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PSPinc will help your business thrive by providing for all of your technology needs. We offer a wide array of products, including Web & Email Hosting, Website Development, Email Marketing and Data Storage Solutions. Visit pspinc.com to learn more.

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What Can Account-Based Marketing Do For You?

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What Can Account-Based Marke...
You may have heard of a new trend in marketing called Account-based Marketing (ABM)—but what is it? Wikipedia defines ABM as

...a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospects or customer accounts as markets of one.

ABM isn’t a new concept, but it is gaining new ground these days because we finally have the means and tools to use it effectively with today’s technology.

With traditional marketing, you plan and implement your marketing strategies after defining target markets. Large enterprises have used this strategy to effectively focus their efforts and increase sales in the past, but with the advent of online marketing tools and a wealth of customer data at your fingertips, a company of any size can utilize this strategy to grow their business.

The first step taken when developing an ABM strategy is to analyze where sales are coming from and how the customers are finding the business. This helps define “accounts” by using existing examples. Using this information, the target accounts are defined with specific criteria and contact points are identified.

If you don’t have existing contacts within your target business, then a plan for developing those contact points must be created. This can involve the use of Facebook and/or Google AdWords campaigns set up to target very specific demographics to generate inquiries. It is also important to track any inquiries you receive, so having some form of Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) in place is important for your data collection and follow up.

ABM can benefit any size business and can fit into marketing budgets of nearly any size. It can help maximize the return on your marketing investment by targeting the businesses most likely to utilize your products or services with a message tailored directly to providing solutions for their specific needs.
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6 Ways to Mess Up Your SEO

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6 Ways to Mess Up Your SEO
We talk a lot about what makes for good SEO practices and strong content, but what are the pitfalls and actions that can work against your SEO? It’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do when you are developing your strategy and putting it into practice.

Here are some things to avoid when working on your SEO:

1. Duplicate content
Search engines have web crawler “bots” that scan your website’s content regularly to index them for search results. Search engine bots will recognize content that is duplicated on multiple pages with different web addresses and ignore or demote affected pages, or scan your site less frequently because they believe it’s not updated with new content.

2. Keyword stuffing
Repetition of your keywords throughout your content IS helpful for your SEO, but overdoing it and stuffing keywords in everywhere is not. Both consumers and search engine bots find content overstuffed with keywords unattractive, leading to fewer organic visitors to your site sticking around long enough to convert into customers.

3. Avoiding reviews
Avoiding asking your customers to leave you reviews because you aren’t sure what they’ll say is not worth the risk of losing the search rank boost and authority that reviews can lend your page. Even if you have complaints posted, they can be a place where you showcase your customer service in how you respond to customers who have had issues. Reviews are becoming more and more important to SEO and potential customers’ first impressions of your business, you may as well bite the bullet and take advantage of the real boost they can give your SEO.

4. Opening social media pages—and then ignoring them
Social networks are here to stay, and nearly everyone is on Facebook, Google+ and Yelp. If you haven’t yet done so, open company pages or claim company listings on any and all social media outlets you come across. More importantly, own and manage those pages so that you know what is being posted on or about your page. We have seen incidents involving private party photos posted to the main company sociall media accounts that went unnoticed for long periods of time because no one was paying attention to the activity on the accounts—not the best first impression to give a potential customer who hears your name and searches for you.

5. Having a website that isn’t mobile friendly
Google has adjusted their scoring algorithm to reduce the rank non-mobile friendly websites for the second time. As more and more people use their mobile devices and tablets to search for information, Google wants to serve them with sites that will be easily read on smaller screens and, all other factors being equal, a site that is mobile friendly will outrank a non-responsive website every time on a mobile search. Open your website using your phone or tablet—do you see a shrunken version of your site, or do you see content that is laid out in an easy to read manner that is adjusted to fit your screen? If it’s the former, it’s time for an upgrade.

6. Irregular or no updates
Regular updates are one of the three most important and basic elements of any SEO strategy. If you do not regularly update your page contents, don’t bother considering utilizing online media in your marketing plan, it will be a waste of your time.

There are other technical issues you might want to check in with your website developer about, but the most important element in your SEO plan is for you to own it. Today’s marketplace is ever-expanding thanks to the growth of the internet, and regardless of what type of business you run, you can’t ignore your company’s web presence.
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Mobile Traffic Is A Benefit For Business

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Mobile Traffic Is A Benefit For...

Mobile marketing is marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a smart phone. Mobile marketing can provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas.

In the past, we have covered topics such as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These are broader marketing topics covering wide-ranging media, ads and marketing campaigns. Mobile Marketing is a narrower approach specifically targeted at users of mobile devices. SEM and SEO target browsers on all devices, while Mobile Marketing is geared towards mobile devices and doesn’t always rely on browsers to deliver your marketing message.

Traditional marketing methods relies on distributing a message to massive audiences via traditional media, such as television ads. The marketer selects the program, the time, the location and demographic they want to target with their ad and the commercial is broadcast accordingly. The potential customers that view the ad are just a small part of the audience that watches the television program it airs during.

Mobile Marketing changes this approach, allowing campaigns created “just for you” because mobile devices generate more specific data about their users. This allows for much narrower and more accurate targeting than the wider audiences reached through traditional media.

Small and medium business owners may believe that only large corporations benefit from targeted marketing over mobile devices, but that is not the case. More and more people are getting more of the information they seek through mobile devices on the fly instead of only looking things up through computer browsers, both at home and when they’re away from their desktop PCs. Your business needs to be ready to serve the best information to the most receptive audience to adapt to the evolving mobile market.

Having said that, part of what you need to do to stay abreast of the evolving nature of your internet traffic is to evaluate your website, newsletters and any other online tools you use to create content visible to your online viewers to be sure that the content being produced is mobile-friendly. In practice, this means that your website and newsletter need to be easily readable on mobile devices and small screens, which in turn means that they’ll need to use responsive design strategies that resize your content to adapt to whatever screen your content is viewed on.

In addition to making sure your content is viewable on mobile devices, you’ll also want to make sure that your homepage’s message is concise and easy to understand. Pared with a responsive image, this is one of the easiest ways to get your message across at a glance and engage more customers on more devices.

If you need help with adapting or updating your website to meet the needs of a wider range of visitors, we’re happy to assist you.
#pspinc #dreamersi #onlinemarketing #blog

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Inbound Marketing Is Important

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Inbound Marketing Is Important
Have you been annoyed by commercials and switched channels to wait until your program comes back on? Or closed a website ad that hides the content you’re trying to reach on a web page? Consumers are getting smarter in finding ways to avoid interacting with or viewing ads and commercials. These traditional marketing methods, such as telemarketing, magazine ads, television commercials and direct mailing, are called Outbound Marketing. In contrast, “Inbound Marketing” has been evolving more recently to reach potential customers in different ways.

Inbound marketing takes advantage of newer media, such as blog posts, online videos, email newsletters, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing and other forms of content marketing. Inbound Marketing’s methods draw visitors to the advertising content, rather than distributing the marketing content to potential customers.

Another difference between Outbound and Inbound Marketing is that with Outbound methods, you attempt to “buy” the attention of your potential customers, whereas with Inbound methods, you focus on attracting customers to your website, social media accounts, etc.

Consumers today do not like being pushed into making their purchasing decisions by overly aggressive marketing, but prefer being persuaded by their own research and analysis of the product or service they require and the companies that provide the options available to them. Many will have made their final choices long before they set foot in a store, which is why Inbound Marketing is becoming a more and more important strategy for promoting companies’ products as well as reputations for service and performance.

There are many tools that can be used for effective Inbound Marketing. YouTube videos are a new and popular tool that can take advantage of great stories and home videos from satisfied customers. You can begin with a simple blog on your website or a YouTube channel to showcase your videos, or expand your reach with Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. Sharing your knowledge, behind the scenes scoop on upcoming products and interacting with potential customers will lead to organic marketing—just be patient and post new content consistently and regularly to grow your audience and your business.

Happy customers are the best way to grow and market your company, and Inbound marketing can help naturally increase your business.
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What Is Target Marketing?

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What Is Target Marketing?
In past articles, we have covered how to attract people to our website and convert visitors into leads. But how can you attract people who are more likely to convert into leads and customers? Without the right audience, a website can’t generate new business.

In order to attract the right audience to your website, you first need to determine what makes that audience the best one for you. You can do this by analyzing your existing customer base and defining the characteristics that your customers share, as well as comparing your competitors’ offerings to your own. Once you have done this, you can go back to the marketing plan you’ve written and create demographic goals.

While it is beneficial to list out your preferred characteristics, it’s also good to keep asking yourself WHY they are useful traits while you’re compiling your lists.

Once you’ve defined your preferred audience, put yourself in their shoes. How will they seek out products or services like yours? What will be the important decision making points that get them to click over to your website? Where and how will they hear about your business or products?

For example, a restaurant owner might want their audience to include

-locals and people who frequent the neighborhood
-people who dine out often
-people who prefer the restaurant’s cuisine
-people who frequent restaurants in the same price range
-visitors and tourists, if the business is in a hotspot or near a convention center

Once you’ve determined who you would like to approach, you can redefine your messaging, where and how you choose to market your business. It can be more cost effective to choose a narrow target demographic, but too narrow and you can miss out on other opportunities. It’s important to find a balance, based on your acceptable risk and expected return, and what serves your business goals and objectives.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know who you want to reach and learn as much about them as you can in order to communicate your offerings effectively to your target audience.
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How To Effectively Generate Leads Online

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How To Effectively Generate L...
It's one thing to generate more traffic to your website, but it is another thing entirely to generate leads and convert visitors interested in what you have to offer. If you monitor your website’s traffic using Google Analytics or any other monitoring software, you will see a statistic called “Bounce Rate.” The Bounce Rate shows the percentage of visitors that reach your site and leave within a very short period of time, i.e., visitors that “bounce” right off your site. In order to maintain a healthy, low Bounce Rate your site needs to engage your visitors and keep interested parties on the page long enough to be enticed by what you have to offer. For this, content plays the most important role on the homepage.

How do we engage visitors and convert them to leads?

First of all, do you have a way to capture a lead on your website? Can visitors easily figure out how to contact you? Do any of your staff that answer new callers ask where they heard about your business?

Your website’s homepage needs engaging content an attractive call to action in order to generate leads from your site traffic. Both of these aspects must make sense to an interested visitor if you want to turn them into a potential customer. Having things like “Sign up for our newsletter to receive offers and coupons!” or “Register for free samples!” can help persuade a visitor to submit their information and inquiries via a simple form that doesn’t discourage their interest while signing up.

Calls to action should be noticeable and easy to access from the first page your visitor lands on. Brightly colored banners or buttons pointing are easy to find and encourage clicks. The forms they lead to should be basic, without asking too many questions or for too much personal information. Too long or complicated a form will lead to visitors abandoning your site rather than finishing and submitting their data, and you don’t want to increase the Bounce Rate from your lead capture form.

Changing up the placement of your call to action items on a regular basis will let you see what works best for generating leads on your site. Little changes to the form, the color, or the location of the link could have a big impact on the effectiveness of your lead generation.
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Writing An Online Marketing Plan

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Writing An Online Marketing Plan
Are you ready to do business online? What does your website say about you, your products and services?

Building a website is only one part of your marketing strategy. The business marketing plan you create for your product or service helps you determine the strategies you will use to achieve the goals you set, as well as establishing benchmarks that allow you to measure your online marketing activities’ performance.

How do you write a marketing plan?

Step 1 - Set an objective and goal

Set a goal and create specific marketing objectives. These will form the foundation of your marketing plan, so take a little time and work out what you want to achieve and what actions you would need to get there.

For example, you might like to be able to gain 10 new clients every month for a service-based business, such as a salon, or to increase your product’s monthly sales by 50% within a year, such as a tea shop might.

Be specific and set quantitative objectives with timeframes for completion, otherwise your plan won’t be effective. Setting reasonable, and measurable, objectives in a concrete timeframe will be the framework for the rest of your marketing plan.

Step 2 - Make a list of tasks and action items

Take the objectives you created and list all the things that need to be done in order for you to complete them. Be realistic in what you can do, these shouldn’t be hypothetical or aspirational.

If our salon owner from Step 1 wants 10 new clients each month, they are probably going to want to get 30 inquiries from potential new customers. The owner can place ads to attract those potential customers, but they aren’t going to only want 30 inquiries. The ads must reach a larger audience and appeal to the type of possible customers that could convert to new customers due to being part of the target demographic, such as distance from the salon, ability to afford the services offered, etc. Different actions reach different people, so you must choose the ones that will be most effective while still being affordable for you.

Step 3 - Share your list with your team

Share your ideas with your team and get feedback. Sometimes, things that seem like great ideas turn out not to be feasible options, and you can’t know what will and won’t be possible until you discuss it with your team. Different points of view can also be very helpful in coming up with new ideas or compromises that will make your strategies effective in gaining new business.

Step 4 - Take action

Once you and your team are clear on the objectives and what activities need to be undertaken, it’s time to schedule the activities and set dates for review. Periodic reviews help keep your projects from going off the rails without anyone noticing while also showing what strategies are working and will lead you to a successful outcome.

Whether the marketing plan is meant for online or offline business, the basics are the same. Set your objectives, create a plan and measure your progress towards your goals and objectives along the way.
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What Is SEM?

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What Is SEM?
As in many industries, it is common to come across abbreviated terms when talking about software and web technology. One that is commonly confusing is “SEM.” Often conflated with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, SEM is a related but different area that is also important to your website.

SEM stands for “Search Engine Marketing, and obviously shares the “Search Engine” part of the abbreviation with SEO. The two are related in that SEO will always be a part of a bigger SEM strategy, and Search Engine Marketing covers a wide variety of activities that are incorporated into your online marketing plan.

SEO practices are used to help increase your search rank and website organically, which means without paying for advertising on any of the search engines. Organic search traffic is very important to your website, but it’s not the only way that visitors find their way to your site.

This is where Search Engine Marketing comes in to play, by complimenting the organic SEO you’ve built with paid advertising that appears both on search engine results as well as pages within the ad network. These ads are often referred to as “pay-per-click” or “PPC” ads, and you are charged every time a user clicks on the ad and is taken to your website. Google AdWords and Bing ads are two of the most commonly used PPC networks for SEM.

While clicks are obviously the goal of most PPC campaigns, SEM can help grow your brand awareness in the same way that paper advertising can even when the ads aren’t clicked, as the more times they are shown to a user, the more familiar that user will be with your company and/or products. Many ads let you edit what the viewer is shown, and you can include information such as selected quotes from reviews, location information and phone numbers. The traffic generated by ad clicks and returning visitors can also help boost your search ranking in the early days of your SEO when you may not have a presence in the top pages of your search terms.

While Google is responsible for around 80% of search traffic, Bing and Yahoo make up most of the remaining 20%. You can begin working on your SEM using either Google AdWords or Bing ads and switch or add another service at any time—you’re only paying for the ads that are clicked on, so if one service doesn’t work out for you, you aren’t going to be out much money. Both services function on an auction-based system, allowing you to set “bids” for the keywords of your choosing. In order for your ad to be displayed, you will need to combine a high enough bid and a quality ad. There are different positions on the search result pages, and where you display on that page is also determined by your ad’s bid, format and performance.

Many keywords can be bid on for a few dollars or less and be successful, but highly sought after keywords can get expensive quickly. Examples of some keywords that often bid for $45 or more are “insurance,” “loans, “mortgage” and “attorney.” You can both keep your budget in control and target users who are searching for what you’re offering by using multiple-word keywords that describe your product and adjusting the location and daily budget settings within your campaigns.

SEO is very important to your website, but SEM works hand in hand with SEO to help your site reach the most people who have a need for your product and services.
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What's Your Value Proposition?

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What's Your Value Proposition?
Have you ever seen spam email that says you can “Make $100,000 online!”? PSPinc has been conducting business online for almost 30 years, and, unfortunately, it’s just not that easy, as brick and mortar businesses have known for years.

To take your business online, you need to determine your business’ value proposition. A value proposition is what separates your business from that of your competitors. Why should a prospective client choose your business over another? What unique offerings separate you from the rest of the pack?

In order to figure out any of this, you first need to define who your ideal audience would be. Your site doesn’t need a ton of traffic to be successful, but it does need the right audience for your products and services.

PSPinc found this out in the 90s with a website we built called Japanese-Online.com. We intended it to sell software to learn Japanese, and so we thought it would be helpful to build a community of people who were using our online tools to learn Japanese.

Japanese-Online.com grew to have over 80,000 registered users, but none of them bought any of our software. We even tried to sell t-shirts with Chinese characters on them, but only sold a handful. When we dug a little deeper into researching the site’s audience, we realized that the vast majority of our visitors were teenagers who were studying Japanese, and they didn’t have credit cards. Lesson learned? The makeup of the audience matters as much or more than the volume of visitors.

Despite having a clear mission in mind while building the Japanese-Online.com community, PSPinc ended up creating a free community website that never really converted any users into paying customers.

Once you have defined your audience, you will also need to define your message, which should explain why and how your business brings value to your visitors. The message must be clear and is key when creating the content of your website. Clear content also helps generate strong keywords that help your website be found when potential visitors are searching for information related to your business.

Just like any offline business, you must define a value proposition for your online business so that your online presence is in sync with your business plan.
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