK to switch things up. Just make sure each item finds a place on your calendar.

              If You Enjoyed This Blog Post, Get blog updates, plus:

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              7 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Mobile Marketing

              Written by Debra Leitl on May 16, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

              Marketing to mobile users is a conduit for encouraging interaction with your existing and potential clients. The fact that the average consumer is very social media focused makes the interaction and response to mobile marketing that much more effective than conventional online marketing. As a result, many online business owners have seen their sales jump after they built a mobile website and in-app landing location.

              Before you jump in and invest in mobile marketing there are a few things you should ask yourself to ensure you get started on a solid foundation.

              1. Am I educated enough on mobile marketing and the latest trends?

              According to a recent report on the events at the International CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) Wireless Conference, the year 2011 is considered as the year of m-commerce, device apps, and location-based marketing. If you feel you require more knowledge to be successful in this medium then go for it before you start investing in mobile marketing.

              2. How many of my existing customers have mobile devices and what is the potential for future customers in my market?

              Before you invest in mobile marketing you should survey your existing customers to determine how many of them use mobile devices. Then you should reach out a little further to get an approximation of how many mobile users in general are in your market.

              3. What is my target for clients that are mobile users?

              When you are talking about mobile marketing it is necessary to target mobile users in terms of demographics, type of mobile device they use, type of connection and bandwidth, etc. This will help you to determine the mode you will use for mobile marketing such as SMS, 3G, GPRS, and others.

              4. Do I have a digital strategy in place for marketing on the mobile Web?

              After you gather the necessary data on mobile users in your market you should plan a strategy for mobile marketing. This includes strategies for testing and measuring the results of your efforts.

              5. What aspect of my business lends itself well to mobile marketing?

              If you have an existing offer or multiple offers it is important to ask yourself if there is anything you can add to your offers to make them more valuable on mobile devices. If you are going to invest in mobile marketing you must first ensure that it is going to be worthwhile.

              6. Do I have a method for testing the waters before I invest?

              Before you design an app strategy you should have a method for testing the waters using the mobile web as a platform so you can learn before spending the time to put an app strategy in place. Use other mobile websites that are successful as a benchmark for performing the test.

              7. What is my purpose for using mobile marketing?

              Know in advance what you want to achieve with mobile marketing in terms of brand awareness, expanding your customer base, increasing revenue, or anything else you want to achieve.

              If the benefits of mobile marketing outweigh the drawbacks then spend the time to create a rock solid base for building your mobile marketing strategy and then test, test, and test again.

              If You Enjoyed This Blog Post, Get blog updates, plus:

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              The Path of Persuasion vs. the Path of Innovation

              Written by Debra Leitl on May 9, 2011. Posted in Day In The Life

              When you are creating a foundation on which to build your marketing strategies, one of the important decisions you must make is the manner in which you choose to market to your potential customers. In other words, how will you pitch your products and influence your market? This is where you must decide on the likes and dislikes of your target audience and what you are comfortable doing when marketing your products and services. There are two basic approaches which include persuasion and innovation:

              Path of Persuasion

              We have all seen it. The high pressured sales pitch that provides you with a zillion reasons why you should purchase a product. The offer practically screams, “I am a crook!” The pitch is laden with sentences that try to persuade you into a purchase, fake testimonials, and a lot of hype that seems too good to be true. Well, you know the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true…”

              This type of marketing usually comes from someone that is not interested in their client’s needs and instead is out to make a quick buck. You will find these quick buck people online one week and then gone the next because they are not building a business that is sustainable.

              On the other hand, the path of persuasion can be effective if you know how to implement it in good taste. Some of the best copywriters will tell you that the path of persuasion means first connecting with your customers and then providing them with concrete information that helps them to make a solid informed decision about a product or service. It is also about losing the hype and telling it like it is. If you choose to use persuasion in your marketing this is a good rule of thumb to remember otherwise you will crash and burn rather quickly.

              Path of Innovation

              Have you ever come across something really innovative that you had not seen anywhere else? What comes to mind? How does it make you feel? Chances are that it makes you remember what you saw and that it makes you feel like the marketer is sincere and put a lot of thought into their product or service.

              This is what the path of innovation is all about when it comes to using this technique in your marketing strategies. It is not only about offering an innovative product or service. It is also about being innovative and original in the way you go about interacting with potential customers, the way you present your brand, and the different ways that you show that you put some thought into the needs of your customers.

              If you are successful on the path of innovation and you work to interact with your customers and provide them with value, selling your product will become the easiest part of your marketing plan. And when you offer backend products in the future, recommending them to your clients and making the sale will be easy as well.

              So when it comes to the path of persuasion vs. the path of innovation you must decide what you are best at, the preferences of your market, and the best approach to the decision you make.

              If You Enjoyed This Blog Post, Get blog updates, plus:

              • A 55 Minute Online Marketing Mentoring Session (1 monthly random winner)
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