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Comments Off on What Does the Future Hold for Email and Social Marketing?

What Does the Future Hold for Email and Social Marketing?

2013 has arrived, and with it comes thoughts and ideas of how email and social marketing will evolve. While we can’t predict what will become the next big social media channel this year, we can give you some tips to help you stay ahead of the game.

Mobile Design – This may be the most important thing to consider for your email marketing this year. According to Litmus, 36% of emails are opened using a mobile device/tablet, and they predict it’ll be 50% by year’s end. Hence, mobile design is something you definitely want to take this into account when crafting your emails, and it’s not as hard as you may think. With a few minor tweaks, your email will render clearly for readers on a variety of devices or platforms, just follow these tips:

  • Keep the design slim – Around 500-600 pixels
  • Use call-to-action buttons
  • Use a simple, single column layout
  • Include links that’re large enough to “click” i.e., touch
  • Have a text-only email back up
  • Give your email the “touch screen” test (is it easy to navigate with your finger?)
  • Ensure your email renders/downloads properly on an iPhone

Social ROI – Remember the tag line from the movie, Field of Dreams? “If you build it, he will come.” It also applies to social media, as well as baseball fields. Once social media was built, people came in droves (hint: So get on it, if you’re not already!). And, social media no longer pertains to a certain age group or demographic; everyone’s on it. The key now, is to keep people continuously engaged with your business on social, and to do so, you simply need to keep at it! Here are a few engagement-inducing ideas:

  • Content is king – Share links, post videos and/or images (According to Facebook, posts that include a photo generate 120% more engagement).
  • Add value – Share useful information and tips, even if you’re sharing from other sources.
  • Interact and engage – Don’t just post and leave your page unattended – Answer questions, make comments, and ask questions.
  • Post on a regular basis – This could be multiple times a day, or several times a week depending on your customers and the content available.
  • For more social media engagement related posts, read: “Want Better Facebook Engagement? Stop What You’re Doing” and/or “What Motivates People to ‘Like’ or ‘Unlike’ Brands on Facebook“

You can actually track ROI on social media; you just need to set up some key tools. Facebook Insights is a great start for monitoring progress on your Facebook Page. Google Analytics (GA) will also track where people come from when they visit your website, plus it tracks activity on your social accounts. And, if you set up goals in GA, you can track conversions from social interactions. If you’re sharing links from your site, or sharing from another, using Bit.ly not only shortens long URLs, it also gives you tracking information about the people clicking on your links. Even if you aren’t tracking, don’t overlook the power of social engagement. SocialBakers has been tracking exactly this and find that more engagement on social creates more reach, more click throughs, and ultimately more conversion. So keep sharing great info, and it’ll pay off in the end!

Read the full article…

Comments Off on 5 Steps To Building A Search Persona

5 Steps To Building A Search Persona

It’s easy for online B2B marketers to become distracted by the search engines and forget the real reason they’re doing SEO in the first place: the customer. Customer demand is the driving force behind search and must be the foundation for your SEO strategy. Whether you’re an SEO newbie or already running a few SEO campaigns, it’s important to take a step back and determine what techniques really align with your customers’ needs.

An effective, simple concept every search marketer should leverage is the process of developing a search persona. Similar to a marketing persona, creating a search persona helps professional B2B marketers to accurately identify their target customer, to understand how users are actually searching for their business online and to ultimately, drive higher conversion. This is not a very time-consuming process, and will have a significant impact on your marketing efforts behind search and must be the foundation for your SEO strategy. Understanding the keywords your prospects use and the places they go to find information is the critical first step in implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy

1. Know Your Target Audience

Identify a target audience that is most likely to turn into customers. Ask yourself: Who’s my perfect buyer? For any businessperson (regardless of SEO), this is something you should be able to answer.

2. Understand Your Audience’s Pain Point(s) & Know How They Search to Solve Them

How would your target customer articulate their need for this in terms of keywords? How do they search? Determine the queries that are used by your target audience, are aligned with your business goals, and appear in significant enough volumes.

3. Provide Real Solutions

Create great content that’s well optimized for the search engines, but also meets the needs of your target customer and provides calls-to-action that encourage users to further explore and engage with your product or service.

4. Be Compelling

Offer a call to action that compels the searcher to dive deeper into your conversion funnel. For example,
this might be a discount code, or an online form. Basically, a feature that allows you to keep in contact with a user and offers them an incentive to stay engaged with your website and product or service.

5. Know Your Data

Make sure you’re regularly tracking performance metrics that help demonstrate the efficacy of these campaigns.

One of the most overlooked aspects of this process is to truly try to understand the target searcher’s agenda. Think of yourself as you search for something. All the pages you bounce off of, because they aren’t relevant, trustworthy, or are too complex for one reason or another. Search persona only works in context with business goals, and content that was designed for them. Doing only one thing out of the overall list above will not bring the desired results. Now that you’ve built your search persona, examine your website’s content and existing SEO campaigns and make any adjustments necessary to align with the criteria you’ve identified in this process. Understanding the keywords your prospects use and the places they go to find information is the critical first step in implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy.

This article is excerpted from a whitepaper by Optify Inbound Marketing Software. Learn more.

Comments Off on 5 Creative Ways Businesses Are Using Google+ Hangouts

5 Creative Ways Businesses Are Using Google+ Hangouts

by Tim Gray

Are you interested in adding a bit of splash to your social media marketing mix?

Google+ Hangouts has addressed this issue.

It might be the versatile platform you’ve been waiting for to help capture the attention of an even bigger slice of potential customers.

With Hangouts, you can:

  • Video chat instantly with up to nine people.
  • Share documents and other files with the group.
  • Watch a YouTube video together and chat alongside it.
  • Share your screen with others.
  • Record sessions for viewing later.
  • Broadcast the chat live to anyone

How to Get Started

Starting a Hangout is easy (and free!). Just create a Google+ account, and click the “Start a Hangout” button. The technical aspects of Google+ Hangouts are extremely basic and intuitive.

Starting a Hangout is simple. Click the green “Start a Hangout” button and decide who to invite.

Now you’re ready to get creative!

Check out these five creative ways businesses are utilizing Hangouts. Feel free to experiment with any combination of these ideas.

  1. Crowdsourcing

  2. The Question & Answer

  3. The Demonstration

  4. The Giveaway

  5. Pull Back the Curtain

Get the full details on implementing these five ideas and read the article on Social Media Examiner…

 

Comments Off on VIDEO BLAST: Great new offering from BGAmedia and Bob’s Computer Service

VIDEO BLAST: Great new offering from BGAmedia and Bob’s Computer Service

by Robert B. Gelman

You’ve seen the videos. They are on YouTube. They are on Facebook, MySpace, and web sites all over the Net. They show customers offering testimonials. Or product demonstrations.  Or simply a background piece on the owners of a small business.  There is no limit to the way you can use video today to promote your business or venture. But most small business owners think, “That is just too expensive for me to invest in.”

That would be a mistaken impression now.

There is a solution available and we are offering it, at an amazing price. Instead of paying a videographer $500-$1500 to shoot and edit a video, then paying a similar amount to a web developer or marketing agency to post the video online, you can buy a package from BGAmedia that includes all of that, at only $200 (for a limited time).  Have a video and just need it put online? That’s just $100.  Same low introductory price if you want a short video shot and do not want it put online.

This article details the principles involved in succeeding with online video.  The good news here is that you don’t need to worry about most of that.  We’ll guide you all the way and you are guaranteed a professionally shot and edited piece, presented in the best possible way on your web site and if desired, YouTube, Facebook, or other social network that accommodates video. Also, we recommend a content strategy, as described in this article.

What are you waiting for?

Act now to find more or get started.  Call 209-588-8055 today, no obligation. Ready to start now?

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Comments Off on Measuring the value of social media with Google Analytics

Measuring the value of social media with Google Analytics

A new set of Social reports help you measure the impact of your social marketing initiatives and evaluate the effect social media has on your Goals and Ecommerce activities. The four new reports aggregate key data points to help you see the complete picture of how social marketing and media affect your business. You’ll find the Social Value Overview, Social Sources, Social Plugins, and Conversion Reports in the Traffic Sources section of your Google Analytics account. Learn More.

Export and share reports

Exporting and sharing reports is now possible in the new version of Google Analytics. From the Export tab, download or email any report directly from your account. You even have the option to automate sharing. Set up your account to email reports daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Learn More.

They also added a share button to Custom Dashboards, Reports, and Advanced Segments. The share button creates a link to the custom template you created, and not your actual account data. When someone clicks this link, they’ll land in their own Analytics account and see the custom schema you created populated with their own data. Learn more.

Track paths from one event to the next

Welcome the Events Flow Report.  If you’re already tracking content like videos, downloads, and embedded gadgets as Events, use this report to see the order in which visitors trigger Events and the popular paths taken from one Event to the next. They’ve also added the Date Comparison feature to all Flow reports, so you can see at a glance how visitor engagement changes over time. Try it out in any of these reports: Visitor Flow, Goal Flow, and the new Events Flow. Learn more.

Make your marketing accountable with digital marketing attribution

The Attribution Modeling tool lets you assign credit across your whole digital marketing campaign — so you can set values for all of the elements that led to online sales and other business goals. By building and comparing customized attribution models, you can determine the impact of different channels, referral sources, campaigns, and keywords. Learn more about using attribution to improve your marketing in the Attribution Playbook, or check out industry trends in this Attribution Whitepaper.

From the Google Blog

Comments Off on New Ad-system will bring intent-based ads to Facebook

New Ad-system will bring intent-based ads to Facebook

Excerpted from Inside Facebook

Facebook is testing a new advertising system that will allow third-party platforms to place retargeting ads on Facebook after users visit external websites marked with cookies, according to TechCrunch.

The program, called Facebook Exchange, could bring a large influx of new inventory to the social network and give Facebook the intent-based targeting data it previously lacked.

Eight demand-side platforms — TellApart, Triggit, Turn, DataXu, MediaMath, AppNexus, TheTradeDesk and AdRoll — are involved in the test. The program will be more widely available for traditional Facebook ads on the right-hand side of the page within the next few weeks. Facebook Exchange will not apply to Sponsored Stories or mobile ads.

TechCrunch reports that when a user visits a site that has hired one of Facebook’s partner platforms (DSPs), a cookie will be placed on that user’s browser when the person reaches a stage that implies purchase intent. If a user does not complete a transaction, the DSP will be able to bid on retargeting ads that appear on Facebook when the user visits the social network. According to AdExchanger, these ads will go through the same review process as traditional Facebook ads.

After being served a Facebook Exchange ad, users can opt-out of future retargeting from individual DSPs, but they cannot opt-out of the program completely, TechCrunch says. Facebook may also be able to continue to use information from those cookies to target other ads to users, even if they deny DSPs the option to target them this way.

This type of ad program is a somewhat unexpected development from Facebook. Many have predicted that the social network would one day launch its own ad network to display Facebook ads across the web. This move seems to do the opposite, bringing ads based on web browsing to Facebook.

DSPs are likely looking forward to being able to serve ads on Facebook, where users spend an extraordinary amount of time. However, Facebook puts a number of limitations on the size and format of its advertisements, and it remains to be seen whether the creative constraints will affect the impact of a retargeting campaign. Further, none of Facebook’s own targeting options will be available to DSPs, AdExchanger reports. This means that a travel website can retarget a user who searched for a flight through a DSP partner, but it cannot layer on Facebook targeting parameters, such as demographics, Likes or interests.

Read the full article…

Comments Off on Google Explains Over-Optimization

Google Explains Over-Optimization

In a recent article excerpted here by Jill Kocher at Practical Ecommerce,  we alerted you to a shift undergone at Google that would ostensibly reduce page rank for web sites that attempted to “game” the system by paying more attention to optimization than site quality.  That fact remains, but Google has come out with more details and Kocher has a follow up article that refers to it as more of an “evolution” than “revolution.

She continues, “Google’s much discussed over-optimization penalty turned out to be a moderate evolutionary step in Google’s site quality crusade. Launched April 24, Google wrote in a blog post of its update, “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.”

According to the Google blog post, an estimated 3.1 percent of U.S. search results will be affected by the algorithm update, while sites in countries like Poland that are more prone to produce webspam could see as high as 5 percent change in rankings. The algorithm will more aggressively penalize webspam tactics like keyword stuffing and irrelevant linking from sites that “spin” content with barely readable content. “Spinning” refers to the practice of scraping content from other sites and then manually or mechanically rearranging the words to create a “new” piece of content.

Is All SEO Webspam?

In its announcement, Google’s head webspam cop Matt Cutts also addressed the difference between search engine optimization and webspam. The first three paragraphs of the announcement details the difference between ethical or “white hat” SEO practices and manipulative “black hat” webspam under the guise of SEO. As an ethical SEO practitioner, I appreciate the vote of confidence for the SEO industry, but Google’s Cutts must really have felt under fire after his over-optimization comments last month to write such a missive. Cutts’ best advice is to focus on creating “amazing, compelling web sites.” That, to be sure, is not a newsflash to most ecommerce brands.

Read the full article…

Comments Off on Mobile Advertising Became ‘Relevant’ in 2011

Mobile Advertising Became ‘Relevant’ in 2011

Internet ad revenue report from IAB and PwC says it grew 149 percent last year.

by Bill Mickey, Foliomag.com

The IAB released its Internet Advertising Revenue Report yesterday, which details full-year 2011 results and was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. As it has for the last ten years, except for a slight dip in 2009, annual revenue easily beat the previous year—hitting $31.7 billion in 2011, a 22 percent increase over 2010 and an all-time high.

In the last decade, revenues have shot up $25.7 billion at 20.3 percent CAGR. Even so, mobile got recognition as a format that came into its own in 2011, jumping 149 percent to $1.6 billion for the year. 2011 also marked the first year in the report that mobile was broken out as a standalone format. Its revenue increase drove 3.7 percent of the overall 22 percent advertising growth for the year.

While mobile’s 5 percent slice of the full-year digital advertising pie is a tiny one, it’s passed email (1 percent), sponsorship (4 percent) and rich media (4 percent) in share of revenues. Mobile is now tied with lead generation.

It’s likely been singled out due to its big jump over 2010’s $641 million, by far the fastest growing segment. Plus, the platform has traditionally been bemoaned as one that’s not been capitalized on nearly enough.

Nevertheless, digital video (6 percent)  and classifieds (8 percent) are still slightly ahead, as are display and banner advertising which command the highest share of revenues at 22 percent and 47 percent respectively.

For the full report, click here.

The original article is here.