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Reminder: Humans visit your site

by Admin 23. April 2009 15:04

Yes, we all want to be #1 in Google for every single keyword. Well, that's unlikely to happen, but we can still try to do our best. According to Brafton, most of the time, this means through SEO content in which people will write keywords...and keywords...and yet more...you guessed it, keywords. But what are those keywords really saying to your human readers?

For example, we may have  web timesheet software used many times in our content, but we also have to explain what our timesheet software is and how it  can benefit the visitor's business. If the content is largely written to completely accommodate keywords, the descriptions of your products and why the visitor to your site needs or wants them will be lost.

So maybe you end up #1 in Google and everyone comes to your site...but if you fail to communicate what it is your selling, chances are you won't sell it. What's the point of being #1 in Google if it doesn't translate to sales?

Bottom line, you have to write your content for the robots and for humans. Don't forget the humans.

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Small Business Tips | Marketing Strategies | Other

It Continues to Look Bleak for Newspapers

by Admin 16. April 2009 10:04

This post will be a follow up to my previous post, Would you Pay for Your Online News?, which examined what will happen to newspapers as advertisers leave in drives due to the recession and more people switch to reading online for free.

There was a very interesting post in the NYTimes about "hyperlocal" web sites and blogs that are bringing community news to the community as the major papers are cutting back on this news. These "hyperlocal" online sites are filled with links to news articles and posts from local bloggers, data feeds from city government, crime reports, restaurant openings and specials, locations for road construction and traffic, etc.

The biggest question is how these sites will make money and the answer appears to be advertising, although in a different form, and this is where the innovation of this idea could become a huge business. “When you slice further and further down, you get smaller and smaller audiences,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who has followed the hyperlocal market for a decade. “Advertisers want that kind of targeting, but they also want to reach more people, so there’s a paradox.” 

However, he means large advertisers. But what about small ones? Numerous small businesses have never put ads online before and their estimated worth by 2013, according to Peter Krasilovsky, is $32 billion. Let's have an example.

We at OfficeClip are a small company located in Atlanta (Norcross, specifically). At present, we advertise online but not too much locally besides listings. Now let's say there is some very local news on this "hyperlocal" website about the police department nearby or a local chain restaurant adopting a new software or technological device to make their business run better, etc. That would be a great place for us to put an ad for our web timesheet software or web contact manager software. We might not reach as many people as we do with Google, but it probably would not be as expensive either. Also, there is a dedication that small businesses have to other local small businesses. This would enable them to know about one another more easily.

In all, this is probably bad for the newspapers, since they did not come up with it, but these "hyperlocal" sites still get information from them so they need to get advertisers quick in case their main artery newspaper fails. I still think this is a great idea and could really benefit local companies willing to participate!

SEM is still bigger than Social Networking

by Admin 2. April 2009 12:04

...But for how long?

CRM Magazine concedes that social networking is becoming bigger and bigger by the day but holds firm to the idea that SEO and SEM are still holding their ground. Social networks, according the article, have yet to lead to a true revolution but consumers are changing how they are searching, so marketers need to be involved and ready to adapt quickly.

5 Strategies

The article then goes on to give 5 strategies to improve your SEO and SEM by including, not excluding or ignoring, your social networking efforts.

The first one is to start preparing for mobile search. Jon Diorio of Google Adwords pointed out that people have a different mindset when they are using their mobile device for search than when they are sitting at a computer and searching. Bottom line: get ahead of the game and start devoting some of your marketing budget to this because by 2009, almost 90% of mobile internet users will be searching, compared to 13% in 2007.

The second point mentioned was to make sure that your social content is searchable. Optimize it because if you don't, there could be unintended consequences, such as searchers being attracted to your competitors whose social content is optimized.

Strategy #3 advises marketers to use brand awareness as a selling point and only 25% of marketers currently track brand awareness. 98% of ads aren't clicked, so their only real purpose then is is to create and extend brand awareness. People can be encourged to perform searches after viewing some kind of online or offline marketing. Your paid ad may not get the click, but that person may search for you later, which is even better since you won't have to pay for the click! Online and Offline campaigns can be used in combination.

This 4th strategy suggests that a TV, newspaper or radio ad could be used to drive traffic to your website by getting people to search for you.

The final idea was for companies who have ideas and budgets, but not enough personnel to manage the intiatives, to use technology.

Things like CRM software, which OfficeClip offers, can help you do this by managing campaigns and contacts. Other marketing technologies are constantly evolving and can really help you manage your programs.

So are you implementing any of these strategies? How are they working for you? What would you add to this list? Please leave comments for us!

A Discussion on Geo-Targeting

by Admin 26. March 2009 10:03

Some conversations have come up here at OfficeClip regarding reaching local businesses. Since we are located in Atlanta, GA, we are keenly aware of how many great opportunities there could be to reach out to other companies to offer our product or simply share ideas.The web is massive and sometimes  leads and sales can come from companies that want to or are willing to support other small businesses in their community.

Geo-targeting is what it's called when you do this with ad campaigns. I am not sure what it's called when it's a focus for social networking, like Twitter and Facebook...but I will lump it together for now.

My last post kind of hinted that Google has its faults (gasp!) and in this post, I am planning to return to that idea with this article, by Brian Carter of Fuel Interactive-a marketing agency in Myrtle Beach, SC and also offer some of my own thoughts on geo-targeting.

Mr. Carter's article focuses on experiences he has had with Google Adwords and his geo-targeted campaigns. He gives the following example:

"Say I want to serve ads about Myrtle Beach Hotels only to people in North Carolina – I’m creating a campaign specifically for North Carolinians with ads about a gas credit to save money on the drive down to Myrtle Beach. With AdWords’ current set-up and the query parsing exception, if someone in California searches for one of my keywords, like “myrtle beach hotels”, AdWords may still show them that ad. This happens despite the fact that the ad is for a gas credit that no one in California would ever use. Ridiculous. "

And I will have to agree with him here. Ridiculous. He goes on to further express some things I occasionally think when using Google:

"If I’m smart enough (or have good data from my analytics) to geotarget more specifically for better results or for specific campaign goals, I should be able to do so. Google either thinks their algorithm is smarter – and clearly it’s not - or they care more about making money than about helping me reach my advertising goals, or this is an antiquated approach they need to update. "

Things are tough out there right now and from what I've been hearing on Twitter and in some LinkedIn groups, people seem very committed to helping out their local businesses. Geo-targeting lets us try to get in touch with one another. If I want everyone to see my ads, I will create a campaign for the whole USA. But if I also want to target the Atlanta metro area, to see if any businesses here need web timesheet software or a web contact manager, I will want to create a campaign to geo-target this area for OfficeClip. Why does Google Adwords get to decide differently? Isn't it our money and our data? This is, for me, certainly an example that Google is too big and has too much control.

On another note, we have not implemented geo-targeting here at OfficeClip as of yet, but we are interested and engaged in our research. Any advice or comments...please post 'em as we would love to read 'em!

Is Twitter Really Better Than Google?

by Admin 20. March 2009 17:03

Interesting thought and one that had never crossed my mind until I read this article from Kuno Creative Strategic Marketing. They assert that Twitter is quickly replacing Google as the go-to place for valuable information. Of course, this should all be kept in perspective: Twitter still has a relatively low number of users, at 7 million, compared to Google's massive worldwide reach.

Their point is interesting though. They concede that Google is still "king of meta data" but go on to say that it is just too massive and people really can struggle to find relevant results and therefore go digging through the pages, wasting alot of time. Hmmm, I've done that a few times, how about you?

Twitter, in their minds, is like a search engine that is full of people with similar interests to yours, whether it be marketing, software, supply chain, medical, etc., giving you direct access to the 1% of the information Google would give you but without having to go through all the other "junk." Twitter is indeed full of "gurus" who are the best of the best at what they do and they are constantly feeding a steady stream of information. If you go to search.twitter.com and type in what you are looking for, you will get a very relevant, quality list.

So while Google has everything, Twitter may be able to save you some time searching for it because it is smaller and a lot more personal. Give it a try sometime.

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Small Business Tips | Marketing Strategies

Making Web 2.0 Work for You

by Admin 4. March 2009 09:03

Web 2.0, according to a McKinsey report and analysis, is extremely beneficial for companies but under-utilized. They give some reasons for this, which I think are very common, in small and large businesses alike:

"Web 2.0 efforts often fail to launch or to reach expected heights of usage. Executives who are suspicious or uncomfortable with perceived changes or risks often call off these efforts. Others fail because managers simply don’t know how to encourage the type of participation that will produce meaningful results. "

If these kind of problems exist, how can Web 2.0 even be beneficial? The McKinsey report explains that Web 2.0 is able to engage a broader base of workers and many of those have grown up using this technology. Also, the enagement demands a different mindset than the technologies of CRM software of the '90s, which were instituted mostly from management.

Web 2.0 consists of things like blogs, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, forums, wikis, etc. and require a lot of interaction from users to generate new content and information. In return, companies must to be open to these ideas and comments. Web 2.0 is like an open conversation...it is not for blatant self-promotion. Instead, it fosters the concept that by engaging with current and potential customers, news about your business and the products and services you sell, will increase.

It also takes a good amount of time. Remember, Web 2.0 is now a huge part of online marketing and if you use it, you should have a proper strategy in place and be willing to commit to blogging, twittering and responding to people's comments.

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Small Business Tips | Marketing Strategies

Make the Most of Your Marketing

by Admin 19. December 2008 18:12

Make the Most of Your Marketing

By now everyone has heard we’re in a recession. How do you improve your business during a recession? There are, of course, many answers to that but one would certainly be to improve your marketing. Embracing Web 2.0 can be a way to gain visibility for your product/service in a way you might have only been doing through PPC ads and SEO. And while no one is arguing that Google is still king and SEO is still a necessity, Web 2.0 may offer new ways to connect with your target market that (for most of us anyways) is increasingly looking for ways to cut back.

Web 2.0, or inbound marketing, focuses on attracting highly qualified customers to websites through creating blogs that customers can follow, forums they can participate in, videos they want to watch and newsletters they want to read. It is pretty much the opposite of print and TV marketing, where a message is thrown into the crowd over and over again. And if you are reading this OfficeClip blog, you are already participating in inbound marketing!

3 Main Components

Inbound marketing campaigns, according to Hubspot’s Marketing Blog, have three main parts:

1. Content- The content is what attracts the customers to your tool

2. Search Engine Optimization- Nope, this has not gone away, it still has to be a huge part of any marketing strategy, as users will still use your site as a starting point.

3. Social Networking- Things like Facebook and Linkedin allow you to spread the word about your company in a personal way and gets other people talking about you! In addition, Jake Kilroy of Entreprenuer.com, talks about the benefits of using Twitter, a networking site where you constantly update your status, have people “follow” you and “follow” others with whom you share a mutual interest.

Communication is Key

Perhaps the main point of Web 2.0 is that consumers want you to communicate with them and they want to be able to give you feedback! This is why blogs are so common now, even though it can be challenging to get one started and develop a following. Another way to interact with your customers is through email-yes, its been around longer than social networking, but it is still a great tool! Using  OfficeClip’s Web Contact Manager can help you organize all your customers and send out recurring email campaigns, updating them on any news, tips, changes, etc. with your company/product.

In the end, inbound marketing alone will probably not be enough, at least initially. PPC ads, emails, phone calls, etc., can still be effective as long as you do them well. But a combination of these strategies will enable you to connect with your customers in the ways they want…and that’s always best!

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