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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing New Jersey’


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

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 3

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Last time, the tips to increase web site traffic conversions that I gave were about promoting your benefits and being the customer’s primary source of information through every phase of the buying cycle. This time I will talk about informing the customer of pricing and posting up images of your staff.

It’s important for potential customers to know that your solution is within their budget. Most people don’t expect a “set-in-stone”price on your website, but they do expect to see some sort of a price range. Having this information right up-front will allow the customer to determine right away if your solution is a feasible option, saving both you and the customer time.

Next, it is also important for website visitors to be able to associate a human face with your business. This is especially true for service businesses and also local small businesses. On your “About Us” page of your website, you should post up pictures of the staff. If you have a very large staff, then it is only necessary to post pictures of the staff that customers will regularly interact with, such as the sales staff. You can even post up videos giving some background information on the staff. Show how down-to-earth and friendly the staff can be. Depending on your strategy, you can show strictly professional pictures with everyone in suits, or you can show somewhat goofy pictures. The goofy pictures would be for a business that wants to connect with its audience on an emotional level, like a business involved in the local community.

In the next post, two more steps on increasing web site traffic conversions will be discussed. Those steps are making it easy for customers to get in touch with you, and making call-to-actions obvious.

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.

Mobile Marketing Associations Releases New Guidelines

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The Mobile Marketing Association has released a new version of industry guidelines.

The recommendations have been designed to stimulate growth in the mobile sector and ensure that consistent standards are applied across the board.

The best practice guidelines will apply to various types of mobile strategies, such as SMS marketing and engaging with consumers via the mobile internet (using devices such as SmartPhones or iPhones).

Mike Wehrs, chief executive of the Mobile Marketing Association, said that the new guidelines would simplify the deployment of mobile campaigns, all the while increasing their effectiveness.

He also said that the new guidelines reinforce the Mobile Marketing Association’s longstanding pledge to provide the industry with reliable standards and increased awareness of mobile advertising globally.

The Mobile Marketing Association noted that mobile has turned into an integral part of their marketing strategies.

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.

Reaching Balance is Essential for your Email Database Marketing Campaign

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Email database marketing is the most effective and cost-efficient medium available for your internet marketing campaign.  Emails enable you to develop a long-term dialogue and relationship with your customer.  However, if you abuse your email marketing campaign, you can also harm your relationship with your customer. So you must strike a delicate balance.

In order to reach that balance, you should combine informative content with promotional content. You should create the need for your product/service by providing relevant information. Then you can start the sales process by providing promotional content.  For example, car repair businesses can explain the importance of maintenance, the benefits of repairing instead of replacing, or even the symptoms of required maintenance before offering their services.

Because of this delicate balance that is required, careful planning is a necessity for your email database marketing campaing. A successful campaign is constantly improving itself in order to meet customer expectations.  In my next post, I will give you some tips on how to run a successful email database marketing campaign.

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.

Geo-Target for Paid Search Engine Marketing

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Do you geo-target your paid search ads? If you only sell products to certain areas, then you most likely do. If you sell products nationally, you most like do not. But that may be a mistake.

Most people geo-target for two reasons: either to support the geographic areas their business supports, or for local promotions or events. While geo-targeting is perfect in those situations, sem experts agree that using geo-targeting in your regular campaigns can have some crucial advantages, even if you already have a successful paid search account.

So why should you geo-target your successful paid search engine marketing campaign? Well, geo-targeting provides an additional layer of data that is more profound than the keyword level. It complements the knowledge of which keyword is performing by adding information about which state a keyword is performing in. This enables your bidding decisions to be made with better data based on certain regional factors:

  • Competition: The number of advertisers is different for each region. So your CPCs will be very different.
  • Product price: New York advertising may cost more than New Jersey advertising. So, your CPA metrics should be different for each region, because revenue will vary based on location. This impacts your ROI and, consequently, your allowable CPC.
  • Online Conversions rate: Some locations are in better economic situations than others, and are more likely to purchase and get traffic conversions. In other cases, one location may have users that are more Internet savvy. Many factors can affect your online conversions rate, and these factors will vary by geography.
  • Brand awareness: Your brand may be stronger in some parts of the country. This might be based on the way various media is purchased, or store locations. This difference will impact your CTRs, and therefore your quality score.
  • Ad copy: It may be hot in Miami and cold in Buffalo. There are also geographical differences in what things are called, or ways things are talked about, i.e. sub vs. hoagie. The message in your ad copy could target these differences.

In order to implement this strategy, you can replicate any given campaign exactly as it is. For example, if you have a campaign called “marketing,” copy it and call it “marketing NJ” or “marketing New Jersey” for targeting New Jersey (or whatever region you like).

In regards to the original “marketing” campaign, you can either remove New Jersey or keep it national. I suggest you keep it national, so that those prospects who can’t be identified geographically are still able to see your ad. This is especially important if that campaign is already working well, and allows your campaigns to maintain current web site traffic levels.

The only downside to this is the duplication of your keyword list. If you were managing 200 keywords in your “marketing” campaign, you will now be managing 400 keywords across both campaigns. This will add work to your bid management and reporting duties. But the impact this will have to your campaign metrics will more than justify the slight workload increase.

Think about the states or locations that will get you the most online conversions. In order for this strategy to work, you don’t have to select a single state, though that would make it much easier for reporting the data. It can be a collection of states, locations, cities, etc.

The idea is to go deeper than your keyword level, gain profound insights into how your campaigns are performing, and optimize against that data.

Budgeting for Your Online Marketing Department

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You need to budget as much as you can into your online efforts.  If you hire an internet marketing firm, you should redirect a good portion of your marketing budget towards that endeavor.  However, if you decide to tackle your online marketing efforts on your own, you need to keep a few things in mind when budgeting.

There’s a lot that goes into an online marketing department.  Of course you have to hire staff (creative staff for the writing and design, and IT staff for logistics).  You need to get proper equipment, which includes a top-of-the-line computer (you definitely don’t want to deal with lag when running an internet marketing campaign).  You need to have software so your internet marketing department can do its work.  You need to have tracking programs so you know how much web site traffic your online campaign is building.

It’s like going to Vegas, or Atlantic City for us Jersey folk.  To win big you need to play big.  The more you invest, the more return you can potentially see (of course there’s always the chance that you’ll fail completely, but what’s business without risk).  Of course with all the required investments in creating your own online marketing department, the bill can run up pretty high.  If you’re a small business, you might want to consider hiring an online marketing company.  But if you can afford to allocate the necessary funds into an in-house online marketing department, then by all means do so.

Finding the Best Online Marketing Company

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Finding an online marketing company with good SEM experts is a lot like shopping for a car.  You definitely don’t buy the first car that you see.  You shop around, look for the best deal, the best prices, and the best product.  Well, you should go through that same process for hiring the best online agency as well.

First of all, you should find out whether the online agency actually does search engine optimization, or if they just claim to do so but do something else in reality.  I know that some SEO NJ firms claim to perform SEO services, but instead they just buy the sponsored links at the top of the search results page.  Anyone can do that, you don’t need an SEO consultation firm to do that for you.  The whole point of SEO is improving organic search results, that is to say, all the search results that come underneath the sponsored links.  Improving organic search results has nothing to do with buying sponsored links from Google or Yahoo.

Secondly, you’ll want to find out if the online agency only offers SEO services, or if they also offer all other types of online marketing services.  The other types of online marketing are SEM – search engine marketing (that’s where the buying of sponsored links comes in), email  or database marketing, website design, website development, and pay-per-click (PPC, sometimes referred to as CPC, or cost-per-click).  The best online agencies even do their own website hosting.  A great internet marketing campaign will utilize all aspects of internet marketing, not just one.

Your website will probably be the most important and powerful marketing tool that you’ll have, so make sure that your online agency is on the same page as you when it comes to long term success.  And as when dealing with any salesperson, pay attention to how your questions are being answered (are they actually answering your questions or just beating around the bush), ask for references, and most of all, trust your gut (human intuition exists for a reason).

Find the Right Person for Your Online Marketing Campaign

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Here’s another tip for your online marketing campaign:  FIND THE RIGHT PERSON!

This may now be a cliché, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still true.  Your company’s greatest asset is its people.  If you have incompetent people working for you, your business won’t go anywhere.  This is also true for internet marekting.  They say that your company is only as good as your worst employee.  Well, your internet marketing strategy is only as good as the person who implements it.

Your business needs the right person (or group of people if you’re hiring an online agency) to head your online marketing strategy.  Do you have anyone who you can trust your life with?  Well, for your online marketing strategy you need someone who you can trust the life of your company with.  If your internet marketer, or online agency, isn’t good at what he/she/it does, then you’ll be behind the curve, which will mean dire consequences for your business.

If you decide to go with an online marketing company, there are a few things you should keep in mind when selecting one.  But I’ll save that for my next post.

Measuring Web Site Traffic Through Data Analytics

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Why is data analytics important? Well, have you ever tried to manage something that you haven’t measured? You could throw yourself into the deep end of a pool, but if you don’t know how to swim then you’re going to drown. So how do you stay afloat?  You need to invest in measuring and tracking services for all of your web site traffic.

First of all, you need to be able to measure your sheer traffic volume.  Traffic volume is the general number of visitors to your website, whether they were online conversions or not.  This can give you a clear picture of how many web surfers are even reaching your website, from anywhere on the web.  This number is also important because it gives you something to measure everything else against.

Secondly, you need to measure traffic quality.  What is the bounce rate of your website?  How much time are your visitors spending on your website?  These things are important to measure in order to gauge how well your website keeps the attention of its visitors.  By measuring this against the traffic volume, you can see what percentage of your visitors is actually staying on your website, versus just looking at it for a couple of seconds and then hitting the back button (or any other way to get off a website so quickly).

Thirdly, you need to determine your traffic sources and measure how many visitors you are getting from each one of those sources.  This allows you to see where you are getting your visitors from and enables you to allocate more resources to those traffic sources.  You can measure this against traffic quality to see where the most interested visitors are coming from (from which website or link they are being redirected).  You can also measure this against traffic volume in order to determine the percentage of visitors from each source.

Fourthly, you need to measure your traffic conversions.  Making that sale, i.e. getting that conversion, is the goal of your business.  By measuring traffic conversions, you can see how well you are doing in each category.  By measuring traffic conversions against all of the above mentioned kinds of data, you can determine where most of your online conversions are coming from, how long each conversion spends on your website, and the percentage of total visitors that become online conversions.

Lastly, you need to determine how often you should analyze these data points.  This depends entirely on your business and your industry.  It also depends simply on your preference.  Some people like to have daily numbers, some like weekly, or monthly, or quarterly, or even annually.  The point is that you need to figure out how often you need the data reports in order to be on top of your game.  But that is entirely up to you.

Again, these numbers individually won’t mean much.  A number by itself is just a number; but together, these numbers will paint a very clear picture of the health of your business.  With all of this knowledge, you’ll be able to do everything that is necessary in order for you business to thrive.  If you know how to swim, into the deep end you go.

Localizing SEO for More Qualified Traffic Conversions

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Local SEO is much simpler than general SEO. Here’s why. Take for example our company, Bulls Eye Marketing. We describe ourselves as a New Jersey advertising firm rather than just simply an advertising company. This is because it is much simpler to win local keywords rather than generalized keywords for which there is much more competition.  There are alot more internet marketing firms in the entire world than there are here in New Jersey.

If you own a mom and pop pizza shop, there is no way in hell that you are going to win the keyword “pizza”. The huge corporate chains will always have monopolies on those words. So, your goal must be to win the keywords that are specific to your locale. After all, if you’re located in Central Jersey, then someone in Northern California will not care about your pizza shop. You should try to win over the keywords that specify your locality so you can bring in new business from around your area. But the challenge here is to define your parameters.

In order to define your geographic parameters, you should identify where you are already getting business from. Let’s say that everyone in your town already comes to your pizza shop for all their pizza needs. But if you go one level broader, let’s say your township, you can still do much better. So you should then run your SEO campaign for your township. You should simply run your online marketing campaign for the market that you are not winning. In our case, we try to win the keywords with the localities of New Jersey and Central Jersey.

Of course this means that you will receive much less web site traffic than if you were to win the keyword “pizza”, since “pizza” will be utilized by everyone in the entire country, or maybe even the world; but the rest of the country is not your concern when it comes to selling pizza. You’re trying to win over you own geographic location. So your overall web site traffic might be less, but the precision of targeting your locality will result in better and more qualified traffic conversions.

Blogging for SEO to Get Online Conversions

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Blogging is not just for running public relations/reputation management campaigns.  It can and should also be used for SEO, or search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization is a way to get your business at the top of a Google or Yahoo search results page. This is the most effective form of search engine marketing, or online marketing. If you use Google to search for the service/product that your business provides, does your business show up on the first page of results? How about the second page? Maybe the third page? Does it show up at all? Chances are that your business is nowhere to be found.

Most people these days use search engines to perform product/service research before they buy anything. And more than half of the activity on the Internet is on search engines. So what does this mean for your business? You need to get indexed on search engines so people can see your business when they are searching for a product/service that they need. If you do get indexed, then you will probably have an almost exponential increase in business since the marketing potential of the Internet is unlimited.  You’ll increase your web site traffic and get more online conversions (which can be anything from form sign-ups to actual sales).

So how do you get indexed? Well, that’s where blogging comes in. But first you must understand how search engines work. Suppose you go to Google and search for “New Jersey advertising”.  Without getting into the technical aspect of it, especially since that would take up a couple of blog entries itself, simply put Google will run through the entire World Wide Web and find the sites with the most occurrences of the phrase “New Jersey advertising”. “New Jersey advertising” here is a keyword.

If you blog for your company, then you can utilize relevant keywords so when people search for the service that you provide, your business will come up. So the point of blogging is to win those specific keywords that are relevant to your business. And since blogging is very frequent, it is easy to win keywords since you can use them over and over and over again.  Industry experts, like these guys, agree that blogging may be the most effective form of search engine optimization.

But getting indexed on that first page of Google isn’t the last step.  After you’ve run a successful blogging campaign, which can take a while, your website needs to be able to get traffic conversions.  Let’s say your an online marketing company in New Jersey, like us.  Once you’ve been indexed on Google and someone searching for “SEO NJ” clicks on your site, your site needs to be able to make the sale or get that person’s information.  To get the maximum amount of online conversions, you can have people fill out submission forms for email newsletters, videos, and other things of that nature.  Then you can simply follow up on all your leads.  But that’s a story for another day.

Build Website Traffic by Keeping Your Website Updated

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The internet is a great forum to cultivate A.D.D. habits. Most people using it get bored very quickly. A big reason why a lot of websites start out good but then fall off the radar is that they are not updated. Any online marketing company can tell you that your website’s structure, layout, and content plays a big role in your online marketing efforts (that is why website development should be a part of your internet marketing strategy).  As a result, your website needs to be updated regularly. That doesn’t mean that you need to constantly add new content every second. But it does mean that it heavily depends on your industry.

Let’s say that you are a car dealer.  Automotive search engine marketing, or more specifically SEO, is almost necessary to build website traffic.  You need to keep your website updated with new car models, new deals, or even future concept cars from the manufacturer.  Your website’s job is to keep the audience interested and entertained.  Imagine if all the car enthusiasts in your area went to your website.  Even if they go there to just be entertained (by any interactive media you may have on the website, or just videos) chances are that they will buy from you when looking for their next car.  In other words, the more you keep your website updated, the more traffic conversions you will get.

If you regularly update your website with new content relevant to your industry, you can seem like THE industry expert.  Most people don’t want to be sold, especially by any random schmoe who doesn’t know about the product/service itself, but rather knows only how to sell the product/service.  Most people want to know that they are getting solid, factual information from people who know what they are talking about.  By keeping your website updated regularly, you can be that person/business.  Your website can be THE place that people go to for information regarding your industry.  Take us for example.  We are an online marketing company that specializes in co-op advertising, database marketing, mobile marketing, automotive search engine marketing, reputation management, and website development.  We consider ourselves to be SEM experts.  As an internet marketing best practice, we keep our main website, which is other our blog site, constantly updated.  We blog about online marketing techniques, online marketing services, and current events in the world of online marketing.  Even though we really just got the ball rolling, by updating regularly we will soon have enough content on our site to be considered scholars or experts in the industry.  Once we’ve accomplished that goal, once we’ve established ourselves as industry experts, getting traffic conversions will be much easier.  When people think that you are an expert in your industry, they rightly assume that you know what you are doing.  You will no longer have to go out of your way to sell, as your expertise will sell itself.

So, depending on whatever industry your business is a part of, you’ll need to update your website daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever consumers of your industry demand (aren’t we all at the mercy of our customers). But beware, once you start updating your content more quickly, your site visitors will expect the content to be updated in that same frequency for the rest of your site’s lifespan. So be like the tortoise, start out slow and pace yourself. You can regularly update your site with new content such as pics, videos, or even text. That way, your regular visitors won’t abandon your site completely.

Have an Online Marketing Presence to Stay Alive in the 21st Century

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Let’s face it.  The economy is still not that great.  But there’s an upside to any recession.  Businesses now have the opportunity to position themselves for when the market turns around.  If you’re in the right position, your business will boom once the recession is over.  And even though the economy is down, people still need products/services.  So how do you position yourself properly?…DEALS!

“People need deals and deals need people.”  You remember that scene in “A Beautiful Mind” when Russell Crowe, er, I mean John Nash, says the best option is the one that benefits both the individuals involved but also the group as a whole?  In other words, you need to create deals for your product/service that are mutually beneficial for both the consumer and for you.  The economy will stabilize once we’ve reached equilibrium.

And how do we reach that equilibrium, you ask?  The WEB!  The INTERNET!  The entire ONLINE ARENA!  Online marekting is the wave of the new century.  And now is the best time, if any, to get your business into the 21st century.  If you do, you’ll be in the best position when people start buying again.  Why?  Because there are a lot more people using the internet right now than you think.  In fact, the internet is very quickly becoming the hub of all media.  The internet allows you to watch TV and movies, listen to the radio, or just download music, talk with friends (and even people you thought you would never see again thanks to a little something called social networking, i.e. Facebook, MySpace), buy pretty much anything you want, pay bills, do all your banking, and even get medical advice.  The virtual world is slowly replacing the real one.

Of course that is not to say that traditional media advertising has no place in your marketing strategy.  Traditional media, such as print advertising, television advertising, outdoor advertising, or direct mail, still serves the same function it has for years.  But the market is rapidly becoming fully virtual.  Instead of advertising your big savings deal in any traditional media, you can do it for alot cheaper through online marketing, such as by submitting an online press release, for example.  You can market your deals on your own website, on your competitor’s websites, on any search engine, or any industry experts’ websites in order to build web site traffic.  And the precision of internet marketing will maximize your ROI since potential leads will all be those that are already interested in your product/service.

In order to fully corner the market, I suggest that you invest in all media, both traditional and online.  However, the current economy may force you to be a bit more frugal with your capital.  If that is the case, then you should certainly focus more on your online marketing.

So when people start buying again, you better be prepared to meet them half-way.  And when people start buying again and go online to do so, if your business isn’t online it probably won’t survive.  In order to stay in business and meet the demands of the new century, you’ll have to have a basic web foundation.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can have a successful web foundation:

In the next couple of posts, I’ll give you some tips on how to get your money’s worth from the world of the Internet and online marketing.  We’ll go over what you’ll need in order to have a comprehensive web foundation, including a website, an email  database marketing campaign, a social networking campaign, a blogging campaign (for SEO and reputation management), and search engine marketing.  It’ll definitely be worth your investment.

Don't Spend More on an Online Marketing Service, Just Spend Smarter: The Snowball Effect Part 2

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So what do you do when you can’t spend money on an online marketing service, but you not spending money means that you lose even more money by losing new customers?  The answer is quite simple really.  You don’t need to spend more.  You just need to spend smarter.  If you’re spending a couple of grand on some sort of internet marketing, lets say search engine marketing, but that online marketing isn’t bringing in any more business than usual, then you need to stop paying for it.

Suppose you’re the corner coffee shop.  All the people living around you that need coffee will come to you for coffee whether or not you advertise to them.  So why would you spend ridiculous amounts of money on an internet marketing strategy that targets those people that are already coming to your store?  That type of online marketing is not worth the investment.  If an internet marketing strategy is not bringing in any NEW customers, then it is worthless.  Any online agency should know that the purpose of an online marketing strategy is to gain new customers, not keep existing customers (that’s what customer service is for).

You need to figure out what amount of customers you would have regardless of your internet marketing.  Let’s say that with the online marketing service, you have 105 customers.  But 100 of those customers would come to you anyway, with or without having been exposed to your internt marketing efforts.  So that internet marketing is only bringing in 5 new customers.  Now let’s say that the online marketing service cost you $5000.  But those 5 customers only gave you $1000 (yes, I know, that is some pretty expensive coffee, but go along with me here).  Since the internet marketing campaign had no effect (either positive or negative) on the 100 customers you already have, the money they gave you is irrelevant.  The $5000 you spent on that internet marketing campaign only brought in $1000.  Congratulations, you have just now lost $4000.  That type of investment may not be a good idea in this economy.

A good online marketing strategy doesn’t focus on targeting customers you would already have.  In fact, a good internet marketing strategy doesn’t waste any time with those customers at all.  A good online marketing strategy only focuses on targeting the customers that you don’t already have.  These are the customers that will bring in more money.  These are the customers that will make your investment in an online marketing service worthwhile.  If your business is snowballing out of control, you can’t just stop spending money on online marketing all together.  You just need to spend on an online marketing service that will bring in NEW money.  Don’t spend more, spend SMARTER!

Not Enough for an Online Agency, but a Need to Reach a Wider Audience: The Snowball Effect

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The recession may be bottoming out, but consumer spending is still pretty low.  And it won’t get any better for a while.  When people are unemployed, they don’t like spending money.  And when people are afraid of being laid off, they don’t like spending money.  It’s simple psychology.  But people not spending money just makes the economy even worse.  The economy runs on the transaction of money.  If there’s no money being transferred from one person to the next, the economy will sink.  So the less people spend, the worse the economy gets, which causes people to spend even less, which in turn makes the economy get worse.  It’s simple economics.  Everything snowballs.  Things just get worse and worse, and people get more and more afraid.

Let’s say that you’re a business.  People aren’t buying your product because consumer spending is down.  That means less revenue for you.  Maybe you have to lay off a few people you can’t afford to keep on.  But there’s still work that needs to be done.  So the work from the laid off employees gets delegated to the remaining employees.  But your remaining employees are already up to their noses in work.  So what happens?  Productivity gets cut.  You’re unable to deliver, which in turn cuts your revenue once more.  Even less revenue means even less capital to spend on your marketing strategy, especially if you use an online agency for your online marketing services.  The less money you spend on your online agency, the fewer chances you have of gaining new customers.  Your revenue once again is either reduced or remains stagnant.  Everything is snowballing again.

So how do you save your business?  Do you simply stop spending money?  If you cut down on marketing costs and stop using your online agency, you may save money in the short run, but you’ll lose new customers.  So what do you do?  How do you reconcile the facts that the less you spend on your online agency, the fewer new customers you will have, but the costs of using an online marketing company is simply out of your budget because of low consumer spending?  Do you cut off your online agency completely?  Do you go all out and give massive amounts of money to your online agency so they can saturate the market with your ads, all while your simply sitting and hoping for the best?  Is there some sort of middle ground?

I’ll tell you the answer…in my next post.

Public Relations/Reputation Management

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It is crucial for any business to run a public relations/reputation management campaign in order to keep a positive image in the public eye. However, the traditional modes of running such a campaign are slowly becoming obsolete. That is why it is necessary for businesses to update their public relations/reputation management campaigns for the 21st century. So how does a business update their public relations/reputation management campaigns? All it has to do is join the virtual world. The quickest and easiest way to run a public relations/reputation management campaign online is through blogging/SEO.

A business can respond to pretty much anything through blogging, especially negative rumors or negative public reaction to anything the business does. Since blogs are supposed to be updated incredibly frequently (usually every day or at the very least once a week) a business can respond to the public in real time, instead of having to go through all the time and trouble of having to set up a press conference. Also, since blogs allow comments, a business can see the public response to the public relations/reputation management campaigns themselves. Blogging is a great way for a business to set up a dialogue with the public. And if the public feels that the company is truly engaged in a two-way communication channel, rather than a one-way, then they will feel more involved with the business as a whole. That, in turn, will make them more loyal to the business.

And we’re not the only ones who think so.  Industry experts, such as these guys, also think that blogging is one of the best public relations/reputation management tools.