Don’t Take Your iPhone Lightly

Smartphones have become an indispensable business tool. They allow your customers and business partners to reach you anywhere at any time, which means you’ll miss fewer sales and be able to take advantage of more business opportunities. And I’m talking about more than texting and talking on the phone.

I’m also talking about iPhone apps.

An iPhone app is an always accessible playground for your customers and a way for you and your customers to interact with each without texting or talking on the phone. And, yes, it’s also available 24/7. Your customers are able to visit your website, see your branding elements, make purchases, or do virtually anything you allow them to do through application on their iPhone without having to wait until they get home to access their computers.

A useful iPhone app is perhaps one of the best investments you can make in your business. It’s also an investment in your customers. And, trust me, they’ll appreciate it.

If you have an idea for a killer iPhone app that has the potential to assist your customers in new and better ways, then let us know. I’m sure we help you make the most of your iPhone dreams.

July 31st, 2012 / iPhone Apps, Online Marketing

Do You Need A Heat Map?

Heat maps have become somewhat popular among Internet marketers, but they’re not as popular as they could be. They do provide useful information, however.

For instance, if you want to know what areas of your web pages get the most views, then installing eye tracking code on your pages and analyzing the data with a heat map is the best way to get that information and make use of it.

Let’s say you want to add advertising to your website and you want to find out what the most viewed sections of your web pages are. A heat map will help you determine the best places to put your ads for maximum profitability. With that information you can determine how much to charge your advertisers for the privilege of taking up web space. If you get paid by the click through, then placement of your ads is very important.

Many online marketers have used heat maps to determine where specific non-advertising content on their web pages should go and have even redesigned their entire websites on that information alone.

Heat maps are useful analytics tools, but not all analytics packages offer them. If you are concerned about which parts of your web pages get the most views, then use eye tracking studies and view the information from them on a heat map.

July 23rd, 2012 / Online Marketing

Keeping Up With The Internet

Sometimes, keeping up with the rapid changes going on all over the Internet can be taxing. Especially as a marketer. After all, you never know what news will hit your RSS feed and when.

For instance, did you know Digg – the big time social bookmarking website – was recently sold? In fact, the site was parted out like a used automobile. Patents, technology, people – they were all sold separately to different bidders. Makes you feel glad you’re not Digg, huh?

And Facebook keeps innovating, adding new features. As do Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Who will win the race to become the world’s most beloved social network? Rumor has it that Facebook has already won, but the company is being bombarded by lawsuits. And so is Google.

Speaking of Google, a class action lawsuit just settled and millions of AdWords users received checks in the mail. Some received as little as 9 cents while others took in thousands. The attorneys for the claimants were the big winners with millions in their pockets.

All of these news items will affect online marketers in some way. Maybe they’ll be small ways or maybe they’ll be major changes. Either way, you should spend a little time trying to keep up with Internet news. You never know how it will affect your online marketing efforts.

July 15th, 2012 / Online Marketing

5 Sources Of Instant Website Traffic

Website traffic is sometimes hard to come by. If you rely entirely on search engine optimization methods, it could be weeks or months before you start seeing traffic. What if you can’t wait that long? Here are 5 sources of instant website traffic I’d encourage you to pursue right now.

  1. Pay per click advertising – PPC isn’t cheap. You do have to pay for your clicks. However, you get the set the price of the click. Many niches these days are very competitive so you could end up paying well for those clicks. That is, unless you go with a smaller PPC search engine. Nevertheless, you could get instant traffic.
  2. Post a Craigslist ad – Craigslist not only can deliver traffic to your website within 24 hours of you posting an ad, but it’s free. There isn’t any better advertising anywhere in the world.
  3. Guest blogging – Write a blog post on a popular blog and you’ll see loads of traffic within a few minutes. Have something valuable to say and that traffic could turn into some real dollars.
  4. Video marketing – Post a video to YouTube and a few other popular video sharing sites and you can see instant, valuable traffic to your website.
  5. E-mail marketing – Send a short blast to your e-mail list. These are warm leads, people who have requested information from you in the past. Don’t squander the list. Use it for something that benefits you and send them to your website with an offer they can’t refuse.

If you’re looking for instant website traffic, try these 5 methods of getting it, some of which are free.

July 5th, 2012 / Online Marketing

More Google Integration With Google+ And YouTube

Google has been integrating all of its service under one umbrella, that umbrella being Google+. The latest integration involves YouTube, but this one is reportedly voluntary.

This is a tough call, however, because YouTube has not required users to use their real names. However, Google+ does require it. You can have a brand page, but brands can’t have a Google+ account. If you have a branded YouTube account, then you can use it – if you want to – as the person your Google+ account is attached to.

In other words, if your real name is Sam McGee and that’s the name your Google+ account is under, but your YouTube account is SMG358, then you can opt to sign into YouTube as Sam McGree. You can also opt not to.

This is important for brands because you may want to continue using your branded YouTube account under your brand name and there’s nothing in YouTube’s guidelines that say you can’t. But if you want to integrate your YouTube account with your Google+ account it will be more difficult to do. It’s a call that you’ll have to make on your own.

I think a case could be made for either way depending on the business and the brand. Some brands will benefit by keeping their YouTube and Google+ accounts separate. Others would do better to merge.

Think about your own situation before you make a decision. It’s not an easy one. But consider your options within the context of your overall marketing plan.

June 30th, 2012 / Online Marketing

Why Guest Blogging Is Good,But It’s Not Your Saviour

Guest blogging is a really effective way to get new traffic to your website and build good anchor text links that can drive your website higher up in the search engine rankings. But I wouldn’t base my entire business model on it.

I recently had the privilege of discussing online marketing tactics with someone who told me that his business plan was to write guest blogs to drive traffic back to his landing pages on his website. I thought, OK, what else? That was it. Nothing else.

I’ll say it again. Guest blogging is good. But it’s not the only method of getting new traffic for your website.

Guest blogging is best used to supplement your other marketing efforts. You really want to put fresh content on your own website. You also want to drive traffic and build links using other methods of marketing.

Whenever someone tells me that their entire marketing plan is based on one strategy and nothing else, that tells me they haven’t thought it through clearly. What if that one method or source of traffic dries up? What will you do then?

No matter how good one marketing strategy is, it should never be your only way to market your product or service. Diversify your efforts and you’ll see great results.

June 23rd, 2012 / Online Marketing

Is Google+ An SEO Tool?

Google+ made a big splash last year when it became the fastest growing social network in history. Millions of people logged on within the first month. But then many of them abandoned the service right away. I’d say they made a mistake. I see those people slowly and gradually making their way back to Google+. Why?

I think it’s because Google+ is more than just a networking tool. It is a great social media networking site, but it also has its SEO benefits.

One benefit I’ve seen is the branding/reputation management benefit. The more you post, the higher your Google profile rises in the search engine. That’s pretty significant. If people are searching for you by name or brand, then you want your profile as high up in the search engines as possible. Google+ is a good way to put it there.

But Google+ brand pages also have their benefits. You can have a personal Google+ account and have a brand page for your business. Use your brand page to post important updates on your business and it’s brand name will also rise in the SERPs.

But let’s go one step further. What if you used your keywords inside of your Google+ updates? I’m not talking about spamming Google+. I’m just talking about using keywords in your Google+ posts. Do that often enough and those keywords could be associated with your name, business, or brand. It’s Google+ SEO.

I wouldn’t recommend using Google+ to spam the Internet. That could get your account suspended, then where would you be? What I am talking about is using it as a networking tool with SEO benefits. Pepper your posts lightly with keywords.

June 17th, 2012 / Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation

Is Your iPhone App Useful?

I think mobile social media is about to explode. Twitter is making more money off of its mobile service than its web service. And Foursquare has remade itself into a “discovery engine.” So what’s next?

These might just be little signs of the Web going on about its business, but I think there’s more to it than that. I think mobile social media is on the brink of a new rise in popularity. And iPhone apps just might be in on the revolution.

Smartphone apps of all kinds, really.

If your company has developed an iPhone app or you are thinking about creating an iPhone app, then there is one thing you should ensure that you do and that you do well. You’ve got to make sure your app is useful to its users. Otherwise, your app will be discarded and no one will use it. And you’ll be stuck on the outside looking in.

It’s the same old adage. Online, the best way to build a growing business into a success is to be helpful. That was true in 1995, it was true in 2005, and it’s equally true today. It will be true ten years from, twenty years from now, and fifty years from now.

The mobile revolution is here. Social media via smartphones is here. If you want your customers to interact with your business in a meaningful way, create a useful iPhone app and see what happens.

 

June 9th, 2012 / Online Marketing

Is Your URL Shortener Dead?

Do you know how many URL shorteners have died since the big boom? More 600. In fact, a total of 626 URL shorteners are no longer active, about 61% of the services that have been started in the last decade.

This is according to yi.tl a new URL shortening service.

It’s no wonder that many of these URL shorteners are no longer alive. I expect more to fall by the wayside in the next couple of years. A look at the URL shorteners that are still active reveals some names that I’ve never heard of and that likely don’t have a chance to survive. Of the 395 active URL shorteners yi.tl points to, here are a few of the obscure names still fighting it out in the trenches.

  • 10.rs
  • cli.gs
  • fun.to
  • just.as
  • LinkZip
  • mo.by
  • ptl.me
  • scr.im
  • TheCow
  • unfake.it
  • x.co

The problem with dead URL shortener services is that when your site visitors click on URLs from these services, they will go nowhere. It’s a dead link. Then you have to go back and replace all those dead URLs with real URLs. You either have to use the real URL the short URL represents or use another URL shortener service.

It’s better just to find a good URL shortener service right from the beginning. If you do that, then you’ll never have to worry about dead URLs.

So how do you find a reputable URL shortener service?

I would use one that has been around for a long time like TinyUrl or one that is ubiquitous and highly recommended such as Bit.ly, which is one of the few URL shortner services acceptable to Twitter. Or, you can use one that is owned and operated by another company that is not likely to fail. Both Google and Amazon have URL shortener services – but keep in mind that Google doesn’t have a good track record outside of their core business. And Amazon’s URL shortener service is good only for pages on Amazon’s website.

What I would not do is use an URL shortener service that is a new startup. Like yi.tl, for instance.

Remember, your business is too important to leave to chance. So is your business’s Internet marketing.

May 22nd, 2012 / Online Marketing

5 Places For Your Calls To Action

Calls to action are necessary to close sales. That’s true in traditional marketing as well as Internet marketing. But where do you put them?

The real answer is you put a call to action anywhere you want people to do something. But let’s get more specific. Here are 5 places you can put a call to action to ensure that people take the action you want them to take.

  1. Landing pages – A well-written sales page is an awesome sales tool, but without a call to action you might not make any sales. If you want people to buy your widget, download your app, or move to the next page, include a call to action.
  2. Meta descriptions – Meta descriptions are often used by the search engines as search snippets. If you want people to click through to your web page, then include a call to action.
  3. iPhone app - Yes, even your iPhone app can include a call to action. Games are fun. Utilities are useful. Calls to action close deals.
  4. Social media posts – Whether you post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or a niche forum, links can serve as calls to action. Ask your reader to do something and they are more likely to do it.
  5. Anchor text links – Instead of just using links as SEO tools, why not also use them as calls to action? Don’t leave anything to chance. Get your reader to click with a call to action.

If you make these 5 elements of your online marketing efforts calls to action at least 70% of the time, then you should see measurable results to your bottom line.

May 21st, 2012 / Online Marketing