Make the most of mobile media

using ipadPeople use social media at work and at home, but they also use it on their smart phones and tablets. As a marketing professional, you need to take advantage of that. Have you ever looked at your own website on a smart phone?

Some websites and/or blogs look great on a computer, but not so hot on a phone or tablet. You need to address this as more people are using their cell phones to look up businesses when they are not at home. Your phone number or contact information must be easy to find on your mobile site so people can reach you.

It is not out of the question to create your own app that can be downloaded by your clients. You don’t have to be a bank, sports team or large company to have an app. You can put some handy content on a smart phone app that will encourage clients to keep it on their phone. Give them something useful, reference material that your target market wants and needs to have at their fingertips. Every time the client turns on their phone or tablet, your app is staring them in the face. Your name becomes familiar to them and as they get to know and trust you, they will buy from you.

When you optimize online business listings, like through Bing, allow businesses to register and set up a mobile page. You can promote that on your social media so that people can bookmark your listing for easy access.

Put some thought into how people can use your blog, website and even an app when they are away from home. You might just discover a whole group of people that become new clients.

Ice hockey and social media

IMG_1372My nephew Jake plays ice hockey for the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) and because it is a club team, they do not have good attendance or recognition for their efforts. Don’t get me wrong, they play as hard as any hockey players. The games are certainly not televised and the webcasts are not the greatest. They have a website and Facebook page and at one time there was a Twitter page, but it did not have a lot of activity.

I believe the wifi is not very strong at the arena. Using a webcam for a wide shot of an entire ice rink is not the best way to shoot a sporting event. But, they use social media to their advantage with the home games webcast from the arena. They basically use a laptop webcam and broadcast on LiveStream, a website that shows webcasts.

Isn’t that a great idea? Why not broadcast your events? Grow your business through webinars.

If you use Google+, you can create a hangout where up to ten people can have a live video conference call and millions more can watch. And it’s all FREE! What if you gave a webinar about your business and had people from all over the world watch, some can ask questions (the ones who are on the conference call). No fancy equipment is necessary. Really, all you need is a laptop with a camera and an internet connection. If you have headphones with a microphone you can get fairly good sound.

Plop a vase of flowers on a desk to gussy it up a bit, and aim the webcam at your face – you’re ready to go! Maybe put a few notes in front of you, but you know about your business. You don’t really need a lot written materials, just enough to keep you on topic – and you don’t want to read from a script.

If you announce and promote the event on your website, blog, email and through social media, put it in your newsletter or ezine – any way you want, you will get results. Encourage people to send questions in advance so that you have time to prepare great answers.

Be sure to offer this complimentary webcast to your ideal clients. Give them good information, stuff they can use. Encourage them to hire you at the end of the talk.

As you are prepare for your webinar, take a break now and then and watch or listen to a Terps ice hockey game!

Bookmarking sites can work for you

bookmark-your-blog-and-websiteBookmarking sites are the one easy way to spread your message to the most people in a short amount of time. If you have never heard of StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, BizSugar, YahooBookmarks, GoogleBookmarks, you are missing out on a way to reach countless people. For every blog I write, website I design and article I post, I spread the word through bookmarking sites.

There are tons of these sites out there, you just have to know where to find them. For the most part, the sites are popularity contests. Like or vote for the page, and it rises in the ranks.

By using the Add This toolbar to your browser, you have a convenient way to organize all of the bookmarking and social sites. You load your favorite sites, and when you use the toolbar, all of your social sites are right there. You can just click on them one by one and share your blog, site or article. Unlike Twitter, Facebook and Google+, many bookmarking sites can only be used once per page. Each blog entry can be viewed as its own page, so you can promote each blog entry through each bookmarking site for maximum exposure of your business.

Before you sign yourself up for a whole bunch of bookmarking sites, take a look at each one and see if it is appropriate for your business blog or website. Some, like BizSugar, are more appropriate for marketing and business related sites, but not so much for others. StumbleUpon, Reddit and Digg are more general and have lots of topics or subtopics from which to choose. If your business does not fit well into their custom topics, it might not be a good fit for you. Don’t waste your valuable time promoting something that is never going to be viewed. Remember to sign up for – and use – Google Analytics and see which sites and search engines are sending you the most traffic.

Another issue is how many members the sites have. Some of the bookmarking sites have limited membership, or the members may all be from foreign countries. That’s great if you market your business to foreign countries, but not if you don’t.

You have to join each bookmarking site before you can use them. But after that, it becomes easy and routine. Add This has sharing codes that are easily attached to your blog so other people can share the page too. You will see the share buttons at the bottom of each of my blog entries. Once you set up your accounts, you can add the codes to the blog. Be nice to the bloggers you like and share their page. Hint, hint…

The Add This sharing codes and toolbar both have loads of social media and bookmarking sites. That is why I chose to use their links on my blogs and websites. In order to grow your business, use these bookmarking sites as much as can. I’d love to hear about how bookmarking is helping you.

Analyze who views your page

analyze website page viewsDo you have any idea who is looking at your website? Do you know where the traffic originates? If you are trying to grow, or care at all about your business, you should know how people are finding your website or blog. If you do not know where you are getting customers, this is important information.

The most popular way to get a handle on your page viewers is with Google Analytics. It takes a little know-how to use this. You have to be able to add code to your page, or get someone add it for you. Google Analytics will analyze how your viewers find you, the efficacy of your keywords and there is even a section just for social media sites. Lots of information is there, but it does you no good if you are not looking at it on a regular basis. New features just came out for Google Analytics including shortcuts to the stats you use the most often.

If you have ecommerce on your site, Google Analytics can even figure out the percentage of website visitors who become customers. You can analyze individual pages, and get in-depth analysis.

If you are sharing new pages or blogs on Twitter, but you are not getting any traffic from Twitter, that is saying something that you need to know. Either you are not reaching enough people or your message is not encouraging people to click the link to your page. Making your message a call to action may improve the clicks.

Some people are not technically savvy and have no clue about how to add code to their page. I totally understand. Most of my clients don’t get it at all. For them, there is another way to figure out who is viewing their site. It’s called Stats Crop. By entering your web address, you can get a lot of information about how your site is working. Stats Crop gives each page a number score and gives suggestions on how to raise it (adding backlinks, getting the page indexed on search engines and more). Learn about your keywords. Are they working? Do you need to add more? How are similar sites doing? This can help you figure out what marketing methods are working best.

Users of Blogger can get access to how the blog is doing. They have most of the same information as Google Analytics, but without doing a thing! All you need to do is go to the dashboard page and click on the little blue graph under the name of the blog. If you have multiple blogs, there will be one for each of them. By clicking on “traffic sources,” you can see how people find you.

Somehow I’m getting viewers from a porn site. I swear, I don’t know how that is happening! I can’t imagine why someone would go from porn to my blog, but I’ll take the page views however I can get them.

A year ago, I never heard of BizSugar, and now I know I’m getting most of my page views through them. Friend Feed, on the other hand, isn’t doing much for me at all. One of my clients gets her best page views from StumbleUpon. Maybe it is how each book-marking or other social site categorizes the keywords entered when I submit the pages.

The best way to know what is happening with your clients and page viewers is to use every way possible to analyze your website. Learning who comes to the page will help you figure out more about your target market. You will learn what marketing is working, or not. If you don’t understand how to use this analysis, view the help section. It is definitely worth the trouble.

Step right up… have we got a deal for you!

special offer on social mediaHurry! Hurry! The contest is about to begin. This is what many businesses say on their social media pages. Offers, contests and special drawings are often featured on pages to attract people to either sign up for a newsletter or get on a mailing list.

As entrepreneurs, we are always thinking up new ways to bring in business. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. There are some tried and true methods that have worked. Of course, you can add your own spin to an old idea and make it your own. When I was in graduate school, I had a professor who said that there is no such thing as a new idea. You just need to take an existing idea and improve it or change it to suit your needs.

Instead of paying a marketing person to get new business, you can put an offer on your Facebook page to entice new people. Offering a free product is one way to attract new clients. Everyone loves something for free. But, you must make sure you are giving them something that has value. You cannot just give people a 10 page ad for your company and call it a book. People see right through that. But, if you give them something worthwhile, they might just become a happy customer.

Businesses often offer contests if people sign up for a newsletter or mailing list. Instead of giving away a lot of small things, they offer one big one. People love contests, and I have come to discover that people love filling out online forms.

For 14 years, I ran an animal rescue with an online adoption form. I often received forms from people who had no intentions of adopting an animal. But, as a result, I had their name, snail mail address and email address. That information came in handy when it was time to promote an event or ask for donations. I took advantage of it many times over the years.

Use your imagination. If you think about it, you know there is something that you can offer to entice people to visit your page, sign up and even become a client for your business. Then, once you have attracted new people, it is up to you to wow them.

Affiliate marketing with blog and websites

What is affiliate marketing?

Have you ever seen ads on the side of someone’s blog? Or, ads on someone’s website? That is usually not paid advertising, but affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you put ads on your site and are paid a commission if someone clicks on the ad, goes to the site and then buys something. Much less often, you get paid per click or site visit. If you get paid per click, it is usually pennies rather than dollars.

If you use affiliate marketing on your site, you now have a way to generate income, hopefully at least enough to pay for the site. Most social media, especially Facebook, frowns upon affiliate marketing because they don’t make any money from it – you do!

Here are a couple sites that I recently started with affiliate marketing:

www.PetSaver.info

www.ExtremeCuteness.com

I started them on a whim, just for fun really. I purchased the domains from Namecheap.com, which is – you guessed it – really cheap! Most sites are about $3-10 a year. I know I used to pay at least $35 for each site before I transferred all my names to them. Namecheap also does hosting.

Once I set up the sites, I wanted to get some affiliate marketing on them. ChaCha’s affiliate program offers lots of links, quizzes and other fun things. They pay per click, between 1.5¢ to about 4¢ per click. It depends on what the topic is how much they pay. ChaCha is a website where you type in a question and a real person answers you, like a human Google. You will not get rich with this type of affiliate program unless you get a crazy amount of hits per day on your site. ChaCha’s affiliate program adds several new links every day, so you have to check it on a regular basis. There are links in a lot of different topics.

Amazon is another company that has a really popular affiliate program. They have a variety of ads you can use. Some of them even have a search feature so people can look for what they want to buy. You cannot change the size of their ads, which is one reason they have so many versions available.

Many companies have affiliate programs, but if you want to have several ads from different companies on your blog or site, you should go with a company that serves many affiliates. I went with Commission Junction. There are tons of affiliates listed on this site. There are credit card companies, cell phone companies, dog food, magazines – anything that might interest you. Most of them make you apply to them if you want to put their ads on your site. Some accept right away, others might take a week or two to give you an answer.

The reason that I originally discovered Commission Junction was that I wanted to use Vista Print, the popular online printing company, on my site. When I looked on their site, they sent me to Commission Junction. Unfortunately, they turned me down. But I found a lot of other companies that wanted to work with me. The database is very sophisticated on their site. Each advertiser has lots of ads that are in a bunch of different sizes to fit on just about any website. Most of the time, you have to accept the ad the way it is, although some can be sized to fit.

When someone clicks on the ad, you can set it up so that it opens in a new tab on the user’s browser, which I recommend because that way the browser still has your page on display too. You can also have it just go to the advertiser’s page without opening a new tab.

Clickbank is another affiliate marketing program. They give you a QR code that can be used as a link to the ad. We’ll save QR codes for another day, but they come in very handy as you can scan it into your smart phone and avoid typing the web address.

With all of the affiliate programs, they hold on to your cash until you reach a certain threshold. For most it is $50. Then you can withdraw the money and have it go to your PayPal account.

Is this totally over your head? If you are not well versed in web design, you might want to pass along the affiliate marketing information to your designer. You need to cut and paste code and that can be confusing for some people who are used to the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) type of designing – where there is no code knowledge needed.