Author: Joseph Schaefer, PhD

With the holiday season upon us, marketers know that it’s time to deck the halls with bought of opportunities to get your products onto consumer’s shopping lists. Considering that this is the time of year when pocketbooks open up wider than usual, knowing how to take advantage of the holiday shopping frenzies can help you make the difference between cheerfully roasting chestnuts on an open fire, or allowing the Grinch to steal your prospects away faster than you can say Cindy Lou Who. As you prepare to take on the holiday cheer with a marketing campaign, consider some tips to maximize how full your fiscal stockings will be come January. Set a Goal. What exactly are you hoping to get out of the increased prospects of buyers? It shouldn’t be business as usual if you hope to capitalize this quarter on the...

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Twitter is emerging as one of the most powerful of the many social networking services being used by today’s business professionals. If you are not using Twitter to expand and evolve your business, then it is time to focus some energy on growing your network. Here are some common ways to both follow others and gain followers yourself. First off, set up a Twitter account and start following professional colleagues you already know. You likely are corresponding to lots of people who could be potential customers for your business. Twitter offers “find friends import feature” that can help. Expand your Twitter connections by finding people with similar professional interests; follow them and you might also gain some followers yourself. An excellent way to gain followers is to add your Twitter profile to any professional forums you participate in as well as to...

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how effective a properly produced video can be for getting your business message across in today’s media-saturated arena. The tools for video production are more affordable and you can distribute how video by embedding it in directed emailing campaigns. However, an effective video is only as good as the foundation of its creation, so keep the following key ideas in mind as you expand your communication strategies.   Equipment: Get The Best The price of equipment varies widely and so does what you get for your dollar. Do your research and always buy the best you can afford. Going cheap with your equipment only means limitations down the road. Content: Shorter Is Sweeter Research indicates that you need to keep your audience’s attention with videos no longer than 1-2 minutes. If the story you need to...

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Google considers a number of variables to rank websites' search engine results. Up until recently they had not considered time. It's become important for websites to have a fast Time to First Bite (TTFB). Essentially, TTFB is the time it takes for a computer to reach a website. A number of factors play in to this time. Websites can improve their TTFB with proper equipment, software, and location. These are the fundamental factors that can guarantee your website a short TTFB. A number of tools are out there that can enable you to measure your TTFB. TTFB is this: So your computer needs to reach a website? Three things happen in terms of process. It must first send a signal to the server of the website (latency part 1). Once the server receives the signal (back-end processing), it must then process...

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When the Internet first came about it wasn't all that common to have low quality pictures. It would take a 56K modem a lot of minutes to download some of the high-quality photographs uploaded today. Images now make up about 5.7% of all Google searches. That's a lot of people searching a lot of photos. Proof that high-quality images can improve your website's SEO. However, a lot of top websites are claiming that they are not taking advantage of this path. If images are hosted under a cookieless domain than that is one less needless bit of information that is being sent. Cookies are tiny data pieces being sent from the web pages' server. They may be small, but it's unnecessary information being sent with every photograph. Ensure hat your image's file name is meaningful. You don't want a picture of a...

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In today’s world, relying on traditional forms of communication with your customers can cause you to miss out on a crucial form of marketing – social media marketing. Billboards, print, TV and radio ads are fairly safe ways of marketing. There is no chance of getting involved personally with the consumers, therefore there is no chance of a negative reaction. With revenue from traditional forms of advertisement at an all-time low, making that personal connection is essential. That’s where marketing with social media comes in, and a free yet underutilized marketing tool exists in the form of Twitter. This is where consumers are sharing their lives, where you can find out what they are talking about, and what motivates them as well as how they are interacting with your competitors. It is a great way to build relationships with customers, both...

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Tweets don’t live very long. They go out, get added to the stack of other tweets in users’ feeds and then disappear, hopefully after garnering some positive attention, interaction and if you’re lucky, clicks. After they’re covered with another set of messages, they will go primarily unnoticed. There are ways to deliver the same message many times without coming across as redundant or worse, appearing like spam. You can repost one link several times in a day or week, as long as you do it in a new and unique way every time. It usually works better by stretching it out over a number of days though, so you can show more people the same post. One of the best starting points for this is to write out your tweet in several different ways. Use different phrasing, some with the link leading,...

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With so many irrelevant messages arriving in our email inboxes each day, marketers face huge challenges in getting their messages read and acted upon. In today’s media saturated environment, email marketers need to focus on a content-first strategy. The ability to deliver meaningful and useful content to a user at the right time is more than luck. Here are some strategies to consider: 1. Co-Creation – Personalize the timing and the type of content users’ receive by learning their preferences. Users who have invested time in outlining their needs to you are more likely to open and act upon an email sent by you. 2. Be Mobile – As more and more users manage their email via a mobile device, it is imperative that marketers tailor their content to be mobile-compliant. This can be as simple as ensuring message subject lines are...

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Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts can be improved by paying attention to “pay per click” (PPC) data. While using tools such as Google Analytics gives only a partial view into user behavior, there is data available that is advantageous for the savvy professional. It is important to evaluate your current keyword reports, understand how PPC data can help guide your SEO efforts, and have a vision of how to move forward. Typically, if a web page performs well in a PPC campaign, this performance should translate to high rankings in organic, or not-advertiser supported, listings. If you use Google Analytics, then you can use the Acquisitions functionality to determine which pages are doing best. You can identify which page/keyword combinations are most successful depending on the criteria you set to measure success. You can also identify associated keywords that are driving...

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To celebrate their fifteenth birthday, Google recently launched an entirely new search algorithm called Hummingbird. Google claims that this algorithm presents a more natural, “human” way of interacting with the search engine, and that Google search will now provide better results and answers to queries. The algorithm can make sense of more complex search requests and has a better understanding of the human language, making itself more useful for longer term search queries and for those who often search Google by voice command. So what does this mean for small and mid-sized businesses and their marketing strategies? Quite a bit, actually.   One way the Hummingbird algorithm works is by focusing on social media interactions and by analyzing search histories to emphasize branding over specific keywords. As a result, Google search results will now place added emphasis on the use of branding and...

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