Archive for January, 2011

Is Time To Revisit Your Website Strategy?

Why should you care about your website strategy? Wouldn’t it be easier just to put up a website and hope you hit on something that makes you money? If you’re like hundreds of thousands of other online business owners, that’s probably what you did. But now it’s time to re-assess the results and develop a strategy that will increase revenue consistently.

When you put up your first website, it was a snapshot of your business at that point in time. As your business evolves your website should reflect that. Have you added new and different products? Have you changed the focus of your services? Like websites, the businesses they support are organic. They grow and change. Your strategy for meeting those goals and objectives must change with it. Adding content piecemeal is necessary to keep your site updated, but at some point during each year you need to re-assess the big picture.

Make time to sit down with your key staff and review what your main business is today. Don’t cling to old notions about what it was or should be. Decide what it IS. Make sure that you are taking advantage of opportunities that will propel your business to the next level.

Analyze your Website Content

Does your content match your current goals? I recommend using a tool called a webmap to analyze your website. You can use any tool that allows you create a map showing all the main branches on your home page. The key here is to strip away the graphics and really look at your content and navigation path. Don’t be distracted by pretty colors and pictures.

Take Action: Create a specific path on your home page for visitors to “walk” For example, if the main goal of your website is to get visitors to call, don’t put up extraneous links to distract them. You want to them to write down your phone number and call you. Everything on your home page should support that! An 800 number in the banner area is a great idea. Links to books they should read on the subject is not.

Compare the Competition

It’s always a good idea to look at what the competition is doing on their website. Create maps for their home pages as well. But don’t assume that because they are bigger, that their website has a better strategy. Deep marketing pockets can often mask website failures.

Take Action: Compare your maps and see what emphasis the competition places on their home page. Do they focus heavily on promotions? Are they using free content to attract visitors? Note the best strategies and see how they apply to you. But have confidence that your content has value.

Revise and Test

Be prepared to change your home page content based on what you learned. Be bold, try new things. But be sure you test what you’ve done. You don’t want to change something that was working. Your webmaster should be providing you with the statistics you need to test and revise.

Take Action: Carefully analyze the changes you’ve made. Buy the best website analysis tool you can. Make sure you know what kind of content generates sales. Then pour it on and watch your revenue grow consistently!

Viral Marketing – A Great Way To Spread The Word

Before we explain how you can use viral marketing strategies to promote your online business and get a buzz spreading through the worldwide web, here’s a definition from Wikipedia,

“Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use preexisting social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, images, or even text messages.”

If you’ve ever used hotmail, yahoo or G-mail account, you’ve participated in a viral marketing campaign every time you sent an email to someone – because the company inserted a small (and usually discreet advertisement) at the bottom of all of your outgoing email messages – inviting the people you were communicating with to receive their own free email account.

So, how can you put a viral marketing campaign together for your own online business to get the same advertising buzz like these major companies for free?

You don’t have to look very far to find the answer these days. Viral marketing has taken off with a bang with the introduction of web2.0 web sites like Youtube, Facebook, Myspace and twitter – to mention a few. Bookmarking and social networking sites have made it easier for you to engage your friends in spreading any message you want to promote.

According to a recent survey done by Forrester Research, people are almost 65% more likely to trust a review posted by a peer – or even a complete stranger – than they are to trust the marketing or sales information put out by the company.

Companies like Amazon and I-Tunes have used these tactics to build their brands to mega corporations, and now all the celebrities and broadcasters are using Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages and expand their brands.

Why is this the case? Because as consumers we tend to think that the average “Joe Blow” has less of a personal agenda when posting his review about the latest “Dixie Chicks” album and so we give it more weight.

And, by the way, this is a normal reaction – it’s one that’s kind of hard-wired into all of us. People have always shared the things they like – or hate – with their friends and family members. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, our grandparents used to talk to their neighbors over the “back fence,” call each other on the phone or tell their friends during lunch. The difference is, these days we use the Internet and cell phones.

What’s interesting though, is that with the popularity of the Internet, our trust – and believe in “social proof” – has become even stronger.

By creating your own viral marketing campaign, you’ll be doing more than getting the word out about your new product or service, you’ll be gathering social proof – and that will help your sales to go through the roof.

If you don’t have your own product or service as yet, you can start promoting affiliate products. Affiliate products already have a brand name presence and an established market.

So, how do you set up your own viral marketing campaign? The first thing to do is to get back to the basics.

Then make sure that you’re sending out the right message – an in the right way. If you’re marketing a product to teens, you’ll want to make sure that it’s something they want – and you’ll have to reach them where they’re hanging out. That might be on MySpace, twitter or even Friendster.

What’s the right message? Maybe it’s a special report. But it could just as easily be a video. Or an audio mp3 file. Match your message to your audience. And finally, make sure that you’re getting your message out at the right time – when your audience is ready to buy it.

Make your viral marketing campaign stand out from the crowd – because that’s how it’s going to get passed around and become viral. By understanding the basics – who your audience is, what they want, how they want to get it and when they want it – all you have to do next is to create something that your audience loves – or hates – or finds interesting enough – to pass around to their friends. And because your product comes with an implied endorsement – social proof – those people will pass it around to other people – and the buzz goes on…and on…and on…and you’ll start hearing the “ka-ching!” of your cash register going off a lot more often.

Writen by: James Max

Personalized URL’s

One of the best ways to connect with your customers is to personalize your communications.  A new trend in eMarketing is using personalized URL, or PURL, which is a customized web page or microsite with a unique address for each customer on your list. Incorporating PURLs into your direct mail and or email campaigns, gives you a greater opportunity to connect your messaging with the interactive capabilities of the Internet, which will help convert more direct mail recipients into qualified prospects and valued customers.

A common example of a PURL is a web page or microsite with a URL such as www.xyzcompany.com/johndoe, in which “John Doe” is a recipient who receives a direct-mail or email message that encourages him to visit the web page or microsite. For each recipient on the list, the web address is unique to the recipient, as is the content of the web page. Also, if a visitor to the web page or microsite is asked to answer a few questions or provide information, the answers provided can be immediately used to determine which secondary pages the visitor is directed to or what specific information is included on secondary pages.

Because a PURL site is personalized, a conversational or more direct tone in the language of the site content can be used to enhance the visitor’s sense of engagement with the organization. However, try to avoid overly detailed and personal level of information on your PURL, this may lead a visitor to feel his or her privacy is being invaded.

Utilizing PURLs are a great way to connect with your customers and prospective customers:

  • Enhance marketing campaigns and messaging
  • Gather and update key customer data
  • Track activity and preference
  • Measure campaign successes
  • Educate potential customers about your company in a fun, interactive way

The costs for a PURL campaign will vary depending on web page or microsite design, programming/data integration, the number of recipients in your list, and the time length of the campaign.

If you are considering using a PURL in your next campaign, please contact us for more information on how we can help you take full advantage of this cutting-edge marketing tool. We have all of the expertise you’ll need.

13 Great Tips for Getting Emails into Your Customers Inbox

Legitimate email marketers still have to contend with spam filters. Consider the filters while you are designing and writing your email.

  1. Maintain a good balance of graphics to text in your HTML emails. Many experts recommend you try to maintain a balance of 60% text and 40% graphics.
  2. Never send an email that is one big graphic.
  3. In addition to the HTML version, always include a text only version. The filters reward those who take the little bit of extra time to create both versions.
  4. AVOID HYPE!! Ideally, you would avoid exclamation marks and ALL CAPS and in the subject line and the content or use in moderation.
  5. Do not use phrases that seem too good to be true. Yes, there are “once in a lifetime opportunities” but they don’t arrive in your Inbox.
  6. The filters don’t like “money back guarantees.”
  7. “Urgent!” It is not that urgent if the email ends up in the junk folder.
  8. Don’t claim you have made a “breakthrough.”
  9. Avoid using unusual fonts, all red type, flashing objects, and other assorted weirdness.
  10. Avoid very small fonts.
  11. Avoid excessive text about money. Of course, if your topic is money you have to talk about it but try to be economical.
  12. Configure a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record in your Domain Name Service (DNS) records for your domain name (yourcompany.com).
  13. If you are getting too many spam complaints, then consider putting the unsubscribe link at the top of your email. Many times if people cannot find the unsubscribe button right away, they will default to pressing the complain button or spam button (found on email services provided by AOL, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo and Google). It is much better to have people unsubscribe than to register an electronic complaint.

Dailey Marketing Group can help you with any of the issues you might be experiencing with your email blasts.  Dailey Marketing Group’s email system is a recognized white listed email system which allows us to provide our clients with the best way possible to get their message to the Inbox of their customers. Call us today to get started. 888.364.6584

How Long Will It Take For An SEM Project To Work?

If your company is starting from scratch, you need to start with keyword development. Then combine a website redesign and paid search launch, followed closely by a link popularity campaign. If your site requires an extensive overhaul, and if you have a large number of pages that require keyword-targeted copy, the initial setup will take several months.

Once the site is launched, the paid and link popularity initiatives can gain momentum while you wait for a spider to crawl your site, which takes some time. Naturally, the time frame of these initiatives may overlap, depending on your site and your staff’s proficiency. Depending on the site, SEM can become a major task requiring a great deal of time and effort.

SEM is not a project that delivers instant gratification. Changes happen gradually. You may even see your rankings dip as the search engines adjust to the changes being made on your website. Once the website has attained a norm, the project enters its maintenance phase. Your company’s SEM specialist needs to stay abreast of the latest search engine technology, re-evaluate keywords and create content, help optimize website technology, maintain a pristine link popularity campaign, and understand the fluctuations of the PPC market.

How to determine ROI

First, a company must have a clear understanding of its conversion rate. This is easy for some; for them, a conversion is a purchase. But for other companies, the definition of success differs. It could be a lead generated by the site, with contact made by phone, fax or e-mail. It could be a subscription to a newsletter or a request for more information. Once you have a clear understanding of what constitutes a success and how it translates into an investment return, then you can set up metrics to calculate that information.

What many companies discover is that the SEM and usability ROI evaluations cover much of the same ground. Both require a faithful tracking and analysis of Web analytics. To truly understand what about your SEM campaign is working and what isn’t, look at more than PPC conversions. Your SEM specialist should have access to robust Web analytics, or at the very least, a daily analytics report that details the basics, such as which referring keyword phrase is the most successful, the movement from each keyword landing page, site entries and exits, and the percentage of search engine use versus direct access to your site. Which keywords spark the most purchases? Is the right webpage optimized for your most successful keyword? How responsive and usable is the site to visitors looking for a niche product or contact information? How well do you leverage this interest and motivate further interest in your company? Do these searches and behavior indicate any new industry trends?

When managed properly, SEM reinforces good design practices and enhances website usability. Rarely are they in conflict. Bolstered by a focused design, succinct and motivational content, greater visibility as an industry authority, and the credibility that comes from being the search result that makes sense, SEM can give your company a fresh, sophisticated voice.

7 Steps to Creating a Great Email Marketing Plan

  1. Create your email campaign – Create a professionally designed eMail, eNewsletters, ePromotions or eVites to create a useful and educational message. Include special offers, but make your message meaningful and not too sales focused. Customers can unsubscribe, change their contact information, or delete your message at the click of a button.
  2. Make sure your message gets there – Most Internet providers guard against bulk emailing, as it is a way of protecting their customers from SPAM. Email Marketing companies have high standards and strong relationships with Internet providers, which allow them to send bulk emails.
  3. Professional mailing practices increase customer loyalty – Protect your customers’ privacy and preferences. By using a professional Email Marketing solution, you can avoid breaching your list members’ confidentiality. Email Marketing services also provide automatic unsubscribe features to keep you on the right side of the law.
  4. Track your results – Email campaign tracking reports show you who opened your emails and which links were clicked.
  5. Email list management takes away your headaches – Email Marketing saves you time by hosting the lists of your customer’s emails and automatically performing list management tasks such as signing up new members, editing so that members can change their information, and handling bounced emails for you.
  6. Build a prospective customer list – When visitors arrive at your website, use a customizable sign-up box to invite them to join your email list to receive useful information and valuable specials. You can add to your list by including email addresses you already have, but make sure your customers want to be included.
  7. Turn Prospects Into Customers – You can measure the number of emails opened, who opened what, and which links they clicked on. By understanding the individual and campaign results, you will know your customers better and be able to build more effective future campaigns.

Is Time To Revisit Your Website Strategy?

Why should you care about your website strategy? Wouldn’t it be easier just to put up a website and hope you hit on something that makes you money? If you’re like hundreds of thousands of other online business owners, that’s probably what you did. But now it’s time to re-assess the results and develop a strategy that will increase revenue consistently.

When you put up your first website, it was a snapshot of your business at that point in time. As your business evolves your website should reflect that. Have you added new and different products? Have you changed the focus of your services? Like websites, the businesses they support are organic. They grow and change. Your strategy for meeting those goals and objectives must change with it. Adding content piecemeal is necessary to keep your site updated, but at some point during each year you need to re-assess the big picture.

Make time to sit down with your key staff and review what your main business is today. Don’t cling to old notions about what it was or should be. Decide what it IS. Make sure that you are taking advantage of opportunities that will propel your business to the next level.

Analyze your Website Content

Does your content match your current goals? I recommend using a tool called a webmap to analyze your website. You can use any tool that allows you create a map showing all the main branches on your home page. The key here is to strip away the graphics and really look at your content and navigation path. Don’t be distracted by pretty colors and pictures.

Take Action: Create a specific path on your home page for visitors to “walk” For example, if the main goal of your website is to get visitors to call, don’t put up extraneous links to distract them. You want to them to write down your phone number and call you. Everything on your home page should support that! An 800 number in the banner area is a great idea. Links to books they should read on the subject is not.

Compare the Competition

It’s always a good idea to look at what the competition is doing on their website. Create maps for their home pages as well. But don’t assume that because they are bigger, that their website has a better strategy. Deep marketing pockets can often mask website failures.

Take Action: Compare your maps and see what emphasis the competition places on their home page. Do they focus heavily on promotions? Are they using free content to attract visitors? Note the best strategies and see how they apply to you. But have confidence that your content has value.

Revise and Test

Be prepared to change your home page content based on what you learned. Be bold, try new things. But be sure you test what you’ve done. You don’t want to change something that was working. Your webmaster should be providing you with the statistics you need to test and revise.

Take Action: Carefully analyze the changes you’ve made. Buy the best website analysis tool you can. Make sure you know what kind of content generates sales. Then pour it on and watch your revenue grow consistently!

4 Ways Viral Marketing Can Drive Traffic To Your Website

Viral marketing comes with an array of possibilities and ways to achieve your overall goals. As with anything all you need is preplanning and the right setup to create success for years to come. Viral marketing is a very powerful asset every web site owner should pursue.

However, don’t get over-zealous. One issue you must avoid at all costs is spamming. Spamming otherwise known as “spam mail” is still used widely, but with government establishing more restrictions and fines you don’t want this to be a source for income. The professional image of your site will also suffer greatly if you send mail blatantly.

To create Spam mail you typically need a database that contains a huge list of email addresses where you can deliver your message with one click. Unfortunately, Spam mail takes us back to the days of broadcast faxes. It irritates the recipient and kills the validity of your company, which in turn kills the factors that would motivate someone to refer your site.

However there is good news, you can get your message out in a way that motivates people to check it out and keep coming back for more. Let’s look a little further at the next four avenues you should consider.

  • Personalize – Create your website with personal appeal. In other words, design it where customers can go in to setup their own personal profile. This will help to give your customers a feeling of comfort. Let’s face, it people instinctively think about themselves and their own needs above others. So give them the ability to use your site in a way that they feel safe secure, and cared for.
  • E-mail – Email is very important, because it is going to be one of the most affordable ways to keep in touch with your customers. The proper way to handle email permission is to first let your customer know that you will not transmit their email to third party companies. Then you will want to attach the need for their email to the benefits they can receive. For example: Coupons or discounts that are only available to members that receive email notifications.
    With each e-mail, you send, the viral marketing effect takes place. If the receiver feels good about the information they received, they will pass it along which is exactly what you want to accomplish. Another good viral marketing method to use with e-mails is to offer another piece of viral marketing material in your e-mail. Incorporate things like a free report, free e-book, or a free newsletter. Anything free will attract attention and help to build your prospect list through viral marketing.
  • Scheduler – Building a way of reminding people of certain events or sales on your website will go along way in customer retention as well as keeping your site on their minds. Basically, the more you stay in front of your customers the more they will be talking to others about your site. Offering simple services like this can keep your name in front of potential customers on a regular basis as well a generate the viral marketing results you want.
  • Web Forums – Once you have obtained your customers email address you will want to setup a link that will allow them to discuss products or services that you offer with other customers. This helps in building bonds, but more importantly people typically like to include their friends in the arena. Look at gambling sites; the majority of business that they receive is via referrals. Once you’re on the site the majority of them have rooms that you can go to and talk and play with others from around the world.

By properly building a web forum community, you will create a buzz and with the right preparations will cause your business to grow significantly.

Social Marketing is Revolutionary

Social marketing is revolutionary phenomena in online marketing. Social marketing sites like Twitter, FaceBook are used to generate more and more revenue. These social networking sites are the hot places for business promotion. Twitter uses for many purposes like information and media sharing, and for business purposes. Twitter is a social tool that helps connect businesses more meaningfully with the right prospect. These sites are used by business organization as well their customer. Different people use it for different reasons, business organization uses it to connect with their customers, for sharing information, for gathering real time market information or market intelligence and undoubtedly to build relationship with their business environment may be it is internal business environment or external business environment, on the other side twitter is used by customers as well, they use twitter to tell their experience with your product, offer and for gathering more information about the product.

Twitter followers usually have a specific reason for following you. If your twitter account is for professional networking, they most likely want to hear your thoughts on relevant industry topics. Twitter thrives on the relationship between you and your followers, so almost all internet marketers use it to advertise their product. We all know social networking is about building relations. The only way to build strong relation is to follow those who follow you. There is automation software available which will help to grow twitter followers. Twitter is the cheapest way to market your online business. Twitter is a simple tool that helps connect businesses more significantly. Online businesses earn more and more profit with the increase of twitter followers, so online marketer always try to increase twitter follower. Online marketer always searches for a solution which will provide them right prospect without using any time consuming process like searching the client and then interacting with them. Many web sites provide the facility to buy twitter follower, this type of packages are available in different variants in terms of number of followers say they will provide you package of 1000 , 2000 and 5000 followers, which an online marketer can buy easily. But it’s not a guarantee that these are your prospects, if not than your money is not utilized and again you have to search for the prospect. For approaching correct prospect online marketer always try to buy targeted twitter follower.

These websites help attract thousands of followers that you can keep informed about your product or service you just have to give an offer to move them into your network. Both the above ways are useful in case of online marketing. For promoting their product online marketer always searches for a place where they can promote their product to a large number of audience so they can target their prospect easily and at affordable prices.

Forrester: Why Most Marketers Should Forgo Foursquare

Marketers, hold off on Foursquare — for now. That’s the verdict of Forrester Research on location-based start-ups, which, despite their reputation as the hot new media, are still too small for major marketers. The research firm finds that these heavily-hyped apps currently make sense mainly for brands seeking male influencers.

In a study out today, Forrester finds that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt. Only 1% update these services more than once per week. What’s more, 84% of respondents said they are not familiar with such apps, leaving the vast majority of Americans online still in the dark about location-based apps, which have had the marketing world obsessing over them in recent months.

The report could also be a wake-up call for social media on mobile phones, especially when comparing the location services to the last social-media darling, Twitter. The micro-blogging service reports 35% of its 125 million registered users are in the U.S. and only a fraction of that number access Twitter via mobile. In April, Twitter said 37% of its usage comes via mobile clients. Apply that percentage to U.S. tweeters — we must extrapolate because the company does not break out U.S. users via mobile specifically — and the 16 million Americans using Twitter via mobile is about comparable to the location-apps audience in total.

Almost 80% of location-based service users are male. Close to 70% of them are between the ages of 19 and 35, and 70% have college degrees or higher. Forrester also found these location-app users to be influential (the report finds they’re 38% more likely to say friends and family ask their opinions before a purchase) and they are especially receptive to mobile coupons and offers. This set is up to 20% more likely to consult their phones before a purchase, and are far more likely to research products and services and read customer reviews.

This small audience is still attractive to some marketers. Forrester recommends that gaming, consumer electronics and sportswear marketers lead the way with testing these apps. Location apps have already proved they’re not only for male-oriented brands. PepsiCo, Starbucks, Oil of Olay, Bravo and, most recently, Campbell’s Soup have all launched campaigns with location apps.

Forrester analyst Melissa Parrish believes that male-oriented brands should forge the way and other marketers should hang back until these apps get bigger audiences. To date, Foursquare has more than 2 million users; Loopt 4 million and MyTown 2.5 million. Scale could come to the category if digital behemoths such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, which have already made moves toward location services, develop their own products.

by Kunur Patel,  July 26, 2010
AdAge

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