It’s exciting, isn’t it? Christmas is coming up fast, and a new year awaits us. We thought you might appreciate this round-up of websites to help you get ready and enjoy both.
Sharing our knowledge for your benefit
This term - net-neutrality - has been driving me crazy for a while. I've tried researching it before, and admit that my eyes glazed over before I could wrap my head around it. Now that it's back in the news again, with California just enacting state legislation, I'm determined to at least get a grasp on the basics. Here's what I've learned.
The term "client" stems from the client-server model that has been the foundation of the internet forever. The client requests information and the server gives it to them. "Client" by itself can refer to the device or the human user, while "client application" is talking about the computer software the client device or user is using.
The digital world has a vast number of terms that most of us never need to understand. There are some though, where a common understanding can help us communicate better with the technical folks that we rely on to do those techie things for us. We’re going to look at some of those over the next few weeks.
I drove by a church the other day that had a sign out front, like many do. I thought it said “Help available,” followed by a phone number. I realized a few seconds later, that the sign actually said “Hall available.” An insignificant misread, but it made me think of how important branding is to context.
With the kids being back in school, it’s a good time to review your rules and strategies for keeping their smartphone use positive and productive. Unfortunately, that is not the aim for evil trolls who find their way into the lives and minds of many a young person. So, let’s deal with that first.
In this last installment in this series, we’re looking at geo-targeting – the ability to choose the location of users who will be shown our ad.
In this short series, we’re discussing the tremendous value of online advertising. Last week we looked at targeting age and gender, and now we’re going to add platform and interests.
The reason online advertising is so effective is the precision with which we can now target people who have the characteristics of our ideal customer.
If you value your privacy, this article may disturb you. If you’re looking for new customers, rejoice! We’ve talked many times about various aspects of target marketing and its importance in getting a strong return on investment.
Oooey, gooey, chocolate or fruity, (sadly) those aren’t the kind of cookies we’re talking about. We’re talking about the kind that websites use to track your activities on their site, and sometimes on other sites as well.
Spruce up your website for 2018 (and more importantly, for under $1,000!)
‘Twas the season for spending, so Angela’s in bargain hunting mode. She suggested an article on quick and easy (and therefore, cheap) ways to perk up a website that’s a couple of years old. Great idea, so here we go!
In this last article of the series, we look at one of the most important aspects of Web Optimization – performance. Resolving performance issues are best left to the pros, but here are some things to test (after clearing your cache in your browser).
In this web optimization series, we’re looking at methods to increase conversions – the number of site visitors who respond to your call to action to make a purchase, get a quote, or contact you.
Web optimization is a process used to maximize the number of visitors who make a purchase online or begin the transaction process by contacting you. In this series, we’re looking at some of the factors involved in optimizing your website.
Web optimization is a process used to maximize the number of visitor “conversions.” On an ecommerce website, a conversion is a sale, but conversions include any visitor action promoted on the site, such as filling out a Request for Quote form, sending an email or making a phone call to the company.
We're wrapping up this article series with a few frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization, and moving on to another topic. What would you like to learn more about? Send us your questions and suggestions on anything to do with Internet Advertising! Now, FAQs.
First, a little lingo lesson. A “bot” is a computer program that, once put into action, runs automatically. The internet is often referred to as “the web” because it functions much like a spider’s web, with many different ways to connect between two specific points.
Google is the most popular search engine out there and they offer great resources for developers and marketers, so we’re going to use Google as our search engine example.
Welcome to our new article series. Don’t worry, this one is information only – no homework! Well, that is true if you actually did do your homework last time and wrote your marketing plan. Why? Because a great SEO program needs a lot of the information you complied in your plan.
Welcome to the final edition of our Marketing series. Over these past months, we’ve dedicated each newsletter to one component of a Marketing Plan, and how you can do the research and strategizing needed to develop a plan for your company. In this last installment, we’ll summarize some highlights and provide links to the related article for each component.
The most common theme throughout the development of a Marketing Plan is knowing everything you can dig up about your customers. That information helps you think the way they think, so you can meet their expectations in every facet of your business operations.
Generally speaking, advertising is any form of promotion where you pay to display content at a particular venue. In this article, we’ll discuss the different kinds of advertising and the best methods to use for different types of companies, products, services and audiences.
Effective advertising has three objectives:
Let’s look first at each of these separately.
Over the past months, we’ve looked at six different marketing topics that will become components of your Marketing Plan. This month, we’re going to talk about the steps in devising your marketing strategy.As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.
Setting objectives for your marketing plan is all about math. Considering your business model, overall business objectives, and customer purchasing data, think about what you need to accomplish with your marketing. If 50% of your existing customers spent an additional $10 a month, would you reach your business objectives? Would a 25% increase in your customer base be sufficient, or do you need to double it? Is there a sufficient population of your target market in the geographic area you currently serve or do you need to expand? When you’ve done your research and calculated the various options, your objectives should be stated as precisely as possible, and in measureable terms. For example:Over the next three years, we will increase our customer base by 25%, bringing in 500 new customers.In each of the next three years, we will increase the average sales per customer, per month by 10% to a total of $60.By June 2019, 20% of our customers will be in the United States.
In the digital world, public relations has become more important than ever before. Why? Because even if your customers are happy, upsetting the “Internet” or the “Twitterverse” can have devastating repercussions. Making your brand and good reputation known well beyond your customer group can help protect you from the trolls, as well as increasing awareness to grow your customer base.
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.
The term “Customer Relations” pretty much says what it means – it’s how you interact with your customers and the quality of the relationship that forms as a result. The secret here is viewing your customers as friends. That means listening as well as talking, being fair, staying in touch, living up to your good reputation, and not taking advantage. If you are good to them, your friends will support you, and not just in terms of sales. Here are three principles to guide your Customer Relations policies and procedures.
While your brand is something that you create, your reputation is what others really think of you, and “others” are fickle creatures ready to pounce in cat-like fashion. Your company’s good reputation is essential to success and can be ripped from you in the most unexpected of ways. Remember the guy who kicked the dog in the elevator and lost his job as CEO? Or the Olympic swimmer who exaggerated a drunken encounter with a police officer in Rio? He lost four sponsorship deals.
The power of the internet is a double edged sword that can make you or break you. As the examples of poor research, poor behaviour, poor customer service, etc. explode, pundits are cautioning that reputation management needs to become reputation development and reputation marketing.
You already know what you have to sell, but do you understand what your customers are buying? Do you know who they are, why they want what you have, how they make the decision to buy from you?
One of the most basic premises of marketing is matching – matching what you have to sell with customers who want buy. That means that you have to understand your customer base, and the segments within it, so you can tailor your marketing plan to find new customers like them, appeal to them, and convince them to buy from you.
Let’s look at a few basic demographics first. You can download your own worksheet here. In the first column, list your products or services. You can add up to 20, so group items together if that makes sense. For example, if you sell auto parts, you’re not going to list each individual part, so use groups like engine parts, wipers and exterior products, etc.
Then, for each item or group, put an x in the column that best represents the age groups of customers who purchase that item, and in the last column, enter an m or f to show whether more buyers are male or female. If you really have no sense of your customers’ ages or gender, best to figure out a way to find out. Could you take a guess based on names in your database? Ask your front line staff what they think? Keep track for a few weeks and estimate on that info?
Here’s an example based on our business.
Welcome to the first edition of our Marketing series. Our intent is to share our knowledge of the timeless basics of marketing and business development, and how these translate into the current sales environment. Our hope is to give you greater insight into the consumer perspective and show you how to use this information to grow your business. You’ll have the option to just read and learn, or to put the information to use to create your own Marketing Plan. So, the first order of business is to talk about what Marketing means in today’s world.
Annoying, time sucking, distracting – we all hate junk mail; and it’s especially infuriating when it’s email. Yes, there’s always a yin and a yang, but here are five ways to stave off chaos in your inbox.
The truly devious hackers and spammers don’t follow the rules, but chances are that most of the unwanted email you get will have the legally mandated “unsubscribe” link somewhere. Most of the ones I’ve found are in teeny tiny font at the very bottom of the message. Admittedly, it’s a constant battle, but you can save yourself some time and annoyance by unsubscribing whenever you can.
When you own your own business, taking time off can be tricky. You want to be the “go to” person for your clients; the one who is always there for them, at the ready to solve whatever problem they may have. You don’t want to miss calls from potential new customers; and announcing that you’re on vacation makes you look like a slacker, even if it’s the first holiday you’ve taken in a decade. The solution? Taking a vacation without anybody knowing you’re taking a vacation. Here’s how:
A timely comparison, the March Hare of Alice in Wonderland fame is described as “silly, ill-mannered, and loud;” all of the characteristics you want to avoid in your marketing. While the March Hare demands attention, gimmicks don’t give you the return on investment you can get with a less obtrusive, more logical approach. Here are the three basic steps that will earn the loyalty of your existing customers, and turn them into advocates for your products and services.
Happy New Year! Time to get back to work, set new goals, and refresh your marketing. We’ve read the pundits’ predictions for web design trends this year, and found two we’ve held dear for a while now, along with two that were a bit of a surprize. So here they are, as they say on Sesame Street, brought to you by the letter C.
TED won the 2015 People's Voice and Webby Award in the Best Home/Welcome Page category. In addition to a colourful display with lots of topical news options, they had a simple menu: Watch, Read, Attend, Participate, About. Makes perfect sense.
With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it was timely to share a few of the scariest things we’ve heard about in the past few months. BOO!
We’ve just been notified that we’ve won Gold at the 2015 Summit Creative Awards for the category of Educational Institution Website! The winning website was developed for Kosmetae Academy (kosmetae.com) and was one of 5,000 submissions from 23 countries.
We always strive for excellence and awards like this provide an international benchmark. Receiving an award is great, but more importantly, these competitions give us an assessment of our work from experts all over the world. We’re very proud to be ranked so highly on a global scale.
We’re always excited to win awards (Yay!) but international recognition makes us especially proud. Paul, Andrew, James – way to go team!
Summer's coming and we all need a vacation! Save a few bucks for the holidays and get those projects wrapped up faster with these great tools, available free on the web.
Apache Open Office
Open Office offers a suite of office software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations that you can download for free. It looks and works very much like Microsoft Office and can load and read MS Office files.
It may not be beach weather yet, but it is definitely time to start planning your summer marketing program. Whether the warmer months are usually peaks or pits in business volume, you need to take advantage of the lighter hearted, spend-friendly mood that comes with the summer sun.
Show them some love! Valentine's Day is a great reminder to think about ways you can show your customers how much you value them. A little appreciation goes a long way in building solid, long term relationships which means repeat business and word of mouth referrals. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
The tech wizards and marketing gurus have made their predictions for 2015. Here’s our summary of how to find new customers and keep the existing ones coming back over the coming year.
When you ask this question more than 10 years ago: “Does your company have a website?” you would not be surprised when you meet a few people saying they don’t have a website for their companies. Some would even ask: “Why would I even need a website? My company is doing well in its sales, thank you very much.”
Nowadays, when you want to promote your website, you cannot ignore the power of social media. Millions of people worldwide are into social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You can therefore tap the potential customers in social media to be aware of your products and services and might be interested in purchasing them.
I believe that we are currently experiencing the most social the world has ever seen, with hordes of social networking sites proliferating in the Internet, with new ones being introduced everyday. Despite this smorgasbord of social networking platforms for my online marketing needs, I have decided to focus the bulk of my efforts on two sites in particular—Facebook and Twitter.
One of the best ways to promote your products and services online is using search engine optimization (SEO). After you have finished creating your website, including the design and content, make sure that you devise and implement a good SEO strategy in order for your website to appear high on search results in Google and other top search engines, and thus ensuring that the information about your products as well as services gets spread.
So you are thinking of devising and implementing a sound search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for your website. Here are some very nine helpful tips to get you started. Many of these tips are so easy, that even a non-techie person like your mother would love.
A few years ago, a friend convinced me that it is time to scale back on traditional marketing tools like flyers, billboards, or television ads and to start exploring the possibilities of using the Internet. With much trepidation but also a bit of excitement, I slowly incorporated online for my business marketing mix, and I am grateful I did.
There’s no doubt about it, Facebook is a tour de force in online marketing. Just ask the investors who bought shares when the social networking company made its first public offer, or the host of small retailers who made Facebook their primary home.
Here, I'm sharing my four favorite Facebook marketing techniques and how you can replicate them for your own business.
Are you looking for some marketing tips for your online business? Although there are hundreds of tips available, here are a few which might prove to be very helpful to online business owners like you that have a website.
Klout. When I first saw that term, I thought someone must have been careless with editing.
Klout. Klout. Klout score. I ended up seeing and hearing the term everywhere—always with a K, never a C, that I thought something must be up. And what a something it is.
Many people say the effects of the Internet in the 21st century are comparable to those of the technological revolution at the end of the 19th century. Indeed, the Internet has been such a huge influence in transforming the habits of human beings, and the way we communicate to others.
Social networking is one of the most cost-efficient marketing and public relations tool in the Internet today. I strongly recommend getting your business into these social networking networks so it can be a part of a network not just of possible customers but also potential suppliers, partners, or financiers.
Engaging in social media, however, can waste a lot of time and energy, and can be more of a distraction than a beneficial endeavor. Here I have some tips on how to manage social media for your business.
Online marketing takes many shapes and forms but e-newsletters are one of its most effective tools. Creating one, though, can be challenging especially for inexperienced managers because making a newsletter is both an art and an inexact science.
If you are in need of a little guidance in this endeavor, I have prepared a step-by-step guide for your business on how to create e-newsletters, as follows:
One of the most enduring online marketing tools is the e-newsletter. When I first started using these e-newsletters for my own company, I was amazed at how many people I can reach by just sending out a simple email. My techniques back then were still very simple—I only upload and send a digital file of some of the company's flyers or brochures to my list of a few hundred people. Even then, however, I knew that they were working and that my business is benefiting from e-newsletters.
It is standard for all companies and businesses to create press releases as part of their information and marketing campaigns. With the advent of social networking sites and the type of marketing specifically targeted to social media users, it is important for businesses to know how to adapt their press releases to this new technology.
I offer basic guidelines for business PRs in the time of social.
Whether offline or online, marketers like you face a variety of challenges. In the online world, many marketers worry of not getting enough reach or traffic to their sites, or not being able to profit from their target market.
What are some of the top Internet marketing challenges, and what are ways how to solve them?
The simple answer to this question is NO; search engine optimization is not spam.
Here is a great video from Matt Cutts talking about search engine optimization and how it can be helpful for search engines and website owners.
In today’s wired world, it is almost natural for businesses to market their products and services online. After all, a lot of people nowadays spend considerable time online not just to get information but also to purchase products and services they need and want.
We get this question from many of our clients and the overall answer is quite simple.
Search Engine Marketing is a form of Internet Advertising which promotes websites by increasing their visibility in search engines.
In a wired world where every online business is fighting for attention from customers, it has become more difficult to get noticed by your target market. Aside from the usual distractions online and in social media, you are also competing with bigger companies that have spent a lot of money in their marketing and advertising departments.
With new media exploding all around us, it’s easy to get caught up in the fad of the day, and to totally forget about marketing basics. Back in the day, if you wanted to sell home appliances, you targeted women who worked in the home. If you could get your “foot in the door” to keep it open long enough to make your initial pitch, your chances of making a sale went way, way up.
Over the years, many customers have contacted us regarding problems with their domain name or names. While these problems range in difficulty and solutions, we encourage all of our customers to think about their domain names at the time of registration. The following is a discussion of common problems with domain names and the solutions to these problems.
Klout score is the new buzzword in the Internet, and especially for social media, today. An online and mobile application that measures an entity’s magnitude of influence in social media networks, it is a figure that can range from 1 to 100 summarizing for you and all your stakeholders the sway that you reach and hold you have over various market segments. The general rule is that a higher score for an entity is always better.