Tag Archives: Internet Marketing

Bare Naked Brand Names

Courtesy of Internet Business Law Journal  by Naseem Javed

Last century business names were colorfully dressed with uniquely stylized lettering, colorful logos, slogans and contextual support. This century, such ‘stylized dependency’ has been pushed over the cliff by neo-socio-mobile-media-lingo. They’re stripped and typed in black and white text as soundbite-sized ‘bare naked words’, blending into chat lines alongside abbreviations and numbing-mumbo-jumbo. The majority of big name brands are losing their luster. Powerful imagery from the old newspaper era of double sized full page ads are replaced by typed words on small portable devices.

Can you identify the high maintenance big brand names on the following social media chats?

…just checked the wind at the mall, grand service but tag too high…

…I have no option but united, they would know where my real goodies are…

… no matter what, for me prime is the way to go before I try orange or wave…

…and then she gave me a rolex…

Highly distinct brand names like ‘Rolex’ or Panasonic are identifiable in any typed conversation while diluted names like ‘United’ ‘Premier’ ‘Orange’, ‘Wave’ ‘Wind’ disappear in the bursts of text making no sense, causing confusion and least building any distinct name identity. Camouflaged brand names are only going to end up invisible.

Today, the socio-mobile-lingo-depository is the fastest growing and the largest communication pool in the world. Tweeting, Facebooking, MySpacing, YouSmiling, MeWatching, YouListening or Linkedining, alike have transformed name brands into ‘typed lingo’.

The largest majority of the last century names do not fit the next generation digital platforms. If global socio-mobile marketing is mandatory for high level results, names must pass a ‘nudity-test’: a name must be inserted into an everyday social media conversation and checked to see if it’s still identifiable or lost within the text. If it doesn’t, it provides instant proof why cash registers aren’t ringing and what’s killing all the potential sales.

Last century, when names with special styles of lettering appeared in full page ads, there was no need to clarify the meaning or connection of the name with the subject. ‘United Furniture’ with furniture arranged in shape of the letters, ‘United Logistics’ stylized with a large cargo ship or ‘United Bank’ with a monetary symbol and logo to create distinction. Everybody understood what was what.

Today, with some 250,000 different businesses around the world already using ‘United’ as a name brand, the typed word has to appear lost in the depths of the English dictionary. The name values and visibility for such style dependent names are dying on upstream and downstream social media.

In this socio-mobile-marketplace only the very small percentage of highly distinct names has a clear competitive advantage. Microsoft, Rolex and Panasonic are easily identifiable in any sentence, in any format without question.

Corporations are shy to face the nakedness of their own names. When the management of ‘United Logistics’ sees their name brand, they are so conditioned to first see the stylized logo, the slogan and the whole package, with a globe replacing the ‘o’ in the ‘logistics’, a tiny plane forming a circular line arching over the name and bold italic letters telling the fast dynamics of the logistic trade. Now try searching ‘united’ as an example on social media; it will demonstrate the instant erosion of a branded name identity.

Currently, studies show that the largest majority of business names are based on dictionary or geographic words followed by surnames and acronyms or initials. Less than 1% of business names are distinct and unique. While global ad expenditures are touching $700 Billion, why is this aspect of global naming complexity not on any syllabus at any of the MBA programs in the world? The question remains; what is the reason for this waste, and more importantly, who benefits from it?

After the massive success of social media, new domain name management platforms will further kindle huge fires up the major global branding and marketing services. A new stage is being set by ICANN the International Corporation of Assigned names & Numbers and their gTLD global top level domain name program, where name-centricity will drive the digital branding explosion. What should the brand owners do? Strip their business name clean of every support, attachment, and gimmick and assess the risk of them being lost in the crowd of common language. Without a professional name evaluation report the entire marketing and branding budget may be questionable.
A distinct name identity is what separates a name from a word; the stripped down identity test will prove this.

Naseem Javed, founder of ABC Namebank, is a globally recognized authority on corporate nomenclature and related issues of global naming complexities and especially market domination via name identity. He is a lecturer, syndicated columnist, and the author of Naming for Power.  www.abcnamebank.com

Internet Talk Radio:The Newest Social Medium

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“Social media is not an ad. People don’t see your post, tweet or LinkedIn profile and buy. The purpose (and promise) of all social mediums is simply to start a conversation with someone you’d like to meet.”

I belong to a group called CRITICAL MASS FOR BUSINESS. It’s a facilitated CEO PEER GROUP that meets once a month for 4 hours. The group is limited to 12 members, all of whom own similarly sized businesses in non-competeing industries.

Our typical agenda starts with a recap of what happened to all of us over the prior month including reports on whatever we did (or didn’t do) to implement the suggestions, ideas and “action plans” from our last meeting. For many of us (me included) this “accountability to someone other than yourself” may be one of the most important features of this group. We’re all entrepreneurs, not used to reporting to anyone but ourselves. The problem with that approach (however) is that it’s far too easy to make excuses or put off painful decisions when there is no one looking over your shoulder, prodding you to improve and move forward. “I’ll do it tomorrow” too often means it never gets done.

Then comes the truly transformative part of the meeting: the “round table discussions”. Here is where the rubber meets the road and people really get to the heart of their issues. Using a strictly controlled “question and answer process” (guided by our professional facilitators) we probe, distill and digest whatever issues each member wishes to bring forward. It’s not always a pleasant experience to be on “the hot seat” but it’s always informative and often illuminating. This is the only true “no spin zone” I know. You’re in a confidential setting with 11 other struggling entrepreneurs, many of whom are wrestling with the same issues and obstacles you are. And it s the only place I know where you get really honest, no bs feed back. Who else is gonna tell you such truth? Your friends and family (who don’t want to hurt your feelings?) Your employees (who don’t want to lose their jobs?) Or some consultant (who really wants to please you and keep getting paid and whose narrow expertise may not allow them to see the whole picture?)

This is the magical “mastermind” part of the meeting: 12 individual minds coming together as one urging, adding to and otherwise improving upon each previous thought. Organized brainstorming, proving once again that the sum is greater than the individual parts. How can this help? Well, it’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it. But let me say that (in my own case) it gave birth to a whole new business.

I was a long time PR person whose core clients (billiards, hot tubs and other home improvement products) had seen a dramatic decline during the recent “Great Recession”. Hot tub sales alone fell by over 70%. So, one by one, my clients were either going out of business or cutting back dramatically on their overall marketing services (including me). I entered the group to find a way to revitalize my business. Instead, the group opened my eyes to a whole new business opportunity.

As I recanted my problems to the group and discussed how foolishly I’d put all my “eggs in one basket” (by narrowly focusing on just one niche), how “fat and happy” and complacent I’d become in the process and how I’d generally stopped learning, growing and aggressively marketing my services to others, it became clear that I needed a new fire or passion to prod me in a new direction and a distinctive service to offer. Then, after casually mentioning that PR companies were being asked (more and more) to take on the role and responsibilities of “social media strategist” for their clients (since ad agencies-used to making ads–and marketing people-used to collecting and analyzing data–neither knew how nor wanted to explore this new aspect of marketing), the group started prodding me to explore this subject and educate myself on this opportunity. That led to long discussions about “what is social media”, “how is it different than traditional advertising, PR and marketing” and what is its fundamental purpose?

That, in turn, led me to some remarkble insights such as “social media isn’t an ad on the Internet”. People don’t just read your blog or “tweets” and buy. Instead, its something we’ve never seen before. The purpose (and promise) of social media is that it allows you to start a conversation with anyone you want to meet, from which you can learn, explain, explore and otherwise engage them in a meaningful dialog in which (hopefully) both sides receive some benefit. That means you can’t just “ask for the order” anymore. You have to be willing to offer some ideas and information for free, upfront, before you start the sales process. Information that your audience (hopefully) will find so interesting and informative that they pass it onto others in their network and community (creating “brand advocates” or “viral marketing” for your goods or services in the process). Then you have to respond to their questions and comments and keep them coming back for more. In other words, you have to have something interesting to say and then keep saying it regularly and often.

That’s why most social media programs fail. Most companies aren’t prepared to become their own media production companies. They run of out meaningful things to say and they don’t regularly keep at it, primarly because it takes time and discipline and it may not show immediate ROI. And quite often, no one in the company is prepared to take on the additional role of “social media spokesman”, which is why it defaults to the traditional PR people (who are used to regularly speaking for their clients).

And that’s when it occurred to me. This is what I should be doing, particularly since I originally started off in radio broadcasting and communication right after college (as a traditional DJ on WMYK, “K94”, in Norfolk,Virginia). Then came the even bigger insight that “I think I know a simpler and more powerful way to do this!” For if the purpose of social media is simply to start a conversation with someone you want to meet, then what could be easier than simply calling them up, interviewing them over the phone and then streaming that conversation live to the world? You could even record, archive and store it on some server, making it available 24/7 as a download for others to listen to and enjoy later as a “podcast” on ITunes and elsewhere.

Wouldn’t that be much easier to produce than trying to research and write a new blog or mini-article each week? And (ultimately) wouldn’t it be much easier for your audience on the Internet to consume (given the fact that most people would rather watch or listen to something on the Internet than read it?) And wouldn’t these weekly live conversations be more interesting and stimulating than just talking to yourself ? (a problem that plagues most other social mediums like blogs, tweets and traditional podcasts) And wouldn’t a live, weekly broadcast, at a regular time and place, be more likely to engage your audience, particularly if they could call-in their questions (just like any traditional talk show) or log-on, in real time, and tweet their comments ? And wouldn’t your guests immediately tell all their friends, customers and clients to listen? And wouldn’t they put a link to that recorded interview up on their site after the fact (which would help drive traffic and links to your site, thereby raising your search engine rankings and giving you a free ad on their website forever?) The answer to all this was “yes”.

Thus was born a new “social medium” and the business to go with it: OC TALK RADIO, Orange County’s only community radio station giving local businesses a voice on the Internet. For more information, check us out at http://www.OCTalkRadio.net.

Brand, Tell Me a Story, Please

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Courtesy of MediaPost.

These are challenging times to work in marketing communications. The “big advertising idea” is no longer the be-all or end-all. Instead, designing stories around brands is crucial to “social selling” to customers who are media-savvy and increasingly suspicious of traditional marketing techniques.

Social media requires compelling storytelling to thrive. As businesses struggle to break through the marketing noise, brand stewards are finding it effective to craft stories that focus on achieving brand goals while giving customers a sense of what a brand stands for. Brand storytellers who embrace social media recognize that emotion is the currency their communities trade-in. For a brand to connect with its communities, it must tell captivating stories that allow fans to become emotionally invested.

A brand must define itself clearly, articulate its core values, and communicate consistently, but that can happen only when a brand defines its narrative. Content strategy doesn’t just apply to copy but to visual media as well. Storytelling is an important part of the user experience and, at the end of the day, if a brand’s stories are not tailored to audience needs and organizational goals, you are wasting time and money.

Commitment Comes First

To implement successful campaigns, senior management must commit to building storytelling into its overall communications strategy. This sounds obvious, but is too often the missing link. Storytelling can help organizations stand out by fostering emotional connections that provide the building blocks of long-lasting relationships. Hearing stories about your company’s work gives your audiences another reason to care about the brand, and why they should support its initiatives.

Once a storytelling plan is green-lighted, a strategic approach to content development tactics is required. Enter content strategy, which provides a framework to plan content, its delivery and management. So let’s get started:

Prioritize target audiences, concentrating messaging around groups with the most influence. Learn what those audiences want (research and analytics), then focus brand stories around the content that delivers the most hits. Deliver content in the form that your audiences want, whether it’s YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, etc. And, don’t forget to consider traditional media, which are always looking for the next great story. Plan your stories to supplement content on your Web site, then create an editorial calendar to manage the campaign over time.

Develop stories that emotionally convey your message, compel action, and have viral potential. Empower your audiences to support the relationship by giving them something to do! Provide the means to donate, volunteer, share stories, etc. Make it worth their while by showing how they will personally gain by leveraging incentives that benefit your organization and brand community.

Stories are formulaic, so try techniques that journalists use. The 5Ws: who, what, when, where and why/how remain the basic building blocks of any good story. Try to fit in as many as possible when building your marketing materials.

1. Meaning Why is this important? Why should customers care?

2. Importance What’s the big picture? How does your product/service fit in?

3. Human Interest What are the customer goals, achievements

4. Prominence Add credibility – name partners/experts

5. Timeliness Is this a product launch or an thought leadership campaign?

6. Proximity What does the campaign target?

Always keep in mind the key elements of what it means to be human. In every campaign, design the elements to elicit an emotional response, to share knowledge or address a customer need. Your brand community should feel they are getting something of value from the time they spend interacting with your marketing campaign.

Finally, be honest in everything your brand says. There are countless examples of fudged facts, outright lies and omissions that have damaged brand reputations from Enron to Walmart, J&J to BP, and require substantial expenditures of corporate capital and energy to repair.

Winning brands tell great stories that connect emotionally to key stakeholders. To develop your storytelling skills, study the classics, strive to understand their structure, form and the ingredients that make a great story.

The Two Sides of SEO

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Today, I pass onto you this clever commentary I stumbled upon in SearchEngineLand courtesy of Bryson Meunier:

“Often, when people in the industry talk about the two sides of SEO, they’re talking about black hat and white hat tactics.

Having worked as an SEO since 2003 and in Internet marketing since 2000, both with Fortune 50 and mom and pop businesses with business goals as different as night and day, I think the distinction is deeper than just black hat and white hat.

It seems the best way to illustrate this is with a description of two SEOs, in the literary tradition of Goofus and Gallant:

Two Sides Of Link Building
This SEO refers to herself as a link builder, and spends all day checking reports from the software that automatically sends out reciprocal email requests. She doesn’t necessarily care if they’re effective or annoying to millions of people because she has a paycheck coming in and, hey, this is business.
That SEO convinced a client to permanently redirect a temporarily redirected domain, and gained more than 100,000 authoritative links in the process, which allowed them to jump from page two to one, where they have ranked consistently in the top 5 on a very competitive brand-agnostic keyword for the last two years without adding the keyword to the title tag or the body copy, which conflicted with their style guidelines.

Two Sides Of EDU Links
This SEO goes out and celebrates at the end of the day because she has identified and secured links from three authoritative EDU domains in the course of the day.
That SEO has a client who works for a university who changed domains ten years ago and let the domain expire instead of redirecting it and is not having success talking to Educause about subverting their policy about not re-acquiring the expired domain in order to let the client reclaim these thousands of old links that are rightfully theirs and could be helping them compete for competitive keywords because it is a rule that they’ve made, and other university clients who find out what SEO is will want to do the same thing.

That SEO looked in vain in Google’s webmaster help center for answers on how to handle link recovery issues such as this, and found nothing. When he reached out to his company’s Google rep, she referred him to the webmaster forum, but he couldn’t post a question due to confidentiality issues.

Two Sides Of Goals and Metrics
This SEO can’t sleep because he’s anxious about whether his PR8 links that he bought will bring his toolbar PageRank score to 5/10 and allow him to report the good news to his client.

That SEO sleeps well knowing that she is meeting her goal of natural search impressions, clicks and conversions that she forecasted for the client at the beginning of the project, and implementation of recommendations is on track to help her reach her goals in the end.

Two Sides Of Allegiance
This SEO thinks Google is the enemy and writes in her blog and in social media outlets regularly about how hypocritical the search engines are.
That SEO thinks of herself as an extension of the search engine’s search quality team, and regularly reports competitors who violate the webmaster guidelines as part of the SEO process. That SEO uses search engines in life as much as anyone, and gets upset when the search results aren’t relevant. That SEO thinks having a rigorously controlled Google Webmaster certification program similar to the AdWords and Analytics programs would be a great trust signal that could help Google fix their current spam problem.

Two Sides Of Implementation
This SEO makes changes to his website all day and night without anyone knowing or caring what is done.

That SEO just got off a four hour conference call with Legal in order to explain how search engines work and why it’s going to be beneficial to the business to make the title tags more descriptive. Changes to the website will not happen for months.

Two Sides Of Process
This SEO finally goes to bed at 3am because he’s been scrolling through tweets all day. He didn’t actually make any changes to the website that he’s optimizing, and probably spent too much time tweeting back and forth with @WestchesterSEOCompany1234 about Matt Cutts’s cats, but tomorrow is another day.

That SEO has to keep a detailed project plan of what’s being done when so that all stakeholders in the SEO project will know what’s expected of them when, and SEO requirements will not delay the launch date of the web site or require additional resources that weren’t in the budget.

Two Sides Of Discourse
This SEO guru focuses on bare bones implementation in the service of getting the client to the top of the search results with available resources for however long the tactics work.

That SEO guru doesn’t have a lot of time to write articles or speak, as she spends most of her day realizing her natural search goals and planning for the future, but when she does contribute to the industry it’s less on reverse engineering algorithms and more on creative ways to help her clients get more and better traffic by focusing on synergies between what SEOs and search engines need

Which Side Are You On?
Ask yourself: what kind of SEO are you, and what kind of SEO do you want to be? In my experience, it’s very easy to be “this SEO” as the majority of SEO gurus out there are trying to sell SEO services to small businesses with authority issues that don’t have resources to compete fairly or find creative ways to help clients become more visible in natural search results.

But when I’m hiring an SEO to help our company help clients take their natural search visibility to the next level, I’m weeding out “this SEO” in the interview process and looking for “that SEO” with great communication skills who focuses on business value of natural search traffic, quality of execution and attention to detail, and has a knack for creative problem solving.

I’m not suggesting that there are only two types of SEOs. I think there’s a more nuanced explanation that’s closer to the truth. However, I’m simplifying the issue to prove a point.

In these examples, “this SEO” is the one that gets covered often in this industry because the barrier to entry is lower, but it’s also the example that has very little to do with my work as an SEO and the work of others like me.

Fortunately, publications like Search Engine Land start to fill the gap with columns like Industrial Strength, and SMX caters to “that SEO” by focusing certain sessions on using natural search to drive business value.

There are also great books that cater to this audience like Vanessa Fox’s Marketing in the Age of Google and Audience, Relevance and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content. Unfortunately. these things are the exception to the rule, and the signal to noise ratio for someone in the SEO industry who wants to be the kind of SEO that I and others like me aspire to be is low.

If you are an SEO or you’re writing about SEO, please do your part to strengthen the signal by not assuming all SEOs are interested in what you consider to be SEO, and keep in mind that there are people out there who make a living as SEOs whose lives don’t resemble the lives of other SEOs in the slightest.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

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Bryson Meunier is an Associate Director of Content Solutions at Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group Company, and a primary architect of Resolution Media’s natural search product and Digital Behavior Analysis.

A Modern Definition of Landing Page Optimization

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By Brian Deagan  WEBSITE MAGAZINE

The term “optimization” is dangerously close to becoming a victim of overuse and relegated to meaningless buzz word status. But the word does retain a valuable definition that marketers and Web masters alike must internalize and apply. To prevent optimization’s definitional decline it is crucial to understand the meaning of the term in its evolved state.

The pillars of support for strong optimization are content testing and audience targeting. The effective combination of these two core direct digital marketing functions fosters success. Historically, however, many organizations have taken a divide and conquer approach to the roles and responsibilities of testing and targeting. As these organizational silos take shape, production speeds slow and landing pages are drained of their effectiveness.

The right approach to landing page optimization can be thought of as a triangle where the three points of intersection are labeled “data,” “testing,” and “targeting.” The data, at the top of the triangle, flows down to each function. A central location for the data is important because the data environment must constantly feed the content testing and the audience targeting.

Landing Page Optimization Starts with Data
The ideal data environment for landing page optimization is a universal profile management system. The system is designed to do two things. First it stores valuable data points like enterprise customer data and purchase history information. Second, it captures behavioral information like browsing patterns on a landing page affiliated Web site, and keyword or banner click entry points to the landing page. The combination of known information on authenticated site visitors and behavioral information helps marketers build unique segments and lay a great foundation for successful testing and targeting strategies.

Test and Target in Tandem
Once the data situation is properly setup the optimization process can begin. The most important truth to understand about good landing page optimization is that testing and targeting must work in tandem. When launching a new landing page project, a strategy conversation that begins with an initial need to test content may end by identifying a real need to target shipping rates based on geographic region. The ability to be flexible and easily add testing or targeting strategies to the landing page environment is important to meet conversion goals and adapt to a constantly changing consumer.

Selecting Landing Page Optimization Software
Like anything else in the on-demand software business, optimization tools fall on a continuum of low cost and capability to high cost and complexity.

It is easy to love Google because they offer helpful tools for free. But it is important to understand that free means there is a trade off somewhere. In the case of Google Optimizer, the trade off is a free testing tool for one that is incapable of targeting. Low (or no) cost tools are tempting, but the combination of testing and targeting is mandatory for landing page optimization success. The trade off just isn’t worth it.

On the other end of the spectrum, many tools that provide both testing and targeting cost a fortune in money and time, given their complexity. As usual, the right optimization software falls in the middle where reasonable cost meets up with a full feature set. The middle spectrum optimization tools are the ones technologists seek because they are easy to use. Marketers need them because it is easy to update copy or swap images without ongoing input from an already stretched IT group.

An Optimized Landing Page Example
Without sacrificing anything regarding the load time, here is an ideal setup for a landing page that takes advantage of the best optimization strategies.

Our example landing page has eight different dynamic content zones. Six of those zones are identified as content testing zones. The testing zones can rotate many different versions of content based on the data available about the page’s visitors. The content variations can range from a few lines of copy to different product offers. The remaining two zones are setup for audience targeting. Both zones use geographic data, one to populate a localized phone number and the other zone targets on the daypart to display local store hours. This example is a single landing page, but it is completely optimized for every unique visitor, dramatically increasing the page’s chances of success.

Extend Landing Page Optimization by Learning From Other Channels
While these optimization principles are outlined primarily within the context of landing pages, they also apply to each function of direct digital marketing. Good optimization in email marketing, mobile marketing, and onsite targeting improves overall direct digital marketing campaign performance. But cross-channel optimization also adds valuable data points that can be leveraged to create better landing page experiences. Remember that landing pages are one part of an overall direct digital marketing strategy. The data that powers them, and the data they record, must connect to a central database that focuses on the site visitor and coordinates the experience across the entire direct digital marketing landscape.

Achieving Optimized Landing Pages
A successful landing page creates two outcomes for marketers. The landing page conversion translates either to a lead for other marketing programs to nurture, or an immediate transaction that triggers a retention/up-sell marketing cycle. Data powered optimization is the best and most proven approach for achieving both outcomes, whether a transaction happens immediately or must be nurtured for several months.

Next generation optimization software platforms do not view testing and targeting as separate functions. Both share the same focus – optimizing the landing page experience for each individual site visitor. When data, testing, and targeting all have a seat at the table, a more complete and effective landing page strategy is served.

Once a central database environment is properly configured, develop a landing page strategy that is not beholden to the limitations set by specialist vendors that encourage silos. Software tools exist to help avoid silos and prevent trading off testing in favor of targeting, or vice versa.

Web masters and marketers control the landing page optimization software market. If content testing and audience targeting are demanded, vendors will adapt and supply. The end result of applying a thoroughly defined landing page optimization strategy is a more coordinated user experience that dramatically improves conversion rates and performance. That outcome is as important as it is feasible. Don’t settle.

About the Author: Brian Deagan, a thought leader in direct digital marketing, is cofounder and CEO of Knotice, a direct digital marketing solutions company.

How to Use YouTube to Market Your Business

When you think of YouTube you probably envision mindless videos of dancing cats, babies that bite their brothers, or epic schoolyard battles. What you probably don’t know is that YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world right now. Yep that’s right; they are behind Google and considered a search engine of sorts. More and more entrepreneurs are realizing that marketing with YouTube is an excellent way to promote their business.

If you’re considering adding marketing with YouTube to your own small business marketing program, here are a few things you’ll need to know:

  • Setting up a YouTube Channel  [tweetmeme]

When you sign in to YouTube the first thing you need to do is set up a channel. This will allow visitors to subscribe to your content and get updates whenever a new video is uploaded. It also provides you with your own little place on the web to upload as many videos as you like. It is something you can refer people to who are new to your business.

To the side of your videos you will have a short user profile. This is where you can direct users back to your blog or website. This is a highly effective means of getting traffic to your site. Regardless of what sort of business you are in you are likely going to get a good number of website visitors from YouTube. Creating your own small business marketing YouTube channel is akin to creating your own television channel would have been twenty years ago. The only difference is there are a lot more choices these days so you’ve got to keep it interesting.

  • Introductory YouTube Video

After you have signed up, registered, and set up your channel it is time to start making those videos. Silly gimmicky stuff gets people going on YouTube and a little novelty never hurts. Keep in mind, however, that you are making a video for small business marketing purposes; your video is intended to introduce people to your company, so keep the novelty to a moderate level.

Though you want to keep things pretty professional don’t be afraid to talk about personal things and to keep it light. Don’t include any high pressure sales messages, especially in your first video. These days, consumers respect a business person who will talk to them like they are people. They like to know who you are and what you stand for and not just see you as another faceless mega-corporation.

  • Recurring YouTube Videos

After you have set up a decent introduction, introducing yourself and your company, you can start uploading videos that are more content based that include a subtle sales message. You want to keep all of your videos short, if you can. Two to three minutes is standard, but for a small business marketing video with an educational message, four to five minutes might be necessary. If you can’t get your content into a four minute video, try separating it into several segments.

Remember, your YouTube video should not be one long commercial. Your prospects have a problem and you want to introduce them to your solution. Try to embed your advertisement into something that is meaningful and informational. You might consider using YouTube as a form of tutorials on how to use your product, safety advice for your product, tips on using your particular solution, etc. I’ve even seen a few businesses create their own reality show. The sky is the limit.

  • Add Tags and Annotations

Annotations and tags are an important aspect of distributing your YouTube video, especially if you’re using it for small business marketing purposes. Annotations appear on the screen in textual form throughout the video. This is a good place to insert humorous comments about the video, which viewers love, or remind viewers of you web address.

Tags are basically search phrases. These are the terms that you want to be connected to your site. Though a few general terms are alright, be certain to include as many specific phrases as possible. This will improve your rankings and your chances of having your video found by your prospects who are searching for your solution.

YouTube has become an excellent tactic to add to your small business marketing arsenal. It’s free to get started and relatively easy to set up. The most time consuming aspect will be creating your videos, but it just takes a little time and ingenuity to get the ball rolling. So go ahead and give marketing with YouTube a shot.

  • Check Out Our YouTube Channel

Want to see what a YouTube channel can do for your own small business marketing efforts? Have a look at what we’ve done with our own channel – we use it to present tips that small business owners can implement to improve their own marketing tactics. Check it out right here http://www.youtube.com/karenscharf.

Take a look at VerticalResponse’s channel, VRtube for more ideas on how you can market your business with YouTube.

Courtesy of VerticalResponse.com

 

About the Author:
Karen Scharf is the founder of Modern Image Communications. Her company provides services that include business and marketing plan development, newsletter publication, copywriting services, graphic design, info-product development and strategic planning.

View Karen Scharf : ArticlesProfileWebsite

How to Revive a Dead Email Campaign

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Courtesy of Hal Licino, DIRECT MAGAZINE

You were one of the early adopters of email marketing—and your campaign shows it. You have emails going out that could have been pitched to the Flintstones.

If your emails are more stone tablet than iPad, you might want to consider some innovative ways to shake up your campaign and get those open rates out of the hibernation they’ve been in since the Emailocene era. Here are some tips:

* Announce huge changes. Nothing succeeds like a total revamp. If you announce to your customers that there are enormous changes in store, preferably with a countdown calendar to the big day, you will build up anticipation, which will pay off in renewed interest in your former snoozefest.

Everything has to be new and exciting, from your images to your layout right down to your fonts. And you can’t get away with just cosmetic changes; your campaign’s offerings have to be new, exciting, alluring, innovative, and relevant as well. It’s time to jettison Urkel and replace him with Robert Pattinson.

Reward your customers for their loyalty in myriad ways, by providing profound and overarching value your competitors can’t match. Make sure the accounting department is not looking and give away all the dusty old stock in the warehouse. You’ll be rewarded soon enough.

* Send out surveys. The essence of online life is that everyone is empowered to have his or her say on everything from the local dogcatcher to the president’s birth certificate. If you inform your customers that you’re listening to their feedback and that the survey you’re sending out is the best way to have their voices be heard, you may be surprised at the sound of clicks. Prospects who never have opened your emails previously might rush to get their two cents’ worth in. You can amplify your response if you announce that the more-relevant comments will be placed on your Website.

* Post the top 10 favorite products. Curiosity Got the Click, so the recipients who have been avoiding your emails like swine-flu vaccinations may be tempted to open one if they can compare their personal preferences against your top ten products. Just about everyone wants to be firmly seated on the bandwagon, as it provides a sense of belonging.

If you include a way for recipients to vote on the 10 favorites you’ve listed, and perhaps have a follow-up People’s Choice Top 10, it can provide a further incentive to get the recalcitrant laggards involved.

* Ask them to reconfirm their subscriptions. This piece of advice will actually cut down your list size considerably and runs counter to everything you were taught at Email Polytechnic: The ultimate goal of every email marketer is supposed to be to accumulate a list that encompasses all 7 billion people on earth and their pets as well.

In reality, however, there is an overwhelming amount of dead weight on your list right now, and continuing to flagellate the defunct equine is not going to do anyone any good. If they don’t want your emails any longer, then exercise the catch-and-release program. It will free up your resources for the prospects who are actually interested in what you’re selling.

You don’t have to roll over and placidly accept abysmally low open rates. Injecting your email campaign with some excitement, innovation, and flair will help to get your results out of the flatline mode they’ve been in and back to vigorous, vivacious, bouncing health!

Hal Licino is the author of two books and an e-mail marketing advocate for Benchmark Email.