Monthly Archives: October 2013

Interactive Marketing Monthly Roundup: October 2013

Our selections for the top blog posts of the month are listed below. This monthly recap covers the topics of copywriting, email marketing, mobile advertising, search engine optimization, social media, paid advertising, and web development.

Another excellent month in marketing has passed, which means it is time for this month’s article roundup! October has been a whirlwind of great news in marketing. Semantic search became the new buzzword, Facebook Page Insights are more user-friendly, and television and Twitter team up! Let’s see what the rest of the web offers in this month’s recap

Email Marketing

Building a strong email list can be an insurmountable challenge without a course of action. While there are several ways to go about your strategy, creative methods often compel a reader to subscribe much faster. Read Matthew Barby’s article to increase your email subscriptions.

Oftentimes you don’t have to create an entirely new email campaign strategy to significantly bolster subscriptions. KISSmetrics compiles a wonderful case study from the University of Alberta on how a little tweak massively affected subscribership by 500%.

Copywriting

Tired of the same old headlines to guides that you think you have to write? Joel Klettke administers 10 uplifting headlines that are easily replicable for copywriters! Click through to read them.

Creating content takes a lot of planning and work to get perfect. Jimmy Daly of the Content Marketing Blog does his part to help marketers everywhere by listing 33 essential tools to curating content.

Mobile Advertising

Figuring out the mobile landscape seems very simple these days. It seems that all you need is a responsive website and you are good to go. Google seems to think otherwise, as indicated by Matt Southern’s post that oulines five essential mobile strategies.

If you need a reason to start taking advantage of mobile ads, consider how much everyone else is spending. John Koetsier writes a VentureBeat article that details the explosive growth in mobile ad revenue, and the numbers will surprise you.

PPC Management | Paid Ads

We know small business want be everywhere and have their names on customer brains, right? However, is more exposure better for businesses? Christopher Heine puts out how much cash SMBs waste on search ads.

For their own good, we would rather have beginners complete their own research with PPC ads than jump right in with wallets at the ready. Sarah Peduzzi highlights nine rookie missteps that put her over the edge.

Search Engine Optimization

The Google Hummingbird update still drives people bonkers when they hear the name. We think they need to explore what lies underneath the search engine upgrade. Pratik Dholakiya puts together a comprehensive guide on Google Hummingbird.

How much do you think SEO changes from year to year? While the changes are incremental, none of them are really that drastic if you are working on the essential components. Michael Martinez offers up a 10 year SEO plan to make sure you stay on track.

Social Media

Twitter remains one of the most popular social networks of our time. Still struggling to take advantage of the platform before the big IPO? Check out Terrence Ngu’s latest Twitter statistics every marketer should know.

Google+ is an important platform to take a hold of and grasp. Simply add people, create circles, and engage! If you are still finding trouble with utilizing it, Simply Business configured a smart guide to Google+ for small businesses!

Web Development & Branding

Looking for some great web development tips? Kuliko John has you covered with five excellent website development tips to use today!

Think you have top-rated CSS skills? Put them to the test with these preliminary interview questions for CSS web designers. Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks provides the full article.

*BONUS*

Hosting companies are rarely ever talked about from a consumer perspective other than comparing costs and customer service. Marco Arment shares his thoughts on the hosting industry.

Let us know what you think of our marketing roundup! If you want to suggest any other notable stories from this past month, please share them in the comments section below.

Top 10 Tools to Become an Email Marketing Expert

In addition to content and social media marketing, email marketing is the key to acquiring customers and generating revenue. Email is one of the best methods to keep in contact with your prospects and attain new clients. Furthermore, email is still one of the most profitable channels to reach customers, its ad revenue totaling $156 million in 2012.

However, how do you expect to create unstoppable email campaigns if you do not use the best tools for the job? Also, what happens if you do not have the necessary funds to replicate the success of other competitors and email marketers in the industry? Thankfully, a variety of email applications on the web offer free packages for up to a few hundred subscribers or so.

We’ve got the top 10 tools to help you become a skilled email marketing expert in no time flat! All of these options below are cheap and easy to utilize for your business. After checking all of them out, we hope you can make a proper decision!

MailChimp – MailChimp is one of the most frequently used email applications on the market. With editable signup forms, customizable social sharing integration, email templates, and a complete API to sync up to existing databases, MailChimp is the whole package. The service is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month. Quite the deal, we would say!

AWeber – AWeber is another strong tool in a marketer’s toolbox. It offers autoresponder follow-up, signup forms, and excellent email templates. We cannot forget to mention AWeber’s massive library of content that will carefully guide you on your way to becoming an email guru. Plans start at $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers.

Constant Contact – Constant Contact is one of the big behemoths in email marketing. Its many robust in-house tools work together to create a worthwhile event marketing and survey experience. Additionally, the application provides built in custom analytics, as well as social sharing features. Get started at Constant Contact with a 60-day free trial and pay up to $15 per month afterwards.

iContact – iContact is the email campaign tool made for the designer in mind. With several hundred customizable email templates and a crisp drag-and-drop interface, this tool is certain to pack a punch. In-depth history lookup for each of your contacts is also a huge win, if you want to keep in contact with your subscribers. The prices start out at $14 per month for 500 contacts.

Campaign Monitor – If you are considering sending beautiful newsletters, you might want to try Campaign Monitor. This tools showcases a variety of layouts to choose from and customizes your messaging. Moreover, all emails are mobile-optimized, which will effectively bring out business far above the rest.

GetResponse – GetResponse is one of the world’s largest email marketing boutiques. This platform allows you to create stunning landing pages and newsletters in minutes. You pay $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers! Take into account GetResponse’s drag-and-drop editor, and you’ve got yourself a massive deal.

Mailigen – Mailgen is a call to a new generation of integrated marketing, and it is one of the easiest ways to create and send newsletters! With social media tools and specific metric analysis, Mailgen offers quality features that make it a great email editing choice. Start with prices at $10 a month or 4 cents per sent email.

Elite Email – For more than 10 years, Elite Email has provided email marketing solutions that are like no other. With at least 400 email templates available at the start and up to 500 free email contacts, Elite Email is an effective email management piece. In addition, social media integration is built-in to perfection!

SendGrid – SendGrid provides reliable scalability and real-time analytics in one complete package. It relieves businesses of the cost of systems required to maintain a robust email marketing network. The SnedGrid service also gives  helpful information and guides customers to make sure campaigns are as effective as possible.

Activetrail – Activetrail seeks to introduce the next generation of email marketing: active email marketing. An email infrastructure like this in place comes free with 500 subscribers with a cap of 2,000 emails sent per month. Activetrail’s advanced reporting and $16 starting fee is essential for your business.

What tools do you use for your email marketing campaigns? How much has your business  learned from its targeted emails? Let us know in the comments below so we can all become better experts!

Update on Google Hummingbird: What is it and How it Affects You

Background

The Google search engine is the most popular and widely used online search tool in the world. From this, Google has become a company that operates and invests in a variety of markets and innovations, like Google Glass and driverless cars. Now we step (almost unknowingly) into the future of online search with the latest update to Google’s search algorithm: Google Hummingbird.

Google Hummingbird is the major update to the Google search engine that went live about a month ago. The Hummingbird update utilizes both new and old parts in order to better adapt to the needs of Internet users today.

What is Google Hummingbird?

Google Hummingbird essentially allows for what the folks at Google like to call “conversational search.” This enables users to ask more complex and semantic search queries. Instead of focusing entirely on the keywords within a search query, the Google Hummingbird update zeroes in on the meaning behind the query.

In essence, this is mostly an update for the users of Google Search. Webmasters and SEOs can continue to try and provide valuable resources for the people who need them. The rules haven’t changed.

How do we use Google Hummingbird?

Most likely, you already have been using it to great effect. The change has been so quick, most users barely notice. Google, however, says search results are absolutely more contextual than before. For example, if a user typed in “where can I buy a new laptop near me,” Google might have previously listed a randomly generated list of stores based on your location. Now Google will take into account whether you want a website to deliver or a store closer to your physical location. It will consider the context of your query, rather than the simple content. Furthermore, the answers display right inside the Google search engine, rather than directing you to another page for the same answer. This is just the beginning of things to come!

How does this help my business?

From a user perspective, it makes searching for the answers you want easier than ever. In contrast, from a webmaster perspective, this gives you the chance to really provide great resources for specific semantic questions. It is in your best interest to take advantage of this update and target longer tail keywords in order to get on the radar on several of these high quality search queries.

A lot of business owners feel that their SEO efforts have to be completely redone to deal with the latest version of search, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now they have an opportunity to go after search terms that were fruitless before, simply because the search results these terms previously returned were not accurate. Now that the search engines have improved, have at the longer search terms. Make Google work for you!

What do you guys think of Google Hummingbird and how have you witnessed any significant changes to your business’s online visibility or social media so far? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Quick Ways to Build a Yelp Listing

Background

Creating a Yelp listing is an effective backlink strategy for your business’s online visibility. This directory is highly trafficked by millions of businesses and customers alike.

Yelp proves beneficial for both parties: Customers get to express themselves and their experiences with the business, while the business takes the opportunity to respond accordingly. As a result, websites will be able to maintain a more positive relevancy as long as they maintain their listing.

Here are some facts to consider before you decide to join Yelp:

1. More than 108 million users visit businesses through Yelp a month. That’s a lot of visibility.

2. At least 42 million reviews have been written for local businesses.

3. Every business owner gets a free account to contact their customers and post photos.

Now without further ado, let’s make a quick and easy Yelp listing for your business:

Adding a Listing

1. Click here to begin the process of claiming your business.

2. Hit “Claim my business” in the middle of the page.

3. You will find out if your site is already listed once you type in your Address and Business Name. If it is not found, go ahead and create a new listing.

4. If your business does not show up in the results page, click “Add your listing to Yelp” at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, next to your listing, you have the option to “Unlock” it by entering basic user information and agreeing to the terms of service.

5. If you are continuing on to add a new listing, enter in all of your information under “Add Your Business.” Take care in making sure the information is correct.

6. Click the “Add” button at the end after double-checking your business data.

7. A message will appear on the next screen asking you to verify your account through email. Click the confirmation link to complete the process.

Quick Tips on Content and Communication

  • Similar to social media best practices, Yelp users need content to stay engaged. We suggest putting up visual media content on your listing that positively represent your business. Taking the time to prepare quality photos, slideshows, and even videos demonstrates the level of support you put into your business.

  • Google pays attention to Yelp. We recommend adding in some targeted keywords to help boost your rankings.

  • Make sure that you respond to both positive and negative reviews. How you handle yourself with a bad review is just as, if not more, significant than how you respond to good feedback.

  • While it’s always important to develop conversations with customers on Yelp, it is bad practice to ask or solicit for reviews.

  • Take a look at your competitors’ Yelp pages. They may potentially give you ideas on how to position your listing to attract a new group of customers to your business.

What do you think of using Yelp to aid in your business growth? If you have experience or thoughts on the subject, please post them in the comments below.

Top 10 Social Marketing Blogs

Social media permeates every facet of our lives today. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or even Google Plus, we are always connected to our social media platforms. In fact, more than a billion users sign in to social media at some point during the day. With this staggering number in mind, legions of business scour the web, looking for ways to properly market to the masses. Many people are recently starting out in this field, looking to create their first social media profile. Similarly, a large number of marketers have been creating social media plans for years.

Whatever amount of exposure you have in social media, you can always stand to learn something new! The blogs we’ve listed here are some of the top authorities in the space. Take a look at them and see what you can learn from each one. Share the knowledge with your team and get to work on creating an engaging and successful social marketing plan!

1. Content Marketing Institute – CMI is a resource full of social media events, top quality articles on content, and it also consults businesses on content strategy. The site’s entire premise is to teach people what content marketing is and what it isn’t.

2. Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary Vaynerchuk is an online media guy with an eye for entrepreneurship. You might think his blog centers around starting a business, but it’s more about valuing even your smallest customers and treating them respectfully. This blog has even more gems, so go check it out.

3. Razor Social – The Razor Social Blog excellently reports on social media results and insights to its audience. If you are looking for expert tips on Facebook, Twitter, and the other social platforms, look no further than Razor Social.

4. Seth’s Blog – Seth’s Blog is another value-filled site that may seem deceiving at first. While the posts and website look rather simple, the thoughts within each post are intensely complex, driving home the point of what kinds of ideas spread and how businesses thrive.

5. Social Fresh – Social Fresh is a group blog that publishes the latest social media news. It is also a conference that brings together the most dedicated social marketing experts from around the country. With more than 80,000 followers, click on over to see for yourself why Social Fresh creates so many marketing experts.

6. Social Media Examiner – Rather than report the news, Social Media Examiner is a blog that provides practical tips and real-life examples on how to succeed in social media. With its massive subscriber base, there is no question Social Media Examiner instructs some of the top applicable advice in this space.

7. Social Media Explorer – While this blog is more for larger agencies, there is still quite a lot to learn from Social Media Explorer. These blog posts range from organization highlights to effective social media strategy. Browse a few articles to learn about their important messages.

8. Social Media Today – Agencies and small businesses encounter many of the same problems with social media. Social Media Today offers a solution to many of those dilemmas. This blog provides an abundance of content targeting current events, as well as offers excellent tips to boost your social media standing. SMT stands as a perfect resource for business owners to learn about social media.

9. Social Mouths – Ecommerce, email marketing, social media, and more – this blog covers all the essential components. Specifically targeted for small businesses, a majority of the the content covers optimization around the noted topics, moving your site forward to a better social presence.

10. The Buffer Blog – The Buffer Blog is a fantastically well-rounded site that pushes its great experiments into happiness, lifestyle design, and social strategy. This superb mix of articles keeps the blog fresh, as well as teaches business owners (and everyday readers!) a lot about social media and efficiently testing your marketing tactics.

Do you know of any other social media marketing blogs worth reading? We want to know which blogs have helped your business! Leave a comment below so you too can contribute to our resource.