What is a video worth?

According to Forrester Research, adding video to your website:

  • Makes it 6 times more likely to convert a browser into a paying customer.
  • 20% of website visitors read the majority of text on a web page.
  • 80% of visitors will watch the complete content in video form.
  • A business website is 50 times more likely to be on the first page of Google if it contains video.

According to Comscore, website visitors who watch videos stay longer on sites and are 64more likely to buy than other visitors.

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Google 1st Page Ranking vs. 2nd Page Ranking

The value of being listed on the first page of Google is tremendous. According public data, 95% of organic search traffic comes from being listed on the first page. But, how much of that 95% your website gets depends on where you’re listed in the top 10 positioning, with the first spot getting almost a 1/3 of that traffic!

The first listing on a search result is the most coveted because it has always been clicked on the most. I rarely scroll down to the bottom of the page anymore or to the 2nd page. If i can’t find what i want on the first few listings i usually tend to refine my search term.

Being on the second page is a consolation prize, or better yet a pat on the back. Yea, you did a nice job of getting ranked in the 11th or 12th spot, but maybe if you work harder you will get to the 1st page of Google!

Businesses often thinks that having meta tags, keywords, and title tags are enough to get the job done. WRONG! Maybe 10 years ago it was achievable, but not today. Every business wants to be ranked high on the first page and more importantly stay there.

IF you’re trying to achieve a high ranking on competitive keywords, you should either have an in house SEO expert, or work with a company that can provide proven results. In today’s competitive Internet landscape, this could mean a lot of business or very little.

If you are looking for a internet marketing company that can help you achieve 1st page rankings on major search engines, then give us a shout! I hope you found this article informative and welcome your comments.

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Do I Need A Mobile Website?

We have been hearing this question a lot from our clients.. ”I have a website but do i really need a mobile website?” The answer to this question is simple – YES!

Here are a few reasons why a mobile website is a must in today’s environment.

1. More and more people are using smartphone and tablets to look up information on the internet. Having a mobile or tablet ready optimized website will make it easier to surf your website.

2. Over 10% of internet traffic comes from smartphones. You can find out how much traffic you’re generating from smartphones by looking at your website stats. If you see a good amount of traffic, you should consider developing a mobile website.

3. About 1/2 of all Internet searches for LOCAL products and services are performed from mobile devices. Do you ever find yourself looking for something nearby to dine at by using your mobile device?

Pizza

Mobile Website Comparison

4. Your website will show up higher in search results if you have a mobile optimized website.  So when someone does a search for you on a mobile device, you will show up higher in the search rankings.

5. Mobile websites load faster thus making it a better experience for your visitors.

Hopefully that should give you some reasons why you should consider developing a mobile website for your business.

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Why online video is important to E-Commerce websites

It’s becoming more and more important to include video when promoting your products on your e-commerce website today.

You have probably noticed a huge increase in the use of videos to sell product online. You can find product videos on major sites like amazon.com, cnet.com, newegg.com and many others.  This alone is enough evidence that video marketing is effective and a good enough reason to get involved with online video marketing yourself.

One of the great aspects of using videos it that it allows you to demonstrate the use of a product that may be difficult to convey in words.  That’s why products sell better on TV commercials rather than a newspaper ads. When people can see a product in use, they can immediately grasp what the product is for, and how they can use it.

Another advantage that videos have is that they relatively easy to make.  You can take a video recording on your smartphone or digital camera, edit it with free editing software (http://www.desktop-video-guide.com/top-5-free-video-editing-software-review.html), and then optimize it for your website.

The growth of YouTube should be enough to convince any skeptic of the direction the internet is taking. Last year over one trillion views of a video took place on YouTube, and this according to YouTube themselves. Although many of the videos were not trying to sell anything, it certainly demonstrates the growth and power of online videos.

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Harnessing the Power of Linkedin for Your Business

There are many ways that a LinkediN presence can help your business connect with industry groups, potential customers, employment candidates and other aspects of business networking. Here are some tips on how to leverage the benefits of LinkedIn for your business.

1. Enhance your profile. The profiles are the centerpiece of the network. Your profile contains essential information that members use to determine how they may connect with you. Therefore, the more complete your profile is, the greater the chance that people will be motivated to communicate with you.

For example, ensure that your summary is complete with as much information as possible to increase credibility. Also, add essential business information to the profile that highlights aspects using essential keywords. This will make it possible for people to find and interact with you, using the network’s tools.

Enhancing the profile provides a gateway for industry partners, potential clients and employees to contact you directly. With regular status updates you can keep the profile fresh, automatically reminding members of who you are.

2. Construct a LinkedIn company page. Creating a company profile will increase the visibility of your business, as well as yourself. Company profiles offer members the opportunity to review information about businesses. The page should include descriptions, numbers of employees and the industry they serve. Develop a professional looking profile for your company including a logo, feed from the company blog and location information. Connect all of these aspects through other social media networks for the most positive results.

3. Engage with connections. Participate in LinkedIn Groups and Answers and join a small business group. Communicating with like minded people can provide business support, while offering you the opportunity to expand your network.

Join groups that are not only from your company industry, but also those of related business and interests. Expanding your connections is much more easily accomplished by using these tactics. Potential clients may find your profiles through groups, since group members may directly message each other, regardless of whether they are officially connected.

4. Expand and monitor the network. Import existing contact lists from email accounts to see which contacts are members and connect with them. The system will automatically recommend the people you already might know, based upon the details of the existing contacts. Make it a habit to regularly scour through existing contacts to find more people to connect with.

5. Pursue recommendations. Recommendations are a key feature that members view on profiles. They establish credibility and authority, while also raising your profile. Recommendations are also an excellent way to secure new clients. One way to increase recommendations is through participating in the social media aspects of the network, such as Questions and Answers and also by joining groups.

Request recommendations from satisfied customers and others that you have assisted in your networks. Satisfied customers are usually one of the best resources for obtaining new clients.

6. Recruitment. Use the search tools to find people from groups of passive candidates who may be suited to your key business roles. Change the status on your profile to “hiring” and then post job listings to all of your groups to attract talent. Premium accounts enable direct messages to be sent to prospects that you are not connected with.

Also use LinkedIn Recruiter, a specialized social media company product. This application allows for engaging with and also hiring from a passive candidate network.

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Why Do Email Marketing

Do you need to get your message out quickly? Got a new product you want to introduce to people? Or maybe you want to offer a promotion or a discount on a service? If so, you need to turn your attention to Email marketing!

Email promotions and offers can generate immediate action: sales, inquiries, subscriptions, etc. While well constructed and informative email newsletters direct visitors to events, create awareness, strengthen relationships, develop trust and loyalty.

Email Marketing Facts – It Works!

  1. Email marketing is one of the least expensive marketing channels. The Direct Marketing Association reported that email marketing generated an ROI of $43.62 per dollar spent on it in 2009.
  2. A report by the DMA found that open rates for house lists have increased to 14.92% with click-through rates in the high single digits at 9.36% and conversion rates in the mid single digits at 5.25%.
  3. 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email (Gartner).
  4. 81% of tablet owners use their devices to check emails (Gartner).
  5. Investment in email marketing is projected to grow from $1.3B in 2010 to $2B by 2014 (Forrester).
  6. 59% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel in generating revenue (BtoB Magazine).
  7. 75% of small to medium-sized U.S. business websites (SMBs) lack an email link on their home page for consumers to contact the business (BIA/Kelsey).
  8. 89% of retailers cited email is the most mentioned successful tactic overall according to Forrester Research.
  9. According to the Email Experience Council, utilizing a professional company and/or their tools often helps to increase response rates up to as much as 87%.
  10. 75% of daily social media users said email is the best way for companies to communicate with them, compared to 65% of all email users according to a study by MarketingSherpa (2010).

No matter how you decide to tackle email marketing, you can rest assured that you won’t be wasting your money. The Ad effectiveness Survey by Forbes Media in February/March 2009 revealed that email and e-newsletter marketing are considered the second-most effective tool for generating conversions (Search Engine Optimization was rated only slight higher to get 1st place).

Remember to link your emails to a page on your website and then use that link to make posts on your Facebook, and Twitter sites. It’s important to get your message out, and using both email marketing and social media together is a powerful combination.

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Google Panda Update 3.9 Released!

What’s the obsession of tech companies using animal names for updates and software? Maybe they simply love animals, or could it be that they are trying to symbolize some action the update or software will take?

Google, like all other search engines, generate search results for you by using a proprietary algorithm. In order to be the best, Google constantly changes and updates this algorithm up to 600 times per year! Along with the multitude of minor updates, Google will push 2-3 major algorithmic updates that can significantly affect your search results. The most recent update is called “Panda 3.9”.

Released midnight July 25 2012, Panda update 3.9 aims to remove websites with low quality or thin content from Google’s search results. They claim the update should only affect about one percent of search results, but at the same time should be enough to notice change.

Panda 3.9

Panda Update 3.9

Follow your website’s ranking closely the next few days, and if you find that the Panda update has had a negative effect on your website, then chances are you have been approaching SEO the wrong way. A good search optimized website should have nothing to worry about, in fact, those sites should rank up.

Google wants reputable websites to be at the top of search results, and getting recognized by their algorithm takes expertise and commitment. If you have a good SEO company working for you- GREAT! If you manage your website “in-house”, then a here is a few ways you can avoid being affected by major or minor updates like Panda 3.9:

  • Webmaster’s Guidelines – If you click on this link – You will find the best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site. Google is handing you exact directions to a high rank in search, so follow it!
  • Caution – Beware of shady link building or link purchasing. Google is smarter than you, and they will find out and remove your site from search results.
  • Embrace Social Media – Get your message out there, and build some links naturally!

Overall, I think Google is trying to stay competitive by providing you with quality search results, and at the same time sending a message to site owners, “Get rich, or die trying”- Curtis James. In all seriousness, these updates will promote sites that have focused on content and traditional marketing techniques.

For those of you, who are new to SEO, get an expert to help you with your website. Who knows? It could be a panther coming after your site on the next update!

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Important Factors To Consider When Building A Website

In 1990, Canon’s television ad’s featured legendary tennis star Andre Agassi. In the commercial, he says “Image is Everything“. That statement is so true!  Image and appearance are some of the most important factors when considering building a website.  It’s the first thing visitors take into consideration when deciding to stay or leave. Your site must be inviting.

The impression you create when people are browsing through your website can lead to a purchase or call. If not developed strategically, your site will prompt a quick exit and a click on to your competitor’s webpage. Design trends have evolved from the early 90′s, and both the internet and consumers have matured.

Web evolution

Look what happens ever 60 seconds on the internet.

So, let’s talk briefly about important factors you must implement:

  • Choosing the right domain name and URL.  Many people don’t realize that selecting a relevant domain name can help with their search engine rankings. To give you an example, if I have a box company my strategy would be to choose a URL like “boxesforsale.com” as opposed to “mycompanyname.com”.  Having rich keyword in your url can play a factor in your ranking.
  • Site Layout. Respect your website real estate. Having too much information on one page will make your website look cluttered. If your web design and layout looks inviting, you give potential customers the impression that you have paid attention to details and that you care about being professional.
  • Navigation. Nothing will send your customers running to a competitor faster than a website that is difficult to navigate. If the customer can’t find the information or product they are looking for on your website quickly, then they are going to search elsewhere. Carefully consider your navigation when you are planning your layout. Sketching out your website or wireframing is a great process to plan out navigation of your site.
  • Content is king. Make sure you have enough valuable content on your website that’s easy to read.  Search engines “crawl” content on your website and index your pages.  Your goal is to have visitors engage with your content. Videos, podcasts, diagrams, etc. They are all forms of content that gets visitors to click through your site. Why do some pages come up before others? Valuable content. The more people read pages or articles on your website, the more search engines deem it valuable and thus help your website rank higher.
  • Keywords. When creating content, consider choosing extremely relevant keywords when developing your website. Search engines use keywords to display their search results, but keep in mind that you don’t want to keep repeating them because they will penalize you for it. Repetitive keywords also known as “keyword spamming” is considered to be an unethical SEO practice. Google provides guidelines you can follow to avoid being penalized.
  • Call to action. There are many techniques to convert visitors into potential customers. Have you been to a website where there is a big red button that says, “Start your free trial, download now, call for a free quote, or fill out this form”? If so, you have been converted by that website. Becoming engaged or interested was half the battle for the website you visited. I remember the first time I clicked on Netflix’s “30 free trial” button- 3 years later; I am now a loyal customer.
  • Blog and social Media Links. The ability for customers to interact with your business, products, and services is a vital today.  What we buy, where we go, who we do business with has become a function of blogging and social media.  Think about incorporating a blog like wordpress and social medial networks like FacebookLinkediN, and Twitter. I recently posted an article “Customer Engagement through Social Media Marketing”; I encourage you to read it. Most importantly, when you include links on your website to your social media pages you build links naturally.
  • Keep your website updated and up to date. I’ve seen websites that haven’t changed in years! How boring. Your customer doesn’t appreciate it and neither does search engines. Keeping a site up to date is no easy task, especially in a world where new information is being posted at the speed of light. There are many forums, and tech blogs that can help you stay current.

In a nutshell the important factors to consider when building your website are web design elements, strategic use of relevant keywords, interactive content, conversion techniques, link building, and maintenance.

There are fantastic tools out there that you can use to build an organic search engine optimized website, but consider using a professional company to create and maintain it for you.  It’s important to build a website from an SEO perspective from the ground up.  Doing so will help direct traffic to your future site.  Especially in today’s environment, where major search engine have given more leverage to PPC campaigns and map listings.  I hope this post gave you a bit of insight about building your website, please contact me if you have any comments or questions!

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Is Pay Per Click Right for your Business?

Is pay-per-click advertising right for your business? In order to gain clarity on the answer you have to evaluate the advantages, drawbacks and your alternative options. What you choose to do will be contingent on your short and long term internet marketing goals.

PPC or SEO?

Which direction leads to success?

PPC (pay per click) advertising is the fastest way to get on the front page of major search engines. PPC gets you visible using extremely competitive and relevant keywords without having to optimize or change your website. A major advantage is the amount of control you have over the campaign. With instant management, you can turn the switch on or off, select the days or times your ad appears, and best of all you can change your budget at any time. Ultimately you gain vital statistics that help you calculate ROI.

The drawbacks to PPC start with cost. Depending on the competition level of relevant keywords you choose, the cost can be very high over time. Since you will be bidding for a top spot, take into consideration getting outbid and loosing visibility. Once you are hooked onto PPC expect to pay more over time because the standard model shows increasing costs as a guarantee. Relevant keywords target specific traffic, but you still take the risk of paying for irrelevant clicks. The biggest drawback would apply to businesses with a website that is not optimized to convert the traffic you pay for into actual opportunities. Why pay for the click if you can’t convert it?

It is possible to achieve the same level of visibility that PPC brings. Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is the alternative, but with this approach the results have to be earned. As a long term strategy, the website has to be optimized and in some cases transformed. Besides improving the technical aspects of the website there are many activities that you have to be engaged in like social media, reputation initiatives, and link building. The experts would split the process into on and off page optimization.

If your optimization is successful, you will be on the first page, never have to pay when someone clicks your link, and you will get these advantages 24/7.  Most importantly, you will have a website that can convert the traffic into opportunities. SEO takes time to develop, and requires a high level of commitment either from in-house staff or an internet marketing firm whose expertise is in helping your website develop opportunities online. Keeping an organically high ranking website is not easy to maintain. The costs can be high initially, but over time will be a far greater option. SEO will provide you with some results you cannot ever take away. With PPC, once you stop paying your website will fall back out of the first page rankings. Albeit PPC and SEO have its advantages, both fit into short and long term strategies.

Is PPC advertising right for your business? Yes.

A balanced approach

Utilize a balanced strategy

There should be a budget allocated for both methods. Initially, a PPC campaign should be implemented while developers work on your website and off page activities. As your website starts to rank up organically, the long term strategy would be to phase out your PPC. In some cases websites can do both simultaneously to compare statistics in order to maximize elements on the website to capture more opportunities. Using both methods would be a great approach and a balanced online marketing strategy

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Customer Engagement through Social Media Marketing

Businesses are promoting their brands, services, and products through social media network not only because it’s more cost effective, but because of its greater reach and massive appeal to audiences around the globe.  You can find social media in websites to tv commercials, magazines to radio, billboards and business cards – It’s in your face everyday.

The ability to reach millions of people though social media networks has created an enormous marketing opportunity for businesses.  So how can you get customers to engage with your product or service through social media marketing?

Well, consumers obviously cannot directly interact with your product or service online. If you provide a place where they can interact with each other about your business, then consumers will begin to engage. By using social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter you can create an medium to develop content that manifests discussion, and reputation. The customers engaging within your social media sites greatly impact the decisions consumers make on what to buy, or whether to do business with you!

The key is the content you that you provide or incentivise to create amongst your target market. Constant activity, frequent posting, writing relevant articles are extremely important to keep your audience interested.

It is one thing to get someone interested,  but another to keep them interseted. I would higly reccomend having a dedicated asset who manages your company’s social media. In house content manager can be very benificial, but for around the same cost of personel you can have a firm who specailizes in social media and much more.

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