I don't want to get too much into it yet, but I am working on a new project that is focused around online marketing for foreign markets. When it comes to SEO and especially social media, it's extremely interesting to learn about brand globalization and the differences between all of the cultures around the world.
I will be aggressively studying social media globalization throughout 2012. You never know - my studies might just lead to a book of some kind. I think the topic alone lends itself to a heap of interesting topics to discuss, so we'll see how I can format everything together in one tight package.
To serve as light promotion for a great company that Endagon works with around the globe, I wanted to throw a link over to a great SEO company that is worth checking out. If you're looking for SEO optimisation (note the difference in UK spelling) in the UK, look no further than these links.
I look forward to enlightening everyone on my findings throughout 2012. Get ready to learn a lot more about global markets - whether you like it or not.
There are many potential uses for printed t-shirts, with many people using them for social and novelty reasons. Any trip to the airport usually involves seeing groups of young adults in their printed t-shirts as a novelty indicator of the holiday they are about to embark on. Others may use them as birthday and Christmas gifts. However, there are also a number of serious uses for these garments, particularly in the world of business. They can be used as a powerful branding tool for any business, and can help spread the word and company image to anyone who happens to rest their eyes on one of your t-shirts. Here are five different ways to utilise printed t-shirts in your business.
This is particularly handy when running a retail business, as these can give your employees a sense of style and professionalism when interacting with customers. As well as this, it makes your staff easily identifiable for customers, which ensures that their shopping experience is made less stressful as they aren’t left waiting around to find a member of staff.
Delivery drivers are often your company’s first impression on the outside world in a number of trades. They are the first port of call in many industries, and printed t-shirts can make them easily recognisable and trustworthy. They are a great way to ensure that customers know that the person knocking on their door is a respectable character and the reason he is there, instead of unsolicited cold-calling. Kitting your delivery staff out with the correct printed t-shirts can help make a lasting impression on your customers – providing the service is exemplary.
Many businesses like to participate in public or promotional events. These can be anything from conferences, to sales and marketing events, to charity concerts. Either way, it’s a great way to get your company name out there and into the minds of potential customers. This is particularly handy if you have a stall, display or even better – a speaking slot at one of these events. The correctly designed t-shirt will last long in the memory of any potential customer impressed with your business/display.
Giving things away to devoted customers is an effective way of creating even more loyalty towards your brand. Why not kill two birds with one stone b keeping your customers happy, and turning them into a walking advertisement by giving them a company branded t-shirt? This is a good way for you and your customers to spread the word about your company without having to open your mouths.
There are a number of promotional tactics you can use when launching new services and products, and you want to ensure that you get the product name out everywhere you possibly can. If you take the time to ensure you design the t-shirt well and perhaps have an effective slogan on there, then there’s a good chance your product could go viral. Some people choose to go memorable with their designs, others jut simple yet effective. Either way, printed t-shirts are a good way to get noticed.
Reselling products is a great business model. We see plenty of affiliate marketers making money off of selling someone else's products. On the other side of the fence, there are endless amounts of "gurus" selling their knowledge to people that will then essentially be passed down the line when those people make their own "guru" product.
A lot of the commerce taking place on the web has been designed like that of a pyramid. A great product is created, then passed down the line, either as an imitation or repackaged in the form of a Reseller's program.
A good example of a business that creates this type of value down the line of consumption is PHP Dir Submit. Essentially, this site sells a "business in a box," which allows purchasers to open their doors as a service provider thereafter. This particular product is an article directory submitter, but I'm sure you can see how this type of business infrastructure can work in many types of verticals.
If your passion lends itself to a multi-tiered sharing system, tap into it. Be careful, however, that you don't cross into being an MLM or a Ponzi scheme. At the core of the business has to be a valuable product that is actually well worth the purchase.
Over the years, blogging has transitioned from basement-corner pastime, to oft-used job description, to the now viral form of real-time journalism that it is today. Blogging is an entrepreneurial goldmine for those who are looking to reach an audience. The problem, as it turns out, is that accomplishing such a feat isn’t quite as easy as assembling a few paragraphs and clicking “submit.”
The blogosphere is an incredibly large place, and it’s not difficult for your blog to get lost in the shuffle. Persevering in the blog world requires a certain level of confidence and gauge of motivation. But with the right tools and the right attitude, your blog could be the next “big thing” on the Web.
- Create your blog as a cohesive product.
Blogging is as much about branding as it is about quality content. Having a consistent message with your blog is crucial to keeping the readers that visit your blog. Naturally, if you have a blog about cats, and you decide to do a post on dogs, you’re going to have readers on the other end of their computers raising eyebrows and quickly moving on to the next best cat blog they can find.
- Find a niche.
Your blog posts need to have a characteristic to them that makes them distinguished from any other blog on the Internet. In the same way that broadcast and print media is now fragmented, this is also true of Web content. This means your posts need to be detailed and specific in the topics that they cover, but this does not mean that your posts need to be long-winded rants. Posts should be engaging and consist of a word count that a reader can realistically be expected to read; even the most drawn-in, invested of niche groups do not want to read essay-length posts.
- Interact with your audience.
This includes both the people who comment on your posts, as well as the people who comment on posts submitted through other blogs. Starting a dialogue with those who are likely to be interested in your blog is a vital first step to creating a strong reader base. Be aware, however, that you should never specifically tell people to read your blog. Simply attaching a link to your comment is one thing, but shameless self-promotion is another. Additionally, be alert to who is commenting on your own blog posts, and do not leave a comment hanging in the air. It is extremely infrequent for users to comment on blog entries, which means you need to be feeding them with interactivity and an added reason to revisit the blog.
- Kill ‘em with catchiness.
Post titles are as essential to pulling in readers for a blog as an eye-catching headline is to grabbing readers’ attention in a newspaper. Avoid using generic titles that have probably been used by other blogs in the past, and never be afraid to think outside of the box. The more creative the headline, the more intrigued the reader will be.
- Have patience.
Blogs take time to catch on; understand that only receiving a few hundred or even a few dozen page views in a few weeks’ time is not the end of your blog. Building a relationship with readers takes time and effort. You may end up spending months taking advantage of social networks and other blogs before you finally start seeing the results you were hoping for. Some adages really are true; patience is a virtue.
This post was provided by the marketing team at Vendio. Vendio offers a complete ecommerce solution, and helpful insights to help sellers reach their goals. Recent posts include information on finding wholesale products and selling products through Facebook - read more at vendio.com.
I've been following you on Twitter. I know you're not taking it too seriously right now, and when the time comes, you'd probably want to outsource management of the account to me anyway, but I wanted to give you a quick crash course on how to leverage it effectively for the time being.
Businesses need to use Twitter for "pulling," not "pushing." The old school of thought in business and marketing was to "push" out content, usually a sales pitch of some sort, and hope for the best. Traditionally, that worked. On a "social" network, however, it tends to have an adverse effect. Businesses that don't know any better continuously post information about themselves that nobody cares about and they continue to sit on a lonely island because of it.
The best way to attract more interest and eyeballs is to engage. This is best accomplished by "pulling" in content. In other words, try logging on to Twitter as a reader, or a company wanting to learn something. Use search.twitter.com to search for keywords relevant to your industry, use wefollow.com to find influencers in your area, and follow everybody that you deem fit. From there, retweet their meaningful tweets and send @ replies to anybody that you want to ignite a conversation with. A quality Twitter timeline should have plenty of @ symbols running through it. Otherwise, you look like a boring one-way business that is trying to sell me something. Who would want to follow an account like that? Would you?
Think about who your demographic is and what is most relevant to you as a business and get out there. The more conversations you have, the more memorable you will become.
p>I've decided to give this whole daily deal thing a try this week. Starting today and extending through to mid-week next week, Huge.com will be running a special on Iced Tees and our super comfortable high quality humor t-shirts.
The deal is for a site voucher to use on IcedTees.Net. It's $5 for $15. In other words, you're getting a substantial savings on t-shirts and you only have to spend $5 for it.
The best part is that you can get as many vouchers as you might want. There are no limits. However, there are limited quantities available for this deal. Don't wait until the end of the week to jump on the deal. All of the vouchers might be gone by then.
Does Sex Really Sell?
Over and over advertisers play on the fact that we are sexual beings by trying to associate their products and services with images that scream sex. The hope is that consumers attach some of this sensuality to the brand subconsciously, but does this really work? When it comes to advertising, does sex really sell?
Since its conception, the advertising industry has been creatively using sex to sell products and services. In the dark ages, they used wood carvings and illustrations of curvy and attractive women to seduce an adventurous market, but these days they have resorted to more overt measures.
Some of the most successful brands embracing the ‘sex sells’ adage are Coca-Cola, Calvin Klein, Sony and even Target. Using suggestive language and half naked women and men, these brands and their advertising campaigns really capture the attention of their markets. Cool by its association to sex, the products sell like hotcakes. But does this work for every brand and every advertising campaign or is this purely a well-worn cliché?
Numerous universities and research groups have tried to test this theory out and results are always mixed. One thing has been evident though – it really depends on your market. The success of a marketing or advertising campaign really depends on how well it is aligned to the product or service’s key target market.
If your target market is young adults, the ‘sex sells’ approach is probably not a bad one. It builds on the premise that people are curious about sexuality and this is true of this market. It builds on biological, emotional, physical and spiritual desires that inextricably create a connection. This market is more open and adventurous and appeals more to the cool by association model. With a disposable income, they opt to shop on trend and if your product or service is deemed just that, then it will no doubt be a top seller.
If your target market is the middle-aged woman, you may need to tone down your approach. Historically, the ‘sex sells’ approach uses women in erotic roles and poses, more often than men so unless you have the budget to incorporate George Clooney into your campaign, you may be out of luck. This market, while being more conservative and conventional, still responds to subtle messages associated with physical attractiveness, but the balance is more difficult to create. On the flip side you might find that your product or service has a large following of women with feminist values. In this instance, a ‘sex sells’ approach could adversely affect your brand, with its main followers associating it with obscene and objectifying behaviour.
If your advertising campaign doesn’t float within the market, you won’t make sales so it is extremely important to study your market. What may work for one market, won’t necessarily work for another and this is true of the ‘sex sells’ adage, so before you commit to a ‘sex sells’ approach and use imagery in your corporate booklet printing and business card printing, remember to take some time to develop your strategy and key messages.
I send at least one piece of (snail) mail everyday. No matter what it is - an invoice, a check, or even a birthday card, I stuff the contents in an envelope flaunting Endagon's logo, and put an Iced Tees stamp on it. Why do I do this?
Whether it's my local landscaper, pool man, accountant, or even my best friend on the receiving end, they not only instantly know that the piece of mail is from me, but they are reminded of my companies and services. The more visible your brand image is in the wild, the more people will know about you.
Go ahead and pick up some business checks with logo(s) on it and start paying your bills with branded checks. Then, stuff those checks in branded envelopes. Once again, why not?
Unless you're a computer, you are not an SEO expert. Sorry, but it's the truth.
If you're an SEO Company, you merely help businesses rank higher on search engines, but you're not a guru. You're important, but not as important as you think you are, and not in the way you think you are.
The true experts aren't necessarily the ones that KNOW the most information. Rather, they're the ones that understand how to create long-term relationships with others. They're the ones that test strategies endlessly. Most importantly, they're the ones that know how to be honest with their clients when the sticky situations arise.
Are you an expert or do you just think you know a lot?
.... and don't even get me started about email marketing...
Isabella York is back with a detailed guest post. This one is about Cyclical Marketing. It's an important thing to comprehend for anyone that owns a seasonal business.
Any business has to expect the ebb and flow in sales figures for their company each fiscal year. Even more so, a seasonal business's main sales happen for only about 1/6 of the year. As a marketing and media relations representative for an artificial Christmas tree company, I have experienced this fluctuation personally. Halloween costume shops expect an influx of customers from September to October. Swimwear sells like hotcakes before and during summer months, winter wear vendors gear up for the snowy season, and our company has learned our busy months start right after Halloween and last until Valentine's Day.
Finding strategies to keep your seasonal business active all year round takes a little bit of patience, a lot of creativity, and good planning, and at our company, we learned these things as we went along:
Plan A is good, but having a Plan B, C and D is better.
Keep your customer happy.
Keep your business visible.
Planning for the highs, lows, and the "Oh jeez, please get these units out of the warehouse,"
will help your seasonal business thrive. Compare your year-to-year sales, finding which
months are the slowest, when business increases and when the high season ends. Planning
the year (or longer) will help you survive slow sales and prepare you for the hot season.
Manage your financials so that you can spend a little more when you aren't making sale
quota and save during the rush. Always have backup plans for your business since things
don't ever go as planned. My husband jokes that I'm a Boy Scout, "Be Prepared."
One of the most basic tenets of any business is to keep the customer happy. This is even
more important for a seasonal business. Keep your customers engaged and happy when
dealing with your company or your product and they will come back time and time again.
Go the extra mile by giving them a little bit more after repeat purchases. I always try to
treat them like family, giving them what they want (within reason) and looking for ways to
make their experience better (not to mention mine and my staff's). By doing so, you make it
a beneficial experience for each side of the transaction.
Finding ways to market your product unique to your competition will put your seasonal
business in tip-top shape all year round. Break the mold and give your business a persona
that can last the entire year while maintaining its pertinence to your customer base. To
survive, Nordstrom's, the popular apparel department store conglomerate expanded from
being a shoe line to all kinds of items. Weight Watchers used to be a small, weight reduction
support group before expanding to a food product line. A small change or a big one, will
make your customer look at your business differently, and offer them more options when
doing business with you. Many hayrides opening in the Fall now feature a scary hayride in
addition to the traditional family ride. This quick fix targets a range of demographics, like
groups of young adults wanting a different experience or adventurous children with their
Stay foremost on customer's minds by interacting with them. Create a Facebook fan
page for easy interaction with past, present or potential customers. Send out a catalog
via email or snail mail for them to peruse during the off-season. These two strategies
take into consideration your reputation as a company, your customers' happiness and
their recommendation to others, whether online or in person, assuring you of continued
business. The off-season is also the perfect time to use your research skills and find out what
customers say about your business. If possible produce a polite rebuttal to negative
commentary and thank those who praise your products, customer service or any other
aspect of the business. Showing gratitude to good customers definitely helps business. I like
to check our online reviews and give a shout-out to customers I've interacted with in the
past, or bring their issues or complaints to a responsible party, making sure their experience
with us is always pleasant.
Every demographic loves a discount, and offering sales and coupons will assure you of
better sales figures during the other months of the year. If the high season has ended
and you still have stock left, offer large reductions in price, but not enough to lose profit.
Coupons are also a great way to advertise overstock, and there are multiple venues online
to do so. Again, put your research skills to good use and find ways to bring your product to
the customers at lower rates than before.
By thinking creatively you can fill your off-season with higher sales. Offering different types of bargains, reaching out to unique demographics and introducing new products during the slow season will all help your business succeed.
Isabella York has been in the business world her entire life. Having seen business cycles ebb and flow, she knows a thing or two about developing strategies for changing demands, however her job with a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Trees has catapulted this skill set to a new level.
Today's guest blog post is from Adam Torkildson, the VP of Operations CustomerHook.com. Enjoy!
I’ve got a total of 4000 contacts in my email, 881 friends on facebook, 1503 followers on twitter, and 80 friends on Stumbleupon. This essentially describes the influence I have online in social terms. What these numbers mean is that at any given time, I can message my network and at least 10 of my contacts will respond immediately, whether positively or negatively. This also means that about 20 of my contacts will do anything I ask them to do, whether they respond or not. And this also (lastly) means that 80% of my contacts will have received the message within a week and have been subjected to my message to them, but done nothing about it.
How do I know all this? I’ve been testing it for the past year in relation to a study I heard of from a friend at InsideSales.com. The study performed was a response audit on the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. InsideSales.com and M.I.T. contacted 100 random companies of the 500, specifically to try and get a response back from said companies. Whether via email or phone, any response was recorded, and measured for how long it took the companies to respond, and if they responded at all. The results were astounding.
- 47% of companies responded to inquiries on a web form by email.
- 7.5% of companies responded to inquiries by phone.
- 45.1% never responded.
- Average time between response attempts by email was 54 hours, 6 minutes.
- Average time between response attempts by phone was 54 hours, 5 minutes.
- Inquiries at 9 am garnered shortest response times by email of 15 hours, 59 minutes.
- Inquiries at 1 pm had shortest response times by phone of 16 hours and 15 minutes
- 14.9% responded by email within 5 minutes.
- 0.6% responded by phone within 5 minutes.
- 67.2% responded by email within 20 hours.
- 66.3% responded by phone within 20 hours.
What do these numbers mean in laymen’s terms, and why does this have anything to do with social marketing?
To begin with, all those numbers mean is that most large companies don’t handle their data very well, even when it’s the best kind: new clients. And these numbers are only for web forms submitted, this doesn’t even include the social media monitoring they must be doing. And you can imagine how abysmal that is if they can’t even respond to their web leads.
Now here are the numbers that should have you perking up your ears and taking note. The end goal of the study was to find out how quickly a lead was followed up on which then resulted in a sale. Here’s what you need to know. I’m using the word ‘lead’ here interchangeably with ‘client’ and ‘contact’. These numbers are actually from 2007, so take them with a grain of salt.
- Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to contact and qualify a lead.
- 8 to 9 am and 5 to 6 pm are the best times to contact and qualify a lead.
- The odds of contacting a lead increase by 100x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes.
- The odds of qualifying a lead increase by 21x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes.
- Every attempt to contact made after 20 hours hurts the contact rate more.
So, when you start connecting with people online, the quicker you can respond, whether via email, phone, or social network, the higher your chance of getting a lot of value out of those mediums. And to cap it all off: InsideSales.com has a response time of about 6 seconds using some of their technology, and you can bet from that one simple idea of quick follow up, they are generating 100s of thousands in revenue each month.
Once again, Adam Torkildson is the VP of Operations at CustomerHook.com, a lead gen and social media marketing firm that uses the and predictive dialers at InsideSales.com for himself and his clients to increase sales just by simple quick follow ups.
We're taking our knowledge to the audio world with EndaCast. Sal Greco and myself talk about the web, innovation, and designing a life and business anyway you want.
The podcast can be followed and/or subscribed to in multiple ways:
Of course, I will also try to post each episode here and on my other web properties every week as well. I'd hate for everyone to miss out on an episode since we're recruiting some really amazing guests for the upcoming episodes.
Give episode 1 a listen and leave me your feedback below.
Today's guest post is from Aaron Eskaran, a man that has been in the trenches of search engine marketing for years. When I asked him to write something up regarding SEO and the proven ROI it brings, he was more than happy to do so.
The result is pasted below. I hope it helps everyone realize how important SEO really is.
Search Engine Optimization Really Does Make a Difference
If you are a business owner, you’ve probably made the decision to invest some time and money in order to showcase your services or wares on the internet. You may like what you’ve paid for, or learned to do yourself, but you still are not seeing the end result you’ve hoped for: more traffic to your site. By getting acquainted with the basics of search engine optimization you will be in a prime position to take full advantage of what the internet market can do for you.
Get people to your Site
Your website might win awards for design but if no one knows it’s out there, no one will find it. Let’s say you own a flower shop and want to break into the internet market. With the addition of search engine optimization, you will find that those searching on the internet for flower shops will be led to your website then ultimately make the choice to purchase off of the site.
Find yourself on the front page of an internet search
When someone does a search on the internet they are presented with choices that the search engine deems relevant and of the best quality for that search term. This is also known as page ranking and you want your web page to be ranked the highest possible. For instance, if someone is looking for a Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney, most likely there are many choices. With search engine optimization your page will be presented as one of the first options (or highest ranked), thus making it more likely that the person will choose your website to click on and ultimately use your services.
Good Content Leads to Good Ranking
The internet market is not that different from regular markets we purchase goods from. If your content does not meet a demand, then no one will be searching for it and therefore, no one will find you on the internet. The content on your site must meet a niche that someone needs. Another attribute of good content is linkable content. A page with content that other sites can link to will enable a search engine to rank it higher and get your website higher on the result page. It’s important that your web page contain content that is always viewable (doesn’t require a logged-in user to read it) and content that can be shared and reproduced.
Having an appealing website for your business may feel like you’ve done all you can to draw people in and build your bottom line, but if you are not taking full advantage of search engine optimization no one may ever find you on the web. In today’s market, you want and need to find yourself at the top of a search engine result page. The best way to make that happen is with search engine optimization.
During my panel at DMAC on Saturday, I was disappointed to hear about how so many independent artists still strive to be signed to a major record label. When I asked them why this was, they struggled to come up with a response that wasn't some form of "What other options are there?".
Of course, our discussion was focused around artists and the music industry, but everything could be translated into a general principle of life. The principle is that being different is risky and selling out is easy.
To many of the artists in attendance, being a mainstream success was the most important thing to them. Little do they know (although they should), you can't become a mainstream success without giving into "the man" and molding your ideals around someone else's. You really do have to sacrifice your individuality along the way.
At the end of the day, you aren't going to be able to have both. You're not Radiohead. You're not Tool.
You need to reset your goals and decide whether you want to become Nickelback or would like to build a sustainable niche following gradually by creating art that you'll always love.
Today's guest post is from Michael Cash. Michael has been helping to build and maintain reputations online. Suitably, he has decided to write about how to overhaul your entire internet presence in one fell swoop. I certainly hope you enjoy the post.
There is simply no better way to advertise your skills and expertise online than with a portfolio or resume. Unfortunately, too many assume that simply moving a paper version of their resume online is sufficient. These paper resumes and portfolios are not at all suited for display on the net. Building a strong and reliable portfolio for display online is key to rising above the rest of the crowd in the eyes of a potential employer, and here are a few tips on how to create an excellent portfolio.
If the skills which you wish to market have anything at all to do with web development, or web design, creating a web site is a relatively simple matter. Remember that the appearance of your own portfolio, in the form of a blog or web page, must showcase your talents properly if potential employers are to be impressed. If you are not adept with building web pages, and simply wish to make the best portfolio possible, there are plenty of simple guides how one can set up their own web site. There are also portfolio templates available on the internet which can give you a basic layout and can be modified to suit your needs.
When setting up your online portfolio, be sure not to beat around the bush, let the viewers of your portfolio know that you are looking for employment. It can be as simple as placing a button on your web page or blog that plainly says, “Hire me!”. The most important aspect of the portfolio is presenting the information that will get you hired, so be sure to be concise. Remember that those who are reading your portfolio are likely very busy, and do not want to be stuck reading a large paragraph description of yourself. Using bullet points is an excellent method of breaking up chunks of information about yourself into easily readable sections. The second most important aspect of any online portfolio is the ease of navigation. Keep the appearance of the page simple and very easy to navigate. There is no need for complex flash animations or bright distracting backgrounds.
A picture of yourself is a personal touch that will catch an employer's attention. Employers will feel as if they know you better after seeing a picture of you. Be sure to have your name, and contact information in plain view on the initial page of your portfolio. The most pertinent information employers are looking for includes your academic history, skills, any awards you have received, as well as a detailed yet concise report of your work experience. All of this information should be easily accessible and not hidden away on some other page other than the first. Market your portfolio directly towards whichever market you are seeking employment in.
One aspect of running an online portfolio that is often overlooked is security. Keeping your online portfolio safe from being tampered with by third parties is something that everyone on the web must consider. SSH hosting is an encrypted form of web hosting which is a fundamental protection against online theft, and works by providing the user with a secure channel from his or her computer to the web host server which the user's web page is on. Most web hosts offer SSH hosting within the web site's admin control panel.
Everyone at LoganLenz.com would like to thank Michael Cash for this thought-provoking post.