Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3 Internet Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

3 Internet Marketing Tips

1. Internet marketing is not a business model or a replacement for marketing basics

There’s a certain amount of confusion around this what Internet marketing really is. For some, Internet marketing is a business model – i.e. you have built an Internet based business. But for most small businesses, the Internet is a new media channel that can be used to reach your target market.
If you view Internet Marketing as another tool in your toolbox, then your mindset changes and you can apply basic marketing concepts to your efforts – that is who is my target audience, where can I find them and why would they want to connect and do business with my company?

2. Internet marketing is not a quest for the most likes, followers and friends

Internet Marketing Tips - Build Relationships
Internet marketing is about building relationships and gaining visibility within your target market. Unfortunately there is something inherently important about fan counts, and it is human nature for people to check out your company profile on Facebook or Twitter and instantly judge them based on the metric of followers, friends or fans. But having many fake or uninterested followers does not help your business. So although growing your Facebook fans or Twitter followers organically seems tedious, those who follow you may actually care about and support your business. Using a service to quickly add 2000 fans only hurts you in the long run if you plan to do anything to market to these fans or followers.

3. Internet marketing is not about chasing the next new shiny object

Internet marketing is about creating a solid marketing plan, staying the course, evaluating your results and then modifying your activities as needed. I advise small business owners to create a marketing plan that’s flexible, can adapt to changes as the Internet evolves and fits your specific needs and overall marketing strategy. Not every new and improved online tool will be right for your business.

How does a small business owner effectively market their business online when they are trying to run their business on a day to day basis?

For many small businesses, it may seem that marketing gets more complicated and more confusing by the day, with constant changes to the technology and new platforms claiming help your business become more visible in the search engines.
The good news is that Internet marketing has transformed into a more sensible activity for small businesses, incorporating content marketing, search engine marketing including local search and social media marketing as the primary activities. The key is to find someone who you can work with who is knowledgeable about marketing and keeps up with the latest in this space. Doing so can help you focus on your base business, which is what you do best as a local business owner.

6 Amazing Social Media Statistics For Brands And Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know that almost three-quarters (71 percent) of internet users are more likely to purchase from a brand that they are following on a social networking site such as Twitter or Facebook?
Indeed, social media now accounts for almost one-quarter (22.5 percent) of all time that U.S. citizens spend online, and this weight of activity transcends down to all levels – an incredible 91 percent of searchers say that they use Facebook to find local businesses online.
These, and other amazing social media statistics, can be seen in the infographic below.

LinkedIn Introduces LinkedIn Contacts and App

“LinkedIn Contacts, a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships. LinkedIn brings all your contacts from your address books, email accounts and calendars together with the power of your LinkedIn network.”
linkedin contacts
The new LinkedIn Contacts is available both on LinkedIn.com, as well as a brand-new app for iPhone and is rolling out to a limited number of members in the United States over the coming weeks.

Facebook Announces New Mobile Layout for Facebook Pages: The new mobile Facebook Pages layout is “tailored to the way people look for information on their mobile devices.”

facebook mobile pages
The new mobile features allow Facebook Page admins easier mobile management.
Discussion From Our Networking Clubs: Thousands of social media marketers and small business owners are asking questions and helping others in our free Networking Clubs. Here are a few interesting discussions worth highlighting:

The Twitter for Mac App Gets an Update: The Twitter for Mac app has a few improvements with photos easier to share, retina display support and availability in 14 more languages.
twitter for mac
Twitter for Mac also offers "keyboard shortcuts, support for multiple accounts and timelines and other features."
Foursquare Gets a Facelift: Foursquare has redesigned Foursquare.com so you can “easily scan all the important information, like the name, address, phone number, hours and menu.”
foursquare redesign
The new Foursquare web design helps you find things faster.
Google+ Integrates With Google Drive: Google continues integration of Google+ with other Google products. Now on Drive, you’ll see the Google+ profile pictures for the people you share your documents with on Drive.
google+ drive integration
"You can hover over a photo to see details about the viewer and add them to your circles on Google+ — all without ever leaving Drive."
Tumblr Updates iPhone and iPad Apps: The latest Tumblr for iPhone and iPad app update provides new sharing features and GIFs that animate when you scroll.
tumblr app update
The Tumblr for iPhone and iPad app has some new features.
Here’s some interesting social media news to follow:
Twitter Is Working on a Two-Step Security SolutionWired has reported that Twitter is working on a two-step security solution to reduce the risk of Twitter accounts being hacked.

5 Ways to Build a Strong Social Media Platform

Social media is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your marketing arsenal. You may have a really useful and informative website but without a healthy social media platform, you could be wasting a great marketing opportunity. Building a social media platform takes time, but it is well worth the effort and not difficult if you follow these five suggestions.

1. Your Social Media Name is as Important as your Website Name 

You should secure your name or brand on social media sites as soon as possible. Securing your business name is part of your identity and brand. You don’t want customers to find a profile that has your name but offers irrelevant information or even negative information. This will also help in online searches on Google. If someone searches for your or your business, it’s very likely that social profiles with your name will also appear on the first page. You don’t want someone else’e Twitter or Facebook page appearing and being associated with you.

So make sure you use secure you name on social networking sites and then also do the following when you set-up your account.

  1. Complete your profile
  2. Change the profile URL to your brand, if possible
  3. Upload your logo or your image
  4. Be sure to include your website URL on the profile

2. Keywords are a Part of Social Media

Find the right keywords for your social media properties and gain a better picture of how to construct your messages. You can use the keywords for video optimization, image tagging, and tweeting. This will make sure you get the most out of your social media posts and interactions.

3. Link to Your Social Media Properties

You want to get the attention of your visitors for the social side of your business or online presence. To do this, you need to have tastefully placed social media links on your website. These links should be on every page and article on your website, making it easy for users to Like or ReTweet your website or view your social media property.

You can also add Twitter and Facebook feeds to your website. This way people who visit your website can be kept up to date about your social media posts.

4. Use Your Social Media Properties and Provide Great Content!

Now that your social media profile is setup and optimized for users, you need to make sure to actually use it and engage people. You can do this by providing unique and useful content.
One of the best ways to do this is to provide lists of the top ways to do something. For example, if you have a health related website, you could post about the top “8 Ways to Burn Belly Fat”. A title like this looks both interesting and engaging.

5. Engage Your Customers

You can engage customers in a lot of different ways. One way is to just ask your audience questions. Asking questions is a great way to start a conversation with your customers and build relationships. Another thing you can do is listen to your customers. Social media is not just about marketing your services but also listening and having interactions with people. Listening to customer can empower you and your business about what customers really want. This will ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pinterest Marketing

How has Pinterest helped your business?
Melanie describes how she stumbled across Pinterest marketing in January of this year, when she started to receive a high volume of traffic and orders to her site.
It wasn’t until she logged into Google Analytics that she realized Pinterest’s potential in terms of bringing new customers and traffic to her site.
You’ll discover how Melanie formed a Pinterest strategy and how it helped her business get more exposure and sales.
melanie duncan pinterest
Melanie Duncan on Pinterest.
Melanie explains how she first saw Pinterest traffic come from Luxury Monograms. People were pinning things from her site, even before she had a Pin It button. You’ll learn how people can pin from your blog or website.
luxury monograms website
Luxury Monograms was the first website from which Melanie saw Pinterest traffic.
Melanie explains that it wasn’t just the high-quality product photography that was being repinned, but also the basic product photos. You’ll discover why it’s not all about the quality of the photos and why calls to action are so important.
Listen to the show to find out what calls to action work best and how they can increase engagement by 80%.
Some of the biggest mistakes marketers make on Pinterest
Melanie explains how Pinterest is a very different type of social media platform and that many marketers or small business owners don’t really understand how to use it for their business.
A lot of us start with a personal Pinterest profile. Research shows that 80% of pins on Pinterest are repins. People log onto Pinterest, they look at their newsfeed and repin. They don’t really go out across the Internet and try to find new forms of information to put on the platform.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is that they don’t create enough original content. You’ll hear what you need to do to make a real difference and get the results you want.
Listen to the show to find out where the opportunity is for marketers.
How to determine if Pinterest is worth focusing on
Melanie shares how a lot of service business owners believe that they can’t be on Pinterest, as it’s only for physical products. You’ll learn why this isn’t true.
Pinterest has a free analytics tool that is available to all business pages now. You’ll discover 3 steps you need to take to have access.
pinterest web analytics
Pinterest has free web analytics for business pages.
Once you have access, Pinterest hooks up the analytics to your sites. You can now track your pin activity, such as:
  • How many people are pinning from your website
  • Whether your pins are being repinned and how often
  • How much traffic is being sent to your site
  • What your impressions are like
It’s a very easy tool to help track how quickly people respond and engage with your content.
You’ll discover the only way to get traffic from Pinterest to your blog or website and why it doesn’t have to be something pretty.
Listen to the show to learn why trending is a great strategy to use.
How to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website
Melanie explains that product-based business owners want to give people information. You’ll hear how Birch Box, a cosmetic brand, created a board for video and how they use it to promote their products.
birchbox tv
Birch Box on Pinterest has a board for video with cool tips on how to use their products.
With Luxury Monograms, Melanie created boards that give people ideas on how to use her products. You can blend your products on a board created around a topic where people search for ideas. For example, Luxury Monograms sells a lot of monogrammed napkins, so they also pin beautiful napkin rings from Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma.
You’ll learn how to create teaser content and how it can drive people from the image to your website.
Melanie shares why for her personally, video is more effective on Pinterest than on Facebook. Although everyone has different experiences.
melanie tv
Melanie's videos on Pinterest.
You’ll discover how video appears on the newsfeed and why it stands out from all the static images.
When you want to add text to your images, Melanie explains that you don’t have to be tech-savvy. She uses a free tool called PicMonkey.
Listen to the show to find out what Melanie does that refers the most traffic of any other pins. 
How the Pinterest audience differs from other social networks
Melanie explains how people on Pinterest do something very different from what they do on Facebook or Twitter.
When people are on Pinterest, they are in a very different state of mind. They actively look for products and information to discover. This is a huge advantage for a business or a brand. Seventy percent of people use Pinterest to get inspiration and information on what to buy.
You’ll be surprised to hear what the average order value is on Pinterest, compared to Twitter and Facebook.
Melanie believes Pinterest is very different in the ways that a brand can engage. On Pinterest, people are shopping. You’ll find out why it’s important to add prices to your pins.
throw pillows
Make sure you add a price to your product pins.
Listen to the show to hear why you shouldn’t be afraid to sell or promote your products on Pinterest.
Tips for improving the chance that people will share or click on your Pinterest images
Melanie says that calls to action are a must. You’ll hear what happened when Melanie tested the same pin with and without a call to action.
mad for monograms price
A Luxury Monograms image with a call to action.
If you want to get people to recirculate your content, you need to tell them what to do. You’ll find out what Melanie has on her images to pique people’s interest.
Users can discover content on Pinterest in several ways. When you first set up a Pinterest account, they’ll recommend people for you to follow, based upon the different general interests you tell them. You’ll always see in your newsfeed the content that people you follow have pinned.
There is also a search box on the top left, where you can search with keywords. Melanie encourages people to use keywords in their captions to help with search results.
Listen to the show to hear why there is no preferential treatment when it comes to search.

This Week’s Social Media Question

Danish Ahmed from Ordinary Words asks, “Should I abandon Blogger and switch to WordPress? I’ve put a lot of investment into Blogger but it looks like Blogger is no longer considered a worthy platform for professionals. Is this true?”
Yes, this is true. I believe that WordPress is where you want to go. Blogger is largely perceived to be the hobbyist platform, whereas WordPress is a more serious platform.
wordpress org
WordPress.org is a much more serious platform than Blogger.
Here are 3 reasons why you should consider switching to WordPress.
  1. It’s the largest, most robust blogging platform, supported by a huge developer community.
  2. It’s highly scalable as your blog grows. We use it to run Social Media Examiner.
  3. WordPress is something you can install and own your own platform. You can have complete control over it.
I strongly recommend that you make the move. The SEO benefits are pretty spectacular.
Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.
Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how this works for you.

Discovery of the Week

When I was at Social Media Marketing World, I was introduced to a brand-new product called Demographics Pro for Twitter.
The profile for #SMMW13 group on Demographics Pro for Twitter.
You can put in any Twitter ID or hashtag and it will run a detailed analysis. For example, we put in #SMMW13. You’ll be shocked at the analysis it came up with.

5 Advanced Social Media Metrics for 2013

As any metrics-obsessed marketer can attest, a campaign is only as successful as you can prove it to be. But beyond flaunting your progress for the benefit of hovering clients and executives, social media reporting can lead to valuable insights to inform not just your social campaigns, but your marketing strategy as a whole.
Read on to learn five advanced tracking techniques that may be missing from your current reporting strategy and how they can serve to improve your overall campaign.

1. Define and Track Conversions

Although I always remind clients that social media is a way to connect with users first and score conversions second, it’s never long into our dialog before the conversation reroutes to the question decision-makers love to ask: “What’s the bottom line?”
So, let’s begin with the basics: What’s a conversion, and how do you track it?
A conversion occurs anytime a consumer or client does what you want them to do. This could be buying an item from your site, visiting your brick-and-mortar store, joining your mailing list, watching the video on your homepage, or calling your 800 number, among other possibilities.
Some conversions are easier to track than others; while it’s pretty easy to set up eCommerce and Goal Tracking on Google Analytics, finagling a brick-and-mortar customer into remembering where they heard about your deal on widgets is another story.
Some ideas to step up your tracking game:
A. Conversion Paths
Google Analytics’ Top Conversion Paths feature (found under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels) makes it easy to see contributing sources to your tracked conversions, not the just the direct source they visited right before converting. This is a great way to appreciate the value of a strategy like social media, which can be an important component to the conversion process.
In the screenshot below, I searched “social” on analytics to bring all of the social networking results to the top of the list. Now, I can see that my website has received 156 conversions with social media components in the last month for a total profit of $380.

B. Outside the Box
Just because a conversion cannot be monitored on Google Analytics does not mean it cannot be monitored at all. For brick-and-mortar scenarios, consider providing a printable coupon that can be tracked in the store, or simply imploring shoppers to say “Facebook” at checkout for a small discount. You can also try marketing for one location at a time so your other locations can serve as control cases.

2. Segment Your Ad Data

When my company was just getting started with Facebook advertising, the barrage of data was understandably overwhelming and we tended to cling to certain critical stats, which are indications of success: Cost Per Fan (CPF), Cost Per Click (CPC), Click-Through Rate (CTR), etc. However, each campaign has its own distinct challenges, variables, and success rates, and lumping them together into net data points can lead to some deceiving results.
For example, assume you have a CPF of $.35 for your current ads. This is a pretty good rate, but when you look further, you realize that your ads targeting women in their twenties rake in a CPF of $.05, while your campaign for middle-aged men has a CPF for $.70. In this scenario, it would make sense to put more of your budget to the $.05 CPF ads (assuming you’re OK with an influx of chicks) while continuing to experiment with your $.70 CPF ads on a smaller budget.
You can segment your ads by many different factors, including age, gender, location, interest, product line, and landing page/app.

3. Harness Your Email Service Provider (ESP)

One of my favorite things to do with a social media campaign is to collect email addresses through a promoted giveaway. It works like this:
Step 1: Pick a prize at least $200 in value of interest to your target demographic.
Step 2: Create targeted ads that promote said giveaway.
Step 3: Ads lead users to a custom application (example pictured) requesting their name and email. The app should include a checkbox where users can indicate that they would like to sign up for email marketing updates.*

Daily Buy
At the end of your giveaway, which I recommend you run for about a month, you should have a collection of targeted email addresses for your marketing pleasure. If you’re new to email marketing, try out MailChimp, which is free for up to 2,000 email addresses.
Why email? Email marketing continues to have the highest ROI in online marketing, because when a user opts in to your email list, they are giving you a major vote of confidence. Store your social media campaigns as distinct lists on your ESP to compare your return from various demographics, while benefiting from additional data points such as open rates and clicks.
This same method can be used on social networks beyond Facebook as well, as long as you are leading users to an email opt-in entry form.
*This last part is important! It’s better to have a smaller list of prospects interested in your email blasts than a sprawling array of people who only wanted to win a free whatever.

4. Leverage Advanced Tracking Tools

Share of Voice (SOV) and Influence are two of the newest — and most important — metrics in social media.
A. Share of Voice
SOV calculates your company’s slice of your industry’s social media pie. This metric concerns brand mentions, so it incorporates content authored by you and your competitors, along with content by the general public. To calculate your SOV, take the quotient of your brand’s total mentions over the total mentions of all the brands in your industry.
Browsing your general SOV across social channels can be a good way to get a sense how you’re stacking up against competitor groups. For even more telling results, partition your SOV by network to review missed opportunities on a site-by-site basis. As an example, you might have a 20% SOV in general, but only 5% on YouTube, which would mean you need to step up your video game.
To monitor your SOV, consider paid solutions such as Radian6Spiral16, or Scoutlabs, or get started with SocialMention, which is free.
B. Influence
Influence is essentially the PageRank of the social media world, and it serves as an important statistic, especially in the context of the bottom line. Measured for both users and brands, Influence quantifies the extent to which an entity’s shared content can affect the behavior of other users.
There are a couple major players in the Influence world, each of which measures things a bit differently. Compare yourself and your brand with competitors on KredKlout, and PeerIndex to see what insights can be gained.
Other potential metrics in the Influence vein include community sentiment (are your fans and followers happy? sad? neutral?), community size, and level of engagement.

5. Invest in PPC Remarketing

Remarketing — or as I like to call it, legal stalking — is one of Google AdWords’ coolest innovations to date, but a lot of marketers forget to incorporate it into their social media strategies. In case you are unfamiliar, remarketing is a way to reach out to users that have previously visited your website using visual ads on the Google Display Network. This is accomplished by embedding Google’s Remarketing tag on the pages of your site; you can have one general tag for your whole site, or correlate specific ads with specific pages — so people who visit your digital camera page can see more ads about digital cameras, for example, rather than ads cover all of your products.
Since Facebook applications are just iFrames (i.e., external pages coded and designed by you), these can also be used to house Remarketing code, allowing you to turn visitors to your Facebook page into visitors to your site.
Google AdWords offers a host of its own metrics; you can try out different Remarketing lists with different apps and demographics, and compare your results and conversions to shape your strategy moving forward.

Top Google Website Optimization Resources

Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, web designers, and bloggers read a lot of tips from various experts to stay fresh and up on the current trends in website optimization. But what does Google have to offer on the subject? Find out in this collection of tips, guides, resources, and tutorials straight from Google.
These resources range from beginner's guides to over-your-head programming genius level. OK, maybe not that technical.
Please note that none of these search optimization resources will provide you with secrets that'll automatically rank your site first for queries in Google.

On-Page Website Optimization Resources

Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
The SEO Starter Guide is filled with Google's advice on best practices to make it easier for search engines to crawl, index, and understand your content.

Webmaster Guidelines

Penalties from Google can be detrimental to your sales if you are removed from the search index. Following these quality guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site.

Creating & Submitting Sitemaps

Properly building an XML Sitemap and submitting it to Google is one of the fastest ways to get your content indexed and is often overlooked (this is a must read).

Webmaster Tools - HTML Improvements

Google helps you to improve the user experience and performance by reporting duplicate meta descriptions, missing title tags, and non-indexable content among other things.

Webmaster Tools - Crawl Errors

Site Errors Google Webmaster Tools
The Crawl Errors report is is one of my favorites offered in Google Webmaster Tools. If you're having DNS issues, server connectivity issues, problems reaching the robots.txt file, or a laundry list of 404 errors, you can review them here and begin fixing them.

Educational, Training, and Trending Resources

Google Basics

This resource breaks down how Google discovers, crawls, and serves web pages.

The Short Cutts - The Actual Answers To Every Matt Cutts Video

Matt Cutts, the head of webspam at Google, has recorded an enormous amount of videos offering suggestions to help website owners create quality websites that perform well in the search. The Short Cutts compiles and organizes these videos as well as provided concise versions of his answers.

Webmaster Central Blog

If you haven't already, subscribe to Google's Webmaster Central blog.

Webmaster Academy

Google Webmaster Academy
Put your website optimization skills to the test and see how you do at the Webmaster Academy. It can also serve as a nice refresher course.

SERP Optimization Resources

Author Information in Search Results

Matt Morgan Google Authorship Pic in SERP
You can make your search result stand out by authenticating your content with Google authorship. This will allow for your Google+ profile picture to show up next to your search result and offer a link to read more content written by you. This has proven to increase click-through-rates (CTR).
Author Rank is another thing to consider. While it's not officially active, we all know it's coming. This resource demonstrates how to setup authorship, however, there are a couple other ways not represented. This Google authorship tutorial offers additional methods.

Linking a Google+ Page to Your Website

Similar to Google Authorship, linking your Google+ page using the rel=publisher tag on your site not only helps you build relationships with friends and followers, but also gives Google information they can use to determine the relevancy of your site to a user query in Google Web Search.

Rich Snippets & Structured Data

By marking up your webpages with microdata, you can provide detailed information to Google and in return your search results can help users recognize when your site is relevant to their search resulting in more clicks. Any chance you get to improve the display of your search results, take it!

Reporting & Testing Resources

Get Started With Google Analytics

Here you can find videos and articles to help you get the most out of website analytics.

Content Experiments (A/B Testing)

Google Analytics Content Experiments
Talk about an awesome and free tool to help with conversion rate optimization (CRO). Google Analytics offers content experiments that allow you to test multiple versions of a web pages to determine which one is performing the best.

Structured Data Testing Tool

Structured Data Testing Tool