Digital Marketing in 2011

Posted on Dec 21, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

With the rise of digital marketing, it can leave you wondering how you can improve your web presence and where to start!  Let us give you some quick tips….

The Obvious Social Network Route

As the movie The Social Network hit screens, the time came to reflect on the phenomenal success of Facebook and other social media sites. Facebook has an estimated 500 million users and this is likely to increase even further. Twitter now has well over 100 million users and is attracting an average of 300,000 new users a day. This makes it plainly obvious as to your main 2011 social media strategy. Facebook seems to attract users in the ‘right’ age group for marketing purposes, so dedicate a considerable amount of your budget towards setting up campaigns both on Twitter and Facebook.

Video Kills The Behind The Times Company

Yet it is important to push yourself to the front of the queue when it comes to jumping on the video marketing bandwagon. A recent whitepaper by Cisco suggested that more than half of all web traffic will be video-related by 2014. The days of the 30 second advert are dying out with more and more consumers skipping these dull and unimaginative productions. Sites like YouTube need to used more frequently with thought provoking and lengthier adverts the key to success. If you want someone to buy your cereal, don’t depict a happy family with 2.4 children eating the product by the kitchen. Edgy, new and deep will sell in future where fast, predictable and cheesy once ruled.

Email And Mobiles

As one might expect, email marketing is moving with the times. An extraordinary 97% of American households use email so a well constructed email campaign will reap dividends. It is a fact that social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are being integrated with email. The smartphone, Android and iPhone are linking even more users to their mail. The challenge facing digital marketers is to find a way to tailor their campaign for customers who view their email on a mobile device. The best strategy is to use a tool such as Litmus to find out more about your audience and tailor your campaign to them. This is necessary because it is difficult to find a current strategy that will work well for all mobile users.

SEO Is Still King

Believe it or not however, despite the huge budgets set aside for the all of the above, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still top of the list when it comes to 2011 digital marketing tactics according to a poll carried out by Top Rank. Yet in order to get your content to the top of the search engine ladder, you still have to know your targets and audience. If you know your audience but not their triggers, start surveying. If you know what you want to market but have no idea to who, check out sites like eMarketer for market statistics. It should be remembered that no amount of marketing will work if your content is poor, sort it out. Oh, and avoid those nasty “please stay on my page and click on cancel for something special” pop-ups, these REALLY annoy consumers!

So where will this leave your marketing strategy for 2011?  All four of these pieces will make your marketing plan come together and keep up with the ever-changing trends for digital marketing.

Digital Street Featured in Nike Women Video

Posted on Nov 19, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Stephanie, our Director of Social Media, was one of 20 women chosen to participate in the Nike Women Make Yourself Movement.  As her first assignment, she was asked to post a blog on “What Makes Me” – and with typical “Stephanie fashion”, she chose to do a video instead!  Check it out below!  More videos will be coming, so be sure to check out the Nike Women Facebook page as well as our own!

Four Simple Ways to Collect Email Addresses

Posted on Nov 10, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Simple Ways to Collect EmailsThe bottom line is that people are not as willing to give out their email addresses as they used to be. So, businesses now have to think of easy and creative ways to collect emails while providing incentive to sign up.

1. Set out an Email Signup Sheet – All you need is pen and paper. It may seem a little old school with all the technology we have these days, but people will appreciate that they can sign up quickly and easily without all the hassle of getting online. Simply place a sign-up sheet at the check-out counter or main desk at your place of business and make sure it is visible for everyone to see. When customers check out, you can tell them about the special deals and updates they’ll receive by signing up.

2. Bucket O’ Business Cards – Not only do people love deals, but they love EXCLUSIVE deals that not everyone else gets. Put out a fish bowl, bucket, or basket at the main counter of your place of business and have some sort of an incentive for why someone would want to give your business their business card. For example, if you own a coffee shop, let your customers know that once a month you will draw a business card from the bucket, and the lucky winner will receive free coffee for a week! This leads to you getting a lot of business cards and customers becoming very excited for the chance to win your special deal.

3. Employee Walk-up- Creating communication between businesses and customers is key to building consumers trust. Businesses that strive for great customer service have the highest potential for success. While employees engage with customers, why not have them mention the great deals and updates they will receive by signing up for your emails? People trust people.

4. Set up a Webform- I know it sounds complicated, but it’s actually a really easy and almost effortless way to get people to sign up for emails. A webform goes on a webpage, such as your website or Facebook. It allows people to enter in information, such as their name, email address, and birth date. When people sign up, their information automatically goes into your Digital Street contact list.

Use Your “Inside Voice” In Social Media

Posted on Oct 18, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Social Media Voice

I think we can all recall our childhood of walking through museums and libraries and constantly being reminded to use our “inside voices” when taking field trips.  You are listening to the teacher or tour guide and speaking softly when talking with friends or asking questions.  Don’t you feel that the same applies to social media?

As individuals or businesses get started in social media, their first reaction is to start shouting out information to anyone who will listen about themselves or the products or services that they offer.  What’s the first word in the phrase “social media”? – “Social” – right?  We can’t be very social if we stand in a room full of people and shout out information without listening to what people are saying and even responding to their needs.  Maybe a review of “Field Trip Rules” is necessary!

Rule #1 – Listen And Learn
When beginning your social media strategy, take the time to stand back and listen.  What are people looking for and how could your business help them?  As you gather some of these ideas, start adding some helpful posts on your blog.  Once you do start interacting, you can always share your post with them, but most importantly these posts will help you stand out as a reputable source in your industry.

Rule #2 – Use Your Inside Voice
As you see areas for you to start conversing with people, the best way to jump into the conversation is to start with a whisper.  Offer a quick tip to see if you could help solve the problem.  No need to shout at them about your company and all that you offer when you first meet.  Remember, if you are talking on Twitter, you only have 140 characters and trust me…you don’t need to use them all!  A conversation starter could be to ask a question about their business or even an interest of theirs that you noticed in their profile.  By beginning the conversation slowly, your trust is built with your new connection.

Rule #3 – Don’t Roughhouse
Whether you are using social media as a means of customer service, lead generation, or a mixture of both, you are sure to run into some individuals that might say things you don’t want to hear.  Don’t be too quick to react, but take a step back and think of the potential dangers to your reputation if you push, pull, or say harsh words back to your online connections.  Always practice good manners, courtesy, and respect.

Don’t be caught in “social media timeout”….  Just practice the basic rules and you will be sure to enjoy engaging with your connections.  What rules could you add from your childhood?

CAN-SPAM Act | Are Your Emails CAN-SPAM Compliant?

Posted on Oct 13, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

CAN-SPAM Law

Back in 2003, Congress created the CAN-SPAM Act in order to prevent spam. There are rules in place now that need to be followed when sending emails, period. Don’t even think about not following the CAN-SPAM law or you might find yourself in up to a $16,000 pickle.

So what can you do to make sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant? It’s actually very simple, so don’t start sweating yet!

1) Don’t Lie About Who You Are. The “From” and “Reply-to” email addresses that are associated with your email must not be misleading. If you don’t want to use a personal email address, use an alternative email address such as noreply@yourcompanyname.com.

2) Your Subject Line Must Be Relevant To Your Email Campaign. This may seem like common sense to you, but there are email senders out there that have manipulated their subject line in order to ensure a higher open rate. This is the opposite of good. You want to gain your contacts trust, not take advantage of them.

3) Clearly Identify What The Message Is. If it is an ad, make sure the recipient knows it! This will set the expectation of what your contacts will always receive from you in the future.

4)  Provide A Valid Postal Address. This could be a current address or a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service.

5) Give Recipients An Option To Opt-Out. Although we understand that you want to continually build your contact lists rather than have people unsubscribe, your contacts have every right to not want to receive future emails from you. It is very natural to have a small percentage of your contacts unsubscribe each time you send out an email campaign. This is nothing to be too worried about.

Like we said, these rules are simple and based on clever reasoning. You want your contacts to trust you, to open your emails knowing what they can expect. You want your contacts to like you, to stay on your contact list because they enjoy what you have to say, not be stuck there deleting your emails every time yours comes around. Especially with the large amount of activity on Social Networks these days, you can’t afford to have a contact or customer complaining about you to the ever-listening social world.

How to Index Pages Using Twitter

Posted on Oct 5, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

A new theory has been experimented. Indexing the URLs of all the pages on your website is important for SERP. The more pages you have under your domain that spiders can grab relevant content from,  the better off your site is in search results. This is why SEO consultants and companies will always suggest that you create an XML sitemap for your website.

index pages using twitter

But what if your client can’t give you access to create a sitemap (we’ve seen this happen when a company website is part of a corporate system or franchise structure). What you can do, is try this new theory on how to index pages using Twitter to post your URLs.

Now, you don’t want to spam your followers with a whole bunch of links, but if it is relevant to what your posting, don’t miss out on the opportunity!

Here is a very intelligent article that walks you through an experiment with indexing pages through Twitter.

Using Twitter for Increased Indexation

B2B Marketing In A Digital World

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

This is an outstanding video to help explain how B2B marketing has changed in the digital world!  Grab some of these stats – you will want to save them!

New Google WebP Images

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

google webp

One thing we consider when optimizing your website is the loading speed of your page. For a long time, the SEO industry theorized that page speed was one of the factors that SERPs considered.  Now, especially since Google released it’s Google Instant, we are certain that speed does matter!

Google has now introduced WebP (“weppy”) images. This allows search spiders to see the size adjustments to your images in the coding so that they will know you aren’t making searchers wait to load your full size image. It allows you to download the WebP install and convert your JPEG image codes to be WebP friendly.

Read more about how it helps your page speed here:

Google’s New “Weppy” Image Standard

You Shouldn’t Run From Social Media – PLAN for It!

Posted on Oct 1, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Are you hiding under your desk scared of what social media could mean for your company?  Remember thinking that you are “safe” if you don’t get involved?  If there is one thing we hope you realize is that disasters aren’t caused by social media!  Social media is what lets you SURVIVE them!  No matter how small or how large your company is, your customers are still talking about you!  Avoiding the conversations makes you look like you aren’t interested in connecting with your customers.  When taking a look at social media, don’t only think about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or MySpace.  Think about using these tools to connect with your target audience…social media is about people.

So are you ready to take that leap of faith into the social media world?  The only way to start is by developing a social media plan.  No plan?  Well, let’s get you started – no one is successful without a plan, right?

Define Your Success

You shouldn’t enter into social media unless you know what you want to get out of it!  If you aren’t sure what defines “success” for your company, then you aren’t ready!  Some examples of metrics are:

* Building buzz and conversation around your product
* Gaining more traffic
* Knowing how your customers view your brand
* Better overall brand awareness
* Leads or blog subscribers

Once you know that, the next step in the planning process is to figure out how you will measure it!  Be sure you understand your challenges and goals to determine how “buzz” will be quantified.  Are you looking at blog comments, conversions, links, Twitter conversations, or better brand recognition?  No measurement = not meeting goals!

Tell Your Story

The best way for you to connect with your customers is to use social media tools to tell them who you are!  What are the values your company holds?  Are you known for anything in particular or do you have something you want to be known for?  Marketing is telling a company story!  When your story is being shared by your customers, you know you have been successful because they WANT to be associated with you!

Building Communities

Make sure that you understand who your customers are and where they are located.  If you aren’t sure, start some research to find out.  Starting with Twitter, search for your brand name, your competitors’ names, your keywords, industry, etc.  You will then need to decide if there is enough conversation to start engaging.  With Facebook, see if there are Business Pages dedicated to your company or industry.  If there aren’t, are there a lot of people who list it as an interest and possibly interested in joining a community on that topic?  You can also check out Yahoo Answers to see if people are asking or answering questions.

Rules for Engagement

There might be some times where your company is called names and have some negative comments come from customers, but make sure you set up a strategy for dealing with them!  Having ground rules is a must!  You also need rules for not just what you will say, but WHO will be in charge of saying it and what their role is.  Better to create the rules before you get started and not while the fire is flaming!

Check Your SuccessYou can’t set up your account name on your social media accounts and then just wait for things to happen.  You have to make sure that you are engaging with your community, but then also taking a look at your efforts to make sure you have been successful.  If you haven’t, what are you going to do to fix them?  Make sure you give it time….  Social media efforts start showing their effects about 2-3 months into your plan.  When you begin, you start looking at Twitter followers and Facebook fans, but those aren’t the metrics you should be evaluating all the time.  You should really be looking if your rankings have increased based on traffic and links, if social media users are actually engaging or converting, and if you have increased awareness about a product that has led to a sale.

Whatever you had outlined as determining “success” before, now is the time to see if you’ve gotten any closer to that goal.  If you have, congrats. Keep on doing what you’re doing. If not, figure out what’s broken and fix it. If you can’t do it yourself, you may need some help!  I’m sure you know where we will point you ———–> Digital Street!

What Email Marketing Can Do For You

Posted on Sep 23, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Email Marketing>Build Brand Consistency – When sending email campaigns, it is important to stay consistent without overwhelming your contacts. Take this opportunity to build brand loyalty by sending out a campaign once a week, twice a month, or whenever you think would best suit your brands needs without being overbearing. Your consumers will begin to look forward to your email campaigns once you set the pace for when to send out campaigns. This will also lead to less chances of someone unsubscribing because they are too bombarded with your emails and don’t want to receive them anymore.

>Engage your Contacts – Believe it or not, your customers want to talk to you. It is even better when you reach out to them. With a platform such as Digital Street, you can personalize your emails by simply including someone’s first name. It makes you look like you are going the extra mile to interact with that individual. Don’t forget to give your contacts a “call-to-action”. Remember, the whole point of sending an email is to potentially bring more business to your company. Whether you are promoting a sale or just talking about something new happening within your company, you should have links going back to your company’s website. This will lead to your customers feeling more engaged, and you will be getting the most out of your email marketing.

>Catch Them Quickly – With people around the world being extremely busy, you usually don’t have much time to catch the attention of your customers. Emails allow you to get straight to the point with what you are promoting. Make sure your subject line is strong enough to make the consumer want to see what’s inside your email! However, the subject line MUST be relevant to the message you are telling. Once your email has been opened, you still only have limited time to keep the reader’s attention, so make sure your email is direct and to-the-point.  Short and sweet is better than long and lengthy.  The beauty of using email marketing is being able to connect with your customers in a time efficient manner.

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