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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Sparking Social Media With Video

Brands and businesses are using video, but few are realizing video’s true value as the ignition point of a targeted social media marketing campaign or, the spark. Likewise, many brands and companies are embracing social media but not getting as much out of the experience as they could. With a “videocentric” approach, video serves as the center of conversation from which layers of additional conversation evolve across social networking channels, blogs and forums often extending into traditional publications and beyond. This conversation goes from being

  1. About the video
  2. To being about the brand or business behind the video
  3. To the products and services offered
  4. To the  fans of the brand
  5. To the people behind the brand and so on…

As with any successful marketing effort, this requires proper planning and execution. I’ll explain how we attack the process at Supercool Creative, from start to finish and offer some fresh ways for marketing executives, brand managers and entrepreneurs to look at video as a crucial piece in the social media puzzle..

Step one is not “go shoot a video.” Too many campaigns fall flat or flat out fail because they start with a video and end with a plan of what to do with the video. That’s retrofitting and as you know, retrofitting can be more costly than doing something the right way the first time. We start off by establishing objectives that can be measured against hard goals like “more site traffic” and “increased sales” as well as soft goals like “more blog mentions, retweets and interviews.” Next, we identify the target audience. Who is the ideal customer and where are they online, right now? Then, we establish what the video will be about, what will be the bigger conversation surrounding that video and where and how that conversation will happen. The time to figure all that out is not after you have posted the video.

Content is king, be creative! The video should be engaging and above all SHAREABLE. Make it funny, shocking, quirky, confounding or whatever but be sure that it’s something worth talking about. The video itself is not and should not be enough to tell or sell the entire story. This is where a lot of marketers go wrong, packing too much into one video or making it into a commercial.

Online videos do not always require insane production value but they do need to be valuable. Three questions we ask before writing and shooting any video are

  1. How will this video add value to peoples’ lives?
  2. Should the video be funny or entertaining, shocking, controversial? Which genre if any will best fly with our client’s audience?
  3. How likely will people be to share the video if given the opportunity? Basically, “why should somebody care about this video enough to watch it?”

After that, we outline and write the script then plan the shoot.

social-media-marketing-and-pr-20

Unlike other forms of media including TV, radio, print and billboard, social media is not a broadcast channel intended to reach the masses but rather an interactive channel intended to mingle with the masses. As such, time and attention need to be given to setting up the right channels and building and maintaining relationships. Is the client’s audience mostly on Facebook? LinkedIn? YouTube? Twitter? How much time does the client have to spend on social media marketing each week? These factors will help determine which and how many channels are selected and developed.

One last thing to consider before locking down a video shoot is integration. Will the video be part of a larger marketing strategy including TV, radio, banner, video pre-roll, website integration, PR? This is an important thing to consider, especially if we are working with multiple agencies including traditional, interactive and PR agencies. As with retrofitting, integration is much easier and more cost effective the first time around.

Shoot and edit the video, including pre-production, casting, crewing up and executing according to the script and objectives. After post production, the video is encoded for the places it will live online for a very long time. To establish the video as the originating medium, we upload to YouTube and several other selected video sharing sites. Video search optimization is very important at this point so research is always key.

Now, we have a video link or two to work with. Just a few of things we do to help that link see the light of day include sharing the video with the client’s new YouTube community, inviting new friends, emailing the link, posting the video story and a link on Twitter; embedding the video on Facebook sparking conversation whenever possible; posting the link on LinkedIn status updates and starting a few discussions based on the bigger story surrounding the video.

The final step is to start building a genuine conversation surrounding the video. Outreach is a very important part of this process and includes reaching out to relevant influencers, launching local, topical and/or industry related press releases and contacting relevant online and offline publications. Just be sure that the story is compelling, the video is engaging and the product or service is sincere.

David Murdico is the Executive Creative Director of Supercool Creative, a Los Angeles based agency specializing in online video creative & production, viral marketing and integrated social media campaigns.

Posted under Online Marketing

Socialnomics says “Social Media Has Overtaken Porn”

Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web.

Where the heck did I find that fact? Well it’s basic Socialnomics…of course!Socialnomics™ is a blog designed to cover the latest trends in social media.  It primarily focuses on covering the latest news on social media and what it means for users and businesses, often taking irreverent view points of a popular topic.

Today I present the #1 spot for Viral Video of the Day on ViralVideoChart.com. Full of interesting facts, this provides an interesting outlook on the Social Media fad…you be the judge:

Posted under Blogs, Online Video, Social Networks

This post was written by Joshua Russak on August 21, 2009

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Internet Marketing 101: Stages of Customer Engagement

online-marketing-pyramid

Introduction to SEO/PPC, Banner Ads, E-Mail, Social Media (Web2.0) & Analytics

New to the online space? Not sure where to start marketing your business, or even how? Well that’s okay…because you’re not alone. This article is geared towards small business new to online space, bringing them up to speed on what’s out there and how they can take full advantage everything .

Unlike traditional marketing, the internet broadens the reach between businesses and consumers. Lower costs, mass distribution and instant responses are but a few benefits to taking your campaigns online. The beauty of the internet is that it provides many unique ways of capturing your audience by tying together both the creative and technical aspects of design and development. Below you will find a basic introduction to the many forms Online Marketing and what you should take advantage of. If you’re business is not online, you should look into testing some of the practices introduced below. For those of you familiar with the online space, consider this a refresher.

SETTINGS GOALS

Online marketing takes goal setting very seriously. Without a goal, how can you measure success? There’s so much information you can collect about your website users: Hits, Clicks, Views, Purchases, etc…but which of those are most important to you must be defined before you begin a campaign. For example, let’s assume you’re trying to sell shoes. If your site generates 1,000 hits a day, and you didn’t sell a shoe, then you weren’t successful. Now, let’s assume your website is an online newspaper and your goal is to get readers. In that case, a 1,000 hits a day is a great thing. Everything is relative. Set your goals early on so as to not get distracted.

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (SEM)

As the internet became more popular in the 90’s, search engines were created to help individuals locate information more efficiently on the internet. Considering the amount of new information published daily, search engines were relied more heavily upon in order to help direct traffic. Using “spiders” and “crawlers” sent into cyberspace, search engines were/are able to categorize websites and rank them. If you go to a search engine and type in “CAMERA”, what comes up is probably the most “relevant” result to that word. Unfortunately there are millions of sites competing to get to the top of that list. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play.  In what could be an entire article in itself, 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 and your goal should be to rank high for any relevant searches. There are free tools out there to help you optimize your website and I would highly suggest using Google Webmaster as a starter.

Search Engine Optimization allows you to drive customers to your website simply by showing up in their searches.  However, there is another route you can take to drive traffic to your website, but you’ll have to pay for it.  Pay-Per-Click advertising was instituded by search engines to drive revenue on their sites. Businesses and individuals could sponsor links at the top of search results in order to increase the chance of someone clicking their link, and they would pay for every click. Yahoo! Search Marketing and Google AdWords are two popular examples of this type of marketing. This became the primary business model and source of income for search engines.

BANNER ADS

Another more traditional form of marketing is banner ads. Similar to driving down the freeway and passing oversized billboards, these ads are very visual and in-your-face. Located either at the top or on the sides of websites (aka: Skyscraper Ads), these ads follow both Pay-Per-Click and the more traditional Pay-Per-View models. With the advances in online technologies, these ads have been increasing the way audiences interact with them. For those of you who have seen the “click the monkey to win a FREE I-POD”, you know exactly what I mean. Not every banner ad is interactive, but there are many variations and the options are nearly endless.

E-MAIL MARKETING

If you are considering direct-marketing or have experience using snail-mail in some form, E-mail marketing is the electronic approach. Companies can benefit from e-mail marketing in many different ways:

  • Low Cost- 1,000 e-mails costs a lot cheaper than 1,000 envelopes+stamps+paper
  • Fast- Will arrive in their inbox within 30 seconds, depending on the service
  • Mass Distribution- Global Reach
  • ROI Tracking- You can track successful delivery’s, who opened the e-mails and what links they clicked
  • “It’s Eco-Friendly- No trees will be harmed in spreading your message (as with this post!)” – Sam Shron, Acxiom Digital.

Considering most internet users check or send e-mails every single day, this is a highly effective form of reaching mass audience effectively. BEWARE!! This form of marketing is also highly controversial and must be done the right way or not at all. Please refer over to the CAN SPAM ACT OF 2003. The list of requirements are very specific including an unsubscribe button, who you send it to, how you send it and more. As a result, many businesses use Agency’s to handle their e-mail marketing efforts.

SOCIAL MEDIA (WEB2.0)

The popularity of social media created an entirely new type of effective marketing that has been increasingly growing stronger year by year. Why? Well, for one, considering the amount of personal information that users put online, advertisers are able to better understand who they’re advertising to and what is more likely to be effective. Within social media, you’ll find a vast amount of options:

Your campaign can go from zero to hero all because one individual liked the ad and sent it to all of his friends. Just take a look at the recent Susan Boyle video which has gained global success, with over 145,000,000+ views online. The video was featured on blogs and social networks and it was all FREE marketing. That’s the power of the internet and Social Media. But it doesn’t stop there. You can use the social networks to interact with potential customers and gain insights unlike ever before. I highly suggest you research this type of marketing and get involved any way you can. Your efforts will be pay off and the results could be endless!

ANALYTICS

As I stressed in my last article for HP, Free Website Essentials 101: The information you can collect about your visitors is extremely valuable. The only downside is the amount of information can be overwhelming. Without a question, analytics is the double-edged sword of Online Marketing. 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, so there’s no reason to pass it up.

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

This post was written by Joshua Russak on May 28, 2009

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Recession Kills Brand Loyalty – Retailers Turn To Social Media!

Generic vs. Brand

"Generic" vs. "Brand"

For many individuals, money is tight these days and as the economy keeps slipping, so will brand name loyalty.

Following up on the recent topic of “Brand” vs. “Generic” during an economic downturn (Article: Financial Bailout leaves Tech & Media Behind…), I felt compelled to continue covering this direction after reading a very compelling report by eMarketer.com. In their article, Social Media and Shopping Behavior , they touch on the topic of consumers using social-media as a source for making product purchasing decisions. Quoting eMarketer, “To stay relevant, retailers must determine how to incorporate social media, such as social networks and blogs, into their marketing strategies.” Considering the cost-effectiveness of social media marketing, smaller and more generic brands have the chance to swoop in and compete with the “Big Brands” in targeting the consumers.

There are a lot of free marketing technology options for retailers, and in the online space, their target audience is continuously growing. “Generation Y (those born after 1979) online buyers are more immersed in online and mobile activities than any other generation, according to 2008 research from shopping comparison site PriceGrabber. Some 85% of Gen Y respondents said they participated in social networking, and 57% reported involvement with blogs.” (eMarketer) And Generation Y also represents the consumers with constantly updated retailer and product ratings.

A 2008 study conducted by the Society for New Communications Research found “nearly three-quarters of respondents choose retailers and products based on others’ customer care experiences shared online.” (eMarketer)

Search engines like twing.com, are going to make a profit off during this “economic downturn” as well. They developed a custom search engine dedicated to forums and online communities. Powered by their proprietary technology, Buzz Graph, they help brand managers gain insight into product and company discussions helping improve both targeting and product quality. Their sight was doing well back in July and I’m predicting they will see a boost in the near-future as Brand Advertisers start pumping more dollars into targeting their customers. Also, PriceGrabber will see more business as consumers will consult customer reviews to help in their decision buying process.

keep a close eye on how much Retailers are going to spend on “Brand Loyalty” this quarter, and how much of that is online!

Posted under Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on October 2, 2008

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