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Posts Tagged ‘Inbound Marketing’

Order Business Cards and Get A FREE Domain Name

By John Joyce on August 23, 2011 - Comments 0

MOO and Network Solutions have teamed up to bring a great offer to small business owners here in the US.  If you purchase MOO Business Cards or MiniCards between now and September 4th, you’ll get a free domain name from Network Solutions.

It doesn’t get much easier than that.  MOO alllows you to create high-quality, unique Business Cards or MiniCards where you can showcase yourself or business with a unique image on the back of each card.  Take advantage of this offer now.

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Can You Afford To Ignore Mobile Marketing Any Longer?

By John Joyce on March 24, 2011 - Comments 0

Mobile MarketingThis question is reminiscent of the discussions many of us had 10-plus years ago when business owners were contemplating whether or not they needed a website. In hindsight, it’s pretty easy to see that Bill Gates’ vision of “a PC in every home and in every business” has been realized and online search is now universally available.

So, before you ponder the merits of mobile marketing and your specific business goals, let’s first take a look at evolving online marketing tactics and the associated opportunity cost of excluding … [Read more at OPEN Forum]

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What KPIs Should You Track?

By John Joyce on March 2, 2011 - Comments 0

The only way for you to accurately understand which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should track is to understand which answers you are seeking. Reports are useless if they don’t tell a story, give insights, and offer measurable/actionable tactics that help you achieve your goals. You must take a step back and develop a thought process that maps KPIs to your overall business strategy.

Here’s an example. Maybe you’ve recently deployed Google Analytics on your website and you’re wondering why you haven’t been able to leverage the great data that’s being gathered such as:

  • Total Unique Visitors
  • Pageviews
  • Bounce Rate
  • New Visits
  • Traffic Source
  • Average Time On Page

Read more…

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50% Discount for Small Business Technology Tour In Boston

By John Joyce on October 19, 2010 - Comments 0

The Small BizNest invites small business owners to attend the small business technolgy tour

Friends of The Small BizNest are eligible for a 50% discount on admission to the Small Business Technology Tour in Boston next week.  Ramon Ray, founder of Smallbiztechnology.com, has put together a great series of events to educate growing companies – whether you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner – in how to use technology as a tool to grow your business.  The next event will be taking place on October 25th at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center. (NERD)

Check out our latest newsletter for more information on enrollment and other cities where you can attend this great event.

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3 Ways Small Businesses Should Leverage Location-Based Marketing In 2011

By John Joyce on October 13, 2010 - Comments 0

Small business owners have an opportunity to take advantage of several great technologies to broaden their local reach and position themselves as the big fish in their respective small pond.  I’m going to assume that most local businesses are listed with the three major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) but, if not, refer to this white paper for instructions.  Each of these platforms has local search embedded, to some extent, so you want to be able to take advantage of this free marketing platform.

To go one step beyond simple search, let’s take a look at ways you can proactively deliver your message to prospective customers based on their geographic location:

1)  Twitter

I just read an article this morning about a local bakery, Sugar Coated Bakery, that has managed to thrive in this difficult economy even with the rising cost of ingredients like flour and sugar.  They have a Facebook page but no Twitter account listed on their site and I immediately thought of a product I read about last year, Baker Tweet, which enables you to scroll through your list of baked goods and Tweet when a new batch comes out of the oven.  Also, Advanced Twitter Search allows you to identify people based on their location, follow them and, hopefully, they’ll follow you back.

Give people the opportunity to friend, follow or like you in any way they choose and then make sure you keep the conversation going.

2)  Foursquare

I’ve written about Foursquare before and it has defined the location-based marketing space by proving the value of building a participatory community as opposed to the more conversational platforms like Facebook.  This is a solution where you can reward your best customers and build an army of evangelists simply by letting them take part in your success.

This is one of the best ways to build loyalty and generate repeat business from your most loyal customers.

3)  Location-Based Advertising

If you’re having trouble building a following within social media platforms, help may soon arrive in the form of location-based advertising from Twitter.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could reach your core demographic within 20 miles of your business with a very focused value proposition?  Foursquare has stumbled in their efforts to deliver location-based advertising options but maybe it’s a sign that their platform is best suited for DIY campaigns only.  Google just announced that Marissa Mayer has been promoted from VP of Search and User Experience to a new role focused on location-based services.

Three big players all vying for your advertising dollars.  Let’s hope at least one of them comes up with a solution that delivers.

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Why Aren’t You Measuring The ROI Of Your Online Marketing Efforts?

By John Joyce on May 28, 2010 - Comments 0

Measure Your Marketing ROII recently participated in Omniture’s ”2010 Online Analytics Benchmark Survey” and received a customized report from them yesterday and wanted to share some of the information with you.  It doesn’t take a genius to understand that businesses shouldn’t spend money on new marketing channels without having the ability to track their success, but that’s exactly what the majority of us are doing.

The main takeaways from this survey are as follows:

Key Web Analytics Challenges Include Talent, Measuring ROI and Multi-Channel Support

Top challenges for online marketers include:

  1. Difficulty finding and training top talent
  2. Determining what actions to take based on their data
  3. Maximizing marketing ROI through full funnel measurement and automatic multi-channel integration.

Do you find yourself or your staff spending large chunks of time developing programs and campaigns, delivering them across an assortment of online marketing platforms and then wondering if they had any impact?  It looks like you’re not alone.  The most telling statistic from this study is glaring proof that, since many of the emerging online marketing platforms are very much in their infancy, businesses are unable to track their success as illustrated below:

Marketers know which metrics are important to measure, however they are not capturing all the metrics they need to achieve their goals.  Eighty-two percent of survey responders believe ROI is somewhat to very important to measure, but only 30 percent of marketers can effectively measure marketing ROI!  Additionally, 86 percent of respondents think conversion rate is somewhat or very important to measure yet 27 percent of marketers cannot effectively measure conversion rates.

We all know measuring the success of offline marketing is difficult to nearly impossible but that’s because there’s no system available to allow for granular collection of metrics.  Conversely, online marketing offers so much data that we become overwhelmed by a never ending stream of seemingly valuable information .  They key, however, is knowing how to interpret that information and turn it into an actionable plan that exploits the repeatable successes you have unearthed.

If you’re going to “try” a mobile marketing campaign, social media campaign or viral video campaign, make sure you develop a system to track and measure success against your business goals.  Work smarter and not harder.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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A Must Read For Small Business Owners: The Referral Engine

By John Joyce on May 14, 2010 - Comments 1

A Must Read For Small Business:  The Referral Engine

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of The Referral Engine from John Jantch and I have to say that this is one of the best small business marketing books I have ever read. For those of you who don’t know John, he’s a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author Duct Tape Marketing.

This book is equal parts human behavior, marketing insight and phenomenally relevant stories from real people who have successfully built their own referral engine around their business. It actually kicks off with a quick physiology lesson illustrating how our hypothalamus registers “pleasure in doing good and being recognized for it”. Let that soak in a bit. Human beings are conditioned to refer their favorite businesses to others because it makes them feel good.

With that in mind, John takes us on a journey of discovery that empowers small business owners to understand how they can build a systematic process to harness peoples’ innate need to make referrals. Some key quotes are as follows:

  • “Repetition consistency and authenticity build trust and are the foundational tools of the referral trade.”
  • “Commitment to a remarkable difference demonstrates that yours is not a gimmick.”
  • Establish a “give-to-get mentality”.
  • “Expect Referrals”

The referral mindset isn’t just a necessity of your sales and marketing efforts – it should span the entire organization from management to customer service.  It’s also something that can spread exponentially by empowering prospects, partners and customers alike, so make it easy for people to to make referrals.

This book gives every small business owner a blueprint for 1) developing your referral engine strategy, 2) mapping your referral mindset across your organization and 3) implementing the tactical components that make up a successful referral system.  The rich marketing content coupled with stories from hundreds of interviews John conducted with some of the coolest and most successful companies make this an absolute must-read for every small business owner.

* The Amazon link to the book in this post is an affiliate link.

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Why Are There Bad Reviews Of Your Business In Google Maps?

By John Joyce on April 20, 2010 - Comments 2

Did you know that people can post a review of your business in Google Maps?  Google also pulls reviews from other sites (Citysearch, Insiderpages) and automatically posts them to your business listing.  Strangely, as the business owner, you have very little control over these reviews so you’ll have to add this to your “watch list” for online reputation management.

Are there negative reviews of your business online?  Find them and  fix them.Sentiment Analysis is a quickly growing data set that listing services are collecting and publishing, so, what are your options when dealing with negative feedback that finds its way into your business listing?

  • If a review was posted directly to your business listing in Google, you can flag it and then you’ll have to prove that the post violates published terms and conditions.
  • Are you able to identify the person who posted the negative comment?  If so, reach out to them, listen to their feedback and try to address their concerns.  Ask them if they would be willing to change or delete their negative review.
  • Google suggests you contact the webmaster of the 3rd party sites if the negative review wasn’t posted directly to your business listing.  Some of these sites do allow you to post a “response from management” but that won’t show up in Google Maps.  (Google does not allow you to post this type of response)
  • Google lists 5-6 reviews so  you can solicit new reviews from satisfied customers in an effort to push the negative ones off the page.  Be careful, though; too many reviews being posted in a short period of time will trigger spam alerts and hurt your ranking.

Obviously, it helps to have a solid customer support system in place and an easy process for sharing feedback directly with you so these types of issues are not broadcast to the general public.  Reputation management is an important aspect of your daily marketing life and should be treated as such.

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Help Your Customers Support Each Other: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XIII

By John Joyce on April 6, 2010 - Comments 0

Now that you’ve disseminated your message across the entire universe, how are you going to interact with  customers who are looking for guidance but are spread across so many different platforms?  Enter web-based community support tools.

web-based community support tools

Click image to see interactive online marketing ecosystem.

As you can see from the graphic above, there are several options available and one that I see more an more often (since they’re now supported in Facebook and Google) is Get Satisfaction.  They allow you to interact with customers regardless of which community portal they’re using and are  easily extended throughout your Web presence via simple widgets and open APIs.  A Get Satisfaction community invites customers/visitors to participate in the conversation and provides a platform for conversation anywhere in the online experience.

busy small business ownerGetting your message to the masses is only half the battle when it comes to building your online marketing ecosystem.  You also have to consider which operational enhancements are required to automate the management of your online presence.  Proactively engaging prospects and customers allows for diffusing negativity and garnering valuable feedback and insight as you interact with your customers on an ongoing basis.

The greatest marketing challenge facing small business owners today is simple.  Lack of time.  But, if you can create a community in front of your support solution that lets customers and prospects get answers from each other first, (often with faster response times than through traditional ticketing solutions) you have created a virtual support department. You can publish, archive and search every exchange, so there’s never a need to answer the same question twice.

So, the main thing to remember is that online marketing is no longer a unidirectional process – it has evolved into a collaboration of community where instant feedback and conversation can mean the difference between success and missed opportunity.

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Add Personality To Your Website: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XI

By John Joyce on March 30, 2010 - Comments 1

There has been a great deal written over the past year regarding the value of including video on your small business website.  The two main objections we hear over and over again are 1) I don’t have the time to create video content and 2) I don’t have the budget for the equipment and editing software.

Click to view interactive online marketing ecosystem.

Many of us said we didn’t have time to blog but now it’s a regular part of our daily/weekly routine and has become second nature.  So, the next logical progression is to begin integrating some interactive and engaging video content that will boost traffic and also keep visitors on your site longer.

Is there someone you would like to interview that your readers would find interesting?  Could you create a demo of a product or service that would be more compelling than a simple blog post?

So, you’re going to need a video camera (if you don’t already have one that can be plugged into your computer), editing software, and knowledge of integrating video into your website.

If you don’t feel comfortable getting involved in the editing and slicing of your content, you should check out a new service from Pixability where they send you a Flip camera, you shoot your video and send the camera back, and they create a professionally edited video masterpiece and send it back to you.

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