Essential Search Engine Marketing and SEO Resources - Whether you're new to SEO or you've got some experience under your belt, this is an excellent collect-all resource for topics such as social media, blogging, link building, local search and reputation management. If you're not ready to make the time commitment to read it all, at least check out Google Webmaster tools or the Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization.
- Offer a coupon code specifically for that video. Make it exclusive yet measurable.
- Show your expertise. If you're a landscaper, then plant a tree. If you're a chef, then show how easy it is to cook a delicious meal.
2. Google AdWords Conversion Tracking - You can now define and track several different types of conversions that are important to your business. Different types of conversions can lead to different ROI's for you business. Knowing how well a particular keyword performs can (and should) influence your bid.
3. Google Website Optimizer - You can now use your Google Analytics account to access Website Optimizer and test designs, headlines, and graphics that lead to the highest conversion rates on your site. Another easy way to squeeze every penny out of that already small online marketing budget. Read their blog for more details and ideas.
In all, there are about 400 online marketers in attendance so lots of great networking opportunities. During the Q&A session for an advanced paid-search presentation (advanced was a very loose term at this particular presentation) I was speaking to the lady who happened to sit next to me. She pointed out something very interesting trends in the questions coming from the audience. Everyone wanted the magic pill. They wanted actionable and measurable things that they could do right now in order to be successful. The waters are so murky in the online marketing world that these people are in over there heads and don't know who to trust. They read one thing, but the data tells them another thing. They're on short budgets and need results fast. The sad thing I realized is that things are better than they used to be, but I don't see them clearing up anytime soon.
Hopefully next week, I'll be able to share with you my findings and give you some great insight that you can actually use right now in your day-to-day business. Stay tuned.
- Smashing Magazine - 100 of the best free Wordpress themes
- 9 Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers - Also see my free trade idea post on using Twitter for your business
- The New Rules of Viral Marketing - free ebook
- How to Sneak Social Media into the Enterprise
- Best of Adobe Flash Tutorials
- How To: Effectively Talk to Execs and Clients about Social Media
- You Suck at Photoshop
Chris Brogan - Chris Brogan advises businesses, organizations and individuals on how to use social media and social networks to build relationships and deliver value.
Jeremiah Owyang - Jeremiah discusses how web tools enable companies to connect with their customers.
Who is Consumer 2.0?
- Addicted to Leisure - They work hard, but they also expect a certain amount of work/life balance. They expect products and brands to conform to both aspects of their day. They want their phone to sync with Outlook while also keeping tabs of their Facebook profile.
- Create and share content - In their own eyes, they're a rockstar. They twitter, pownce, blog and YouTube everything in their life. If they like it, they share it.
- Always connected and love information - They subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds, have thousands of friends online, never leave home without their iPod or their web-enabled phone. These consumers can find what they're looking for in a drop of hat (and expect it as well).
- Hypertaskers - Forget David Allen, these consumers chat online, play games, stream music and send text messages all while watching TV. In a survey produced by Yahoo!, 60% of 18-34 year olds said they surfed the web while watching TV.
- Love to be part of communities - They have multiple social network accounts and use them all on a regular basis.
- Listen to them. - They are more than willing to tell you what they think of your product, if you simply ask. Use them as your guinea pigs for new ideas and improvements on old ones.
- Collaborate with them. Just as Stromhoek, a small vineyard who collaborated with bloggers to create a grass roots initiative, so should you. Respond to their online posts and comments, answer their emails one at a time and take the initiative to create 'wow' experiences in your store. If you scratch their back, they'll scratch yours as well.
- Give them the tools to share. Create an online toolbox in which users can remix your brand to meet their style. Include RSS feeds, pictures, videos, music, Facebook applications, custom t-shirts and everything else they could use to evangelize your product.
So how does Search Engine Marketing tie back to Consumer 2.0? Well, because Consumer 2.0 is so intrenched and dialed in on a regular basis, they've developed a small case of ADD. Nearly 72% of people answered that they cannot recall URL's that appeared on TV spots. Therefore, not only should you do the things I've mentioned above to gain attention online, but you should also work to control those things you do have power over.
Your search engine marketing must include using appropriate keywords so Consumer 2.0 can find your brand, creating lots of relevant content, making sure your pages are user-friendly and have appropriate titles and descriptions just to name a few. Consumers expect brand leaders to consistently be in the top results of search and I can guarantee that many will look at a site because it was one of the first results regardless if it was what they were looking for or not. Great search engine marketing increases your brand familiarity, pumps up your brand consideration, improves customer satisfaction and results in a better brand experience.
Integrating Consumer 2.0 into your marketing plans and tweaking your search engine marketing will allow you to close the loop on your customers and engage advocates. I guarantee that if you implement the above to a tee, you will see much success online and off.
CASH courtesy of *mgwinc
Why would I do something like this? In simple, the idea part is easy for me, its the implementation that I find hard to overcome. No, I'm not worried about someone taking my idea and turning it into a billion dollar business. My main concern is to strengthen the quality and quantity of my ideas and to better communicate them within this community. Ideas and innovation are meant to be free. It serves no purpose trying to hole them up within some Moleskine notebook anymore.
Blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are all the rage within the business community. Every business should have some sort of communication platform in which they can reach out to their customers and fans. If you're still trying to get to this level, then maybe this article isn't for you. But, if you're ahead of the curve and have had a blog, Facebook, MySpace page, etc and are looking to capitalize on new ways to reach your customers, then this should be right up your alley.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service which allows its users to send updates to both their personalized homepage and other users or 'followers' who have signed up to receive them. Messages are sent through SMS (text messages), instant messages or e-mail and are capped at 140 characters. Twitter's service revolves around one simple question: "What are you doing?"
There are legions of followers within microblogging services such as Twitter, Pownce and Dodgeball, so I wholeheartedly believe that somehow a business model must come out of it.
An experienced and trusted Twitter user that merges, captures and translates real time data from these microblogging services and marries it to an advertising partner. Not simply showing an advertisement or spamming the community, but rather starting true conversations and solving problems for both the community members and their advertising partners.
For an example, lets say your client is a small business coffee shop in Manhattan. You (the trusted Twitter user) setup a script or notification through a proprietary service or use something like Search Twitter with a set of keywords you plan to target. Through your feed, you receive instant notification when user AngieAnn (who happens to live in Manhattan) is disappointed in the coffee her roommates left on the burner.
Your service relies on speed so you quickly comment on her Twitter page, introduce yourself and offer her a discount on her next drink at your client's coffee shop. She can use the coupon code you've just left for her and your client can then measure the effects of this.
When she then redeems the offer, the coffee shop staff is in on the promotion and asks AngieAnn to become a follower of their feed. Through your Twitter profile, you can then offer the coffee shop's best customers (those that have signed up as followers) discounts, free products and exclusive offers. Followers feel special and privileged, your client has customers for life and the effects of your promotion may even cause a Twittermob.
Therefore, the benefits you can present to your advertising clients are;
- Challenging customers with information that provokes a response. Customers want to take action.
- Speaking with them on theirr own turf. You are tailoring your conversation to them and not trying to sell them items they don't need. You are starting two dimensional questions in which the user feels engaged.
- Customizing the experience to that specific user. No where else in the world is someone getting the same attention.
Its important that you establish yourself first within these communities, that's another reason why a middleman who already has a expertise in this can excel. Ensure that your clients don't get a case of Twitterhea or want to overwhelm their customers with messages. Encourage them to really get to know their customers and slowly begin to slow value within the community.
Twitter Search Engine
Beyond Madison Avenue - Apparently, Twitterers are Morons
- You understand social media and the benefits it can bring to your personal life, your company or a client's business, but not everyone is on the same boat. Chris Brogan breaks down the high level points to introducing a social media adoption strategy. I couldn't agree with him more on (1) Show the Reward, Not the Tools, (2) Consider Head Count and (3) Start Simple and Lay it Out.
- SearchMarketingGurus.com give a great overview to Optimizing your Press Release for Search Engines and People
- On September 15, 1997 Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the domain name Google.com. Their market value today sits at $164 billion. Excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep.
- Ogilvy's Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics which should be offset somewhere by the Blogger's Guide to Publicity.
- The Business Blogging Toolset - 100 Resources for Entrepreneur Writers. Feel free to also check out my earlier post on What is a Blog and How Can It Help Your Small Business.
How will you address your flubs? How will you promote your successes?
What technology will come around in the next 5 years that you can take advantage of? How will you anticipate and prepare for it now?
How do you improve customer retention and loyalty? Do you customers have a voice? If that's hard for you to answer, go to Google and search for terms such as "I love", "I hate", "I like", "I didn't like" including your brand in the query (i.e. " I love One Half Amazing"). If they're not venting on your site, then it's probably coming out in public.
eMarketer - Customer Reviews Increase Web Sales
Church of the Customer Blog
The word Blog is the combination of the terms web and log. Blogs are somewhat similar to online journals or daybooks created by both individuals and companies contained within a website. Blogs typically contain text, images, media (such as video and audio) and most importantly, they link to other relevant web pages and content on the net.
Blogs can help to build stronger relationships, target certain groups such as clients, media, general public and encourage conversations.
Why should a small business build a blog? Besides a way to express yourself and keep others abreast on relevant news I've compiled a list below on the benefits of writing a blog.
Benefits of Blogging for your Small Business
1. Establish Expertise - Just as I spoke on in my post "Upload a video to YouTube", a blog positions you and your business as the expert in your industry and raises your visibility among your niche market.
2. Communication/ Builds Customer Relationships - Blogs enable companies to present a human face and voice to the public. No longer can you hide behind your phone tree or email - customers want and demand to know whom they will be working with. A blog gives you the opportunity to become transparent to your customers.
Blogs typically allow customers to join discussions respond to concerns, provide tips and insights or receive support. This can be accomplished through any number of mechanisms (comments, forums, etc).
3. Simple, low-cost PR - Writing a blog is probably one of the simplest, fastest ways to put information online.
4. Build communities - Use your blog to grow group support around a cause, political issue, technology or hobby related to your service or support.
5. Test ideas or products - Those that read your blog and comment are your biggest fans and supporters. Use a blog to publish an idea and use it to generate any interest or buzz. A small software company that I support will dangle an idea that they have for a product in front of their best users, gain feedback, tweak their product and then tease them with small bits of news and insight prior to its release. It works like a charm.
6. Higher search engine rankings - Google and other search engines reward those sites with lots of relevant content that is updated often and contains many inbound and outbound links to other relevant content.
Do's and Don'ts of Corporate Blogging - CNN Money
Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business - Amazon.com
Why Blogging Matters to Business - About.com
Bloggers Code of Ethics
Blogging for Business - The Entrepreneurial Mind
For example, lets say you are a local landscaper. By creating just a simple video about planting a tree or maintaining your lawn you are now looked upon as an expert in their mind. Therefore, when they decide to buy, you are the one they choose because it's comfortable and they know what to expect.
So, before you can become the "go to guy (or girl)", you must know how these new web technologies function. There are numerous services, but I'm going to keep with YouTube in this example simply out of simplicity sake. YouTube is probably one of the easiest video sites to use out of the bunch in my opinion and their recent acquisition by Google makes they even more of a powerhouse.
Step 1: Know what type of video to create
YouTube accepts video files from most digitial cameras, camcorders and cell phones in .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG file formats. Have no fear if you are unaware, these are standard outputs on most equipment. If you are familiar with video details, YouTube recommends a resolution of 320x240, MP3 Audio and a speed of 30 frames per second.
Step 2: Create you video / Create your YouTube account
Create your video and transfer to your computer. Most cameras and camcorders have USB or Firewire output. A simple plug and play should do the job.
If you don't have a YouTube account yet, go to YouTube.com and create your unique username and password. It takes less than a minute and they won't spam you.
Step 3: Upload video to YouTube site
While logged in, click "Upload Video" in the upper-right-hand corner of just about any page within YouTube.
Step 4: Enter your video information
Input as much information as possible, include Title, Description, Tags (one-word descriptors such as tree, landscape, lawn) and Category. The more info you supply, the easier it will be for users to find your videos
Step 5: Find that file
In the next window, click the 'Browse" button to find the video located on your computer. YouTube takes your file and converts it to a flash file so it can be shown in all web browsers without any special equipment.
Step 6: Determine Public or Private
If you want everyone to be able to see your video (which I'm sure you do in this example), make sure to click Public.
Step 7: You become an online video star!
Click "Upload Video" and your video is magically taken to YouTube wonderland.
After you have created your video and uploaded to your site, YouTube supplies two pieces of information that allows you to easily pass your video on to your customers.
A good idea for the URL tag would be to place it in your e-mail signature or as a link to your customers in their monthly e-mail or newsletter. Once typed in, the URL will take the user to the exact page within YouTube where the video is placed.
If you want to get a little more fancy, you can copy the Embed code and insert it within your web site or on any electronic communication. This feature will pull the video right out of YouTube and integrate it within your site.
Making and Optimizing your Videos
Adding YouTube videos to your web site or blog
Policy on Copyright information
To add your business to Google Maps, simply visit Google's Local Business Center. The process is straight forward and literally takes 2 minutes to complete if you have a Google account. If not, don't worry, they are free of charge and can provide your small business with other invaluable tools such as Google Documents, GMail, Google Reader, Adsense/Adwords along with the lovely Google Website Analytics.
While you're online, check out your competition. Are they listed on Google Maps? How do they attract new business through their online strategy? What could you be doing better with yours?
Adding your business to SuperPages.com
Seth Godin's free e-book: Bootstraper's Bible