Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Attention Small Business Owners: Print Ads Don’t Work (Like They Used To)

It used to be that drumming up business for your European bakery, carpet cleaning service  or auto repair shop was simple:  You called the local newspaper and placed a display ad.  Newspaper advertising wasn’t cheap, but if you had a compelling offer or a coupon discount, readers were often intrigued enough to give you a call or pay a visit.

Fast forward to today.  Newspaper advertising still isn’t cheap, in fact it costs more than ever before, even though readership has dropped dramatically in many markets.  So who makes money from newspaper ads?  Newspapers, that’s who!  If ads were ever a good value, they aren’t any more.

coupon mailerPerhaps you’ve heard of coupon mailers.  They’re those envelopes full of nothing but coupons, so surely those must work, right?  Who doesn’t love a discount?  Well, sort of.  In the 4 to 6 weeks a coupon mailer like Valpak or Money Mailer runs a campaign, you may see a bump in foot traffic.  But if the customers are trained to expect coupons and won’t return without one, you could find yourself sacrificing margin to preserve cash flow.  That’s like treading water.  It only works for a short time and then?

This is where the beauty of online marketing comes in.

An online marketing campaign harnesses many tools and opportunities to get the word out there, to bring customers in and to keep bringing them in.  Unlike coupons that expire, your online marketing efforts roll on and on.  Today’s search engines focus on geographical proximity, a fancy-sounding term.  It just means that if a customer searches for a bakery, the first results will be the closest ones.  But this is only effective if those bakeries have built an online presence. It might be easier than you think; happy customers are often willing to write reviews online to share their experiences.  Most people want to help others find the best service providers.  With online marketing, you can be on the short list all over town.

There are so many ways to build your local brand online I can’t cover them all here.  Suffice it to say it would be wise to consult with an online marketing specialist.  We can help you navigate the process and truly bring your business into the 21st century.

Why you need Facebook Ads

If you are planning to start a business, you need to know that although the internet may potentially generate sales for you, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to achieve success immediately. As with any business, you still need to work on marketing. If you want to become successful, you need to market it on the web.

Especially with a new business, you may build it – but they may not come. That’s how it works – online and offline. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Take Advantage of Real Time Search

“Real-time searches”?   A real-time search engine will help you see what people are talking about “right now” on sites like Twitter. If you want to make sure your site pops on these searches, you’ve got to “get in the now,” so to speak. Doing so is going to make your website a lot more popular and get you a lot more traffic — which in turn makes you more visible and will bring in more customers, too.

Keywords count Read the rest of this entry »

The Business of Social Media

Who says social media is just social? More and more businesses and corporations are using social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and others as a viable means of promoting their interests. Read the rest of this entry »

Have a Business? Don’t Do This to Your Email Signature!

If you send out email, you may be aware of the power of your email signature. A lot of business owners, (even if it’s just a side-job) use their email signature (a feature in most email applications) to show their contact information, which can save them the effort of having to type it manually into every single email. Read the rest of this entry »

2009 Could Rock Your Search World

There has recently been some buzz about what Google has in store next year. According to Bruce Clay, a well known search analyst, very soon you will see that “ranking is dead”.   Ranking is the position a website holds on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when you type in a search request in Google, or other search engines.  Those web pages with higher rank typically get visited more – so ranking is pretty important to those who depend on web traffic for their business’ livelihood.

According to Mr. Clay and other industry insiders, search engines are going to personalize your search results. This could be based on your past search history, your geographic location and perhaps even clues to your initial intent. For instance, if you are a computer programmer and search for “java” you will get different search results than another person in the same room who is a coffee importer. This is the first of many changes we may see early in 2009.

Third party tracking cookies and Google’s ability to research IP addresses are all key factors in what is to come. From your IP address, Google can (and in test markets, already does) return relevant search results that are close to home. For example, say, you live in Dallas Texas, and you search for a Toyota for sale, you will likely see dealerships in and around the Dallas area coming up first on your search page. This has the potential to be very helpful to business and searchers alike.

Another big change coming down the pike will be in the way of Universal Search. The “robots” used to crawl the web are going to become more complex. The variables in this new complex algorithm will tell them how interesting your site is. In other words, do you have video on your site? The ones that do are going to soar in rankings and those who do not… well; the only way left is down.
Web Surfers: Some Benefits/Drawbacks of Personalized Search

For the internet surfer you should see a lot less spam and irrelevant search results. That is good news, no more having to rummage through page after page of useless search results to find the information you want.

The drawback may be that it will be harder to get information outside of your “historical” search. Like the above example, what will the computer programmer do if he really wants to search for java, as in coffee?

There are also the few people left who still do not have access to high-speed internet connections. If the main results are going to be video-intensive, that could pose serious problems for those with dial-up’s infamously slow load times.
Business Owners: Changes will require you to integrate media and fresh content into your web sites.

The good news for local businesses is they will no longer have to compete for search results on a global level. It will be nice for the small business owner who is selling handmade baskets in Montana because he or she will not have to compete with someone in India!

The downside is everyone will have to get on board with video optimization in addition to SEO. This could prove challenging but not impossible. Video marketing is already becoming more common place on the web. The best advice from professionals is to create great relevant content, integrate video and other “sticky” content, and the customers will come.

Overall, it appears that Google is trying to improve web surfing for everyone, the surfer, and the merchant. When it all comes together and spammers have a harder time high skewing our results, we all win.

About the Author:
Ken Ivey, aka “the Web Czar”, is a veteran technology addict, consultant, author, and President of MidTN Technology, a marketing and web design firm.

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