Tag Archives: marketing

The Marketing Benefits of Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking websites are rapidly making their way to the online marketer’s list of priority channels to tap. When used well, social bookmarking can increase your website’s traffic, which can translate to actual sales.

Social bookmarking websites strive to create online communities that enable registered users to share interesting information they find online. Similar to how you bookmark web pages using your browser’s toolbar, social bookmarking websites allow users to create online bookmarks that they can share with their network. When your web page gets bookmarked by a lot of users—or even by just a handful of socially influential users—then there is a big possibility that you will get attention.

Besides being able to get your web pages out there, here are 4 other major benefits you can get as you make social bookmarking a part of your online marketing strategy.

1.    Builds credibility for your brand
Primarily, social bookmarking websites are social communities. This means that majority of their content is user-generated. When a registered user bookmarks a web page, he gets to share the link and his opinions on what makes it cool or informative. He can even go as far as adding his own thoughts and rating the link.

This bookmark-review-rate function adds credibility to your web pages. To get on the users’ good side, make sure that your content is focused and relevant—don’t just keep talking about your brand. Keep your niche’s needs in mind as you create your content and then naturally integrate your brand.

2.    Attracts niche traffic
More often than not, a user’s social bookmarking network is composed of friends or colleagues who share the same interests with him. This means that if the user stumbles upon your web page, likes it, bookmarks it, and tells his network about it, then the people that make up his network would probably check you out.

If you have a good internal link network, these people will find themselves on other pages of your website and bookmark the pages that they like. Good content will get more of your web pages acknowledged in social bookmarks.

3.    Gives you valuable consumer insights

Making your own account gives you more control over how much of your web pages get bookmarked. You can build your own network. Even if your network starts off with your own family and friends, they’ll make you good reviews and tell their networks about you.

Eventually, your network will grow to include other people whose interests adhere to your brand. Go out of your way to socially engage these people. Talk to them and befriend them. Having a personal connection with people in your network will give you a wealth of valuable consumer insight that you can use for future product developments and improvements to your brand.

4.    Gives you fresh ideas for web page content

Reviews and comments posted by various users whether about your web pages or other web pages that belong to your product category will tell you a lot about what issues matter to them, which of their needs aren’t being addressed—including whether or not your competitors are doing a good job or not.

Use this information to come up with relevant content that has the consumer in mind. Make sure that your tone is conversational so that your pages don’t sound like sales pitches.
 

PPC Keyword Tips: Convert Clicks to Sales

Pay per click (PPC) is a common online marketing tool. Online advertisers bid for the keywords they want and their PPC ad appears next to the top searches that correspond to their keywords. Advertisers are charged depending on how many users click the ad.

The good, the bad
The great thing about PPC is that it charges according to the number of people who clicked your ad and were consequently directed to your website. This online advertising tool could be cost effective if it is able to attract the right customers—those who are genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer.

On the other hand, bad keyword choices and poor copywriting for your PPC ads are disastrous for your overall campaign and could eat through your marketing budget. Imagine paying for all the clicks made by people who are interested only in freebies and bargains—worse, people who click ads just for fun.

The best way to make PPC ads work for you is to make sure you own the correct keyword associations, so that you can limit clicks to those who are genuinely interested and who make good candidates as clients. Below are 4 tips that deal with keyword choices so that you can maximize your marketing budget and assure ROI.

For the following keyword tips, let’s pretend that you’re selling eco-friendly, athletic shoes for women.

1.    Know the generic keywords and avoid bidding for them
Generic keywords are what people use to search for a category without knowing what information they need exactly. Based on our sample product, a generic keyword could be shoes or women’s shoes and its variations like shoes for women.

To the PPC neophyte, generic keywords might seem to be the way to go. However, consider how many people who search for women’s shoes would really be interested in your type of product.

Avoid generic keywords to avoid paying for random clicks by a generic market. Niche is the key.

2.    Add modifiers, track and adjust
Modifiers are words you add to the generic keyword that your product belongs to. Going back to our example, if your generic keyword is women’s shoes, the modifier could be athletic. So, your set of PPC keywords become women’s athletic shoes and its variations, including athletic shoes for women.

Adding modifiers to your keyword set automatically narrows down searches where your ad will appear next to, thereby cutting down the number of random clicks.

3.    Use long tail keywords
As the name suggests, going “long tail” adds more market-specific words that only your niche market will bother searching for. Adding eco friendly to athletic shoes for women limits the appearance of your PPC ad to a very specific search.

This kind of focus significantly lessens site visits from random clicks. You spend less as you increase your ROI by attracting only your niche market who are interested enough to end up making purchases.

4.    Say no to negative keywords
Words like “free”, “bargain” and “discount” may look attractive, but you don’t want them in your PPC ad copy. These words will effectively encourage clicks, but you’ll be inviting freebie and bargain hunters, neither of whom will give you profit.

Remember that you want quality clicks that will come from niche customers who are interested in what you have to say and offer.
 

Online Direct Marketing for Beginners

Online direct marketing is a highly targeted and measurable process. With direct marketing, you can immediately identify correlations between separate marketing efforts and your bottom line.

Because direct marketing is highly targeted communications, you can save money by testing different online direct marketing ideas to different groups of your target market. This tells you which idea works best and that’s the one you roll out on a bigger scale.

Although online direct marketing is similar to its offline counterpart, having technology as your medium allows infinite creative possibilities for your execution and offers better organization of your data.

Below are 5 essential steps towards making your online direct marketing campaign generate ROI and increase your bottom line.

1.    Acquire
The key principle behind direct marketing is only talking to the people you want to talk to. This assumes that you already know your niche and you already know what you want to tell them.

Most marketers see their target market as just that—a group of people within their desired market. As a discipline, direct marketing challenges marketers to see their niche as individuals. As opposed to billboards or TVCs whose success relies on traditional marketing (the more pairs of eyes the better), direct marketing seeks to reel in high-value individuals (the few who actually make an impact on your sales because of their loyalty and voluntary advocacy).

Marketing research is essential to find these high-value individuals. In which States are they? Which dealers do they frequent? Would they prefer to receive emails or text messages? Besides their names, all of these form part of your data acquisition. Give them a reason to share with you their online contact information.

2.    Communicate

Now that you know whom to talk to and how you can get to them, it’s time to figure out what to say and how to say it.

Similar to coming up with relevant web page content, direct marketing calls for the same attention when crafting your message. The recipient of your online direct marketing effort should feel that you’re talking to him as an individual.

Personalize each message as much as you can, depending on the data you’ve gathered. Use his first name. Find out which of your products he likes. Talk about that product instead of immediately cross selling.

3.    Close the feedback loop

Allowing your niche to respond to your online direct marketing efforts can seal you the deal. Encourage them to talk back. Let your niche know that you genuinely care about what they feel and what they have to say.

Use this opportunity to give individual replies to the feedback you’ve received, based on individual preferences, needs, and issues. Store these details in your database for reference and tracking.

4.    Update

Make sure that your database is always updated. Your list of names has no use if the email addresses or their SMS numbers have already changed. With every material that you send, you can include a link that directs them to a page where they can update their profiles if they wish to continue receiving material from you. You can also do the updates yourself when you reply to their feedback.

 

Is Your Pay Per Click Campaign Ready?

1.    Know your product’s USP
It’s not enough to know your product’s attributes. If you’re selling gum, your brand’s attributes will be the same as the next Joe who sells gum. You have to know what makes your gum different from Joe’s products—this is called your unique selling proposition (USP) and this is what you focus on.

Highlight what makes you different from your competition. It’s not just a matter of “I have more” or “I have better.” It’s a matter of “My product will solve your problem” or “My product can help you address this particular issue that you’ve had for a long time.”

In our example, your product is gum. It’s not enough to keep coming out with new shapes or flavors. You could attract more attention if you tie your “cool new flavored” gum with a health benefit like being an aid for oral hygiene, or helping kids adjust the distance between their teeth.

2.    Conduct qualitative market research
Always let your niche guide your marketing efforts. As a marketer, it is your job to bridge the gap between your brand’s identity and the image that the market has attached to your brand.

Qualitative market researches help you save money—knowledge protects you from paying for unwanted clicks. Information like geographical concentration, lifestyle, and which websites they spend their time on will help you make your PPC ad placements relevant.

Qualitative surveys are also good sources of your niche keyword list. Remember that AdWords are keyword-based. It is important that your ads and your website content are optimized for the same audience using the same language that your niche can relate to.

3.    Organize your website

Beefing up your website doesn’t stop at graphic design and a site map. Your content is the life and blood of your website.

People who use the search function usually know, or at least have an idea, what they’re looking for. When your web pages come up as part of their results, they expect your site to give them information relevant to their searches. If you’ve optimized for the keywords that the visitor used, then your content should be related to the query.

The best website content is consumer-focused. Write for your niche. Make them feel that your brand understands and cares about them. Give them a reason to explore further and check out your online catalogue.

4.    Match PPC ads and landing pages
PPC ads like Google AdWords are clickable ads. You have the freedom to determine which web page each ad will lead to. It is important to match your ads with the right landing pages. You wouldn’t want to turn off a prospect with web page content that has nothing to do with the ad that he has read.

5.    Post regular updates

Setting regular updates go beyond your ads. You should be conscious about what’s happening to your market and update your content accordingly. In the same light, conducting periodic qualitative market research gives you fresh information for you to update your niche keyword list so that you remain relevant all the time.

 

How to Get Traffic from Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites allow people to share web pages with their network. Generally, each user registers, creates his profile, and builds a list of links to web pages that he thinks is entertaining, informative, or interesting in some way. The social aspect comes with the function that allows each user to invite his network to view his list of links.

In turn, the user can also take a look at what others in his network have bookmarked and he can follow the links which interest him. Usually, a user’s social network is made up of his friends or people he shares a professional or an interest group with.

Social bookmarking sites have tremendous marketing value. When one user includes a link to any of your pages in his list, then there is a possibility that his entire network will follow your link. A good way to make your links appear on users’ lists is to participate in social bookmarking yourself. Here are 4 tips to help you out and make sure that your brand gets the most out of it.

1.    Update and keep your content unique

The concept of social bookmarking is sharing something nice you’ve found online. In your case, you could have “found” your own site’s content to be interesting or useful.

It’s perfectly fine and ethical to include your web pages in your bookmarks. However, the best social bookmarking sites are strict with accepting only unique content. So, if your pages are similar to a lot of other websites in the same category, then the social bookmarking site might not allow your pages to be part of your bookmarks. This is why it’s important to focus on the needs of your niche and to maintain niche content.

2.    Make your content relevant to your niche
No matter how entertaining or how well written your content is, no one will follow you back to your pages if they don’t find your text relevant to their needs and interests.

Every brand should know its niche inside-out. Yours, although marketed online, is not exempted. Study your market and know what motivates them. Get to know their issues and needs that your brand can address. Figure out where else on the Internet they hang out. This knowledge will give credibility to your content and ultimately, your brand. More than just knowing what you’re talking about, you want to sound like you’re conversing with each visitor personally. Build relationships.

3.    Be social

It is, after all, social bookmarking. Being friendly can build you a great network filled with people who belong to your niche. Allow them to comment on the links that you post and reply to their comments when necessary. Make sure you don’t start a fight. Take this opportunity to really get to know people and use the information you gather to improve your online strategy.

4.    Make sure you’re not self-centered

You hate it when other people keep talking about themselves, and other people will dislike you for it as well. Besides your own web pages, include other relevant pages in your bookmarks. This shows that you’re genuinely interested to share interesting stuff and it also assures the social bookmarking site that you’re not a spammer or a self-promoter. Put your niche’s needs before your own, and you’ll be rewarded.

 

How a Blog Can Help Your Business

Businesses are beginning to realize that a website isn’t enough to make a powerful online presence. Marketers have started to include blogging as a vital part of their online marketing mix.

There are still some businesses out there that aren’t clear on how blogs can help them. They simply came up with a blog, not knowing how to make it work to their favor. Blogs are highly versatile tools that are capable of executing the different aspects of marketing—from the basic market researches down to creative guerrilla marketing, blogs offer businesses a lot of breakthrough opportunities.

Below are 5 of the most practical ways in which a blog can help your online business.

1.    Blogs make it easier to create relationships with your market

Publishing a blog makes it easier to give your brand a personality. Your blog allows people to directly interact with your brand, and they expect some sort of reply or acknowledgement that someone in your company has received and read their messages.

Maintaining this feedback loop allows you to keep an eye on your market and gives you a better conversion rate of prospects to loyal clients.

2.    Blogs attract fresh insights and inform you of new category trends
As you keep communication lines open for your blog readers, you will inevitably collect fresh insights and interesting suggestions. The beauty of this is that you don’t need to pay anyone to talk to the consumers for you, but you still get the information straight from the primary source.

It’s now up to you how you organize the information that you’ve gathered; make them work towards your advantage. You can take it a step further and cross check your data. Visit blogs of your competition and see what their blogs’ visitors have to say in the comments section. Doing so would definitely give you a better view of your marketplace.

3.    Blogs allow you to test your market before a full launch

Before fully launching an ad or any creative promo and campaign, you can execute a mini version of your plan through your blog and see how your audience responds. Suggestions and comments will pour in, giving you ideas on how you can improve and tweak it to better suit your market.

Companies spend a lot of money conducting FGDs and researches. These end up costing as much as—sometimes more than—a full-blown campaign. While blogs cannot replicate the accuracy of professional research groups, they can work well for a lot of market-driven studies.

4.    Blogs help you spread yourself online
The blog sphere thrives on an amazing link network. Bloggers are usually fine with linking fellow bloggers that they find interesting. It pays to befriend top-ranking blogs in your category and those that belong in other related categories.

Make sure you deliver regularly updated and relevant content to keep your credibility rating high.

5.    Blogs allow you more room for creativity
Your blog can be the fun alter-ego of your corporate website. While this doesn’t mean a complete dissent from your brand’s identity, blogs allow you to close the gap between how you define your brand and how your market perceives your brand.
 

5 Tips for Your Blogging Success

The most successful blogs have remained on top for so long due to strong foundations. They knew what they wanted to achieve and they never got distracted. Most of these blogs never invested that much time and effort with aesthetics. They just nailed the basics and never looked back.

Here are 5 of the most important things you need to get right. The more you do these, the better you will become and the easier it will be to maintain a top spot.

1. Have a blog marketing plan
A marketing plan serves as a fantastic guide for online businesses. It gives your team something tangible to refer to when decisions need to be made.

Good marketing plans aren’t one-sided. They seek to protect both your business and your consumer—who should be the center of your focus anyway. Your marketing plan will definitely make things easier as the Internet landscape changes time and again. You’ll have data to look at, which tell you when changes need to be made.

2. Know what you want to focus on
You blog should be a vehicle to establish you as an expert in your field or category. Maximize your blog to play up on your strengths and knowledge. Credibility is the currency of the blog sphere, and the tangible manifestation of good standing is a thriving community housed in your blog.

The fast route to good credibility is to earn the approval of fellow bloggers who are at the top of their game. Check them out to learn best practices. Leave relevant comments, useful information, and thank them if they reply to your questions. When you’ve established a relationship with them, you can ask them to check out your blog, and hopefully, they’ll link you up on their blogs.

3. Research on your readers
Having a good grasp of who your readers really are will help with content generation. You start and end each post with your readers in mind. Although the message comes from you, the way you deliver your message will rely heavily on the personality and behavior of your market.

Invest in research, and make sure you conduct one periodically. Web 2.0 is composed of a fluctuating market—the only way to be effective is to keep up.

4. Optimize for the right keywords
How searchable your content will be depends on how well you choose your keywords. Your niche keyword list depends on your market research data: the insights that you’ve gathered and actual responses.

Go the extra mile and scour blogs in your category and check out how readers post their comments. Be sensitive to the words that they use, including the words they commonly misspell.

5. Track and measure
Make sure that your host can generate periodic reports. Tracking and measuring are important because these will tell you how well you’re doing. If you make changes, shifts will occur to tell you if it’s worth pursuing or not.