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Your online marketing plan needs to be specific and evolving. While this is true throughout the year, there is no better time to revisit your plan than at the start of the New Year. Here are some approaches to improving your marketing plan in 2014.   Emphasize Customer Reviews 2013 saw the rise of services such as Yelp in creating a buzz about a business and driving customers to new ventures. Create a strategy for nurturing positive reviews. Encourage customers to share their positive experiences; create cheat sheets that outline to customers where to post their comments. Offer discounts for participating customers. On the flip side, if you read negative reviews, be sure to address the situation and respond to the situation in a professional manner. Create More Timely Content Content marketing is the new king of the block. Create content that users enjoy and...

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The rise of social networking is influencing how search engines now return results to you. Many of the major players in the development of social networking tools are implementing “social search” in their strategies to deliver content. With social search, content that has some social connect to you is prioritized in your search results. Facebook, Google+, and Bing are all experimenting with this evolving concept, so what does this mean for your own content development and delivery?  While the landscape of social search is still in its infancy, it is important to realize that social media is emerging as a major influence on more traditional marketing efforts such as search engine optimization (SEO). Social media and SEO must be integrated; for example, determine if your top-shared content overlaps with your top-performing search results. If so, you have some strength with that...

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For most businesses, it is clear that information technology, the Internet, and social media have radically altered how we receive, deliver, and share information. However, the companies and departments for shaping most business communication strategies are not evolving in time with these changes. A recent study of major marketing professionals concluded that many agencies are having a difficult time adapting to the changes brought on with the digital revolution, resulting in marketing strategies that not integrated or robust enough to meet the challenges of the new business landscape. One stumbling block for many agencies is the trend to compartmentalize the online or digital professionals in their own department. Hiring marketers with good online experience is fine, but if their expertise is not fully integrated into more traditional departments, then the resulting strategies developed are less effective and efficient. The agencies that...

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I’m going to make an assumption here: converting website visitors into paying customers is a goal of your website. Ignoring common mistakes is like throwing content into cyberspace and hoping your profits will grow magically. Take a moment to look at a few mistakes that may be preventing you from grabbing that ever growing elusive piece of web traffic pie that you crave, and deserve, for you marketing efforts. What is your value proposition? If you don’t know what that is, then you don’t have one and if you know what it is but can’t see it on page one of your site, you need to put it up there now. Even if it is on page one, how clear is it? Put yourself in the shoes of a random website visitor; does your value proposition tell you that you have just...

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When a potential customer is actively looking for your product and/or services, it’s time to crank up the inbound marketing strategies to steer the prospect in your direction. While engaged in a program, keep a few tips in mind to improve current and future campaigns. Start SMART. In other words, plan your program with SMART goals in mind: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-based. Identifying the key metrics based on your goal is important. What part of the buying cycle is the program designed to grow? Leads to conversion? Leads to opportunities? Knowing where you are going, and when you’ll know you have arrived is the only way to know how well you are progressing, and how effective the program is executing. Along those lines, focus your KPI’s. By keeping your eyes on specific areas of the funnel will give you better...

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By the time you read this sentence, there will be approximately 30,000+ Instagram photos uploaded, 150,000 Tumblr posts, and more than one million Tweets. And yours is just one drop of content in the sea of online media. This begs the question: after you’ve posted it, will anyone ever even see it? Here are a few tips to help you improve your chances of content discovery: If it’s shared they will come. Make your content to maximize its chances to get shared elsewhere. Trends and current issues have the best chance to make the ‘like’ button, especially a hot topic in the moment. Follow the editorial map. Magazines and other publications list their content calendars for the following year. Mapping out your posts to coincide with popular publications’ calendars have a better chance of being discovered when relevant content hits the...

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With the advent of the internet, marketing has changed vastly. Advertisers must now work in realms such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Per Click (PPC), two internet advertising models used to maximize a website's viability and relevance, and direct traffic. Typically, it's all kind of a crash course. You must get creative, play with different strategies and embrace a a consolidated strategy from both different models.   Here are a few quick strategies:   1)      Keyword Identification – Important to both SEO and PPC, keyword identification revolves around keyword lists. Paid search provides a clean environment for identifying search queries used to reach your site. You want to know the right words to use, as these are essentially (using a city as a metaphor for the internet), roads taken to reach your store. If you do not provide the right roads (right...

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  Everyone suggests adding Twitter and other social media tools to your business communication strategy, but how do you know if these new tools are really helping your company make more money? Tracking how social media affects your bottom line is a necessary, albeit complex, aspect of developing your digital marketing strategy. With the right tools and the right questions, you can quickly measure what is and is not working, and adjust your actions quickly. As you move towards more tracking of your social media efforts, consider the following issues:   Tracking Tools You need tools to help you track conversions and success. Google Analytics is very popular, given that it is free. While it is not the easiest tool to use, it does provide the measurements that many businesses need to refine strategies. Other tools can track across multiple social media channels, but cost...

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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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