Know Your Audience When Marketing Online

Internet marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular advertising options available. The Internet reaches a worldwide audience and is available 24 hours a day. For this reason, more and more potential customers are turning to the Internet for a variety of reasons including researching products and services and making purchases. As more and more consumers turn to the Internet for these reasons, it is important for businesses to establish an online presence. This is so important because failure to do so may result in their competitors gaining an edge over them in competing for sales. While it is important for businesses to begin Internet marketing campaigns it is also important for these same businesses to realize basic advertising principles still exist and they cannot neglect these principles. Most importantly those who advertise online have to be aware of who their target audience is and how to reach this audience.

marketingAs with any marketing campaign, business owners should do some market research before they launch their Internet marketing campaign. Ideally, this will involve hiring a research consultant with a great deal of experience in conducting and evaluating this type of market research. The results of this research should determine the basic demographic information for the target audience. The results should also include information on how to reach this target audience. A business that cannot afford to hire a consultant to conduct this market research should still make an effort to obtain this information on their own. This can be done through informal polls of current clients. This information may not be as comprehensive as the information obtained in a more formal study but it can still provide a great deal of insight into the best way to reach the target audience.

Once this information is obtained, it is important to tailor the Internet marketing campaign to appeal to the target audience. There are a number of different variables which can be modified to ensure the right message is reaching the right people in a manner they can understand and in which they can relate. Some of the ways in which your Internet marketing campaign can be tailored in this way include the aesthetics of your website or advertisements, the wording of your copy and the use of more advanced design features such as audio and visual or interactive tools.

The aesthetic appeal of a website can greatly contribute to how the website is viewed by the members of the target audience. A website which is designed to attract the attention of an older generation with more conservative tastes should include muted colors, clean design and, conservative graphics. This will help to ensure the target audience enjoys the website. Conversely, if you are looking to appeal to a younger audience with more liberal viewpoints you might choose to design the website with bold colors, eye-catching graphics and, creative design features.

The copy you include on your website should also take your target audience into consideration. Consider the examples of a conservative and a liberal audience listed above to create a better understanding of how the copy on your website can appeal to the target audience. When marketing to a more conservative audience, the copy should be tailored to use formal language and use facts to back up viewpoints. However, when you are marketing to a more liberal audience or a younger audience you can consider using less formal language which is likely to appeal to the target audience. You can also focus more on emotion to express viewpoints.

Finally, when a website is created for the purposes of Internet marketing it is important for the design of the website to appeal to the target audience. You may wish to include audio and video clips on your website but these clips should appeal to the target audience. For example, if your website sells skateboards you might consider incorporating audio clips from punk rock bands as opposed to country music bands. There may be some skateboarders who enjoy country music but in general punk rock music more closely represents the skating culture. Keeping these details in mind is very important for Internet marketing.

5 Ways To Keep Customers Coming Back

returning visitorsA lot of successful websites depend on returning visitors to make up the major part of their traffic. Returning visitors are easier to convert into paying customers because the more often they return to a site, the more trust they have in that site. The credibility issue just melts away. Hence, keep your visitors coming back to your site with the following methods:

 

1) Start a forum, chatroom or shoutbox

When you start a forum, chatroom or shoutbox, you are providing your visitors a place to voice their opinions and interact with their peers – all of them are visitors to your site. As conversations build, a sense of community will also follow and your visitors will come back to your site almost religiously, perhaps daily.

2) Start a web-log (blog)

Keep an online journal, more commonly known as a blog, on your site and keep it updated with latest news about yourself. Human beings are curious creatures and they will keep their eyes glued to the monitor if you post fresh news frequently. You will also build up your credibility as you are proving to them that there is also a real life person behind the website.

3) Carry out polls or surveys

Polls and surveys are other forms of interaction that you should definitely consider adding to your site. They provide a quick way for visitors to voice their opinions and to get involved in your website. Be sure to publish polls or surveys that are strongly relevant to the target market of your website to keep them interested to find out about the results.

4) Hold puzzles, quizzes and, games

Just imagine how many office workers procrastinate at work every day, and you will be able to gauge how many people will visit your site if you provide a very interesting or addictive way of entertaining them. You could also hold competitions that reward the highest score winner to keep people continuously trying to win the prize.

5) Update frequently with fresh content

Update your site frequently with fresh content so that every time your visitors come back, they will have something new to read. This is the most widely known and most effective method of attracting returning visitors, but this is also the one least done because of webmasters’ laziness. No one wants to browse a site that looks the same over ten years, so keep your site updated with fresh bites!

Save

Save

Ethical Tips for Building an Email List

Growing an email list from scratch can be a difficult process for new businesses to grasp. Most of the headaches come from inexperience and a lack of information. Building a responsive list doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems, all you need are a few pointers to get started.

Here we will share with you some of the most powerful and simple tips that can help you to grow your email list, and in return strengthen and grow your entire business.Market yourself through your blog. Many business owners forget to take advantage of the exposure that they already have. Adding a simple sign up link to the bottom of all of your blogs can bring new addresses to your lists for customers who are already interested in your business.

growing an email listUse Social Networks to your advantage. Social sharing is a powerful way to raise exposure and bring new customers on board. Make sure that you promote sign up to your list from your social networking pages. If you already have page followers and likes etc. then there’s a high possibility these people will be interested in your newsletters. So make sure that you don’t miss the opportunity to bring them on board.

Make Sign-Up a painless process. You need a call to action, but don’t make it a hard sell. Just as importantly, make sure that the sign-up process is simple. You want to be asking for an email address and a name for sign-up. You can give options for other relevant information, but don’t make it mandatory.

As your list grows, make use of your subscribers. Your list can be thought of as a network for expansion. Offer referral programs with incentives if you have the resources. Your existing subscribers will likely have people in their own circles with similar interests. Make it easy for them to get their friends and family on board and you will see your list numbers rise.

Be proactive in gathering addresses. Even out there in the physical world, you should take every opportunity to grow your list. Advertise your mailing list in your place of business with sign up forms, or take details when you are at trade shows or promotional events. Proactively seeking out addresses works better than sharing your website and waiting for customers to come to you.

Promote the value for subscribers in signing up. Simply advertising your newsletter is not enough. Give a teaser of the content you will provide. Hint at competitions or deals if you will be offering any. Position the newsletter as a free value-added service, and you will find more success in gaining subscribers.
Be Ethical. Don’t make false claims, and don’t use misleading tactics to draw subscribers in. You want to be able to deliver on everything that you promise or imply. Honesty will help you to maintain a responsive list that turns to real business opportunities in the future.

How Machine Learning is Changing the Face of Search

How Machine Learning is Changing the Face of Search

Generally Google doesn’t spring to mind when considering competition in the world of digital marketing because it seems to dominate whatever it touches.

Aside from that however, the realm of digital marketing has always been an extremely competitive landscape, with certain exceptions of course. Established brands with long standing trust frequently held the top SERP positions, while new domains had to take a place at the back of the line. Black hat SEO made it possible for webmasters to play the system and produce high ranking for substandard content. In the recent past, SEO providers and webmasters could apply trending keywords and simple heuristics to achieve rank regardless of content quality or relevance.

These concepts were entirely changed by the Hummingbird update and the unveiling of RankBrain.
These two things should be changing the SEO world’s ideas about how to achieve success as well. Although many SEO providers understand how important RankBrain is, or at least will be in the future, they still cling to the conventional strategies that worked a decade ago.

It’s time to rethink your views about search engine optimization and there are several SEO strategies and machine learning applications that can help you stay competitive in this constantly changing landscape.

How Machine Learning is Changing Search

RankBrain is, according to Google, the company’s 3rd most important factor in ranking. It is used to decipher the context of searches that it hasn’t received before. It distinguishes the context by comparing semantically similar keywords with similar searches from the past and delivering the results that are most relevant.

Through the use of machine learning, patterns can be found and user engagement data analyzed. Through this data, an algorithm can be used to evaluate user intent. This allows results to be filtered more effectively and gives users a better overall experience.

As of today, conventional signals still apply in ranking the best results. With each relevant search however, machine learning is able to analyze which of the pages involved are getting the most favorable user signals and deliver the best results for meeting user intent. It is important to remember however, that machine learning is a slow process. The result would be slow changes in ranking that are based on a growing amount of data from the SERPs.

In the more competitive niches, increased user engagement and content quality will steadily overshadow conventional signals and level the playing field. In lower volume searches, the conventional ranking signals will remain as the standard until sufficient data is gathered and user intent can be determined.

Humans aren’t being Replaced Yet

Not to worry, automation isn’t going to replace humans in the near future. Machine learning can be used to help boost marketing campaigns, but the actual creation and execution will ultimately rely of human intelligence. The same rules still apply to SEO.

Provide a good user experience
Provide solid content boosted by good keywords
Employ natural language
Personalize the journey

The big difference may be in how we provide these things to potential buyers. The technologies that are being developed every day can potentially allow for great improvement in the competition for SERPs and allow today’s digital marketer to deliver a much stronger product.

Marketing Your Products

Marketing Your Products Well – Is Your Content Up To It?

One of the most vital parts of your online marketing is content writing. Sadly, creating content is sometimes the last place that we put the marketing funds. In the digital world,that next website, the next page of good information for the customer is only one click away. Website copy writing is one of the most important tasks we will accomplish for our marketing, but it is the one that we neglect or to which we assign the least amount of funding.

Website content writing services are notoriously costly. They don’t have to be. There are places to have them done that provide you with top quality. One such site is Need an Article.com. Another is Textbroker. Neither site costs the earth and both provide good quality. Of the two, we’ve found Need an Article to be the lower priced and the most customer service friendly.

Writing or buying articles is one of the smartest and most cost effective marketing methods you will ever use. Every site needs to stay visible and the best way to do that is with quality content that is relevant, informational and provides good value to the reader.

Is your website content preventing the customer from clicking away to that next site? Does your copy-writing service offer you quality content for cost effective prices? Buying articles is often the last thing we think of when trying to increase our online visibility and it should be the first line of defense for us. The right content explains who you and what you have to offer. Articles are the best and most cost effective way to market your website and your products and services.

What is Great Content Worth?

Most of us put less of our marketing budget into copy-writing and more into other areas that may not be offering us the return that they should be. Your website content makes the difference between a website that sells your products–and one that doesn’t.

Stop Marketing for a Minute and Listen

Marketing – Where The Customer Comes First

If you’re a marketer or you know one you know the mentality. EVERYTHING becomes an opportunity to market. I see it all the time, even sometimes in people with whom I work. Sometimes in myself. It is absolutely a sore subject to your customers and friends that everything becomes a means to increase your own bottom line.

Stop marketing for a minute and LISTEN to what your customers are saying to you. When you live and breath marketing, sometimes you need to stop and take a breath and empathize with customer concerns and hear what they are saying about their sites and content.

The number one complaint that I hear which brings in a new customer quite frequently is that the marketing and SEO companies around the globe are not listening. Every discussion and every email that they have received was an invitation to up-sell something– a product or a service, when they weren’t ready for that yet..

It tends to come off to the new customer as you not hearing what they want, but instead trying to sell them another product that costs more.

The very act of interaction with customers and clients is seen as a means to gain a new opportunity, but the reality is that this offers you a look of desperation and of being uncaring or inconsiderate of the needs and desires of your customers.

Test yourself in this area. If you hear your customers concerns about something and your next sentence begins with the words “we offer” or “I can give you” then you’re a victim of your own marketing hype and you need to take a step back. Marketing today isn’t about where you want to go in your own business. It’s about where you want to take your customers and the loyalty you can engender in them by taking them there.

Email marketing by SEO companies has taken a hard hit lately and there are two primary reasons for this.

Selling something in every email and not just offering information or a freebie means that they are going to perceive you as someone who solicits them and doesn’t offer anything of real value. Once in a while, offer a free piece of software or a free service that they can take advantage of. Even if the software isn’t yours, and is just a link, take the time to offer them value.

Ask questions and really hear the answers. Many SEO customers believe no one is listening. You can learn a lot by using polls or other methods to gather information from your customers. If your emails don’t ask for responses or opinions, or don’t offer polls once in a while, then you are going about your marketing the wrong way. If you offer too much by way of your own products, services, and preaching, and don’t ask any questions, how do you know what your customers want and how can you address those wants with your products?

The key to solid marketing methods today are to offer quality and cost effective services, to offer them in such a way that the customer does not feel pressured and suffers buyers remorse, and to actually interact with your customers rather than being the only one talking. Talk TO them, not AT them.

Guerrilla Marketing Tips

Are you a small business owner? Do you think your company needs a bit more “oomph”? As long as you are open to ideas and possibilities, you can market your business with economical means. Marketing is very expensive, but you know you have to reach out to the consumers out there. It is not an area you should dismiss because you can’t afford it. Below are some unique, simple, and low-cost methods in building up your small business:

Here are some possible Guerrilla Marketing Tips

  1. Try to ask for e-mail addresses whenever you get the chance and send out newsletters via e-mail. This is a friendly way to inform them more about your growing company.
  2. Have your business cards made by a printing service that offers discounts. Then, step out of your home office and hand them out. Place coupon codes for your website’s products to attract the potential customers. This way, you can monitor how many logged in and used your codes.
  3. Hire a teen to hold up your sign on the side of the road. This allows drivers to have a glimpse of your business without paying for a billboard.
  4. Buy someone a can of soda or a sandwich. After that, give your business card and leave. You don’t have to throw in a sales pitch at all!
  5. Find a charitable event that you like and donate some of your products.
  6. Instead of ordinary flyers, make tip sheets in the area you specialize. Hand them out or mail them out. People love tips and free information like that.
  7. Give away balloons at a community event. Each balloon should have your business name printed on it. Take note that balloons make kids happy. When kids are happy, parents become happy patrons.
  8. Offer to give a free seminar or crash course. Most companies do not allow outside business flyers or posters within their premises, but they accept free courses and seminars.
  9. Print your business information inside old books or magazines and donate them to establishments with waiting rooms. This allows the people there to have a glimpse of your business.

These are only some of the ways you can use to let the world know about your small business. Take them and run with them as you take your journey to a successful entrepreneurial path!

Mobile Marketing Using Websites and Applications

Way back in 2008, a very bold prediction was that more than half of the world would be using mobile marketing by 2014. 2014 came and went, as we all know. That prediction proved to be true. Mobile marketing is a force to be reckoned with in the online and in the marketing world. What do mobile marketing and mobile applications have to offer you?

Statistics tell us that the average mobile shopper not only spends more time on the mobile website, but they spend more money when they do purchase there. In fact, they spend an average of 25% more than the person shopping from the desktop or in the retail store. Capturing the imagination and the custom of those shoppers then is well worth your time. Making them part of your strategic marketing campaign is imperative if you want to take home that extra 25 percent of the marketplace.

No matter what you’re doing in the online arena today, it’s imperative that it be optimized for the mobile user. Smart businesses are developing and using their own online applications, They are further making sure that their website, if not specifically designed for the mobile world, is at least responsive and mobile friendly.

The online world of mobile apps is booming today. Just the Apple store has more than a million apps out there and they are designed to do a little of everything. From shopping to recipes to entertainment and movies, you’ll find a mobile app that fits every bill. If you’re considering mobile marketing applications, creating one that allows you to give your customers what they want, to buy from their phone, to look things up or to generally make their life in some way easier is an app that will be well-received.

Android phones are continuing to rise in their popularity so don’t forget to make your app available for both iPhone as well as Android phone customers if you do take the plunge.

Marketing Tips-Defining Your Audience

When it comes to marketing a specific product or service, defining your audience is probably the most logical first step in the process.

Your USP or unique selling proposition is where you get started with that. What is your unique product, service or business and how can it benefit someone? What type of person will it best appeal to and how will they use it?

The answers to those questions will help you to define your audience better and give you a good look at who you need to target. That, in turn will give you a better grasp on how you can best target them.

Once you know who you are targeting, do a little extra work to find out where you can find them and what kind of approach suits them best. Then explore your options so far as marketing to the audience you want and marketing to them in a way that will be appealing and available to them where they are.

Typically the better you target your audience, the more pointed you can make your communications with them to offer your product or service. Survey those that you believe are potential customers and listen to what information they offer you. Marketing is no longer a one way street. It is an interactive experience that enriches both the customer and the company.

An Overview of Marketing Goals and Ideals

In 2013, the WinterBerry team said that best policy was to plan and to manage your marketing channels as a holistic group. Using them as isolated or separate channels or separate entities was probably the wrong way to go. In most cases, the ideal solution is to treat them as an ecosystem, each playing into the other.

Holistic SEO and marketing is now and has always been the best practice,and the most successful marketing companies and personnel know that. In most cases, marketing companies and individual marketers have not caught up to this ideal.

The problem is that many companies today do not have the capacity to put all of their data in one basket, as it were, and evaluate it in that way, rather than doing so as separate entities.

Holistic Marketing and Available Marketing Channels

Integrating your marketing channels into a seamless strategy is an absolute necessity today. The first step is to create a goal for your overall marketing campaign–or multiple goals. Whether you want to drive more traffic to the site, increase your conversion rate, brand or improve product awareness, or nurture your leads, there is a channel that will be ideally suited for that.

Find it and use it, in combination with the others.

What is the best way to market online and which channels are the most important ones to integrate into your own marketing methods? There are plenty to choose from but which ones work best? The answer is–all of them.

Email Marketing
Social Media
Website Marketing
Inbound Content Marketing
Landing Pages
SEO
SEM
Display Advertising

Explore the available marketing channels and find out which are best suited to and most supportive of your goals. Chances are that you’ll use all of them in some way. Integrate those online channels with offline efforts and your marketing campaigns will be golden.

Why Your Help Video, Sales Video, Solicitation Video Doesn’t Cut It.

I recently received an email trying to sell me a product. It provided me with a link to a video that was about 9 minutes long. Two days ago, I received another email. This one pointed me toward a video selling me a marketing product. That video was more than 10 minutes long.

At the risk of seeming ungrateful for your product tips, I’d like to say that if you honestly want me to buy into your credibility as a marketer or you truly want me to buy your product, presenting me with an excruciatingly long video and forcing me to sit through it is the least likely way to accomplish either one.

I’m a member of a site that also offers only help videos. Despite commenting on this multiple times, having clients comment on it and requesting another way to find helpful information, that method has not been forthcoming.

This week I quit that site.

There are several reasons why your marketing, sales, and help file videos just don’t work for me. These are just the least of them.

My time, like yours, is valuable. I read very quickly and retain what I’ve read quite well.

In the ten minutes I would spend watching your video, I could assimilate ten times that much text.

Your video seeks to control my time and effectively hold me hostage while you divulge the secrets to your success, the benefits of your product and/or the low, low price that I will enjoy.

If it hasn’t entered your mind, consider this point. By using a video of a specific length you are controlling the time of others for that span of time. If you create a ten minute video, effectively you are saying, I want TEN minutes of your time and I am not going to settle for anything less.

By sending me an email you are saying, “I want you to know that I respect your time.” Read it in two minutes or pore over it for  ten minutes, whatever works for you.

If you send me an email with the text incorporated in it, not a link to a video, I can review that text and determine if your product is worth buying in a third the time. That time savings to me is important. Your demonstration that you respect my time is also important and will probably net you the sale. Add the link to your video if you must and if I have time, I’ll watch it.

Granted, not everyone is the same. Some people  like videos that need to be searched for the right answer or viewed in their entirety. They enjoy not being able to open an FAQ or a help file while they work on a site.

They may love being constrained to a video and having to search through each one to find the audio that is relevant to their problem. Those people obviously don’t have a lot to occupy their time. . . but still, they do exist.
Your videos may be just what they want.

Even so, there are a few issues with videos that annoy many of those who want to use them.

Here are a few little tips for the video makers in the group.

If you  create a video to sell your product or to help your customers:

    • Make it easy to start and stop.
    • Make it short and to the point
    • Make a link below it that offers a transcript of the video.

If your video serves as a help file for a website then definitely make a transcript or a bullet point brief of it and offer it for download or below the video on the site.

A download lets users keep it open while they are using your site.

Try to avoid assuming that everyone uses Windows. PDF is something that everyone can use, they are not denied whether they use Mac or Windows or Linux as some formats like  pages or docx accomplish.

Videos are not SEO friendly so by adding the text of the video you also get the added benefit of doing something good for your site.
Happy Sunday!