Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Ready to tap into the power of digital marketing to help your business succeed?

Check out this list of the top 10 digital marketing ideas from our FedEx Small Business Grant winners, including ideas for social media marketing, content marketing and more!  

Even better, not only are these digital marketing ideas easy to implement, they’re even easier for your business to afford.   

1: Run contests through social media
Nicole Snow is the owner of Darn Good Yarn, an online retailer of specialty yarns. She has achieved incredible success with social media marketing by allowing her social fans to pick the names of new yarn colors. The winner gets a free ball of yarn — and even better, bragging rights. Nicole claims that she’s able to track sales back to participants in the contest, sometimes even up to a year later.

Susan Buchanan, the owner of Humdinger Kettle Corn, a business that sells flavored popcorns, also asks users to provide feedback via social media and help her pick new flavors to develop. The advantages to her business go beyond fan participation — she’s also essentially getting free insight into what her customers are looking to buy. With that knowledge, she is better able to successfully roll out new product lines.

#2: Create a YouTube channel
YouTube allows just about anyone to set up an account, brand it with their business identity and post videos, all for free.

For a business like Catullo Prime Meats, a YouTube channel was a pretty logical fit.  Danny Catullo, the owner and operator of this specialty butcher shop, uses the channel to offer his customers recipes, how-to-guides and other fun and useful stuff. He’s even created family videos and had the good fortune of having a turduken video turn into a viral video marketing star — resulting in a five-fold increase in sales one year.

#3: Tap into star power
When Patrick Whaley, the owner and founder of TITIN LLC, a creator and retailer of high-tech workout gear, wanted to grow his social media audience, he filmed videos featuring well-known athletes.

Because those stars had already built up their own social followings, TITIN essentially leveraged the popularity of their social media marketing and realized a massive spike in views on their YouTube page.

With some smart cross-promotional messaging, TITIN was able to turn YouTube views into visitors to their website and a corresponding increase in sales, making the digital marketing campaign an easy expense to justify.    

#4: Treat content like king
If you’re setting up a website for the first time, you obviously want it to look nice, perform well and be easy for customers to use. But don’t forget about your content marketing!

Content marketing essentially means creating content in order to acquire customers. In order to do that, Danny Catullo advises making sure that your website is built so that it’s easy for you, or someone on your staff, to add, delete and update content. Most modern websites are built on a content management system (CMS), which is essentially a publishing platform for your site.

If you’re paying a vendor to set up your site, make sure right from the start that you’ll have access to your CMS and discuss whether or not training is included in the project quote. If you’re setting it up yourself, consider open-source alternatives, like WordPress, which also has the advantage of being free. 

#5: Make your content useful 
While we’re on the subject of content marketing, here’s one of the best ways you can make content resonate with customers: make it helpful!

Think about who your customers are, what problem your business could potentially help them solve, and then create content that does that (being careful not to give away your goods or service for free, of course).

Examples of this type of content include blog posts, videos, a Pinterest page, Facebook posts and more. Catullo Prime Meats hosts a YouTube channel of how-to-guides, cooking tutorials and more. Darn Good Yarn posts recipes on their Facebook wall, gives remodeling advice through their Pinterest page, and connects with younger customers on Instagram.Remember, content doesn’t just refer to writing – it can be almost anything your customers might find useful!

#6: Use website analytics
One of the best things about digital marketing is that it’s so measurable. Not only can you track traffic to your website, but you can also learn where the traffic is coming from, what they do while on your site, how long they stay – and much more.

You can also use website analytics tracking tools to measure ad campaigns, efficiently buy ad placements and more. The advantage to you as a business owner is that you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of your site and marketing, use what you learn to enhance performance and make smart decisions about what to continue and what to drop.

Ari Hoffman, the owner and founder of GOBIE H20, a retailer of environmentally friendly water bottles, uses Google Analytics, which is widely considered to be the industry standard. He’s such a big believer, in fact, that he advises other business owners to use it “like it’s part of your life!”

#7: Tap into online local search 
If your business relies on local customers, online local search could be a game changer — and compared to targeted media like TV, radio or billboards, it can be relatively cost-effective.  

Online local search marketing basically means ensuring your business is included in search engine results for your geographic area. For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business in Phoenix, you ideally want your business to come up when someone types “Carpet cleaners in Phoenix” into Google. Anyone performing that kind of search could be likely to be a potential customer, so it makes sense to have your business represented.

There are 2 basic ways to do that: 

  • Local search engine optimization (SEO), which involves creating content on your site so that it targets those keywords.
  • Local search engine marketing (SEM), which means buying keywords from search engines like Google or Bing.

Both ideas have been used successfully by the 2013 FedEx Small Business Grant winners. Danny Catullo attributes about 60% of his local business to a combination of SEO & SEM, while Ari Hoffman has used SEM to great success.

#8: Don’t take "No" for an answer
When Patrick Whaley of TITIN started his digital marketing efforts, his first strategy was to target a broad audience. Using what he learned, he was able to gain invaluable marketing intelligence, identify consumer trends, learn buying patterns and discover what it took to convert a variety of different demographics into customers.

“If you limit your sales at the start, you will never know how large your market potential really is,” Patrick said. “ I would encourage every company to try to sell to everyone they meet.  Don't be afraid to fail and don’t tolerate someone telling you ‘No.’ You will be shocked at how many new markets can be realized if you don't allow fear to hold you back.”

#9: Digital is bigger than your website
If you’ve just started your digital marketing, or even if you’re getting ready to revamp your existing efforts, there’s a natural tendency to want to go for broke with your business’s website.

But you should be careful about putting all your digital eggs in one online basket, according to Danny Catullo. Instead of spending a fortune on a flashy site, he used Shopify, a turnkey e-commerce solution, to get up and running. By paying small monthly fees, he was able to launch quickly, without a huge initial investment, and he even gets ongoing support.  

Plus, small businesses need to plan for the long term, says Ari Hoffman. Even the slickest website in the world won’t do your business much good if it can’t adapt and evolve. He advises setting aside 15% of your initial investment for future modifications.

#10: Star in your own show!
Last but definitely not least, Nicole Snow was able to turn a little bit of technological savvy into a huge marketing asset with a show on Google+.

‘Darn Good Yarn Live airs Thursday nights on Google+, and attracts an audience of die-hard fans who often become some of Nicole’s best customers. Plus, Nicole feels that the connections she creates with the public helps build a unique differentiation point from the competition – it literally helps her stand out in a “sea of yarn stores.”

With tools like Google+ and Vine from Twitter, your business can essentially host your own TV channel for free. So if you’ve got some creative ideas to share, fame (and fortune) could be just a few clicks away!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What Businesses can Gain from Mobile Marketing

mobile marketing

mobile marketing

What Businesses can Gain from Mobile Marketing

Marketing and advertising have truly evolved over the years. We have embraced ads on the television, radio and even in print media for more than a decade. The advent of the Internet has paved the way to new marketing campaigns, one of them being a mobile marketing. Because mobile gadgets are the hype today, there is no denying that mobile marketing is here to stay as more cost-effective way of advertising one's business.

Almost all of us have a mobile gadget or two. We often have our phones and other wireless mobile devices with us on a daily basis. This is a good opportunity for businesses to take advantage of mobile marketing. There are key benefits business owners can reap and enjoy.

The following are some examples that would get you motivated to pay attention to mobile marketing.

Immediacy. As a business owner or marketer, one thing you will love about mobile marketing is its immediate reach to your prospective consumers and clients. There is a guarantee that they will be able to receive the ads or the message within seconds in their mobile devices. For instance, sending an SMS message to your recipient is fast. This equates to your consumers getting your message faster than a blink of an eye, not to mention creating a mobile campaign is easy.

Cost effective. Marketing has never been this cheap. Traditional modes of marketing require a business owner to invest thousands of dollars just to create a few seconds of radio or TV commercials. The amount of money that goes with the printing of brochures, tarps and the like is probably within the thousands. With mobile marketing, there is no need to shell out this much. Mobile marketing requires you to invest a fraction of what you would spend in traditional marketing campaigns. You'd end up saving money while making the most of a possible global marketing scheme.

Higher reach. Billions of people around the globe have a mobile gadget or two. This also means that you could be able to reach out to those people within a single mobile marketing campaign. A successful mobile marketing campaign will allow businesses to be able to reach out to millions of customers in a blink of an eye at a fraction of what they would spend for advertising. Why limit your marketing campaign to just around the neighborhood when you can reach out to potential customers from all over the world?

There are still other key benefits you can enjoy if you shift your marketing efforts to mobile marketing. With the right campaign and technology applied, your success is guaranteed.

Ida Mae Boyd
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Degrees Of Separation In between You And The entire World

Degrees Of Separation In between You And The entire World

Social networking has actually been specified as the interaction between thoes or companies within a social structure. Within an online social network, people or organizations which can either be casual acquaintances or closely related by blood can quickly interact through messaging, blogs, picture sharing, chain mails, videos, music and a great deal of other communication tools offered in social media network websites in the web.

In the late 1960's, a social experiment called small world hypothesis was done to prove that any 2 individuals can be connected through a social media network by 6 degrees of separation. This was done by effectively passing a message from one person to a target individual through associates of individuals in the link. Although most of the links in the experiment failed to finish, the electronic variation of this experiment as well as the online social networks today has proven that we can certainly connect to almost any individual worldwide through our contacts.

 

Social Networking Websites

Social networking websites have actually just recently become popular in connecting individuals sharing the same pastimes or interests. These social networking websites can be, in a way, considered online communities where different individuals from all over the world can share their viewpoints, views, thoughts and normally everything that can cause the advancement of relationships or relationships. Making it easier for individuals to incorporate themselves into these social network companies, groups or websites can often be found in social networking websites where you can satisfy people with the very same interests, religious beliefs, region, view in politics, and so on.

Upon completing the registration for these social networks, you can then start to familiarize yourself with exactly what the social media network needs to provide. This can be done easily through browsing the member's profiles, reading the blog sites or bulletin board system and chatting with the other individuals online. In this manner, you can make good friends with other individuals you would not have the opportunity to be friends with in the real life due to the fact that of geographical, political, social and other constraints. Communicating with the people online will likewise make you knowledgeable about the various cultures, religions and people present in the social network which will be really advantageous in broadening your understanding about the world around you.

Threats of Online Social Networks

Because of this, many of the social networking sites have actually placed restrictions and constraints as to who could sign up with the network and what the minimum age ought to be. Some social networking websites have actually also put obstacles for the registration of individuals having a criminal record and some schools have even gone as far as prohibiting the use of the social sites to their students.

Understanding these dangers though, will help you take pleasure in and take full advantage of the benefits you will get from these online social media networks. So if you're ready to test your own small world hypothesis, search for these social networks online now.

Charles R Juarez Jr
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Blogging for SEO: How to Write a Blog for Google!

Blogging for SEO

Source:  Rob Neu

Get Your Blog Noticed

It seems like a lot of bloggers, and people in general really, have a bit of a negative view when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to utilize it to be one of the top entries of a search results page . It seems that lately opinions are moving in a more positive direction. I think this is awesome because SEO can really help bloggers get their content noticed. Ranking well in organic search is one of the best ways to share your voice with a larger audience and increase your authority on a given topic.

The goal of this article is to help bloggers understand that SEO is simply a tool, not the mystical black art that many have sold it to be. When you do SEO right, it really doesn’t need to impact your writing much at all. Once you learn the basics, it just sort of becomes something you do naturally without having to think about it very much. The places where most bloggers struggle are keyword targeting, strategic link-building, and technical SEO. Technical SEO is indexation problems, meta issues, and most of the other things that our SEO audits address.

None of these things should change the way you write significantly. Keyword targeting can be as simple as doing a bit of research to make sure you mention the right words a few times throughout your posts. Technical SEO sounds complicated, and can be sometimes, but if you’re a blogger using WordPress, chances are it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Strategic link-building can be a bit tricky, but as a blogger you have a distinct advantage over other website owners in this area. Bloggers can update their site and display new content very quickly. Search engines love this kind of activity.

Harness Your Blog to WordPress

Facts don’t lie. As of this writing, WordPress powers over 38% of the Web. It is by far the most widely-used content management system and it continues to grow in popularity every year. It should be noted that this is the self-hosted version of WordPress, which is WordPress.org not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a great place to get started, but if you’re serious about blogging and SEO you should consider self-hosting.

In addition to being popular, WordPress is also a very SEO-friendly CMS. Without doing anything extra, simply using WordPress will improve your chances of ranking. This is because it has a lot of basic SEO functionality, such as pretty permalinks and contextual page titles, built right in.

Moving to WordPress is (Usually) Easy

There are a lot of importers for WordPress that let you move your content from other systems like Blogger and Tumblr built right in. There’s also a bunch of great plug-ins and an entire guide to help make the transition to WordPress easier. One area that might be a bit of a challenge is choosing a new design for your site once you’re up and running. Lucky, there are tons of great free and premium WordPress themes for you to choose from.

Integrate Basic SEO Into Your Blogging

Once you’ve got your blog running on WordPress, you need to start thinking about integrating some basic SEO best practices into your blogging work-flow. A good place to start making some changes is in your keyword targeting.

Over time, you’ll start naturally writing your posts in a more search-friendly format, but when you’re getting started it’s best to do these things AFTER you’ve finished writing. When SEO isn’t familiar to you, focusing on it right out of the gate will just slow down your writing and frustrate you. Try to put it out of your mind until you’re done writing and think of it more as part of your editing work-flow.

You should also keep in mind that your SEO title and your meta description are going to be the way people see your post in the Google search results. Because of this, they need to be attention-grabbing. Getting this right is critical for convincing people to click on your post. A great title can even outdo a higher ranking in some cases, so definitely spend some time thinking about improving your headlines.

How Do You Know Which Keyword to Choose?

Choosing the right keywords for your posts is another area where most people struggle. Many times the title of your posts might not be exactly what people are looking for on Google. As you do this more, you’ll start to develop a bit of a 6th sense for choosing keywords, but starting out it can be a little tricky.

Don’t let this section intimidate you or stop you from optimizing your posts. Google is pretty smart and they’re getting smarter all the time. If your content is good enough, they’ll frequently rank you for the keyword you should have targeted if it isn’t something that’s super competitive.

That said, in a perfect world you’d always be optimizing your content for the ideal keywords. In order to get a little closer to that, you can use a few tools to get an idea of what people are searching for on Google.

Keyword Research is Hard, but Worth the Effort

In order to pick the best keywords, you need to do a little research. There’s a tool from Google called the Keyword Planner that will let you see how many people are searching for a particular group of keywords. The problem is it’s difficult to come up with variations on your original idea to see what might work best. Luckily, there’s a simple tool called Ubersuggest that can give you a ton of ideas to test in the Keyword Planner. Here’s a guide on how to use Ubersuggest.

Spending 5 or 10 minutes doing this can mean the difference between targeting a high competition, low volume keyword or targeting a low competition, high volume keyword. It’s hard to get into the habit of doing this, but if you take the time to learn it, you’ll understand the benefits pretty quickly.

Google also has another useful tool called Google Trends which lets you see the overall interest in a keyword or a topic over a period of time. This can be a good indicator for whether a keyword or a topic is worth focusing on. Keyword research is a pretty vast topic and it’s also one of the cornerstones of SEO. Don’t feel bad if you have trouble with it, you are far from being alone. Just chip away at understanding it a little at a time.

Participate in Your Community

Being an active blogger gives you a number of distinct advantages over other website owners. As a blogger, you probably already have a group of people you interact with and talk to online on a regular basis. This is a huge advantage! Keep track of where these people are hanging out on the web.

Stay active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular, among the Social Networks. All of these things mean that whenever you publish something related to WordPress, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get a lot of eyeballs and pull in a decent amount of links.

You need to do the same thing in your industry. Start searching for things related to your industry and follow the top results to find where everyone is hanging out. Find the popular blogs, see which social networks everyone is most active on, and pay particular attention to any forums your community is using.

Start leaving comments, talking on social channels, sharing your own content as well as the content of others, and posting in forums. Don’t spam anyone, but don’t be afraid to jump into the conversation either. Once you’ve established yourself in the community a little bit, don’t hesitate to start asking people for links when appropriate. If you’re a genuine person and you’re not just trying to leech off the community, you’ll be surprised how responsive and helpful everyone is.

Keep Track of Your Progress

If you’re not already using Google Analytics, you really need to start. Analytics can get pretty complicated and probably deserves an entire post of its own. That said, there’s a number of simple things you can look for in your analytics to help you keep track of and improve your blog’s content and SEO efforts. First of all, you’ll need to set up and install Analytics if you haven’t already. This guide does a good job explaining how to set up analytics and you can use this plugin to add analytics to your blog.

Rinse and Repeat

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they give up too early. The things outlined in this post take time! You can’t just target a few keywords, send a couple emails, and check analytics a few times if you want to succeed. You need to keep at it.

Don’t stop after you optimize a post or two. Do as many as you can! Go back into your old content and optimize it. Keep doing keyword research and learn how to anticipate what people will be searching for in your field. Keep your finger on the pulse of your community so you can be one step ahead of everyone and create content that people are thirsting for. You can do it! It’s not has hard as it seems, just keep working all the time and eventually you’ll get there.

Dennis Roeder

Contributor #markethive

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member