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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!

Search Engine Marketing Right vs. Wrong

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WRONG: Not targeting the correct keywords

It’s easier and more effective to win your locale. Focus your keyword and business listing efforts towards winning the area directly surrounding you. It is often counterintuitive to try and dominate an entire state or even worse, a tri-state area. Take a look at your analytics and see where your target demographic is. If your business caters mainly to a 20-mile radius, focus your keywords on specific locales in that area.

For example, “NY Honda Dealer” is much more difficult to win and when you do, you can’t guarantee that those impressions are from people within your target demographic. Instead, try focusing your keywords to specific towns you want to target (ie, NYC or Manhattan). There’s a big demographic difference between Buffalo, NY and Midtown Manhattan.

WRONG: Forgetting to use negative keywords

When setting up a pay-per-click campaign, many people forget to include negative keywords. These are keywords that you don’t want your ad to show up for when they are searched. For example, if you’re a Honda car dealer you may want “Honda dealer” in your database, but you don’t want your ad to show up when someone looks for a Honda motorcycle dealer. Therefore, “motorcycle” should be in your negative keyword database.

Covering substantial ground with negative keywords ensures that your ad appears when you want it and you don’t waste valuable ad dollars.

WRONG: Not using a tracking number

Wouldn’t it be great if every person who called you because they saw your ad could be differentiated from everyone else? 800 tracking numbers are common when trying to assess the effectiveness of your ad. By using a unique 800 number on each ad source, you can see which investments have the most success in attracting calls and adjust your online marketing dollar deployment accordingly.

WRONG: Not A/B testing

The art of A/B testing is crucial to successful PPC campaigns. An A/B test is where you take your ads and change some of the copy, especially titles, to see which ad is more effective in attracting clickthroughs. Some ads focus on price, while others may focus on service, selection or buyer benefits. The market will click the ad that’s most relevant to what they want. Guess work isn’t necessary when you can test the market in real time. Don’t waste precious ad dollars on ineffective ads.

WRONG: Improperly tracking your clickthroughs

The best way to measure how effective your SEM efforts are is to properly record analytics. When linking to your website in a PPC ad, it is important to build a reference URL that can be tracked. Google offers a free URL building tool that can be found at: http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578

URL building lets you specify your campaign’s source, medium, term (if using paid keywords), content and name. So instead of simply linking to www.bullseyenj.com to find out how our ad performed, we can link to:

http://www.bullseyenj.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=email&utm_content=marketing%2Btips%2Bto%2Bavoid&utm_campaign=email%2Bblast

Your Google Analytics (a whole topic on its own) can identify these specialty links and will sort them by the signifiers specified (in this example, source, medium, content or campaign).

RIGHT: Measure everything

The most important part of analyzing your ad campaigns is to have the most data possible. By following the above methods, you’re guaranteed to use your ad budget more effectively. More importantly, you can hold yourself accountable.

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

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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.

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 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”.

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.

Common PPC Mistakes: Not Remaining Relevant on Landing Pages

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Whatever you say in your paid search engine online marketing ad you need to repeat on the landing page, or where you’re taking the visitor! If you are advertising a 60% sale in your internet marketing paid search ad, you can be certain that people are going to looking for it when they arrive at your landing page. All the SEM experts say that if people don’t see the 60% sale anywhere on the landing page, they’ll leave. Your landing page needs to reflect exactly what you promised or advertised in your PPC ad.

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.

Common PPC Mistakes: #1 May Not Always Be A Good Thing

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Being the #1 ad in any paid search engine internet marketing results, such as automotive search engine marketing, is not always the best strategy, especially if you’re paying a lot per click and the keyword is too broad. One of the best ranks in paid search engine online marketing is #3. This is because most people do research before they buy online. As a result, being #1 could mean that you’ll attract visitors who might have not used the right keyword for their search or ones that are just starting their research. When they are ready to buy, you’ll be the last one they remember. As a result, you may have alot of web site traffic, but your traffic conversions will be low, and consequently so will you ROI.

Common PPC Mistakes: Broad Keywords

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In the next couple of posts we will talk about some of the most common PPC (paid search engine marketing) mistakes that people make in their online marketing campaigns that, if fixed, can earn any business an extra 70% of revenue or save thousands of dollars a month.

The first mistake people make is bidding on keywords that are too broad or general. Each industry has its giant keywords that bring in the most web site traffic. However, there are many more variations of those keywords that searchers are using. The more focus you put on the long tail keywords, the less your PPC campaign will cost. Also, your ads will be ranked higher if the keywords are more closely matched. Take your 100 keywords and make them into 200 by just looking at your own web statistics for exact keyword variations people use to search for your product.

Back to Basics of Internet Marketing NJ

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Many businesses are joining the world of internet marketing, especially in New Jersey. Online marketing can be categorized into three categories: market analysis, search engines, and e-zine advertising.

Internet marketing research is figuring out how your investment can fit into your online marketing campaign as a whole, determining the people, places, and which of your products you should focus your investment on. This analysis is the foundation of any internet marketing New Jersey campaign. Investing the right amount of money to the right groups is essential in internet marketing NJ research and online marketing in general. Proper research can eventually determine the outcome of your entire online marketing campaign.

Search engines are a very common type of internet marketing New Jersey. Search engines are divided into two sections: search engines and directories, and pay per click engines. While the most favored and effective type of online marketing New Jersey, this category is also the most time consuming and requires the most amount of investment. For example, automotive search engine marketing NJ requires a few months to be truly effective, so it is best if that type of work is left to a knowledgeable expert.

Another effective form of internet marketing NJ is e-zine advertising. Using the data collected from your internet marketing research, you ought to be well tuned in to what your audience wants. Find out what kinds of on-line publications or newsletters your customers are inquisitive about, and purchase advertising from these sources. Ads typically are on the market in three basic sorts: solo ads, top-line ads, and classified ads. Solo ads are the best ads since they are sent to the entire publication list. These ads also are helpful for online marketing because they contain solely your ad. But, solo ads are the most expensive. While classified ads could be a cost-effective alternative, they will not be enough for your online marketing campaign to return a positive ROI. This is because they are tiny advertisements that are positioned at the tip of the newsletter, and are sometimes overlooked by the bulk of readers.

Being on Google's First Page Isn't Always Good

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What do you want your online marketing campaign to accomplish for you? Are there any reasons why you would not want your pages to be found for your targeted keyword phrases on page 1?

Here are 3 reasons as to why that may be the case.

Is there intent for actual commerce?

Let’s say you are the first result.

You should be asking yourself, what is the intent of this keyword phrase? Do the words contained in the keyword phrase give any indication of someone getting ready to spend money on a product/service that you offer?

For example, compare these keyword phrases: SEO NJ, automotive search engine marketing, and online press release service. The latter 2 phrases give an indication of someone who is getting ready to spend money.

If you are targeting a keyword phrase that has questionable intention, there really shouldn’t be any reason to be found on page 1. It would be better to target more appropriate phrases instead.

If there’s no intent for actual commerce then that keyword phrase isn’t helping your online marketing efforts.

Traffic Really Matters

If you can have a first page result in position 4, or a second page result in position 12, which would you choose? Is this an obvious choice?

What if the first page choice has 3,300 monthly search queries for its keyword, but the second page choice has 22,200 monthly search queries for its keyword.

Would you still believe that the best choice in this example is the first page result?

According to numbers from Aaron Wall’s site, approximately 6% of search users will click on the number 4 result in Google. That’s 198 visitors in a month.

And over 1% will click on the number 12 search result. That’s 222 visitors per month.

The second choice is now the obvious choice. The higher traffic volume will result in a higher percentage of online conversions.

Smart Searchers Bring Value

The people that click the first result in the SERPs are more often that not less serious than people who go through the first few results or who continue searching onto the second page.

There is something to be said about avoiding people who almost randomly click the first result and who may have impulse control issues.

These may not be the best potential clients for your products/services. For an online agency like us, we like our clients to be a bit more informed so we can be on the same page when it comes to performance. The searchers who don’t just click on the first result but read through a few are usually the more informed people.

A second page result could bring you more serious potential customers, people who are more likely to actually read your website content, understand your products/services better, and be more likely to become a traffic conversion.

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.

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

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.

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.

How to Increase Leads and Online Conversions Part 2

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In this post, I will give you two more tips on increasing your website’s lead generation ability and increasing your traffic conversions.

The next step is to promote the benefits of your solution while still giving the facts. You should give concise descriptions of your products/services while also noting the most common questions so you can create a FAQ’s page with all the answers. Most importantly, you should note the emotional triggers that tell the benefits of your solutions. Most sales people know that creating an emotional connection is the most important aspect of a sales pitch.

Another way to increase your web site traffic conversion rate is to give the customer information during each phase of the purchasing cycle. Pertinent content directs potential customers from one phase to the next. During the research phase, be their primary resource for information. Post relevant videos to capture their attention. Retrieve their contact information by having them sign up for an email newsletter or an event. During the comparison phase, when the customer compares you to your competitors, you can have success stories, case studies, checklists, and guides that will give the customer more faith in your business. And finally, during the decision phase you should offer value-purchases, deals, and guarantees (that you can deliver on) in order to reassure the customer that they are making the right decision in choosing your business.

4 tips down, 6 tips to go, so stay tuned…

How to Increase Leads and Online Conversions

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For service firms and businesses involved in complex sales processes, such as an online marketing company or online agency, the main objective of the website isn’t to direct customers to a shopping cart; the main objective is to convince the site’s visitor to contact the business. The main objective of the website is to generate leads for the sales team so it can convert that web site traffic into business.

In order to make sure that your website is giving you the most amount of leads possible, you need to view your site from a prospect’s point-of-view. In this post, and the next few to come, I will describe a few simple steps, 10 to be exact, that you can take to ensure that your website is a lead generating maching.

The first thing you need to do is establish credibility. You can start by creating rapport with prospects as soon as they reach your website. Make sure your website has a headline that creates a positive, reassuring feeling in the visitor; instead of a simple “welcome”, make your headline say something like “you’ve reached the only website you’ll ever need for (your industry)”. This tactic encourages people to stay on your site and even click a link or two. This will give you the opportunity to earn their trust. The first impression the visitor gets of your website will influence his/her view of the rest of the site. Make sure you speak to your visitors in a professional manner when you are telling the benefits of your solutions. Of course, you need to let them know what’s in it for them.

The next thing you need to do is quickly respond to all inquiries in a timely manner. Whatever way you receive the inquiry, whether it’s by phone, email, blog comment, or social media, you need to respond quickly in order to build confidence and trust with the prospect. The ideal response time is within an hour. This way you can also nurture the lead before it changes its mind or goes to another business.

In the next post, I will give you two more steps that will enable your website to maximize traffic conversions.

Local Search Made Simple Continued

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In the last post, I wrote about optimizing your website to tell Google and your visitors where you are and what you do. But another important online place where it’s absolutely critical to clearly identify where you are and what you do is your local business profile on Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

Your Categories

In Google Maps, you can categorize your business in up to 5 categories. They may be standard categories that are provided by Google Maps or those that you can create yourself. Use 1-2 of the standard Google Maps categories that best fit your business, and then create 3-4 that contain your best keyword terms plus the geography terms for which you want to be found.

For example, as a New Jersey online marketing company, we classify ourselves in the already established categories of Advertising, and Internet. For our other four categories we use the top keyword phrases for which we want to be found, such as SEO NJ, Internet marketing, or automotive search engine marketing.

The categories you choose may be based on any criteria that are important to you. Some suggestions are your most profitable procedures or the categories in which your strongest competitors have categorized themselves. The categories may also be based on some other criteria known only to you.

Use geographic terms in your categories in order to make it completely clear to Google where you do business. Using the names of nearby areas may also help your site rank better for those searches. For example, our office is in Westfield, NJ, but most searchers use “New Jersey” or “NJ” in their queries, so we use New Jersey terms in our categories instead of Westfield terms.

However, Yahoo Local and Bing Local do not allow you to create your own categories. So you must choose as many categories as you are allowed, picking the most appropriate and most important first.

Your Descriptions

Also use geography terms within the description area of your profiles, where you have complete control of what is written. These descriptions are crawled and indexed by the local spiders, so make certain they find your most important geographic terms within them.

Your Attributes

Attributes (only in Google Maps) allow you to go crazy with terms to tell spiders and humans what you do and where you do it. You can, in essence, create and name a field whatever you want and then populate it with terms describing that property.

Almost every business pulls people from both its immediate location and surrounding areas. So, you could create a field named Locations Served and list the towns and neighborhoods near you and from which your business typically draws customers.

Some business, like plumbing, carpet cleaning, lawn care, and pet sitting go to the customer instead of customers coming to them. For a business like this, you could title a field Service Areas and list the places where you are willing to travel to provide your services.

You can also include attributes that allow you to use keyword terms that contain geographic modifiers. For example, if you have an online agency in New Jersey, you could create a field titled Online Services and populate it with terms like “New Jersey internet marketing”, “online marketing in NJ”, “SEO NJ”, “SEM experts NJ”, “NJ website development”, and “New jersey reputation management”. This is an effective way to help you rank for long-tail terms that apply to where you are and what you do.

Your Coupons

Although not every business type has been traditionally associated with coupons, creative entrepreneurs are finding ways to use them to their benefit. Nearly every business can offer some sort of discount or value-added coupon for its goods or services. For inspiration you can look around to see what your competitors are doing with coupons. Then, when you create your coupons, include your best keyword terms plus your location in the offers.

It’s highly likely that attributes from Google Maps Local Business Listings and coupons from all of the platforms are pushed out to other places on the Web, such as Google Base and coupon Web sites, so the impact can be very far-ranging.

Local business listings are designed to help searchers find businesses in particular geographic locations. Make it easy for Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local to tell where you are and what you do to increase the odds they will find your business when a relevant search is made.

What Do You Do and Where Do You Do It From? – Local Search Made Simple

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What and where? These are the two big questions that must be answered over and over again in local SEM.

Local searchers ask these questions implicitly and explicitly. In some cases, geo-terms are used and in other cases they aren’t. For example, search queries can be “SEM experts in NJ,” “SEO NJ” or simply “SEM experts” or “SEO.”

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo want to know the same things about your business that searchers want to know. Where is it and what products/services does it offer?

Are you answering these critical questions for your potential sales leads as well as the search engines?

Many times local businesses choose a website development firm based on the attractiveness of the websites they create without giving any thought to SEO. Even those website designers who know how to help with search rankings are rarely knowledgeable enough about the specifics of ranking for local search. As a result, the local business owner ends up with a beautiful website that never ranks for competitive keywords or attracts any new customers.

By following a few simple tips and tricks, you can prevent this from happening to your online marketing investment.

Your Home Page

You need to make it clear to people who land on your page what you do and where you do it. Simply because everyone in New Jersey knows where Broad Street is, it doesn’t mean that everyone who sees a Broad Street address on your website will know that you’re in New Jersey. The searcher may be entirely new to the area or just passing through, which may be the reason why someone may be searching for your business in the first place.

So, if you’re a New Jersey advertising firm, don’t expect people to look around to find that information on your site. Say it clearly near the top of the page and do it in text form, that way it is unmistakable to the search engines as well as to the searchers. Don’t assume anything! It’s important to make this information so clear that it can’t possibly be misunderstood.

Your Page Title

This is the most important ranking factor for SEM. And if that isn’t enough of a reason, then think about it from the human point of view.

Google displays the page title as the headline in the listing that appears for your pages in the SERPs. If someone is for searching for “search engine marketing new jersey” and the headline they see in the search results says “THE SEM experts in NJ,” it’ll grab their attention much better than a headline that says “Search Marketers”.

Google will also bold the words that were in a search query in the title when it appears on the page. So, for example, if a searcher in Central NJ asks for “co-op advertising” and your page title says “The Co-Op Advertising Professionals in Central NJ”, then your title will look like this to the searcher: “The Co-Op Advertising Professionals in Central NJ”.

Your Meta Tags

Along with your page title, these are also displayed in the SERPs. Meta tags are like the ad copy that entices people to click on your listings and go to your website.

Much like the page title, if your meta tags have the terms used in the search query then Google will bold these words on the SERPs. If the tags don’t contain the keyword phrase that was used in the query, then Google will pull a snippet off the page that contains that phrase.

It’s important to use your best keyword terms in your meta tags because, even though they may not help your pages to rank, they will likely encourage searchers to click through to your site.

In my next post, I will give more tips and tricks on how to clearly tell the search engines and the searchers where you are and what you do.

Internet Marketing Revenue Falls for Second Consecutive Quarter for the First Time Since the Dot-Com Bust

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Online marketing slipped 5% in Q2 as the recession extended the first decline in online marketing since 2002.

This marked the second consecutive quarterly decline in online marketing since the dot-com bust at the start of the decade. That decline resulted in eight consecutive quarters of falling online ad sales.

In the first half of 2009, internet marketing totaled $10.9 billion, down 5% from the same period of 2008. Almost 50% of that money has been spent on search engine marketing with Google, making Google the controller of 2/3 of the U.S. search market. In fact, Google’s ad revenue for the first half of the year increased by 4%.

SEM experts predict that revenue will pick up as the U.S. economy recovers and advertisers increase their efforts to connect with consumers who are going to the Internet for information and entertainment.

The Internet’s advertising prices are also lower than those offered in traditional media. As a result, these advertising trends are the primary cause of traditional media suffering much steeper advertising declines than the Internet.

For example, print advertising has been falling for the past three years, including a 29% drop in Q2. Marketing analysts doubt that all the advertising dollars that have migrated away from traditional media will return, even after the economy recovers.

–Source:  The Associated Press 10/05/09

FTC Reveals New and More Strict Guidelines for Marketers

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The Federal Trade Commission has made its guidelines tougher for traditional media and internet marketing.

From now on, advertisers who use atypical examples, like someone losing over 100 pounds from a diet pill, also need to provide typical examples. The newly revealed guidelines, which were announced October 5th, 2009, also have some requirements for celebrity endorsements. Celebrities now need to disclose their association with advertisers, if any, outside of the context of their traditional media ads. This includes appearances on talk shows and online social media connections. Celebrity endorsers and advertisers are now liable for any false or unsubstantiated claims.

The FTC has also place restrictions on social media advertisers, such as bloggers, online marketing companies, and word-of-mouth marketers. All three must now reveal if and when they received any material considerations, such as monetary compensation or free products, for their endorsements. Advertisers must also reveal if they paid for the research that backs up their claims.

Of course the FTC has the consumers in mind when making these new rules and regulations. The new guidelines will increase transparency for consumers. However, the increased scrutiny upon online marketing companies will increase costs, which will most likely be passed onto the consumer.

–Source:  Broadcasting & Cable, 10/05/09

Google Makes Changes That Will Effect Mobile Marketing

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On their blog, Google has announced several changes today that will effect their mobile marketing via smartphone technology.

Now, AdSense mobile marketing publishers will be able to serve up text and image ads on their respective websites, especially for phones such as the iPhone or Android powered devices.

The blog announced that this move will help mobile marketing publishers to earn more money and fund more web content and mobile sites.

New markets will be able to be reached, and business will be able to grow. The number of people going online through their mobile devices has increased by 34%, from 42.5 million to 56.9 million, from July 2008 to July 2009. These numbers are very promising to anyone running a mobile campaign.

Tips on Running an Email Database Marketing Campaign

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Successful email database marketing campaigns require constant improvment upon themselves in order to meet the demands and expectations of customers.  There are a couple of things you can do to maximize your ROI.

First of all, make sure you use a valid email return address.  The point of this type of internet marketing is to start a dialogue and end up with a loyal long-term customer.  As a result, your customers need to be able to respond to your emails so a long term relationship can be built.

Second of all, you need analytics to track your results.  This way you can measure exactly what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.  You should track bounced emails, open rates, click through rates, and online conversions rates.

Third of all, you shouldn’t overload your customers with too many emails or too much information. Your customers can’t spend all of their valuable time on your emails, so keep them short and simple.

Next, you must abide by CAN-SPAM laws that require your customers to agree to receive your emails. If you don’t adhere to a strict opt-in policy, you may be fined, and your deliverability rates will suffer.

Then, make sure you keep your database interested by staying relative and on-topic. Your database expects quality content, or they wouldn’t have signed up to receive your emails in the first place.

Finally, use a proper email marketing tool that will make your database marketing campaign scalable. There are many tools out there, so you must determine which one fits your needs. Many online marketing services run email marketing campaigns as well, so you should probably do some research and weigh the benefits of doing it yourself versus the benefits of hiring an online agency.

Internet Consumers Show Interest in Viral Online Marketing

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According to a new study, internet consumers are now showing interest in a different type of internet marketing. Internet consumers are increasingly showing interest in interacting with videos and viral marketing.

This brings to mind last summer’s marketing for the film “The Dark Knight”. The film’s viral internet marketing campaign had fans all over the world running around the streets in order to look for clues, just to reveal the next piece of online marketing. The film’s viral marketing campaign even won a few awards for engaging fans the way it did.  And considering that the film made almost a billion dollars, being the second highest grossing film of all time, the viral marketing actually worked wonders.

By providing ads that don’t just act as banners, but as expandable interactive images, or videos, the marketer can better engage the consumer.  By engaging the consumer in such a way, advertisers can get the consumer excited about the release of a new product or service.  This way, the product/service can simply sell itself, so to speak.

Reputation Management Through Social Media Initiatives

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Companies are trying to leverage social media for marketing, customer outreach, and reputation management. They’re logging onto Twitter, creating Facebook pages, and building communities in the hopes of attracting customers.

Social media is probably the best tool for reputation management, and when leveraging your social media presence you must keep that in mind.

You must understand the difference between social media that you own and social media that you don’t own. You own the social media that you empower on your site, your Facebook page, your Twitter account, etc. However, you don’t own what other people are saying on their Twitter accounts, reviews on other sites, etc.

Much too often companies are just focused on understanding how people interact with the social media initiatives controlled by the company. People talk about the number of followers their company Twitter account has or the number of fans their company Facebook page has. While you want to understand the reach of those owned initiatives, the power is actually in what others are saying about your company.

The magic for companies is defining ways in which to harness the power of positive comments while finding the negative comments and addressing them so that they don’t spin out of control.  This can have a drastically negative impact on your business (short term or long term).  This is how social media can be a great tool for reputation management.  It can enable you to perform rumor control.  It can enable you to react directly to what actual customers are saying about your company.

A perfect example of this is news about the Dell laptop batteries overheating and exploding a few years ago. There was an incredible amount of talk about it online before Dell addressed it. It ended up becoming a huge issue leading to recalls.

If Dell had been listening across the Web at that point, it may have been able to identify the issue earlier and get ahead of the problem, working with manufacturing and recalling batteries earlier. It would’ve been seen as getting ahead of the problem rather than getting nailed for ignoring it.  The reputation management they could’ve done through social media could’ve saved them the trouble of having to back peddle.

Unfortunately, many companies still aren’t proactive in listening to what their clients are saying on the Web. To shift corporate thinking, you must put a strategic plan in place to address these kinds of things.

How do you define success around social media? What is your strategy to leverage the positive mentions and address the negative mentions?  A big part of your answer should be to perform reputation management.

Once you have that in place, you can look at the different tools available to understand what’s happening outside of the social media initiatives you control.