Monthly Archives: March 2012

Look Who’s Talking Now: Tips to Develop or Improve Your Online Presence

All organizations have an online presence, regardless if its image is based on intentional effort or user creations (reviews, recommendations, etc.). Even random mom and pop shops have some online presence, as today’s society is starting to utilize the power of speech via the internet, giving great weight to consumer experiences.

It is critical that organizations are aware of their online presence, so that they can minimize negative talk, or help develop and sustain a good image.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I’ve wrote before about my favourite web presence tracking site, SocialMention, where keywords can be searched for amongst a substantial size of social media platforms. However, if you’ve used this listening tool and discovered your own organizations online presence, you may wonder where to go from there. I have yet to elaborate on steps subsequent to either improving, or developing an online presence—which is critical. Therefore, I have decided to dive into his hefty subject now.

No One’s Talking—Lets Start a Buzz!

If your online presence is minimal and you want to encourage online conversation try some of the following techniques:

Develop a Blog to create credible/expert talk on your product/services

Engage in Search Engine Optimization (See my previous post “How Do You Spell Findability? S-E-O.”)

Create a corporate social media accounts (Make sure your chosen platforms have the ability to engage or capture your desired target market.)

People Are Talking, But It’s Not What I Want To Hear!

If people are saying negative things about your organization, it is worthwhile to determine the source of problem.

Is it the quality of the service or product? The follow up procedures such as customer service? Or the pre-purchase activities, such as payment options or online accessibility?

Once you figure out what the source of the problem is, you have to find a suitable solution. This solution will differ depending on the issue, but one thing remains constant; communication. Be honest and transparent in your communication efforts with your consumers. Acknowledge their complaints and make it clear you’re looking into a solution (Of course this means you DO have to find a viable solution).

Analyze Then Strategize

Overall, in developing and improving your online presence, you need to have a strategy for your online tactics. It is my best advice to develop a well-rounded marketing strategy that is specific to your online efforts. Start off with a basic SWOT analysis, mix in your budget constraints and determine your overall goals. Feasible online marketing additions or improvements will be the end result of a successful analysis of your current and desired situation.

I hope this post has given all your marketers out there a little boost to look into your brands online image and take my advice to get ahead of the game by listening, understanding and making adjustments.

Bibliography

123rf. (n.d.). Red Dice With Words Inspect Analyze Learn On Faces. Retrieved 2012, from 123rf: http://www.123rf.com/photo_9259496_red-dice-with-words-inspect-analyze-learn-on-faces.html

Miller, M. (2011). The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana: Que Publishing.

Nuanced Media. (n.d.). Reviews Image: How Important are Online Customer Reviews. Retrieved 2012, from Nuanced Media: http://nuancedmedia.com/how-important-are-online-customer-reviews/

Ovsyannykov. (2012, February 02). Thumbs Down Image: Do Negative Reviews Really Hurt You? Retrieved 2012, from Design You Trust: http://designyoutrust.com/2012/02/02/do-negative-reviews-really-hurt-you/

123rf. (n.d.). Red Dice With Words Inspect Analyze Learn On Faces. Retrieved 2012, from 123rf: http://www.123rf.com/photo_9259496_red-dice-with-words-inspect-analyze-learn-on-faces.html

Miller, M. (2011). The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana: Que Publishing.

Nuanced Media. (n.d.). Reviews Image: How Important are Online Customer Reviews. Retrieved 2012, from Nuanced Media: http://nuancedmedia.com/how-important-are-online-customer-reviews/

Ovsyannykov. (2012, February 02). Thumbs Down Image: Do Negative Reviews Really Hurt You? Retrieved 2012, from Design You Trust: http://designyoutrust.com/2012/02/02/do-negative-reviews-really-hurt-you/

Social Mention. (n.d.). Social Mention. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from Social Mention: http://www.socialmention.com/

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How Do You Spell Findability? S-E-O.

Many people use search engines like Google or Bing on a daily basis, yet many are unfamiliar with what’s really going on behind the scenes when it comes to using a search engine.

If you own a website, or even a WordPress account like mine, it’s important to understand the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Good SEO practices encourage greater awareness and higher levels traffic—sounds good doesn’t it? It is and as a bonus, it’s pretty easy to learn!

First off, let’s start with a very basic understanding of SEO practices.

What is a Search Engine?

Search Engines (SE) are databases of information that, when asked to search for a keyword or phrase, scan its available content to give the user the most relevant information. A lot of work is put into matching context and content to that of the user’s keywords. In delivering the user information that’s relevant, the SE picks up on keywords, tags, and links to sort through piles of data and return the results.

Of course, companies can pay to have their sites appear at the top of the page, or as pay-per-click advertisements around the sides. However, this blog post addresses how to understand and improve organic, unpaid, search results.

Do They Have Limitations?

Since SE’s aren’t human, they can’t be expected to read all types of content. For example, you may have a picture of an apple on your website, but the SE won’t recognize this image and associate it with a user’s search for the keyword “apple”. This just goes to show that understanding what type of information and content is recognized by SE’s is critical in optimizing the overall performance.

If you’ve ensure that the appropriate keywords and content are being utilizing by your website, then you can improve your standing dramatically. It is a marketer’s nightmare to hear of someone putting great efforts into traditional marketing, then dropping the ball when it comes to creating and sustaining a presence in the online, digital world.

Tips and Tricks

To help improve your personal or professional websites standing in SE databases, take into consideration the following concepts.

1. Have you adding your website and sitemap to Search Engines?

Not everyone is aware of this, but to truly optimize your position in a search engines database, you have to give them the required information. For example, do you want your website to be part of Google’s SE database? Click here to visit Google Webmaster Tools to begin this step.

2. Is your content around 1000 words per page? SE’s like it short and sweet.

3. Do you use keywords appropriately?

Don’t stuff as many repetitive words into your content, SE’s can pick up on this.

Do repeat keywords to an appropriate extent.

4. Is your website organized? Develop a simple and neat sitemap.

5. Are you participating in reciprocated linking? Link with others and have other to link with you, but make sure they are reputable.

6. Don’t try to outsmart SE’s with shady practices… many are smarter than you think.

For advanced SEO techniques, I recommend purchasing Michael Millers textbook entitled “The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide”. Trust me; this book is like the bible for digital marketing.

Bibliography

Google Inc. (2012). Webmaster Tools. Retrieved 2012, from Google: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools

Miller, M. (2011). The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana: Que Publishing.

PRLOG. (2011, March 7). Magnifying Glass Image: SEO search engine optimization seminar. Retrieved 2012, from PRLOG: http://www.prlog.org/11357015-seo-search-engine-optimization-seminar-how-to-get-your-business-foound-on-google.html

Spundit Ltd. (2011, July 7). Darts Image: SEO North Wales. Retrieved 2012, from Spundit: http://www.spundit.co.uk/

Web Hosting Reviews. (n.d.). Google Search Image: Top 10 Search Engine Websites. Retrieved 2012, from Web Hosting Reviews: http://www.webhost4lifereview.com/top-10-search-engine-websites/

6 Elements That Make Planning a Breeze!

I recently was introduced to a wonderful template tool that aids in developing marketing communication plans. This tool was developed in the 1990’s by Paul R. Smith and is called the SOSTAC model, which is actually an acronym for the 6 components needing analysis. I’m currently utilizing this tool in a course I’m taking and have found it truly helpful in organizing my thoughts. I also find that it helps in ensuring that I don’t leave out any critical aspects to my analysis.

So how about I take you through a detailed description of each abbreviated letter and the components required for analysis… Okay? Okay!

The Nitty Gritty

S is for Situational Analysis

This element of the SOSTAC model requires the individual to look at the current situation in detail. This varies depending on the topic at hand. In terms of a marketing plan, one would consider information such as the current source of revenues, existing competitors, and any processes and policies that are in place.

O is for Objectives

The Objectives element is fairly straightforward in the sense that the individual must put in to words concrete goals that are desired.

S is for Strategy

Strategy is one of the most important components of the SOSTAC model; it’s the meat of the meal. This deals with the overall means for getting to the desired objectives. It is likely that this section of the analysis (along with the next) will be the most time consuming.

T is for Tactics

The element of Tactic ties in with Strategy, as it better outlines what particular moves need to be made to carry on the defined strategy. Here we define what tools will be utilized.

A is for Action

After figuring out what we want to do and how we are going to do it, it’s a given that we need to define who is going be the one responsible for getting it done. Assigning tasks, roles and responsibilities is the basis for this section.

C is for Control

After all is said and done, we need to be able to measure how success our plan was in the first place. That’s where the element of Control comes in. Here we define how we will measure success, through the utilization of various metrics.

Illustrating the SOSTAC Model

Now that you have a basic understanding of the components, take a look at this diagram that illustrates the common way in which to present a SOSTAC model.

Adjacent to each element, place each of your associative bullet points.By utilizing this way of organizing your SOSTAC model, you create a standardized, self-explanatory outline of your plan.

You can use this model for more than developing a marketing plan. In fact, you can use it for various types of plans, whether it aid in your professional or personal development .If you’ve found yourself able to give a detailed perspective of each of these categories, then you will have produced a great analysis on whatever topic you desire. I hope you all find this tool as useful as I did… Happy planning!

Bibliography

Adams, B. (2011, June 22). SEO within the SOSTAC® strategy framework. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from State of Search: http://www.stateofsearch.com/seo-within-the-sostac-strategy-framework/

Business Services Agency Ltd. (2012). Developing a Marketing Communciations Plan using the SOSTAC Model: Planning Guide. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from BSA Marketing: http://www.bsamarketing.com/downloads/sostac.pdf

Predrag Putic. (2007). Chess Pieces Image. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from Canadian Chess Academy: http://www3.webng.com/chessteacherno1/

Smith, P. R. (2009). SOSTAC® Planning System. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from Paul R. Smith: http://www.prsmith.org/sostac.html

Mobile Marketing: Success and Failure

I’ve blogged a bunch on various online marketing tactics, and networking platforms, but I’ve yet to touch on one of the greatest growing trends in marketing—mobile marketing.

Why would marketers chose to target consumers through their mobile phones? Several reasons stand out in my mind; the potential reach as well as the fact that it’s personal and portable.

According to Wikipedia, 79.86% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone. If we narrow in on a more local perspective, it was found that 74.1% of Canadians own mobile phones. These figures indicate that there is a great amount of people who can be reached using mobile marketing tactics. Since it’s a common possesion of individuals, it’s seen as a personal tool, that many individual carry with them for the majority of their days. This results in it being very personal item that can act as a way into the intimate lives of individuals. With all things considered, it’s no surprise that marketers are utilizing mobile mediums to capture consumers.

Let’s take a look at some of the various forms of mobile marketing…

SMS: Short Message System aka Text Message

This is a pretty straightforward tactic for marketers and can work in two ways. Either the target audience is messaged directly to their phone about campaigns or promotional service or the marketer encourages consumers (usually through a traditional advertisement) to send a text to a certain number to receive some sort of benefit IE: Send a text to enter contest

MMS: Multimedia Message Service

This form of marketing is just as it sounds, sending various forms of media in single message to consumers. Usually a company will send out a combination of images, audio and video to promote their current campaign or services.

Location Based Marketing aka Geo-targeting

This means of marketing is based on emphasizing the location of consumers. This can be done by companies by having it offer consumers the ability to publically “check in” to its business. As a result, the consumer’s presence at your company is advertised to other potential consumers, aiding in the promotion of one’s business. Consumers can utilize this through their mobile phones with various software and applications.

QR Codes: Barcodes

Marketers display barcodes on traditional and other various forms of advertisement. These barcodes are to be scanned by interested consumers and act as a way of linking the individuals to additional content.

I’ve personally noticed that the amount of QR codes is on the rise. I’m not particularly a fan of this means of marketing, as many QR code tactics are either lacking in value or not properly utilized. By value lacking, I mean that in scanning the QR code, no actual value is gained. The barcode just links you back to the company website, or some other source that could have been accessed without the hassle of scanning. In terms of proper utilization, well… its best described by taking a look at these images:

What’s wrong with these pictures? Besides the fact that they make my palm feel magnetically attracted to my forehead, it highlights basic marketing failures. It is hard for me to fathom that someone actually determined these as an appropriate placements for an advertisements containing QR codes.

Basically, when it comes to mobile marketing, I’m all for it! Of course, it is very important that proper understanding of basic marketing principles such placement are utilized.

Bibliography

CallUp Net Limited. (2011). Retrieved March 4, 2012, from CallUp Mobile Marketing Platform: http://www.callup.net/

Erickson, C.   (2012, March 4). 10 Funniest QR Code Fail. Retrieved March 4, 2012,   from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2012/03/04/funniest-qr-code-fail

Flip Flap Man.   (2008, March 28). What is Mobile Marketing? Retrieved March 4, 2012,   from Slideshare:   http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/what-is-mobile-marketing

McIvor, K. (2012,   February 15). Stevens Pass: Pure Fail. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from   Mobile Marketing Fail: http://mobilemarketingfail.com

Wikipedia. (2012,   March 1). List of Countries by Number of Mobile Phones in Use.   Retrieved March 4, 2012, from Wikipedia:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use