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Search Engines Sizzle October 21, 2008

Posted by kaseypelphrey in Uncategorized.
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It is essential for companies to help customers find them online. One of the most effective ways to do that is through search engine optimization. How we get our companies listed in search engines is quite easy, but getting there is a different story. The following are 5 ways to start heading in the right direction.

 

1. Pick good page titles

The page title of each Web page is the most important. The page title is the text that appears in the top bar of your browser window and is the first thing a search engine looks at to determine what the page is about.

 

2. Be smart about URLs

Your URL is how search engines track and manage your company’s reputation online. Using a free URL that actually belongs to another company is a bad idea in the world of SEO because you can never change or forward that URL. Using URLs like yourcompany.blogspot.com make it possible for you to build SEO power for blogspot.com, but if you ever want to move or rename your Web site, you have to leave all that power back at the old Web site. If you have your own domain, like yourcompany.com, then you can always move to a new address and forward all the SEO power you have built up.

 

3. Start a blog

Blogging does two great things that are a huge help with SEO.

First, if you run a blog correctly, you are updating content on a frequent basis. Search engines love fresh content on Web sites. Web pages or articles that have been published recently on an established Web site get an extra boost in the rankings. The second benefit of blogging is that blogs are a magnet for links. The people who do the most linking online are bloggers and writers. They are much more likely to link to an interesting blog article with a unique perspective on an issue than a typical corporate Web site.

If you start a blog and regularly post content that is appealing to your market, you will help your SEO efforts a lot.

 

4. Leverage your PR program

If you have a public relations program at your company, there are two things you need to do for SEO. First, you should optimize all of your press releases. This basically means adding links into your press releases that lead back to your Web site. Second, as you get coverage of your company in online publications, make sure that there is link within the article back to your company. You would be surprised how many journalists do not automatically link to companies they write about. 

 

5. Use social media to build links

Many marketers are scared of social media. The trick is to think of it just as an online version of all the business cocktail parties you have attended over the years. And just like at a cocktail party, with social media you should never enter the conversation with a sales pitch. But social media is an excellent way to promote your interesting blog articles or other content, because other bloggers and writers might write about your company and link back to your content. Find online communities, groups, blogs, and networks where your audience hangs out, and start listening and asking questions.

 

Short Films Build Brand Awareness October 21, 2008

Posted by kaseypelphrey in Uncategorized.
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Another form of new media that is available for marketers are short films.  These short films typically contain more film elements than commercials.  They are of higher quality and contain more of a story.  Short films generally include the following:

 A hero who

wants something, and

takes action, but

meets conflict, which

leads to a climax and finally,

a resolution.

 The question is, are these short films intended to be entertainment or advertising?  I believe that the best ones can be both.  The good ones make you forget that you are watching a long commercial.

 Check out Bayer’s “Science for a Better Life” film. It’s their way of introducing their new research and development into more than just medicine. 

http://www.baykomm.bayer.com/en/science300-mov.aspx

Do you think it’s more entertaining or more of an ad? This one is a hard call, I welcome your comments on it. No matter what your answer, I think you’ll agree the film is done beautifully. The film has won 4 international awards including the, CINE Golden Eagle Film and Video Awards: “Professional Non-Telecast Division / Business – Sales & Promotion. CINE is among the oldest and most prestigious film and video organizations in the United States.

MySpace vs. Facebook October 20, 2008

Posted by kaseypelphrey in Uncategorized.
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        VS.                

 

There’s no denying that Facebook & MySpace are very popular social networking sites. But, which one is more effective for advertising & marketing?

Apparently, Facebook has beat MySpace in terms of popularity. In May of 2008, Facebook had 123.9 million visitors while MySpace had 116.4 million. Not only is Facebook more popular in terms of visitors, but your marketing/advertising options are more flexible than MySpace. In fact, Facebook is one of the hottest online networks around, with tens of millions of active users (not just signups… active users!). While it started out as a private social network for those who had a .edu email address, it has become a major destination for many professionals.

Facebook is trying to change the way businesses market and advertise their products and services to potential consumers.

Google AdWords revolutionized the way businesses market on the Internet by selling advertisements in a live auction style and by publishing the ads to individuals who are searching for relevant information, solutions and products. Facebook intends to improve on this and deliver even more targeted ads to users of their social network.

Many major corporations have already committed to using Facebook as a legitimate advertising platform, including Blockbuster, CBS, Chase, The Coca-Cola Co., Saturn, Sony Pictures, The New York Times Co., and Verizon. Why are these companies so excited to jump on board with Facebook?

Because Facebook is offering the most targeted—and therefore one of the most powerful—advertising platforms that has ever been created. Imagine being able to show your company’s ads to only the consumers within your target market.

Due to the amount of information Facebook garners from users, ads can be shown to a specific type of user based on sex, age, education, relationship status, keywords that appear in their profile, or even political views. It’s the promise of true one-to-one marketing which is a dream come true for any IMC practitioner, (or one in the making, like me…)

 

The Blogosphere Knows Better Than You Do!?!?!?! October 20, 2008

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I know I’ve already done a blog post regarding using the blogosphere as your Marketing Department when I discussed the iMuffs, but this just came out, and I think it’s GENIUS! Read on my friends…

“How HP Boosted Sales of a New Product by Letting the Blogosphere Run Its Online Campaign”

Hewlett-Packard Personal Systems Group VP and General Manager Scott Ballantyne simply handed over a $5,000+ computer prize package to each of 31 bloggers, asking them to give away the prizes to their readers in any way they saw fit. He trusted their influence over the market he was hoping to reach.

It was a promotion designed to increase sales for the company’s HDX Dragon Entertainment Notebook, and it involved zero advertising and not a single new marketing message from HP. With the exception of a couple of minor stipulations, each aspect of the giveaway was designed by the blogging community for its readers—a risk that paid off in spades.

More than 50 million impressions were registered during the 31-day promotion, leading to an 84% increase in HDX Dragon sales, a 10% increase in overall consumer PC sales, and a 14% jump in Web traffic.

“The results were stellar,” Ballantyne said. “Sales went through the roof.”

Check-out some of the cool ways the bloggers ran their campaigns:

DigitalMediaPhile designed a treasure hunt. Users had to search through the blog’s posts to find an image of the HDX Dragon, specs for its Intel processor, and other information, such as the first HP Pavilion Entertainment PC ever referenced in the blog.

GearLive monitored the activity of its members during its week-long competition and awarded the prize to the user who collected the most points, which were granted for various site interactions, such as posting (non-spam) blog comments and participating in forums.

Notebooks.com readers had to (1) submit a post to the site’s forum explaining why they need and deserve the HDX Dragon, (2) get at least five friends to comment on those entries, (3) start at least five non-contest-related forum threads, and (4) write substantial comments on at least 10 other forum threads.

LockerGnome picked a blog post at random and chose the winner from the reader comments left to that post; that approach goaded users to comment on all of the blog’s posts.

TheDigitalLifestyle made its readers search through the site’s forums to find the details on its competition.

The”31 Days of the Dragon” promotion registered more than 50 million impressions. It was translated into 40+ languages and reached 123 countries. A Google search garners over 380,000 links to discussions of the giveaway, and the more than 10,000 videos posted on sites such as YouTube.com and Blip.tv by participating contestants have received over 5 million combined views

Behold: The Power of Podcasts! October 20, 2008

Posted by kaseypelphrey in Uncategorized.
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I’m guessing most people will say that a web site is the most effective marcom tool. I’m going to go out on a limb and debate something different…Podcasting! When I had my 3 hr daily commute to work in Chicago, my iPod was my best friend. I quickly discovered a whole new world available right at my finger tips. I’ve downloaded everything from Spanish lessons, cooking shows, NBC Nightly News, to Pastor Joel Osteen’s weekly sermon.
A podcast is defined as: a pre-recorded audio (or video) program that’s posted to a website and is made available for download so people can listen (or view) them on personal computers or mobile devices. Podcasting is a way to post and distribute electronic media files online. Podcasts are of interest because they provide an easy way to get engaging multimedia content out to a dispersed group of people, who can listen to it whenever and wherever they like on a variety of readily-available platforms.

Podcasting has become increasing popular: Of the 22 million Americans who own MP3 players, including Apple’s iPod, about 29 percent have downloaded the audio files that make up a podcast.

 

Here are three quick tips for those eager to start podcasting.

1. Content determines length

Content should dictate everything, including podcast length. An audience will determine the length of broadcast. The length of a podcast designed primarily for entertainment value can be as long as 30 minutes. When people download podcasts, they often listen to them while in the car or exercising. A 30-minute podcast is digestible; any longer and it’s easy to lose listeners’ attention. More technical podcasts can be shorter; 10 minutes is often cited as a good length—sufficient to impart valuable information.

2. Focus on single topic

One reason many good podcasts are short is that they focus on a single, specific topic. Single-topic podcasts are not the only way to go but also the best way to enter into the world of podcasting. Potential listeners eyeing podcast titles generally will give a new provider a whirl if the topic of the podcast is very specific. What’s more, focusing on a single topic leaves other topics for subsequent podcasts.

3. Make responding easy

Podcasting is a direct-response vehicle. Mention a Web site or reference an article and make it easy for listeners to find that material after they stop listening. Smart marketers make sure that listeners know what action to take (visit a Web site, make a call, etc.) and offer a variety of ways to be contacted.

Widgets & Viral Marketing – A Winning Combination October 20, 2008

Posted by kaseypelphrey in Uncategorized.
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A Web widget is a mini tool—a chunk of code that people can insert in just about any Web page to perform a specific function. Usually, Web widgets are snippets of HTML. Examples:

·           

 

 

 

HTML that displays a picture on a MySpace profile

HTML that embeds a YouTube video in a blog entry

HTML that embeds a portion of one’s calendar on a personal Web site

 

Experienced Web developers may question the significance of Web widgets. For them, the concept of chunks of reusable HTML doesn’t seem particularly revolutionary. However, for marketers, widgets have become very important on the Web.

Widgets have become a phenomenon for two primary reasons.

First, blogs and social networking sites allow anyone to publish content to the Web. Most blogging platforms (such as Blogger or TypePad) enable blog owners to insert raw HTML in blog entries and profiles. MySpace and other social networking sites provide members a means of customizing their profiles by inserting snippets of HTML. Members may also insert HTML in messages and comments they post to their friends.

Consequently, people who never had any intention of developing ordinary Web sites have learned some basic HTML so they can pepper their MySpace profiles with pictures and embed YouTube videos in their blog entries. These amateur HTML programmers don’t author complete Web pages and don’t necessarily even compose any HTML of their own, but they do insert Web widgets in their pages. Widgets have become commonplace now that the masses have Web sites of some sort and are able to incorporate widgets in them.

Second, widgets facilitate viral marketing. If you provide a useful service or interesting content on your Web site, you can make it available as a widget by posting HTML that others can copy and paste in their pages. The content then becomes directly accessible from those pages, and it serves as an advertisement for your site. Visitors to those pages will become familiar with the service or content and may click the link to visit your site. (Widgets typically provide a link back to the site that makes the widget code available.) In some cases, they will copy the widget into their own pages. Since so many people now have basic HTML knowledge, the potential for the widget “spreading” to other pages is enormous.

To incorporate the power of Web widgets in your marketing programs, be creative. Consider what aspects of your product people would want to try or show off if it’s presented to them as a widget in a blog or social networking site. Also consider what would make them likely to spread the widget.

For example, a widget could quiz the visitor on a topic related to your product and then assign a score. Eager to share her score with others, the visitor might embed the widget in her MySpace profile. The widget on her page would prominently display the score she received and allow others to take the same quiz.

Web widgets enable people to spread the word about services they love. If you haven’t incorporated Web widgets in your marketing programs, you’re missing an opportunity to unleash their viral marketing power.

 

Shake Up Your E-Mail Marketing October 20, 2008

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I’m sure we all know what e-mail marketing is. Our in-box is inundated everyday with e-mails from our favorite companies. Some we immediately delete, but others catch our attention and motivate us to make a purchase, check-out the latest collection, visit their website or take advantage of an online coupon.

 

As marketers a majority of us rely heavily on the results an effective e-mail campaign can produce. However, it’s easy to let our e-mail campaigns go stale. Email programs should never be on autopilot. There are great features and capabilities that should be part of your email marketing toolkit. For a well-rounded program, you should include the following features to shake things up a bit!:

 

A preference center. Today the power is in the hands of your recipients. Make sure they can alter their information and preferences. If you already have such a facility in place, perhaps it is time to add additional features, such as giving them the choice to indicate specific topics or products of interest or the ability to decide how often they want to hear from you.

 

Triggered messaging. If you are an e-commerce marketer, you should definitely have an abandoned-shopping-cart program in place to recapture lost sales. Consider putting triggered messaging in place for email recipients who clicked through to your site and browsed, but did not purchase. You might start this simply and choose only your top products or services. Or, launch a cross-sell initiative for purchasers. Each of these techniques will improve the relevance of your programs and increase sales.

 

Segmentation. This is important to your email success and should be part of your communications strategy. Some common elements used to segment are geography, gender, past purchase behavior, demonstrated interest from click-throughs, and the length of time the person has been on the list. If you’re not segmenting, set a goal to test one or two factors. If you already see the value of using this technique, it’s time to test additional groups. Dynamic personalization makes it relatively easy to set up and monitor results.

 

Social networking. There’s certainly a lot of buzz about blogs and customer reviews. They may not be right for everyone, but more marketers are experimenting with ways to increase interaction and the overall user experience on their sites. And, email is a perfect way to promote any new features you incorporate into your online presence.

 

Using Blogs & Websites to Introduce Your Product October 19, 2008

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There are thousands of blogs on the World Wide Web, each with its own purpose. Some are to entertain, inform, or persuade. Some are to insult, create or inspire. Regardless of the purpose they are very powerful tools of communication…they can make or break a company, to say the least.

 

I’d like to share with you an example of a small start-up company that had everything in the world going against it that utilized websites and blogs to build its brand and catch the attention of a mega retailer in the techno industry:

 

How a Tiny Manufacturer Convinced Apple to Stock its Product and Tripled Sales.

 

Wi-Gear, an independent manufacturer formed in 2004, was focused on one product—a wireless Bluetooth headset—geared toward the Apple iPod. Wi-Gear had a very small sales and marketing budget and no outside capital. It needed to grow its distribution from just online sales to other retail outlets, preferably Apple Stores themselves.

 

Plenty of competitors also made wireless headphones for iPods, and they too wanted to get into Apple’s stores. What if Wi-Gear couldn’t get a meeting, or couldn’t convince Apple to carry its product? The company wanted to be sure early on that it had a market for its product. So it set up a Web site even before its product was in final production, and set out to spread the word virally.

 

Wi-Gear founder and CEO Mark Pundsack sent information about his product to friends, business associates and blogs specializing in communication products. Soon a key mention on engadget.com got picked up on 100 other blogs—including those in other languages—and eventually netted him dozens of pre-orders.

 

Immediately, Wi-Gear’s site traffic skyrocketed, first to 1,000 hits, then 5,000 hits and ultimately hitting a peak of 20,000. Pundsack discovered that the one engadget.com mention was linked to at least 100 other blogs, including some in foreign languages

 

That gave him the confidence to continue production and to show Apple—when he eventually got his coveted meeting—that real customers were ready to buy his product.

 

Eventually, Wi-Gear got its meeting with Apple in early 2006, but the key official rejected the iMuffs, telling Pundsack that he had already reviewed 30 similar products and had 30 more headphones to review.

 

“I immediately asked him what his concerns were about using our product, and pointed out some features that he had overlooked,” Pundsack recalled. “For instance, he hadn’t noticed one key differentiator of our headphones, that the user can answer Bluetooth phone calls without touching their iPod or cell phone.”

 

The Apple official also was concerned about the color of the iMuff sample—white—which apparently wasn’t popular among iPod customers. He became more interested when he heard Pundsack could provide a black iMuff sample to review.

 

Pundsack convinced him to take another look at the product, and the Apple official eventually changed his mind, giving Pundsack an initial order for more than 1,000 headphones.

 

iMuffs are the only wireless headphones for classic iPods and iPod nanos sold in Apple Stores and on Apple.com. That has vastly increased sales, and the credibility has helped Pundsack get other specialty chain retailers to carry iMuffs.

 

Lessons Learned:

 

Have your Web site ready even before your product is available for sale. Pundsack says he is glad that he had his Web site active before his product was ready. By having dozens of orders in hand before production began, he had the confidence to start production, despite the fact he wasn’t close to getting a meeting with Apple. “Having existing customers also helped us when applying for loans,” he noted.

 

Be proactive about getting your product on the right blog. Even without a real marketing budget, Pundsack had a significant impact on his Web site traffic by submitting news about the iMuffs to engaget.com, which wrote about the product in May 2005. That one engadget.com mention was linked to at least 100 other blogs, including some in foreign languages, leading to a dramatic increase in site traffic at the earliest stage of Wi-Gear’s existence.

 

If your targeted buyer/retailer says no, ask why and take the opportunity to explain your product. If Pundsack had accepted Apple’s initial rejection without question, he would not have had the opportunity to address concerns and thus lost the opportunity to gain the credibility he needed to bring his product into the mainstream.

 

http://www.wi-gear.com/

I’ve Got The Blues… October 19, 2008

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Bluetooth wireless technology is the simple choice for convenient, wire-free, short-range communication between devices. It is a globally available standard that wirelessly connects mobile phones, portable computers, cars, stereo headsets, MP3 players, and more. Thanks to the unique concept of “profiles,” Bluetooth enabled products do not need to install driver software. The technology is now available in its fourth version of the specification and continues to develop, building on its inherent strengths — small-form factor radio, low power, low cost, built-in security, robustness, ease-of-use, and ad hoc networking abilities. Bluetooth wireless technology is the leading and only proven short-range wireless technology on the market today shipping over five million units every week with an installed base of over 500 million units at the end of 2005.

 

Here’s how it works. Imagine you’re walking through a mall, and you pass a proximity broadcast station. The key is to have your phone on and in “discoverable” mode. This will allow all possible ads in the area to “hit” your phone – asking if you want to receive free content from the provider. For example, say you’re shopping for gym equipment at a specialty shop and they have a proximity marketing station set up. If your phone is in discoverable mode, you’ll receive a message asking if you want to receive free content from “ABC Company”. Think of it as a virtual billboard or flyer advertisement.This form of advertising has been in use for quite some time in Europe, as well as various other overseas locations. There are dozens of companies already in full swing of promoting Bluetooth proximity marketing, with many more in the start up phase here in the United States today.

 

 

Although more prevalent over seas right now, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before Bluetooth Advertising makes it big in the US. Recently a US Bluetooth Marketing Company: Bluetooth Marketing (catchy name, huh?) has just announced that their bluetooth network is now up and running on the Las Vegas Strip with over 30 broadcast sites.

 

Just for fun, check-out the Bluetooth commercial:

 

Redefining Search Engines – Are You Onboard? October 19, 2008

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A quick Google search of “iPhone Application Store” brings up over 8 million results. Of course there are thousands of iPhone applications. Some are for fun and games, some educational, business, travel, etc. But, make no mistake, the iPhone is in the process of re-defining search engines (whether it meant to or not), and mobile search advertising is a space you need to explore.

Here’s a few of my favorite examples. These companies are already on the bandwagon:

ING Direct: Helps you find your nearest ING banking center

 

YellowBook: Explore businesses to find addresses and phone numbers – even get maps and directions – all right from your mobile browser – for free

 

Amazon Search: Check product prices and availability on amazon.com.

 

 

X!tra Coupons: Local, Nationwide, or Geographic Coupons on your iPhone.

 

Google: An iPhone friendly way to search on Google. (surprisingly the only major search engine on the Apps store.)

As you can see, it doesn’t matter what industry your client/business are involved in, they can only benefit by hosting an application on the iPhone. Get started today with the iPhone Developer Program: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/program/overview.html