Friday, September 27, 2013

Digital Marketing 101 in 30 Seconds

There is no doubt that a ton of hype exists around digital marketing. With regard to marketing strategies, it is the “way of the future” and with over $100 billion ad dollars put towards it last year alone, it’s easy to see why everyone wants a part of it. But digital marketing is more than just a 100 billion dollar industry; it’s a fundamental change in the way advertising and marketing plans are created, executed, and converted.

So What Is Digital Marketing Anyways?
Business Dictionary summarizes it well. They say, digital marketing is “the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. For example, advertising mediums that might be used as part of the digital marketing strategy of a business could include promotional efforts made via the Internetsocial mediamobile phones and electronic billboards, as well as via digital and television and radio channels.”  

So Why All The Confusion?

Have you ever played “telephone”, the game where one statement gets whispered to a string of people? Eventually the message gets confused, added to, and changed along the way.  In some regard, the same thing has happened with digital marketing. With so many people talking about it, information gets distorted, built upon and sometimes is flat out false. 

5 Common Misconceptions About Digital Marketing

1.)    Digital Marketing Is Social Media- One thing that drives me crazy is when people use digital marketing and social media interchangeably. Let’s make one thing clear; social media is a form of digital marketing. Period.

2.)    Digital Marketing Should Be A Separate Strategy- NO! Digital marketing should be a seamless continuation of a company’s overall marketing plan. Just as a company creates a message that they convey on TV, in magazines, billboards etc, that same message should be present when sending out tweets, posting blogs, or placing display ads. The client doesn’t distinguish marketing efforts; they associate content with the brand regardless of where they saw it. Key take-away: keep everything consistent.

3.)    Digital Marketing Is For Large Budgets Only- Actually, digital marketing can be the most cost effective way to advertise. Online display ads are typically sold at a rate that is 3 times lower than their print ad counterparts.  When looking at TV ads, the national average cost per 30 second spot ranges from $35,000- $2 million. With digital advertising, a business can have a professional video created for a few thousand dollars and then distribute it pro bono with social media and other digital outlets or pay a low CPM cost for video pre-roll or other types of paid video promotion.

4.)    Digital Marketing Is Hard To Track – Aside from the obvious, that any banner ads running on the internet (like IAB standard ads or other display ads) are trackable through cookies, other forms of digital advertising, like social media posts and content creation are now nearly just as trackable. Because of platforms like google analytics or facebook’s built in analytics panel, digital content has become remarkably easy to track. There are even tons of apps like Birst, Yellowfin, Bime, Tableau Software and countless others that report on and track data for you. So when taken as a whole, I would argue that digital marketing is the most targeted and trackable form of marketing available.

5.)    Digital Marketing Only Targets A Young Audience- According to a recent ETC study, over half of all seniors already use the internet.  As our world continues to become more digital (bills, medical records, communication, news) more and more seniors will migrate to the online space. What this means is that businesses targeting seniors will have just as much success with digital marketing as businesses targeting a younger crowd. What it comes down to, is not avoiding digital marketing altogether, but understanding where in the digital space to send your message.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

8 Tips to Increase Twitter Followers

For some time now, Twitter has been taking on Facebook as the most popular form of social media. While it’s not quite the leader yet, Twitter is undeniably the site to visit for the most current news and trending stories. Its popularity tied with its purpose of sharing simple messages makes it a great platform to connect with customers. 

Here Are a Few Tips to Increase Your Followers on Twitter

1.Use hashtags, but no more than 3 to a tweet - bonus points if one of the hashtags are already trending!

2.You have 140 characters – keep your message simple, meaningful, and fun.

3.Start trending a specific hashtag for a contest your business is hosting.

4.Retweet fellow businesses with relevant information to your product – this will sometimes prompt them to retweet you!

5.Join the Twitter directories for businesses and other relevant groups.

6.Retweet your current followers and loyal customers, especially when it comes to customer service.

7.Ask questions to engage followers and start discussions.

8.Promote your Twitter everywhere you can - including email signature lines and the business Facebook page!

Remember to tweet several times a day, even on the weekends! Doing this will increase your presence on Twitter and will be the most helpful in gaining followers.

 PS- You should follow us on Twitter if you don’t already!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

4 Ways To Optimize LinkedIn For Better Networking

Guess what the number one piece of advice business professionals give to college students about to join the work force. If you guessed join LinkedIn, you’re right! Our intern Margaret says she’s heard this countless times, but never took it seriously until doing some research and seeing what LinkedIn could do not just for her, but for anyone in the professional world. However, there are a few things you must do before you can optimize the value of this site.

1.       Complete your profile.  It’s easy to get to a point in your profile where you think “Okay, this is enough”, or maybe that one part doesn’t apply to you. However, not completing your profile to the 100% makes you look less professional to viewers of your profile. And don’t forget to include a professional picture of yourself! It seems silly, but many users don’t ever complete their profile - be one of the few to show the effort, it counts.
2.       Join Networking Groups. Join groups relevant to your business area, as well as alumnae groups. Create or join a discussion and provide valuable insight on the topic to build trust from other members in the group. This is a great way to make contacts and find sales leads that already have an idea of what to expect from you.
3.       Ask for Recommendations. LinkedIn provides a place on your page where people you’ve worked with can recommend you as an employee. Likewise, you can ask customers who have had good experiences with your services to leave a comment on your page. This adds an extra star to your profile, and makes an impression on those who view it.
4.       Connect. One of the interesting aspects of LinkedIn is its ability to show you who have been viewing your profile. While it’s easy to view this as just creepy, it can actually be a valuable tool for networking. Reach out to these people and see why they were looking at your page- a few might be weird, but the worst that could come from it is making a new contact. Some may be interested in working with you and your business, and you reaching out to them is a great show of initiative.

Overall, once your profile is complete LinkedIn is a great source for networking in your field. Get involved and take advantage of all this site has to offer – you never know what kind of people you will meet or what sales you can make from it! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

E-Marketing In the New Gmail: 3 Ways To Stand Out

A few weeks ago, Google launched a new format for Gmail that separates the type of email you receive into three marked tabs: primary, social, and promotions. While users are now able to enjoy a less cluttered Gmail, the promotions tab makes email promotions less visible to the consumer – a problem all businesses, big and small, have to face. While we wait on the numbers deeming the success or failure of this new tool, let’s talk about a couple ways to help your business stand out from the others under the promotions tab!

1.) Unique Subject Line: It’s always important when sending out an email campaign to do your best to stand out. However, with the new format you need to try twice as hard – your emails will be directly competing with other businesses for the reader’s attention. Almost every promotion in my inbox right now consists of a “Summer Sale” or a “Fall Preview”, so try something different! Include a “How to” or a contest subject line that will draw the attention of the reader.

2.) Timing: We all get inundated with emails throughout the day, but there are times when we are more likely than others to open promotional emails. Try to schedule email launch times for optimal engagement with your clients. Best time include between 7-9 AM (to open during the morning commute) between 12-2 PM (to be opened during lunch) and between 5-10 PM when people are home from work. 

3.) Become a "Primary": You can also encourage your subscribers to mark emails from your business as primary, which can easily be done by moving one email they receive from you into the primary tab. All future emails sent by you would then be received in their primary tab folder, away from other promotions and competition. 

We can look at this change positively too. Now, readers will only be checking promotions when they’re ready to see them and then you have a more engaged reader. So stand out and get their attention!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Facebook for Businesses- A Quick Guide for SMBs

With over one billion users on the site, Facebook continues to be the most popular form of social media. Considering the depth of the audience you can reach, it is very surprising to find that many small businesses do not utilize the various tools that Facebook offers – especially because use of the site is free!

As a small business owner, how can Facebook be valuable to you?

For starters, if you do Facebook right then the price means you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. The site is a relatively customizable and easy to use platform for you to interact directly with customers and create greater brand awareness. You can share promotions, videos, blog posts and more from your business to your audience through posts, and may even go as far as generating discussions to engage users. It is a useful and easy way to distribute content to a wider audience.

If you are hesitant to start a page because you are unfamiliar with the social media site, then don’t worry! Facebook has recently launched a more business friendly “Help” center in order to encourage less social media savvy businesses to join the site. Facebook also provides advice for marketing on the site with tips on how to build brand awareness, advertise, and other feedback on how well your posts are received which is useful for even the more experienced users.

Facebook is also a great way to get free endorsements. Interested users can “Like” your page and posts, post positive interactions, or tag the location of your business. If a customer writes a negative comment or has a question, Facebook allows the opportunity to respond directly, saving face and educating your client.

Finally, if you are a small business looking for targeted leads, Facebook is a great resource. You can see who is interested in your brand through their interactions with your page, as well as users who are engaging online with your competitors. It is also a great way to keep tabs on what related businesses are up to, as well as join groups of interest for your business to network and make new contacts within. Overall, Facebook is a great tool for businesses to take advantage of and if you don’t have one yet then I encourage you to get started!

Some research from: