How to Sustain Your Online Marketing Efforts

By: Bailey Digger

A recent news item caught my eye – Facebook now has over 500 million members, a figure that makes it the most populated community in both the real and virtual worlds. It is this immense popularity of the web that has made marketers tap its potential as a valuable tool in selling their products and services, and if you’re not on this bandwagon, you’re losing out big time. The secret of success in online marketing is that it’s not enough to just enjoy a good start; unless you’re able to sustain your momentum, you’re likely to bite the dust. And to keep picking up speed and continue to sustain your online marketing efforts, here’s what you need to do:

  • Change with the times: There’s no doubt that the web is taking on new avatars faster than we can keep up. There was a time when most communication took place through email. Today however, most people have moved to social media – it was the blogs that took over at first, and now they’ve had to make way for social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Marketers who still enjoy success are those
    who made the switch to social media when they realized its potential – the viral marketing effect alone is every marketer’s dream. So unless you change with the times, you’re going to be left behind.
  • Don’t forget your existing customers: Some people are still dependent on their email for most communication, so it’s not uncommon to find people who stay away from social media because of the lack of privacy. So if you have customers who are not socially active on the net and prefer to limit themselves to email, it is your responsibility to keep them updated on your offers and other relevant information. Always remember that it’s not wise to ignore your existing customers in the pursuit of new ones.
  • Remember the situation: An online customer support staff member of a company I don’t wish to name here saw the short end of my fuse on a call one day – I was trying to secure a refund of my money which had erroneously been paid into someone else’s insurance renewal account, and in the middle of briefing me about the refund policy, the guy tries to sell me a new policy. I did not know whether to be astounded at the audacity of the chap or to suffer his foolishness at not knowing the first thing about customer mentality. Never try to sell to an aggravated customer before addressing the bee in their bonnet if you want to enjoy continued success in the online marketing world.
  • Listen to feedback: And finally, listen to what your customers and potential customers are saying, both explicitly and implicitly. If you don’t bother to ask for and analyze customer feedback, there’s no way you’re going to meet their needs. And when this happens, they have no qualms about switching to the competition. So keep your eyes and ears open, and if you see a need that is voiced by most of your customers, you must try and see if you can do it. Unless you listen to the voice of your customers (who are the reason you are still in business), you’re bound to fail.

By-line:
This guest post is contributed by Bailey Digger, she writes on the topic of web design degree programs . She welcomes your comments at her email id: baileydigger189(@)gmail(.)com.

Posted under Online Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Networks, Tech2.0

This post was written by Joshua Russak on August 26, 2010

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How Facebook Pissed Off My Wife…Again!

Seriously guys? Facebook’s last attempt at advertising pissed off my wife. I specifically told them: “Facebook, thanks to you my wife is unhappy…and if my wife is unhappy, then I’m unhappy. Fix this!” At least in that case, there was some idiot developer to complain about…but in this case, I’m having trouble figuring out who is to blame.

For an average individual to be offended by facebook is rare, but for someone like my wife (I love you), who spends more time on Facebook than with me, it’s easily possible. In fact, she spends more time on Facebook than most people spend  working at their day job (probably because they’re on facebook too!).

What Did Facebook Do To Piss Her Off?

Having only been married for less than a year, my wife was simply doing what any newlywed would do…try to see what it’ll be like to have a kid with her new last name (Russak). She picks the name “Layla Zehava Russak” (…solid choice if I may say so). As protocol, she decides to see if there was anyone on Facebook with the name already.

She enters in the search and find her result: Uncle-Semit.com’s Shitler’s List Vol. 18

Facebook Anti-Semitic Search Result

I didn’t believe it myself, but there it was…a Bing! generated result that couldn’t have been any more irrelevant and offensive.

Freedom of Speech Applies To The Internet…

Now I’m facing a huge dilemma. My wife is pissed off at Facebook for offending her, while I’m trying to figure out how this happened and if it can be stopped from happening again. And the answer is simply “No!”.  The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). International, national and regional standards recognise that freedom of speech, as one form of freedom of expression, applies to any medium, including the Internet.

Unfortunately, it seems as if search engines are not allowed to censor information in the US as it’s integral to upholding the idea of “Free-Speech”. As a result, Facebook using Bing! search results means anything goes.

…But It Still Pissed Off My Wife!

Whether or not it’s legal…doesn’t make a difference to my wife. It still pissed her off. And as I stated in my last article, “Facebook, thanks to you my wife is unhappy…and if my wife is unhappy, then I’m unhappy.” Yet another week on the couch. I should write an article “How Facebook Ruined My Sex Life” (…though they do have a Facebook group here)

In this case, Facebook may claim “Freedom of Speech”, but here’s the issue. Bing! is only a last result for when a Search Result can’t be located. Facebook needs to get smarter about the results Bing! pulls up. Otherwise, one day a child is going to try and find a name that doesn’t exist and  get XXX related search results instead.

Thanks a lot Facebook.

Posted under Online Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Networks

This post was written by Joshua Russak on April 14, 2010

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YouTube’s BAD ADVERTISING: Take Revenge And Click Away!

So here I am on YouTube…trying to watch an Awesome Drum Solo by Dave Weckl…and this Ad pops up out of nowhere. Now it would have been okay if it was for a pair of drum-sticks, maybe a Dave Weckl CD. BUT NO! Instead, I get an Ad for “Plenty of Singles Over 40”. And as the mother-cherry on top of it all…THERE’S A SPELLING ERROR!! I quote: “Met Older More Sincere Singles“. Either they’re speaking in past-tense or someone over at MatureSingles is about to get fired.

Take Revenge On Bad Ads: CLICK AWAY!!

So now what? You see a bad ad, you post about it on your blog…what’s next? I’ve seen countless blogs continue talking about bad advertising, but none take a stand. I’m sorry, but I can’t let them get away with this. I CALL ON YOU…THE PEOPLE….TO GO TO THAT YOUTUBE VIDEO AND CLICK THAT AD!!! That’s right…CLICK IT! Here’s the link: Dave Weckl Drum Solo w/ Bad Advertising. They can’t get mad at me…I’m promoting their ad 😉 They should be thanking me.

For those of you who are confused, let me explain how this works: Those ad’s you see on YouTube are being paid for by the advertiser. Every time you click that ad, they have to pay Google. Well, if they pay Google for clicks, yet nobody is signing up for their site, the logical decision will be to take down that ad and try somewhere else.

If the ad’s not there…then we’ve done our job and they’ve either run out of money or finally realized: “Placing that ad there was a poor decision!”

Conclusion: If You See A Bad Ad…

If you ever see a poorly placed ad…click it! Make them “pay” for it, literally. Just to show you how serious I am, I just set up a HootSuite account so I can get this blog-post in front of as many eyes as I can. I can’t stand bad advertising and hopefully some of you out there will agree with me.

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM, Social Networks

This post was written by Joshua Russak on March 4, 2010

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Taking your Site from 1 to a Million Users…FOR FREE!

Kevin Rose – The name should be familiar to you, considering he’s the founder of Digg.com. The domain “digg.com” attracted at least 236 million visitors annually by 2008  and has continuously been growing for the past year (Compete.com). The best part is….THEY NEVER EVEN PAID FOR MARKETING! Every technique they used was free and available on the internet.

Top 10 Down & Dirty Ways To Grow Your Web App:

Kevin Rose decided to bear all at the Future of Web Apps conference. Digg’s success is not due to expensive marketing techniques…everything was FREE. They used word-of-mouth and social methods to spread the word. If you want some of these methods, watch the video or simply read the summary below it:

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo.

As summarized by HighScalability.com, below you will find some of the secrets behind digg.com and wefollow.com explosive user growth. He covers ten unique strategies that turn passive users into passionate advocates.

1. Ego. Ask does this feature increase the users self-worth or stroke the ego? What emotional and visible awards will a user receive for contributing to your site? Are they gaining reputation, badges, show case what they’ve done in the community? Sites that have done it well:

Twitter.com followers. Followers turns every single celebrity as spokesperson for your service. Celebrities continually pimp your service in the hopes of getting more followers. It’s an amazing self-reinforcing traffic generator. Why do followers work? Twitter communication is one way. It’s simple. Followers don’t have to be approved and there aren’t complicated permission schemes about who can see what. It means something for people to increase their follower account. It becomes a contest to see who can have more. So even spam followers are valuable to users as it helps them win the game.

Digg.com leader boards. Leader Boards show the score for a user activity. In digg it was based on the number of articles submitted. Encourage people to have a competition and do work inside the digg ecosystem. Everyone wants to see their name in lights.

Digg.com highlight users. Users who submitted stories where rewarded by having their name in a larger font and a friending icon put beside their story submission. Users liked this.

2. Simplicity. Simplicity is the key. A lot of people overbuild features. Don’t over build features. Release something and see what users are going to do. Pick 2-3 on your site and do them extremely well. Focus on those 2-3 things. Always ask if there’s anything you take out from a feature. Make it lighter and cleaner and easy to understand and use.

3. Build and Release. Stop thinking you understand your users. You think users will love this or that and you’ll probably be wrong. So don’t spend 6 months building features users may not love or will only use 20% of. Learn from what users actually do on your site. Avoid analysis paralysis, especially as you get larger. Decide, build, release, get feedback, iterate.

4. Hack the Press. There are techniques you can use that will get you more publicity.

Invite only system. Get press by creating an invite only system. Have a limited number of invites and seed them with bloggers.  Get the buzz going. Give each user a limited number of invites (4 or 5). It gets bloggers talking about your service. The main stream press calls and you say you are not ready. This amps the hype cycle. Make new features login-only, accessible only if you log in but make them visible and marked beta on the site. This increases the number of registered users.

Talk to junior bloggers. On Tech Crunch, for example, find the most junior blogger and pitch them. It’s more likely you’ll get covered.

Attend parties for events you can’t afford. You can go to the after parties for events you can’t afford. Figure out who you want to talk to. Follow their twitter accounts and see where they are going.

Have a demo in-hand. People won’t understand your great vision without a demo. Bring an iPhone or laptop to show case the demo. Keep the demo short, 30-60 seconds. Say: Hey, I just need 30 seconds of your time, it’s really cool, and here’s why I think you’ll like it. Slant it towards what they do or why they cover.

5. Connect with your community.

Start a podcast. A big driver in the early days of Digg. Influencers will listen and they are the heart of your ecosystem.

Throw a launch party and yearly and quarterly events. Personally invite influencers and their friends. Just have a party at a bar. Throw them around conferences as people are already there.

Engage and interact with your community.

Don’t visually punish users. Often users don’t understand bad behaviour yet as they think they are just playing they game your system sets up. Walk through the positive behaviours you want to reinforce on the site.

6. Advisors. Have a strong group of advisors. Think about which technical, marketing and other problems you’ll have and seek out people to help you. Give them stock compensation. A strong advisory team helps with VCs.

7. Leverage your user base to spread the world.

FarmVille. tells users when other players have helped them and asks the player to repay the favor. This gets players back into the system by using a social obligation hack. They also require having a certain number of friends before you expand your farm. They give away rare prizes.

Wefollow. Tweets hashtags when people follow someone else. This further publicizes the system. They also ask when a new user hits the system if they wanted to be added to the directory, telling the user that X hundred thousand of your closest friends have already added themselves. This is the number one way they get new users.

8. Provide value for third party sites. Wallstreet Journal, for example, puts FriendFeed, Twitter, etc links on every page because they think it adds value to their site. Is there some way you can provide value like that?

9. Analyze your traffic. Install Google analytics, See where people are entering form. Where they are going. Where they are exiting from and how you can improve those pages.

10. The entire picture. Step back and look at the entire picture. Look at users who are creating quality content. Quality content drives more traffic to your site. Traffic going out of your site encourages other sites to add buttons to your site which encourages more users and more traffic into your site. It’s a circle of life. Look at how your whole eco system is doing.

Posted under Blogs, Events, Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM, Social Networks, Tech2.0, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on October 8, 2009

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Microsoft Search Engine “Bing.com”: Great For Porn Industry!

bada bing

I hate to say it, but the new Microsoft search engine “Bing” is absolutely stellar at aggregating and previewing XXX for the end-user. End-Result? A boom in the XXX industry! Article in Gizmodo.com, “Bing is so good at finding XXX and displaying it that Microsoft will serve all the adult-oriented content from an specific domain.”

Bada-BING“…

Unlike Google, when you scroll over videos in bing, they play quick previews. No need to go directly to the site anymore. Seriously, Bing! supports XXX so much…that they even added a filter specifically for XXX. Just take a look at the image below. Turn “Safe Search” settings to “Off”…and that’s it.

bing_safety_porn

Bada-Bing Bada-Boom! At this point, you will witness, in all it’s glory, Bing.com – The Ultimate XXX Decision Engine!!

Bing+XXX > Google

I hate to say it, but XXX basically leads the internet as some of the top visited sites are 18+. My prediction? This will put Bing way ahead of Google. Seriously! I’m not kidding. I’m not comfortable with knowing this, but feel compelled to share it with the world. In a year from now…I’ll reflect on this moment and see if I was right or not. I was right about Michael Jackson slowing down the internet…so maybe I’ll be right about this.

Posted under Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM