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I was recently featured on the CIA OPS podcast.  We spent the episode discussing strategies around promoting your business better via digital means. Covering web site marketing, social media and more; if you are looking to grow you business using technology then this episode is for you!

Here is an interesting mobile stats infographic from the 2012 holiday season. Note the trends of mobile app use vs. mobile websites. And if you want a free consultation on building a mobile app, get in touch!

Mobile Stats Infographic

We often get calls from clients who want some of the cool, cutting edge marketing services we offer. More often than not, though, we end up convincing small businesses that the wave of the future just isn’t for them yet. Take a look at these two interesting charts published by MarketingSherpa.com.  The first one shows budgets of companies and what they are planning on spending their advertising money over the next year.  You’ll see that 40% to 50% of companies say that they intend to spend more on mobile marketing and social media marketing.

chartofweek-07-17-12-lp

 

If you take a look at this next, chart, though, you’ll see how organizations rate the effectiveness of different lead generation techniques.  Check out the last three.  Everybody knows “Print is Dead”, and if that is the case, Social Media and Mobile Marketing are basically zombies.

ChartforB2BSummitEmailZM

 

Does this mean that we don’t recommend social media or mobile marketing?  Absolutely not.  However, as with anything, this has to be looked at on a case by case scenario.  Unless your business is one of the 12% that Social Media is the perfect answer for, you will probably see faster and higher ROI from things that might be cheaper and less time consuming that a big social media campaign, like PPC, Email Marketing, or optimizing your website for higher conversions.

If you are a big business it doesn’t matter – you have the budget to spend across the board on keeping your business growing, and any medium that has even a small ROI is worth putting energy into. For a small business on a limited budget, though, it is critical that you choose to spend your advertising dollars in the right place – the one that is going to show you the fastest and highest return.  For most small businesses that place isn’t social media or mobile marketing.

Want to figure out what your businesses “Lowest Hanging Fruit” is?  Just contact me.

I did an interview on Holly’s Digital Advice on the difference between business opportunities and real online marketing as well as the myth of social media management for small business. Listen below!

If you’ve been wondering when you should share your next important link on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr, you’re in luck. Bitly, a link shortening and tracking service, recently released new research that will change the way you post vital information to your Social Media platforms.

Twitter

According to Bitly, the best time to share something on Twitter is on a Monday between 1 and 3 p.m. EST. Yes indeed, Bitly has revealed that posting links to Twitter between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. EST  early during the work week will help you obtain the highest click ranking.  On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid sending a tweet with a link after 8 p.m. on any day, and the same rule applies to posting links after 3 p.m. on a Friday.

Facebook

Bitly has suggested that links posted on Facebook between 1 and 4 p.m. are the most effective, with Wednesdays at 3 p.m. being the ultimate time slot to post on Facebook all week long. Obviously, links posted after 8 p.m. and before 8 a.m. don’t get as many clicks. Have a link that needs to go viral? Bitly recommends skipping the weekend and waiting for mid-week instead.

Tumblr

On to Tumblr, which is apparently a completely different animal. Bitly recommends waiting until at least 4 p.m. EST to post content, and suggests that posts that go up after 7 p.m. get the most clicks during a 24 hour time frame. It’s also suggested that Friday evenings are a key time to post on Tumblr, a method that bitly strongly recommends avoiding on both Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr traffic through Bitly peaks between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, with similar traffic on Sunday, according to the study.

In Closing

The moral of the story here? Patience is a virtue! Wait for the right times to post your most important content and you’ll be rewarded with more clicks, more acknowledgement, more business.

 

A New Way to Connect

Groupon has started a trend, and by now you are probably aware of how fast the online coupon/daily offers craze is sweeping the Internet. Facebook has decided that they now want a piece of that market.  Introducing Facebook Offers

Facebook has made it extremely easy for businesses to create new offers.

  1. Click the Offer or Event+ button in the sharing tool on your page
  2. Fill in all the information needed (and be sure to add a picture)
  3. Post the offer into your feed like you would post anything else
  4. Once posted, your fans can claim the offer from your page and either print it out or show their mobile device to an employee in your business to redeem the offer.

Creating an offer is completely free and takes very little time. We feel this has the potential to be a very powerful tool, especially since it is utilizing the absolutely massive Facebook network. Your fans or people who have ‘liked’ you will see your offer in their stream automatically, and a post will be created on their stream if they claim the offer. This will let their friends know about it, giving the offer the potential to go viral. If you’d like to take a more direct approach, you can broadcast your offer by paying for an ad on the Facebook Marketplace.

You can learn more at facebook.com/help/offers as well as by contacting Facebook’s page team for any help. If you want to learn more, here is a short video on Facebook Offers.

Or, “How to get your picture to show up on Google”

Any of you who use Google on a regular basis have probably noticed that more and more often results are showing up with extra data.  For example, Author Data has become a very common thing to display – usually showing the photograph and name of the person who wrote a specific article (like the listing below)

Google has also just upgraded the amount of rich data that they will show for products.  In the picture below, the ratings and price that are part of the product listing come from what Google calls Rich Snippets.

This data is pulled from any number of formats – the preferred method is to use HTML5 microdata which is a simple way of adding tags to code that specify data types for that specific piece of content.  Google currently supports content for the following data types:

Google also recognizes markup for video content.

How can you use this?

Short of integrating all of the data possible on your website into this new structure, what I’m going to focus on today is getting your picture put next to articles that you’ve written that are indexed in Google.  Google is a little sneaky about the Author data, and it doesn’t work the same way as other microdata.  In order to get your author profile picture to show up, you have to use Google+.  If you aren’t on Google+, you first have to set up an account.  You can then like that account to an email address on the domain that you are publishing content from, and Google will pull your profile picture and name from Google+ and add it to the listings.

Although it seems that Google is constantly inventing new and sneaky ways to make people sign up for their service, this is one that can actually be exceptionally worthwhile.  Having pictures next to search listings has shown to dramatically increase the click through on those listings, and every bit of traffic helps, right?

For detailed instructions on getting this set up, and an alternative method if you don’t have the ability to get an email on the domain you are publishing on, check out Google’s guide to setting up author information for your content.

One more cool tool.

Once you think you have your pages working, try out the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool.  This is a cool tool where you can enter your URL and, if you are using microdata, Google will show you what your search results could look like.  Note that this is no guarantee that it is what your search results will look like, it is just a way of confirming that you have your microdata set up correctly, and then if Google chooses to use it that can.

Google also just released an html box on that page that allows you not only to enter a URL, but actually to enter code for a page BEFORE you upload it, so you can make sure your formatting is all correct before your page ever gets online and gets indexed with incorrect data.

Forbes website recently published an article on the necessity of good design in today’s world of business.

“All businesses, no matter what they make or sell, should recognize the power and financial value of good design.”

For many businesses, hiring a designer is something easily overlooked in an effort of keep costs down. What many don’t realize is that a well designed product, marketing campaign or website has the power to energize and increase business. Not only does it reflect on the quality of the product or service to prospective clients, but it provides confidence and a strong asset for stakeholders.

You know that feeling when you’re wearing a tailored suit or lovely dress? A strong identity and well executed online marketing effort has a similar effect. When you know that the tools you are using are well thought out and of high quality, confidence and effectiveness can skyrocket.

“What is certain is that the design bar has been raised and design-oriented businesses are winning.”

If you want to not only outshine your competition, but outperform them, it’s a good idea to take a look at your business from the ground up. Are you making everything having to do with your product or service as pleasant and useful as possible for your clients? Are your marketing tools and is your website a point of strength or weakness for your stakeholders?

These are things to consider in this new Era of Design.

One of our side projects that you may be interested in is a simple educational tool to help people understand WordPress and what it can do more fully and to post solutions to common problems that people run into in WordPress.  It is a little site we have up at WordPressHowTo.org.

Since 99% of the sites we build are done on the WordPress platform, if you are a client this site will be a great tool for you to learn about your site and everything it can do.  And for those that haven’t worked with us before but are using WordPress to power your sites, some of these tutorials, especially the ones on making sure your site is SEO ready, are crucial.

Our latest post is a simple 60 seconds on how to back up your website from our servers, or any servers that are running cPanel, so that you can have a local copy and get the nice fuzzy feeling associated with that.  Read more at How to Back Up a WordPress Website Running on cPanel.

Enjoy, and as always if you have questions post them below – we are happy to help!