Monthly Archives: January 2014

Interactive Marketing Monthly Roundup: January 2014

In a flash, January is already at its end! Looking back, it has been another spectacular month of marketing. Earlier this month, Bing and Yahoo followed Google’s lead and transferred over to secure search. Additionally, Tumblr Sponsored Posts are now powered by Yahoo Advertising. We’ll see where these changes leave our marketers in the future, but for now, let’s take a look at the top marketing posts of the month!

Email Marketing

Email marketing is similar to dating. You have your prospects, your design (style), and your first date (testing). Make sure that you make a strong first impression so that your subscribers decide to see you again. Meegan Kauffman shares a full breakdown in this intriguing comparison.

Has your business attempted to integrate email with mobile lately? Chances are mobile readers have not taken your email seriously as of late. DiTesco demonstrates seven unsuccessful ways to run a mobile campaign.

Copywriting

As with all copywriting, the first paragraph is the most important. Luckily, there are several ways to spark interest within your business’s writing from even the most uninterested reader. Learn six tips to killer introduction paragraphs from Jason Delodovici.

Working as a copywriter requires both an analytical and creative mind. You must test your copy and craft it in an engaging way in order to retain readers. Get the full scoop on how to be a better copywriter from Michael Aagaard.

Mobile Advertising

What’s in a mobile app’s name? A lot apparently, especially if you want to increase the online presence of your web application. Andy Forsberg writes down practical app naming tips for your mobile platform.

Mobile trends that thrived in 2013 are still evolving here in 2014. Can you guess which ones are the most relevant to date? Thomas Husson and Julie Ask make their predictions on mobile marketing in the coming year.

PPC Management | Paid Ads

Most marketers would think that the answers to effective conversions and lead generation lie in the numbers alone. We believe that a number of them underestimate the power of qualitative analysis in generating leads. John McElborough emphasizes the benefits of qualitative research in his interesting blog post.

Banner ads are perceived to be an old advertising tool when compared to in-stream advertising. However, some extremely useful aspects of banner ads tend to go unnoticed. Dan Hodgins posts his five reasons that banners should be mandatory in your growth strategy.

Search Engine Optimization

Success in SEO comes from a multitude of factors. Where your audience comes from, who they are, and where your goals exist all play a significant role. Aleyda Solis presents 10 ways to fail in SEO (and how to avoid them).

Don’t blog for the search engines – optimize your blog for SEO. A little technical SEO advice can take your website a long way in search. Igor Lebovic extends functional advice to improve web optimization for your business.

Social Media

If you do not have your social media strategy planned out, it’s time to make it a top priority. Social media will only continue to take huge strides in the digital marketing world. Jeff Bullas highlights 22 statistics you need to know for 2014.

Your company’s reputation in social media matters very much. Manage your mentions by signing up for one of the many comprehensive social tools available. Amy Kilvington lists four of the best monitoring tools on the market.

Web Development & Branding

Optimizing your web design coincides with improving the marketing strategy of your brand. Follow these nine practical tips from Joseph Howard to keep up with the times.

In order to reach a wider audience, your brand must be willing to take risks that may require hours of dedication and development time. In the case of Burberry and Volkswagen, the ad campaign was risky, but it served them well in the end. Read the full story by Mike Glaser on the Google Think blog.

*BONUS*

There is another form of marketing that many marketers have yet to experiment with: consumer marketing. You would be surprised how simple it is to ask your customers for referrals. Bryan of QuotePress delves into the strategy on his company’s blog.

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.

Quick Rep Management Five Step Guide

With all of the social networks at our fingertips (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), the opinion of an anonymous individual holds much more weight than in times past. On the web, anyone can create their own platform or  soapbox for self expression without limits. Along with this freedom comes an increased need to monitor the conversations happening across the Internet. As a company, you have a responsibility to please your customers. If you want to stay in business and keep bringing in new customers, you must address issues, quell concerns, and keep your customer service smooth and efficient. While engaging directly with users can be intimidating at first, it demonstrates your willingness to listen and respond to consumer troubles in a timely fashion. Working on your engagement builds trust, and ultimately, strong brand loyalty.

However, what if you are lost on how to properly manage your reputation? Not to worry, as we laid out a terrific five-step plan to help you get started.

1. Decide what you want to monitor.

Do you want to oversee social mentions, reviews, or your blog articles? Choose where mentions of your business are making the most impact, and stick with the program. Create an action list for the team. You can also decide to keep an eye on all of them at once! Wherever your brand promotes itself is where you certainly want to keep your eyes and ears open.

2. Grab tools to keep tabs on your brand name.

There is an endless array of free and low cost tools you can use to dominate your company rep management, including Mention.net, HootSuite, or Google Alerts. It is important to know what people are saying about your brand in a timely manner, and these hot tools are the best way to go about doing so.

3. Create quality content.

Nothing makes your reputation more positive than crafting quality content for your followers. Use social profiles to share this media, which will help others spread good news of your company. Sharing enough valuable information can overcome some of the most negative perspectives.

4. Address negative reviews head on.

Speaking of negative perspectives, when you find negativity directed towards your business from customers or critics, do not ignore it. Address, acknowledge, and respond to it. People see everything on the web. If you choose to ignore criticism, this reflects badly on your brand. Answer all concerns one-by-one, and always seek to resolve conflicts. This will help you in the end!

5. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you.

Sign up for social media platforms with your brand or company name as your profile name. On the web, people search for your business name in order to tag or praise you in a comment or status update. It is always best to claim your business name before someone else decides to, in order to do what they will with it. Once you own the power of your company name behind you, your business is in a great position to address whatever requests come your way.

These quick and easy tips are the most powerful weapons you’ve got to keep your rep in line! How do you perform reputation management for your brand or website? Let us know in the comments.

Top 10 Blogs to Become A Content Marketing Success Story

Content marketing may seem trivial at first glance, but over time we’ve seen content drastically increase in significance throughout the past year. Nearly 50% of businesses use content marketing strategies. Moreover, the content marketing trend will continue to increase in popularity as we head into 2014.

Content marketing looks relatively simple but requires a keen mind to create, plan, and strategize. Sometimes, companies look to outsource their content marketing to better trained experts. However, we want to help you feel comfortable publishing content on your own! Even if you’re not the best content marketer, a multitude of resources are available on the web today to utilize and become a content marketing powerhouse.

We listed 10 top blogs that will help make you a content marketing success story! Check them out:

1. Boost Blog Traffic – Notable for his writing on Copyblogger, Jon Morrow provides strategies for improving your writing and boosting blog traffic on his blog, Boost Blog Traffic. Get the inside scoop on the best ways to write content and keep up with your content calendar.

2. Content Marketing Institute – Ready to start 2014 with a strategic content marketing plan? Hop on over to the Content Marketing Institute! You can gain access to world-renowned expert opinions, in addition to in-depth content marketing guides to get started on the right pathway to content marketing.

3. IdeaLaunch Content Marketing Blog – Take your content ideas a step further with IdeaLaunch! This blog publishes top content marketing tips on a regular basis, so don’t let yourself miss a single post.

4. Jeff Bullas Blog – Jeff Bullas is the man with the content marketing plan. His blog gives advice on the practice of powerful blogging as well as tactics to properly market your content.

5. Mari Smith Blog – Learn the tools of the trade to create engaging content from Mari Smith. Her posts will teach you to improve your social content and business growth exponentially.

6. Marketing Interactions Blog – To learn how to direct your content towards businesses, read the Marketing Interactions blog. Ardath Albee gives us content strategies and B2B lessons through insightful posts.

7. Post Advertising – Open your mind to the stories advertising tells us when you read the Post-Advertising blog. Learn how big brands tell their stories so you can apply the practices to your own business.

8. Sparksheet – Want good ideas about content writing, marketing, and social media? Get on over to Sparksheet, an online magazine that goes into detail on how brands are utilizing content marketing to reach new audiences.

9. Vertical Measures – Improve your search engine rankings and online presence with the Vertical Measures blog! Read weekly articles including well written roundups on the top links, search engine tips, and content marketing advice.

10. Web Ink Now – If you want content and social media marketing advice from one of the best marketers, learn from David Meerman Scott’s blog, Web Ink Now. Read his writing that covers current events, digital sales methods, and social media trends.

Which content marketing blogs do you recommend? List your top picks in the comments section below.

Top 5 Local SEO News Stories from 2013

2013 was one of the best years for local SEO. More businesses took the time to optimize their sites for Google local search capabilities. Social media networks, like Google Plus and Pinterest, integrated local features to increase small businesses’ local visibility.

Moreover, this is just the beginning of what’s to come for your local presence in 2014!

We saw some excellent local marketing stories in the last year, and we think it’s appropriate to point out some of the top exciting posts to bring back into the fold.

Here are our 2013 first draft picks!

1. Foursquare Introduces Ads For Small Businesses

Foursquare has had its fair share of criticisms from the tech community, mainly centered around struggling to make profits. The company’s latest effort in getting business to pay for its service are Foursquare Ads for Small Business. Will this the defining moment Foursquare’s history, or is this the final nail in the coffin? Only time will tell.

2. Pinterest Moves Into Travel After Launching New Tools to Help Users Plan Trips

Pinterest moves into the local business niche with its latest product, Pinterest Place Pins. While it gives consumers the ability to mark travel destinations and find highlights of exotic locales, this is also a chance for local businesses to market themselves in a new way. Hats off to the folks at Pinterest for recognizing this underserved niche of the market.

3.  Did Hummingbird Just Kill Your Local SEO?

Google Hummingbird pulls off the big Google search update of the year, which had marketers up in arms about keyword data. Of course, this update affected local SEO, but not as bad as most people instinctively thought. Despite detailed keyword data no longer being provided, local business are given the chance to augment their visibility for humanized search syntax.

4. Google Unveils New Local Search Results Display

Google drove drastic changes to its local search results display with the introduction of image carousels. Including this update directly in SERPs gave customers another parameter to judge businesses. In terms of leveling the playing field, Google’s image carousel is a huge step forward, allowing businesses the opportunity to attract additional customers.

5. Meet the New Google Maps

Finally, the Google Maps we know and love gets a stylish new upgrade. Google aims to create a map platform for every person and place and Google’s goal with this map update was to provide a dynamic and specific entry for each person. Making the map more immersive and engaging also served to build a deeper connection with the user. Google Maps is a welcome change to one of the best map platforms in the market.

We cannot wait to see what lies ahead in 2014 for local SEO! For now, let’s bid 2013 a fond farewell!

Our top five local SEO news stories from 2013 are described above. What were some of your favorite memories of the year past? Keep us posted in the comments below!

Send a Company Newsletter in 10 Simple Steps

In the New Year, email marketing is one of the best channels to reach paying customers and direct them to your products and services. Think of a newsletter as an opportunity to talk directly to your customers, who are bombarded by hundreds of adverts a day. Once you reach your audience, you are halfway to the big purchase, click-through, or social share.

To help you conquer the email marketing processing in 2014, we created 10 simple steps to sending your first company newsletter. We are sure your business will gain much value this list:

1. Pinpoint the purpose of your email newsletter.

All newsletters have an intention. Do you want to increase your subscriber base or to create an entirely new one? Are you trying to sell your company product or send valuable content to new coustomers? Whatever the purpose of your emails, the text should be concrete, lest your readers get confused on what you’re sending them.

2. Brainstorm content ideas.   

It is important to put a lot of time into what sort of content you think your readers enjoy. Think about which pieces of previous content resonated the most and conjure ideas from them. Write out as many ideas as necessary until you come upon a topic that looks promising.

3. Do your research.   

It’s one thing to brainstorm, but it’s another to do your own research. Look at what competitors are doing to satiate their audiences. Inquire about trends in the market about where your industry is heading. Ask your audience what they like to read about.

4. Decide upon a reliable email marketing application.

Many email applications offer low cost options, such as MailChimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact. They each provide pros and cons, so be sure to give each a proper assessment before making a commitment.

5. Choose an attractive email template.

In 2014, there are no excuses to publish poorly designed email content. Decide on a template that fits your brand and content.

6. Import your current email list.

If your business already owns a solid list of subscribers, import them into your new email subscription client. You do not need to transfer them all at once; sign up a fraction of the list to gauge interest.

7. Add a clear call-to-action.

Once your content is completely written for your newsletter, place clear calls-to-action where necessary. These call-to-actions can be links to blog posts, product pages, coupons, etc. as long as they coincide with your newsletter’s purpose.

8. Give your subscribers the ability to opt out.

As an important standard practice in nearly all email newsletters, give your subscribers the option to leave the list. This is not a call-to-action. Instead, it is an essential link that will direct the reader to a page where he or she can unsubscribe if they so choose.

9. Review and edit your email copy.

Examine your work, and make sure it is in tip-top shape. Are there any grammatical errors or misspelled words? Are your opening line and email subject bold enough to capture attention? Will the content create social shares, and is the call-to-action noticeable? It will not hurt to be cautious on every front and ask team members for help.

10. Send out your company newsletter on a regular basis.

Congratulations, you successfully sent out your first company email newsletter. Now keep it up! Send it out weekly, monthly, or even bi-monthly. Just remember that the newsletter should be of equal or higher quality than the content you normally provide. Make the work count and consistently add value to make it worth subscribing to.

How do you send your company newsletters? If you have some tips you’d like to share on email marketing for 2014, let us know in the comments below!