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7 Reasons Your Business Needs Its Own App

September 2nd, 2015 No comments

Peer pressure has nothing on smart phones.

Everybody — and we mean evvverybody — now possesses these handheld devices that do so much more than phone calls. Interestingly, to some phone owners, a voice-to-voice conversation may now be less appealing than texting, photos, streaming or other popular online activities.

This is also true in the business world – the norm is to have a smartphone, and if you don’t, you potentially could be judged negatively as someone who’s not entirely focused on success.

Since smart business people try to stay ahead of, or at least keep pace with, their competitors, modern executives shouldn’t just have smartphones, but companies should make sure their site looks and works well when viewed on a mobile device.

Their online presence can go beyond being mobile-friendly/responsive design. More companies are also developing their own apps as a good tool to reach customers. Here’s why creating your own app makes sense:

  1. Increased visibility. Not only will your business show up in standard searches, but will also appear in the libraries of the different app shops, provided your team creates versions for Android, iOS and Windows phones.
  2. No compatibility problems. Sites may look slightly different when visited on different browsers. But when someone orders an app, they can indicate what browser they want it to be seen on, so it will always look as it was intended and not have any plug-in problems.
  3. Ease of use. Apps can be very intuitive, offering an easy roadmap for learning the key points about a business, rather than poking around an extensive site to find the answers. Anthony Wing Kosner, a Forbes columnist, said as early as 2014 that apps offer information and also could lead to more sales.
  4. Better branding. “We have an app” sounds more progressive than “that might be on our site.” Kosner said apps seem to offer a perception of “digital engagement” and a place to find solutions, rather than simply providing product information like a site can offer. It can be an excellent draw to text your customers about – “Have you checked out our cool app? Get it here” with an easy link.
  5. An app ties in well to other products. An app can be a hub to all of your online activity. Users can send emails to people at your company, visit and post to your company’s social media channels.
  6. Increased engagement. An app can offer a good overview to a company, and can be even more of an asset for someone who is already familiar with a company’s products, services, philosophy and style. They’ll know right where to go when it’s time to make a purchase or take action.
  7. Better indexing. In February 2015, Google modified its parameters for indexing to give higher search prominence for mobile-friendly sites – and for apps. This means that your app can show up sooner in a search for your product, making you, and your potential customers, quite happy.

Once your business has an app, it can potentially open doors for other ways to market to your mobile-based customers.

About The Author
Sophorn Chhay
Sophorn is an Inbound Marketer specializing in attracting targeted visitors and generated sales qualified leads. Engage your subscribers with SMS marketing tools, then track your results. Trumpia is offering a free Mobile Marketing Success Kit so don’t forget to grab your free copy.

One Last Blue Ocean in Content Marketing: SEO for Industrial Companies

May 5th, 2015 No comments

Sure, SEO is old hat (and it’s all very white-hat now) and digital marketing these days is focused on mobile adaptation, social media and maybe even the impending Internet of things.* But there are some of us who still love creating informative content that challenges our creativity and imagination I still point out to people, once in a long time, that I once wrote a page about tweezers (just checked that page to see if it’s still alive. It is… sort of.)  It’s still possible to write web content with substance that goes beyond 140 characters and how many likes you get on your latest status update or how many Pins you can get. You can do that if you are an expert in your area, and Google will love you. And you can do that if you are willing to write about things that no one else is willing to write about, writing straight-talking web content with substance and value, in a big money business sphere. That sphere is industry.

Remember those days when no-one else was doing SEO?

Ah, the days when hardly anyone else was doing SEO.

Industrial products are as boring and dull as it comes. Not many budding writers dream of writing about lathes… or collets…  or tool presetters. No one wants to write about crossover tool boxes or total stations. What even are these things? Well, for one thing, they’re just a few of thousands upon thousands of industrial tools, parts, and equipment that people are looking for online and that –often – have very large profit margins.  For the record, a tool presetter is important in the tool and die industry and can fetch anywhere from $3K to $4500 depending on the specifications. A collet is a holding device for a lathes, and costs in the range of $25 but these regularly break down and need to be stocked.  Total stations are construction and grading lasers that reduce workload of a regular construction laser and also cost in the range of several thousand dollars. These are just a few of the big ticket items that are bought and sold online. And very few of these products is well-competed for in terms of SEO and digital marketing, as opposed to, say, phones or other tech gear or <insert your red ocean product>.**

This is still some pretty low hanging fruit that doesn’t require a big team of link builders, exceptional creativity or guerilla tactics. For those in the SEO content marketing industry, the creative block you have to overcome is actually creating a page full of content.

Leaders like Neil Patel and Moz on SEO for industrial companies and such

Some great articles closely related to this idea have been written lately; these are worth revisiting.

Neil Patel wrote some ideas about this in 2013 in a post called “How to Use Content Marketing For a ‘Boring’ Industry.” His first point, like mine, is that “you don’t see too many people in those [boring] spaces using content marketing.” Some of his advice includes fairly standard stuff, such as guest blogging, infographics and the importance of relevance over volume in links, but he makes one really great point worth repeating: solve your customers’ problems. In any industry, your customers have a bevy of day-to-day problems and they ought to always be willing to listen to advice. Know what they are and tell them some solutions. At the very least you will establish fellow-feeling and understanding of your clients and they will remember it: solve the problems of the actual purchaser.

A second excellent post comes from the geniuses over at moz.com. Ronell Smith does a superb job throughout this article (and in the comment replies) of dealing with the issues. Again, a subtext of the article and comments is that there are very few examples of boring-industry content done really well. It’s a challenge few people rise to. His argument is summarised as saying: set goals, be clear and work on amplification.

This last point means getting people to market for you: reimagine who you are writing for. It’s the title of the post: create content that important influencers will share. It’s important to think of a variety of important influencers, including everything from influential experts in the industry to newspapers and magazines looking for a soundbite or filler.

And another obstacle you might face is apathy from people who (really!) still think that the web is “not really the way we work” or something like that.

So what? Anticipate that and other objections, as follows when approaching clients.

Get to Know Your Industry… and Know Industry

Go to trade shows and pass out your card. Introduce yourself as an expert in your industry just as they are experts in their industry.

Contact the sites directly. Let them know that there is still time for them to get ahead of their competition.

Finally, a word of advice: If you get clients, be aware that people in industries like construction and industry and trades live in world where results are seen. These are people who want to see progress. When a building is going up you can see it progressing from the foundation upward, even if it’s behind schedule. You can’t always see immediate results in website development or online marketing. It’s a different world from the one they are working in.

You can rephrase this argument yourself when you deal with clients but you need to be aware of this and you need to know how to deal with people in industry. You also need to remember that they are often used to pushing things aggressively and live in a world where aggression and foul language are part and parcel of how to get things done and even how to conduct business. I’ve heard an electrician client openly threat his current developer. That’s a little extreme, of course, but just be aware that you may have to thicken your skin.

*Apparently KW is set to dominate the IoT.

**For the uninitiated, Blue Ocean Strategy was a best seller a few years ago that explained blue oceans as “competitor-free markets that innovative companies can navigate,” as red oceans, competition-saturated markets where the water is red with the blood of those who could not compete.

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Videos for Marketing

January 27th, 2014 1 comment

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The following is by Ness Garcia. I don’t have a lot of time to blog myself so I fill in the blanks with guest posts like this one. It keeps  things moving forward. – Jim

Why You Should Use Videos for Marketing

Video marketing has become extremely popular over the last few years. If you are considering  using videos in your marketing campaign, then you may want to understand some of the benefits that come with using them.

Here are 5 important reasons why you should start using videos.

Higher Conversion Rates

Since people would rather watch a video than read a blog post, you can easily appeal to them and convince them to buy your products or sign up with your website. Whatever your goal is, it can be easily met by using videos to convert your visitors. You just need to do some planning on what strategies would be the most effective on your target demographic. Once you have posted a few videos and see their reactions, you will get a better feel for what they are into and what they are not.

Keep People’s attention

If you have your own site, you probably know how hard it is to have people pay attention to the content we post on it. So it’s important to do everything possible to get them to pay as much attention as possible. Videos have been proven to work and will continue to be one of the best ways to appeal to your visitors and have them digest the information.

Delivering Information Much Faster

A video is able to provide much more information than a regular text post would and your audience would actually be listening to what your video is saying. Most of the time if you post something, people will just skim through it and not really try and fully comprehend your message. You won’t need to worry about that happening with videos because they are much easier to listen to and people will actually want to watch. A 2 minute video could go over all of the information a 800 word post would, but the 800 word post would take much longer to get through.

Get Your Viewers Emotional

With videos, you can get more personal with your audience, allowing you to use their emotions to help convert them. The more personally connected they feel to your videos, the more effective the videos are. You can check out plenty of examples of how other companies and people use personal stories, sad images, or comedy sketches to attract viewers and convert them.

Looks More Professional

Having videos will make your marketing efforts look much more legitimate and will be able to show your audience what you can do. Anyone can just write blog posts or make a podcast, but creating a video takes some talent. You don’t need to hire a bunch of people to act, shoot, and edit the videos, but you should try and make it as best as you can. There are also services that are available to help with marketing videos and can provide you with some basic videos that let you customize them so that you are able to send your message to the audience.

Overall, there are so many different reasons why you should start using videos to market, but these 5 should give you an idea.

About the author

Over the last 5 years, Ness has been hired by many different clients to write about subjects of all types. She previously majored in English and during her time in school, she decided to start writing about useful information for a living. She is currently a top writer for Problogger.net and has had much success with her audiences. Keeping her audiences engaged and happy is her main goal, while at the same time maintaining her credibility by always providing facts that are true. She is very experienced and fulfilled by her writing career.

Kitchener-Waterloo and Digital Marketing

November 2nd, 2012 1 comment

Digital marketing by Kitchener-Waterloo Companies is as, um… lacking as it is anywhere. While it’s true that an experienced digital marketer looking at any website or company can see areas where there is room for improvement, I’m a bit surprised that many websites in KW don’t have some essential aspects of SEO. KW is supposedly a technology mecca; we’re supposed to be way ahead of the game. It’s a fact, though, that most companies in the Waterloo Region are software-oriented and online marketing is all about creating meaningful content on your website and establishing worthwhile relationships with customers and potential customers, no matter if you are in B2B or B2C.

There are many examples of what I’m talking about. Some may have a reason to feel exempt, notably the most notable company in this region, Research in Motion. A company as big as RIM does not really need to worry about SEO such as being found for keywords like “smartphone” and they can easily create a vast social network through their customers. However, even Blackberry has missed opportunities such as the way a site like BBGeeks.com (run by some people I know well) filled in as a Blackberry applications support site. RIM may not have cared at one time – but at this point, it looks like they should have. By showing all along that they care about every aspect of the Blackberry world, they could have leveraged this good faith when things went sideways. They missed an opportunity and now, things like that look like complacency. And you cannot be complacent in marketing of any kind.

Digital marketing basics missed by many companies in KW

Other companies that I have looked at in this region don’t even seem to know what a title tag is for. This is the essence of marketing and branding online and you need to know what to tell people about your site though your titles. Most companies (not just in Kitchener-Waterloo… okay) are still telling people that their site is about themselves. To put it in marketing language they tell people what’s in it for me instead of telling potential customers what’s in it for them. This is classic poor marketing, whether we are talking about online presence or not.

I’m currently looking at recruitment sites in this area (consulting as I do was always only a temporary idea). Some local recruitment sites are savvy but many still miss opportunities. At least one website looks like it has not been updated in ten years or so. Kitchener-Waterloo SEO is still a very lacking thing, after all these years, for everything from FOB startups to retirement homes in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Out of the box SEO is never true SEO

Many local design companies claim to offer some SEO services.  There is a significant difference between search engine friendly website development and true digital marketing (or inbound marketing or internet marketing, whatever you call it where you are). Digital marketing, which ought to be a solid mix of search engine optimization, paid advertising and social media marketing goes well beyond an SEO design. I’ve spoken to many design companies in Kitchener-Waterloo lately and they do not do SEO. Companies in KW can see the results for themselves, though, when they launch a new site (that they probably paid thousands of dollars for) and they only get nominal search traffic.

What do you have to do to reach a broad online market? You have to have content: content provided by people who are aware of the market, aware of the latest changes at Google and aware of the best strategy that will last into the future. Content has to include heavy written content as well as graphics, video and more. You have to engage people with social media, listen to questions they have and answer them. You have to create your own online community. It’s expensive, it’s difficult to keep up, but you have to do it in today’s world. Everything is online and online is everything.

There are other things wrong here in Kitchener-Waterloo that I haven’t even touched on. A short list includes: startup companies that feel they do not need marketing (“We’ll just go viral!” Do people still say that?); sites that raise security issues due to their being client-focused (and thus marketing-deprived); small businesses that are satisified with their word of mouth business and are always in danger of suffering for their own complacency (maybe they’ve been burned by online marketing in the past. Tough, the world is still changing).

So here’s the pitch. Check out my long history of helping people succeed online.

 

Two Reasons Business Can’t Neglect SMS Marketing

October 30th, 2012 No comments

NOTE: This is a guest post, a first for this blog.  SMS Marketing is an interesting little corner of the world of inbound marketing.

By Jawad Khan

SMS (Short Messaging Service) has proven to be one of the most widely used communication and marketing media for top brands to promote new products or keep in touch with customers. You can even see SMS marketing being used by politicians to mass communicate with voters during elections. Obama used SMS Marketing for the first time in the 2008 election and this trend has gained huge popularity in 2012. Other big events also use SMS coverage, including the Olympics and American Idol. Top banks and B2B companies are using SMS Marketing for communication with customers.

SMS Marketing reaches entirely new prospects and customers with great ease. However, this does not mean that SMS Marketing is an ideal method for every campaign with any demographic in any niche. Before sending bulk SMS messages you need to analyze whether your potential customers really want to receive your message or not, and whether your message is accurate and informative or not.

Two big reasons you can’t neglect SMS Marketing:

 

1. Personal Connection with Receiver:
If you ask a group of people whether they would like to give their mobile number to some marketer most of them would ask why that message cannot be delivered using email. But ask them if they would like to receive messages about their favorite sports news and you will see a significant increase in interest.

SMS Marketing works well when you tell people beforehand that you are going to send messages on a specific topic and then keep your promise. Avoid sending them blatant advertisements. If the user knows that you are going to send marketing messages on a specified topic, and he/she agrees to give you his/her mobile number, he/she will become a loyal customer. You will see a great response rate by having a database of such loyal customers.

2. Quick Movers Advantage:
Experts stated that Obama’s text message campaign in 2008 was the most successful mobile campaign to date, a benchmark for marketers around the globe. If email had been used instead of SMS, there would be much less response. Obama’s VP Pick campaign not only grabbed the attention of the receivers but also created a buzz amongst marketers and media professionals.

Top marketers understand and appreciate the fact that only those SMS messages work that are sent on an urgent basis and require quick response from the subscribers. Campaigns with no urgency receive a mediocre response rate but those that are time sensitive and urgent in nature get a much better and quicker response.

It is correct that not all business requires SMS Marketing to promote their product or services, but all businesses should at least use SMS Marketing to increase engagement with existing customers, to increase customer loyalty and ultimately increase returning sales for your business.

Guest Author:
Jawad Khan is a Marketing Manager for multinational IT Company in Dubai, UAE. He loves to write about SMS Marketing, Web Design, SEO, SEM, Online Business, and Affiliate Marketing.

Inbound Marketing (aka Internet Marketing)

September 26th, 2012 1 comment

There’s a great new post at OutSpoken Media summarizing what is meant by inbound marketing or what we here call internet marketing (same thing).

What is meant by inbound marketing? Well, basically it’s anything you do online to try and attract attention… and the fact is that SEO is only a basis for a whole suite of things. In my take on things, you need to have SEO as a basis because search is still the biggest public driver of traffic. (Otherwise, in the case of almost every website I look at, all you have is an online brochure or a corporate website that people look at only because they know your company.) The other traffic drivers (social sites, email marketing, referrals, webinars, guest blogging, hey, even backlinks… in other words all your inbound marketing) should be built on top of a site that is optimized for search.

The image below from SEOMoz summarizes everything that is meant by inbound marketing or what we might also call internet marketing (as in the tagline at the top of my site).

 

From Inbound Marketing is Taking Off by Rand Fishkin

You need to look at the role of video in your marketing… of e-newsletters, of webinars, podcasts and white papers… and any of the above that is relevant to your online marketing. These all need to be built into your marketing strategy.

The article cannot tell anyone how to prioritize these or how to actually use any of these. (For example, what kind of video marketing is right for your company? That’s a contentious question right off the bat for anyone looking at investing in video.)  That’s where experience, savvy and luck (honestly) come into play. (You can’t get lucky if you don’t do anything though).