Your presence on the local, national and international scenes – your “brand” exposure may be a good indicator of where your business might or might not be in the future. Are you open for business? Is your sign available for the entire world to see? If not, consumers might be reading a closed notice.
Advertising online has come a long way. In fact, if you have not already been noticing for some time, mainstream advertisements have been popping up on YouTube videos, news videos, and other multimedia articles and news reports. One of the primary reasons why business commercials have made their debut across the web surfing scene is that both Internet businesses and bricks-and-mortar companies have begun to realize the potential that the Cyberverse holds. Product giants Coca-Cola, Cialis and other branded businesses have taken their marketing campaigns online because growing numbers of households and businesses routinely use the Internet – which translates into reaching millions of possible consumers on a global level.
According to a US Census Bureau report (February 2010), nearly 70 percent of American households had home Internet access. Additionally, consumers from around the globe employ mobile devices like iPods and mobile phones to communicate and keep abreast of emails and social network posts, the latest breaking news, stock market information and weather; among several other web-based data transfers. Because these multimedia tools are interconnected to the web, both virtual and real-time marketing agents cannot rave enough about the lead generation and profit potentiality that exists via the Internet. Are you using it to your best advantage?
Mike Volpe, VP of inbound marketing at HubSpot gave a recent online marketing presentation which echoes much of the strategies that a number of experienced web marketing specialists have used in effective advertising campaigns online. His advice to entrepreneurs that do not have a lot of advertising capital is to invest time in branding themselves – namely, offering useful content that consumers can use: strategically, it is important to build your community by investing a bare minimum of five hours in social media networking weekly. Volpe said, “Social networking (and) blogging matters!” Furthermore, Volpe stated that the more time you put into your blog, the larger and better results you will get.
As a web consultant, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of both blogging and social media networking. Back in the day it was not unusual for web consultants and bloggers to facilitate article directories to publish and distribute content. In today’s advertising market however, it is more critical to concentrate on your own website content and how it is being branded among your social media networks, as well as the quality of your products and/or services.
The bottom line is that you must have the essential ingredients to a successful marketing campaign in order to convert traffic to sales. If you do not already have name/brand recognition and do not have a lot of money to spend on expensive commercial agencies, here are some key ingredients to turn your business into a profitable one without going bankrupt:
- Offer quality products and/or services (Ask yourself the following questions: What does your organization provide? Would you buy it? Would you invest in it? Who would buy it? [Target market – age, sex, regional, etc.]How useful is it? Could you use this product or service repeatedly?)
- Deliver quality content! In this fast-paced society, working adults have an attention span of about a three-year old. If you cannot sell yourself in less than 30 seconds, your cause and time have been lost. For example, if you are in the freshwater bait and tackle business, you may want to offer consumers tips and tricks on landing a big mouth mass; information on the types of fish that are in the region and success stories on angler techniques, etc. Also, do not forget that posts, videos, notes, blogs, reports and articles should contain roughly 250 to 300 words richly filled with keywords and keyword phrases relevant to your services and/or products. (Note: Do not stuff your material with keywords – find a happy harmony that works well for your SEO, as well as your consumers!)
- User-friendly material. Have you thought about making your material more user-friendly? There are a lot of individuals who would certainly purchase your products (or services) if only they could hear and see what you have to say. If you have a YouTube video discussing a product, service, or just sharing an inspirational message, how is a hearing or visually impaired individual going to know you or your product? Video automatic-captioning for the hearing impaired (available through YouTube) and vivid descriptions are important points to remember when sharing your material. As well, Yahoo!’s Babel Fish offers valuable translation services to site visitors who may not speak or understand your particular language. Additionally, do not forget to provide a share button to all the social media networks and social bookmarking sites to which you are connected. The more, the merrier!
- BLOG REGULARLY and FREQUENTLY! If you really want people to take note of who you are and what you offer, provide informative and enlightening material that you can share among your many social media networks. Variety is the spice of life friends, so do not be redundant or overzealous with your sales’ pitches. Remember the following acronym: SIR = Subtle Information Recognition. Lead conversions happen more naturally when you focus on the wants and needs of your target consumers. When you put this acronym to work for you, you find that your words flow more freely without the pressure of the actual sale conversion. Most professional bloggers and online writers use this approach when writing and developing website content. A brief bio tied to keywords or keyword phrases will suffice. For example, if you are a licensed naturopath, you may choose a byline something like this random listing on Google’s first page of search results for the term “naturopath”: Traditional Naturopath, Dr. Bill Bailey, Ph.D., MH, ND, CNHP, CTN discusses issues in the Natural Health field. This key header and statement defines who Dr. Bailey is; what he does and his experience in his fields in less than 20 words. Excellent!
- Network, network, network! Though you can just get by with a bare minimum of five hours on social media networks (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BlogTalk, Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Buzz, YouTube, etc.), I recommend spending at least 10 hours weekly personally meshing with your social media community. Especially if you have multiple social networks and social bookmarking networks — five hours is not nearly enough.
- Invest time! If you are running a full time business, you may have to outsource to experienced bloggers and social networkers who can help fill the gap for you. Plan on spending at least 10 to 15 hours weekly just in blogging (including well-written, researched articles and/or reports). Schedule at least five to 10 hours in social media networking. Add your personal touch as well as offering valuable feedback and spontaneity to others’ works and words.
While search engine giants Google, Bing and Yahoo! have been leading the charge in delivering the most pertinent information to consumer searches, today’s Internet is not at all what it used to be. Combining an intricate web of information that is both localized and “in the zone” of who you are, to whom you are connected, and popular likes and dislikes of others, there are an infinite amount of ways to brand yourself online. Though social networks and bookmarking sites are not always traceable, you will find that the more you network and the more you blog, the more competitive, greater and successful your presence will be.
6 Principles to Frugal Advertising Online
By CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Social Media Consulting, Philosophy, Poetry and More!
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