Tag Archive | "Online Marketers"

Better Use of Social Media

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Better Use of Social Media


We all know that social media use is very important to promote a business online. In fact, the majority of businesses, both large and small, now have a social media presence. But there are a few things that you should know if you want to make the most out of your social media marketing efforts. Here are a few tips that are used by some of the leading online marketers:

 

  • Understand Your Audience and What They are Looking For

 

Having an understanding of who will read your social media pages will allow you to tailor your overall marketing strategy to their needs. For example, if you want to get maximum response to your new posts, you should time them correctly. If the majority of your readers will be working between 9 to 5, for example, making new posts during these hours will not get you as much readership as you want, as by the time the user gets home and logs into his Facebook account, your update will probably be buried under a dozen others on their news feed.

 

You should also consider what your audience is looking for when they visit a company’s social media page. Some may be motivated by discounts and saving as much money as possible on their next purchase. Others may be looking for the latest and most innovative products in your niche without too much regard as to how much they cost. Then, there are readers who also want to be informed about some of the happenings in your industry without feeling that they’re constantly being marketed to and enticed to buy something from you.

 

  • Encourage User Participation and Feedback

 

Remember that social media pages allow two-way communication and aren’t just a “billboard” for you to promote your products. Encourage your users to talk to you on your page, by asking them what type of content they would find useful, or what they think of a certain post. This will help capture people’s attention and keep them engaged. You may also get some good ideas on what you would want to post on your page in the future.

 

If you want to know a bit more of what your users think, consider creating a poll or short survey and post it on your page. Ask users what they think of a certain piece of niche related news, how they use products they’ve bought from you, how they like to shop online, etc. While this may not be the most scientifically correct way of gathering market research data, it can give you some ideas on what you can do to improve your business overall.

 

  • Get Everyone Involved

 

Should all your staff be involved in your social media efforts, or should you have a dedicated team to manage your pages? Actually, it’s best if everyone was involved at some level. Tomorrow we will see how everyone in your business can participate to improve your social media presence.

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Google May Still be on Top – But Don’t Forget Bing

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Google May Still be on Top – But Don’t Forget Bing


Everyone that has used a computer in the last decade will have heard of Google search. There are many articles talking about how Google is number one in the search market and how it’s expected to keep it’s place as King of Search for a long, long time. Obviously, any potential competitors will be facing an uphill battle if they want to create a better search engine than them. Many online marketers and business owners believe that if you want to be successful online, you need to optimize everything about your site so that it’s easy to find on Google. While this is definitely true, one fact that is often overlooked, even by some of the SEO experts, is that Google isn’t the only game in town.

 

There have been some market share numbers released a few weeks ago by Compete and comScore. Google may be popular in search, but what may be surprising to some is that it doesn’t have 99% of the search market cornered as many would want you to think. In fact, Google has approximately 67% of search market share. The rest is spread mainly among Yahoo! And Bing.

 

Yahoo has experienced many problems recently in keeping it’s search engine attractive to web surfers and the recent studies show that their market share dropped to around 14% of all search queries. Bing, on the other hand is growing and is getting more use as of the last months. In fact, 20% of all web searches are now being done on Bing.

 

What does this mean to you, as an online marketer? First, you need to accept the fact that not everyone will be using Google when they perform queries online. The reasons for this are too many to name here and are themselves open to debate and speculation. But the fact remains: Bing can bring you the targeted traffic that you’re looking for on your website. Less than Google, sure, but at approximately 20% of all web searches, it can still deliver a good chunk to you if you know how to take full advantage of it.

 

One thing that you can do is learn more about SEO and specifically how it relates to Bing. While the basic principles are essentially the same, there are certain on and off site factors that you can tinker around with that will help you get better SERPs on Bing, without compromising your current position on Google. In fact, it has been shown that getting your site to move up in Bing’s rankings can often be a lot simpler than on Google.

 

We all know that Bing isn’t too likely to take away a large portion of Google’s market share anytime soon. But with 20% of all searches and growing, it remains a big player in the online world and should not be ignored by marketers that are trying to get the most traffic possible from search engines.

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Smartphone Searches Much More Likely to Convert

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Smartphone Searches Much More Likely to Convert


Smartphone usage has been seen in different ways by marketers all around the world. As an ever increasing number of consumers now use the internet on a mobile device, this naturally brings in more opportunities that a a lot of online marketers have been nothing but happy to take advantage of. But for some, learning to market to mobile users has been a bit complicated. It’s true that mobile users share many similarities to those on PCs, in fact most consumers that have a smartphone also use the internet on a regular PC. But the way that marketing should be done, as well as the expected results are quite different.

 

One thing that marketers have often questioned themselves about is whether mobile ads have a higher conversion rate than ads geared towards PC users. The answer, of course, will vary depending on the niche of your website and the marketing channels that you are using. But as a general rule, mobile ads will bring a higher conversion rate, especially in the select industries of dining, auto and travel.

 

In fact, the numbers are in from a Nielsen Panel that surveyed over 6000 smartphone users. The conversion rates may look surprising to a few. Results show that 85% of searches for dining, 51% of automotive searches and 46% of travel related searches result in a purchase made the very same day. This is a simple fact that marketers should not ignore if they want to experience success. Smartphone users are more likely to be “ready to buy”, while PC users may be unsure or still in the “comparison shopping” phase.

 

It doesn’t take a marketing expert to figure out why. People use their smartphone quite often when they need to find something quickly and don’t have the time to do intense research. They’re searching for a product that will fill a need and when they find it, they’re quite likely to buy it if the attributes of that product and the price range is acceptable to them.

 

Take someone who is traveling to a city they’ve never been to before. They’re sitting in their hotel room and are wondering which restaurants are nearby. They do a search for a type of restaurant that they would want to eat at. They then see a list of results. It is quite likely that they would just look at the pages of one, two, maybe three restaurants before heading out and getting their food.

 

For automotive, many users who do a search need to find a replacement car part quickly. With travel, it’s quite possible that the user needs to travel urgently to their destination and are looking to find transportation that will get them there, whether it’s by bus, train or air.

 

But how do marketers ensure that they’re able to capture the attention of those mobile searchers and make the sales that they need to keep their business going? It’s actually quite simple, but may demand some adjustments for certain marketers. Tomorrow we will take a look at a few techniques that can be employed to increase success.

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Social Media Site Satisfaction: What About Google + ?

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Social Media Site Satisfaction: What About Google + ?


Previously, we’ve looked at the American Customer Satisfaction Index details for social networking giant Facebook. The conclusion is that even if it is the most widely used social networking service currently online, this doesn’t mean that its users love the service, as they have complaints about some areas of it. But still, numbers show that the majority of people who have a Facebook account aren’t planning on closing it or moving their main social activities to another network, mainly because there isn’t any serious competition… yet.

 

But what about Google + ? The social network from Google has seen its share of controversy and many would argue that they were off to a rather rocky start. Whether or not marketers should use Google + at all has been a topic of rather intense debate around online marketing circles, but right now it has finally been settled. Small business owners and online marketers seem to agree that presence on Google + has a lot of advantages that outweigh the negative issues about the service, most notably better exposure to consumers in certain markets, as well as the potential for better results in SEO, as this is after all a Google service and Google is the biggest search engine.

 

Now that we know how marketers perceive the service, why don’t we find out how the individual users liked it? The results would surprise many. On the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Google + got the best grade out of all the networks. It beat Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linked In by a relatively wide margin. Google + got a score of 78. Pinterest got 68, Twitter got 64, Linked In 63 and Facebook 61. The Index measures responses from customers of these networks based on various user experience factors. Google’s score shows quite a few things;

 

First, it’s obviously not perfect, but at least it’s much better than the competition and surprisingly a whole lot better than Facebook. Since individual consumers seem to love Google +, marketers need to immediately take this into consideration and take appropriate action. For those who haven’t yet joined the service, it just takes a few minutes to set up an account for your business. There is very little for you to lose and a whole lot to gain. Setting up a basic profile, with details and maybe a few pictures can be done in less than 15 minutes. For those who have an account, but it’s mainly just a placeholder, now would be the time to get things going on Google +. Upload some more content. Put up a few posts, or maybe photos related to your business. Share links and articles that are relevant to your industry. Remember, it doesn’t have to be completely new stuff, all you need to do is to link to content already on your site if you want to.

 

But what makes Google + so well received in the public opinion? We will take a more detailed look tomorrow.

 

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Some Data on Email Open Rates

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Some Data on Email Open Rates


Are you wondering how many emails sent by marketers are actually opened and read, at least in part, by their intended recipients? Many online marketers and small business owners are actually asking themselves the same questions. We all know that email marketing is a powerful way to reach clients and potential clients in an effort to get them to generate more revenue for an online business. But emails are only useful if they are actually opened by the recipient. Otherwise, they simply rot in the recipient’s email box or end up getting deleted.

 

There are many reasons as to why an email doesn’t get opened. It could be because the recipient didn’t like the subject line and didn’t feel like reading the message. Or, they already get too many emails and don’t really have the time to pay individual attention to each of them. Then, there is another possibility, that the recipient created an email that’s just used when signing up for websites and is not their main email. They don’t really check it that often, sometimes emails go for months without even being looked at, as the user doesn’t receive any personal or important mails at that address.

 

But are more consumers opening their emails? A study recently done by Return Path gives a few details of this. During the period from March 2011 to March 2012, email opens have actually gone up. There is an increase of 82.40% of email opens during this period. Obviously, this is welcome news for marketers who want their message to be seen by their audience.

 

But one thing that should be noted is that mobile devices, such as smart phones, have accounted for 30% of all email opens during this period. A more detailed breakdown shows that all Apple devices, like the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad represented 85% of all email messages that were opened. Furthermore, email opens done on mobile devices were more likely to be done by users on weekends. For regular PC (laptop and desktop), the opens usually happened during the weekdays.

 

This is a useful piece of data for email marketers. An ever increasing number of internet users browse the web through a mobile device like a tablet or smart phone. Since Apple device users have a higher open rate than others, it would be beneficial for marketers to more aggressively promote their email lists to these users. On your mobile site, you can make sure that the email subscription option is featured more prominently. Perhaps there could be a certain incentive that you could give to mobile users so that they become more likely to open messages that come from your business. And since messages are more likely to be accessed during the weekend by these users, it would only be logical that you send out your more important emails to mobile users on Saturday or Sunday. This is where properly segmenting your email list by device type used could be very important as it will let you get more exposure for your messages.

 

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Creating Email Messages That Convert: Some Important Advice

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Creating Email Messages That Convert: Some Important Advice


Email marketing is one of the best ways for online marketers to get people to buy their products. But in order for them to be a truly effective marketing tool, they need to be used correctly. The first thing you need to think about is the email message itself. Here are some basic tips that will help you create messages that convert much better than before.

 

  • A Good Headline is a MUST!

 

We’re in 2012. People tend to get dozens of email messages a day. Some of them are personal emails from friends and family members. Others are business related messages. Then there’s notifications sent out by social media sites, etc. Finally, we have commercial email messages that come from mailing lists that the user has subscribed to.

 

The first obstacle to getting your email to convert is actually getting the user to open your message. For this, you need to make a good first impression by creating a headline (email subject) that will engage the user and make them open the message to read more.

 

Try to understand your target customers. What would make them want to read your email? What kind of wording would draw their attention? You can try to get the recipient to guess the content of your email based on the subject header. Or, ask them a question in it. But no matter what you do, don’t use subject lines that are misleading and unrelated to the actual content. While you may think this is clever, it’s not a good strategy. First, you will trip up spam filters, which have gotten far more advanced in the last few years. If your subject keywords are completely unrelated to the text in your message, there is a high chance the message ends up in the “junk” folder. Second, and even worse, is that you risk irritating the recipient. What this means is that they will either unsubscribe from your list, or simply stop paying attention to your future messages, thinking that you’re just trying to trick them again.

 

  • Take Advantage of Message Preview Snippets

 

Depending on which email service your recipient uses, they may be able to see the first sentences of your message next to the subject line, or by mousing over the message when it’s in their inbox. Naturally, you will want to take advantage of this. Don’t start off your email with your address, phone number, or the classic “Can’t see the message? Click here”. This doesn’t give the user any information on what is inside.

 

Instead, create a catchy title that will serve as the headline of the email message itself. It shouldn’t be your email subject rewritten in different words. Rather, it should provide the reader with a bit more information on what you’re going to be talking to them about in your message. This may convince someone to open your message even if your subject didn’t really do the trick for them.

 

 

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Creating Email Messages That Convert: The Basics

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Creating Email Messages That Convert: The Basics


When you use email marketing, remember that what you’re doing is talking to your reader. Sure, it may not be a live conversation like on the phone or by instant messenger. And depending on how many people you got on your list, your message could end up being read by anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand subscribers. Even if email marketing is essentially a mass mailing, you still need to keep the reader engaged and make them feel like you’re writing to them one on one. Think about how sales copies are written. They make the reader feel like the author is talking directly to them and forget the fact that there are thousands of other people who are reading the same message.

 

It is a well known fact that email messages convert well. Once the reader clicks that link and goes to your website, you get a better chance of them making a purchase, or taking any other action that you would want them to take, such as filling out a form to get a quote, or booking an appointment. Studies have shown that email marketing has better conversion rates than other forms of online advertising, such as pay per click ads on search engines or display ads on websites.

 

But this doesn’t mean that email just causes products to “sell themselves” no matter what some of the gurus will try to tell you. Yes, there is a higher chance that someone who ends up clicking on your link will buy from you. But in the first place, you need to get them to open your message, read it and then take the desired action.

 

Now this is the tricky part and this is also where many online marketers have the most difficulty. They may have a subscriber list of a respectable size. Sometimes, it can have thousands of subscribers who are interested in the niche. They send email after email, but the results simply aren’t there. Is it that their product is just not good enough, or the landing page wasn’t optimized properly to deliver maximum conversions? Perhaps. But one of the main reasons why email campaigns fail is simply because of the email messages themselves.

 

You need to convince people to open your message, pay attention to it and then take action. This, of course, is easier said then done. Your users may have subscribed to plenty of other email lists, so they will not take several minutes to attentively read each message and then decide whether they want to continue on to your site or not.

 

There are lots of resources out there on how to write good messages when you market your business by email. They provide a lot of detailed information on the topic and many of these guides are available for free. But there are some basics that you need to understand before you do anything else. Tomorrow we will take a look at some of the most basic tricks in getting your email campaigns to work.

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Making Your Site Mobile Friendly: Some More Options

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Making Your Site Mobile Friendly: Some More Options


Previously, we’ve taken a look at how making your site more “mobile friendly” is not only necessary in today’s world, but also relatively simple to do. Webmasters and online marketers have many options available to them when they want to create a website that will display well on mobile phones, such as the Apple iPhone and Android based devices.

 

We’ve seen that it is relatively simple to build a mobile site from the ground up, by using a content management system such as WordPress or by using a free site publishing service such as Google Pages or the Tumblr blogging system. Of course, there is always the option of building an HTML website without using a CMS and just ensuring that it will display well on mobile devices.

 

But what about webmasters that already have a website up and want to transform it so that it’s mobile friendly? There are a few options for that.

 

If your site is an e-commerce website, then you should do a bit of research on the shopping cart solution that you’re using right now to see if it supports mobile websites. Many shopping cart systems can let you easily take your existing site and transform it into a mobile version, either right out of the box or through the use of a plugin. Accessing the community help forums dedicated to your e-commerce system may provide you with some good help and advice.

 

If your site is based on a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, then you will probably have it easy. You can use some of the plugins mentioned in yesterday’s post to instantly make your website mobile compatible. Again, if you want to ensure that everything will work right, all three of the major content management systems have help libraries and community support groups that can provide you with advice, as well as point out any known issues or compatibility problems.

 

In other cases, there are some more solutions available. You can use a third party service that allows you to take content from your existing website and create a separate mobile version of it. If you search around, you will see many such services being advertised online. One of the most popular ones is called Duda Mobile. The advantage of using it is that it has both a free version and a paid one.

 

The free version wouldn’t be recommended for online business due to its limitations. You only get 500 MB of bandwidth per month, plus third party ads will be displayed on your site. The premium version is available for just $9 per month. You get an unlimited amount of pages, unlimited bandwidth, no ads, plus access to technical support by email.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options available out there for webmasters who want to have a mobile version of their site up and running. By spending a little bit of time and money to accomplish this, you can greatly increase the profitability of your site in the long term, as an ever increasing number of internet users are browsing through a mobile phone.

 

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Taking Full Advantage of Mobile Traffic

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Taking Full Advantage of Mobile Traffic


It is a fact that the devices that we use to access the internet have changed. Of course, the regular PC, desktop or laptop, is still the main way for the world’s internet users to get online. But the PC is rapidly losing “market share” to mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Now that the Microsoft Surface is making big news and that there is speculation that Apple is going to unveil yet another version of its iPad as an “iPad Mini” with similar features but a smaller form factor, many online marketers are starting to pay attention to the fact that not all their traffic will be coming from PC users. In fact, an ever growing number of website visits are made from other devices, most notably smart phones, followed by tablets. And it’s not just site visits that are made. Visitors are also profitable for site owners because they make purchases. Signing up for services, buying digital goods and even purchasing physical merchandise just like they would on a PC.

One question that comes to mind is what online entrepreneurs should do about it to take better advantage of this new trend and to be among the first to profit from it. There are a few easy tips which a webmaster or online marketer can follow:

The most important thing is ensuring that the websites you own either have a mobile version, or at least are compatible with the common mobile browsers. There are free online services that would allow you to test your site’s compatibility. Remember that if a user can’t get your site to display properly on their device, they will probably do what comes naturally: hit the back button and go somewhere else, which will potentially result in lost sales and revenue for your business.

A second thing would be to understand exactly what mobile platforms are principally used by your users and what these mobile users do on your website. By taking a look at server logs and statistics, you are able to see how many of your visitors come to your website by using a device other than a PC. You can also see which sections of your site they visit the most and what they do on it. Do they mainly browse for information, or are they looking to buy something that you offer? Remember that trends in mobile platforms may change and new types of devices can appear in the future, so it is best if your site is easily compatible with all mobile browsers and not just aimed at a specific one, unless your main niche is specifically aimed at users of a certain platform (i.e. selling accessories and providing information on Android based mobile phones).

There are a few other ways that you can take full advantage of your traffic which comes from mobile devices and to profit from it. We will take a look at some of the ideas you can implement on your site tomorrow.

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Most Consumers Want Marketing Messages by Email

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Most Consumers Want Marketing Messages by Email


There are many online marketers and entrepreneurs who are shunning email marketing, believing that it is ineffective or that consumers perceive any email they receive from a business as a “spam” message and don’t pay attention to it. However, the reality of consumer opinion is quite different from this.

 

According to a survey of 1 500 consumers in the United States related to how they prefer to receive marketing messages, a large percentage, 77%, have said that they prefer to get them by email. There is no close second place, according to the study. Email is still king with US consumers and this doesn’t look like it’s going to change much in the future even as other marketing channels are being developed in the world of online advertising.

 

Here are the numbers for the rest of the marketing methods:

 

  • Direct mail (physical letters, brochures, catalogs…) : 9 %
  • SMS messages : 5 %
  • Facebook : 4 %
  • Phone calls: 2 %
  • Twitter : 1 %
  • Mobile applications for smart phones : 1%
  • LinedIn : Less than 1%

 

In reactions to the survey, many marketers were surprised that social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have scored so low. The explanation is that while consumers will pay attention to the pages of their favorite brands and businesses on social networking sites, this is not the place where they want to receive commercial solicitations. Marketers need to remember that social networking sites were never designed as being a marketing platform in the first place. Rather, they are a place where individuals connect to other people that they care about. Users also like to use social networking sites for their integrated apps and games (horoscope, poker, Farmville, etc). They may check out some commercial pages, but they don’t like it when their news feed is filled with ads.

 

There are some who ask: even if email marketing is well received by consumers, do these people actually take any action in buying something they’ve gotten through email? The numbers say yes.

 

The survey done by Channel Preference has said that 66% of consumers purchased something as a result of a marketing message they’ve received by email. Results from other marketing methods are:

 

  • Direct mail (physical letters, brochures, catalogs…) : 65 %
  • SMS messages : 16 %
  • Facebook : 20 %
  • Phone calls: 24 %
  • Twitter : 6 %
  • Mobile applications for smart phones : 10 %
  • LinedIn : 4 %

 

While email may be the preferred way that consumers use to get communications from businesses, marketers should know that this applies to permission based mailings. Buying contact lists from brokers, even if that information was legally acquired in the first place, is unlikely to yield as good results as sending messages to consumers subscribed to your email list, or including a promotional signature in customer service or order confirmation correspondence.

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Getting Followers to Build Your Online Authority

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Getting Followers to Build Your Online Authority


Previously, we’ve seen how important it is to build social media authority and what benefits it can bring to your online business. Many online marketers are curious to know how they can build up their authority on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The first thing that you need to think about is that authority has to be built over time. For this, you need to create an online presence that is solid and large. Of course, this may sound easy in theory, but in practice, it will demand that you make a lot of efforts.

The first thing that you need to think about is to attract as many people as possible around you. Give them an opportunity to comment on your updates and to share information about you. The more people you get following you, the better. What you post is extremely important, as it will serve to build interest. If you simply post links to a few popular articles that you’ve found on the web, this will not do much to increase the amount of followers. Simply because there are so many people doing it already.

On Twitter, you will want your account to be followed by the most active users. Those are the users which will frequently retweet messages to others. Find out more about the people who are marketing in your niche on Twitter. Look at their followers. See what they comment about and what they retweet.

Getting followers is important, but you will also want people to find out more about your business. Now how do you do this if you’re sometimes sharing third party content? There are some ways around this. If, for example, you found a certain YouTube video to be interesting, instead of linking directly to it, why not create a blog post and embed it? That way, you can give your own opinion on it and allow users to comment on it. Chances are, some of the people who ended up on your site will be curious to see what else is there and keep exploring it.

Encourage your users to share the content you’ve placed on your site. Make sure that you’ve placed some buttons for Twitter, Google + and Facebook on all of your pages. But simply placing the buttons may not be enough to get the full effect. Including a call to action on your page to encourage users to share the content could make a big difference. If you’ve watched YouTube videos lately, you will find many users encourage their viewers to not only subscribe to their channel, but also to follow them on Twitter or Facebook. So if you produce your own YouTube videos and post them on your website or blog, include a call to action in the video itself may serve to increase the number of users sharing your content. Then of course, more people will see it and more could eventually follow you. This is how you build a network of followers by leveraging the power of social networking.

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Google’s Changes Making Marketers Change Strategies

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Google’s Changes Making Marketers Change Strategies


In the past year, there are plenty of internet marketers as well as SEO specialists who have had their business completely turned upside down. Was there some kind of radical change to the way online marketing is now being done? Not quite. The same channels are available (SEO, paid search, on site advertising, email, social media, etc) and they still work in the same basic way. However, it is the world of SEO that has been the most touched lately, with updates that Google has rolled out during this past year.

 

Google’s justification for their changes to their search algorithm is simple: to deliver content that is a lot more relevant and of high quality than every before. The main benefit of this is for the users, who want to be able to find what they’re looking for without too much trouble. Previously, especially when searching for some more obscure keywords that don’t have millions of search results, it wasn’t uncommon for users to find pages listed in search results that were quite irrelevant to what they were looking for. Pages that were simply a collection of (often poorly formatted) advertisements, plus content that looked like it was written by some kind of experimental AI robot in the early stages of development, rather than a human being that actually possesses a working brain.

 

Before the updates that were made recently, called Google Panda and Google Penguin, are now starting to do their effect by cutting down on this phenomenon. Various tricks that were used by online marketers, webmasters and SEO experts, whose goal was to try and outsmart the search engine by highly ranking pages that don’t actually have anything worthwhile that would be deserving of that rank, now are no longer working. Previously, it was possible to create content in barely legible English, put a few links in it with the relevant URL and anchor text, then distribute the content to a network of blogs. Since this has resulted in poor quality search results being delivered to the user, Google has seen as it had no choice but to change the way they do their business.

 

Now the main question that many reading this will have: who will be affected by these changes, to what degree and what they can do about it to stop their website from being dropped down in rankings or severely penalized. Anyone who is building an online business for the long term will know the great importance of having a website that will be well ranked in Google and that can remain there for a long time. Even though most webmasters know that black or gray hat SEO methods only work for short term use, they didn’t hesitate too much to use them. But there are some better ways to get a website to rank well, give the user the material that they were searching for and still lead to profits for everyone involved in the entire online marketing operation.

 

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Some of the Internet Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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Some of the Internet Marketing Mistakes to Avoid


If you use the internet to sell, or promote anything, then there are many useful methods and strategies that you can employ to accomplish whatever you’re trying to do online. Reading about success stories, as well as understanding what successful online marketers do can definitely help you succeed and achieve your goals. However, knowing about some of the mistakes done by other individual marketers and businesses can also be very beneficial, as it will help you understand what should be better avoided. Here are some of the most common mistakes made when using online marketing methods of any kind and how you can avoid them:

  • Not planning or setting goals

This is a mistake commonly done by those new to the online marketing world. They simply go in, without any direction or any idea of what they want to accomplish, and most importantly how they will accomplish this. Before you get started, draft a plan, in which you put down in writing what you want to do online, what goals you hope to accomplish and by when, as well as the methods that you hope to use to accomplish these same goals. Remember, your plan can be changed at any time in the future. But it’s important to have a basic framework in place, whether you’re starting a new business, or are now using the internet to promote one that has already been in operation for decades.

  • Disregarding the competition

Large companies have an entire staff, plus million dollar budgets dedicated to following what their competitors are doing and finding solutions on how they can offer something better to their targeted market. While you may not have the same resources available to you, this doesn’t mean that you should simply go about your business without paying any regard to your competition. Take some time to see who the competitors in your niche are, what products they offer and at what prices, how their business operates and which online marketing methods they are currently using. This will help you stay one step ahead of the competition and develop strategies to make your business more attractive to people who are looking for it on the internet.

  • Lack of involvement in the whole marketing process

Many small business owners simply outsource their some or online marketing to a third party, such as an agency or individual, then just leave them to “do what they have to do”. While there are many competent agencies and individuals that can help you with specific areas of online marketing, such as SEO work, you’re still much better off being involved in the process yourself. This will allow you to monitor your progress, see if any new opportunities arise and make adjustments to your overall marketing strategy. Remember, nobody knows your business better than you do, so don’t be afraid to learn more about how online marketing works yourself, rather than leaving everything in the hands of outsiders, no matter how competent they may seem or the results they’ve given you in the past.

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Online Business and Privacy Risks

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Online Business and Privacy Risks


When it comes to doing business online as an online entrepreneur of any kind (e-commerce site owner, niche site operator, affiliate marketer, etc.) there are some people who have concerns about the privacy and security of their personal information. Of course, there are plenty of online marketers who don’t care too much and actually enjoy sharing the details of their personal life on their marketing related blogs, by plastering pictures of themselves, their family vacation, their pets, their cars (or assorted vehicles that they’re proud of: motorcycles, private airplanes and homemade helicopters, etc).

However, some others may not want to be too open about it and it doesn’t mean that they’re scammers or using unethical marketing methods. Signing up to various online services such as affiliate programs, domain registration, web hosting, etc. often requires sharing personal information in addition to payment and banking details. Unless you use WHOIS Privacy when purchasing a domain, your information (name, address, email, phone) will be visible to anyone that runs a query on a WHOIS search site, plus some WHOIS data aggregators actually make this even simpler, all someone would have to do is to Google the name of your site, or just Google your name and they would usually be able to locate some, if not all of the domains that were registered with your name.

Now some may ask: what is the problem? All legitimate online businesses have a privacy policy, so if you’re not doing anything shady, why hide? There are a couple of perfectly legitimate reasons as to why one may be concerned. Anybody following the news would see that there have been some rather spectacular security breaches in the past few months that targeted several companies that did business online, including, ironically enough, a security consulting firm.

Even though they may have a strongly worded privacy policy (which is often nothing more than a generic “fill in the blanks” template), many small online businesses such as start up affiliate networks or service providers may not have too strong standards of security. Furthermore, you need to remember that when a company you were dealing with goes out of business, their data doesn’t just magically vanish and you don’t really know where it could end up at that point.

There are other perfectly valid reasons to keep online business activities private. Some people who work at a day job may not want their employers to know that they’re running a side business. Webmasters who are involved in building and promoting adult oriented website may not want the entire world to know what kind of online ventures they’re involved with simply by doing a Google search of their name.

With all of this considered, there are some good methods to preserve some privacy and anonymity even as an online entrepreneur. We will see some good strategies on how you can do, no matter what kind of online business your run, in tomorrow’s post.

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