Yesterday, Twitter began testing a new 280-character count in select languages in an effort for users to become more expressive. In a post from Twitter’s blog, Aliza Rosen articulated that the Twitter company wants users to express themselves without limitations. “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese. Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!”1 Continue reading nt-violetta

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Overview of why online marketing is best for new businesses

Business marketing has many methods of working, depending on the goals of the business. It’s a way to let people know about a business and what products or services are offered. A popular and most often used form of marketing includes traditional, offline marketing, which is a method that a lot of new businesses start off with before they move to online marketing. However, there are a lot of businesses that only do online marketing and are very successful at it. It allows new businesses to get into marketing quicker and compete effectively with other businesses in its industry. Young companies also gain a marketing advantage because it can penetrate some of the same markets as larger, older businesses by using the same or similar online tools and software. Overall, it is the most effective form of advertising and one that is the best solution, especially for new businesses.

Online marketing is an efficient and productive way to cull a branding image and online position. Creating a brand can is more than designing a logo, creating a slogan, using certain images or colors that all go towards the company’s “look.” These different methods that businesses use online makes it ideal because it’s quicker, more effective, more cost efficient and much easier to adapt to as compared to other methods.

Technology has advanced to a level where most all businesses are expected to have a website or an online presence of some sort. This is essential for profitability because consumers now look for and expect businesses to have some sort of web presence. This is especially critical for e-commerce and some types of service businesses because consumers like to compare before they purchase. Companies who do not have a presence often lose out on potential business to other competitors in the same industry. The majority of online buyers need and want to have a comfort level with a business before they buy. Because it is so easy and affordable today to have a website presence, every new business should take steps to create one and make its presence known in its industry.

Online marketing provides new and existing businesses with a way to offer stellar customer support. With traditional offline businesses, this can be a challenge. But online marketing allows 24/7 services because technology creates that availability. Business owners or staffers can respond to customers almost immediately, versus long response times. With email and online chat features, any business can be more effective with its service offering. Customer retention increases and so does profitability.

Online marketing also provides a way to make information easily accessible for clients. Technological capabilities allow customers to find out information about the business, find product related content and updates and company changes. Depending on the business and the type of customer base, customers like to research and read about a product or service before they purchase. They will depend heavily on the information provided on a business’ website before they make a selection.

New businesses benefit from an online marketing presence because it provides an ideal solution for doing business. Just like with customer support solutions, prospective customers access the business via the business’ web presence. Proper and effective marketing a storefront business creates a way to increase the customer base and provide quicker customer sales. This is much more advantageous than a traditional brick and mortar business and usually more profitable. Customers also enjoy the convenience of surfing and shopping and making their selections or requesting more information that they can read at their convenience.

Online businesses can design, build and grow any business effectively and profitably with the right tools and design. The economy is leaning heavily towards online businesses because of customer’s preferences and convenience. Online marketing makes it easy for customer’s to find information and  verify a business before doing business with it.

For more information on how to promote your business online, please contact the internet marketing experts at BMGcreative.

 

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9 ways to market your business online & BMGcreative Logo

There are many methods use to market online. Some are more compatible than others depending on the business, what is offered and how the method is utilized. The online landscape is exceptionally large and any online business can use more than one method to bring traffic and exposure to its online doors. Listed are nine ways to market your business online to bring maximum results.

1. Local Listings and Classifieds

The online marketing environment encompasses a wealth of untapped potential for local businesses. Local listing advertising is a powerful but highly under-utilized marketing method by many new businesses that may not understand how best to attract local clients.

Businesses that wish to delve into advertising through local listings should first ensure that the website is optimized by using specific keywords relative to the business. This helps customers find local businesses when they’re searching for specific products or services. Make this action more effective by placing your local street address and business phone number on the landing page(s), content pages and each internal page of your website.

2. Search Ads

Businesses use search advertising for customers to find them in the search engines or within specific web pages. Search ads can be modified to target particular demographics or specific consumer interests. The type of advertising most utilized, search ads can be targeted to specific groups, products, locations or topics. Using search advertising is highly profitable and can include paid or free campaigns for efficacy.

Businesses use search ads to attract consumers with specific buying interests by using targeted key words in its marketing campaigns. When consumers launch specific searches, they are returned a list of relevant businesses. To make full use of this type of marketing, businesses should focus on advertising through the search engines and culling rich content that will draw traffic to the website.

3. Contextual Advertising

The online consumer drives contextual advertising by providing the template that businesses use to pitch products or services. By using the information gathered through online search results, businesses can create specific marketing campaigns targeted at what the user is seeking. Search engines gather this user information that relates to specific search topics or products. The consumer drives this search because the engine is tracking particular keyword(s) and terms.

To maximize the potential in contextual advertising, businesses should design ad campaigns that center around specific search terms. To broaden marketing appeal to a specific demographic of consumers, ad campaigns should include a range of media advertising methods that include video, text and graphics.

4. Geotargeting

Businesses can further maximize their marketing methods by utilizing geotargeting, a method of sending specific messages to consumers by using the GPS location devices on smartphones and mobile devices. This type of location-based target marketing is used successfully by businesses that provide specific products or services or businesses that want to market to consumers in specific locations.

Geotargeting finds customers based on their location and funnels specific marketing content to them through various channels that can include online ads, video marketing or content-based marketing. It can include both organic and paid methods, depending on business goals and budgets.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has been a popular marketing method for quite some time. It is rising quickly in popularity and businesses are starting to use this method to market online and draw more traffic to business sites.

To make social media marketing successful and flow easily, businesses should employ a social media manager software or tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. This will assist in a myriad of tasks like managing social accounts, scheduling posts or tweets and creating cohesion across all social media platforms.

Through this style of marketing, it is easy to connect with your audience, whether those are buyers, clients or readers. Establishing a connection is usually done through friend requests, requests to join groups, interacting on pages or live forums or even having others follow your business on social platforms. After connecting, businesses should start interacting through blog posts, articles, video marketing or through a Q&A dialogue.

6. Organic Content vs. Paid

The biggest difference in organic content from paid content is how and at what speed customers arrive at your site.

While consumers may land on your site via search engines through organic content, paid content increases the chance that your content will appear on the first or second page of the SERPs. Organic content can also land on the first or second pages, but it will take longer and more work (building content, keyword focus, etc.). The question then becomes, how quickly do you want your business to appear on the top pages.

Paid content results will end when the ad expires. Organic results will continue because it has no dependency on advertising results.

7. Display Advertising::: Affiliate Marketing/Cross Promotion

Display advertising represents different formats that can include text, images, video or audio. Its main goal is to deliver the advertisement and content to site visitors. It’s important to use display advertising within context and couple it with methods that are conducive to the business.

Businesses can use cross promotion activities to promote or highlight a particular product or service. Businesses use cross promoting methods that highlight other products and increase potential sales. As an example, this may include highlighting a study guide that complements or pairs with a textbook for sale.

Affiliate marketing is a method that benefits the affiliate marketer and the brand. When the affiliate promotes the brand’s product, he earns a commission. Online businesses will find this method easy to implement because it’s simply getting affiliates to market and promote your products to target markets.

8. Online Videos

If videos aren’t already a part of your online marketing strategy, they should be. Videos are not only a great way to engage a customer. Depending on your business you may want to create videos that convey a message to your future customers reminding them why they want to engage your business or shop at your store. If you’re selling products online, product demonstration videos may be helpful to consumers as well.

Online videos are also a useful tool for search engine optimization. Typically videos that are viewed often and well-rated will rank higher than blog posts. The key to success with online videos is creating videos that are engaging and fun to watch while portraying the image that your brand represents.

9. Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is growing very rapidly as consumers are using their smartphones more to shop, find deals or discounts, and connect. Businesses can capitalize on this growth by implementing mobile marketing in its online campaigns.

To reach more potential customers, ensure that there is a business presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, among others. The business website should be continually updated and optimized for mobile marketing, making it easier to connect with your customers without having issues.

You can use mobile marketing to build and grow your email list as well. By using applications that integrate with your business email marketing program, you can capture email addresses (with permission) and create marketing messages to target your audience and specific demographics.

 

There are numerous options for promoting and marketing your business online. Each of these methods may not apply to every business model; however, it is reasonable to expect that application of a few them can yield profitable results. Some of them may require adjustments to fit your business model. Simply test each one that seems applicable to your business and develop the online marketing plan that is most successful.

To learn more about how to market your business online, contact the marketing experts at BMGcreative for more information.

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Content CreationContent creation is one of the biggest hurdles small business owners face with their marketing strategies. Having timely content creation is critical to make sure the rest of your online marketing efforts are paying off.

Studies have shown that 61% of marketers struggle to create content because it takes too long to create. Of those, only 44% have any kind of content marketing strategy in place.

Creating a calendar and setting up a schedule a month in advance will help you avoid falling behind. It takes just a few minutes to create a calendar and plan a month’s worth of posts. Once you know what you’ll be writing about, you can work on posts in a logical order and you’ll already know what you will be writing about. That will save time in brainstorming, and you can focus on writing about what you know.

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social-media-marketingEven if you’ve been living in an unconnected world – or under a rock – you’ve heard about social media. You know as a website owner the importance of having a presence in or on social media. You know that it’s critical to the success of your online business.

You’re just not entirely sure why.

The buzz the last several years has been all about social media. Every small business owner has probably asked the question “why is it important?”

The answers that you get will vary as widely as SEO providers that you ask. Most of them present vague responses that don’t tell you much that you didn’t already know. “You need to interact.” or “it’s important to be visible.”

You know that. We all know that. The question is why? What is a social media site and what does it mean to you?

Social media sites include such sites and services as Google +1, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and sites like Instagram and others. As you might expect, your use of the “big Five” in social media is going to net you more traffic and more notice. It will undoubtedly help you to rank better.

What’s the Skinny on Social Media?

Social media is not about connections or trends or interaction. Those things matter in business, but only so far as they play into how you are ranking, how you are selling and how your business is growing. The interaction and the social signals are helping to provide your growth. Social media–to pin it down–is about better ranking leading to better sales and better profits.

Google sees those retweets and the likes and the plus+1s as a vote for your site, in much the same way that the old inbound link was seen as a vote for your site or your product in traditional SEO.

That traditional SEO, while necessary, is getting a lot more difficult to accomplish. Social SEO is a little easier and may actually net you just as much good from it as traditional SEO.

Social media is nothing more than another measurable facet of SEO. It is a means to get your site more visibility, more ranking and more conversions. You’re probably reading about social signals, but what makes them important to you and your business, how can they help you and why should you spend your time getting some?

What are Social Signals?

In the old days, a ranking method was the inbound link to your site. While those still hold some minor importance, the fact is that their clout has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Today, it’s all about who’s talking about you on social media. Google – and to a smaller extent the other search engines, see your social media interaction, the mention of your site, your url or your business as a vote for you and your company. The more that you’re talked about in social media, the more clout they perceive you to have and the more your site is boosted.

It’s not all about how many times you’re seen in social media, although to some extent that matters too since they aren’t going to be talking about you if you’re not visible, it’s more about other people discussing your company.

Those social signals, those recommendations for your company and your products and services are perceived to be a “vote” as it were, for the things that you have to offer. That’s what a social signal is.

Why Should you Care About Social Signals in your Business?

Whether you’re a large or small business, social signals matter to you. What makes them important? In fact, in the long haul, the reason that you care about social signals is for the traffic and the notice that they can give to your website and the boost they can give to your business. Google is noticing. That means you need to be noticing too and doing so in a big way.

Your social media SEO is unique from traditional SEO. Social signals involve something more than a mere algorithm that you need to impress, though they do play into that algorithm. You have to impress real people – get them to like and to tweet and to pin your content and your products and/or services.

That means creating great content and sending it out to the users on your social media. That’s where social signals begin. How do you know if they are working?

How Can You Monitor Social Signals?

Getting good quality traffic to your website is imperative. How do you track your social signals and make sure that they are doing what you want them to accomplish? If you have various social media accounts that you are using, you are probably getting social signals out there. If your business pages are getting “Likes” or “retweets” or pins then there’s no doubt that you are already creating social signals. The question is how do you track them to prove what they are or are not doing? If you’re using Google analytics, you’ve already got the means to track your social signals in place.

Why do you need to track social signals?

It’s important that you know which one of the social services that you’re using is bringing high quality, well targeted organic traffic to your website.

The popular way to track your social metrics without having a specialty – and often expensive – method to do so is to use your Google analytics tool.

Analysis of your social data can be incredibly complicated when you’re trying to do it by hand. Using something like your analytics tools from Google facilitates the process and makes it easier.

In your Google Analytics you’re going to see a social sources metric. That will allow you to identify the traffic that is coming to your site from different social sources. It will help you to determine which of your social media sites are doing the best work for you.

Take careful note of what content is the best viewed and the most often clicked and you’ll be able to reinforce that by adding more content that is related or is like-minded to keep that traffic moving out to your site.

In many cases, businesses are today aren’t able to consistently provide for the social media that they require to promote the growth of business. That’s when it pays to call in a professional. Not only can they advise you on the use of social media, but they can help you to measure how well your social media is working for you and what should or could be changed to provide for a better social media experience and improved results.

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Business-Goals-for-GrowthIf you haven’t already done so, January is a great time to decide on a list of business goals for the new year. Whether you have decided to take the leap with a new business start-up or you want to expand your existing business, planning and setting goals, with details, for exactly what you want to accomplish will help you stay accountable and on task throughout the year. Having an accountability person, coach or consultant is also a great idea.

Here are 5 ideas for new business goals for growth to help get you going

Lower Expenses

Take a reflective and realistic look at last year’s expenses for your business and analyse which ones were higher than they should have been. Whether it was on office supplies or business lunches or even printing costs, you should find ideas on how to decrease the numbers. You can consider buying office supplies in bulk or even re-evaluating the partnerships you have with vendors to see if there are opportunities there to lower expenses. Even though it may cost money to seek professional business consulting it usually pays for itself with the proper consulting.

Reach New Markets

You can determine to make this year a growth year by reviewing last year’s marketing plan and results from specific campaigns to evaluate what worked, and of course, what didn’t. For example, social media and online marketing avenues are cost effective if done properly, if not they could be a big failure. If you haven’t tried promoting your business online, it’s definitely time to start. If you have and it hasn’t worked out for you like you thought it would seek professional help. You can also make a list of your specific target audience and obtain new ways to reach them. If you can’t come up with new ways that’s what marketing companies are for.

Keep Learning

Expanding your business means you have to constantly keep up with your competitors and new market trends in your industry. You can do this by following local marketing professional’s blogs in your area and keep informed. Another great way is to attend a course or seminar. There are lots of marketing agencies that offer free learning workshops. Just be careful, some are nothing more than sales pitches. With each new skill and connection you make, you’ll find that you are adding valuable knowledge to your business that when applied will help your business grow.

Know Your Weaknesses

Lastly, acknowledge where you are strong and where you are not. When you can know where you are not strong but still need success then find someone else who can do that part for you. It has been proven over and over if we let those do what they are truly good at and not try to do what we can not do well, things will improve. Let go and acknowledge what you are not good at. Be humble if you want to grow and just pay someone else to do what you need to have done to meet your goals. Yes, that can increase expenses but it should increase profit far more than the expenses.

Work Life Balance

As a marketing agency owner myself, I know it’s easy to let your business take over your entire life. Make time for yourself, for your family and friends, and set work hours that will create an optimal work life balance. Without a doubt there will be times where you have to work 12+ hours a day but have balance. You have to prevent yourself from getting burned out if you want to continue to run a successful business and love doing what you do. Evaluate which elements of your business create the most stress, and evaluate ways to automate tasks or off load them to someone or somewhere else to create more time for you.

Whatever your business goals are for the new year, it is vital to ensure they are achievable and measurable and that you have also set a reasonable time frame. I have found that setting short term goals (30 days), quarterly goals (90 days) and yearly goals help. It is too much to measure along the way with only yearly goals. Working towards goals which are actually achievable will help keep you motivated each time you meet one to keep going and growing your business. Quantifying your business goals with specific numbers also means that you can measure your progress and give you something to strive for. You will also be able to know for sure whether or not you have met your goal. Like in marketing we analyze goals weekly and monthly to make sure we are on track with our goals and growth is happening.

 

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timing-is-everythingAs a small company you might think advertising is going to cost a vast amount of money. The truth is that today, the best and most cost effective advertising in the world is social media marketing. Whether you’re paying a marketing company to do formal social media or you’re doing it yourself, over time there are a few things that you should know about social media. What you write and when you release it make a big difference.

Most people visit and view social media during lunch time and at or just after dinner time. You’ll get more views if you pay attention to when most people comment on your social media and time your releases to those time slots. You’ll have more people viewing it when it is fresh, and that may direct more traffic to your home page or products page.

The same goes for email marketing and direct mail. Days of the weeks, weeks of the month all play a strategic part in the most effective time to send a campaign. Of course there are general statistics and best practices but the real optimal time is discovered by really digging into your analytics and what your followers trends are. There may be a lot of missed opportunities and more so sales you are missing because they are missing you.

Start off your new year right and look really dig into the last 12 months of marketing data to know where you should be focusing on.  If you need help analyzing your data and when is the best time to do what let us know. We are here to serve.

 

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Search-Engine-OptimizationWhile it is true that Hummingbird, Panda and Penguin have changed the face of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it doesn’t mean it is something you can forget about. Take the time to keep up with the changes occurring as a result of the three and incorporate those changes into your website. When you do that and keep up with high quality original content, you should find there is a minimal impact on your search engine placement and customers will be able to find you without any problems.

One of the biggest mistakes website owners make is not making sure their content is original and high quality. When a customer comes to your website, they are looking for an answer or a solution to a problem. It is important to provide them with the answers they are looking for, in as original a manner as possible.

Obviously, there will be some carry over in information from various websites. But try to add something personal to each post rather than creating something clinical for the visitors to your website. That helps build a connection that will have the visitor coming back and sharing your content. After all, people still crave something real when they are browsing the internet.

 

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pintrestIf you’re not using Pinterest for your business, you’re missing out on some great benefits. Pinterest provides users with a visually engaging way to curate and share their interests on the web. Why start using Pinterest?

First, you get the chance to create “rich pins,” which allow you to add store locations, pricing and availability of products. When individuals click on your pin, they arrive at your website.

Second, Pinterest business accounts offer you some great analytics and research tools. You’ll see which images are being pinned from your business site, offering some insight into your target customers.

Third, Pinterest allows you to start branding with a visual platform, and branding is important for any small business.

Pinterest is one of the best ways for you to push traffic to your website and to share your products and services with the world. It is also rapidly becoming one of the biggest social media sites in the world, on par with Twitter and Facebook.

 

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