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New Jersey Database Marketing: Explained

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Databases are created when consumers give out their information, such as their name and address, in return for discounts and coupons. This consumer information is then stored in lists and databases throughout the world. As a result of the many different consumers with a variety of interests and information, there is also a multitude of databases in the world.

So what is Database marketing?

Database marketing is essentially the use of these databases. On one side of database marketing is the continued growth of these databases. To keep growing the databases, companies collect information through surveys, online questionnaires and other online forms. The other side of database marketing is using the databases to target potential customers. For example, in an automotive database, a business or advertising agency could target people that are three months away from their last monthly payment on a leased car. As a result, these people will be looking to lease another car and therefore, are good potential customers for car dealerships.

BullsEye Marketing offers regular database marketing and online database marketing to its clients. Database marketing is a cheap tool to ensure that the direct mail or E-blasts are effective. For more information regarding BullsEye Marketing’s database marketing, please visit http://bullseyenj.com/services/database-marketing/.

Contact Us: (888) 678-4890

Small Businesses with Big Online Marketing Dreams

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imageA new year is here and now that we’re already knee deep in the first quarter it’s time to set the goals for 2011. It seems the most popular change in small businesses this year is the plan to invest more into their marketing efforts. According to a survey done online in the past month 77% of small businesses plan to expand their business this year. Also, out of the people that wished to expand their business almost half of them wanted the focus on  marketing and sales to be their first priority. With businesses making marketing a major priority again, and with many businesses starting new ventures in online marketing it is safe to say that it will be a good year for advertising.

However, what makes this year different than other good marketing years in the past is the new desire for small businesses to invest more in online marketing avenues.  Now this may seem to many people as a little late for a online marketing boom considering that the internet has been around for a while now. Yet, the survey also revealed the sad fact that only 54% of businesses that took part in the survey had a company website. Shocking I know, but this explains why so many small companies see this as the year to get their company on the web. This push for internet marketing can also get small businesses noticed if the are located outside of a major city like New York or Philadelphia.

If your one of these small businesses looking to make 2011 your marketing year then call us for a free consultation at (877) 279-1055

Online Advertising Takes the Lead

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To quote Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changin’.” Now granted I imagine when he wrote that lyric he wasn’t thinking about marketing, but the world of marketing is changing in a big way. Recently online ads have pulled ahead of print newspaper ads for the first time. This is a huge shift and the digital marketing research firm believes it will only continue to rise. They estimate that the spending for online ads will reach $25.8 billion in the near future.

While this is big news it is not unexpected. Online advertising has been slowly overtaking print ads for years now. However, while it may not be surprising it still is a big step forward for digital marketing. More spending for online ads can mean more tracking of an ad’s success or failure through services like Google Analytics. It can also cause a demand for new online tools that can help reach customers more easily. Yep the times truly are a changin’.

Facebook Deals Gives New Jersey Businesses Another Reason To Focus On Online Advertising

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Today Facebook introduced a new addition to it’s Places feature: Deals. For those not familiar with Places, Facebook now lets you check-in to local businesses just like Foursquare. You can then choose to share this information with your friends and they share with you. While Facebook’s Places doesn’t offer the gamesmanship of Foursquare where you can become the “mayor” of a location if you’ve checked-in there the most, it allows businesses to place coupons in their listing. Unfortunately, the only way to currently use these coupons is by showing your phone to the cashier. While there is still some need for advanced development of these features, Facebook has successfully taken a step forward in challenging the geo-targeting market and giving local businesses another reason to pay attention to online marketing.

Pictures courtesy of Facebook:

Facebook Deals Facebook Deals Check-in Facebook Deals Coupon

Merchants have complete control over the coupon creation and should be compelled to take advantage of this offering. More and more people use mobile phone applications to not only find places to go, but more importantly, to share them with their friends. Facebook Deals is a great way for your business to use traditional word of mouth advertising on a new platform.

The best way to form a solid campaign online is to form relationships with your customers. Facebook Places, Deals and Foursquare are all additional ways for you to do so instantaneously. New Jersey businesses now have yet another way to use online marketing to their advantage. Unsure how to utilize these tools the best? Contact us for a free consultation at (877) 279-1055 and sign up for our newsletter to receive even more useful advice!

10 Online Marketing Mistakes To Avoid (1 of 2)

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1. Keyword Spam

Most people think the fastest way to getting your website ranked is to fill each page with keyword relevant data. This is only partially correct. While filling your website with content that reflects the search terms you want to be found for, you must be careful not to overdo it.

Google and other major search engines have become hip to keyword padding and will treat your “keyword rich” content as spam. A very useful keyword density tool can be found at: http://www.webconfs.com/keyword-density-checker.php

A keyword density of 1-5% is a successful average. Anything abnormally over that total is subject to being treated as spam.

2. Using Site Submission Tools With Impunity

There are many tools available online that claim to “submit” your website to thousands of search engines, blogs, social networking sites, etc. This is another nefarious practice that search engines have become aware of, consequently blocking most mass submissions made.

If you have a regularly updated website with genuine content, you will get indexed anyway. There needs to be less focus on a quick fix and more work towards building sustainable indexed content. You can no longer trick search engines into indexing your site with keyword overloaded text. The higher quality content you create and the more often you create it, is what gets your site indexed.

3. Using Backlink Services

One of the most important online marketing tactics for getting your site indexed is having other websites link back to yours. Again, there are many free and paid services that claim they will build links for you. These sites generate spam and the backlinks they create are unsustainable.

Here, quality content is again the king. Writing an interesting blog post about the state of your industry is much more likely to generate a quality backlink. The more readers your content receives, the higher chance someone shares your content. By providing value to your audience, you make an investment in yourself.

Check out how many backlinks you have using this free online utility:

http://www.online-utility.org/webmaster/backlink_domain_analyzer.jsp

4. Building A Website Entirely Out Of Flash

While having Flash components on your website can add some flair, be careful not to imbed important content like keyword rich text or pictures that you want indexed. When pictures or text are embedded, search engines do not index this data. Your Flash photo gallery may look pretty, but it’s useless if no one can find it when they search.

Flash has also just become available on the iPhone and the most recent Android OS phones, but the technology is not nearly up to par with personal computers. This results in Flash based websites being incredibly hard to use on mobile devices. If you are going to use flash, you should have a mobile version of the website.

Having an HTML alternative with code that recognizes if the user’s browser is Flash compatible will save your non-up-to-date customers from viewing a broken page.

5. Not Utilizing The <h1> Tags

An <h1> tag is the html code for the most important heading on your website. <h1>An important heading looks like this in the code.</h1> Whatever content is wrapped in that header tag is the first thing search engines look for when indexing your website. This is where your company name and tagline should go. It is also what is viewed at the top of the web browser window, so make sure it’s unique to your company. For example, having “The Best Agency Ever” is cute, but doesn’t tell me much about you. A better <h1> title would be, “My Company Name – This Is The Product We Give You”

These are just a few tips that will help you avoid the common pitfalls of online marketing. Stay tuned for part two of this article, where we cover five more common errors in online marketing.

What To Do If Your Website Has a Google Penalty: Google Analytics

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Check your Google analytics (or your web stats program) to see when the problem first started occurring. You will quickly be able to see where the dip in web site traffic occurred and allow you to associate with what possible internet marketing efforts where conducted at that time for the problem to occur.

In conclusion, be sure you have covered all of these bases. Spend time learning search engine optimization best practices and Google’s webmaster guidelines as well

What To Do If Your Website Has a Google Penalty: New Website Changes

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If you have made any website development changes over the last 6 to 12 months, go through all those changes. Identify any new content that might have a bit too many keywords listed in it. If you have updated any links to any of your pages make sure you did not add too many links pointing to sites that Google does not like. Per Google guidelines a web page should not exceed fifty links. You don’t want to make too many changes backwards just yet. Make some and then wait and give it some time to see if that was the issue. Once you have a penalty it could take some time along with trial and error until your website development team finds the problem.

What To Do If Your Website Has a Google Penalty: Google Webmaster Tools

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If you don’t have Google webmaster tools installed on your website yet even without the penalty this should be the very first step you take. Google webmaster tools allows you to see what types of links are pointing directly to your site. This will be a very good and important starting point for your investigation. Once Google webmaster tools is installed take a step back and go through all your links. Make sure none are pointed to any spammy or irrelevant websites. If you have found any that might not be right for your website you will have to contact blog and website owners to remove the links. By installing Google webmaster tools on your site you also show the search engines that you have nothing to hide and you welcome them to look at your efforts.

What To Do If Your Website Has a Google Penalty

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These things happen to website owners and business owners from time to time. If you think that your website has been given some sort of Google penalty then the best thing you can do is stop any new online marketing and make a list of all your search engine optimization and internet marketing efforts that you have executed for the last year. Sometimes the problem could be one minor link sitting on a website or it can be a much deeper rooted issue that has been building up for some time. You might have been given a penalty at Google if your rankings suddenly dropped or visitors from Google dropped over time. In drastic situations, your website is unlisted from Google. There are places to start looking to solve the Google penalty problem, which we’ll talk about in the next few posts.

Email Blast Sample

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If you got our email (see below), then you know that our in-house art department can create the most visually stunning email blasts that draw attention to your business and end in online conversions.  This email blast, which was created by our in-house art department, was used for self-promotion.  Notice the eye-capturing visuals, simple copy, and clear and direct message.

Local Search is About to Boom!

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As cell phones with internet access increasingly become the norm, people remain connected to the online world 24/7.  As a result, B. Alan’s method of local search marketing, targeting specific geographies and localities, is about to boom.  Business owners need to jump on board in order to get maximum exposure to all potential customers.

See why!

The Last Common Pay-Per-Click Mistake People Will Ever Make: Not Using Keywords in Ad Copy

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This is an easy mistake to correct. Put your keywords into your ad copy and not only will your ad be more relevant but the keywords in it are going to be bold.

Some More Pay-Per-Click Mistakes Most People Make: Confusing Click-Through-Rate with Traffic Conversion Rate

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Online marketing services love to test PPC ads, but what should marketers look for when choosing which ads to keep and which to delete? Looking only at the click-through-rate is a false indication of a better performing ad. If you add the word “free” to your ad, you’ll see a jump in your click-through-rate but what good will it do if it doesn’t lead to online conversions?

More Pay-Per-Click Mistakes Most People Make: Paying for Negative Keywords

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Google and other search engines allow you to report keywords for which your ads should not be shown. If you’re paying for “broad match” keywords, you’ll see a lot of web site traffic from people who have typed your keyword with the word “free”, “stock”, or “jobs”. Do you want to pay money for visitors who’re looking to pay $0 for what you sell? Do you want to pay money for visitors who are researching stock info on what you sell? Be sure to use that “negative keyword folder” to get rid of these worthless clicks.

Pay-Per-Click Mistakes Most People Make: Lack of Tracking

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You must be able to track every visit to your site from PPC advertising by the exact keyword, campaign, and ad group used. To do so you can set variables or integrate your PPC campaigns with your website analytics software. This is the only way you can really calculate the effectiveness of every keyword you use to build website traffic.

Some More Common Pay-Per-Click No-Nos: Ignoring the Seasonal Copy

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Including a seasonal discount or a holiday special in your ad copy is a great way to increase your click-through-rate and online conversions. Furthermore, your ad will clearly stand out from the rest. Make it a Christmas special, Spring special, Summer blow out, or whatever the present time permits.

More Common Pay-Per-Click No-Nos: Not Separating Content Match from Search Results

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This is one of the worst mistakes people make. Of course it takes time, but any online marketing company should separate its regular search advertising from content match. This will allow you to get better reporting, set different costs per click, different budgets, and overall have a cleaner look for both of these campaigns. Just separate them into 2 campaigns. Both will have the same keywords but one campaign will be created only for “search” and the other one for “content match”.

Common Pay-Per-Click No-Nos: A Lack of Affiliate Control

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The company name usually is the keyword that leads to the most web site traffic conversions. Your affiliates know this and advertise under your company’s name in paid search engine marketing. What happens is that not only do you now have to pay your affiliate for the sale they brought you, but you’ve already paid your due with your own advertising methods for that customer to know your name before the search. Be sure to prevent your affiliates advertising in paid search engine marketing for your company’s name. All they are doing is collecting the cash from your own internet marketing New Jersey advertising.

Some More Common PPC Mistakes: Not Bidding For Your Name

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You may be able to take legal actions if your competition is targeting your company name. But if you’re in a different situation, bidding for your keywords will mean more traffic and another real estate space devoted to you on that search results page. It’s a good idea for online marketing NJ to even bid for the company name if there are no competitors at all. You will pay around $0.05 to $0.10 per click and see the amount of searches that are done for your brand name. And you also get some extra statistics that show you the possible growth of your company.

More Common PPC Mistakes: Using Phone Numbers

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Having a phone number in your PPC ad is an eye catcher, but that’s pretty much all it is. Not too many people will pick up their phone and dial your number if they see it in your ad. The phone number, therefore, is just wasting space that can be used for a good message. SEM experts have proven this quite often by running tests. So instead of putting your phone number into the PPC ad, do what the SEM experts say and use that ad space for a relevant internet marketing message.

Common PPC Mistakes: Being Boring

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Some marketers still go online, search for a keyword, look at the competitions’ ads and create ads that conform to the rest. Even though you may not want to conform, this is a crucial step in the internet marketing New Jersey process. Anytime you create a paid ad you MUST look at what is already being said by the competition. But, instead of just being a part of the crowd, you need to be creative and come up with something unique but relevant. If your ad conforms to the rest of them, it won’t catch the eye of the consumer. It’s a tough one but you have to identify what is unique about you and why people should buy from you. Just make sure that it’s what your target market wants and cares about.

Reputation Management Lessons to be Learned from Tiger Woods' Mistakes

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It can take years to build a brand, but minutes to destroy it. Brand spokespeople can be a brand’s own worst enemy by inadvertently inflicting wounds that could lead to the brand’s untimely demise. Luckily, the American public is quite forgiving. You just have to go about it the right way. This requires some reputation management expertise that, unfortunately, Tiger Woods doesn’t seem to have.

The first lesson in reputation management is to shift the public’s anger and resentment (or even hate in some cases) to the actual misconduct itself and away from the person/business that did the misconduct. This is because public sentiment depends on how you respond to rumors of misconduct rather than on the misconduct itself.

The second lesson in reputation management is to plan for crisis management. If you have both an operational and a communications response, you will hopefully maintain confidence in your brand among key stakeholders such as customers, employees, investors, and suppliers.

The third lesson in reputation management is to start early. Tiger waited way too long to comment on the media rumors about his indiscretions and the rumors blew way out of proportion. No comment or too little comment from you gives others permission to comment on your behalf, leaving more room for rumor and speculation. Commenting early will put you in control of the story.

And the final lesson in reputation management that is to be learned from Tiger Woods’ is to make sure there are no information leaks. You need to make sure your public relations teams or departments aren’t speaking with any outsiders or media. Word travels fast, so confidentiality is key.

Reputation management is a tough job because you need to keep in mind how people react to certain things. You need to understand human behavior at a sociological and psychological level. These few lessons will help you stay ahead of your game, but it’s probably in your best interest to hire an online agency that does reputation management. An online agency will not only have the know-how, but also the connections to properly perform some crisis management. And while they’re doing that, you can continue to focus on your business.

Common PPC Mistakes: Too Many Fraud Networks

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Every paid search engine, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, has a network to which it distributes your ads. Unfortunately, however, many of these networks are fraudulent and do not refer quality web site traffic, thereby reducing your traffic conversions. You need to look into your web analytics and find the domain names that bring you web site traffic with a high bounce rate, usually around 90%. Google allows you to drop these domains into a “negative excluded sites” folder, while Yahoo and others make you call them to address the problem. Doing this will prevent you from paying for low quality traffic.

Common PPC Mistakes: Not Geo-Targeting

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Even though what you’re selling may work all over the country or the world, most people still would rather use a local provider, or someone that recognizes their state. Search engines like Google enable you to geo-target your PPC ads by state. You can create 50 ads and put in the state name in the ad. This way you will get a higher click through rate (CTR) and thus a lower CPC. If you’re a smaller business, you can simply geo-target for your state alone. Some online marketing services, like us, even geo-target for your specific city/town. I’m sure that a local pizzeria wouldn’t want to target the entire state of New Jersey in their online marketing NJ campaign, but rather the specific locality within which they are located. After all, why target people that would never come to your business anyway.

Paid Search Engine Marketing NJ Can Help Test and Improve SEO NJ Organic Search

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Paid search engine marketing has an important place in testing and improving SEO NJ organic search. It’s great for immediately testing whether keywords and keyword phrases have a reasonably good traffic conversion rate to a lead or a sale.

This instant feedback can inform SEO NJ organic search content creation efforts and internal and external link strategies. Another often overlooked use for paid search engine marketing is to hone messages on SEO NJ organic landing pages in order to improve the traffic conversion rate when top SEO NJ organic listings are achieved.

You should always test the options using some form of on-off pulse testing along with a good analytics and campaign management platform.

With on-off testing, you can measure the shift away from the top ranked organic listing into the paid search listing. With this data set, you can calculate the true ROI of paid search engine marketing NJ. Subtract the cannibalized clicks from the paid click totals, and recalculate the CPC for the remaining clicks.

For example, the paid search ad gets 200 clicks at a $1 CPC, but you would have gotten half of those clicks anyway on your organic listing. Your true CPC, then, is $2 and can be used to calculate the ROI based on the online conversions through the paid listings.

Often the CPC traffic conversion rate is higher than the same clicks coming through the SEO NJ organic page because you’ve optimized the landing page. But you don’t get to pick the landing page that Google, Yahoo, or Bing select for a particular keyword or keyword phrase. If that keyword is your company name or brand, chances are the search engines are selecting your home page as the most relevant for your brand.

This means that home page web site traffic doesn’t convert as well as specific pages you’ve created for paid search engine marketing NJ. Paid search landing pages don’t need to follow the same guidelines as a page designed to rank well organically. Paid search landing pages can be more liberal with the use of Flash-embedded content or have shorter copy or leaner navigation.

Your paid search engine marketing New Jersey campaign can also be used to test changes to your well-ranked organic pages at little to no risk of losing that organic position. If you knew a different home page would convert better for brand web site traffic, in nearly every case you could make significant changes to your home page without losing your top ranking for your brand.

There may be inherent differences between the searchers who select the paid listings and those who choose the organic ones, so this experiment isn’t perfect. But it does control partially for that fact by including your current home page or keyword landing page in the mix as a control. Clone your current top-ranked page, rename it, and put it on your site with either a robots.txt exclusion or a “noindex” meta tag so if the search engines find the page they won’t think it’s duplicate content.

Once you find the ad copy and landing pages that outperform the original home page, you can decide how to adapt the organic user experience to reflect the optimal page from your paid experiment.

eBay Black Friday

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This is a map of the U.S. with eBay’s sales numbers from Black Friday.

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PPC is the Best Internet Marketing New Jersey Advertising Strategy

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If you plan to begin a pay-per-click search engine marketing NJ campaign, you need information. Some critical information to run a proper campaign is where to publicize and how much to promote.

PPC, or pay-per-click, is a great way to advertise a website, service, or product. By placing pay-per-click advertisements on search engine results pages, you are encouraging potential customers to gain knowledge of your product through their search queries. Like all New Jersey advertising, it only works if it is directed at the right people, at the right time, and in the right way. However, as a result of millions of people searching for any single thing at any given time, you can surely count on getting to the right people. With the amount of people on the Internet using any search engine at any given time, you can be sure that you will build website traffic; and given that your website development team has set up your website properly, you can be sure that your online conversions will increase dramatically.

The larger the search engine is, the higher the price will be per click. Additionally, the keywords used will also effect the price per click. Each time a searcher clicks on your ad, you will have to pay that price. So you must make sure that you make every click count by making the buying process on your website simple.

Retailers Spend More On Paid Search Engine Marketing

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U.S. retailers spent 7% more on paid search campaigns between October and mid-November 2009 across all major search engines — Google, Bing, Yahoo — compared with the same time last year, according to the SearchIgnite Mid Q4 2009 U.S. Search Marketing Report released Monday.

Consumers continue to buy online, but many are spending less on average per transaction. During the first half of the quarter, online conversions rates rose 17% year-on-year, but the average order value declined 27%.

People are buying online, according to Roger Barnette, SearchIgnite president. “We’re feeling pretty good about how the quarter will end up,” he says.

Retailers allocated a higher percentage of ad budgets to Bing this holiday season. U.S. retail advertising agencies dramatically increased their search spend on Bing — up 47% compared with MSN in the year-ago first half of the fourth quarter. Average order values on Bing are 21% higher than across all engines.

Despite retailers’ increased allocation of their paid search dollars to Bing, Google still captures the majority of retail paid search engine marketing campaigns with 75% of all budgets in the first half of the fourth quarter, compared with only 16% on Yahoo and 8% on Bing.

“Although the Monday after Thanksgiving is a big day for online retailers, there are several big days from now through mid-December,” Barnette says. “You can’t really compare it to 2008, because last year everything got thrown out the window. After Thanksgiving it all just fell off a cliff.”

Research from SearchIgnite may reveal a rise in online conversions and retail sales, but findings released Monday from CrownPeak suggests that companies are not making the most of online paid search engine marketing dollars. The study, “Holiday PPC Ad Strategies,” suggests that retailers could do better by improving the connection between paid search ads and Web site landing pages.

In fact, of the 66% of advertisers that did not connect holiday search ads to targeted landing pages, nearly 13% drove traffic to the advertiser’s home page. The remainder misdirected ads to general category pages, or ads that did not integrate the advertising copy. Only 34% of holiday-themed search ads analyzed in the study drove traffic to retail landing pages, but few had a call to action.

Half of product-specific advertisements linked either to a canned search or category page, or the retailers’ home page. Some advertisers — primarily content aggregators — directed ads to specific landing pages, which featured advertisements for other providers of the product.

As part of the two-week study, CrownPeak analyzed search engine marketing results across 10 different holiday-themed phrases, including holiday deals, holiday gifts, Nintendo Wii, Elmo Live, and Christmas decorations. Individual advertisements were analyzed from more than 100 online marketers, all of which leverage the Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising product to disseminate campaigns.

Source:  MediaPost News

Bing Offers Paid Search Engine Marketing for News

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Microsoft thinks it has found a way around Google’s dominance of search engine marketing, a way to make its Bing search engine a winner.

Money.

Microsoft has suggested to high web site traffic news sites that they get unlisted from Google, by writing robots.txt files that keep them out of Google’s index, in exchange for Microsoft cash and placement on its Bing search engine.

If Microsoft is ready to take the next step, and build something like Google News for those sites it’s paying for placement, with enough online advertising to make up its costs from paying for links, then the search competition has a new front.

Bing may finally have a chance.

Let’s say a news site makes enough from a page view that they can pay their employees. The more page views the employees’ content generates, the more money they make, and the more money the website makes.

Now what if that news site decided to take Microsoft up on its offer, and the employees’ stories disappeared from the Google?

The news site would take a short-term hit to their web site traffic, and they would lose money.

But Microsoft might use co-op advertising to try and bring this web site traffic back to the news site, running ads reading, say, “read so-and-so’s article, only through Bing,” maybe with that employee’s picture. Some of these ads would run on the news site, so in addition to the link payment there’s online ad revenue coming in to the publisher.

Now let’s assume that, instead of compensating the employees based on page views, the news site just paid them a straight salary, and divorced them from its business model. Now its search deal with Microsoft becomes none of the employees’ business, just as its relationships with the advertisers on their page are none of their business.

Maybe the employees will get a raise, but that decision won’t ride on their web site traffic but the news site’s view on the employees’ writing, on their editorial contribution, and on how they help make the site look good.

You start to see how this works. But it starts with Microsoft getting its investment back. Can it generate enough online ad revenue from general news searchers at Bing to make up for whatever it pays News Corp., ZDNet, or any other content provider?

And how might Google then respond? Will it add video ads to Google News, and share that revenue with the sites who link to it? Will we then have to use two news search engines in order to find out what’s going on in the world? Only time will tell.

Marketing Solutions Company the Wave of the Future

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The New Jersey advertising agency of the future will have to adapt to the changing ways of the business world.  Instead of distinguishing themselves between specific disciplines, such as just a reputation management company, or just a database marketing company, or just a website development company, or just a mobile marketing company, New Jersey advertising agencies of the future will have to broaden their horizons. They will have to become full on all-solutions marketing companies. A recent post on a great blog called Actionable Insights by Covario explains in full detail why a simple advertising agency may be a thing of the past. In the future, a marketing solutions company will be the answer to a business’s problems.

You can read the full blog entry here.

Organic SEO NJ Listings and Paid Search Engine Marketing Work Best Together

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A recent study from 2 SEM experts, professors at NYU Stern, revealed that organic search results play a direct role in a paid listing getting clicked. The study showed that if your business has a paid result and an organic result appear simultaneously, your business has a better chance of your paid result getting clicked than if the organic result had not shown up.

Professors Anindya Ghose and Sha Yang have pointed out the following findings from their 52 page long research paper entitled “Analyzing the Relationship between Organic and Sponsored Search Advertising: Positive, Negative or Zero Interdependence?“:

  • On average, the impact of organic SEO NJ listings on paid search engine marketing is 3.5x stronger than vice-versa, because consumers trust organic SEO NJ listings more than paid search engine marketing ads.
  • The positive association between paid search engine marketing and organic SEO NJ listings increases advertisers’ profits by 6.15% when compared to profits with just paid listings or organic listings alone. The positive association is strongest when advertiser-specific keywords are used; it is the weakest when brand-specific and generic keywords are used.
  • CTRs, online conversions rates, and total revenues are higher when both paid search engine marketing and organic SEO NJ listings are present simultaneously rather than when paid search engine marketing ads are absent.
  • The combined CTRs are 5.1% higher when paid search engine marketing and organic SEO NJ listings are present simultaneously rather than when only the organic SEO NJ listings are present.
  • The combined traffic conversion rate goes up by 11.7% when paid search engine marketing and organic SEO NJ listings are present simultaneously rather than when organic SEO NJ listings appear alone.
  • Paid search engine marketing drives up 54% of total revenue growth.

Google Caffeine Set to Go Live

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Google Caffeine is being rolled out and there are going to be changes in the search results.

There’s no need to panic if your rankings change for the worse with the new architecture. Just keep on doing good SEO NJ. That will surely will help you restore your rankings in the new Google.

If your web site traffic is wholly dependent on Google rankings, then there are ways to safeguard yourself from a drastic traffic drop. Go to your Google Analytics account and export all the major keywords that drive your traffic. Check your rank on multiple keywords and keep an eye on your rankings fluctuations. This way you’ll be able to spot ranking drops as soon as they occur and try to fix the problem, preventing traffic drops. If you see your rank for your major selling keyword drop, then a PPC campaign can be a quick fix for the time your SEO efforts take effect.

Use Your Ad Dollars Wisely in a Growing Economy: Email Advertising and Direct Mail

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This time I will talk about email database marketing and direct mail.

Email database marketing has increased in the past few years, but there still are limitations. Double opt-ins these days are the norm. Yet still, most click-through rates still average less than 0.5%.

This means that you can leverage your ad budget using a form of traditional media, namely direct mail. There are great advantages to a targeted direct mail program. First, due to higher rates for paper and postage, a lot of the competition has gone away. Direct mail is also one of the best performers when it comes to ROI, especially if you have a great offer and a great database marketing list. A great database marketing list is essential, so you must assemble your list with all the care in the world. If this is done properly, your database marketing list will be your business’s most valuable asset.

Typical direct mail response rates range from 1% to 2% for general lists. But a mailing with a great offer to a targeted list in a specific industry can increase these rates many times over.

That’s the last bit of advice on getting the most money out of your marketing NJ dollars. Make sure that you test, measure, and track all of your ads so you can tell how many leads they generate, and how much your ROI is. Always know what you are buying.

Use Your Ad Dollars Wisely in a Growing Economy: Reputation Management by Being a Contrarian

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This time I will talk about running a reputation management campaign by being a contrarian.

These days it’s great to go against what everyone else is doing, such as being optimistic when everyone else is pessimistic, or starting a business when everyone else is getting laid off.

You can use your story to your advantage by including it in your pitch to any traditional media or your online press releases. This way, you have more of a chance of being mentioned, especially if your business is unique or operating in an interesting niche.

Great stories are always in demand by media outlets that are looking for points of view that oppose the general media narrative of the day. At this point, the narrative in the U.S. is doom and gloom, but if you are the bright point of light, you can enjoy reputation management rewards now and for years to come.

Next time, I will talk about email database marketing and direct mail.

Use Your Ad Dollars Wisely in a Growing Economy: Leveraging for Better Ads

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This time I will talk about negotiating in a buyer’s market and leveraging your business to get the most out of your New Jersey advertising dollars.

Since we are in a buyer’s market right now, your business is in a great position to add as much value as possible. For television advertising this can mean that your business is mentioned more in intros and outros to commercial breaks. For radio advertising, this means a higher frequency of mentioning your business’s name, or co-op advertising of a local event. For print advertising, this means bigger ads and more ad placement.

Finally, you should try to leverage any online marketing package that is presented to you in order to get as many leads as possible.

Next time, I will talk about establishing a reputation management campaign by being a contrarian.

Use Your Ad Dollars Wisely in a Growing Economy: Leads Over Branding

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The economy is springing back into action, and as such, this is your opportunity to position your business as THE place to go to for your product/service. By expanding your marketing NJ budget, as the now growing economy will enable you, you can add value that will result in increased reach and frequency. Both of these are essential to getting more business and increasing profits. In the next couple of posts, I will explain how you can add value to your marketing New Jersey campaign so that your ad dollars aren’t wasted.

The first thing to remember is that leads are much more important than branding right now. When revamping your marketing NJ campaign, or starting a new business, generating new leads is key, even if your online agency or online marketing company tells you different.

Of course branding will help to create a strong identity, and a fancy logo can help achieve that. But nothing creates a stronger identity than giving the best products/services to alot of consumers. So, make sure that your online marketing company is spending more time at generating leads than it is at branding. Thus, it’s critical that your ads can be responded to, so have a call-to-action, whether it’s a “call us” or a “click here”.

Your business needs to be the provider of sought after products/services, especially for people actively looking for lower-cost and better products/services. You need to be able to find an online agency that can deliver your message to consumers. I went over how to find the best ad agency for you in an older post.

Next time, I will go over negotiating and leveraging.

Mobile Marketing to Increase Dramatically in 2010

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According to a new study, mobile marketing budgets are going to increase dramatically over the next year. 31% of New Jersey advertising agencies anticipate a budget between $100,000 and $250,000 on mobile marketing in 2010, compared to only 22% of New Jersey advertising agencies a year ago.

About 13% of New Jersey’s online marketing companies plan to spend from $250,000 to $500,000, up from 4% of New Jersey’s online marketing companies in 2009. More than 15% will have a budget of more than $1 million for mobile marketing campaigns, compared to only 11% a year earlier. 23% are budgeting less than $100,000 and 10% don’t even know how much they are going to spend on mobile marketing.

The study also showed that 60% of marketing NJ firms that aren’t doing mobile marketing yet plan on buying mobile marketing in 2010.

30% of marketing New Jersey firms say that mobile marketing has become an integral part of the advertising media mix. Among New Jersey advertising agencies that have run mobile marketing campaigns, 78% said that they met campaign goals, while 80% said that they developed internal resources to support mobile efforts.

The proliferation of Google Android-based devices, such as smartphones, should help an online agency more easily run campaigns across different smartphones.

Email Database Marketing is Becoming Difficult

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For many online marketing New Jersey advertising companies, traffic conversion rates are alot less than what they used to be. But simultaneously there are also some online marketing services that have experienced no significant drop in online conversions. This is because they have built exceptional subscriber loyalty over some years.

For many online marketing New Jersey advertising companies, the biggest problem is email database marketing deliverability. Email database marketing is being filtered so heavily today that often less than 20% of a large mailing list gets delivered.

However, there are a few ways you can improve your email deliverability. One such way is to run it through a spam checker before sending it out. The best email database marketing programs have built in systems that give you spam scores before sending your email out. So, for example, let’s your email scores higher than a 1 on a 5 point scale, you should probably revise your email.

Also, a business totally dependent upon email database marketing is not a very solid business. Businesses need a database that has not only names and email addresses, but physical mailing addresses as well. That way, if something apocalyptic ever happened in the world of email or the internet, they could just start using direct mail and still be in business.

Many ISP’s now monitor email delivery rates, bounce rates, and even open rates. They use readily available data, and if a given ISP or third party list host has a dismal record, they may block all emails from that source.  If ISPs are blocking sources that send out alot of emails that have very poor open rates, some online agencies may have to move to a different outlet.

For example, a business could start marketing through various social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, and even build a larger email database. Businesses could use these social networking sites in much the same way that email is used. They can send direct communication messages with product/service offers, discounts, value deals, etc. They can also distribute online press releases through their social networks by greating interest groups or fan pages. Social networking sites are also a free and easy way to perform reputation management. And, since social networking sites are free to use, businesses will save money.

Email Advertising is the Preferred Form of Communication Among Consumers

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In a recent survey, email database marketing was shown to be the preferred method of communication. When asked to rank their preferred methods of receiving marketing messages from vendors, 62% of responding consumers said that email database marketing was their preferred channel of communication, followed by 23% for direct mail, and 13% for social media. The least preferred way to be contacted was telemarketing, with 80% putting it at the bottom of their lists.

The survey, conducted in Boston, MA, in October 2009, also showed that email database marketing communications frequently trigger purchases, with 75% of respondents indicating that they had bought products or services as a direct result of receiving an email marketing message from a vendor.

The most common items bought as a result of email database marketing were clothing and accessories (82%), followed by purchases from restaurants and coffee shops by 49% of respondents. Other popular items bought as a direct result of email database marketing campaigns include grocery items (40%) and personal electronics (38%).

The survey also asked consumers about their involvement in social media direct marketing.

Social media marketing was found to be significant, with 40% of respondents stating they receive correspondence from vendors on the social networking sites they use, such as Facebook and Twitter. Nearly one in five people (17%) had volunteered or requested that companies actively contact or update them via these social media platforms.

Online Radio Advertising to Grow in the Next Couple of Years

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Online radio advertising revenue is expected by SNL Kagan to grow 12% this year, to $441 million; in 2010, online radio advertising revenue will leap by 20%, to $530 million.

Online marketing revenue will also grow from 2.7% of total radio advertising revenue in 2009 to 3.2% of the total in 2010. By 2013, online marketing revenue growth is expected to level off, making up 4.7% of radio advertising’s total revenue.

SNL Kagan analyst Justin Nielson points out that radio broadcasters were slow to embrace new technologies, but says that, with the decline of traditional ad spending, radio stations have “turned to online marketing initiatives to grow top-line revenues, improving their Web sites and embracing online streaming and mobile apps to drive their local base to their multiple platforms. With total radio advertising revenue only expected to post modest growth over the next five years, it has become increasingly vital for stations to monetize digital innovations.”

ZenithOptimedia predicts that overall radio advertising revenue will return to positive growth in 2011.

PricewaterhouseCoopers expects that terrestrial radio will decline by a 4.7% compound annual rate over the next several years, to $13.6 billion in 2013. Radio advertising is expected to drop 14.2% this year to $14.8 billion, but will begin to turn around in 2010 and 2011; PwC says positive growth won’t be seen again until 2012.

Radio One is one radio company that is beginning to pull itself out of the advertising slump. Though third quarter revenue fell 12% – and automotive and financial sector advertising dropped 37.6% and 22.9% respectively – Q3 was the company’s second consecutive profitable quarter, having earned $14.2 million, compared with a loss of $266.1 million last year (the year ago period results were affected by a one-time write-down of $337.9 million).

Radio One said some categories, like food and beverage, healthcare and retail are showing signs of improvement.

–Source:  MediaBuyerPlanner

More Things to Look for When Finding a SEO NJ Vendor

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Looking for a SEO NJ vendor?

Because SEO is sometimes not fully understood by clients, they often struggle to know what to look for in a SEO NJ firm, and what types of activities and deliverables an SEO project should entail.

When you solicit proposals from vendors, it is important to have a frame of reference for what to expect in a proposal. What are elements that should be a part of a typical SEO project? What does a comprehensive, well-defined SEO program or project look like?

That’s why it is important to do your research on SEO NJ so that you are somewhat educated on how SEO works and what type of activities are typically involved in the process. This will give you some sense of a benchmark as to where you should be heading and enable you to better evaluate what is put in front of you from a given vendor. It will also help you compare across multiple vendor proposals to determine which one seems the most thorough or appropriate for your needs.

Once you feel sufficiently educated, you can begin your online marketing services vendor search. Depending on your procurement approach, you may request a proposal from one or several vendors. These proposals will vary in style and contents, and the next section will help you better navigate these in order to determine which proposal best meets your needs.

Just like any proposal from a potential partner, you first need to ensure that they have understood and integrated your project objectives, as well as any relevant requirements or constraints within the proposal. At least a brief reiteration of your goals and how the SEO project will meet these should be included.

If the company has understood your goals and requirements, they should be able to articulate how the SEO program will aim to achieve those.

A solid SEO project proposal should ideally include consideration of the three main elements of SEO: Web site structure, content, and link building.
 

  • Web site structure: Activities to ensure the site is built or revamped in a way that is search-engine “friendly” so the Web site structure follows industry best practices in terms of technical architecture, coding, hierarchy, navigation, linking, redirects, etc., and can be easily accessed, crawled and indexed by the search engine spiders.
     
  • Web site content: Activities to ensure the site content is optimized for search engines, utilizing specific keyword terms of value to your business. This typically involves keyword research and selection, development of keyword-rich meta data (page titles, descriptions), and integration of keywords into on-page elements including headers, body copy, links, alt text, etc.)
     
  • Link building: Activities to increase the authority of your Web site through the acquisition of relevant, authoritative inbound links from third-party sites. Link building typically takes two forms: direct, wherein other Web sites are directly solicited for links, and indirect, wherein activities are undertaken that would encourage inbound links, such as participation in social networks or user-generated content site (e.g. blogs, forums, etc.), distribution of press releases, or article syndication.

In addition to the actual SEO NJ activities, the proposal should also review and include the analytics approach for the project, including pre- and post- benchmarking, definition of KPIs, and the reporting framework (frequency, depth, format).

Related to measurement and evaluation, at least some minimal discussion of ongoing SEO, maintenance, and optimization should also be present (i.e. whether it’s included in the scope or not of the current project, and if included, what would it consist of).

A well-designed proposal should also include a detailed review of the key deliverables, which should elaborate on the areas above. “Deliverables” outline what is going to be delivered as part of the project. Depending on the style of the proposal, the presentation of these will vary. But these samples should give you an idea of the type of things you should be seeing.

The pricing for each deliverable should be clearly laid out in the proposal so that you can understand the cost of each activity and the time and resources involved. The overall project budget should also be disclosed, including a payment schedule, as well as any terms and conditions associated with the project.

Some “nice-to-haves” in a proposal would include items such as:

  • An overview of SEO (what it is, how it works).
  • Key definitions/glossary of terms.
  • An overview of the capabilities and experience of the company/SEO specialist or team.

So if you’re looking to find a potential SEO NJ vendor worthy of your investment, hopefully these quick tips will aid in your decision-making process. Happy hunting!

–Source:  ClickZ Experts

Local Link Building to Increase Your Website's Rank

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Have you spend alot of time looking far and wide for links to your Web site? You may be overlooking opportunities in your home town. Local business groups, such as a Chamber of Commerce or regional business council, can offer some great opportunities for links to your Web site. We’ll explore the process of finding these link opportunities on local business groups’ Web sites.

First, you’ll have to put together a list of all local business organizations in your area — even the very small ones. Then spend some time on each of their sites to find the low-hanging fruit, which is usually the member directory. Those often aren’t direct links.

That’s when most people stop their search because the obvious link opportunities aren’t present. In the process, they fail to notice other valuable links that could elevate their site into the top 10, thereby heavily increasing web site traffic conversions. It only takes a few high-quality links to make a difference.

Back to the site — did you check their pages related to your industry? Do a simple Google search, using this code for your chamber’s site: (site:chamber.com keyword). Replace “chamber.com” with the actual URL of their site, and “keyword” with broad-based terms related to your industry, such as medical, auto, attorney, etc. You may find pages that mention members in specific industries, or a place where companies in each vertical can display special offers.

Another approach is to look to see if they give direct links when they profile a company in their news section. Or find out if they need sponsors for upcoming events. Does the organization do any kind of community outreach that would draw media attention?
Of course, acquiring these types of links requires more work than simply filling out a form. They may require several e-mails, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings. Yet the effort is well worth it, in order to obtain top rankings.

Let’s say you get them to profile your company in their news section. With a small suggestion, you can get a deep link within the content to one of your main product pages with the keywords as anchor text, as well as a link to your home page. This is usually a best practice for marketing NJ.

While many would be happy with the above links, why not upgrade them? That’s accomplished by getting other sites to link to your new profile page. Every time another site links to your company’s profile, it increases the value of those links to your site, helping to build website traffic.

A link obtained from a page with external links to that page is more powerful. Many in the industry search out those existing pages with a high number of external links.

Why not reverse engineer the process? Get the links first, then get sites to link to that page. This is especially useful because sites can be hesitant to link to an e-commerce site. It’s more likely that they’ll link to a trusted page on a site, such as a Chamber of Commerce.

Now promote the company profile by all means available to build those links. This includes on your own site, online press releases, social media, blogs, and personal contacts. It’s time to call in some favors. Don’t forget your New Jersey advertising free newspaper, bloggers, and media companies.

Instead of overlooking link marketing opportunities, start exploring sites deeper. Look for more than just the easy links, which often have less value, and go after those less accessible links. The results could just be top rankings in the near future for your company.

–Source:  Search Engine Watch

Mobile Marketing Makes the World Greener

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A company in the UK has found a way to make mobile marketing more environmentally friendly. The company, Text Marketer, has developed a way to enable businesses to market themselves through SMS and also plant a tree at the same time, so to speak.

Text Marketer has launched a plan called Plant a Forest Program for its SMS customers. Through this plan, 25,000 square meters of woodland will be planted for every 10,000 bulk text messages sent by customers using mobile marketing.

The businesses in the UK using Text Marketer’s services will not only reap the benefits of mobile marketing, but they will also reduce their impact on the environment. The more trees there are, the more carbon dioxide in the environment is absorbed. So marketing efforts are directly related to how much carbon dioxide is absorbed. The more a business utilizes Text Marketer’s mobile marketing, the more it will contribute to environmental conservation.

The Audi Q5

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Based on Audi’s A4 platform, the Audi Q5 inherits a tidy size, great handling and good acceleration. An enjoyable drive, the Audi Q5 also delivers on Audi’s reputation for leading the industry in interior design. The 2009 Q5′s cabin is nicely decorated with fine leathers, polished woods and ergonomic efficiency.

At launch, the only engine offered in the U.S. was Audi’s 3.2-liter V6. Producing 270 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 243-ft-lbs of torque at 3000 rpm, the engine is mated to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system through a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode that Audi refers to as Tiptronic. Audi drive select, introduced last year with the new A4, enables the driver to choose throttle response, transmission shift characteristics, steering response and suspension stiffness.

All of this adds up to quite the delightful driving experience. Sharp acceleration, combined with flat cornering and broad torque response make the Audi Q5 just as interesting on curvy roads as it is off-road. On the highway the Audi Q5 is smooth and packs plenty of passing power.

One of the more interesting innovations introduced with the Audi Q5 is the smart roof rail system. Sensors in the rails communicate with the ESP (Electronic Stability Control) system and adjust its response to account for the higher center of gravity that results when loads are mounted on the roof.

Behind the wheel, all the major controls are logically placed and easy to decipher.

Naturally, as befits an entry in this category, multi adjustable seats, a power tailgate, keyless entry, Bluetooth hands-free phone operation, iPod connectivity, a Bang & Olufsen 505-watt 14-speaker sound system, and even a heated and cooled cupholder number among the luxurious features.

The adoption of Audi’s latest generation MMI (Multi-Media Interface) system has resulted in significant gains in ease of use as well as nicer graphics on screen. In metropolitan areas, the navigation system actually depicts the placement of major buildings. Sirius traffic information is incorporated, along with voice-based destination inputs. The system even responds to non-specific voice inputs. Say, “I’m hungry,” and it will locate the restaurants closest to your location and guide you to the one you choose.

With the Audi Q5, Audi has introduced what may well be proven to be the benchmark of the segment. It’s outstanding driving characteristics, innovative feature set and remarkable good looks make it a must consider for anyone shopping in this category.

–Source: The Examiner

Mobile Marketing Coupons

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Tucked inside newspapers across the country this Sunday, SmartSource, the coupon insert, will tell readers in 68 million households how they can send a text message to get coupons sent to their mobile phones.

Brooklyn Center-based Caribou Coffee used a mobile marketing couponing company called Cellfire to send coupons this year for its new Acacia Organic Blend and Northern Lite Latte.

“We looked at mobile marketing as a way for us to drive store traffic and gain trial for a new product launch,” marketing manager Jake Miller said. “If we can get trial, we know there is a good chance that guest will come back again.” He declined to give details on the results but said Caribou would use mobile marketing coupons again.

MixMobi, a Plymouth mobile marketing startup, is launching a technology platform that lets retailers build coupons that can be “tweeted” on the social media site Twitter, which appears on cell phones as well as computers.

MixMobi co-founder Lisa Foote is letting small marketing agencies experiment with the technology to work out the bugs before the launch. Sprout.mn in Minneapolis designed a coupon for the Seward Co-op advertising 50 cents off at the deli this weekend.

“I think the consumer definitely wants mobile couponing,” she said. “I think people are really hungry for deals, and more than 90 percent of Americans carry cell phones.”

To be sure, technologists have heralded mobile marketing coupons for several years with little effect.

But a sudden surge of interest by big- name retailers and packaged-goods companies, coupled with better technology, is creating buzz for the mobile marketing coupon this year.

Only 3 percent of consumers used a mobile marketing coupon in 2008, but more than half of them knew about them, Forrester Research, a technology consultancy, reported this year.

The recession has advanced coupon usage in all its forms, including online. Digital coupons were the fastest growing Web site category last November, with visitors to coupon sites up 32 percent over October 2008, said comScore Inc., another technology research company.

Put it all together, and advertisers see cell phones as 277 million tiny electronic billboards in every pocket or purse.

“It’s a big area of interest these days. I’ve been getting tons of calls about this,” said Evan Neufeld, a senior analyst for mobile communications for comScore Inc.

Mobile marketing coupons have become a buzzword inside the big packaged-goods companies, Neufeld said. “They all say they want a mobile strategy,” he said. These companies will insure consumers see more ads, he said.

The popularity of smart phones, with their larger, made-for-the-Web screens, is driving the trend, too. Coupons look better on bigger screens, marketers say.

Although smart phones like the Apple iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry make up only 17 percent of all cell phones, handset makers are introducing a new breed of cheaper smart phones this year.

Cellfire Inc. in San Jose, Calif., which did the coupons for Caribou Coffee, said the cell phone has become the new shopping list. It does work for grocery chains like Krogers and Safeway.

“The phone is really starting to emerge as more of a lifestyle device instead of just a communications device,” said Dan Kihanya, vice president of consumer marketing.

SmartSource, published by News America Marketing, might be the largest test of the mobile marketing coupon yet.

SmartSource will instruct people to text the word “coupon” to a number. Once they agree to give up their e-mail address, they can select up to 13 coupons for brand names such as Huggies, Trident and Tyson on their phone browser. Those selections are sent to their e-mail and must be printed out, which is an additional step.

–Source:  Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Big Companies Turn to Search Engine Marketing

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Big companies with reduced ad budgets have discovered a way to make more from less by utilizing paid search engine marketing. With more brands taking advantage, a search engine keyword bidding war is starting. The concern is strategy; SEO NJ is quickly becoming obscured by the amount of companies using the same keywords.

Companies like Sprint have ordered keywords in order to increase sales, not just interest. Instead of generic words like “Sprint,” they now use phrases such as “cellphone rate plans” or “Samsung Reclaim.”

Volkswagen is telling more than 600 dealerships across the country to not compete against each other. The car manufacturer has been buying the keyword “Jetta,” but a local dealer could bid on “New Jersey Jetta” and inadvertently increase the price.

Google, which owns 80% of the online marketing industry, has noticed the diminishing amount of keywords available as more big companies come into play. The search giant offers a variety of tools that monitor when consumers search for specific keywords, letting online marketing services know the best time to bid on those keywords.

How to be Creative in an Uncreative Industry

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People argue that it’s difficult to be original when creating online marketing campaigns if you’re always required to tell the same old message. For grocery chains, that message is usually fair prices, selection, and convenience. However, the marketers behind these brands are frequently and regulary able to create online marketing initiatives that promote these in an innovative way.

Exposure to advertising for grocery stores is not limited to in-store flyers and newspaper ads anymore. Advertising efforts have been shifted to the Internet, where sites have become rich content portals and grocery chains have plenty more to offer than pricing specials. All this comes with good reason; an August study from comScore, Inc. and dunnhumbyUSA — a consulting company specializing in retail sales — found that Internet marketing is as effective at increasing retail sales as is television. According to the survey, Internet marketing increases retail sales by 9%, which is compared to an average increase of 8% for television advertising. This makes an online marketing service a worthwhile investment for grocery stores.

A consumer’s online interaction with a grocery brand now plays out in a mixture of brand and local store websites, e-mail database marketing, mobile marketing, and banner ad campaigns. Grocery chains such as Albertsons, Wegmans, and Safeway have already successfully shifted to the online arena. Albertonshas robust e-newsletters and online recipes; Wegmans has a section on their website with videos that offer meal and lifestyle ideas; Safeway has a blog where shoppers can read tips for fall cleaning, eating nuts as a healthy snack, and accessing the latest supermarket coupons through Facebook.

Safeway owned chains Tom Thumb and Randall’s, along with Remke Markets and Kroger, all expanded their mobile marketing communications in 2009. Banner ads are also a popular choice for promoting stores’ weekly circulars, with many regional chains advertising their local sales on food-oriented sites like Cooks.com and Cooking.com. These banners are simple with a strong call-to-action and a link that allows shoppers to view specials by location.

Grocery stores are proving that there are ways to go beyond the usual advertising messages inherent to the grocery retail industry. For example, Whole Foods emphasized its wide selection of organic products by shirking a more traditional prize and giving its millionth follower on Twitter a million grains of quinoa.

These grocery giants are demonstrating that the tired and old advertising messages you’re obligated to deliver — whether it’s low prices or some other characteristic of your product — don’t necessarily have to hold you back. Their narrow margins may be the incentive you need to expand your marketing campaign and produce online marketing initiatives as creative as those from the grocery aisle.

Richard St. John's 8 Secrets to Success

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In February 2005, Richard St. John gave a presentation at the TED Conference about success. After 7 years and 500 interviews, he developed 8 simple secrets for anyone to be successful. Those 8 secrets are:

  • Passion
  • Work
  • Good
  • Focus
  • Push
  • Serve
  • Ideas
  • Persist

Passion means that you love what you do, don’t just do it for the money.

Work means that there is alot of hard work involved. But just because there is hard work to be done, it doesn’t mean that you can’t also have fun while working.

Good means that you need to get “damn good” at something. And you can do that by practicing, day in and day out. Get so good at something that you can be considered one of the best at it.

Focus refers to focusing on one thing at a time. You can’t tackle all the world’s problems all at once.

Push means you need to physically and mentally push yourself beyond your limits. You need to push yourself out of shyness and self-doubt.

Serve means to serve others something of value, as we live in a service economy.

Ideas are just that, ideas. Whether they are creative, uncreative, original, or unoriginal, it is necessary to have good ideas.

And finally, the most important secret of them all, you need to persist. Everybody fails, even at things that they’re good at. But you need to persist through failure, learn from your mistakes. Take a line from the movie “Batman Begins”, “Why do we fall?”…”So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” We all have to go through crap before we get to where we want to be. But persistence is key for you to succeed.

Watch Richard St. John’s lecture here:

[ted id=70]

How to Increase Leads and Online Conversions Part 5

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In the last post, we talked about increasing web site traffic conversions by making it easy for customers to concact and by making your call-to-actions obvious. This time we will talk about combining your call-to-action buttons with benefits and keeping contact forms short and simple.

In addition to making your call-to-action button obvious and prominent, you should also combine it with a benefit for the customer. It’s not enough to simply say “Contact Us” or anything to that degree. You should be answering the age-old question, “what’s in it for them?”. So, instead of just a simple “Contact Us”, you can say something like “Increase Your Online Conversions Now!, Contact Us”.

Next, for contact forms you should only require the information that is necessary for you to respond to the customer. So, if your fishing for leads by having a sign-up form for email newsletters, all you really need is an email address, and possibly a first name. Some people prefer to be contacted by phone, so you can also ask what method they prefer by having a two-step form. Also, make sure that every time someone fills out a form, they receive a reply acknowledging that they’ve filled out the form. This process can be automated with many email programs.

We’ve finally completed all 10 steps to increasing your web site traffic conversions. By utilizing all these steps in unison, you can greatly increase the amount of leads your website generates. Of course in tough economic times it can be difficult to generate leads, but those are the times, such as now, during which you can evaluate your website so it has a jumpstart when things start moving again.

How to Increase Leads and Online Conversions Part 4

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In the last post, I gave tips to increase your web site traffic conversions that were about being up-front about your price range and posting up pictures of your staff. In this post I will talk about making it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you, and making your call-to-actions obvious.

You should make it as easy as possible for potential customers to contact you. Your contact phone number should not be peripheral. It should definitely stand out on your website, and on every page of your website for that matter. Along with your phone number, you should make the link to your contact page prominent as well. Your website’s visitors should not have to scroll anywhere to locate your contact information. Also, you should post your contact information in the footer of your web pages, just in case the viewer is closer to the bottom of the page than the top of the page.

Next, you should make your call-to-actions as obvious and clear as possible. The call-to-action can be something like “Click Here for a Demo!” or even an email sign up form. But make the call-to-action copy short and easy to read. Also, use graphics, colors, styles, and positioning to make your call-to-action stand out. The viewer should not have to search for your call-to-action. You can minimize anything on your website that takes attention away from the call-to-action. These things may include words, images, or graphics, all of which are a type of “visual noise”. Direct your visitors to focus on the right thing, the call-to-action.

In the next post, I will give you the final two tips on increasing your web site traffic conversions. By combining all of these tips together, you can have a website that is trusted by customers. As a result, you will not only increase your rate of online conversions, but you will also build website traffic just through word of mouth.