Analysts predict that by 2013 there will be nearly 2 billion mobile internet users worldwide! In fact, by some estimates, there are already as many as mobile web users as there are traditional internet users.
So you can be sure that at least a few people are going to be looking at your site on a 4 x 5 centimetre screen. If you haven’t already, make 2012 the year when you optimize your website for the mobile web.
Think About Mobile Issues
There are two major differences when you browse the internet on a mobile web device, rather than a traditional browser – screen size and connection speed. The screen on a mobile phone is always going to be smaller than even the tiniest netbook. Moreover, connection speed over cellular data networks is considerably slower than broadband Wi-Fi connections. When you’re optimizing your site for mobile devices, always keep these two fundamental truths in mind.
Plug In for Optimisation
If you’re using WordPress, there are tons of great plugins out there which will make your website mobile-friendly in one minute or less. Personally, I like WP Touch, because it’s free and it’s extremely customizable, but there are several out there to choose from.
This is a big one. Make sure that you optimise your content for the mobile web. Remember that mobile web users are looking at your website on a much smaller screen, and won’t process the information in the same way as someone looking at in on a PC.
Write simple articles, with clear headlines, and that right down to the important information. Imagine that your typical user is on the bus, or waiting for their lunch, while they’re browsing your site, and you’ll get a picture of what you should be aiming for.
An image or two can be a great addition to a blog post. However, even on a full-featured browser, they can slow the site down considerably. So just think about what they’re liable to do to over a cellular connection. On the mobile version of your site, keep images to the absolute minimum.
Remember, we’ll have nearly two billion mobile web users by the end of 2012. Start off the New Year on a good food by telling yourself that before the end of the year, you’ll be able to capture some of the market with an intelligently-designed mobile web site.
YouTube is, by any measure, one of the most popular sites in the world. In terms of page visits, it is the third most popular website. In terms of search queries, it recently surpassed Yahoo! to become the world’s second most-popular search engine. More than 10,000 videos are uploaded to the site every day, and some experts think that that number could actually be as high as 50,000!
Yet, despite these numbers, YouTube seems to get left off of most small business marketing campaigns. If you’re choosing to focus only on blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, then you’re making a huge mistake.
The golden rule of social networking applies to YouTube just as well as it does to any other site. If you want your videos to be watched, you need to engage with the community. Create an account, and search for relevant videos in your industry. Rate them, comment on them, and share quality videos via Facebook and Twitter. If you’re socially engaged with the social network, you’ll see that a lot more people will be watching your videos.
Make a Great Video
The next step is to create a quality video. This, I believe, is what turns most small business owners off of YouTube. But it’s actually much easier than it seems.
Start by looking at your competitors videos. What format are they using? How are they telling their story? Look at the composition of the videos in your industry that you think are the most effective, and try to emulate the best aspects.
One word of caution – don’t make the advertisement obvious. YouTube users don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to. They want to be educated and informed. A quick product mention at the end, or something to draw your watchers back to your site will suffice.
Optimize for YouTube
Much like you would optimize a website to make it more easily searchable, you need to optimize your videos to make them more easily searchable on YouTube. As I mentioned before, in excess of 10,000 videos are uploaded every day. If you don’t optimize your video, it will be lost before anyone even has a chance to watch it.
Like website SEO, YouTube SEO is all about metadata and titling. Do your keyword research, and make sure that your title incorporates your target keyword or phrase. Likewise for the rest of the metadata – descriptions, tags, keywords. This is what gets your video watched instead of the thousands of others with similar content.
Now get out there and start marketing your business on YouTube. You have the numbers – it’s the second most popular search engine in the world. You have the tools – the keys to getting your video watched are community engagement, great content, and metadata optimization. So start your video marketing campaign today!
Although these Brand Pages have only been made available to a certain number of Twitter’s partners and biggest advertisers so far, Twitter has now released a new feature for all accounts which is set to be big news for social media marketers.
Twitter has created embeddable tweets, meaning that you can now embed tweets straight from your Twitter account into your website or blog and your visitors can now follow you, retweet your post or click on the links you’ve tweeted without having to leave your site or go searching for you on Twitter.
Although this might seem like a fairly basic add on to the original Twittersphere, you should not be fooled into thinking that there is little value in this. Embeddable Tweets are a great feature, and there is so much you can do with them to help bring your web and social media presence together.
Here are 3 great ways to use embeddable Tweets to your advantage:
1. Highlight positive feedback and customer testimonials
With the traditional Twitter features you could only promote nice comments from your followers or positive feedback about your business or products and services by adding that Tweet as a Favourite (by clicking the little star). This didn’t really make this Tweet any more noticeable than the rest of the content on your feed and it would soon get washed away in your stream of updates.
With embeddable Tweets you can now place any positive feedback or customer testimonials you receive on your web pages or in your blog posts, meaning that you can now really showcase any great responses you get via your Twitter account.
2. Use your followers’ questions to create content and spark discussion on your blog
If you’re anything like me, you will get a constant stream of questions and enquiries from your followers via your social media platforms. Not only is this a great way of finding out what your audience is talking about and what they want to know, but it is always important to engage with your followers when you can and share your knowledge and advice with them – that’s why they are following you after all!
I have often created blog posts and other content based on an interesting question one of my followers has asked me, but now you can embed this question (or multiple questions around the same topic) in a blog post and give a direct response to their enquiries. Not only does this add more gravity to the content you produce, but it can also help to spark discussion with your blog subscribers and Twitter followers.
3. Encourage your Lead Generation offers to go viral
If you have a great lead generation offer – such as a sign up form for a free whitepaper for instance – then you should already have this in prime position on your website and blog, but by adding this into other areas of your sites via an embeddable tweet you could encourage this offer to go viral as your Twitter followers will now be able to retweet and share this offer with all of their followers. Just imagine how many followers each of your followers has…if you have a successful social presence then this reach should be huge! And all for embedding a small piece of HTML code on your website or in a blog post – what are you waiting for?
Embeddable Tweets look set to truly help the long awaited conversion between our main websites and blogs and our social media accounts, so this is big news for businesses of all kinds – and their marketing departments in particular. Put these three ideas into action and see what you can do with Twitter’s latest feature.
Search engine keywords are the basic way that anyone finds anything on the internet. Think about your own experiences. Maybe you have a few key sites bookmarked, or you’ll sometimes follow a link from another site, but a very high percentage of the time, you likely just head over to Google, or Yahoo!, or Bing, and put in a few keywords that describe what you’re looking for.
And if you’re looking for new information, for something that you haven’t read before, than the percentage of the time that this happens is likely even higher.
But there is no need to dwell on the importance of search engines – everybody knows how important they are already. What we’re going to look at is the process by which keywords are selected for focus and optimization.
Analyze and Plan
The first step in any SEO keyword selection is a thorough analysis of your own site. Open up a text editor, or take out a notebook, and open up your website. Look at it and think about the information on your site. Try to come up with 2 or 3 descriptive words or phrases that accurately capture the essence of the site.
The key here is to think about the process in reverse. Try to think about what you would type into a search engine if you wanted to come across your site. Don’t try and be misleading. Readers who stumble upon your site by mistake are not nearly as valuable as those who try to find your site.
Then, repeat this process for every page on your site. Try to boil each page down to a few key words and phrases.
The next step is actually selecting which keywords you will optimize your site for. So do to this, check out an online tool like Overture or WordTracker. Here you can check the popularity of your chosen keywords, as well as get suggestions for other related keywords.
The goal here is to focus on keywords with a middling level of popularity. If you have very common (and thus very popular) keyword like “cars,” “books,” or “dogs,” then drop it right away. Well-funded sites run by corporations with huge advertising budgets and full-time SEO staff are going to dominate the top results for keywords like these. As a small business owner, you can’t hope to compete, and should focus on a different niche.
Which brings me to a question posed by some of my readers recently. Is it better to be in the top of search rankings for a less popular keyword? Or a few pages back for a very popular keyword?
The answer is that it is not just better, but essential, to be in the top 10 rankings. People almost never go deeper than the first page of Google results, unless they are looking for a very specific piece of information. If you’re not on the first page, you’re dead.
So rank their popularity, drop the very popular keywords, and the ones that aren’t searched for at all. Before long, you should have a selection of middle-popularity keywords, and you can start optimizing your site properly!
With so many blogs and independently-run businesses in the market today, I get a lot of questions about how to get maximum exposure with no cost whatsoever. To that end, here are a few of my favorite ways to get free marketing.
SEO has almost become something of a dirty word in the internet marketing world as of late. It conjures up images of so-called ‘black-hat SEO,’ of poorly written articles jammed full of keywords to bring their host sites up in the rankings, and of comments sections ruined by people spamming links to their blog.
That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about optimizing your site properly. Fixing the metadata, putting the right keywords in the right places, and updating regularly with useful content that people will link to. That’s the kind of SEO that everybody likes – it will make your site better, which your customers will appreciate, and it will increase traffic to your site, which will increase your business.
It can be a tough subject to get right though. Pick up a good ebook on SEO, and really go through step-by-step to make sure you hit every part.
Put Together an Email List
This can be a great tool to have. Email addresses which were given to you by users of your site tend to be one of the most responsive groups of people to market to. Think about it: they were interested enough in your site to visit, and they liked it enough to give you their email address.
Recognize that a potential customer’s email address is a valuable commodity. Try to get more, and don’t abuse the ones that you have. To get more, offer visitors to your site something of value – a free ebook, a free (non-spam) weekly newsletter, or some quality affiliate marketing.
Make sure that you respect their decision. If you’re trying to sell to this list, offer them value, don’t just spam them relentlessly. If you take the latter path, you’ll soon find that the members of the list don’t visit your site very often.
Engage the community
This can take many forms, including commenting on influential blogs in your industry niche, or guest blogging if you have enough expertise.
Commenting is the easier path. Simply find relevant and influential blogs in your industry. The more popular, the better. Read them, and offer valuable and insightful comments about what you’ve read. After people start getting to know you, you can offer links to your own site, and try to divert a bit of traffic away from the more popular sites.
There is a fine line here between valuable and insightful commenting, and spamming the comments section. Make sure that you stay away from the latter. The last thing you want to do is antagonize influential bloggers and their readers.
Remember, some of the best marketing out there is free. Intelligent organic SEO, a house email list, and effective community engagement will provide you with some of the best marketing exposure out there.
Twitter has recently launched its updated version for .com and Twitter mobil with new and improved features for all users such as expandable tweets and embedded photos and videos – but it isthe business accounts which have really cleaned up through this redesign, as Twitter has launched Brand Pages which allow businesses some great customisable benefits to spruce up their standard Twitter pages.
Larger Header Images For Branding
So, what are the best bits of this new Twitter feature then? Well to start with Brand Pages will now have a much larger and more customisable header image, where you can embed your company logo and tagline for all to see. This is definitely a step up from the traditional Twitter layout, where the logo and branding for business accounts was no different to the personal accounts – which meant that most text and images on the page were hidden by the Timeline and nav bars.
Along with this new enlarged header image, companies can now select a particular tweet above the rest of their timeline, which also auto-expands to show any embedded image or video included. This is a brilliant advancement in my opinion as this gives you the chance to keep your most important, topical or influential tweets in pride of place on your page – rather than them being lost in the sea of updates which you will produce throughout the day.
Distinction Between Mentions And Direct Replies
The traditional Twitter could sometimes be slightly confusing for business users, as there are two ways a twitter account can be included in a tweet – through direct replies (@replies) and mentions (@mentions). Both of these appear as @”username” – so for example the IMA receives tweets and mentions which include @InternetMarketingAcademy, – and this happens regardless of whether a user has directly tweeted you in response to something you have posted or whether they are simply mentioning your name in a tweet to someone else. Very confusing if you are using Twitter to prospect and network with your followers!
With the new Twitter set up you will now be able to clearly see who has directly replied to one of your tweets and who has just mentioned your brand in a tweet, which helps streamline communication on the platform in a massive way.
Currently Brand Pages have only been offered out to a select group of Twitter’s partners and main advertisers , such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Dell, Disney, McDonald’s, Nike and Paramount Pictures – but hopefully by the new year this feature will be available to all business accounts.
Keep your eyes peeled for this new feature as its going to mean increased branding and positioning on Twitter for all business users, and will significantly help with managing the flow of communication between yourself and your followers.
Ever wish that you could know the precise effect of given piece of advertising or a marketing campaign? Now you can, by using Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a suite of website traffic analysis tools from Google. Quite frankly, if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing a huge opportunity for increased marketing effectiveness. By some reports, as many as 50% of the top sites use it, including Twitter and MySpace.
Google Analytics tracks visitors to your site, and provides you with detailed information about which pages they looked at, how long they lingered on each page, and what they were looking for on your site.
Getting started with Google Analytics is incredibly simple. Start by heading over to their website, and setting up an analytics account. It’s free, you just need to register.
Then you’ll be provided with a snippet of code and instructions on how to input it into your site.
Analyzing Online Marketing Effectiveness
The first, and most obvious, use of Google Analytics is simply to track general campaign effectiveness. So after you make an advertising push, you can track its effectiveness by logging into Google Analytics and checking the change in your page visits. It will also track the changes over time, so you can evaluate the stickiness of your advertising.
Most importantly, all the data is recorded in an easy-to-use, visual format, so that you can quantify all your results.
The second use of Google Analytics is for much more detailed tracking. For instance, say you make a major advertising push, and you site hits are way up, but you don’t see much of a difference to your sales numbers.
You can use Analytics to go in and see what went wrong. So perhaps hits were way up on your landing page, your product information page, and your pricing page, but you didn’t have many more conversions. You can also glean valuable information from the time that your users spent on each page. For example, if they stayed on your product information page for 0:05, then you know they probably weren’t very interested. On the other hand, if they sat on your pricing page for a long time before deciding not to buy, then perhaps the price is just slightly too high, and a temporary sale could drive up sales numbers.
In this case, you can tell that your marketing campaign was successful in attracting attention, and that your customers are interested in your product, but that the price point is too high.
You can also glean valuable information from the time that your users spent on each page. For example, if they stayed on your product information page for 0:05, then you know they probably weren’t very interested. On the other hand, if they sat on your pricing page for a long time before deciding not to buy, then perhaps the price is just slightly too high, and a temporary sale could drive up sales numbers.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, and will work wonders to help you track and quantify the effects of your marketing campaigns. No top website should be without it.
Discussions abound on the specifics of Twitter – whether it’s a gold mine or a waste of time, whether anything meaningful can even be said in 140 characters. Meanwhile, no one seems to concern themselves with the fact, according to Alexa, Twitter has become the 9th most visited website in the world.
Moreover, it can sync with Facebook, users can update via SMS, and there are even firms dedicated to brand promotion and protection via Twitter. What all this means is that used properly, Twitter can be a low-cost, high-impact advertising platform.
Maximize your Followers
You should begin your Twitter advertising campaign by maximizing your number of followers. This is free, and will allow you to get the word out about your site to as many people as possible.
However, remember that the age-old adage of the marketing still applies in the internet age. Nobody likes to be sold to. Everybody wants to know “What’s in it for me?” So before you publish a single post, ask yourself whether it is bringing some value to the people who are reading it.
Moreover, remember that Twitter is a numbers game. Even if you’re tweeting great content, if you’re tweeting it to nobody, then it isn’t doing very much good. So make attempts to follow as many people as possible. But don’t act like a spammer, and follow people indiscriminately. Follow people who matter to your target audience.
Search for top people in your industry, and follow them. Additionally, follow the people who are following them. If they’re following industry leaders, it signifies that they want to be networked and connected, and they will likely follow you back.
Knowing how to properly use Twitter’s features and etiquette is a big part of amassing a large group of followers. Hashtags (#) are searchable subject lines for tweets. Search for #yourindustry to find out what people are tweeting that would interest you.
Lastly, understand the basic etiquette of Twitter. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Follow people and they’ll follow you back. Re-post one of their tweets (re-tweet), and they’ll re-tweet you.
Write enough quality tweets, amass enough followers, and you’ll soon find yourself with a potent (and free) source of advertising.
If it sounds too good to be true, consider that when Rapper 50 cent urged his nearly 4 million Twitter followers to invest in a penny stock which he owned 30 million shares of, he managed to close a profit of $8.7 million.
Small businesses fight for every bit of money they earn. Competition for sales is incredible, and businesses must adapt to changing markets or lose out on sales. The Internet can be used as selling tool in one of two basic formats. The first is to use it to reinforce an existing store front. The Internet would be used to help bring in customers at a local store. The second is focusing solely on Internet sales, with no store front at all. In this case all advertising would be undertaken online and all sales would be shipped. For local sales, the online advertising methods must take a different tack. Instead of using broad advertising methods to reach as many people as possible, advertisments should be highly focused and limited in scope.
The Importance of Local Listing
The first thing you will need to do to use the Internet to market your business is update all your local listings. Go onto Google and make sure that your company is listed as a local business. Also check out sites like superpages.com or yellowbook.com and make sure that your information is listed and correct. You will also want to ensure that the keywords listed are directly related to your business. While niche market keyword usage is a necessary part of selling online to the general public, when you are selling locally you can use broader search terms. There is less competition for local business than there is for international. Where a solely Internet based business might need to use more awkward phrases, a local business can simply list their focus. You might also want to place a listing on a site like citybizlist.com to ensure as much local exposure as possible.
Incorporate Social Media
Once you have all of your listings up and running, you will need to start looking at other advertising methods. It does not make sense to pay for preferred listings on search engines to promote local business, but it does make sense to consider paid advertising on social networking sites. Facebook offers tremendous advertising potential. Not only can you create your own business Facebook page, but you can also buy local advertising. Much like advertising in a newspaper that distributes in your area, buying Facebook advertising allows you to keep your focus very narrow. You can advertise locally at a very inexpensive price. Facebook can also be used to create interest using different promotions. You can do give-a-ways, raffles, competitions, and more, all run through your Facebook page. It will take time to build up a large enough audience, but the investment is well worth it.
The increasing market penetration of the smart phone has once again totally changed the way that consumers interact with the market place. Online marketing has always represented an opportunity, but the mobile phone has made it more important than ever. Mobile browsers are more common than ever, and the way they use mobile browsing is also transforming. Where once mobile browsing was a strictly business tool, today it is also a shopping and socialising tool. Mobile browsers use cell phones to look for local stores. Where the Internet has historically been used to advertise businesses that predominantly sell online, it must now be used by small local businesses as well.
Use the Internet to Stay Visible
A display window is a good start when marketing to the general public; however, it is no longer enough. With more people using the Internet to pre-shop than ever it is crucial that you maintain a visible presence online. Most businesses gain 80% of their total sales from repeat business, which still leaves plenty of room for expansion with new customers. To bring new consumers through the door you will need to be visible to them. Locals may walk by your shop and see your display window, but that limits your opportunities with people further afield. A careful maximisation of your online presence can be the difference between expanding your new business and relying only on existing customers. There are several ways to make online advertising effective for your local business.
Update local listings, so that your business will show up when searched online. The more listings you keep updated, the easier it will be for consumers to find your business when they are looking for items you sell.
Choose thoughtful keywords. Keywords are what will drive business to your site. Make sure that your keywords are an accurate representation of what you sell, so that consumers come back again and again.
Post your sales. Many consumers comparison shop online before buying in store. This means that failing to post your sale prices could send consumers to a competitor, even when you have the lowest price.
Maintain your website. If you fail to update your website on a regular basis you lose customers. People shop for new things, and when your website does not put up new items people stop checking and move onto something else.
How Mobile Users Browse
To make the most of the online opportunity it is crucial that you list your company in every possible location. Many people will run searches on their phones to find a location that is convenient to make their purchases. Mobile users are often in a hurry and place convenience over price. If you are not advertising online you risk losing out on that business. Unlike other internet searches, mobile browsers convert to purchasers almost two thirds of the time. No other marketing method has that kind of turnaround.