The Marketing Advantage

Connecting You with Your Customers

Builder’s Big Heart Goes out to 10-Year Old in Need

Posted by advantagemarketing on May 26, 2015

Coppola Bros Construction

by Loraine Kasprzak

My friend Frank Coppola runs Coppola Brothers, a rapidly growing construction company located in Asbury, New Jersey. He recently asked me to help him tell a story that is near and dear to his heart.

Through an organization called Heartworks, Frank was connected to a young girl named Charlotte Downey with extreme medical needs whose family needs major – and I mean MAJOR – construction on their house so that Charlotte may live at home. Frank and his team are not ones to step back from a challenge, so they took on the ambitious project, but need help paying for the materials they’ll be using to build Charlotte’s house.

This is the story Frank told me:

Charlotte DowneyCharlotte Downey is an amazing 10-year-old girl who has already gone through so much in her short life.  Her story is one filled with sorrow and heartache but also with great strength and perseverance.  Born with a heart lesion that caused abnormal blood flow through the heart, she required immediate and life threatening surgery.

The side effect of this surgery was bleeding in the brain that resulted in neurologic and kidney damage. The kidney damage was so severe that before the age of 2, she required a transplant.  Her most recent challenge has been the diagnosis of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD), a type of cancer that affects transplant recipients.

While we may not be able to aid in her continuing medical journey, we can help with the construction of a safer and more functional home for Charlotte and her family.

With challenges like no heat in the kitchen and no full or handicapped accessible bathrooms in the house, home life is challenging for the entire family.

Coppola Bros team

Frank Coppola (top row, blue vest) and his amazing team will build the Downey family a house so that Charlotte can live at home – but they need your help!

Volunteers have already given their time and talents to develop a plan for a more functional and safer home, now they are in need of the generosity of others to make those plans a reality.

A concert featuring the Altman Brothers is being held on June 3rd to help make Charlotte’s new home a reality.

Just a small concert ticket donation can support and raise money for the Downey family.

Please support Charlotte with a donation or by attending the benefit concert.  It is going to be a rockin’ good time for an important cause!

Tickets are available online at www.njheartworks.org. For more info about the event, please email INFO@CoppolaBrothersLLC.com.

Posted in charity, nonprofits | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New RESULTS! Book Delivers Solutions to Drive Business Success

Posted by advantagemarketing on May 22, 2015

#RESULTS!

Check out my new book, which was written to help business owners achieve lasting, high impact RESULTS! in their businesses.

Are you ready to see RESULTS! in your business?

If you believe, as I do, that our thoughts create our reality, then you want to read my latest book. I’ve partnered with 16 other smart-cookie business professionals to participate in an anthology book project called RESULTS! Impactful Solutions to Drive Business.

The book is designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners gain the information they need to have a successful business and see RESULTS! All of the expert authors have been through the same struggles as you but have come out on top with thriving, successful businesses and now we want to share that information with you!

In my section, Build a Better Marketing Plan, I zero in on the five simple rules for building a marketing plan and the seven marketing plan must-haves.

As my friend and client Don McDermott told me, “If I have a marketing plan in place, I don’t have to think, I just have to DO.”

Other chapters in the book will help you focus on
• Seven steps to living as a confident entrepreneur
• How to transform your leadership to grow your business
• Power dressing techniques so that you can look as smart as you are
• How a virtual assistant can benefit your business
• And much more!

RESULTS! is available in both Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1512138010.

You can also follow my RESULTS! book journey on Facebook.

Follow the whole RESULTS! gang on Twitter – track us with the hashtag #RESULTS!

Leave a comment and let me know how you are getting RESULTS!

Posted in Book marketing, brand building, Business, content marketing, Email marketing, Entrepreneur, Facebook, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, small business, Traditional marketing, Using books to market your firm, Word of mouth marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Busted! 7 Inbound Marketing Myths

Posted by advantagemarketing on May 1, 2015

inbound-marketingInbound marketing can be a powerful tactic for growing your business, so it’s surprising that more business owners don’t use it. But, according to HubSpot, there are some common misconceptions folks have about the how inbound works. Here are the top 7 of these myths – BUSTED!

Myth #1: Inbound marketing, content marketing, and SEO are competing ideologies

This one is the most common misconceptions. Content marketing is all about producing quality material for a specific target audience, which makes it a part of every stage of the inbound marketing strategy (attracting, converting, closing, and delighting), because you can use it to complete all of these actions. SEO is also a necessary component of inbound marketing, because making it easier for people to find your website will help with the “attract” phase. Content marketing and SEO are part of the broader idea of inbound marketing.

Myth #2: Inbound marketing and traditional marketing can’t play nice together

For years “experts” have been speaking about how outdated traditional marketing is, and that it’s not an effective long-term strategy. With inbound, you are gaining an organic audience that will keep feeding you with leads for years. With traditional, you are paying for a temporary audience. However, traditional marketing – such as advertising – can be helpful in the early stages of the inbound process, as a supplement to your inbound strategy, or to help meet monthly and quarterly goals.

Myth #3: No one is going to consume the content that I create

Creating and publishing content can seem intimidating and pointless in the long run, as most writers assume that no one will view their content. Not true! If you can create valuable content that is meant for a specific audience, you will gain readers, and create an active following. You don’t want just anybody viewing your content, you want the right people to view it, so that you can convert those leads into customers.

Myth #4: Creating unique landing pages is a waste of time

Producing unique landing pages is an essential part of the inbound marketing process, because without landing pages, it will be harder for you to convert visitors into leads. On average, companies with 30+ landing pages produced 7 times more leads than companies with 1 to 5 landing pages. The more landing pages you have showing up on search engines and on social media sites, the more opportunities you will have to convert leads.

Myth #5: Email is dead, or is dying

Headlines about common marketing strategies being “dead” usually come around every once in awhile, and they usually do not end up holding up, which is definitely the case with email. Email is still widely used by marketers, and most importantly, it is not obsolete, because it still brings in business.

Myth #6: It’s impossible to know when leads are ready to become customers

Knowing which leads are ready to buy and become customers can be difficult, but it can be done with precise attention to detail. If you can see a recognizable pattern of a customer checking through your emails and webpages, you can make an argument that a purchase could be in the near future. The point is, you have to be looking at your data consistently to see patterns.

Myth #7: Hosting events won’t help my business

Entertaining your customers is not about wasting money; it is about investing in the best promoters of your business. Hosting events will bring all of your customers together to discuss your product, service and expertise. Most people that attend these events are there to learn, so it’s a win-win situation for your company and for your customers.

What other inbound marketing myths have you heard? What makes them a myth, in your opinion? Tell us about them in the Comments section.

Posted in Business, content marketing, Email marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, small business, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

5 of the Biggest SEO Myths

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 22, 2015

seo-mythsSEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is a big deal if you want to drive traffic to your website. But, according to HubSpot, there seem to be many myths around that can undermine your optimization efforts and may even affect how your rank in major search engines such as Google.

Don’t fall prey to these SEO myths:

1. More links are better than more content

Should you invest in link building or in generating content such as blog posts or webpages? Companies too often focus on the quantity of links to their site, rather than the quality of their site’s content.  Your website’s focus should be on having relevant, quality content, so that others will want to link to it over time.

2. SEO is all about ranking

While studies have shown that most searchers prefer to click the first three search results, first-page ranking is not the prize it used to be. According to HubSpot, other studies have shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page gets you similar click behavior. The bottom line here? First page ranking matters less than you think. It’s more important to provide content that is useful to your readers, so that when they click through to your site, they stay and share your content.

3.  Keyword optimization is the key to SEO

While keywords have always been an important part of Internet searches, Google no longer exactly matches keywords typed into the search box to the keywords on a webpage. Instead, it searches for the intent behind the keywords used, so that it can provide relevant, high-quality content. This means that search engines won’t punish your website for not having enough exact keywords, but you will be if you overuse keywords.

4.  My homepage needs a lot of content

Your homepage is the gateway to your business. You don’t want it to be littered with content, but you also do not want to have a barren homepage with little to no information. Your homepage should describe who you are, what you do, where you are located, and what visitors should do next. Anything more than this can overwhelm users.

5.  My website doesn’t need to be mobile-friendly

Many website owners think their websites are only viewed on laptops and desktop computers. The fact is, more websites than ever are viewed on mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. To reflect this trend, Google instituted a new algorithm on April 21, which uses the mobile-friendliness of your website as a ranking signal. Talk to your website developer. If your site is not mobile friendly, your developer should put a plan in place for fixing it right away.

Posted in brand building, Business, Internet business, Marketing, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

7 Twitter Tips You Need To Know Now

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 9, 2015

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Is Twitter in your marketing tool kit? It should be. Twitter allows your company to gain more traffic, gather more leads, and generate more customers. Here are some tips from HubSpot to help you make full use of what Twitter has to offer:

1. Create a keyword searchable bio

In the bio section of your profile, include commonly searched terms and hashtags to increase the number of times that your page will show up in search results. This generates more traffic and makes your profile easier to access.

2. Use eye-catching images

Including images in your tweets will make them stand out and catch the attention of more users, generating more leads for your business. Most users scroll quickly through their timeline, and only stop to read the tweets that look interesting, so including a picture will drive more engagement from Twitter users. The ideal size for an image is 1024 x 512 pixels.

3. Include GIFs

For the same reasons as tip #2, including GIFs in your tweets will tremendously upgrade your Twitter arsenal. GIFs that are embedded into tweets are converted into MP4s and play automatically. This is another great way to catch the attention of potential leads.

4. Include hashtags related to your content

Having commonly searched hashtags will help your tweet to be seen in more search results, but it’s important to not be obnoxious about it. One or two simple hashtags included on each tweet is the perfect way to generate more traffic and reach a wider audience.

5. Keep tweets short

Keep it short and to the point. Tweets with 100-120 characters generate a lot more clicks and engagement than tweets with 140 characters. Most users only skim these tweets, so keep them as succinct as possible without sacrificing content.

6. Curate Twitter lists to segment users

Twitter Lists helps you to organize users into groups. This can best be used to build strategic connections by allowing you to sort users that you are most interested in engaging with. Twitter lists can be also used to follow a separate group of users from those you follow. This is a valuable resource for targeting the users that you want to reach out to.

7. Engage with your audience consistently

Keeping your tweets interesting is only half the battle. Keeping your tweets consistent is the key to gaining new leads. We recommend that you send around five tweets a day, to stay relevant and reach the widest audience possible.

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Posted in brand building, content marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Valuable Tools for Better Content Marketing

Posted by advantagemarketing on February 12, 2015

Check out these tools to help you make the most of your content marketing efforts.

Check out these tools to help you make the most of your content marketing efforts.

Make the most of your content marketing efforts and strategies by using time-saving tools.  These three will help you effectively manage your time and help you gain valuable insights into your competitor’s strategies:

SEMRush – Analyze how you and your competitors are ranking with SEO

This is a useful tool for monitoring how you and your competitors are placing on Google and the traffic that you’re receiving. By entering a web address, you can get an overview of the traffic you are getting, plus valuable information about keywords, link building and paid vs. organic searches. You can also see your competitors’ best keywords, discover new competitors and analyze their performance.

Use this data to evaluate your marketing strategies, keep the traffic that you do have and use the most successful competitors’ keywords to improve your domain rank.

Free and paid versions available.  Plans starting at $69.95 per month.

BuzzsumoDiscover and analyze which content is most popular

In the rapidly changing field of content marketing, Buzzsumo helps you keep up with what’s trending. This nifty tool collects data and helps you discover what content is being shared most frequently across the various social media networks. Buzzsumo will help you with content creation by analyzing competitors’ content marketing strategies, showing you what’s working for them and who their target audience is. Come up with better ideas, share great content, and find out who the industry leaders are.

Simply enter a domain or topic to see what is being shared most often. From here you can narrow your search through several filter types, view back links, and view who is sharing the content. This allows you to quickly identify what is working well, and what’s not.

Free and paid versions available.  Plans starting at $99 per month.

Quill Engage – Get Google analytics fast, easy to read and free

This tool analyzes and gains insights from Google analytics and provides fast, easy to understand results sent to your email weekly and/or monthly. Quill Engage tells you how and why your site’s performance may be changing. With Quill Engage, you will understand what’s driving your traffic, get relevant analytics, and receive advice on how to improve performance all for free.

Use these tools to improve your current marketing plan, revamp a plan that isn’t working, or simply to maximize your marketing efforts. Let us know what you think. Have you tried any of these tools in your content marketing?

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/h2ey1

Posted in Uncategorized, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Trends, content marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Website for the Housing Partnership of NJ

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 18, 2014

website development examapleWe had the opportunity to team with TAG Online to help the Housing Partnership of New Jersey create a new website. The Housing Partnership is a nonprofit organization located in Dover, NJ, that provides assistance to families of modest means who want to buy and keep homes of their very own.

While TAG Online was responsible for the overall design of the website, Advantage Marketing developed the new tag line, “Bringing You Home. Keeping You Home.”

We also worked with the Housing Partnership staff to write and edit the site’s content so that it would more clearly explain HP’s story and the full range of services it offers.

website development example

 

 

Check out the complete Housing Partnership website at www.housingpartnershipnj.org.

For more about our website content development services, contact us.

Posted in content marketing, Marketing, nonprofits | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whole-Brained Approach to Marketing Is Most Valuable

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 2, 2014

whole-brain-marketing

Today, you need both creative and analytical/technical components to your marketing plan, if you expect to be successful in engaging customers.

By guest blogger Laura Carter

When we think about marketing, we most often think of creativity, innovation, and visual appeal, traits that typically come from so-called “right-brained” thinkers. However, a new trend is taking over, where “left-brained” or analytical thinking is just as valued and respected in the marketing world.

The main goals for marketing have always been to understand the customer and then guide him or her towards a purchase. The path that a buyer takes to that purchase has evolved over the years. According to the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, customers now progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before actually engaging a sales rep. This places a heavy burden on marketers to deliver value and education early on in the buying process.

As a result of changing buying styles, businesses must embrace the role of technology in their marketing strategies. If you expect to reach and engage customers today, your marketing strategy must employ both analytic/technical and creative strategies. In other words, you need to have both geeks and creative types contribute to your marketing.

Those who don’t include technology and analytics will surely be left behind, if they haven’t been already.   Spending in this arena has already increased and is still on the rise. In fact, Laura McLellan of Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.

The best companies must know how to generate interest using technology and turn that into actual revenue. They also must realize that their products and brand need to have a broad appeal that comes from a full right and left brain marketing approach.

With more money being invested in marketing technology, businesses want to see that they are actually getting a return on their investment. This often requires a more refined approach to analytics than what we have seen in the past. Modern marketers need to constantly monitor these analytics to know which areas to focus on and which areas to drop.

Marketers are not only expected to provide good marketing skills, but must also be able to track results with accurate analytics. They must also be able to merge fine details with creativity, analytics with the abstract, and logic with imagination to capture market share.

What marketing strategy do you use for your business? Is it a left-brained, right-brained, or whole-brained approach?

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing automation, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Trends, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Media Metrics that Matter

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 14, 2014

social media metrics

Using the right metrics lets you track your social media campaigns and measure them against your business goals

My professional service firm and small business clients often ask me which social media metrics they should track. They often think that if they get a lot of Facebook “Likes” then their social media campaign was a success. Then they are surprised when “Likes” don’t turn into increased sales.

Hootsuite, a social relationship platform company, noted in a recent blog post that choosing the right social media metric can be a daunting task. They point out that social media can be used to achieve any one or more of these business goals:

  • Increasing customer engagement
  • Growing sales
  • Building brand awareness

Each of these goals has a different set of metrics associated with it. So, if you start by establishing your goal, you can then select the appropriate social media metrics as key performance indicators (KPIs).

Increasing customer engagement, for instance, requires that you track metrics for social media engagement. These include Likes, Shares, Comments, Retweets, Mentions, and Favorites.

If your goal is to grow sales by increasing customer acquisition on your website, then you will want to pay attention to URL clicks and traffic to your website from social media. URL clicks can be tracked by using a shortened URL such as the HootSuite default shortener. Bitly provides a similar tracking capability.

Traffic to your site can be captured using Google Analytics, which your webmaster should have already installed on your site. If not, get him or her to do it immediately – you’re letting valuable insights slip through the cracks.

Building brand awareness requires that you track Follower growth rate, percent change in Followers, Twitter Sentiment, Reach by region, and Clicks by region. Shares and Retweets can also be tracked.

Hootsuite and Bitly are two of many tools that can be used to track social media metrics and both offer free and paid options. This blog post has a good list of free and paid tools for tracking social media campaign metrics.

 

Which social media metrics have you found most useful? Tell us in this post’s Comments section.

Posted in Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, social media metrics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Become the Expert People Want to Hire

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 7, 2014

content marketing

Your prospects will stick around when you give them the information resources they need to solve problems

Prospects Can’t Resist Sticky Content

When you give your prospects information that guides them to a problem solution – that’s sticky content!

When you use sticky content effectively, you become the expert people want to hire.

The Sticky Content Plan can help small businesses, consulting firms, and professional service firms build the information resources that bring customers to your door!

You get:

  • A 3-month content plan to rev up your sticky content creation
  • An analysis and suggested improvements for the “stickiness” of your website and two social media accounts.
  • An evaluation of your company’s brand messaging – does it compel people to stick around (and hire you)?

A $1,500 Value – Only $999!

Get Your Sticky Content Plan

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Thought leadership | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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