Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trends in E-mail Marketing

Have you started an e-mail marketing campaign for your business yet? One of the most direct of direct marketing techniques, e-mail marketing allows you to talk intimately with potential, current and past customers. E-mail marketing is so effective in part because the people who receive your missives asked to do so. They therefore are more likely to actually read and respond to what you send them.

E-mail marketing is inexpensive and quite effective. You also may see that people not on your e-mail list start receiving your messages because your recipients will forward your special offers, sales notices, etc. to their friends and family members.

One tip: don't crowd your e-mail message with too many offerings. Instead, send information about just one product or service. Or send an e-mail that just announces a special sale. Don't ask your recipients to wade through your message to get to something in which they're really interested. One topic per e-mail is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Another tip: You might also want to include a special offer for e-mail recipients only. Send them a special code that they can then place in a box on your website to receive a free gift, a chance to win a prize, or to receive a free report or sample of your product.

E-mail marketing now is branching out into text message marketing, allowing companies to send special offers and announcements directly to a prospect's cell phone or smartphone. Present a special offer on your website to visitors who give you their cell phone number. You can then send information about sales and special events/offerings directly to your customers and target audience. Text message marketing is quite effective; text messages are almost always read by recipients! Those who receive text messages also are more liable to answer surveys and use coupons sent to their phones.

More and more people are using smartphones today, so for best results you'll want to start crafting e-mail campaigns that look good on a smartphone's small screen. Keep your message brief and be certain to have an obvious and clear call to action.

Keep in mind that e-mail marketing's main purpose is to create a relationship with your prospects. You've invited them to accept your e-mail or text message and they've accepted, one-on-one, one at a time. E-mail marketing is a wonderful way to really get to know your prospective customers, and to allow them to feel that they really "know" you.

Considering starting an e-mail or text-message marketing campaign? Contact GoiMarketing.com. We'll create and implement an affordable and effective campaign based on your exact needs, challenges and goals. We look forward to hearing from you.

Top Tips for Your SEO Campaign

Marketing with SEO isn't difficult, so long as you know what you're doing. Once you understand SEO, it's not hard to conduct an SEO marketing campaign that brings real results.

Not hard, but it's not simple -- SEO can be a challenge to "get" if you don't live and breath it as the experts at an SEO company do. And it can take months to really feel that you have a good grasp of the concepts.

Still, here are some top SEO tips:

Don't use the same meta tags for each one of your pages. Instead, make sure each page is unique and focuses on a different keyword phrase. So, for example, if you're a dermatologist in Van Nuys, California, and you use the keyword phrase "Dermatologist Van Nuys," you'll want your second page to focus on a keyword phrase such as "skin care Van Nuys" or even "Van Nuys skin care." And so on.

Keep your website current. That is, if you held a dermatology special in June but it's now August, you should be sure to remove that information from your site.

No keyword stuffing. That means no using the same keyword phrases over and over and over again. First of all, search engine spiders are "on" to such tactics and will penalize you for trying to place too many keywords on your site. Secondly, a keyword-stuffed page is an unreadable page. Instead, aim for a focus on no more than one or two keyword phrases a page and keep the number of times a phrase appears on a 500-word page to no more than three or four.

Speaking of readability, be sure to write informative, accurate, engaging and original content. Copying content from another site onto yours is a form of plagiarism and could land you in legal hot water. In addition, search engines want original content. You're site won't be "penalized" if you have duplicate content, but it won't rank high either. The spiders compare different sites with the same content and then decide which site is more "important," by taking a look at how many people link to a site, how many people visit a site, how long a site has been up, and other factors. The site with the higher "score" among sites with duplicate content gets ranked higher. You'll have a better chance of ranking well if you have original content.

As we mentioned above, optimizing a site isn't rocket science. It can be learned relatively easily. It just takes a good amount of time. When time is of the essence, why not ask the SEO experts at GoiMarketing.com to optimize your site. It's what we do. So let us do what we do best and let your business reap the benefits -- more site visitors and more sales. Contact us today.

Monday, August 30, 2010

More on Mobile Marketing

We touched briefly in our last post about mobile marketing, that emerging marketing trend in which a business can market directly to consumers via their smartphones. Here is some more information on this growing -- and growing fast -- marketing trend.

  • According to a December article at SmallBusinessTrends.com, 20 percent of all U.S. households are "mobile only," meaning they access the Internet only through a mobile device, not through a desktop, laptop or other "wired" device.
  • There are more than four times the number of cellphones on the planet than there are PCs.
  • Many experts are predicting that mobile marketing and advertising revenue will grow to $3-5 billion by 2012.

 

So what does this mean for a business owner? It means you should at least start looking into marketing to your prospects via their mobiles.

Text messaging is one relatively simple way to do so. This is similar to e-mail marketing, but instead of getting e-mail addresses, you need to gather your prospects' cellphone numbers. You can get these numbers the same way you get e-mail addresses, by capturing them via your website. You do this by offering people something -- the chance to win a prize, for example.

You also can get phone numbers using "traditional" marketing (such as a newspaper or magazine ad) as well as an ad on the Internet. Many such ads invite people to call for more information and you could include a short message code, as well. Prospects could then "message" this code via their mobile phone to get information on your product and/or service. Voila, you then have their cell number.

Brick and mortar retailers can use this in in-store events. Highlight a short code at a product which people can then use to get more information about the product. This will do two things: 1) you'll get the cell number and 2) you'll be able to give the person the exact information about the product you want to give.

You also should be sure to build an interactive platform that allows mobile users to purchase an item right then. Otherwise you could lose customers if you can only give them information but don't allow them to purchase the item.

Contact us here at GoiMarketing.com about marketing to your prospects via their mobile phones. We look forward to helping you capture the growing mobile market.

Friday, August 20, 2010

SEO Trends for the Last Quarter of 2010 and Beyond

As we head into to the final quarter of 2010, let's talk about some SEO and marketing trends that will continue to be -- or become -- at the forefront of best business marketing practices.

More and more companies are "escaping" the "traditional" marketing approach of radio, television, newspaper advertising and jumping to the Internet. After all, when the vast majority (some experts say at least 80 percent) of all purchases are at least researched, if not purchased, on the Internet, it only makes sense to focus most of one's marketing on the Web. Internet marketing is quite cost effective and also allows companies to scale and measure their efforts. E-mail marketing, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and social media, for example, are quite easy to track to see which marketing efforts bring you the most business.

No longer should businesses just place ads and hope for the best. Today -- and for the foreseeable future -- customers want to interact with their product and service providers. This means you're going to need to make it as easy as possible for your current, past and potential clients to talk with you. Start a blog. Open Facebook and Twitter accounts (and participate!). Respond to comments quickly. Answer customers' concerns and problems even more so. Welcome feedback and listen to it.

This type of marketing, known collectively as social media marketing, truly is a great way for businesses and customers to communicate with each other. The ability for you to get the word out on your products/services in a way you control is priceless. You can focus on those groups who most likely are in the market for your service or product and you can discuss your offerings directly with them.

Video marketing will only get bigger in the next few months. You can tape a short video of yourself discussing your service or product and then upload it to video sharing sites such as YouTube and provide a link to it from your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts so that your target audience will see it. You don't even need to have a "regular" video to share. Software exists that allows you to take a text document (such as an article you write) and convert it into text video, complete with audio.

More and more people use smartphones to access the Web. As a result, "mobile marketing," in which companies advertise on Web pages that are created specifically for viewing on a mobile phone, will become huge. There's already an association for mobile marketing (the Mobile Marketing Association), which offers a set of guidelines for mobile marketing. Google, Yahoo! and other major mobile content providers have been selling ads specifically for mobile devices for some time. You can expect this trend to grow.

Marketing today changes in an instant. Savvy companies understand they need to keep their online presence lively and engaged. Yet it's hard to keep up with the innovations. That's where GoiMarketing.com can help you. It's our job to be on top of emerging marketing and SEO trends. Contact us today so that we can run your marketing efforts so that you can concentrate on running your business.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stay Away from THIS Kind of SEO Company

As you're looking for a search engine optimization company, beware of the ones that will tell you "we'll get you on the first page of Google guaranteed -- in a week!"
Proper optimization of a site takes time. Google, for example, doesn't rank sites every day -- it does so periodically. Done correctly, site optimization can take months or, at the very least, a few weeks to get your pages ranked.
Here are some other signs an optimization company may not be the best:
The company promises to submit your site to hundreds of  search engines. This is where you yawn. Yes, there are hundreds of micro-search sites, but few people use them. In addition, the large search engines -- Google, MSN/Bing, Yahoo! -- advise that you don't submit your site too frequently. Also, the very fact that you submit a site doesn't in any way speed up the ranking process or even assure that your site will be picked up.
Über cheap or even flat rates. For good SEO, you  must be prepared to pay good money for it. SEO companies that offer very cheap prices or even monthly flat rates probably won't be able to optimize your site well, especially if you're in a hyper competitive industry or niche. Good SEO companies take many hours to study your industry and your competition before they can even make a price proposal. You should expect to pay at the very least $2,500 to optimize a small site. If you can't afford this, there are many free sites on the Internet from which you can learn to optimize your site yourself. There also are many good books on do-it-yourself SEO. All it will take you is time -- lots of time.
In addition, be wary of SEO companies you find on the bidding sites such as Elance. Many SEO practitioners advertise their services for cut-rate prices. Be advised however, cut-rate services almost always result in a cut-rate site.
Instead of doing it yourself or hiring a fly-by-night SEO company, contact GoiMarketing.com We've been providing affordable -- we're not cut-rate but we're not the most expensive, either -- SEO services to companies since 2004 and we've helped hundreds of clients expand their businesses, resulting in more sales and profit.
We look forward to helping you do the same. Contact us today.

Some Offline Marketing Ideas

We're huge proponents of online marketing, of course, but we're also firm believers that marketing online is just one aspect of advertising and marketing a business should undertake. In other words, don't forget your "offline" marketing efforts.

Here are some "offbeat" but effective ideas for marketing your products/services offline:

Whenever you mail anything, even if it's a bill to the electric company, enclose a brochure or flyer in the envelope. You're not paying anything extra for this "direct mail" piece -- you're already mailing the bill -- but you never know. The person opening your envelope might just be able be in the market for what you're offering.

Once your customer has purchased something, immediately offer him something else. For example, send a thank you note to a customer for his purchase and enclose a coupon for 20 percent off his next if he does so within, for example, 60 days.

Try bartering. Partner with another company. For example, a promotional items company could provide embroidered company t-shirts to an advertising agency in exchange for billboard space. A janitorial service could clean a printer's office in trade for flyer printing. Be creative in your bartering ideas and don't be shy -- you never know who will say yes to your query.

Speaking of partnering, if you send out direct mail pieces, offer to send out another, non-competing company's promotional material as well, so long as it will do the same for you when it sends out its promotional mailings.

Postcards are absolute marketing gems, made all the more so because of their low cost. Recipients will read a postcard so long as the front catches their eye and the sales message is brief. Be sure your website address is printed prominently, of course.

Stickies are great for business. Those yellow post it notes also will be read if you place them on the envelopes of all and everything you mail. Be sure you keep the message very short -- no longer than 10 words or so.

Finally, newsletters are a terrific way to keep current, past and potential customers interested in your product/service. Send the newsletter regularly -- at least quarterly. If  the cost of printing and mailing a newsletter is too much for your budget, consider sending a newsletter via e-mail.