Oct 262015
 

Social media marketing

When using Social Media to promote your event consider:

  • To whom does your event appeal? (your demographics?)
  • What is the reach of your event? (your geographic reach?)
  • Is your event a multi day event? (how will you accommodate visitors?)
  • Does your event promote other participants?
  • Is there a fee to your event? (are you selling tickets?)
  • What is the expected outcome of your event? (What financial, attendance or other goals are trying to achieve?)

Social Media Marketing Factors:

  • How big is your brand?
  • How many Social Media followers do you have?
  • Does everyone directly or indirectly involved with the event understand their involvement to promote the event via social media?

Outside Social Media Marketing Opportunities:

  • Local Tourism Sites.
  • Organizations that you belong to.
  • Local Chambers of Commerce.
  • NGO’s
  • Clubs (Lion’s…)
  • Make a list of all websites, companies and organizations that are friendly to your organization and ask them to promote your event on their website, facebook, twitter...

Free or Almost Free Event Promotion Opportunities:

  • Kijiji
  • Craig’s List
  • Some newspapers still offer free classified ads
  • Local Electronic Bulletin boards

Cross Social Media Marketing:

  • If your event has an outside team/group/attraction booked, then demand that they promote your event on their site.
  • Local restaurants might be willing to promote if you put them on your concierge page.
  • Local hotels or B&B’s might be willing to promote if you put them on your concierge page.
  • Local “event friendly” retail outlets will sometimes permit you to advertise/promote on their website or even store window. (Any printed media should always send the prospective visitor to your website.)

Promote from within:

  • Get your employees, managers, shareholders and board of directors participate in the shameless promotion of your event through social media.
  • Shamelessly ask your visitors to share/like/promote your event.

Engage Visitors:

  • Start a contest to get visitor engagement, and if there is a prize at the end then you can get extra publicity after the event!
  • There are many other ideas for social media engagement.

Engage the Press

  • Create a press release.
  • Invite the press to your event. (have a pre-event party)
  • Ask the press to make an article on your event.
  • Follow-up with them.
  • Make the press feel very welcome.

Get Local Sponsors & Sponsor Local Charity

  • Sponsor a charity at your event (they will then promote your event).
  • Get the press to sponsor your event (they will then promote your event, sometimes for free).
  • Get one or two of your “event friendly” businesses to sponsor your event with in-kind promotion for them.

Have a Short/Long Term Social Media Marketing Strategy

  • Develop a 6 months out plan.
  • Develop a 3 months out plan.
  • Develop a 3 months out plan.
  • Develop a week by week plan for the final 4 weeks before your event.
  • Know who does what, when and how.
  • Monitor your Social Media effectiveness and adjust as you might need.
  • Get everyone in your company and organization involved!
  • Boost your posts - pay for some social media advertising.

After-the-Event Social Media Marketing:

  • Who liked it? (testimonials from participants and visitors)
  • Pictures & videos posted? (submitted photos/videos posted on your website)
  • Featured articles from the press? (links to their website)
  • If you have created an “contest” then the winner will provide you after-the-event publicity.
Oct 142015
 

Google Business Listing

SEO/SEM Misconceptions:

There might be confusion that web developers somehow control how or when Google will list their website. Also, there is a perception that SEO companies are ripping off consumers when they are approached by them for website Search Engine Optimization. Now it might be true that there are robocalls stating that they are calling from Google and there are many offshore companies spamming to get businesses to spend their money with dubious claims of search engine results. Regardless of these issues, there is a real requirement for business, regardless of size, to get their websites ranking higher on Google search engine results.

Google Search Engine Facts:

  • Google jealously guards its search engine algorithms, even from its employees.
  • Google constantly tweaks its search engine algorithms to ward off black hat SEO techniques.
  • Google has partnerships, however, these partners do not get preferred ranking or treatment by Google search engines.
  • Google will never personally optimize any website, it is solely up to the website owner to do their own SEO.
  • Google is for profit so they ultimately it wants its users to pay them for the privilege of being on their search engine.
  • Google publicizes hundreds of tips, techniques and how to's for SEO.

An easy way to start getting better Google search engine results:

Get Your Website Placed On Google Business

Steps:

  1. Register your site with Google webmaster tools
  2. Register your site/email with Google+
  3. Claim your business listing on Google
  4. Wait for your Google Places confirmation via mail
  5. Enter your secret code into your new Google business account in your Google + account
  6. Now wait for Google to index your site.
  7. The enter process will take from 6 to 9 weeks and for your site to start to appear on Google.

Next Steps

Full Disclosure:

  • I am not an agent of Google

Getting Help:

It is really a good idea to get a Web Marketing firm to help you on this and we will be discussing "what does a web marketer do" in a subsequent article.  If you need help getting your website listed on Google, please give me (Nicholas Hughes) a call at 866-496-3073. 

written by RapidPage

Oct 092015
 

Is your website Selling?

You can do everything right on your website, social media, backlinks, internal links, SEO, on-page SEO, and the collection of emails, but if you cannot clarify the following question you might be missing the point of having a website!

Is Your Website Actively Selling Your Products and Services?

Here are some questions for you use to analyse if your website is actively selling your products and services:

  • Do you have a clearly defined Call-To-Action on each web page?
  • Is your Phone Number on every web page?
  • Can the prospective client fill out a web Contact Form to reach you?
  • Do your web pages clearly answer questions that the client may have about your products or services?
  • Can site visitors easily “bookmark” or “share” your web pages?

Call-To-Actions:

I have listed below links to some amazing sites that have compiled great “Call-To-Action” examples and helpful tips for creating your own CTA.

“TIP” don’t forget the good old “ORDER NOW” or “CALL NOW” or “BOOK NOW”, sometimes just saying what we want is the most effective CTA (call-to-action).

Where to Put Your Phone Number?

This is a simple answer, but sometimes we just need to be reminded, place your phone number on the top right side of our header of each page.  

“TIP”, put “Your Company Name Phone” in front of your telephone number so Google will find it, it amazes me how many sites cannot be found by searching “company name phone”, this great powerful SEO tip!

Powerful Contact Form Generators For Websites:

Great website contact forms make it easy for your clients to keep in touch with you, book appointments or ask questions.  If you are using WordPress for your CMS (content management system) then the selection is wide (click here for WordPress forms), however, there are many other online web forms that you may choose.  Below is some of the top online forms available, some for free, some for purchase.

Website Bookmarking and Sharing Tools:

The easiest way to get your site linked and backlinked is by letting your website visitors do the work you.  To do this, you will need to add some Social sharing tools to your website.  If you have WordPress, as your CMS, there are many plugins (click here for WordPress Sharing Plugins) that can accomplish social sharing.

I have compiled a short list of Social Sharing Tools for your website, some are for free and others are paid options.

Conclusion:

We all have to remember that the entire purpose of a website is to improve our business revenue, that is both “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” companies.  So when building, maintaining, or improving your website keep in mind that sales are the most important thing when it comes to a website!

written by RapidPage

Oct 082015
 

brand positioning

Purpose of Brand Positioning

I personally ascribe to the notion that a brand must have a purpose, a focus, a reason and a goal.

Brand Positioning Definition:

"The brand`s positioning is the place in the consumers mind that you want your brand to own. It is the benefit you want your consumer to perceive when they think of your brand. • A strong brand position means that the brand has a unique, credible and sustainable position in the mind of the consumer."

Read the entire article

Great Brand Positioning Taglines:

The following great taglines speak volumes about their brand:

Apple: "Think Different"
McDonald's: "I'm Lovin' It"
Nike: "Just Do It"
State Farm: "Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There"

Taglines can propel a company in a positive direction.  Taglines put the competition on notice that they "own" a particular market segment.  A tagline can set the corporate culture and a tagline can create fierce loyalty from consumers to a brand.

I only mentioned taglines because they demonstrate "brand positioning".

Brand Positioning, getting started:

Looking at the above taglines now think how you would define your corporation, its products, and services.

  • Are your services to broad to define a unique market position?
  • What are the benefits that your services provide?
  • How are your products better than your competitions?
  • What is your "claim" to a market segment?
  • What are your unique abilities?
  • On what do your clients compliment you?
  • What "feeling" do you wish your brand would invoke?

Now you will need to some spend some to determine profits, margins, and costs.  Take the time to see what price points are expected in a certain market, how you can add value to increase your price point and how you can position your brand as a leader in a niche market.

Resources:

Written by RapidPage

Oct 072015
 

Building Your Brand

Brand Purpose:

A brand gives a company a recognizable face, it defines your company mission, it states quality expectations and it creates a community.

What does Forbes say about "brand"? Click here

Definition

brand  (brănd)
n.
1.
a. A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product, service, or organization.
b. A product or service so identified: bought a popular brand of soap.
c. An association of positive qualities with a widely recognized name, as of a product line or celebrity: The company tried to improve its brand by donating money to charity.
d. A distinctive category; a particular kind: a brand of comedy that I do not care for.

Read entire definition

Why is a brand so important?

In my opinion when we think brand we think Apple, IBM, Microsoft, McDonald's and for good reason, they are all in the top ten of Brand Recognition. Having top recognition means less work for your advertising team, but more work for your marketing team keeping your brand value high.  Brand recognition means that your not having to fight for sales by using price as your message.  And if you're in a close fight for a sale, your brand can win the day, it's really hard for your competition to fight when your brand is so recognisable that your competition can only compete on price.

How to Build your Brand?

  • Get professional help along the way.
  • Know your strengths and fix your weaknesses.
  • Know your competition
  • How do your products and services positively impact your users?
  • What is your niche?
  • Get rid of conflicting products/services.
  • Price is not a brand, it's a technique!
  • Being technical is not a brand, how your brand technology positively impacts your clients is your brand strength!
  • Being smart is not branding, how your intelligence is applied is another brand strength.
  • Being in business for 50 years is not branding, it is the strength of your brand.
  • Word of mouth marketing is not a technique, it is expecting clients to be your spokesperson and that is too risky, build your brand, and project your voice!

This topic is far too large and complex so I have added some resources below.

Resources:

Oct 052015
 

What is the Motivation?

We cannot motivate, move, push or force someone to do it our way.  We cannot get someone to buy our products or services unless we understand what it is that motivates them.  What are some of these motivational buttons?

Motivational Buttons:

Fear:

Fear is a powerful motivational force, fear is a motivator for insurance, healthcare and security industries. Fear motivates us to buy coverage, to buy pills, book check-ups, or purchase an alarm system. These "fear based" products and services provide us a perceived benefit of protection from disaster or safety from disease or that no harm will come our way.

Success:

Success as a motivational force promotes high-end cars, branded products, yachts, mansions, designer clothes and gated communities.  These products are designed to provide the purchaser position,  power or the knowledge that they have "made it" because these products are not affordable by the average person.

Fame:

Fame is an amazing force to motivate.  It will make the recipient do almost anything, beg, borrow, steal, or climb over someone in order to achieve that position of adoration, acceptance or recognition.  This motivational force has and continues to power industries to assist individuals in achieving that fame that they desire.

Beauty:

Beauty is closely linked to fame but is separate. The beauty motivational force has been there since time and memorial.  It has no gender barrier, it has no age barrier, it has no religious barrier.  Beauty is promoted by business, the media and our interactions with others.  The beauty motivator has powered, fashion, beauty products, personal training, salons and gyms to name just a few.  Kids as young as 10 and adults in their 90's all participate.

Health/Fitness:

We want and need our health to function.  Health and fear motivators are closely linked, the term "a healthy lifestyle" means that if you don't do something or eat a certain way you risk living a healthy life.  This motivational force powers huge industries of health food, supplements, fitness and weight loss.

Self Improvement

I personally like this motivational force, because it seems benign, it seems positive and it seems to build and strengthen people, but does it? We buy books, attend higher education, get retraining, but these are all products and services designed to fill a need.

Challenge:

This week, take the time to observe your reaction to advertising and marketing, see which "motivational buttons" are being pressed and then take a look at how you are motivating your prospective clients.

Conclusion?

How are you positioning your products and services and what motivates your prospective clients to purchase them? Are you being sincere with your claims?

Oct 022015
 

content

Definition

"Web content is the textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include, among other things: text, images, sounds, videos and animations."

Read entire article

What does Wikipedia say about content?

"In Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville write, "We define content broadly as 'the stuff in your Web site.' This may include documents, data, applications, e-services, images, audio and video files, personal Web pages, archived e-mail messages, and more. And we include future stuff as well as present stuff."

Read entire

What does Google say about content?

"The key to creating a great website is to create the best possible experience for your audience with original and high-quality content. If people find your site useful and unique, they may come back again or link to your content on their own websites."

Read entire article

What does Bing say about content?

"Content is what Bing seeks.  By providing clear, deep, easy to find content on your website, we are more likely to index and show your content in search results."

Read entire article

Is Content King?

Well the bottom line is that no matter how pretty the site is, or how easy it is to navigate or how well you have done your SEO, without unique content your site will not gain the traction from new users.

Without unique content, we are not giving anything of value to Google or Bing to search.

Without unique content, we are not providing quality backlink material for other high ranking sites to link to.

Another benefit of Unique content is that it keeps your existing clients engaged and hopefully have them returning to see what else is new on your website.

Also, our unique content is an excellent resource for building your internal link strategy.

Conclusion:

I personally enjoy visiting sites that have fresh and unique content that may add value to my business life or add efficiency to my personal life or develop and strengthen my spiritual life.

When I am searching I do not want to see something written in 2007 unless I am doing comparisons.  To avoid "old data" I append my search term with the year "2015" with the expectation of finding fresh and relevant information. Since I am doing this, I must assume that my prospective audience is also doing the same thing.

So yes, we need SEO, we need a well structured website, we need a good looking website, but if we do not have unique content gambling that we will not be overlooked by search engines and that our site will drop in relevancy.

written by RapidPage

Oct 012015
 

linkbuilding

Internal Link Definition:

Internal Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) the same domain as the domain that the link exists on (source). In layman's terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website.

Here is the link to the entire definition

What does Wikipedia say about Internal Links:

An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain. Hyperlinks are considered either "external" or "internal" depending on their target or destination. Generally, a link to a page outside the same domain or website is considered external, whereas one that points at another section of the same webpage or to another page of the same website or domain is considered internal.[1]

Here is the link on the entire article

What does Google Webmaster say about Internal Links?

Although you may believe that users prefer a search box on your site rather than category navigation, it's uncommon for search engine crawlers to type into search boxes or navigate via pulldown menus. So make sure your important pages are clickable from the homepage and for easy for Googlebot to find throughout your site. It's best to create a link architecture that's intuitive for users and crawlable for search engines. Here are more ideas to get started:

Here is the link on the entire article.

What does Bing say about Internal Links?

Links – cross link liberally inside your site between relevant, related content; link to external sites as well

Here is the link to the entire article. (You will need to scroll down quite a bit to read about link structure, but it well worth the read!)

Why are they important to SEO?

Internal links make it easy for your site visitors to discover the rich content within your site.  With a highly structure link strategy, your site visitors may be guided through the sales process that lead them to give their email or purchase your product or service.  Also, search engines like Google and Bing need these internal links to index your website.

Conclusion:

Keep your site visitors on your page, stop or decrease your bounce rate, and develop a rich internal link building strategy.

Tools:

Bings Link Explorer

Google Internal Links Report

Sep 302015
 

backlinks

Backlink Definition:

backlink

ˈbakˌliNGk/

noun

COMPUTING

noun: backlink; plural noun: backlinks

an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website.

"the more backlinks you have pointing back to your site, the more popular it will be"

What does Wikipedia say about Backlinks:

“Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, in-links, and inward links, are incoming links to a website or web page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node.[1]

Here is the link on the entire article

What does Google Webmaster say about backlinks?

“Backlinks enable you to keep track of other pages on the web that link to your posts. For instance, suppose Alice writes a blog entry that Bob finds interesting. Bob then goes to his own blog and writes a post of his own about it, linking back to Alice's original post. Now Alice's post will automatically show that Bob has linked to it, and it will provide a short snippet of his text and a link to his post. What it all works out to is a way of expanding the comment feature such that related discussions on other sites can be included along with the regular comments on a post.

Here is the link on the entire article.

What does Bing say about backlinks?

Links pointing to your site help Bing discover new pages on your site. It also, traditionally, is regarded as a signal of popularity. The site linking to your content is essentially telling Bing they trust your content.  As a result, Bing rewards links that have grown organically, that is, that have been added over time by content creators on other trusted, relevant websites made to drive real users from their site to your site. Abusive tactics that aim to inflate the number and nature of inbound links such as links buying, participating in link schemes (link farms, link spamming and excessive link manipulation) can lead to your site being delisted from the Bing index.

Here is the link to the entire article.

Why are they important to SEO?

This is a simple and straightforward answer, links make it easy for search engines, like Google and Bing, to index sites, therefore the more “quality links” the better indexed your site is because the search engines find it easy to index your site because other sites are pointing directly to your site.

The negative is that if you have low-quality backlinks it actually could hurt your site ranking and you need to use google’s “disavow” tool.

Conclusion:

To improve your website ranking develop a backlink strategy (which we will discuss later)!

Tools:

Bings Link Explorer

written by RapidPage

Sep 292015
 

 

 

emailmarketing-1

Email marketing, unfortunately, has garnered a bad reputation and is too often associated with SPAM.  Our lives and time are constantly being eroded by having to manage an inbox that is bloated with trivial, non-essential and often useless emails from both legitimate and not so legit businesses or individuals trying to tell / sell us something.

As a business owner, because we are victims of SPAM and junk mail, we are often wary of subjecting our customers or potential customers with email marketing in case our marketing efforts are misconstrued as SPAM.
Before explaining “What is Email Marketing?” let’s look at what it isn’t.

What is SPAM?

 The following statement can be found on this website (http://www.fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home):
“Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) came into effect July 1, 2014. It is in place to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.
If you use electronic channels to promote or market your organization, products or services, Canada’s new anti-spam law may affect you.”

Further information about CASL can also be found here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/casl-lcap.htm

The bottom line about email marketing (and this also applies to sending out messages by SMS) is that you need the recipient’s consent (directly or implied) otherwise the recipient can report the sender to the SRC (Spam Reporting Centre) and, if found guilty, the sender could face hefty fines.

So, What Is Email Marketing?

In its simplest form, it is an email that you are sending to customers or to individuals who have subscribed to your email service (i.e. to your mailing list).  It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch.  It can be a newsletter, a product update, notification of upcoming services (or outages), etc.
Commercial email marketing systems such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, iContact, aWeber, etc, provide tools to help you manage your mailing list subscribers.  These systems can help you create attractive email messages from a broad selection of templates.  But, most importantly, they can ensure that your messages allow the recipient to get information about why they are receiving the message, by providing a reminder of how and why they are subscribed to this mailing list, and allow the recipient to unsubscribe (remove themselves) from the mailing list.
Apart from using a commercial product to manage your mailing list, you can do more subtle email marketing.

Here are some email marketing ideas:

  • Put a marketing message (picture and/or text with a link) in your email footer.
    • With this approach every time you email or reply to someone they will receive your ‘marketing’ message.  If all of your staff are doing this (with a corporate standard email footer) then this increases your marketing reach exponentially because your message goes out every time an email is sent.
    • Using tools such as WiseStamp, email signatures can even have ‘dynamic’ content such as recent Twitter posts, recent Facebook posts, etc.  This way, fresh corporate updates are getting to everyone that is receiving your email.
  • Add a marketing message onto your social media sites.
    • Most people will then receive an email message about ‘recent activity’ and if they are actively following your social media sites, this email will contain the message you put onto your social media site.
  • Get your suppliers or resellers to include your marketing message/materials when they contact their customers.
  • Include marketing materials (flyer, brochure, coupons, etc) when you:
    • Respond to enquiries from your website
    • Send invoices or quotes to customers
    • etc.

The bottom line is that with Email Marketing you…

  • Stay connected with your clients
  • You can Cross Sell Your Products
  • You can Vertically Sell to Clients
  • Selling to Existing clients is much easier than trying to sell to new clients!

written by RapidPage