Friday, July 30, 2010

More and More People Using Mobile Phones to Access Internet

Is your website mobile phone friendly? That is, is it easy to navigate and see when someone -- a potential customer, perhaps? -- accesses it via a mobile device such as Blackberry, iPhone or other Smartphone?

If not, you should think about it because more and more people are surfing the Internet on their mobile phones -- 40 percent (40 percent!) of this country's adults use their mobile phone to access the Internet, e-mail or instant messaging.

Such is a statistic brought to you in a July 2010 Pew Internet report on Mobile Access 2010.

What's more, that number (40 percent!) grew from 32 percent in 2009.

The report states that younger adults (ages 18-29) are busy users of mobile data applications. But don't count out the "oldsters": mobile cell phone owners ages 30-49 are much more likely in 2010 than in 2009 to use their cell phone to surf the Web, send a text message, take photos, use e-mail/instant messaging, record videos, etc.

Another finding:

English-speaking Latinos and African Americans are demographics who are the most active users of mobile web: 64 percent of American-American go online from a laptop or mobile phone. This is up from 57 percent in 2009.

What should you realize from all this? Realize that Web surfers no longer need to be sitting at a desk or with a laptop on their stomach to find what they're looking for. Will your business be found on Google Maps? Are you using e-mail to send discount coupons and news of sales, etc. to a list of interested current, past and future customers? Are you posting on Twitter (which is very to access via mobile phone)?

In other words, are you fully using all the tools online marketing can bring you and your business? If you'd like to, contact GoiMarketing.com today. The results you'll see in new sales and revenue will have you wondering why you didn't contact us long ago.

Consumers' Online Habits

Social media is an ever-growing means for companies to get the word out to consumers about services and products, but it's still in its infancy.

Yet infants tend to grow to adulthood, so even if  you're not yet using social media to market your company's offerings, now would be a good time to start. You'll be able to catch the social media wave as it grows -- and grow your business with it.

In addition, a fast growing number of people more and more go to websites and access their e-mail via mobile devices.

A new report from Econsultancy.com states that about a third (37 percent) of consumers don't use a social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), which means that 63 percent do. In addition, consumers who are a "fan" or who have "friended" a company online are still in the minority.

In addition, the report states that almost two-thirds of people 24 and younger check e-mail on a mobile device.

Other "fun facts" reported include the finding that, even thought retail purchases online make up only about eight percent of all retail purchases, a much larger percentage can be attributed to online research. That is, consumers research their purchases online and then either buy them from a brick-and-motor retailer or service provider (the majority) or purchase online (the aforementioned 8 percent).

Your takeaway from all this? If you're not using all the Internet offers you to market your products/services, you're losing out on an affordable sales tool! In addition, another interesting takeaway is how much e-mail marketing could help you sell: the report mentions that 68 percent of consumers aged 18-26 use emailed coupons online. The percentage declines as consumer age increases, but e-mail marketing can and does work!

In addition, while -- according to the report -- people older than 38 are much less likely to use social networks to get information and recommendations on products, people younger than 38 use social media a lot. And they're only going to get older as time goes on, but they'll still be using their social media.

So put together an e-mail marketing campaign. Set up -- and use -- Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do it now, before your competitors do!

If you're short on time -- and what business owner isn't? -- let GoiMarketing.com help you with your e-mail and social media marketing. We can put together a affordable plans, set up your accounts and do all the writing, tweeting and posting for you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Rank Well in Bing Search Results

As you put together an SEO plan for your website, don't forget Bing, Microsoft's take on a search engine.

Microsoft's former search engine, MSN Live was unable to deliver traffic, yet Bing continues to gain market share. For example, Computerworld.com reported on July 14 that Bing's share of online searches reached 12.7 percent in June, compared to Google's 62.6 percent (Yahoo! had 18.9 percent).

So while not huge by any means, you may not want to ignore Bing as far as optimizing your website goes. That 12.7 percent June share was greater than Bing's 12.1 percent share in May -- Bing's stake in online search is growing.

So how do you optimize your site for Bing? Here are a few tips:

Google has its Webmaster Tools center and Bing has its Webmaster Center. If  you want to optimize your site for Bing's spiders, set up an account.

Just as you submitted your site to Google (and probably Yahoo!), submit it to Bing.

Several search experts believe that Bing's algorithm (managed by MSN) is more keyword oriented than is Google's. This doesn't mean you should keyword stuff your site, of course, because Google still abhors keyword stuffers. Just be aware of Bing's "like" of keywords and continue to provide relevant, engaging content to your site's pages.

Watch your metatags because Bing appears to give them more value than does Google. Make sure they contain you important keywords. Double check that they're descriptive. Still, remember that your metatags should never be the main focus of your SEO. Gaining backlinks, for example, still is one of them most important aspects of SEO for your site. Bing, Google and Yahoo! all count backlinks to your site as proof that your site is of value. The more backlinks, the more valuable the search engines consider your site to be, and so the higher your website will rank Bing, Google, Yahoo! and other, minor search sites.

Market Your Business Using Social Media

Social media such as blogs, free article directories and e-mail autoresponders, truly have made it much easier for a small business person to market his or her company inexpensively and easily. Many social media marketing tasks, in fact, cost nothing but time.

Here's a short primer on how to market your business using e-mail, blogging and article writing:

1) Build an e-mail list. Sending e-mails to current, past and potential customers is a great way to keep your service/product at the top of their in-basket. You can use an e-mail marketing software program such as Aweber to send e-mails to your list.

Getting the list of e-mail addresses is the "hard" part, yet really is quite simple: Add an e-mail sign-up form to your company's website. Offer them something in return, such as a 10 percent discount on their next purchase, a free report, etc.

Building such a list and then regularly e-mailing its members with news, special offers, etc. means you'll create great customer loyalty in new and current buyers.

2) Start a blog and distribute articles to free distribution sites. Blogging and article writing are superb -- and extremely cheap -- ways to get tons of exposure about your products and/or services. Blog posts and articles will help search engines find you, thereby generating more traffic -- and customers -- to your site.

Provide information of use to your readers and you'll soon find you've built a close relationship with them, helping them come to trust you and your products/services. You'll become the "go to" expert in their minds. 

Do some research for relevant keywords, place those keywords in your articles/blog posts, and you'll help the search engine spiders find your posts and articles all the quicker. Your resource box (in the articles) and your links to your website (on your blog) will then help your readers arrive your site. More traffic, means more purchases.

As mentioned above, using this type of small business marketing can cost you nothing but time. However, your time probably is taken up with the tasks of running your business.

GoiMarketing.com can design and instigate an efficient and affordable e-mail marketing and writing/blogging campaign for you. Contact us today to learn more!

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to Choose Your Company's Blogger(s)

If you've decided to start a business blog, you may wonder who at your company should write it. Your company's CEO would be a great one to do so, but not always.

In fact, you should consider having several employees take turns at writing for your company's blog. This will help your blog remain fresh.

So ask yourself this: in your company which employees do you know who enjoy writing. Look beyond the folks in your public relations department and add employees from HR, accounting, sales, operations, etc.

Employees can write about their daily work lives. Case studies. Instructive stories about solving clients' problems (get your clients' permission, of course) and only share positive, non-embarrassing stories.

You may want to ask employees to write sample blog posts, so that you can get an idea of their writing skills. You'll want to be sure that your blog writers have a great grasp of grammar, spelling and style.

If not, you'll need someone on staff who can edit the writing of others without editing out a writer's personality and tone.

You'll want to be sure anyone who writes for your blog can commit to regular postings. Too many business blogs are started with a burst of enthusiasm only to peter out when the novelty wears off (it becomes "another" job task) or ideas become scarce. It may be a good idea to ask your writers to put together a list of blog topics for the next three months or so. This way, they'll know what to write about and they -- and you -- won't wake up at 3 in the morning of posting day with a start because they suddenly realize They. Have. No. Ideas.

How to Start a Blog for Your Business

We talk a lot here about how a blog can be good for your business. Well, it's about time we actually told you how to start a blog, isn't it?

To reiterate a bit, a blog can do several things for your business. It can:

  • Let customers and prospects know that you and your employees are friendly and approachable.
  • To learn more about you, to feel that they "know" you and to continue  -- or start -- doing business with you.
  • Follow your progress as your company grows, offers new products/services.
  • Communicate with customers/prospects during an emergency -- a product is recalled, for example. Blogging about the crisis and what you're doing to alleviate/solve it can be the most effective way to deal with such issues when they arise.

 

You should start posting regularly. We recommend at least twice a week; three or four times is much better. Write about new products/services. Write your take on an issue in your industry.

You also -- maybe 20 percent of the time -- should talk about something more personal, but make it somewhat related to business, your philosophy of customer service, for example.

It's best to set up your blog to allow comments from readers. Not doing so makes your blog a one-way megaphone. Blogs work best by building community and you want to hear from your customers and prospective customers no matter how unhappy with you they may be. You can moderate comments of course (some people use the anonymity of a blog to become quite nasty), but so long as no one uses profanity and/or makes personal attacks on your or your relatives, it's a good idea to allow comments.

Respond to comments quickly. Address any complaints or issues that may come up. Try to understand your readers' point of view, even if it's something with which you don't agree.

Never argue. Never get into an online pissing match. Your reputation will suffer greatly. If someone is becoming particularly nasty, you can block their IP address from being able to post a comment.

GoiMarketing can help you set up a blog. We can even write posts for you, either in the beginning as you get more comfortable, or all the time. You undoubtedly have something to say about your product/service. A blog can help you get the word out to an entire world of potential new business.