Digital Marketing

Developing a Marketing Plan Using Marketing Automation Software

Tom

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Comical robot moving shopping cart boxes with discount advertising stickers

Online marketing automation is the use of marketing software to create an efficient, well-recognized brand for your business.

The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past decade, and to remain competitive, you have to keep up with technology.

Marketing automation is the key to building strong business leads in the world of the internet, and companies that use these techniques are growing.

This is not a new technology.

In fact, most companies have systems in place that contact customers automatically.

Usually this is in the form of regular business newsletters or timed emails to nudge customers into potential sales.

Marketing Automation Isn’t a New Concept

Most businesses already use some marketing automation techniques.

This could be in the form of a newsletter that goes out by email on a scheduled basis, or already written responses to questions through the internet.

Automating tasks to keep customers interested in what you have to offer as a business isn’t new, but marketing automation software continually improves and changes.

Automate Social Media Posts to Keep Customers Engaged

Social media is the use of websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to create brand awareness for your business.

Maybe you like to ask your customers a daily question, or you have a blog post that you are promoting.

Asking questions and promoting content can be set up in advance so that you don’t have to spend each day logging on to social media sites to promote your business.

Marketing Has Changed for Good

It is no longer cost-effective for businesses to spend money on significant radio or newspaper advertising.

Potential customers are searching for products and services online, and the percentage will only rise as a new generation of kids becomes adults.

It is impossible to succeed over the long term without some sort of internet presence.

Businesses that invest in a solid marketing automation software plan will be steps ahead of those that continue to try and use poor ways to promote their business.

Marketing Automation Software Sees What Customers Are Searching For

If you have ever shopped online for a product, and then begin to see ads for the same product as you surf the internet, you are not alone.

This is marketing automation software at work, trying to get you interested in products and services that you have searched for.

Getting the Most Out of Marketing Automation Software

Using marketing automation techniques will bring you up to speed with current technology, but you still have to provide useful, unique content to your potential customers.

In order to get into search results, your content has to be dynamic and always changing to attract readers.

To get searchers to your website, you have to update your content at least twice a week.

The content has to be interesting, and it can’t be copied from anywhere else on the internet or in print.

You want customers to come to you as the professional of the services or products you have to offer.

Your written content must reflect your expertise. To promote your content, learn how to use social media sites effectively without over spamming your potential customers.

When you are trying to grow a business using marketing automation, take the time to understand the process.

Learn how to use the software, and if you aren’t able to write good content, hire someone to do it for you.

If you can’t write like an expert in your field, hire someone who can.

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SEO

How to Get the Most out of Your Web Site

Tom

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Discussing website project

The old adage “if you build it, they will come” at one time applied to web sites right up until the internet bubble shattered into a million soapy shards.

Nowadays if the web site is used as a marketing tool (electronic brochure) and the objective of your web site is to produce sales, the site has to be different and stand out from other web sites – something that no one else has thought of and has brought to the web.

That’s a very tough thing to do and will usually take a lot of hard work and maybe a venture capitalist or two to help with the development costs of your latest and greatest widget.

In today’s economy, the homeless are richer than most banks so to find a venture capitalist that will sink money into the web you better have more than just a what-if, if you build it, they will come (IYBI-TWC) rhetoric.

A service is tougher to sell to a customer because it isn’t a thing.

A customer can’t touch it or control it.

Service is not objective but subjective.

A customer can’t have a free trial download of service to test it out.

So how should the executive protection/security industry sell a service on the web and do it at a reasonable cost?

As an example, let’s take a look at two industry web sites.

The first Company, Company A, has a web site that contains high-end graphics; fancy action shots, and in there is a list of services that they provide and contact information.

Company A web site cost to build was $10,000.

The second Company, Company B, has low-end graphics – simple design, no fancy action shots, list of services with prices, and contact information.

Company B web site cost to build was $2,000.

Now which industry web site is getting more out of their web site?

One would naturally think the fancy, high-end brochure on the web, right?

But that is not necessarily the case.

The Company A web site is three years old and has the exact same content as day one.

Same services, same content information, same old, same old.

The Company has applied the IYBI-TWC principle.

Yes, it does get potential clients to use their services; but most of their clients have always used this industry service company for x amount of years, so why change.

Don’t get me wrong, this Company is making money, but the same money, from the same clients.

Same eyes are looking at the site, same eyes buying the services.

I call this approach the even keel – just hums along thinking everything is going great – but watch out for those icebergs.

Company B’s web site is also three years old; however, the Company is always updating the site with new services, new schedules maybe a couple of articles related to client feedback or the services they provide.

In other words, the Company is being proactive by managing their web site – keeping it fresh with new content.

This does bring to the web site fresh eyes, and maybe new clients.

But there is something else this Company is doing – looking over the web site statistics.

Web statistics sound like a college math course, but in reality, most Web Hosting Companies make it really easy for you.

Company B is getting the following information from visitors to their web site:

• What pages visitors look at and how often
• How often visitors stay on a page
• What time a day most visitors come to the site
• What web site referred their web site
• What search keywords led visitors to their site
• What country or state visitors are from
• Visitor ISP’s – military, government, education, commercial

Most of the information is standard, and the hosting provider puts the data into a nice bar and circle graphs.

So how does Company B make stats work for them? Let me give you a few practical examples.

Search Keywords

Search keywords are keywords that visitors have typed into Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. and clicked a search result that led to the Company B web site.

For example, Joe the Plumber is looking for a defensive driving course for his teenage son, so he typed in Defensive Driving; Company B comes up in the search results. Joe, the Plumber, clicks the Company Blink and visits the site.

The upside for using this data is that Company B uses these keyword results to introduce new services and new content so that these visitors will purchase these services rather than continuing their search elsewhere.

Now you wouldn’t want to do too many new services as that wouldn’t be financially prudent, but even posting new information such as links to articles or writing your own is doing two things – keeping visitors on your site and potentially getting new clients.

Visitor ISP’s

This bit of data tells the Company what ISP’s people are using while visiting the site. Some are the usual suspects – Cox, Time Warner, Verizon, but a few might stand out like an ISP that ends with ‘.mil.’ or ‘.gov.’

Let’s put this to work for Company B.

In checking the web statistics for December, Company B notices several visits from an ISP named bragg.army.mil.

At the weekly Company B meeting, the web statistics are reviewed with staff.

A staff member knows someone over in Fort Bragg who does some training.

She places the call and gets Company B and Fort Bragg talking about some of their services.

Fort Bragg says they have gone with Company A for several years and are satisfied with their services, but are interested in what Company B can do for them.

Now in this hypothetical situation Company, A’s even-keel approach could be steering right into an iceberg, and Company B could be starting a long term partnership with Fort Bragg.

Some visitor ISP could be commercial like Raytheon, Fidelity or Starbucks.

Large companies like these run their own ISP’s and could also provide potential leads for clients.

One word on Starbucks though, they rent out their ISP at local coffee shops, so if you see Starbucks in your Visitor ISP data, it most likely means someone logged into the Starbucks ISP and visited your site.

Referrals

Web referrals work like this: Company B posted an article related to their services but also gave good practical advice; another company, abc.com, put a link to Company B’s article on their web site.

The web statistics will show a referral from abc.com.

These statistics are also a good aide in garnering new eyes and potential new clients.

It also does something else – networking and potentially supplemental income.

Now that Company B knows that abc.com posts articles a dialogue has begun.

Company B and abc.com now post articles and shared services on each other’s web sites.

Things are going well between them; they are talking about putting referral finder’s fees for the referral traffic.

A Thing about Hits

All Company B activities are going on while Company A sits and waits for the phone to ring or the email to ping.

Company A has web statistics available, but they don’t think the data is important – except for hits.

They have a counter on their home page for all to see. One hundred twenty-nine thousand five hundred eighty-two hits – looks and sounds quite impressive.

But hits can be deceiving.

Technically speaking, a hit is a call to the server where the file is hosted and presents that file on the browser.

So what does that mean?

Let’s say there are 15 images on Company A’s web site home page if one visitor clicks on the home page, that produces 16 hits – 15 for the image files, and 1 for the page itself.

Now the counter will go up only one notch, but the web stats hit data for Company A will add sixteen.

Let’s say that one visitor clicked on the home page ten times; the counter goes up to ten – the hit data goes up to 160.

Company A thinks several different visitors went to their site when it actually was only one person.

So when you look at hits as a gauge on how your web site is doing – bigger isn’t always better.

Search Engine Optimization

Do a Google search for what your company is selling.

Chances are there will be millions of results.

You find company A’s web site ranked 20th and on the second page and Company B’s website ranked 2nd on the first page of results.

How can Company A improve its ranking?

SEO is the use of various techniques to improve a web site’s ranking in the search engines and thus attract more visitors.

Some of these techniques are free and help a great deal and some techniques you can pay for.

The free techniques are usually slower to move up your web site in rank but in my opinion, are longer-term results.

Here are a few free optimizations that you can do:

Go to Google.Com and do a search for Google site submission.

Enter your site and a one-sentence description of the site.

Do the same to other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Whether you have designed a website for yourself or hired someone to develop it, there must be Meta tags for a description and keywords for each page.

I would also recommend that each title on a page represent what is on that page.

Sign up for Google’s Webmasters Tools.

Google has fantastic tools at you or your developer’s disposal such as what keywords searchers are using to get to your site, who is visiting what pages, setting up a site map, a robots.txt file to name a few, all of which will bring your website up and rank.

Sign up for Google analytics.

In addition to the webmaster tools, Google has specific tools to analyze your web site. Keywords, visitors, referrals, bounce rate, how long visitors are staying on your site, how many from what country, etc.

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Search engine marketing

How to become a Youtube Entrepreneur

Tom

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Couple blogger vlogger and online influencer

YouTube is a video-sharing website, but in modern day – we might as well consider it a social networking site.

YouTube is more than sharing videos – it’s a community of people to freelance, discuss politics and such, laugh, and do an assembly of things.

The evolution of social networking has gone beyond matching you with people of similar interests, backgrounds, and establishing social relations.

It has launched the best entrepreneurs and businesses out there, and YouTube happens to be right on the list for this kind of success.

So, what’s the product? How does “PewDiePie” (one of YouTube’s top money-making entrepreneurs) get 4 million dollars a year?

It’s simple.

Their product is their personality and their passion, because they’re simply down-to-earth, relatable for most people, and provide a source of entertainment or knowledge for their audience.

Furthermore, many of those making big bucks off of YouTube have established something unique.

How many people are filming cat and dog videos, or now – cute babies?

It’s true that the top subscribed channels on YouTube include a surge of ordinary gamers, yet each of those gamers happens to publicize a unique personality.

PewDiePie, yes – he’s’ a gamer, but he doesn’t just film himself doing video games, of course; the 4 million dollars is a courtesy to his rich personality and hilarious side-comments and videos.

So, what’s your niche? Is it baking? Doing makeup? Doing pranks?

Each of these types of entertainment and sources of knowledge I’ve mentioned has tons of videos on YouTube already.

So, beyond finding out your talent – establish your audience.

Is it the stay at home mom or a teenager?

A combination of things also proves to be helpful – like showing off your baking skills while in the kitchen with your hilarious partner.

People want something they haven’t quite seen before or something that distinguishes from the crowd.

Perhaps this is a bit cliché, but it’s absolutely true. It’s about finding out what makes YOU special or different.

How am I different from all the other people playing video games or giving a tutorial on how to do makeup?

It’s about showing the world the specialty in you as a person.

That being said – anybody can be the next top entrepreneur on YouTube or another million-dollar maker.

Social networking sites, such as YouTube allow you to take advantage of resources and do so.

So, it’s basically your uniqueness, talent, and establishing your audience. Maybe you won’t be the next “PewDiePie” or so, but have fun in the process.

After all, that’s what social media sites like these are about.

They’re about growing, enriching, and encouraging relationships, businesses and people like yourself.

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SEO

What is Technical SEO?

Tom

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young businesswoman pointing at white blackboard and explain a project to her colleagues

Technical SEO is a term for improving a website’s technical aspects to rank better in search engine results.

With technical SEO, it is possible to make web pages easier for search engines to crawl and read.

Google’s objective, and the objective of search engines in general, is to give search engine users the best possible experience.

The best user experience refers to things like the relevance of the results, but it also includes technical factors such as:

Page Load Speed

One of the features that Google considers an important element in a web page is loading speed.

Users want web pages to open quickly.

According to Google, the likelihood of visitors leaving a website increases along with the page load time.

The bounce probability goes up by 32 percent as the page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds, according to Google (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/app-and-mobile/mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks/).

Google believes that websites that open slowly provide a sub-optimal user experience and will penalize that site with a lower ranking.

That website’s faster competitors will be ranked higher.

Secure

Google has announced that they want HTTPS everywhere.

The HTTPS at the start of the URL (as opposed to simply HTTP) indicates that the website uses a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

SSL creates an encrypted connection between the web server and the visitors’ browsers.

The encrypted link ensures that the data sent over it cannot be intercepted.

No Duplicates

Having the same content on multiple pages of a website can confuse search engines.

The result of that confusion is that all of the duplicate pages get low rankings.

The solution will be to indicate which of these pages should be seen as the canonical URL.

Responsive

A responsive website design is one that allows the content on a website to be read on any device.

In other words, the website will be just as usable on a mobile device as it is on a PC.

Google considers responsiveness a key signal for ranking, especially since more of its users are gravitating towards mobile devices.

XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps help search engines to figure a website out as they crawl it.

It tells them where to find each page, the last time that page was modified, and how often it gets updated.

These are just a few basic aspects of technical SEO.

The technical SEO field covers all the areas wherein a website must conform to search engine requirements.

Not only will meeting the requirements help with a website’s ranking, but it will also provide a better user experience.

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