5 Steps to a Successful Online Marketing Program

online marketing magnifying glass

  1. Be clear about your goals for the program. 
    If you don’t know your goals, you will never know if you are successful or not. Sit down and really evaluate what you want out of your online presence. Do you want more eyeballs? More sales? Are you trying to replace a channel you used previously.
    A good example of replacing a channel is with newspaper classifieds. Some time ago staffing companies realized classifieds were not as effective as they once were, so they needed to replace the channel with online traffic.
  2. Plan for the Long Run
    Marketing takes time. Moving your site to the top of search results doesn’t happen overnight. Connecting with your clients and potentials via social media takes more than setting up a Facebook page. You have to build relationships. Don’t look for a quick fix or always chase the hit “viral campaign.” That’s like throwing a Hail Mary pass ever play of the game. Plan to build a lasting online presence. Usually the quick solution is just as quick to die as it was to start.
  3. Be Creative in Order to Connect
    Think outside the box. The best way to stand out online in any field is to show your added value. Don’t do something just because everyone is doing it, leverage what your company does better than everyone else and get creative with how you present it.
  4. Follow the Numbers
    The proof is in the data. Make sure you have some sort of way to quantify your online efforts: Website analytics software, social monitoring tools, etc. If you aren’t tracking the response to your marketing you’re flying blind!
  5. Be Flexible
    Not everything is going to work all the time. However, if you’ve established your goals, you’re in it for the long run and you’re tracking your progress, you should be able to adapt to any changes or challenges that come your way. With this you will be able to create a successful online marketing program. So, remember: Evaluate and iterate, evaluate and iterate.

Your Turn

Do you have any tips for creating the best online marketing plan? Let us know in the comments.

return on investment roi

Internet Marketers Did Not Invent Content Marketing

Did you know content marketing is not a new concept?

michelin guide

 

In 1900 Michelin created the Michelin Guide. This is an actual book of content that was used to inform and educate customers. They created a value to customers and potential customers, which in turn created trust. The books included ways to maintain your car as well as travel tips and help.

Jell-O Book of recipesJell-O had an earlier start with their book of recipes in 1906. This may have been recipes they created or recipes from their customers. The effort helped Jell-O push their sales to over $1 million, which was quite an accomplishment at that time.

 

So, what’s different about today’s “Content Marketing?”
  1. The scale of how many people you can reach and how fast.  The internet has made it easy to reach millions of people with out ever leaving your office. In the early 1900′s marketers were limited by distribution, how to get their books to the general public.
  2. The cost of producing content is much lower.  With the internet, there’s no printing cost, no shipping cost and no inventory to try to move. You can produce content yourself and the only cost is your time. Of course time is money, so if you don’t have the time you can pay someone like us to create great content at a fraction of the cost of a producing a book.
  3. Search brings your customers to you. With the invention of the search engine, it is now possible to get your product in front of people exactly when they are looking for it. The original guides and recipe books may have sat on shelves for months until someone found them or the right person walked past the shelf where they were.

The big question: Why should YOU use Content Marketing?

  • Content marketing is a great way to build trust with your customers and potential customers. Just thing about the Michelin Guides. If I’m an avid user of the guide books. I’ve seen that the tips they’ve given me about lodging, or the best tourist sites in Vancouver. Plus, I found great tips for taking care of my car during the long drive to get there. What company do you think will be top of mind when I need tires?
  • Plus, when you start creating great content around your products and services, the search engines will start showing your content to searchers when they are looking for services and products like yours. This gives you exposure and because you created useful interesting content people are more likely to read your content as well as share it. This will keep them coming back and build the trust that makes them think of your company when they are ready to buy.

Google Offers Virtual Tours of Its Data Centers

Google has recently opened the doors (virtually of course) to it’s infamous data centers. Now you can see where your bits, bytes and gigabytes are traveling when you search for something on Google.com, watch a YouTube Video or send an email through Gmail.
From the virtual tour:

When you’re on a Google website (like right now), you’re accessing one of the most powerful server networks in the known Universe. But what does that actually look like? Here’s your chance to see inside what we’re calling the physical Internet.

The virtual tours were unveiled on Wednesday and feature images from Google’s data centers in the United States, Finland, and Belgium. Later Google’s Street View will share virtual tours through their data center in North Carolina.

This is a great chance to see what’s behind Google’s  curtain and whoever coined the analogy that the internet is series of pipes.. Well guess what, at Google it is!

Check it out! Google Data Centers

Google Data Center Pipes

Dear Congress: Reform Copyright Law, Stop Piracy, Don’t Break Internet

By now I hope you have already heard something about the bills that the US government is discussing: SOPA and PIPA. A very basic description is that the laws would give the government free reign to shutdown, seize domains and websites from sites that they deem to be breaking copyright laws. There is also a portion of the bill that could potential take down sites that link to them.

They are also talking about ways to essentially block foreign domains. A lot of this would be done by messing with DNS settings. DNS stands for Domain Name Servers. The DNS hold the master records of where things are located on the internet. It’s like the master list of addresses that the post office has.

So, search engines, forums and even if someone posts a link on your blog. Boom! You could be shut down.  This would break the internet. Moreover, it wouldn’t stop pirates. The sites/people that are really dedicated to pirating will simply change their address and set up a new site, while legitimate companies will suffer because of something they can’t control.

Something that is not very surprising, some of the major supporters come from the music and movie industry. The real problem is they are still running on an outdated system. Many of the music/movie companies would rather that the internet just went away rather than adapt their business model, which is based on limited distribution, charging high premiums and paying a fraction of the profits to the artists. Wake up and adapt! Stop trying to kill the internet.

Recently a number of companies wrote to congress explaining how SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy that the laws would “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.” Here’s a list of some of the companies and a link to the letter: AOL, EBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga

Watch the video to learn more.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Today a number of popular sites are going black to protest including: Wikipedia, Google Censors logo.
Why The Web Is Going Dark Over SOPA & PIPA

What can you do to help? Sign the petition to stop SOPA/PIPA and call or write your congress representative.

 

 

The Internet in 60 Seconds

60 seconds may not seem like much time at all, but look at what happens online every 60 seconds.

the internet in 60 seconds

Is Crowdsourcing as Smart as We Hope?

Yesterday, I came across an interesting Peta Pixel: Why You Shouldn’t Give Too Much Weight Too Anonymous Online Critics, and it got me thinking.

Briefly, here’s what what the the post was about:

In 2006 a guy name André Rabelo submitted the photo below to group called DeleteMe!, where members of the group vote on photos to rate their quality. The photo was quickly voted down. The kicker was, it was a photo taken by a famous photographer named Henri Cartier-Bresson from 1932, which was sold at an auction in 2008 for $265,000.

But wait.. I thought this group said it was not good??

What André did is essentially an exercise in Crowdsourcing, which is group problem solving and is often done online. It can be used in areas such as software development, mining, research and as well as translation.

My question: Is the key here that they were “anonymous” voters, or is crowd sourcing not as intelligent as we hope? Or is crowdsourcing really the ultimate test of quality? What do you think?

A Scathing Article About Apple, Google and EBay – But is it Wrong?

apple logoI just read an article over on the Forbes.com site titled: Why Apple, Google And EBay Will Slash And Burn Investors. At first glance you might think it is just a bit of sensationalism intended to get pageviews. OK, maybe the title is, but then again you need a good title to get people interested.  Right?
After reading the article though, the question comes to mind, “Are they wrong?” My gut tells me no.google logo Technology and innovation continue to advance at breakneck speeds and if a companies get caught sleeping and not innovating, they are doomed to fail.

Last week I spoke about social media and woman in the audience asked me, “What is your prediction for the future.” The best answer I could think of was, “without continued innovation the companies that are ebay logobig now will most likely be beaten by someone we’ve never heard of. I mean look at what happened to MySpace.” I had to laugh though, if I could predict the “next big thing,” I’d be a rich man!

In the end my best advice to Apple, Google, EBay, Facebook and all the innovative tech companies is: innovate or die.

Times Are Changing – It Really is a Digital Age

This is a bit old, but very interesting to see how much has changed in the last Decade. Look at how the cost of storage has dropped, the production of CDs was cut in half and iTunes dowloads have exploded.

Times a-Changin

The Residential Phone Book Goes the Way of the Dodo Bird

It looks like the telephone companies have finally seen the writing on the wall… or online. The old “reach out and touch someone,” certainly isn’t happening through the whitepages anymore.

Dodo birdIn the past month alone, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania approved Verizon Communications Inc.’s request to quit distributing residential white pages and regulators are giving the approval for them to do so. Since 2007, states that have given the go ahead to stop quit printing whitepages or that have requests pending: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Anybody who doesn’t have access to some kind of online way to look things up now is probably too old to be able to read the print in the white pages anyway,” joked Robert Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University.

Even Link Hoewing from Verizon understands;

“You probably have a better chance of finding a name quicker if you can just search for it in a database than try to look it up in the white pages.”

He’s also Verizon’s vice president of Internet and technology policy.

The phone companies argue that most people use the internet to find people. I think they’re right. Quotes from AP Article

After posing the question “When was the last time you used the yellow pages?” on Twitter, here are some of the responses I received:

@AdamChlan: over 5 years. mine goes directly from my front porch to the trash.
@Amyschnabi: Other than to prop things up?
@beckami: we take ours camping. Phonebooks make excellent kindling.
@Kmueller62: what’s interesting is the yellow pages are now focusing on their online version. I’m LESS likely to use that than the real thing

You can opt out of receiving the residential phone book. YellowPages Opt Out Thanks @AdamChlan for the link.

I also agree with KMueller62. When I search for something I want to see the result. I don’t want to have to go to another site where I have to search again or click through something else before I get my result.

Google also has phone number look up built into their search engine. Just type in one of the following before the name you are searching for:

bphonebook: search business listing
rphonebook: search residential listings
phonebook: search all phone listings

I really believe that the paper phone book is dead and the paper yellowpages is on it’s way out too. What do you think?

Do you need help transitioning your company from using the yellow pages to getting found online? We can help! Get a Free Quote

RockMelt: A New Way to View the Internet

Marc Andreessen, the guy that revolutionized the internet back in the early 90s with Netscape, is backing a new startup browser that changes how you view the net. It brings social media, search and web browsing into one platform, creating a new surfing experience. Check out the demo video!

Read more about the browser: Web browser pioneer backs new way to surf Internet