Search Engine Optimization

May 13, 2009

Over the past nine weeks we’ve looked at a number of new media that can help your marketing efforts. Modern media, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and even Bluetooth, give you great new tools to engage customers in two-way conversations. However, as good as these tools are, they won’t work if you can’t attract customers to your website in the first place! The way to stand out from the internet crowd is through search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization, in a nutshell, is the practice of improving both the internal and external features of a website in order to increase traffic. A company called SEOmoz.org has this comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization which is worth reading. In addition, the MSNBC interview, below, will give you a few quick tips on SEO to get you started.


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Bluetooth Marketing Coming to A Store Near You

May 12, 2009

In the past few posts we’ve explored new media options. While some have been fairly well known others, such as using YouTube, are relatively new. Today, however, were going to look at a marketing tool that is on the cutting edge: Bluetooth marketing. Bluetooth, as you know, is wireless connection standard most commonly used for headsets. However, since it is capable of sending and receiving data, Bluetooth provides a unique opportunity to marketers. Here’s how it could work: A retail store could broadcast discount offers or other promotional offers (including free .mp3s) to prospects walking near their store (the Bluetooth range is approximately 100 meters). This is location based marketing a very personal and interactive level

As Bluetooth marketing (and cell phone marketing in general) is used much more widely in Europe it makes sense to look overseas for further information. This article from Bluetooth on Air.com is a fairly comprehensive review of the technology and how it can be used for marketing. Also, take a look at this nice Bluetooth marketing and advertising video that Proximitymedia put on YouTube.


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YouTube for Marketing?

May 10, 2009

I personally never would have thought about using YouTube for marketing until I read this report from ComScore. According to the report, the ubiquitous video hosting site had more than 99 million unique visitors in March 2009. To make it even more interesting, this report from iMedia Connection shows that 55% of YouTube’s U.S. visitors are 35-64 years old. This isn’t your typical teenage dominated new media!

For a nice introduction to using YouTube to marketing a business take a look at this Inc. Technology article. Also be sure to watch the YouTube video below to see how this Oregon brewer takes an informational approach to their marketing. Finally to make it even more interesting YouTube has an analytic tool called Insight discussed on CNET News that will help you understand exactly who is watching your videos.


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Mobile Social Networking – The Next Big Trend?

May 9, 2009

Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are huge. Facebook alone had more than 68 million unique visitors in January 2009 according to this report. As I’ve posted before there are some serious marketing opportunities here. According to a report from BusinessWeek, MySpace users spend an average of 215 minutes/month on the site. These users are connected to like-minded friends, family and acquaintances who could be interested in your products and services.

What is even more intriguing is that all of these sites can be accessed via mobile phone. So now, your potential audience doesn’t even need to be sitting at a desk. Imagine the possibilities of using GPS location-based marketing combined with social networking. For instance, what if your campaign could send a 10% discount code to a customer based on being near the client’s retail store (or the competitor’s). Then, what if the coupon had coding to forward to your social networking friends? Instant viral marketing.

Unfortunately, according to this InformationWeek report, currently only a small percentage of users (24%) are checking their social networking sites from their cell phones. In part this has to do with the small screen size, but also because of access cost (not everyone has unlimited web access plans). Still, applications such as Twitter have proven immensely popular on cell phones so it is only a matter of time. If you are the first marketer to take advantage of this developing trend you’ll definitely have a leg up on the competition. SocialMediaTrader has a great list of 38 Social Networking Sites for mobile users to help get you started.


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Mobile Search Marketing

May 9, 2009

You’ve already created a mobile website and you even have advertising on it. So how come your traffic isn’t so good when you aren’t running a campaign to specifically draw customers to your site? The simple reason is that your site is probably not optimized for mobile searches. Mobile SEO News has a good basic article to get your marketing headed in the right direction.

In particular you have to keep in mind that because of the small cell phone screen size, achieving a top-ranked search results position is critical. While this potentially makes keyword prices more expensive it also means that marketers have to be more careful in the keywords they select. Just as important, marketers have to make sure that their creative is clear and concise. For example according to “Preparing for Mobile Search Marketing” Google’s mobile ad specs allow just a maximum of 20 characters. With that little space you have to be very creative!

Executing a Mobile Search Marketing Campaign” is another nice introductory article for marketers. Author Joe Whyte offers some good tactics that you should consider, including:

  • Create a clear and precise call to action
  • Create a Click to Call option
  • Send page via mobile email
  • Add ability to share with others by SMS capability

Finally, Bryson Munier has is a nice compendium of Mobile SEO Resources links for Mobile SEO, Mobile Development and Design, and Mobile Analytics.


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Minority Social Networking – The Surprising Numbers

May 8, 2009

The general perception of Social Networking sites is something like this: MySpace is for teens, Facebook for college students and LinkedIn is for business professionals. With the exception of LinkedIn, no one thinks about adults on the other social networking sites. However, that is changing rapidly. A recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that now 35% of online adults have at least one profile on a social networking site. That is compared to 75% of those 17 and younger according to this report in Ars Technica. While the teenagers still far outnumber the adults, don’t forget that the adults tend to have larger incomes!

The most interesting part of the Pew report, however is the number of minorities that participate in social networking sites. According to the report, 48% of African-American adults and 43% of non-white Hispanic adults have online profiles. This compares to only 31% of white adults. While 31% of whites are a larger actual number, it still makes an important point: social networking sites can be a valuable means of marketing to minorities. According to a BIGresearch study minorities tend to be higher users of new media so don’t forget to add social networking sites into your media mix!


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Social Networking for Christians

May 8, 2009

As I sat in church recently it occurred to me that a good use for Twitter would be to send short Bible verses out to the faithful. Now while I am not really the audience for this as I don’t attend church regularly and I think Twitter is a bit silly, it still seemed like an intriguing idea. Imagine being able to get a daily scripture reference delivered to your phone; or how about a link to a web page with a whole daily sermon or lesson on it! So I basically Googled the idea and found that there are already a few resources for people of faith. Gospelr has already been created to provide a Twitter outlet for Christians. I also found a Facebook group Called “Christian Men of Twitter” that serves as a networking site for like-minded people.

Like any social networking programs, I think there are marketing opportunities here. It may be as narrow as churches advertising their services or much bigger. People who identify themselves as Christians make up 83% of the population of the U.S according to this report based on the U.S. Census. Fifty-one percent of these households, according to statistics from Changing Times, have incomes of $75,000 or higher. If you create marketing for a company that is either directly consider Christian-related or at least practices what could be considered Christian business ideals these new sites are opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.


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Facebook Is Addictive

May 8, 2009

A recent study at Ohio State University found that social networking sites like Facebook are addictive. The study, found that students who had Facebook access had lower grade point averages than students who did not. Generally speaking, this is because Facebook users tend to study less (1-5 hours per week vs. 11-15 hours per week for non-users). The belief, of course, is that Facebook users are too distracted by the program to do homework.

So, what does this have to do with marketing? Well, to be brutally honest, this means that Facebook and other social networking sites are great marketing opportunities. As the study implies, Facebook users tend to spend a significant amount of time on the program so if they are your target you need to be there also. Inside CRM has a great article on 100 Tools and Tips to Tap the Facebook Customer Base that will help you understand the social networking phenomenon and how to use it for your marketing needs.


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Marketing with Twitter

May 7, 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard of Twitter. This social networking/micro-blogging tool is the most buzzed about new technology in years. According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project as mentioned here in ars technica, typical users are “young, mobile and new media-savvy. However, while it is currently used mostly too keep friends up-to-date it also has great potential as a marketing tool. Click here for a thoughtful article on how to use Twitter as a lead-generation tool.

Lee Odden has a nice post in his Online Marketing Blog about using Twitter as an effective marketing and PR tool. The nice thing about this article is that many of the tips were sent in by Twitter users, so it gives some good advice from a user perspective. While it remains to be seen whether Twitter is just a fad or not, there are dedicated users so it doesn’t make sense to ignore them.


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Web Design Is More than Just Code

May 7, 2009

When it comes to web design sometimes it feels like we are wandering alone in the wilderness. Back in the good old days, if you can consider anything pre-internet as good, trained graphic designers created the majority of printed marketing communications. However, with the advent of the web not only did publishing become more democratic but so did the creation of the designs. Unfortunately, knowing how to code HTML did not mean that web designers had any clue about colors, proportions, white space and other critical items that make publications readable. Luckily, a great resource does exist for both professional and non-professional designers tasked with creating web pages. A List Apart is a comprehensive web design site with great articles, such as:

  • Home Page Goals
  • Human-to-Human Design
  • Fluid Grids
  • Designing for Flow
  • In Defense of Eye Candy

These articles and hundreds more, are available for free so be sure to take advantage and get help that will make your websites that much better!


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