Category: Digital Marketing

October 15, 2014 / / Digital Marketing

When we started talking to business owners about on-line Social Networking in 2007, we believed that in order to maintain the authenticity needed to successfully engage with their customers, the owners needed to run the campaigns themselves. We spent most of our time training them, giving presentations and answering their questions.

Over the next few years, new social sites cropped up, current ones were revamped, and the “Social Space” got more crowded. It became harder for small companies to stand out or compete. Large companies had the big budgets to add Social Staff or outsource to large marketing agencies. Social Media Marketing became a mainstream endeavor, best handled by professionals. read more

September 12, 2014 / / Digital Marketing

Traditional marketing is not dead!  People watch television (although commercials seem to be dominated by cell phone service providers, automobile manufacturers and insurance companies). People still listen to the radio and read magazines. Some see the ads in the few newspapers still in print.  Direct mail and brochures are successful for some companies.

However, more and more, we are living in a digital world.  We “tape” shows on DVR’s and skip through the commercials; we get our news from on-line newspapers and magazines; we visit websites and Social Media Pages to learn about companies and products we are interested in. read more

August 22, 2014 / / Content Marketing

I recently watched a video of a large bear in a rushing stream grabbing salmon as they swam upstream, and I was reminded of the aggressive salesman I recently encountered.  He practically grabbed me by my shirt front and demanded that I buy what he was selling – a ham fisted approach that apparently works on some people.

The next day I watched a cormorant glide across the pond behind my house.  Cormorants are duck-like birds found in ponds and lakes. It looks like they are just enjoying swimming with the fish – until they make a quick dive and come up with a fish and you realize they were fishing all along.  These birds remind me of people who attend networking events.  They circulate through the crowd, making small talk, not really selling.  However, you may hear a sudden “snap” as they find a potential customer. read more

April 14, 2014 / / Digital Marketing

We have been talking to three of our new website clients about adding a social media marketing strategy to their marketing plans.  All three had concerns about the price.  All three currently pay over $1,000 a month for exposure in the “yellow pages” (or similar directories).

When asked why they were spending this money, their answers were all along the same lines. They had been told by the representatives from these directories that:

  • Without these printed books companies will miss a large segment of the population without access to the Internet.

While it is true that about 20% of America’s population does not have ready access to Internet, many of those folks are elderly and many are living below the poverty level.   Whether it is worth the thousands of dollars a year to continue to advertise to such a small segment of the population is a question that only the business owner can answer.  And the fact is there may be other more economical ways to reach these folks. read more

As marketers, we look at a lot of websites and social media sites.  After a (very unscientific) review, we have found that companies seem to fall into several categories when it comes to their social media  efforts, which could answer the question:  Why are some companies succeeding while others are not?

The Pretend Facebooker.  The “F” icon is on the website, but there is no Facebook Page.

Many DIY website templates have social media icons in the design. However, if the links are not added, clicking on the little blue F does no good. read more

February 13, 2014 / / Digital Marketing

My aunt raised four boys. When they were young, they were quite a handful.  One evening, when they were extremely unruly, she had had it. She threw a plate of spaghetti at the wall.  It stuck.  What does this have to do with marketing?  Absolutely nothing.  Throwing things at walls to see what sticks has never been a good marketing tactic.

While a thoughtful marketing plan has always been important, the marketing platforms available have exploded in the last few years, making yesterday’s plans irrelevant. There was a time when print, television, radio and “cold calling” were the available options. The Internet and now the “Social Net” have not only given us more choices, but have fundamentally changed the way customers make their purchasing decisions. read more

February 11, 2014 / / Digital Marketing

Most of us have seen the commercials that advertise Do-It-Yourself Websites. The commercials make it look so easy – Choose a template, add some content and images and publish, and your customers will find you!  Unfortunately, for many of the people who come to me for help after they have spent a lot of time and (yes) money, it isn’t really that easy.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make your decision:

1.   How Free Is It?

When I see a glitzy commercial offering me anything free, I have to ask.  If it is free, how can they afford to produce the commercial and put it on TV?  In the cost of free websites, someone has to have designed and coded the templates, added the images and done the many other background things that make a website work.  How are they being paid? 
A couple of years ago, I got a call from a travel agent, who had tried to publish her free website.  As she was signing up for the site, she was exposed to page after page of “upgrades.”  By the time all was said and done, she had spent over $300 on upgrades, and her website had a banner at the top with ads by her competitors. 
It would be smart to investigate what you actually get for free, and what you will ultimately pay for.  What are the hosting fees? Once you design the site on these platforms, can it be moved to another host?  If you run into a problem, what will technical support cost?  Also, be careful of the upcharges that are displayed on these “free” sites.  Sometimes the default is to purchase the add on – you have to uncheck the box or you will be charged.
2.  Will Anyone Find my Website?
While content is by far the most important component of any website, there are other background component that Google and other search engines look for when they decide how close to page 1 your site gets. Most of the platforms offer you the opportunity to optimize things like meta descriptions, alt tags for images, title tags, etc.  But if you don’t know what these things are, or how you should use them, your site may not fare well on search engines. Also, if you are not familiar with Google+ Business pages and other important links, you might be missing very important signals that Google looks for.
I was recently approached by a business owner, who had done his own website.  However, even when he typed the name of the company into Google’s search box, his website did not display.  When I looked at the website, I discovered that he had not included his address (or even what state he was in).  Most importantly, the name of his company never appeared printed in text. He had not even added an “alt” tag to his logo image.  Even with all of his hard work, his website was invisible to Google. 
3.  Will the Website do the job I want it to do? read more

January 10, 2014 / / Content creation

I can’t quite figure out the flurry of articles and blog posts that have been posted in the last few weeks either telling us that 2014 is the “Year of Content,” or heralding its “death.”  The fact is that marketing has always been about content.  From the time the fur traders sat around the campfire at the local fort and tried to sell their pelts (and I’m sure even before that) we have tried to spin stories that helped us sell the goods and services we possessed to people who we believed could use those goods and services.  Those stories – whether told around a campfire, written on a leaflet, published in a newspaper or emblazoned on the side of peddler’s wagon – were content. read more

December 9, 2013 / / Digital Marketing

“I’ll have her pull those files out of the cloud.”

“She can do that?”

“I’m pretty sure anyone younger than me can do that.” 

When I heard that line on the TV show Haven the other night, I had to laugh because it mirrors how I am beginning to feel about technology. I remember bragging to my younger sister-in-law that I had learned how to put up a MySpace page, and she told me that she and her friends had moved to Facebook.  I remember finally getting good at texting on a numeric keypad, learning what IDK and IMHO meant, and then getting a phone with a real keyboard. read more

October 24, 2013 / / Digital Marketing

The Best Way to Learn Digital Marketing

Live Broadcast: November 11 to November 22, 2013.
On-Demand Access: Available only to subscribers.
Location: Online

LEARN: Digital and Social Media Strategies virtual event is an online education event focused on teaching the best practices, strategies, “How to’s” and foundational elements of what is most important in digital and social media marketing. Unlike the thousands of webinars, sponsored virtual events and general trade shows, LEARN does just as the title suggests, helps you learn. It is an event designed to help marketing professionals quickly acquire the skills and knowledge needed to generate higher ROI and revenue from their digital marketing investment. read more