Online Marketing Tips, News, and Tutorials

Fake Yelp Reviews: The Fight Against Astroturfing

Posted by Max Castleman
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Keeping Email Newsletters Out of the Spam Folder

Posted by Max Castleman
No matter what kind of reputation your business has established or how much respect you’ve gained, your newsletters can still end up lodged in that unfortunate region. Most items that end up in spam folders are never read, if even seen; they are typically erased without so much as a glance. That’s a deeply unfitting fate for your newsletter, into which you’ve presumably poured a good deal of thought and effort. Fortunately, there are ways of all but securing the safe passage of your email newsletter into the main mailbox of your subscribers.
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Put Your Company on the Map with Google My Business

Posted by Max Castleman
Be Present at the Beginning of the Customer's Search The internet has allowed us all to share information far more rapidly, so not only can businesses spread marketing solutions and content at a quicker rate than ever before, but clients can engage with those materials with ease. The problem is that the internet is full of inaccuracies and speculation. If you don’t take control of your online image it might be corrupted, either purposefully or accidentally. You want to be as sure as you can that the information shared online about your business is as accurate as possible. Fortunately, Google has made this effort considerably less difficult with their Places service.
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Improving Your SEO Through Social Media

Posted by Max Castleman
 
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Writing an Appealing Email Newsletter

Posted by Max Castleman
An email newsletter can be something of a tricky prospect. On the one hand, it has the potential to be a very effective form of communication. This is marketing delivered straight to the consumer, marketing that they specifically requested to receive. At the same time, sending someone an email doesn’t mean they’re obligated to read it or that they have any interest in doing so. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply send a newsletter along and hope for the best. Certain steps can be taken beforehand to make the content contained in any email you send interesting, appealing and potentially beneficial. Keep your readers engaged and you’ll have a much better chance of commanding their attention. Here are a few ways to make your newsletter stand out from the pack:
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Which Social Media Service is Worth Your Business’ Time?

Posted by Max Castleman
These days it’s basically mandatory for a business with an online presence to have, at the very least, a Facebook page, and generally a Twitter account as well. Sure, if you’ve already established yourself in your community and the surrounding area these items aren’t exactly necessary, but they’re still very helpful. Nearly 75% of marketers say that Facebook is an essential part of any modern marketing strategy. Companies have already seen social media generate a significantly higher conversion rate than directly sent mail or pay per click marketing. Currently, 56% of American adults have a social media presence. Clearly, ignoring this would be a huge mistake. But which social media site has the most marketing potential? Let’s break them down and find out: Twitter: With 500 Million users and 39 million unique visitors per month, Twitter is a fantastic resource for any business. With its tweeting/retweeting formula it’s a great way to get important news to your clients quickly and to simply keep them engaged. About 68% of Twitter users utilize the site to follow a brand they enjoy. It might as well be your company. Twitter is valuable because of the speed, simplicity and sharing potential of its service. On the other hand, Twitter is not the ideal platform for posting visual content. You are certainly limited in the amount of content you can post as well, with each tweet limited to 140 characters. In a sense, this is a good thing, as it helps you trim the fat and get to the point, leading to clarity that users might appreciate. On the other hand, it’s not a good medium for discussing more complex issues. Google+: Some marketers may dismiss Google+ as a potential marketing platform, but with 150 million active users it’s certainly worth your consideration. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that 40% of marketers already utilize Google+, and 67% of them plan on expanding their efforts on the site. With its personal, highly organized layout, Google+ can provide a pretty excellent means of creating a personal connection with users and making them feel truly included. It’s true that Google+ doesn’t provide as large a user base as Facebook or Twitter, and that its layout takes a bit of getting used to, but for those willing to put in the time it can be a valuable resource. On the other hand, it’s not as essential, so if you don’t have the man hours to spare you can probably give Google+ a pass without much damage being done. Pinterest: A somewhat undervalued option, Pinterest may only have 12 million visitors a month but it’s still well within your interest to consider the site’s marketing potential. For one thing, most users come to Pinterest to discover something new. Sometimes this is an idea, a suggestion, but often it’s a product. More than any other social media site, Pinterest users are open to the idea of being marketed to. They’re basically asking for it. The most promising statistic associated with the site concerns the amount of time users spend therein. While the average visitor will spend about 36 minutes on Twitter or 12 minutes on Facebook, Pinterest users spend an average of 1 hour 17 minutes on the site. That’s a unique advantage, one that should not be undervalued. On the other hand, Pinterest advertising is quite reliant on the actions of the consumer, perhaps a bit too much for comfort. Because of the site’s general lack of text, most marketing attempts have to be made through the power of suggestion, hoping that the user will follow through. Sometimes this trust pays off, but frequently it does not. LinkedIn: The only social media site created specifically for businesses and the workers who allow them to function, LinkedIn has some obvious advantages. Yes, when it comes to this particular your audience is much smaller, consisting not of the general public but of business professionals with a desire to network and seek guidance. On the other hand, running a successful business isn’t all about engaging the public. Relationships with other businesses are essential to the growth and continued relevance of a wide variety of enterprises. Not only can you find businesses who might want to avail themselves of your services as clients, but you’ll also find individuals who can aid you in other ways, like providing advice or giving you access to an important social connection. Among the options presented here, Linkedin is truly unique. Facebook: Of course, Facebook still remains the most powerful social marketing tool out there. It has 167 million unique visitors a month, far more than any other similar site. 80% of users use the site to connect with brands they enjoy, with one third of them claiming that they feel significantly closer to the businesses they like as a result of their Facebook connection. Like Twitter, Facebook is a fast, convenient way of communicating with a large number of people quickly. However, it’s even more versatile than it appears on the surface. You can keep your users engaged in many different ways, everything from interesting links to surveys to videos to images and more. That being said, properly maintaining a Facebook page takes time and dedication. You’ll not only have to update the page frequently but monitor it regularly to ensure that all is well. Having some sort of Facebook presence is very important for most modern companies, but it should only be attempted if you have the time and the skill to really use the site to build your brand. Ultimately, each of these sites has a tremendous amount of potential. The question here really isn’t which is best, because each have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The question is which of these sites are worth the commitment of time and attention necessary to create an effective social media presence. Remember that doing so requires a certain level of commitment. If you don’t keep your profiles up to date, routinely engaging users and holding their interest, you might as well not be on the sites at all. However, if you’re willing to put in the time, I would recommend creating a presence on multiple sites. Each service has plenty of users, all of whom are potential future clients. Weigh these options and consider, based on the pros and cons, which social media service will truly give you the best return on your investment.
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The Increasing Importance of Responsive Web Design

Posted by Max Castleman
A truly effective website, an absolutely essential element of any modern business with at-all serious expectations, is one which is tailored not only to the audience one is trying to capture, but to the individual user. There must be elements which address the individual, the prospective client, and hold his or her interest. There must be a wealth of easily accessible information spanning a variety of topics, all that a user would need to know to form a preliminary opinion of your business and its potential use to them. Finally, the site’s aesthetics must catch the eye. The viewing experience should be simple and direct while not maintaining a strong and unique sense of style, perhaps through the use of vibrant colors or creative graphics. However, maintaining a website’s aesthetic integrity has become significantly more difficult as of late due to the rise of platforms like phones and tablets as popular web browsers. When it is transposed to an alternate platform, a website designed for computer viewing may have its formatting distorted or become exceedingly difficult to use. However, there’s a way to avoid such an eventuality: the utilization of “responsive web design,” or Responsive Web Design.
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Using Path to Stay Connected

Posted by Max Castleman
Whether you think Facebook’s billion dollar acquisition of Instagram was a great decision or a bizarre misfire one thing is clear: it changed the nature of the apps market forever. While most free apps make their money by hosting ads or containing in-app purchases, there is now a new factor to consider: acquisition. Since that day developers have been competing to see who can be the next Instagram, who can come up with the next billion dollar idea. There are some within the industry who feel that Path, a free mobile social media platform, is that idea. The company generated a great deal of buzz by rejecting a $100 million buyout offer by Google, suspecting that their creation might be worth even more. And yes, Facebook is rumored to be considering the app carefully for a potential purchase down the line. So why is Path so valuable? What exactly are they doing differently?
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Is the Internet the Path to the White House?

Posted by Max Castleman
Often on this blog we have spoken of the invaluable power of the internet as a marketing tool. In this day and age it is absolutely imperative for a business or concern who desires some level of success to establish an effective online presence. It is, in fact, much the same situation for political candidates, a statement which becomes more and more true as the years go on. In 2004, 75 million Americans, or 37% of the population, utilized the internet to learn about the election and the candidates who made up its dimensions. In 2008, that number rose to 46%. Now, 84% of voters who took part in the Sachs/Mason-Dixon Poll responded that they felt social media sites like Facebook and Twitter would be highly significant factors in determining the outcome of this upcoming election. Clearly, the internet is now more important as a political battleground than ever before, and this trend shows no signs of reversing any time soon.
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The Great GoDaddy Crash of 2012

Posted by Max Castleman
On September 10th, the immensely popular web domain hosting and registration service Go Daddy suffered a major crash, leaving both their site and millions of others inaccessible. Though the issue was largely resolved within the day, with a full recovery by the next morning, the effect of the outage was deeply felt. Hundreds called in demanding answers, only to be greeted with an automated message directing them to the site’s Twitter page. Some sites, perhaps the most prominent being the highly respected task management app Asana, say that they no longer wish to be affiliated with the hosting service. So how did this happen? Well, that’s still up for debate. I’ll provide the evidence and allow you to come to your own conclusion.
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