An Important Lesson About Online Advertising

The vast majority of money spent on advertising is wasted, and that includes what you’re spending, dear reader. The key is to keep a watchful eye on all your advertising efforts and quickly reacting to fix what isn’t working while leaving alone that which is generating a return on interest.

Here’s one lesson I learned the hard way.

My page, 50 Tips to Make friends was perfect, or so I thought. It’s on something almost everyone is interested in, and almost everyone feels at least somewhat bad about their social skills. It’s just how people are. So if I just got the word out about this post, people would naturally want to share it and link to it. It was the perfect marketing opportunity.

To make sure it went as planned, I wrote a brief introduction on the page explaining that if people found it useful, showing their appreciation with a link would be great.

And so I set it off.

A week – and hundreds of paid visitors later – not one link or mention was picked up by my detection tools. What went wrong?

Simple. People don’t link or mention stuff that they’re embarrassed about. For instance, no one mentions their porn habits, something that I was recently reminded of. Looking at the 50 most popular websites, I saw two porn sites that I had never heard of, and almost certainly never will, despite their huge popularity.

The fact is people aren’t going to link to something they aren’t proud of reading or using, even if it is high quality. The “Content is King” doesn’t always apply, not even when combined with marketing, which is an essential part of success even on the internet.

There is an interesting addendum to this point. Another article, titled something like “50 Ways to Make Friends if you Have ADHD” actually did manage to get some good backlinks. I thought about it a little and realized that there was a key difference. That article had a rational for people to link to it. It fit in nicely to websites that were trying to provide resources for people with ADHD.

And because ADHD is recognized as a problem you can’t control, and ostensibly shouldn’t be shamed about, people were willing to link to it. Even if that article was basically the same as mine – ideas to make friends – one slight difference made it that more marketable.

Take home this message. When you want someone to link to your material, make sure that it’s high quality ,well written and interesting. But also make sure that it’s something that people are happy to have associated with them when they link to it.


Blog Post By: David Gurevich.

David has a deep appreciation for the subtleties of marketing. You should check out Health and Life, a Medical Blog if you’re interested in medicine or health-care.

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on September 11, 2009

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Featured in HP Newsletter: Free Website Essentials 101

I recently started web design/online marketing agency First Time Online, LLC. Our 1st motto is It’s Time to Get Online. Assuming that you’ve arrived at that same conclusion refer to our 2nd motto, It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive In Order To Be Effective. Once you’ve made the decision to create a website, there are essential tasks that will define the overall success of your site. The best part is most of those things can be done for free!

The only reason this article exists is because of another article I wrote for HP back in January (Using WordPress To Grow Your Business). Interestingly enough, I received great visitor feedback which ultimately led me to start First Time Online, LLC. Based on popular demand, I was approached to write another article for their newsletter (which has a distribution of about 80,000+). You can also check it out on the HP Logoworks Small Business site,“Free Website Essentials 101?.

GETTING STARTED

Before you build a site, you need to register a domain name (i.e. www.MyBusiness.com) which also means the use of a personalized e-mail address. I would suggest using GoDaddy.com. It’s a tough economy which means “Coupons” and “Promo Codes” are 100% necessary. It’s easy to find coupon codes that will save you money. I found a pretty good list on FatWallet.com. Half the codes go inactive very quickly, but the forum is constantly being updated. Once you have a website name, you need to consider hosting your site securely. GoDaddy provides those services, but if you want to get a better deal I would suggest the use Blue Host, as they are affordable and you get a free domain name when you sign up with them. The key here is saving money and nothing is better than free.

SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY FORMAT

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the amount and quality of traffic to your site from organic searches within search engines. There’s no cost to get listed naturally in Google, Yahoo and MSN…your job is to try and rank correctly for any given search. For example, if you sell Shoes online, then when someone searches for Shoes in Google, your website would hopefully pop-up. In order for search engines to do this, they use crawlers to find pages to feed out as search results. If those crawlers have a hard time reading your websites code, then your chances of getting listed are decreased. There are free tools out there to help you optimize your website and I would highly suggest the use of Google Webmaster as a starter. I can’t stress this enough so I’ll repeat it one more time: Without good SEO, you’ll have to pay for people to find you. Your chance of selling a product to someone who is looking for you is higher than someone who is not.

UNDERSTAND YOUR TRAFFIC

Without a question, analytics is the double-edged sword of Online Marketing. The information you can collect about your visitors is extremely valuable, but the amount of information can be overwhelming. Set a benchmark for yourself and use analytics software to help define whether or not you’re reaching pre-assigned goals. Google Analytics has an internal feature to help track visitors and goal reaching. By understanding such things as, source of traffic and content-overview, you’ll be able to help your site evolve into a stronger source of business…and again, this software free.

BE CONTACT FRIENDLY

A business without a website is like an individual without a cell phone, they’re impossible to reach. If you’re a business with a website, then you should be very easy to reach. Unfortunately, that’s not always the cases. In order to increase visibility, a company should register for local listings on the major search engines. For Google, go to www.google.com/local/add and for Yahoo!, check out http://listings.local.yahoo.com/. When an individual searches for your company, your contact information will come up in the search, making it easier for them to reach you.

On another related topic, a few of my clients have expressed the fear of “e-mail spam” and have refused to lend out their contact information. There’s a very easy way around this: A “Contact-Us” page with a contact form and spam protection methods including a visual based key code that must be entered in order to send. Ask your web developer to put something like this together for you, or refer to free contact form services such as FreeContactForm.com. (Notice how it’s FREE!)

REMEMBER: EFFECTIVE ISN’T EPENSIVE

It doesn’t have to expensive in order to be effective. Your main objective is to stay focused on your goals, which by now, you should have an idea of what they are. If you’re trying to sell a product, then your goal is to direct traffic as far down the purchase process as possible. If you’re selling a service, then your goal is to get visitors to contact you. Want examples of what I mean? Take a look at Craigslist. The site serves over twenty billion page views per month, putting it in 28th place overall among web sites world-wide, and analysts value the site to be worth over $150 million. The best part is…their interface is simplistic and commonly referred to as “ugly”, BUT it’s effective.

SIMPLE METHODS TO INCREASE TRAFFIC

If you’re looking to bump up your traffic, then consider adopting some of the following trends: Company Newsletters, Blogging, Social Networking, Videos on your website and finding sponsors to host local events. Your goal is to create buzz, drive traffic and create loyal customers.

If you manage to do all of this, there’s no doubt that success will follow. Somehow “free” just smells, looks and tastes better!

Posted under Blogs, E-Mail, Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM, Social Networks, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on June 16, 2009

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Seth Godin says “Internet is Almost Full!”

For all of you who don’t know Seth Godin….IT’S ABOUT TIME! He was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry’s leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998. He is also a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change. Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world. He also has a very successful blog under his own name, Seth’s Blog.

The reason I’m talking about him is because he made a fantastic blog post. I really can’t summarize, or state it even remotely as he put it himself. The issue is that by quoting him, I am going against everything his article stands for. Read it and you’ll see what I mean…(I almost feel guilty):

Warning: The internet is almost full

Due to the extraordinary explosion in video, blogs, news feeds and social network postings, the internet is dangerously close to running out of room.

Nothing can grow forever, and exponential growth is always short lived. We’re running out of disk space, so if you have something left to say, better hurry. Once it’s full, it’s full.

Of course, the decentralized nature of the net means that it will never be physically full. As long as we can keep making hard drives, we won’t run out of space to store those inane videos of your Aunt Sally. What is full is our attention.

Ten years ago, you had a shot of at least being aware of everything that mattered. Five years ago, you had to be really selective about what you took in, but at least it was possible to know what you didn’t know. Today, it’s impossible. Today, you can’t even read every article on a thin slice of a thin topic.

You can’t keep up with the status of your friends on the social networks. No way. You can’t read every important blog… you can’t even read all the blogs that tell you what the important blogs are saying.

Used to be, you could finish reading your email, hit “check email” and nothing new would show up. Now, of course, the new mail is probably a longer list than the mail you just finished processing.

…now you understand why I feel guilty? I’m just adding to the clutter. But here’s where I think he went wrong (man oh man, I hope Seth doesn’t see this). “See A Need! Fill A Need” is largely the reason new sites pop up every day. If there’s a need, why shouldn’t it be there? The major issue is when one company feels they can “do-it-better” than the other. That is when you see 1,000’s of social networks, similar blogs, etc. popping up.

Seth also didn’t include a solution and in my originaly blog post, I had one…but it was horrible so I took it out. I’m hoping Seth see’s this and offers a solution of his own. “Seth, if you’re out there in cyber-space, HELP! How can we stop this epidemic?”

…now I sit and wait.

Posted under Blogs, E-Mail, Social Networks

This post was written by Joshua Russak on December 10, 2008

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Average Salary For An “Online Marketing Manager”!

Want to find out what your worth? Check out these sites!!
I was reading a CNN article “Ten Jobs That Pay $80,000 A Year“, and noticed that Marketing Manager held the #6 spot. The statistics were as follows: Annual mean income: $86,283, Projected employment in 2016: 192,000, Increase between 2006 and 2016: 14%. That looks like a promising future, but I decided to do a little research of my own. I wanted to see the difference when I specified the position as “Online Marketing Manager”.

So I went to 6 different Salary Predicting sites, typed in the term “Online Marketing Manager” and here is what I came up with:

  1. Indeed.com: $72,000
  2. SimplyHired: $76,000
  3. Salary.com: $73,000
  4. Yahoo! Hot Jobs:$64,145
  5. CareerBuilder Salary: $86,746
  6. Monster.com: $81,555

I was also able to get my hands on an effective PayScale salary widget. PayScale is a market leader in global online compensation data, and this widget directly accesses the world’s largest database of individual employee compensation profiles. Give it a shot:

Posted under Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on November 18, 2008

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How to pick an ATS and CRM for your company?

My company, AC Lion, recently assigned me the task of finding a new Applicant Tracking System and Customer Relationship Management software. The ATS and CRM systems are a MUST for any staffing company of ANY size! Being that we are a niche market recruiting firm, our needs are particular to specific best practices and standard processes. Before picking out the correct solutions, I must define the two systems:

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term applied to processes implemented by a company to handle its contact with its customers. […] Information in the system can be accessed and entered by employees in different departments, such as sales, marketing, customer service, training, professional development, performance management, human resource development, and compensation. (Wikipedia)

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of corporate recruitment needs. (Wikipedia)

The rationale behind these systems is to improve how we track and also how we provide services directly to the customers. We use the information in the system for targeted marketing and sales purposes.  One of the industry leading CRM’s is Salesforce.com, but my company decided on an ATS/CRM hybrid able to handle both candidate leads (B2C) and client-side relationships (B2B).

Another thing to consider is a web-based, also know as Software as a Service (SaaS).It really comes down to a few considerations. Cost of in-house servers and storage vs. a Tier3 network and fast internet connection. It really depends on your comanies budget and needs. We decided on web-based.

When it came time to conduct research, I read a very helpful article on ERE.net, on How to pick an ATS in 7 days – includes short review of 6 major vendors (LONG). This is a great way to organize your time and find the right fit in an effective manner in 12 simple steps.

I am still on step #5, Contact each vendor….Below is a list from ERE.net of which I can say 3 of my choices and our current vendor are inlcuded:

  • cBizOne
    Easy to use and contains all core functionality of ATS. Very customizable. Can host data locally or remotely (on access or SQL server). Cool quick searching UI.
  • PCRecruiter
    Easily customizable and good performance for an ASP.
  • BullHorn
    Highly recommended and praised. Performance good for ASP, UI and usability are good. Integrated email with cool email tracking feature.
  • HireDesk
    Feature rich and very customizable. Awesome website integration where candidate can have custom job agents (most the same features candidates have on Monster) Large company, dedicated support staff and best support hours.
  • Sendouts
    Outstanding usability and GUI design. One of two hybrid solutions. Good performance and overall solid system.
  • MaxHire
    Its all Microsoft technology and the email integration and automation is very well designed.

I hope at this point you find yourself with enough information to get started. If you need further advice or a copy of my checklist, feel free to e-mail me at work – Red@aclion.com.

Posted under Job Search, Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on October 14, 2008

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