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Posts tagged online marketing

Brand Development: Build and Re-Energize Your Brand Today

Developing a brand can’t be done overnight. Many popular brands have rich histories that have contributed to how they are perceived today. However, longevity isn’t the only factor that contributes to a strong brand identity. In addition to established histories, strong brands usually provide superior products or services as well.

Brand development also extends far beyond recognizable and popular brands. Of course, everyone knows the golden arches and what they stand for. But the local coffee shop down the street can also use its brand to evoke desirable associations and attract customers.

With the current state of advertising and a little help from the internet, brands have endless ways and places to establish themselves. This is great for brand recognition, but too many outlets can become confusing, especially if the brand message across platforms is detached and contradictory.

Below are some simple rules to help you create and maintain a unified brand message:

Perform a Brand Audit:

A brand audit is essential before any decisions are made about your branding strategy. Brand audits allow companies to look at internal factors such as brand values, culture and positioning as well as external factors like logos, advertising and PR/social media. It’s important for a company to define themselves while also understanding how consumers view them. Depending on your goals, a brand audit can be brief or extremely in depth. If you need more advice on how to perform a brand audit, look at some of these in-depth tips.

Continue to read on our blog: Brand Development: Build and Re-Energize Your Brand Today
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Creating a Stir- Why Oreo is Succeeding at Content Marketing

In the last year, the Oreo brand has been receiving high praise for their content marketing, and it’s well deserved. Last week, our blog post on Content Marketing 101 featured Oreo’s  “Dunk After Dark” campaign, and we are excited to see that their latest ad endeavor is just as exciting. Oreo isn’t afraid to try new and innovative marketing styles, and now they’re taking a fresh spin on their brand with their new web series called Oreo Snack Hacks.

Oreo Snack Hacks features 2-3 minute YouTube videos that highlight talented chefs and their independent businesses. As the chefs talk about their own cooking style and what the Oreo cookie means to them, they create a “hack”, where they use the Oreo as an ingredient in a new recipe. The series premiered April 8th featuring 3 different chefs, and each video has garnered over 600,000 views and over 800 likes in total. The caption under the videos include the recipes created by the chefs, and encourage input and ideas from the viewers. The webisodes have already gained positive attention, and the campaign is likely to be a smashing success. Here’s why Oreo Snack Hacks is the latest content marketing win:

Tells a Story - Although the webisodes are only 2-3 minutes long, each one tells a different story about the chefs, their inspirations and cooking style, and always ends with a completed product. The completion of their “Hack” is satisfying to the chef and to the viewer, and leaves you wanting more content!

Uses Multiple Forms of Social Media - This campaign is ideal for millennials, as it interacts with its consumers through multiple social media accounts. Viewers have the ability to comment on and like the video and share their “Hack” on Twitter,  where Oreo frequently retweets the creations. Oreo fans are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on new Hacks on Instagram and Facebook, where they can like the photos and share with friends.

Continue to read on our blog: Creating a Stir- Why Oreo is Succeeding at Content Marketing
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Heartbleed Heartache: Who’s Capitalizing Off of Security Flaws?

For the past week, the entire world has been consumed by news about Heartbleed, the massive OpenSSL flaw that has reportedly affected 66% of the World Wide Web, potentially exposing passwords and sensitive information of millions of users. If the idea of pervasive personal security breaches weren’t so scary, we’d be tired of hearing about it. But now that the initial hubbub has died down, and the major players affected have issued patches to cover the hole, cooler heads have begun to examine this new phenomenon. And Heartbleed might just be the scariest thing to happen to the Internet – and have the best marketing team around.

Heartbleed Harbringers

Heatbleed might just be the first security bug that has its own logo. It also has its own website, which defines the bug and lists affected sites, controlled by the Finnish company that originally detected the security breach and reported on it to media outlets and industry officials, Codenomicon. In fact, cynics and curious expers alike have pointed out that Codenomicon has actually profited from the notoriety surrounding Heartbleed – and that all of their motives may not have been as altruistic as protecting web users.

For example, take that Heartbleed website. It is very attractive, with a minimalist design and the logo that has now become synonymous with Heartbleed. Some users have accused Codenomicon of having its priorities in poor order by regiseting the website domain, designing the Heartbleed logo, and starting the “information machine” in order to capitalize off of the ensuing media frenzy. However, TechCrunch did a little sleuthing, and found that the company registered the site’s domain only after news of the bug broke, and that Codenomicon emphatically states that the site’s only purpose is to serve as a resource for people concerned about the bug and looking for more information.

Continue to read on our blog: Heartbleed Heartache: Who’s Capitalizing Off of Security Flaws?
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What Instagram Teaches Us About Advertising & Content

In early March, Instagram and global advertising agency Omnicon agreed to a deal worth about $40 million. This deal created frenzy among the social and advertising worlds because up to this point, Instagram has been very cautious about their distribution of advertisements.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April of 2012. After this acquisition, most people assumed that Instagram would begin to show ads on a regular basis. However, Instagram has only been showing ads in users feed since November 2013.

The social picture and video sharing network has worked hard to make sure that their ads stay true to the spirit of the Instagram community. What they’re really saying is that they want the ads to be high quality, engaging and add value to their users. Instagram selects what ads to display on peoples’ feeds by using information about you found on Instagram and Facebook. This might include who you follow, pictures you’ve liked, or your interests listed on Facebook.

Currently, Instagram has about 200 million monthly active users. This number might be far behind Twitter’s 243 million monthly users and really far behind Facebook’s1.23 billion users, but companies are still itching to advertise on Instagram. One of the reasons why companies want to use Instagram to advertise is because it’s growing extremely fast.

Continue to read on our blog: What Instagram Teaches Us About Advertising & Content
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Guest Blogging: The Right Way to Improve Content & SEO

MyBlogGuest, a popular guest blogging network, was recently penalized by Google’s webspam team, led by Matt Cutts. Cutts made the announcement over Twitter and published a related piece on his website titled “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.”  MyBlogGuest is lax with their linking policies, and Cutts alluded to finding spam in their content. Bloggers have spoken out in disagreement with Cutts and defended guest blogging, a longtime popular SEO technique that Cutts claims to be spammy and inauthentic. Many have argued the benefits of guest blogging, and claimed it can be effective when used the right way, like any SEO technique. Cutts and guest blog loyalists are both right: guest blogging could easily be a friend or foe, depending on how you use it. If you want to use guest blogging effectively (and without Google giving you the axe), remember the right ways to use it:

It’s About the Content, Not the Links - The purpose of your blog should not just be to earn a backlink; it should be to publish relevant and genuine content that reflects well on your brand and connects with the reader. If your content is authentic, you could gain new followers that genuinely want to read what you have to say! It not only reflects well on you, but your brand; remember that each post builds on your brand’s online presence, and you want to maintain positive brand awareness. Try to give your content a voice, style, and creative kick- make sure the article brings something new to the table.

Continue to read on our blog: Guest Blogging: The Right Way to Improve Content & SEO
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Content Marketing 101: Use Relevant Content to Foster Customer Relationships

Content marketing is continuing to become an integral part of any marketer’s portfolio. A recent Slideshare presentation created by Marketo informs us that 70% of executives rely more on content now than they did a year ago, and yet 90% still feel overwhelmed by the amount of content available today. It’s certainly not a stretch to think that consumers, the target of all of this content, feel the same way–and it’s your job to make your message heard above the rest.

The key to creating a successful content marketing campaign is relevancy. Consumers are now exposed to so much content from countless sources that they tend to tune out the white noise–that is, content that they find neither valuable nor useful. As a marketer your goal is to capture the consumer’s attention by making your message relevant. Here are a few ways in which you can tailor your content to your unique customers, as well as success stories from some big content gurus.

Be Thoughtful

Red Bull is a pioneer in creating content that their consumers find valuable. Their website is a portal to a world of exhilarating extreme sports news and videos–entirely appropriate for their audience of energy drink consumers. Never create content just for the sake of creating content; while it is important, it is ever only as successful as the amount of customer action it generates on the other end. Red Bull found a domain of content that their target customers truly appreciate. Take a page out of their book and research what your customers value and how they spend their time.

Continue to read on our blog: Content Marketing 101: Use Relevant Content to Foster Customer Relationships
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AdWords Search Funnel: The Best Friend You’ve Never Met

Former American Merchant and politician John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”. For many advertisers, this saying still rings true. However, advertising has come a long way since the late 1800’s. Advertisers today have various tools that help them measure the effectiveness of ads and ROI.

One of the most important advertising services for many businesses, big and small, is Google AdWords. AdWords places ads in Google search results when users search relevant keywords. Anyone who has run their own AdWords campaign understands the effort and persistence it takes to pinpoint the best keywords for your campaign.

If you continue to focus on an AdWords campaign as one of your main sources of advertising, having familiarity with the search funnel tool is crucial. In simple terms, the search funnel shows the search path leading up to a conversion. This is important because it helps advertisers figure out what search terms are most relevant to their product or service.

Beyond helping companies figure out what search words or phrases are most common, the search funnel gives insights into consumer behavior. By tracking the entire conversion path of a consumer, the search funnel helps you understand what ads a consumer might interact with on their path to your ad. The search funnel looks beyond just the last click and helps improve the paths that bring consumers to your ad.

Continue to read on our blog: AdWords Search Funnel: The Best Friend You’ve Never Met
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Easy, Painless Payment - There’s an App for That

Smart device users may agree that it almost feels like there is an app for everything, but how often can apps help conquer awkward social situations? The latest trend in app culture aims to make users’ entire lives easier: online payment transfer methods. Startups like Venmo have the potential to make everyday trivial struggles, like reminding a friend they owe you for that pizza last week, non existent, and you should be more than ready for it. Here are some reasons why these startups have the ability to find well-deserved mainstream success.

The Simplicity - Once you have entered your billing information when you sign up, the most challenging of tasks are done. The design and execution of charging or paying back a friend are simple: if you are on the website, you simply click an agreement of the transaction. If you are on your phone, you text Venmo a number they have sent you that completes the transaction. Simple. Only takes a second. And you don’t have the feeling of “did I pay her back?” looming over you.

It Eliminates Confusion - You and your friends are out at a restaurant and the bill comes. You no longer need to worry about the one friend who forgot their wallet, or the other whose credit card isn’t accepted. Have one person pay and charge the rest, making the process easier- no splitting between 4 cards. You can feel comfortable volunteering to pay for the meal because you know you can ask for your money back in seconds, and Venmo doesn’t keep a percentage of the money your friends will be sending you.

Continue to read on our blog: Easy, Painless Payment - There’s an App for That
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Mobile Advertising: Worth the Fuss?

Mobile advertising takes a little bit of time and effort to set up correctly, and a lot of measurement and management to stay relevant. Lots of businesses are questioning whether mobile advertising is really a necessary component of digital marketing, especially in the wake of AdGooroo’s report on the Top 20 Paid Mobile Search Advertisers. Many of the brands who dominate desktop search are doing terribly on mobile. Additionally, paid mobile search still controls only a small amount of total AdWords spend, 7.6 percent.

Who Should Make Mobile Advertising a Priority

So is paid search advertising on mobile even worth it for your business? We still say yes, but some industries should make it a priority, while others can wait a while. Who should make mobile a priority? Certain industries are better suited to the needs of the mobile user, including:

  • Automotive
  • Travel
  • Hotels
  • Lifestyle and Entertainment
  • Retail, especially brick-and-motars who offer coupons
  • Mobile apps
  • Small local businesses
  • Location-oriented businesses (for example, pizza delivery restuarants)

Although Google’s Enhanced Campaigns force all advertisers to use mobile search, search results on mobile only include 3 ads, while a desktop search has space for 12 ads. You’ll have to pay a premium price to get placement, so you have to make sure that mobile search is relevant to you and your customers. If you have a limited advertising budget, and your business doesn’t capitalize on mobile assets like these examples, it might be best for you to opt out of mobile advertising until you get a little more money to play with.

Continue to read on our blog: Mobile Advertising: Worth the Fuss?
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Google Panda is Helping Small Businesses Optimize Search

As a small business, it is imperative that you optimize your business for search. Where do people go to find things they’re looking for? Google of course. According to a report published at the end of 2013, Google has over 67% of the search engine market.

Considering this large percentage, small businesses should become familiar with the Google search platform so they can increase their chances of being found by their customers. Admittedly, it can be difficult to keep up with all the platform and algorithm changes that Google releases. But have no fear; we’ll keep you updated on what you really need to know.

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, recently announced that they would be making changes to Google Panda. Panda was released in 2011 and was aimed at lowering the rank of thin or low quality sites. In the most recent announcement, Cutts explained that the latest refresh will produce a softer version of Google Panda. This softer version of Panda will help small businesses rank better in search results.

This is great news for smaller businesses but it’s important to remember that you still have to optimize your site so Google can find you. To help you with your optimization before Google Panda is released; here are some tips that will allow you to succeed.

Google Panda looks for Consistent Content – Consistent high quality content is the key to ranking higher in Google Panda. Google rewards sites who provide their users with useful information. Regardless of SEO, company sites should be doing this. A company blog is a great way to communicate useful and practical information to prospective customers.

Continue to read on our blog: Google Panda is Helping Small Businesses Optimize Search
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Twitter is the Best Social Media Platform – For Consumer Connection

The New York Times published a piece this week detailing the social media strategy of General Motors, and the steps they have taken to gain the trust of their customers after some tragic PR blunders. The company has begun to take advantage of Twitter as a way to get directly in touch with their consumers, and have received positive results. Not only has G.M.  been establishing genuine relationships with their with customers, but those relationships have been reciprocal; the majority of mentions they have received on Twitter are either neutral or positive, with only 3% negative. G.M. is just one example of a brand finding a consumer connection on Twitter. If you’re looking for a way to form a better relationship with your consumer, Twitter may be the right social media tool for you. Here are some ways you can use Twitter to your advantage:

Connect with the Consumer - Twitter allows you to get directly in touch with consumer, and allows them to express their praise and concerns. You can get a direct opinion from an interested party, one that is offered willingly. If your consumer has an issue, they don’t have to call a hotline and wait on hold forever; rather, they can reach out to the brand directly and deliver a specific message on what they would like to see improved. This can create truthful and interactive messaging with your consumer, which is popular in marketing today.

Have Multiple, Targeted Accounts - Popular enterprise-level brands like Nike have support Twitter accounts along with their main Twitter account, in order to give their customers another outlet to reach out to. This way, complaints are not visible on the main page that sells the brand;  it has its own place specifically for that purpose. This dedicated account also helps customer support specialists zero in on messages that are relevant to them, rather than having to sift through a massive Twitter feed. It shows your customers that you want to listen and help them, and makes you a more reliable brand. Separate accounts don’t end with customer support; regional or local brand branches, different service sectors, fan clubs – there are tons of ways to segment your audience and offer relevant content and interaction.

Continue to read on our blog: Twitter is the Best Social Media Platform – For Consumer Connection
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Clear! How to Resuscitate a Flat-Lined PPC Campaign

It can be a terrifying sight: you log in to your AdWords account, and scroll through to your analytics. Instead of the normal range of highs and lows, there is a valley in the middle of your graph: clicks have flatlined. Before you tear your hair out or completely overhaul the ad campaign, take a breath. This problem might be easier to fix than you realize. Grab your paddles, and have everyone stand back: we’re going to jumpstart this campaign.

There are several scenarios that could cause this flatline. Go through your account and see if any of these situations have occurred; once you find the culprit, it will be much easier to fix – and get your campaign back to normal.

What is Your Ad Position?

Your ad’s place on the page can affect the clicks. If it appears too low on the page, make sure that your bids aren’t too low. If you’re using automated bid options, is there a paused rule that is stranding a keyword at a lower-than-average bid?

Are Your Bids Too Low?

Bidding is always tricky, but if your bids are too low, AdWords will phase you right out of competition. Additionally, check your daily budget. If it’s too low in relation to your average cost-per-click (CPC), then that can negatively affect the ad’s impression share, contributing to your flatlined campaign.

Are All of Your Negated Terms Correct?

If your impressions and clicks suddenly take a nose-dive, that can be a sign of simple team miscommunication or a simple mistake. Check your negatives list and make sure none of your important keywords were added by mistake; audit the list at the ad group and campaign level to make sure you don’t miss something.

Continue to read on our blog: Clear! How to Resuscitate a Flat-Lined PPC Campaign
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