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Archive for the ‘Internet business’ Category

Top 10 Marketing Automation Tweets for B2Bs and Small Businesses

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 11, 2016

marketing_automation

Let’s face it: marketing can get awfully tedious, especially when you have to do the same tasks repeatedly. Marketing automation can be a lifesaver because it allows you to set up automated workflows that handle many admin or routine tasks, so you don’t have to. These marketing automation tips from my Twitter feed can help you get started with marketing automation for your own small business.

Marketing Automation Leading to Shorter Sales Cycles, Post-Sale Focus

Marketing automation software is all about automating the customer interaction process from campaign formation through lead generation, all the way to initial sale and repeat business. It can take the time out of tedious tasks and greatly increase efficiency. Read More

 

How to Ensure Your Marketing-Automation Project Does Not Fall Flat

Benefits of marketing automation cannot be overstated. The following 5 tips are meant to provide you some ideas about how to improve your marketing automation and obtain better results. Read More

 

59% of B2B Fortune 500 Companies Use Marketing Automation

The growth of marketing automation adoption within the Fortune 500 segment is continuing — and for good reason. Read More

 

Why Predictive Software Is Key To Marketing Automation

It is time to reinvent marketing automationRead More

 

How Automation Will Change Content and Native Ads

Nearly nine in 10 say tech will improve content marketing and native advertising. Read More

 

Why Do B2Bs Use Marketing Automation? Leads, Leads, Leads

Marketing automation is important throughout the leads process. Read More

 

5 Reasons Sales Teams Should Embrace Marketing Automation

Salespeople want more and better-qualified leads, and most don’t realize or appreciate the value they get from good marketing automation. Read More

 

6 Ways Marketing Automation Saves Time

When I first heard about marketing automation, I was running demand generation programs for an economic research firm. One year after I’d implemented it, marketing automation had saved me 1,832 hours across the entire team — the equivalent of one full-time hire. Read More

 

Vital Features to Look for in Marketing Automation Software this Year

The single most important improvement companies can make to their marketing strategies is investing in marketing automation software. Automation is the fuel that allows businesses to stay one step ahead of the game. Read More

 

Give Your Marketing Automation Database Segments a Rest: Ideas to make sure you are engaging your contacts.

Continually sending messages on weekly webinars, white paper downloads, call-downs, and recycled nurture campaigns will burn out your database and create a level of exhaustion. Read More

 

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Internet business, Marketing, Marketing automation, small business | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law May Impact Your Email Marketing

Posted by advantagemarketing on July 7, 2014

Guest post by Laura CarterCanadian Anti-Spam Law

Canada is now taking action to control email spam. Effective July 1st, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) requires businesses to obtain consent for sending “commercial electronic messages” to clients or prospective customers.

If you operate in Canada or are in contact with Canadian prospects or customers, you need to know the new rules.

Are you affected?

According to CASL, “if you are sending email, SMS, social media or instant messaging with commercial or promotional information about your business to existing customers or prospects you must comply with the new law.”

Review Your Email Lists

Take some time to go through your email lists and make sure the individuals you’re contacting are interested in what you have to offer. You must now have implied or expressed consent from anyone that you are contacting in Canada, and must offer a way for them to unsubscribe from your emails.

There is a 36-month transition period that allows for time to adjust and gain consent from those currently on your email marketing lists.

Provide Good Content

Think about who you are sending to, the messages you are sending and what you include in them. Provide recipients with quality content, and avoid being too “salesy.” Tell the recipient exactly why you are contacting them and why they should be interested in what you have to say. These are things you should be doing anyway, to comply with the CAN-SPAM laws here in the U.S.

Avoid Penalties

In Canada, spam can now be reported and legitimate concerns could be turned over to CASL. There aren’t any automatic penalties but there is a range of consequences varying from warnings to penalties (up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses).

Businesses that are already maintaining their email lists and providing quality information to customers and prospects, will require minimal effort to follow the new law. Embrace this as an opportunity to clean up your email lists and streamline your email marketing campaigns, one of your most valuable marketing resources.

This post was written using information from the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation website.  For more information you can visit http://fightspam.gc.ca.

Posted in Business, content marketing, Email marketing, Internet business, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, small business | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

For Best Results, Just Add Video

Posted by advantagemarketing on July 2, 2013

video for small business

Small businesses can boost their lead generation by adding video to their marketing mix – and they don’t need to resort to grumpy cats

My kids are hooked on YouTube. Even my husband is on YouTube almost every night. Turns out my family is not alone. YouTube, the leading Internet-based video distribution platform, gets over 1 billion unique visitors per month.  People are watching a staggering 6 billion hours of YouTube videos every 30 days — which is almost one hour for every person on Earth. Not surprisingly, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network, according to Nielsen ratings, and not all of them are watching Grumpy Cat videos.

Video can be a powerful vehicle for getting a company’s message in front of a receptive audience. But it can be difficult for small business owners to know how to use video effectively.

To learn more about video, I turned to Lisa Marie Latino, executive producer at Long Shot Productions. Her Fairfield, NJ, based company is a full service television production firm that works with corporate and small businesses.

Why should business owners add video to their marketing mix?

Lisa Marie: Video tells a more vibrant story and can bring your message to life. When you use a video clip on your website, for example, your site visitors gets to know your business on a deeper level. People have short attention spans and video gets them to the main point of your story more quickly.

Video is also so much more affordable than putting an ad in a magazine. With video, there’s a more immediate call to action – and people will really take action.

What are some ways businesses are using video today?

Long Shot Productions

Long Shot Productions works with corporate and small businesses to tell their stories through video

Lisa Marie:  I interviewed Kevin Harrington, chairman and founder of TV Goods Inc. – the “As Seen on TV” folks – about how video contributes to business success today. As Kevin says, video gives you the ability to demonstrate the benefits of your product, the before and after, and the customer or expert testimonial. (Lisa’s interview with Kevin is here: http://youtu.be/nSRCECqSdTw.)

At Long Shot, we’ve done viral marketing videos for clients, plus interviews, product launches, training videos, messages from the CEO, and customer testimonials. I’ve had clients kick off conventions with video. Any marketing campaign can easily have a video component.

I think every company should have a video on their homepage that explains how they help customers. And for all those bios posted on your website, consider adding a video component. Such videos can help your site visitors get to know your company employees in a more personal way.

How can a business owner get a video made?

Lisa Marie: The easiest thing to do is record video with your iPhone or other mobile device. But this isn’t professional and can reflect poorly on your company’s brand image. You wouldn’t publish a poorly worded article, so you shouldn’t produce a low quality video.

You might be tempted to call a local university and ask for a student to do your video. The tradeoff here is that you may get a free or low-cost video, but the student is focused on school and your video is typically not their first priority.

My advice: Invest in getting your video produced professionally. A expert videographer will think critically about your business and knows how to tell a great story with visuals. It’s like the rest of your marketing: you’re better off working with an expert.

What are some tips for creating a video that engages the audience?

Lisa Marie: Start by mapping out your expectations from start to finish. What do you want the video to accomplish? What look and feel do you want the video to have? And so on.

Then you must find a video company that “gets” you. You must have an environment of collaboration, patience and mutual respect with your videographer.

What else makes a successful video? A stellar script. You need to allow time to develop a good script and have a good shoot.  Typically I spend a lot of time coaching clients through script development, and before and during the shoot. I know it can be intimidating to speak on camera. But the beauty of this is it’s not a live event. You can control it – if you mess up, you can always shoot the video again.

What other advice would you give to someone who is considering video?

Lisa Marie: It’s easy to produce a video, but it has to be marketed effectively to produce the results you want. Your marketing team needs to have a plan to promote your video to help people find your company. You have to put your video in front of them; don’t wait for them to come to you!

Your marketers need to focus on social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever your audiences are – to actively promote your video. And share your video content with bloggers – they always need good content.

Have you used video in your company’s marketing mix? Share your experiences in the Comments section.

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Entrepreneur, Internet business, Marketing, Marketing plans, Marketing Trends, small business, Social media marketing, video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hyperlocal Is the New Reality

Posted by advantagemarketing on February 6, 2012

I became fascinated with the rise in hyperlocal media when Patch.com rolled into my home town of Westfield, NJ, two years ago. I recently met Mindy Scarlett, the new editor and publisher of the Scotch Plains/Fanwood edition of The Alternative Press, a rival to the Patch.  I asked Mindy to share with The Marketing Advantage readers her views on hyperlocal media and its role in reporting local news.

Hyperlocal media allow local business owners and community members to post their own content to the Internet.

Here’s what Mindy has to say:

Journalism is an evocative word.  For those of us who are over 30, it conjures up visions of curmudgeonly old editors hiding in their offices waiting for copy boys to bring the offerings from the journalists pounding away in the newsroom.  Every copy boy (and girl) dreamed of one day becoming a full-fledged journalist, with a byline and the ability to “scoop” the competition.

For the under-30 crowd, visions of pounding away on typewriters have given way to laptops, smart phones, and 4G Internet connections.

No matter which vision resonates, the concept of journalism has always followed the same rules.  Start with the basic question, “Is this newsworthy?” and then move on to “How many people does it impact?” and finish with the “who, what, when, where, and how”.

The news-hounds were always on the prowl, sniffing out stories that would shock, amaze and draw the largest number of people.  For the uninitiated, it was simply a case of sending a press release into the wild blue yonder with the hope that it made it to the top of the appropriate editor’s in-basket.

Information, whether provided by the news hound or the civilian, was always strained through the editor’s desk before making it out of the newsroom incubator as a fully-fledged article or media piece.

It would seem, however, that the times they are a’ changin’.  Internet and mobile technology plus the advent of “hyperlocal news” have ushered in the next incarnation of journalism.

What is hyperlocal news? It is journalism that covers everything that affects a particular town – from business news and town council meetings to bake sales and high school sports.  The question hyperlocal journalism asks is “how many people does this affect locally?”

Hyperlocal journalism puts more power into the hands of the reader, who can now use a laptop, tablet or smart phone to contribute content, make comments, and post information in many places.

For example, as the editor and publisher of the Scotch Plains/Fanwood edition of The Alternative Press.com, I offer readers opportunities to post a press release, contribute an article, post a comment, or add an event to the community calendar.

While this content does come through to an online “dashboard” for me, as the editor, to approve, my mindset is very different from the curmudgeonly old editor.  Rather than looking for reasons to exclude the story (not timely enough, not affecting enough people, etc.), I am looking for reasons to include it.  If it is local, it is relevant.

The instant something is posted, it shows up in the hyperlocal edition of The Alternative Press, ready to be viewed from readers’ computers, laptops, iPads, or smart phones. The line between journalist and reader has now begun to blur.

Whether we are baby boomers or Gen X-ers, our visions of journalism are evolving, keeping pace with the run-away train that is technology.  The Internet and mobile technology have forever changed how we receive information and hyperlocal news has forever changed our visions of journalism.

By Mindy Scarlett, Editor and Publisher of The Alternative Press.com for Scotch Plains/Fanwood, NJ.

mscarlett@thealternativepress.com

Do you agree or disagree with Mindy’s point of view on hyperlocal media? Does hyperlocal provide opportunities for you as a business owner?  Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted in Business, Internet business, Marketing, small business | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tips from an Internet Entrepreneur for Running a Successful Online Business

Posted by advantagemarketing on September 2, 2011

WebUndies.com

Deb Palacio started WebUndies in her basement, and grew it into a $1.5mm business. She shares insights for being successful online.

Entrepreneur and Advantage Marketing client Deborah Palacio was a guest recently on The Secrets of Success Women Entrepreneurs Radio program. Deb runs WebUndies.com,a business that she started in her basement in 1999, when few retailers were selling online. Today WebUndies is a $1.5 million business – and growing. The company sells licensed character underwear and loungewear at affordable prices with exceptional customer service.

Deb talked to Secrets of Success host Deborah Bailey about starting and growing a successful, sustainable Internet-based business. Here are some of the insights Deb shared in her half hour interview:

Don’t expect overnight success. WebUndies had only $16,000 in sales in the first year, “and we probably spent $16,000 to get the business started,” Deb says. “We grew the business slowly over time, and didn’t depend on it to pay the mortgage.” She and her partners grew the business as it made sense, taking time to work out the kinks and see where they needed help from outside the company.

Know what sets you apart. Today most Internet markets are saturated, says Deb, and it can be hard to break in. There are, for example, thousands of t-shirt sellers that come up in Google search. Ask yourself: Is what I plan to sell something people want? If I’m going to be that next t-shirt seller, what would make people come to me instead of all the others?

Lean on someone more experienced. When you’re starting out, it saves you a lot of legwork to have someone more experienced whom you can trust, so you can lean on their expertise. If they’ve researched shopping carts already, for example, you can learn from them and narrow your choices that much faster.

If it’s not profitable, get rid of it. WebUndies found itself in a price war with other online sellers over Hanes t-shirts. Although these were popular items and sold well, the company ended up taking a hit to its bottom line. Deb learned that it didn’t pay to carry low margin products just because they sold well. Now she knows which of her products are winners and sticks with them.

Expect markets to be fickle. “Don’t just chase trends, you’ll get stuck with deadwood inventory,” says Deb. “A couple of years ago, we sold a ton of Hannah Montana, now nobody cares about it anymore.  This year everything is Angry Birds, but once we sell out our inventory, I won’t be stocking much more of it.”

Keep the customer experience positive. Deb was a department manager at Nordstrom before starting WebUndies, and she knows how important customer service is. “I am the WebUndies’ customer service manager. I answer customer emails daily – even on vacation,” Deb says. “Our customer service keeps us top-rated as an Amazon seller.” WebUndies also has clearly worded shipping and return policies posted on its website, so customers know what to expect.

Understand your customer. Listen to what your customer is asking for – the products, styles and sizes. “I take my customers’ suggestions and bring them back to my suppliers and tell them this is what customers want,” says Deb. “I push my suppliers to look for the licenses that I know my customers will buy.”

It’s your business – own it. “New business owners may think, ‘it’s my business I can do whatever I want’. That’s not true,” says Deb. “You can’t take a lot of time away from the business and expect it to be successful – you just don’t have that flexibility. You must be dedicated and committed to what you do, 365 days a year.”

To listen to Deb’s entire half hour interview, go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coachdeb/2011/08/24/deb-palacio-of-webundiescom.

And there you have it: advice from a successful, seasoned Internet entrepreneur. What other advice do you think is useful for starting and running an Internet-based business?

Posted in Business, Internet business, Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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