25
Nov
Joe Marsh asked:

Video Content: Video is a great way to create content, it’s also good for exposure and back links. So here we’re going to give you a few different ideas that you can use to create videos.

There are a few different ways to create videos. If you’re just doing a straight forward video the simplest way is to use a Flip video camera. You can find the Flip video camera at many local stores and you can also get it at Amazon. If you would like to include screenshots or other special effects in your video you could use Camtasia. You can get Camtasia by visiting their website at Camtasia.com.

So after you have some way to create videos the next step is to decide what kind of video you would like to make.

The videos you create could include:

A video testimonial from one of your customers. You could do an interview with a customer or ask them to share their experience with you and your business and record the conversation. A video case study with a client. You can conduct an interview with a client, asking them to share statistics, findings, results, their experience, basically the overall story of their results. A video teaching your viewers how to do something. For example… If you sell calendars for instance, what could you possibly teach in a how-to video? Perhaps you can do a video on better time management and organization, how to balance life and work, and how to add inspiration to your work and living environment with inspirational calendars. A video showing people how to use your product or service. What you’re creating here is an excellent video on how to use your product and not a sales pitch. So if you have a service or product that is complicated or if you’re involved in a complicated industry you can actually teach people how to use your product or service. An interview with a leader or a famous person in your industry or area. You may be surprised by how easy it is to get interviews with influential people. Just reach out to 10 people you would like to interview with a brief one-page proposal about what you would like to interview them on and how the interview would be used. You will probably get one or two of these people to accept your offer. A controversial, funny or inspirational content. People love these kinds of videos and you could get large amount of traffic from this type of video, but it’s hard for companies to pull this off. You may want to play it safe and stick with inspirational type content. User generated content. You could hold a contest or encourage your customers to submit videos.

The possibilities are endless. A good rule of thumb is that anything you can write about, you can craft into an interesting video. The same rules apply – keep it short and sweet, actionable and informative, and try to be interesting, funny, or engaging without sacrificing your professional image.

Videos can rake in views and traffic.

Videos also build trust because they see you’re giving valuable information without beating them over the head with a sales pitch.

An incredible example of this is Wiley Books’ promotion of the book, “Brewing Up a Business.” They held a contest on YouTube inviting people to read the book and then submit a short video showing how they implemented the business advice and approach explained in the book and what their results were. The book was fun and funky and they kept that vibe in their contest and materials promoting the contest.

The result was over 60 videos from 60 different video makers all discussing and promoting Wiley’s book in a creative and engaging way. Think about innovative ways you can get your audience involved in discussing and promoting your company and its offerings.

Another great tactic for creating popular, viral videos is to monitor trends in your industry and hit hot topics as soon as they pop up. If a hot new iPhone is coming out, and you sell phone accessories compatible with the iPhone, then hop on that popularity wagon and do a video about iPhone innovations. You don’t even have to mention your site except to introduce yourself and the company you’re with.

Regardless of the type of video you create, you can brand your company without ever pitching it in your videos.

Options include… Adding the URL to your company website at the bottom of each video and branding your YouTube channel with your company’s URL, brand identity, and calls to action to your site.

So regardless of what type of videos you decide to create, the biggest thing is to get started. Get out there and create some videos and get them posted online.

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25
Nov

Most small business owners would agree on the need to have a plan for sales growth. Yet far too many small businesses rely on “sales effort” and far too few establish appropriate marketing strategies for sales growth.

Most marketing experts suggest three marketing strategies that are open to all businesses, large and small:

o The least-cost strategy. Using this strategy, a company competes by selling uniform, standard products. Market demand for these products is usually highly elastic. An increase in price triggers a sharp drop in sales volume because (1) demand is low, supply is high, or (2) there are plenty of competitors who can supply substitutes. Buyers expect price concessions, which naturally lead least-cost firms to emphasize production at the lowest possible per-unit costs.

o The differentiation strategy. A company using this strategy attempts to offer unique products that are set off from the competition by superior quality or service. Market demand tends to be inelastic (that is, sales volume doesn’t vary in proportion to price). Goods are priced well above production costs. The company that pursues a strategy of differentiation must invest heavily in product development and innovative packaging and promotion. And it must stay closely in tune with customers’ changing needs and desires.

o The niche strategy. Using this option, a company sells a premium priced product or service to a few buyers. Unit costs are high because output is low and costs such as labor or research and development may be great. Brand identification and customer loyalty are the keys to success.

In adopting a marketing strategy, most small businesses should opt for the differentiation or niche strategy, or a combination of the two. The least-cost strategy is the least successful for small companies. There’s a simple reason why: production costs.

A company’s production costs tend to decline as it accumulates experience in producing the product. How much production experience a company has the opportunity to acquire depends on its share of the market. The larger its market share, the lower its costs.

Therefore, the dominant competitor in a market is in the best position to pursue a least-cost strategy. It can and will shave profit margins to drive out competitors who can’t compete on price. The market leader is assured that the more it can produce and sell regardless of price, the lower its cost will go. So, the least-cost strategy is usually used by very large companies that have the resources to dominate a particular market, local, regional, national or international.

A clear message here is to stay out of areas where there already is a dominant market leader unless you’re prepared for a costly business battle. That means building on your business’s own experience, pushing its competitive edge to the limit in an effort to become the dominant competitor. You can do this by:

o Developing a new product;
o Differentiating your product to appeal to a segment of the market where you have the most experience; or
o Finding a niche in a highly fragmented market where there is no clearly dominant competitor.

When developing new products, stick to your strength. There may be a virtue in staying small, at least in one sense. For one thing, contracting for a service may be cheaper than doing it yourself. Aside from that, each distinctive business function has its own little tricks, short-cuts and hidden pitfalls. In starting a function from scratch, you are committing time, money and capital to an area where competitors, because of their greater experience, may have a clear cost edge.

It’s a common story these days that new, high technology products are no sooner brought out of the designer’s “garage” than they are an instant hit in the marketplace. A production facility is quickly put together and business blossoms-until a larger competitor swoops down with a copycat product and takes the business away.

The cause isn’t just the predatory nature of big business. Often, the designer’s experience in research and development doesn’t carryover to functions that are vital to success in a competitive market: sales and marketing, distribution and financing. The new business can’t come close to matching the larger firm’s experience and proficiency in these areas. And this gives the larger firm an insurmountable edge in the marketplace.

You should consider an alternative strategy: If your business is good at R & D, consider joining with a business that is good at production, sales and marketing. If you have the edge in one geographical region, join with a business that has strong national marketing and distribution channels. Above all, concentrate your resources where your experience is greatest.

Another avenue to sales growth is differentiation. Break away from the pack and make your product stand out from the competition on the basis of superior quality and innovation. Your objective is to maintain the unique appeal a product has to quality-minded consumers. At the same time, look for ways to make carrying your product more attractive to wholesalers and retailers as well.

Profitable niches are often found in markets where there’s no clear industry leader. For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car built the world’s largest rental car agency by specializing in “wreck replacement” rentals. At the time, the market was under served and there was no clear leader for the service. But finding the appropriate niche can take patience. And once you find it, it’s vital to cultivate customer loyalty and confidence.
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21
Nov

Bob Kruse asked:

Professional small business SEO web design services are essential for the growth of any online business. The website design of a startup or small business should be elegant and easy to navigate and most of all it should be easy to find in the search engines.

Is your website old and outdated? Need to improve your website’s effectiveness? Then seek the help of a web design service provider who can improve the look and feel of your business website. The existing website can be redesigned or it can be started right from scratch. Today, a wide variety of website designs that best suit small businesses to large enterprises are available at affordable prices.

Using the very latest design technologies, web designers deliver tailor made websites that are built with search engine optimization in mind. In other words, they can develop websites which are both user friendly and search engine friendly.

If you are looking for quality small business SEO website design services, look no further. Today, there are so many web designers in the US who have excellent expertise in creating web pages that are attractive, easy to use and search engine friendly. These professionals are ready to work with start-up and small businesses that either need a website or want their existing website improved.

Small business SEO web design services can be helpful

• To attain top position in major search engines like Google and Yahoo

• To draw more visitors to your website

• To increase sales and leads

• Maximize profit

Small business SEO web design services include assessment of your needs, website design, website redesign, web development, website maintenance, graphic design, flash animation, web hosting, logo design, search engine optimization (SEF links, site map, URL submissions to search engines, meta data, tags, keywords), multimedia solutions, e-commerce solutions, product catalog, shopping cart, blog writing, custom form development, custom-made web templates, content writing to attract visitors to your website and more.

In short, you can easily and efficiently improve your company’s online image with the help of small business SEO web design services in the US.

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17
Nov

Do you have a local brick and mortar business?? Do you have a website?? If so, you may have been disappointed in its lack of performance.? You may even feel that it’s not worth your while getting involved with online marketing.? Read on for three secrets you must know about online marketing for offline businesses.

1. You must have an online presence

It used to be that people who wanted something would just pick up the yellow pages and let their fingers do the walking.? Well, their walking fingers now head for the keyboard of their computer — and they’ll do their research online.? If you’re not there, chances are they won’t find you.

2. Your online presence must be set up correctly

So you do have a website, you say, but it’s doing squat for you.? There’s a likely reason for that.? It’s not optimized to be found by your customers.? How so?? There was a time when people thought if you built a website, people would find it.? That may have been the case for a lucky few, especially in the old days where there was little competition, but it’s no longer true.? You must be on the first page? (or at the very least the second page) of Google for the kinds of keywords that your customers are going to use to find businesses like you.

3. You need to support your online presence with information marketing

Not only do you need a website that can be found, but you need a blog, and you should do other kinds of marketing, including social marketing, and publishing articles in article directories, all of which will send visitors to your website and help your page rank in Google.

4. You must capture your leads

If you have no way to capture the leads that come your way, you’re wasting your time.? Sorry if this sounds harsh.? The good news is that it’s not that hard to capture leads.? Give your visitors a simple sign-up form and a reason to give you their name and email address, and quite a few of them will sign up — thereby giving you a way to get in touch with them later.? Then, you can start building a relationship with them.? You can also send them more information about how you can help them and special offers as well.? And presto — the casual surfer who stumbled across your website might soon turn into a real live customer.

By: Elisabeth Kuhn

About the Author:

Want more information about online small business marketing to promote your local business? Get a FREE report on how to increase your revenue and your customer base, and, on request, a free 30 minute consultation with me, Elisabeth Kuhn, on Local Business Marketing Strategies. I can also help you set all of this up — and run it for you too if you like.

Either way, sign up for more information and the free report, and then send me a return email if you’d like to find out about how I can help you: http://www.LinguisticLeverage.com

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14
Nov
Perry Manku asked:

When creating your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, the critical factors you always need to consider are:

· carefully considering and placing your keywords; and

· building good quality links back to your website.

This article discusses the importance link building in your SEO strategy and provides some useful suggestions as well as some things to avoid if you want your SEO project to be successful.

What are backlinks and why are they important for SEO?

Backlinks are links that point to your website or web page from another website.

For those of us in the SEO world, we know that the number, variety and quality of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that web page. Outside SEO, backlinks may be of a personal interest because they indicate who is paying attention to that page.

Links are a bit like a “vote of confidence” or a “recommendation” from another website, meaning that your website is seen as a more credible and reputable sourceof information.

Carrying out link building correctly is one the most difficult, time consuming and expensive partsof SEO, but absolutely necessary to push your website up the search engine rankings, especially for competitive keywords.

Here are some of the main factors you should consider:

Factor #1 – Know who is linking to you
As your website begins to get popular, it is necessary to monitor and manage all of your backlinks. You need to know just who exactly is linking to your site. This is especially important if you are in an industry where reputation is paramount. This is also important for SEO because having links from poor or undesirable websites can harm your SEO efforts and result in your website being penalised or your rankings downgraded.

Factor #2 – Go for relevance and variety
Companies carrying out SEO campaigns desire to get more backlinks, particularly good quality links that are from websites or pages which have a high topical relevance to their own website. This helps search engines to confirm what their website is all about. While relevance is important, it is also a good idea to get a wide variety of links from different types of website including good quality blogs, article websites, press release sites, social websites and business directories, many of which are completely free.

Factor #3 – Check the Google PageRank and “Link Juice”
Another factor that companies look for is Google RageRank. This is a notional score used by Google to show the popularity / importance of the web page. Pages that have accumulated PageRank over a period of time provide more “link juice” – a term used to describe the weight a backlink carries.

It is possible to get a rough idea of the “link juice” by checking the Google PageRank of the web page linking to you and dividing it by the total number of other links present on that page. Where possible try to get an even spread of links from pages that range in PageRank, from 0 to 10.

Factor #4 – Consider the speed you acquire backlinks
Ask yourself how fast are you accumulating backlinks? Search engines may view this as suspicious if they see sudden spikes in activity. For example one day you may have 20 backlinks then the next day it shoots up to 1,000. Although unlikely, this kind of activity would look suspicious, prompting search engines to question what you are doing.

Factor #5 – Define meaningful anchor text
It is highly important that backlinks to your website contain relevant anchor text. You should try to include the keywords that you want to be found for.

Here is a good example:

<a href=”http://yoursite.com/canal-holidays>Canal Holidays</a>

Here is a bad example:

<a href=”http://yoursite.com”>http://yoursite.com</a>

Things to avoid

When carrying out link building, try to avoid making the following mistakes:

· Links from potentially harmful or undesirable websites that do not compliment your own

· Companies and tools that carry out automated link submissions in bulk

· Link farms and other link schemes

· Lots of links from a single website or a small number of websites

· Links created through client-side scripts like JavaScript

· Paid or hidden links

Some of these techniques are considered “black hat” SEO, a term to imply unethical practices have been used which can harm your efforts and can be very difficult to recover from.

Summary
Good quality backlinks say a lot about your website and its popularity. A backlink is like a “vote of confidence” or a “recommendation” from other websitesand the best examples are links from highly relevant websites, that have a good Google PageRank and use meaningful anchor text. Think carefully about your link building strategy and try to avoid some of the common mistakes that companies make when trying to achieve quick wins. There really is no such thing as a quick win when it comes to SEO, just careful planning and hard work.

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13
Nov
Joseph Sanders asked:

If you are considering making SEO a part of your business’ marketing strategy, you should also be aware of how to identify good and bad SEO providers. Fraudulent companies are widespread in the industry. And because of these fake firms, many companies are now hesitant to try out SEO. Because it can be difficult to distinguish between authentic and dishonest companies, business owners opt not to take the risk and forego the benefits Search Engine Optimization can provide their business.

Signs of an authentic SEO firm
An authentic Search Engine Optimization company doesn’t have to be famous or well-known on the Internet. However, a positive reputation on the Internet can help you determine whether a company can be trusted. Positive comments about an SEO firm mean that the firm has helped a company enjoy added publicity and profit through Search Engine Optimization. The names of these SEO firms usually appear in spam-free forums, and these firms are usually recommended by experts and ordinary business owners who have achieved real success in SEO. Sometimes, recommendations by close friends with vast knowledge and experience in Search Engine Optimization can also help you choose authentic firms.

Also, a believable online portfolio can make you decide whether a company is authentic or not. A believable portfolio consists of screenshots of successfully optimized websites and search engine results pages, as well as some details on past SEO projects.

Authentic SEO firms always use White label SEO.

Signs of a fake SEO firm
One warning sign that a SEO firm is trying to scam you is when the firm charges you unexplained fees even before the optimization starts. Usually these fraudulent firms focus more on getting payments than optimizing your business website for search engines. They can be considered as search engine moneymakers, and not the search engine optimizers.

Some other scam indicators:

· Promising that your website will achieve high Page Rank by a specific date
· Saying that they know someone from Google and Yahoo! Who can get your website to the top of search engine results
· When the SEO provider brags about himself and his achievements, instead of discussing his planned SEO campaign for your business
· Saying that they should have a certain percentage of your revenue, and forcing you to divulge confidential company information
· Saying that you will be charged for the firm’s services, whether the SEO campaign is successful or not

Whether a company is an SEO Reseller or a firm, you should always take time in analyzing their profile. One wrong decision may put your business at risk. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. Scan to avoid scams!

wahm

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07
Nov

Some small business marketing strategies are more prone to failure than others if executed incorrectly. Take direct mailings for example. The mailings that will fail the most dreadfully are the ones where someone tries to accomplish too many things.

So, you’ve got to decide what the purpose of a mailing is. It may be to get them to purchase a golf bag. But it’s not to get them to purchase the golf bag and also get them to register at your site and also get them to maybe look at the golf clubs, golf shoes and golf lessons, or ask for a golfing catalogue. Yes, things like that can happen as favorable outcome of your campaign but your task is to clearly define the reason for this marketing strategy.

Number two is, determine specifically the demographic and psychographic profile, who exactly is your customer and what are their challenges.

Once you know who that audience is, then you’ve got to determine your mailing lists. You may have a house list. There’s actually different levels of a house list. Lots of times, they’re broken into A prospects, which is the best and the B and the C prospects. An A list might be someone who has actually purchased from you before.

The people who have a purchase history with you are the most likely to be interested in new products/services again, if you’ve treated them well or your service has been good and your product has been dependable.

The B list might be someone who had been in the sales cycle and maybe dropped out for what ever reason. Those people who are ex-customers or people who were interested enough to be in your sales conversation, even if they dropped out, they are the most likely after the ones who have purchased before to be a good customer.

For example, people who have ended a subscription to a magazine are among the most likely to re-subscribe to it again. It’s almost ironic.

Your C’s might have been people who requested information about your products/services.

It’s important with this marketing strategy to use at least two different lists and test different creatives and copy.

Below you’ll find some more tips that’ll help with your direct mail strategy:

– postcards will do the trick especially the bigger ones. Those little 4x6s, they often get lost in the mail pile.

– a brochure is probably the least important aspect of a direct mail package, and many times people have tested with and without a brochure. It confuses or slows down the reader and they forget what they were doing. They often put it aside because it looks like too much to deal with.

– put a testimonial from a person/peer they respect in your package. For example, “Wolfgang Puck says that these are the best recipes, here’s why…”

– a good offer always has a time limit.

– money off or a discount often performs worse than giving them something original for free.

– test lists that have a lot of names because if you test 1000 names and there are only 1200 names in the list you don’t have much profit potential left.

– combine your offer with a sweep, or report they get when they buy.

– don’t expect your printer to develop a good campaign piece for you.

Small business marketing strategies come in different flavors. Of course, there’s a lot more to cover with above mentioned strategy. But if you keep in mind that testing is the key ingredient, you’ve already come a long way.
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03
Nov
Jeremiah Smith asked:

Many people think SEO is just Search Engine Optimization, but on a larger scale. Even though internet marketing encompasses SEO there are many more factors involved. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a practice as much as it is a fast growing technology. The basics of SEO begin with website design and the way the HTML code is structured. Optimizing a website for high search engine rankings usually entails a long list of factors that must be calculated for the optimization to take full effect. SEO is still one of the best forms of marketing due to the characteristic of placing what the searcher is looking for
directly in front of them.

Other extremely important aspects of internet marketing work along with SEO including; blogging, social networking, forums, domain management, journalism and article writing, press releases, news media, interactive advertising, affiliate marketing, email marketing, viral marketing, and of course search engine marketing.

Each of these factors offer a large spectrum of tools to anyone who wants to practice internet marketing. One of the first and most important factors of internet marketing would be SEM or search engine marketing. SEM basically encompasses ad delivery on large ad networks such as Google AdWords and AdSense. AdWords is a service offered by Google that allows you to create a small text advertisement and then submit it to Google on a pay per click rate. Google then inserts these ads into the websites on the Google AdSense network. When someone clicks any of these ads, the publisher or website on the AdSense network makes a profit. Also when someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser or owner of the original ad pays a small amount to Google and to the AdSense network partner. This method of advertising allows businesses and websites to advertise across a very wide platform and receive maximum coverage for their ads.

Blogging is also a very important factor for internet marketing and is sometimes known as the hub of internet marketing. Blogs allow internet marketers to discuss ideas, facts, topics, news, products, services and businesses directly on their website. A blogger posts an article to their blog, and visitors can comment on the post. The reason blogs work so well for internet marketing is because in SEO “content is king”. Blogs allow a site owner to post new content to their website easily, quickly, and effectively. Most blogs are structured to handle changes frequently much like the blogging platform of WordPress. Blogs are a great way for an author to discuss a topic at length and create an interest in the topic while simultaneously increasing their rankings for the key terms they discuss.

The other facets of internet marketing lend a hand to building a buzz about any given topic. The growth of internet marketing is truly astounding as new methods and means of communication become available every year. Internet marketers have to struggle to keep up with the frequent updates that are made to search engine algorithms daily. As long as information retrieval is a serious need, internet marketing will have a place to call home.

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