Archive for April, 2012

How Viral Marketing Improves Online Efficiency

Viral marketing is a promotional strategy that has been in use for quite some time and has transitioned over onto the internet quite successfully. The strength behind this particular advertising technique is in its ability to help businesses spread their marketing message a whole lot faster and with less effort. In this way it helps to not only boost your exposure but also your ability to work much more efficiently as well!

Here are 3 significant ways in which any online business can expect to benefit by using this particular promotional strategy.

Time Efficient
Typically this advertising technique involves little more than sharing your marketing message with a relatively smaller crowd who then spread the word. Working online offers the advantage in many cases of automating your efforts even further resulting in greater savings of time! As any entrepreneur will tell you time is money and therefore a precious commodity that should be used wisely!

Cost Efficient
In most cases advertising in a viral manner online involves distributing free reports or leaving business links at social site, forums, bookmarking sites or even blogging. In every case there is little or no out of pocket expenses making this advertising technique very cost efficient!

Energy Efficient

By leveraging the efforts of others you are able to channel the energy you have saved into other areas of your business. As an entrepreneur this is extremely important since most functions and/or business tasks are left up to you to complete. Avoiding fatigue in this way helps you maintain a mental alertness that can be use in more constructive and creative ways. Your mistakes will be minimized and your ability to produce more and stay motivated will benefit as well!

Remember when fatigue does set in your ambition will naturally decrease and as mentioned above and you will be more prone to making mistakes. What happens here is that not only do your miscues create business inefficiencies but they also require more time and effort later on to fix!

The biggest advantage viral marketing offers a business or person is its ability to leverage the efforts of others to spread your marketing message. When this advertising technique is put to use online the benefits it offers magnify due to the automation and global audience the internet can supply! The single biggest advantage this promotional strategy offers is the increase efficiencies a business can experience as reviewed above. It therefore stands to reason that if you can increase efficiency you will also boost productivity thereby leading to greater sales and profits. With that said there seems to be little reason as to why you would not want to include this very effective promotional strategy into your online marketing mix!

By: TJ Philpott

Article Marketing – How to Make It Work For You

Information based marketing is one of the oldest and most effective techniques for bringing targeted prospects to your site and converting them into buyers. This is part of the reason that software, and distribution services that make the process of article promotion easier are so popular lately.

Though the various tools you can use to make the process of distributing your articles more easily are invaluable in getting your content the most exposure, that’s only half of the story.

Getting article marketing to work for your site lies primarily in two things:

  • The article you’re submitting
  • The preparation you do before you a single word of your content is written.

Since those two determining factors make at least 50% of the difference in bringing you success, let’s take a look at what the most common mistakes are in that area, and how to overcome them.

Mistake #1 – Confusing the Reason to Promote with Articles with the Reason to Write Articles

There are three key benefits to promoting an article – branding, lead generation, and as a corollary, online promotion, particularly as part of your optimization efforts.

Yet there is only one reason to write an article, and that is to inform your audience. If your article is not geared towards this as its primary purpose, you will fail to see the three benefits of promotion – because no one will want to read your article.

How many links you’re able to generate by submitting your article to hundreds of sites will matter little if you’re unable to get them picked up by publications, or read by people who search for information.

Sure, if you know what you’re doing all those links pointing back to your site will count for something in your search engine results – but remember that generating links to your site is only one part of optimizing your site for Google, Yahoo or MSN.

To overcome this issue, you’ll need to figure out how to get people to read what is in your article, and then click through to your site from your resource box. The best start to a solution is to produce better content.

In the end it’s a matter of choice. You can get a little exposure from increased link backs, on a very basic level, or enjoy massive exposure from a little extra work.

Mistake #2 – Starting The Article Promotion without a Plan

Not every article can fulfil all three purposes of promotion. Some will work better for branding, others can generate leads and increase sales. But if you don’t start out with a plan for what the function of your article should be, you’ll end up unhappy with the results.

To overcome this issue, before you write a single word, decide what purpose the article is supposed to serve. An article meant to brand you as an expert should display your knowledge. One for generating leads may need to be geared towards solving a very specific problem.

An article that gets published every where and helps to make you known is not meant to have the same level of exposure as hyper-targeted content geared towards a narrow group of people. Learning the difference will help you know what kinds of articles to write.

Mistake #3- Publishing Content That Doesn’t Help Your Reader
Maybe you’re thinking: “All I want is links back to my site – any visitors the article generates is gravy.”

Well guess what? Not all article banks and directories are going to accept your content automatically. You can double the number of sites you can submit to by writing articles that the directories want to share with readers. And all it takes is one publisher with a hundred thousand readers to increase yo ur potential audience tenfold.

So if you want article marketing to work for you, write articles that publishers want in their publications.

This also means obeying the standard guidelines, running a spell check, researching a good topic to write about, or even hiring a writer to produce articles on your behalf.

Mistake #4 – Failing to Maximize the Promotional Opportunities of Article Marketing
You already know that articles marketing can help you generate additional links back to your site. But did you know that you can get more visitors and better search engine results from articles in a variety of ways?

You can mention your desired keyword in strategic places, though you should take care not to overdo this. Some people will also tell you to make use of anchor text, which can also is an effective method. However, you should know that the majority of directories and publications aren’t able to support this.

There are alternatives to this method that are just as effective, if not more so, but they require more space to explain.

It’s not just about the links back to your site either. Part of doing well with article marketing is getting picked up by publishers with large audiences, or gaining the ability to leverage other brands due to the quality of your work.

Better search engine results are great.

But by themselves they don’t put money in your pocket – there are a myriad of factors that can turn your article marketing efforts into an opportunity to increase your income, not just the number of visitors to your site.

By: Tinu Abayomi-Paul

SEO – How to Get Backlinks

Submit to Directories
There are a lot of free web directories on the net now and there are an equal number of sites that list free web directories. So your first step should be to visit every directory and submit your link to every free web directory you can find.

Link Exchanges
If you are taking part in reciprocal link exchanges it is important that you 1) Exchange links only with related sites. If a site has nothing to do with your site a reciprocal backlink from it will serve little to no purpose and 2) Do not mass mail webmasters. If there is one thing that will guarantee i will ignore you it is if i receive an email that has been BCC’ed to a thousand other webmasters. You could also get other webmaster to ask for a link exchange by putting a contact form on your site and letting people know you are open for link exchanges.

Link Baiting
Link baiting is when you post something controversial, a flame or something very interesting on your site with the intention of getting people to blog about it or post it on forums. Link baiting is sometimes seen as “spam” but take no notice of that, It’s not, People are choosing to link to you, It’s up to them.

Providing Quality Content
This is my favorite way to get backlinks. Make a good site with good content. If there is one thing people like, and like to link to, it is a good site.

Posting on forums
I am hesitant to include this suggestion, But i will, and i will explain exactly what i mean. When i say by posting on forums read it as `join a forum and contribute`. It does not mean join a forum, spam your link 50 times and then leave. Most forums allow you to include a signature in your posts so it’s an easy way to get backlinks. If you become a trusted regular poster it will also mean you get a lot of traffic from these backlinks. Spamming not only make you look like an amateur, But it will be deleted that same day by a moderator, Probably before a google bot even gets to see it.

RSS Feeds
RSS feeds allow you to syndicate your content. This means other sites display your content on their pages via a feed which includes a backlink to the original article or page.

Submit Articles
If you know a lot about the area you work in (as you should) then writing articles could be very beneficial. Every time you write and submit an article that is one backlink, and the good thing about articles is they are often copied and used on other article sites, sent in news letters or posted on forums, Each time this happens you get another backlink.

Provide a link to me code
Put a page on your site that contains link to me code. This will be HTML code that people just have to cut and paste into their site to link to you. But don’t use all text. Provide a few banners, some buttons, Be creative. Sometimes if people are trying to find filler for their site they will be more than happy to include your sexy looking banner or button on their page. The trick is to make it easy for people to link to you.

Buy Text Links
If you have money set aside for your advertising you can also Buy Text Links from companies such as LinkWorth, Also good if you want to make money and sell text links.

By: Andrew Briggs

About Logos

What makes one logo better than another?
Simplicity. A good logo works in the simplest form. It is a memorable representation of your brand and inspires confidence in your customers. It should be fresh and original — without visual cliches or amateur effects. A logo is well-designed when it looks as good on a business card as it does on a web page or a billboard. To be functional, a good logo must reduce well to simple black & white or gray-scale for use on faxes or in newspaper ads. The best logos are elegantly simple.

Why do you need a logo?
In a way, a logo is a visual shortcut to who you are. Your logo will establish your corporate identity and credibility. It builds loyalty among your clients and employees. You invest in your brand image every time your logo is displayed on a Web page, on a sign, or in an advertisement.

A professionally designed logo enables you to be immediately recognizable and must be unique, memorable and simple. Such a logo will become one of your most valuable corporate assets over time.

How does your current logo stack up?
Run down this logo quick test:

  • Does the logo have immediate impact?
  • Is it good to look at?
  • Is it distinctive?
  • Does it create or evoke a positive image?
  • Does it accurately represent the organization or business?
  • Is it straightforward?
  • Is it comprehensible?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it flexible?
  • Does it copy well?
  • Will it hold up to both large and small scale use?
  • Will it wear well over time?
  • Will you be proud to use it?
By: Vukan Karadzic

QR Codes – Best Practices

QR Codes seem to be at the center of the questions that I received this week. I felt it was time to explore best practices and how to utilize this marketing tool so that it is efficient and effective in your marketing plan.

QR or “Quick Response” codes have been around for awhile, but seem to be interesting those owners of small and medium size business as of late. They seem to be adopting QR codes to show their customers that they are on the high end of technology. Besides, QR codes are interactive and fun.

It’s important to keep in mind that QR codes are just one type of 2D Barcodes, but at this time seem to be the most popular.

My guess is the majority of you come across at least one QR code daily. Perhaps you’ve seen one in a magazine, product package, billboard or a business card. They are finding their home everywhere.

The benefit of a QR code is that it gives business owners and marketers a way to get a prospect to take immediate action – easily! The problem with QR codes is when they do not give a customer value they can become frustrating. There is nothing worse than hyping a QR code, but the end result is something that could have been achieved without it.

Who are you trying to reach with your QR code? You must determine that before launching a campaign. Who is the ideal person that uses a QR code?

A recent webinar done by Merkle and Webtrends created the following profile of those that use QR codes:

  • Between the ages of 25 to 54
  • Mostly male with a baseline income of $50k
  • Customer uses an iPhone or Android Smartphone

The overall QR users is affluent and younger, others may not resonate with the understanding of a QR code. Make sure that your target audience fits that profile, otherwise it may not bring you the desired result that you want.

When considering a QR code campaign, ensure that you are following best practices. Best practices include the following:

  • Inform your audience of what to expect when they scan the code.
  • Your QR code should be no smaller than 1 inch by 1 inch.
  • Make sure the destination is mobile friendly. You don’t want them to land on a web page that does not render correctly using a mobile phone.
  • Think about how your QR code integrates with the campaign. How is the user experience? Is it friendly or confusing?
  • Test the user ease of your campaign and the functionality.

QR codes are catching on, as a matter fact we have gone from 1,000 daily scans to upwards of 25,000 daily scans. If your customer profile fits the above and you follow best practices there is no reason not to join the QR craze.

What can you use a QR code for? Here are some ideas:

  • Business Cards
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Contest and Promotions
  • Gain Likes and Follows on Social Media Platforms
  • Build Your Email List

Generate your QR code today – you might just be glad you did!

By: Laura Lake

7 Tips for a Healthier Small Business

  1. Take action. Most likely if something is stuck in your brain and thwarting your good mood or continuously hammering at the edge of your thoughts it needs to be dealt with. Taking action will not only put the nagging voices to rest, it will probably move you forward on some significant goal.
  2. Know your customers. If you are too general in the description of your you will likely be too general in your message and not stimulate actual purchases. If you do not bore down to specific customer/client types you will probably spend some of your time, effort and money marketing to the wrong people. Look back at the misses and successes of the last two years and use that data to help you reassess your idea of your real customers/clients and prospects.
  3. Speak your customers’ language. Remember that you are not selling your products or services, you are meeting the needs or solving the problems of your prospects and clients/ customers; package and market your products/services in a way that addresses that need or problem. Look at it from their viewpoint. Knowing the language of your customers/clients means you must know who they are as discussed in the previous resolution.
  4. Some revenue is better than none. Don’t stall your success because you are afraid partnering will reveal your secrets to a potential competitor, do not want to share the revenue, do not want to be seen as “too small” or not capable, or do not want to do the research and negotiation necessary to establish a working relationship with another company.
  5. Put it in writing. If you put the specifics of every agreement and arrangement in writing you will save yourself time, money, agony and broken relationships. Any partnering or subcontracting arrangement should be spelled out in an agreement and signed by all parties. Any contract with a customer/client should include a Scope of Work/Services that clearly states what you will do, what the customer/client will do and the amount and schedule of payment Follow Up and Follow Through. A primary criticism of all small businesses by buyers (government and commercial) is that they do not follow up or follow through on promised actions and information. How well a vendor follows up or follows through on promises is part of the test to determine if they will be a quality supplier.
  6. Make marketing a priority. You should develop a schedule of marketing actions, put them on your calendar and carry them out – just as you would any product or service development and delivery for a customer/client. Because many people are not comfortable with marketing, do not like it or feel that other things are more important it often does not receive the proper level of attention.
  7. Avoid spending time “getting ready” instead of “doing”. If there is something you do not really want to do or are not comfortable with, there is the risk of avoiding it by getting trapped in the preparation phase. Some examples of this are: listening to motivational tapes to get inspired about a project instead of breaking it down into bite size pieces doing it, writing and re-writing and re-writing copy for a marketing piece instead of sending out a decent effort or asking everyone you know for input on an important decision instead of making the decision. You will know when you reach the point where preparation turns into avoidance, when you reach that point – act.
From: Janet Christy