Category: General

Print Media vs Digital Media

printed media and digital media“Print is Dead!”, shout some digital evangelist, but not so fast should we accept this statement. As we approach the thirty year anniversary of the world wide web (www), let’s recognize the continuous beating printed media has taken over the decades and survived.

Both printed and digital media are essential components of marketing campaigns used by small and large businesses. In this article, we will discuss how printed materials still have a place and can be effective in current marketing campaigns.

Digital and Social Media

Some of the most well-developed advertising campaigns regularly appear on digital platforms. Youtube, Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, etc.), and Search Engines have all become a marketplace for both brand building, and product or service advertising.

When compared to traditional (print) media, digital media consistently outperforms it in a world that is becoming more and more connected.

people using social media on digital devices

That said, both small and large businesses are wisely investing the bulk of their advertising and promotions budget into digital marketing campaigns.

While this is a wise move, according to Clash Graphics, the genius move is to utilize cheap printing and promotional materials in a way that compliments and directs traffic to a digital campaign.

Print Media – Direct Mail and Direct Response Marketing

Billboard and direct mail effectiveness continue to rise amidst the declaration that “Print is Dead.” There is still a portion of the population that responds well to something they can touch and act on without the use of a computer or phone screen.

man getting direct printed mail from mailbox

Direct mail campaigns offer the advertiser a way to target their potential customer much more effectively. For example, consider receiving a printed flyer stating ”Bill, your 1960 Chevelle may be the most valuable car in Atlanta! Find out by visiting www…” The more data you possess about your customers, the more personalized and effective a campaign can be.

With minimal investment, personalized print campaigns can complement digital campaigns and leverage incentives to drive online actions. These two media can and should work together to create an effective and seamless chain of actions taken by the customer.

In direct response campaigns, you are leading your consumer through a series of actions. “Watch this video & get a free gift.” At the end of the video appears “Click Here” and the consumer fills out their contact information to receive their gift.

Keep in mind that direct mail and direct response marketing aren’t always about getting people to spend money immediately. Sometimes, it’s getting them to take one action which leads to another action, eventually converting them into customers. Watch this video to learn about direct response marketing and a technique that you can implement right away to increase your sales:

Now that you know more about direct response and inciting action, you can see how valuable the space of media like signs and billboards are. Billboards are a great example of printed media designed to capture attention. Although to their fault, most billboards do not offer a specific call to action, thus can be an expensive print ads. Similar to online banner ads, billboards must be to the point and provide a clear and easy action that when taken will result in a substantial enough benefit to the action-taker.

Printed Media vs. Radio vs. Television vs. Digital Media

“Fight of the century!” In a way, that is precisely what it has been. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the onset of the radio, and eventually television threatened newspapers, magazines, and print-based marketing strategies.

printed media used for marketing campaigns

Soon, however, even TV would meet its match. The digital age came to be, and now in the 21st century, everyone has access to nearly every type of information (from their phones and mobile devices). But somehow, print media remains relevant, useful, and highly practical.

Intelligent marketing campaigns utilize all forms of media within their funnels to capture the interest of potential customers. And they recognize, there are segments of the market using each type of media, and your job is to meet them where they are, and seamlessly introduce them to the benefit of doing business with you.

How to Optimize Your Online Business and Web Marketing

business owner working onlineSuccessful online business owners understand that the landscape of the internet is continuously changing. They also have a clear understanding that it is virtually impossible to perfect every aspect of their online business.

In your quest for success, certain responsibilities and tasks must be understood and accomplished in order to maintain that success. Optimizing your business online is one of those tasks.

In this article, we will help you understand some of the numerous methods you can use to optimize your business. If you search web consulting Atlanta you can find a qualified professional to assist you in any of the below steps.

Online Content Strategy

To attract customers to your site, you will need to create and publish relevant quality content that your potential customers want and need. In doing this, you’ll see more relevant traffic, stronger leads, and a higher volume of sales.

Design and User Experience Optimization

Simply put, website optimization is the process of using controlled experimentation in order to improve a website’s ability to drive and meet business goals.

In order to improve website performance, website owners implement A/B testing strategies to experiment with variations on pages of their website.

By doing this, they can determine which changes will ultimately result in a greater number of conversions (e.g. increases in organic search results, reduced customer service time, more purchases, etc.).

Website Load Speed

Website performance optimization being the focal point of technologically superior website designs is the primary factor which dictates success for today’s online businesses.

Unimpressive website performance kills business. Waiting for slow web pages to load will frustrate visitors and send them off in search of alternatives.

Obtaining a lightning-fast page load speed will reduce bounce (when they simply leave), amplify your visitor’s engagement, retention, and will boost sales.

Instantaneous website responses lead to greatly increased conversion rates. Remember that speed sells and to continue doing whatever is necessary to increase the old speed of your web page.

Digital Marketing to Attract Visitors

Digital marketing has become a general term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products and services through digital technologies.

The broad objective is reaching and converting your leads into customers with the intent of retaining them. The key objective however, is to promote your brand, build preference, actively engage with your customers and increase sales through varied digital marketing techniques.

Before you can start converting online traffic into customers or leads, you need qualified traffic to find your website.

In order to attract your identified customer base to your site, you must consider and strategize the most effective approach for your niche in the market. This often translates to a Google or search engine campaign.

There are times when different venues can produce better results. Email campaigns, highly targeted Facebook ads, or a Twitter campaign are options, and every business should go about this differently.

The key to success is that you and your web consultant discover the best strategy for your business and implement it in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion optimization or conversion rate optimization (CRO) in internet marketing is a system which increases the percentage of website visitors that convert into customers, or that execute a desired action on a webpage.

Successful Online Business

The success of your online business depends on your ability to provide an exquisite online experience with a relevant product for your targeted market.

In order to reduce bounce and increase conversions, you must optimize. To accomplish this, find a qualified and trusted professional to help you get this done.

As the internet continues to evolve, their insight and knowledge will serve to increase your chances at sustainable growth and success.

Pandora and Facebook make beautiful music together

Pandora FacebookYesterday I was stunned when I went to Pandora‘s site and the music of Blaqk Audio started playing before I even signed in. I double checked Foobar to make sure it wasn’t playing, checked other tabs to see where the music was playing from and then I noticed the little bar pictured to the right.

How great is that? Pandora has integrated with Facebook and could tell what I would like to hear based on my Facebook profile (which I was signed into at the time).  I don’t know when they did this but it’s genius, and I have to wonder why other sites aren’t doing the same.

Could Amazon increase their sales even more if when you went to their site they had a “based on your Facebook profile we recommend” section? What if IMDB presented you with a previews of movies you do / might like based on your Facebook profile.

What about brick and mortar stores with an online presence? BevMo could have a “playlist” of beverages ready for you to select from. Target could build a suggested shopping list. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Sign in to Facebook and head over to Pandora and let me know how it worked for you, and while you’re at it can you think of other places where this kind of technology would be helpful?

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Social Media Integration – How do all the pieces fit?

Social media integrationSocial Media Integration takes several forms (Inside, outside, local, global, enterprise, etc.), all of which take some major planning and time to execute. However, there are some basics that you can tackle and start building on your existing Internet marketing tactics.

SEM (SEO / PPC)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is all about getting people you find you and your products via search engines. As such there is a lot of target content, landing pages, etc. that can be used for your social media usage as well.

SEO

There have been several studies done to show that brands engaging in social media are much more likely to be searched for. With your SEO efforts in full swing you will have better control of what people see when they search for you. Also, you can ensure that your social profiles are linking back to perfectly optimized pages.

PPC

If you’re doing PPC right you’ll have target landing pages created for your campaigns. These pages should have gone through A/B testing, SEO, and user testing to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your PPC dollars. These pages are the links you want to send out via your social profiles. Be sure to use a link tracking service to see how the links are doing.

Email Marketing

Put links to your relevant social profiles in the emails and display them prominently. This should help you build your community from existing customers / fans. You can also export your email list to a gmail account and then have Twitter find people for you to follow who subscribe to your email.

Tip: If you’re going to create a list on Twitter of people you find this way, make it a private list.

Media Buys

If you buy ad space online then be sure to include the icons for the social outposts you use. This gives people the ability to go and get more information about you. While ad CTR typically hovers around 1%, and demonstrates our lack of interest in traditional marketing, it doesn’t demonstrate our lack of curiosity.

Press Releases

The cornerstone of PR is a great place to promote your social profiles. At the end of your press releases add the line “for more information check out our web site or look us up on Twitter and Facebook” with links to all three. Here is a good way for people to move from something static (release) to something dynamic (your interactive profiles).

Design

Your social icons / links should be placed prominently on your site. If you’re using these tools then use them properly and be proud of it. Give your customers more ways to contact you and interact with you. Build more value into your online presence and integrate your feeds on your site (where appropriate).

Personally, the first thing I do when looking at a company is see if they have a Twitter, Facebook, etc. account and then look at them. Based on what I see is what I base my initial opinion on and then move from there. I’m not alone either, as more and more people are getting involved they’re expecting more and more from companies.

What do you think? Anything else that should get added to the basics list?

Thanks for reading,
Josh S Peters

Twitter Cheat Sheet

Today I was speaking with one of my coaching clients and he asked me “Is there a Twitter cheat sheet anywhere I can get?” In TwittFaced (Your Toolkit for Understanding and Maximizing Social Media) my co-author and I cover Twitter basics and ideals extensively, but I have yet to do that here.Well friends, that’s what this post is.

The Twitter cheat sheet is a quick and dirty primer on Twitter. I’ll cover some of the basic terms, symbols, and ideas behind using Twitter. If you’re reading this in your email or RSS reader and don’t think it will be helpful to you, please send it on to beginner who might benefit, thanks.

Twitter Cheat Sheet

Twitter is a communication and networking powerhouse that connects people to each other, ideas, and topics. It’s a way for businesses to connect to their customers, get feed back, and interact with the people who enjoy their products enough to talk about them. The problem, for some, is getting started and understanding the symbols and terms used on Twitter everyday.

Twitter Symbols and Terminology

@ – The at sign is how you talk to people. Anytime you see @ followed by a username the message is either being directed at, or referencing to that person.

  • ex: @JoshSPeters Thanks for putting together the Twitter cheat sheet, it’s awesome!
  • ex: I really enjoy @JayBaer‘s blog. It’s very insightful and informative. You should check it out.

# – The hashtag denotes a topic, event, idea, etc. that your tweet pertains to. The tag can be placed any where in the tweet, but is often put towards the end.

Twitter Cheat Sheet Hash Tag

RT – This stands for ReTweet. It’s a way of echoing what someone says, or sharing what someone has said with your own followers.

Twitter Cheat Sheet RT

Fav – The little star icon that comes next to tweets (on Twitter.com) is how you favorite a tweet. Favoring a tweet is a way to collect tweets you find inspirational or to save for later if you’re on a mobile device

Twitter Cheat Sheet Favorite

DM – Stands for Direct Message. This is a private message sent between two people that only those two people can see.

Twitter Cheat Sheet Advice

When picking your Twitter name give it some thought. Try to get your own name if possible. If not, then try to get something that represents you, and don’t fret too much about it, because you can always change it later.

Fill out your profile! Put your real location (so people can find you) and HONESTLY fill out your bio. Make it interesting and don’t just stuff it full of keywords and banal crap, tell us who you are and what you like.

When it comes to Twitter who you follow is completely up to you. Just because someone follows you does NOT mean you have to follow them back. It’s all up to you.

Amount of followers someone has doesn’t mean much, in fact the amount of Twitter followers someone has could mean nothing at all. The value you get from Twitter is all from who you follow and why.

Can’t figure out where to start? Just jump right in. Find some people in your area and just start talking to them. Connect to some new people and make some new friends. After all that’s what Twitter is all about.

Use a link shortener like Bit.ly to share your links. This will help you use fewer characters for links in your precious 140 limit per message.

Once you start following 100+ people it’s a good idea to start using a 3rd party Twitter app like TweetDeck to help you “manage the madness”.

Be sure to send more @ messages than links or updates. This is a medium for 1) Connecting 2) Communicating 3)Sharing. You will never get beyond the introductory stages of Twitter if all you do is broadcast crap all day long.

If you have any Twitter related questions or have some tips of your own please add them to the comments below

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

How I’m cheating on Twitter

CrapwareI hate crapware. I’ve written and spoken about how much I hate it. It’s the reason why Twitter numbers mean nothing, it’s why you can’t just look at someone’s account and say “wow, they’re doing great!”, and it’s why you should be suspicious if an agency or consultant you’ve hired shows explosive growth for no real reason.

Another reason I detest crapware so much is that one of the corner stones of the social media evolution is transparency; using this stuff is anything but transparent. It’s a way of being lazy, of gaming the system, and turning social media into nothing more than a meaningless numbers game; reducing it from communications and relationships to a high school popularity contest.

However, I’m not an unreasonable man. Maybe, just maybe I’m not giving this stuff a fair shake. Maybe I’m not really doing it justice and I’m jumping to conclusions. Maybe there really is some hidden value behind these systems.

The Crapware Experiment

A while ago I created the Twitter account SMFeeds to constantly feed me, and anyone else who cared, posts from what I consider to be the best social media blogs on the web. Using this account I amassed a staggering 84 followers without doing anything more than just existing and retweeting posts from it.

The account has no business or popularity objective,  it has no real reason for existing other than that I want it to. That is why it’s absolutely perfect for this experiment.

10 days ago I signed up for a newcomer in the automated follower arena followATHON. This is a free service that supposedly helps you “Get tons of followers for free!” and “with followers who actually want to follow you”. It’s free because it places an ad for itself in your Twitter stream 3x a day.

Sounding too good to be true, I signed up SMFeeds for it and in the last 10 days it’s gained 10 whole followers, but is now following over 300. As of right now It’s not exactly a run away success.

The Metrics

Every Monday I’m checking the account and taking stock of what progress has occurred in the last week.

  1. Following
  2. Followers
  3. RTs
  4. Positive @s
  5. Negative @s (people upset at the account using followATHON)
  6. Average link clicks
  7. Total link clicks

I took stock of each stat the week before to establish a base, and I’ll be running it for 3 months. Each month I’ll give an update on the progress with the stats. At the end of 3 months I’ll switch to another crapware and let it run for 3 months. My current plan is to just keep doing it, until I run out of crapware to test.

How you can help

In the comments below list some of the crapware you come across so I can test them here. Depending on how many programs I get, I might adjust the scope and duration of the testing. Right now I’m planning on using followATHON, Tweet Adder, Twitter Adder, Twillow, and then some kind of simple auto-follow service before returning to normal.

I realize it would be better to test each one head to head, and I have plans for that kind of test down the road, but first I want to see how they all stack up using the same account and how they build on the “success” of each other.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Where Do Forums Fit Into Social Media Marketing?

When managing a company’s online presence, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of becoming fixated on only one aspect of social media. However, if you’re in charge of managing social media for a business, it’s important to give consideration to all facets and that includes forums.

As someone that previously worked at an internet marketing company, I was always amused when a client would become obsessed with their Facebook or Myspace profile (yes, this was a few years back) and ask us to dedicate an unreasonable amount of resources to managing it. It was usually the higher up suits that hear the word “Facebook” all the time and automatically conclude it would be best to dedicate 100% of their resources to it.

What I wish clients like that would realize is that each aspect of social media is only a tool (if you haven’t already, read Josh’s post on social media ROI). Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean you will be automatically riding that popularity too if you use it. Whether the tool is Twitter, Facebook, forums, or something else… the specific tool won’t determine your ROI. What will determine your ROI is the talent of the person in charge of a particular tool.

Where do forums fit in?
As mentioned, it’s easy for businesses to fall into the trap of only focusing on whatever is hottest and newest. If that works for them, great! But at the same time, it’s important to dedicate some resources to other areas of social media. Let me give you an example…

On my site, I would prefer the discussion to revolve around positive things like credit card deals, but a lot of people come to the site just to complain about a particular credit card. For example, this negative thread recently popped up about GE Money Bank credit cards. This thread is still young which means GE Money Bank could easily reply and calm down the original poster, but they don’t bother.

In fact, there are purported complaints on many forums and blogs about their credit cards but to the best of my knowledge, I have never seen GE Money Bank respond and try to make peace with anyone. However, GE Money Bank appears to dedicate adequate resources to their Twitter account and addresses any concerns or complaints that are tweeted.

In a nutshell, they have Twitter covered but are ignoring other social media outlets. Does that make sense? Especially being that the aforementioned forum thread about GE Money Bank credit cards might very well be showing up in searches for years to come. To me, the logical thing to would be to address all areas of social media instead of only focusing on Twitter and Facebook. This is why I always encourage credit card companies to come on the site and interact with the posters, but thus far, only one or two ever have.

Plastic surgeons get it
If there’s one industry that understands the importance of diversifying resources, it seems to be the big city plastic surgeons. When I worked at an internet marketing company in Los Angeles, strangely enough it was only the plastic surgeon clients that right off the bat understood the importance of keeping tabs on all facets of social media. They were less concerned about what social media site/service was hot, and more focused on covering everything.

I know many plastic surgeons would prowl the plastic surgery message boards themselves and as soon as anything negative was posted, they would go into defense mode and reply with their side of the story. One rhinoplasty surgeon I knew even teamed up with a plastic surgery forum, by having them create his own board on the site where he would do Q&A with the posters… now that’s smart!

The lesson?
Take a cue from the hot shot Beverly Hills plastic surgeons… if you’re responsible for managing social media, make sure you pay attention to all areas. The amount of weight needed for each area varies depending on the type of business, but all I’m saying is to at least make sure you consider everything that’s out there.

This post was contributed by guest blogger & ex-internet marketer Michael who writes about credit card deals on his site CreditCardForum.