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Blogging, Local & Small Business

Blog and Shine: Ways to “Blog-Start” Your Morning or Any Day

March 10, 2014
Blogging In The Morning Or Blog Tips Anytime


Blogging for some is a task. A real chore.

 

And this, truthfully hurts my insides somewhere just ever so slightly..

 

Jokes aside, it’s no secret that some people, business owners , do have a website – and love the idea of a flourishing blog – but simply do NOT have the time for it or have other obligations more suitable for their needs. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog post, you don’t fall into that category.

 

While it’s fine and dandy for this example business owner to be going about his morning routine, you’re here and now, ready to do your job. Perhaps you are your own one-man business and blogging away. Nevertheless, let’s agree that blogging should never be considered a chore.

 

However, if blogging is a task on your goal list for the day, then consider this: as I sat here and am drinking my coffee and have evaluated my day ahead of me and what I would blog about today, I realize a key component to good blogging is opportunity.

 

But what can be so opportune to dub thy article one to be read?

 

  • Simply enough: Begin your day by writing!

 

My first thought. Each and every day we rise with the sun, with a whole new day of opportunity ahead of us. We are naturally in-sync with this rotation, and we ourselves refresh ourselves every morning. Even if it’s a draft piece, try honing that break-of-dawn feeling and reel it into an uplifting and well thought out blog post.

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Branding & Design, Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

Be Unique: 4 Examples of Outstanding Social Media Ideas in Action

March 2, 2014
millenials-confident-ftr


We’re not all lost at sea when it comes to social media marketing. Sometimes it’s less of a “navigating the waters” scenario and more of a “the well has run dry” challenge. Either situation you may find yourself in, one thing is sure: you are only going to succeed by escaping the trap of doing nothing at all rather than doing it all so perfect.

 

2014: The Year Your Social Media Is Serious…..ly Effective!

To get your inspiration back on par or to jump start your efforts on new platforms here are four simple out-of-the-box or cutting-edge approaches for using social media to get your businesses’ message across. Maybe they’ve been around for some time, but I’ve noticed them not being used to their full potential. If you aren’t taking advantage of something somewhere in the social-sphere, here’s some ideas simple and savvy that will make you meet the challenge; be unique!

 

Increase Reach With Events By Promoting with #Hashtags

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Local & Small Business, Search Engine Marketing

How is 2014 Marketing Changed by 2014 Technology?

January 7, 2014
New 2014 Marketing Strategies


2014 is, as every is at one point, the new year. This year, many things have happened within the technical community to allow different technologies and strategies to flourish on the web, with many outlets. While this post will primarily talk about marketing, the technology shift that has came with such libraries as jQuery (http://jquery.com/), artists can now transmit and integrate their work across the web with techniques that are revolutionarily simple, a product of good people who want to see a better web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source to check out more what it’s all about.

 

How Technology Dictates 2014 Marketing

 

As for marketing, in 2014 Google is forced to see social signals (blog posts about someone on a site like Tumblr, links on Twitter, Facebook, etc) as the defining factor when ranking a website. These sites are so universally popular and demand user interaction, so if someone is being interacted with frequently on a social media site, they’re likely to be an authority on whatever their subject matter. As a result, if you want to control Google nowadays it’s not as “cheating” as it used to be, there is no “magic pill”, you must create (or simulate) original content and interaction with this content on your social network accounts which are connected with your brand (Usually through “URL” fields in profile). In 2014 marketing, this is great for the real business, as if you’re really dedicated to bringing your business online, you will add content frequently (or, this is how Google sees it), and by adding relevant (to your niche) content to your website, to Social Networks connected to your website, Google sees your brand as authoritative. Hard work truly pays off in the marketing/SEO game nowadays, more than anything. This type of system near guarantees that people who are faking and generating bad content through machine learning algorithms have to go legit, and as a result we have a more clean, organized, and infomative internet.

 

How to Succeed with SEO Marketing in 2014

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Branding & Design, Local & Small Business

Why Use WordPress For Your Website?

November 21, 2013
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If you’re wondering whether WordPress is a good way for you to manage your online presence, whether it be a portfolio, shop, portal, network (social or otherwise), or community, WordPress is always a viable option to manage your data in a coherent way, and ran by powerful code that turns your data into beautiful imagery.

 

The best part of WordPress is that it’s built off the idea of organization. It’s at first organized to be a blog, but it has a very rich Application Programming Interface that can be extended to include Custom Post Types. With this feature, WordPress can be programmed to create and organize any type of data type, not just blog posts! You can manage a “Menu” Section for your restaurant website as easy as you check your email online! Run a community calendar for an oraganization with the same amount of ease as sending a friend on Facebook. Even managing a client, customer or product database is an easy task with such a beautiful and user friendly interface.

 

Wordpress also supports something called “Plugins”. These are extensions for your site; ‘addons’, ‘modules’, like when you put a different engine in a car, or add a decoration to it. There are many modules as the WordPress community is mostly very friendly in the effort to create clean, efficient code all across the board. Plugins can change your blog into a Makeup shop, or a social network for construction workers, the range of versatility is literally endless!

 

 

Local & Small Business, Search Engine Marketing

4 Key Ideas to Maximize Your Efforts in the Mobile Marketing Movement

February 20, 2013
the-mobile-movement-ideas-for-mobile-marketing-success


Change is inevitable, and keeping up with the times can mean a great deal to the livelihood of your business. When the dot com boom was first introduced into the playing field, adapting to the new technology of a personal or business webpage was not a necessity, but it boomed why? A fair portion of what is to blame was the hype, but there also was an equivalency in convenience and effectiveness – people had fun partaking on both sides of the screen. The internet passed the test. Flying colors. But soon enough, however, we find ourselves in a day and age when not just is the internet incredibly relevant to increased success with businesses of all types, but the internet is being used in all kinds of new ways. The same principle applies: what works, stays. Folks, mobile marketing is here to stay for good.

How and Why Mobile Marketing is a ‘Movement’

In fact, in a recent study published at the end of last year by Ofcom, consumer research points out that a great deal of internet usage is conducted using mobile devices – and in many countries. Just take a look yourself:

Those stats get me giddy, but if you’re seeing laptops still in the lead or don’t find that the strong surge being global is proof enough, let your eyes rest upon these glaring statistics. Mobile marketing to outrun desktop computer usage?! Not only is that a possibility to ponder, but according to Microsoft Tag research, its a prediction for what we’ll see ahead of us come 2014.

Safe to say the facts speak for themselves and operating in denial could leave your business in the dust. In 2013, there is no longer the need to calculate the value and worth of mobile marketing investment; although you can if you want to, and you sure can share your outcomes and data if you want to, too – there are many, many like myself who warmly appreciate the sharing of analyics in evolving paradigms. See now, your competitors aren’t just “getting into” mobile marketing – throwing up some QR codes on marketing peices or setting up the option to “check-in” to your local business. No. They are getting in and getting dirty. Everybody is having wild fun with the mobile technology too (just the dot come bubble), which only naturally leads to.. new functions, usages, and applications within this (not so little anymore) world of mobile marketing.

How to Maximize Your Efforts and Invest Best with Mobile Marketing in 2013

It is a movement that is snowballing quickly in several directions, and businesses, programmers, and users alike are all discovering both new ways as well as the most efficient ways to enjoy the experience. Don’t let the magnitude of this momentum stop you from building your own mobile momentum. Whether you’re not in the game yet, or you’re not sure how to get the most of mobile in its current state, you’ve got options; successful, customer-winning options. I mean, you came here for a reason right? So, without any further adieu, let me share with you the most useful and effective mobile marketing ideas for 2013.

1. Time to trash the notion that SMS (text messages) are intrusive.

Many businesses (local SMB’s especially) have reserved their opportunity to tap into an incredible resource: insanely intimate communication with their customers. The truth is that most consumers don’t find SMS marketing intrusive at all as long as they have opted-in to being messaged, most consumers enjoy the special perks, coupons, and offers in the personal manner of SMS, and lastly, not most, but all, consumers who have plunged for the opt-in will 99.9% of the time receive and actually read the message. Not only can you use standard text-messaging in your marketing efforts, but MMS (multi media messaging) is also an option. Do you think direct mail marketing pros of the past would brush the oppurtunity off? Didn’t think so either. A few ideas for ways to get customers to opt-in:

  • Restaurants, have your waitress or cashier equipped with a simple postcard with the number to text to opt-in when it comes time for food bills to be paid. Slipping these in takeout order works too.
  • Storefronts, post attractive, easy-to-read signage displaying the opt-in method and a special offer for signing up that they can redeem that day. This will help get people in the door and you’ll also have their number for keeps to repeat the process! ;-)
  • Retail businesses, appeal to your audience by informing them that by signing up they will be informed about exclusive sales and other useful reminders, like when a new brand is stocked.
  • Physical stores that utilize shopping carts, display the opt-in on buggy handles, offering special deals – right where their hands are placed (and phone if they happen to pull it out).

While these are industry-specific examples, any business can easily implement SMS marketing and build a solid list by having simple postcards with the opt-in, on-hand!

2. I didn’t say QR was a waste – You simply need to get creative with those darned things!

They certainly are not a waste in any aspect, with the increasing number of people who utilize smartphones. Even people who don’t are familiar with them by now. These funky boxes of “quick response” codes are wonderful tools when you actually think outside the basic box though. Implementing QR code functionality in ways that will either greatly benefit your customers or impress the heck out of them with creativity, will win them over. QR codes have become a saturated phenomenon, so you’ve got to stand out from the crowd. One example, as the mobile infographic above suggests, is placing QR codes on price tags so that customers can do things like: compare competitor prices, tally total costs, calculate savings, or redeem discounts – all right then and there. Mobile consumers build trust with your brand when the sense of reward is obtained; that sense/trust is invoked or conjured up really as easy as them simply utilizing their gadget in a new or interesting way. See this list for a great bunch of unique suggestions.

3. Do thorough analysis on the experience customers get when they interact with you in mobile modes.

How to go about that exactly? Your analysis should include:

  • Testing and analyzing how every single aspect of your website looks and functions in a variety of devices. If you don’t have responsive design implemented into your website’s design/coding, the results you’ll find with a peek on a phone will be startlingly bleak: a bunch of jumbled up and illegible content; useless. It’s more important than every to have responsive design, and it covers all the bases – any size screen will be able to browse your site in an appropriate view. Do due diligence and check on small phones, smartphones, tablets, and every possible resolution of screen, and take your time. Every page. Every submission form. Every product display. Evaluate if any changes need to be made, and hire a pro to fix your errors an inconsistencies.
  • Have an e-mail newsletter going out too? This should also be optimized for mobile viewing or you’re losing out on tons of action. Consumers who spend their “reading time” on their mobile devices is at an increasing rate, and makes perfect sense, too. Who wants to sit at the same familiar desk when you can catch up on your favorite news sources and e-mail subscriptions while enjoying a fine seat on a park bench on a perfectly sunny day?

4. If you haven’t tackled it already, optimize for mobile searching. I urge you!

An overwhelming portion of searches (1 in every 7) are being performed on mobile devices, and a hefty portion of those searches happen while customers are in-store even. What bases need to be covered for a perfect-10 score on the mobile search scale?

  • First, be sure you have all of your correct information filled out on your Google+ Page listing (formerly dubbed a “Google Places” listing) which appears on the Google Map when people search for your services. Also, more obviously, when they search for your business name. Go the full distance, and be sure to add photos to your profile, descriptions, and try to get reviews from happy customers. This listing may be the only impression your business has the chance to give before a mobile user decides which local business to patronize.

Once you’ve got that taken care of, don’t stop with filling the profile out. Search engine results, especially in local markets when mobile users search, can be highly competitive. Just because you have more reviews than your competitor means that you will outrank them on the map (although reviews are necessary components to beating them out). Much more than that goes into ensuring a top spot on Google and chances are if you’ve thought about being #1, your competitors have too. So where do you fall in the results? Hire a professional search engine marketing specialist to implement a campaign that will secure your local spot. Also, a true professional SEO will not just wing it with where you’re going to pop up (as in, which search terms will be queried and you’ll be the top result for), but they will perform keyword research to analyze what EXACT search terms are getting the most search volume. Keyword research and targeting could be put into an easy analogy: it’s essentially figuring out where the jack-pot school of fish are hiding out in most frequently, when you’re examining the territory of the lake you’re fishing in. But, seriously, I can’t stress enough how important it is to tackle this now rather than let time tick away – because according to Social Media Today

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Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Content & Creativity for the Clueless [Part 1]

August 23, 2012
online-searcher


With so much content on the internet, those who aren’t familiar with its inner (and outer) workings, are so often easily puzzled as to how everything fits together; whether you’re using the web for business or as an individual. With so much content, information, and constant hype surrounding the quickly evolving speed and innovation in our communication and the mediums that go along with it—I can’t blame them for thinking that social media for marketing is seemingly cryptic or enigmatic.

Ask the pros, and they will tell you of how difficult it can be to simply explain their career to family members and friends.

Clueless on Social Media? 

This post is geared towards helping the nowhere near social-savvy, who want to begin using social media for marketing their brand or business. This is advice to help prime your complete understanding of how social media can help your biz. Since there’s so much ground to cover I’ve broken this post into two parts, where tomorrow I will show you the nitty-gritty breakdown of content and inspiration for it.

Where to start with social media marketing

Where You Should Start

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Branding & Design, Local & Small Business

14 Useful Ways to Use QR Codes for Business

August 7, 2012
Scanning advertising with QR code on mobile phone


What are QR Codes?

By now most people have noticed those funky things called QR codes–you know the futuristic looking squares popping up all around town that look like either a portal into the matrix or an alien footprint.

QR codes–short for quick response–actually are considered a type of “matrix barcode,” which really only signifies that they’re 2-dimensional.

But that is pretty neat if you think about it, and they sure have received quite the response in the Western world in the past few years. Believe it or not, they’ve been around since ’94. Originally created for use in the auto industry by Japan, they’re now yet another staple in the ever-evolving thing called society, which has launched us all into yet another arena for both technology and business.

How Can My Business Use Them?

But, by now, not everybody really knows how to utilize them, and even if you’re a savvy business owner with a smart phone yourself, you might not be sure of what creative, useful, and effective ways you can be using QR codes for your business. If the thought has crossed your mind–you’re in luck. Not only are they super easy to set up, I’ve got some ideas for you (14 to be exact!) to put to use that will bring about some delightful data delivery (and foot traffic!).

Business Cards.

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Local & Small Business

20 Ideas to Kick-Start Your Local Business Marketing Online

July 28, 2012
ideas-for-local-business-online-marketing


Don’t know where to begin with marketing your local business? At a loss for how to handle a web marketing campaign? Whether you’re just starting out, you’re lost with new technology, or the well has run dry for new ways to engage online, these ideas will surely launch your business into new places.

1. Figure Out Your Goals. What and where are you lacking? How can you be doing things better? Envision your business becoming the authority on the web and it can.
2. Bring Your Goals To Life. Do you have them written down? Do your employees understand the new goals? Build morale and ideas WILL come to life.
3. Check Out Your Competition. What is their website like? What about their social media profiles? Are they engaging their customers? How can you learn from them? Don’t imitate, but innovate.
4. Evaluate Your Website. Do you even have one (P.S. if not, now is the time)? Is it outdated? Is it compelling? Is it capturing your visitors? Are you providing them with enough content? Is there a call-to-action?
5. Make Sure Your Content Is Grade A. Do you have a blog? Is it unique (completely original and not plagiarized)? Are you consistently updating? Content is King for a reason.
6. Make More Content. Can’t say it enough! Make the investment in hiring a ghostwriter for your blog or employing a staff member as a writer.
7. Ensure You’re Registered Locally In The Search Engines. Are you able to be found when locals are looking for your business information?
8. Climb To The Top Of Local Search. Being registered is a start, but it’s nowhere to finish. Secure your spot at #1 for the most relevant search terms related to your business, including search terms that provide results such as Google Places.
9. Build A Local Portal Of Information. Create an extensive guide that is the new go-to. Offer plentiful information about your local area, its history, local events, news, what to do if you’re a tourist, information about other businesses, like where the best places are to wine, dine, and play.
10. Get Your Biz Listed In Local Directories. The days of phone books are dead and gone, but besides Google, online business directories and review sites are where people are searching when they’re ready to purchase. And most are free to be listed.
11. Measure Your Progress. If you don’t have analytics set up for your website, you have absolutely NO way to know what the heck you’re doing and if you’re getting anywhere with having a website in the first place. Most are free as well and will quantify your efforts.
12. Get The Word Out With Videos. You don’t need to go overboard here – in length or budget. But just having a little something-something on YouTube or Metacafe will get your audience interested.
13. Give Away Some Content. One great way to get more traffic is to guest blog. Get involved with other local businesses who are doing online marketing well and contribute a blog post and leave a backlink to your website.
14. Sponsor An Event And Promote It Online. Whether it’s proceeds to a charity or just a fun day of activities for the neighborhood, this is also an incredible way to network and get acclimated with your locals. The extra social media push will do wonders.
15. Get On Twitter. Don’t let 140 characters fool you. Twitter can be powerful – especially in reaching local people.
16. Get On All Kinds Of Social Media. Don’t shy away from social media. Ever. People want to get involved with local businesses. What can you offer them? Hint: it’s nothing promotional. You’ve got to be willing to be personable and entertaining.
17. Don’t Forget To Allow For Sharing. Make sure you’ve added social sharing buttons to your website pages and blog posts to encourage visitors to get the word out for you.
18. Include Your Phone Number In Your PPC Ads. Pay-per-click advertising is just a numbers game. Now, tell me: how much more likely will someone be to call if your number is right in front of their face?
19. Encourage Reviews. Reviews are incredibly, incredibly, incredibly powerful. They can make you, or they can break you. Make sure you actually push the idea casually, but in a way that reminds folks that had a good time at your place to leave one. More times than not, people are willing to leave a great review but forgot about the option to.
20. Use Check-In Technology. This is a great way to spread the idea of your business. Mobile usage is almost overwhelming prevalent today. If you employ this kind of technology, you’re not only allowing your name to enter more minds, but you’re allowing the idea of you being modern to enter the minds of the visitor – and their friends!

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Blogging, Local & Small Business, Search Engine Marketing

Website Marketing Analysis Part 1: Building Your Toolbox

July 25, 2012
website-marketing-analysis-tools-and-tips


One clear sign that you are not executing your online marketing plans effectively is if you forget to tidy up those plans with the important (should be first) step of analysis. Website marketing analyses don’t need to be expensive, although letting the pros handle the, otherwise raw data, will save you time and error, but business owners who shy away from the reality of analysis altogether will senselessly fail to evaluate what the highest return on marketing investment is—and what it could be.

Business analysis doesn’t always need to be complicated.

Despite pitfalls that may be placed in the way success along the way, if all innovators and thinkers were to neglect performance testing, we would have never had the great inventions come along like light bulbs and motor vehicles. While Edison and Ford worked tirelessly at never giving up, they never reached their goals without also figuring out exactly what was and wasn’t working—and changing.

If you want to improve the way your website is performing, capturing leads, making money, and getting the right idea across to you audience, you must face the facts (and figures). The analysis behind web marketing can seem especially confusing within business, but the tips and tools within this series will help you to do so more successfully, without as much time, and definitely without so much of that complicated thing called guesswork.

Turning Guesswork into Yes-work. What’s the first step to managing and analyzing your website marketing? You have got to say YES, first, to enabling the process. If you don’t have any web traffic analytics tool installed onto your website, you are essentially saying no—let’s not care about how all this work pans out in the long run. A great list of tools to get you going and help you say YES, loud and clear:

Free Website Marketing Analysis Tools:

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Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

What is Online Marketing, Exactly? Part 1: Social Media Marketing

July 14, 2012
what is online marketing


Online marketing is a bit of an elusive subject for some people. As for business owners, most know they need to utilize it; know people are making a killing off of it; and also know that every day it’s becoming more of something that’s necessary to their arsenal of exposure–the way the Yellow Pages once was for many businesses.

Online marketing is a pretty broad term, but there are a couple of areas that you should know about that will make understanding the whole of it a lot easier. For instance, we all know (if you didn’t, now you know!) that Facebook is a good place to promote your business, but where does that fall in within the broader scope of online marketing, and where should you start if you don’t know too much about the practice? Read on to find out.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a avenue of internet marketing that has just recently rose to prominence, but is clearly here to stay for quite some time. It constitutes advertising on networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and a host of other social platforms. Here are a couple very simple ideas for ramping up your social media marketing practices:

1. Utilize Twitter!

Personally, this is our favorite method of social media marketing, as Twitter is probably the most casual social network around. It can be largely valuable, despite what the skeptical may think of 140 characters at a time.

Completely flesh out your Twitter profile and make it enticing to prospective visitors and followers, and then engage them in a variety of ways. People love to be included in things. For example, say you’re a company that makes designer boots, and you decide to see who is tweeting about “designer boots” or “buying new boots” or something similar. Put yourself in your customers shoes (or rather, boots!), and simply type that phrase into the search box and click “all” on the toggle button. You now have a list of people who are very recently interested in designer boots, or buying new boots, boot collecting, etc. If you tweet @ (a.k.a mention) these people from your company account with just a funny little anecdote, what are the chances they will buy your boots? A lot more than before you made yourself known.

Be willing to engage your user base once they are found, share quality content, and be of true value as connection not just a “follower”, and you’re sure to increase your sales.

2. Get involved on Facebook.

Facebook is a bit harder to become engaged with your user base, but if you have the know-how and a small budget, it’s the perfect opportunity for you. Facebook Ads is sometimes seen as a bit underwhelming, but if you properly utilize all of the capabilities of it, you’ll be sailing on the road to inexpensive, targeted traffic in no time. The strength with Facebook is its ability to laser-target ads at people of very specific age, gender, location, and even interests. Also, the more you target your ad, the cheaper Facebook Ads is. First, identify your base. If you don’t know who that is, you have a bit of research to do. A good way to do this without paying a market researcher 100$/hr is to utilize services like Quantcast.

Let’s say you’re a company that does scuba diving lessons in the Caribbean. How would you utilize this service to find out what age group is most interested in scuba diving tours in the Caribbean? Just type in “scuba diving” into their search feature. We’re going to use the site scubadiving.com as an example. As you can see, a large majority of people coming to this site are between the ages of 18 and 24, male, and have no kids. So you can now use this data to target your FB ad for your Scuba Diving website/fanpage (we recommend utilizing a fanpage, as it’s easy for people to like your page from the side, and once they like your page, you can permanently reach out to them through status updates). So now, not only are your costs for advertising cheaper per click, but you aren’t displaying your ad to people who don’t want to see it, therefore increasing the value of your ad by a ton. Good deal right?

3. Leverage Tumblr.

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