From my perspective, Search Engine Optimization is the number one reason why your company needs a blog. Blogs work hand-in-hand with social media and helping drive traffic to your website. There are 12 other great reasons in this article by Kristina Weis from AboutUs.com. I recommend you read the entire article.
1. A blog shows visitors you know your stuff
2. A blog helps you get more traffic
3. Blog = SEO, baby
4. Blog posts are link bait
5. A blog is food for social media
6. Behold the CTR power of Google Authorship
7. Unlike social media posts, you really do own your blog content – and you’re the one benefiting from it
8. Getting and keeping people on your site probably helps your business goals.
9. Blog posts have a longer shelf life
10. Help with customer support
11. Cred for author
12. Blog comments – and commentors – are gold
13. Blogging shows you’re still in business, and rocking it
Blogging should be the cornerstone of your web marketing efforts. How to get started blogging? Contact iNvision Studios Web Marketing to set up your very own company blog.
In this interesting exercise, BusinessBolts.com conducted a test to determine what factors Google may be using to rank web pages. I say "may" because Google doesn't publish how it works. They don't want people gaming the system to their advantage -- they believe SEO is not and should not be necessary.
Author Lisa Parmley describes her process for the research:
"We randomly selected 100 keyphrases, typed them into Google and collected the URL’s of the first 5 results that showed up. The Firefox browser was used for all the searches. We were not logged into any Google products during the search phase.
The 100 keyphrases ranged from 2 word phrases up to 6 word phrases. The first 5 results in the Google search results listings were chosen, giving us a total of 500 different web pages to collect data from.
We ignored all the Google Adwords ads. We also skipped image listings, shopping site sets, and news site sets. We only analyzed actual web pages ranking #1 through #5 in the SERPs.
Here’s what we collected from each web page:
- Full URL
- Title tag
- Number of subheadings
- Body copy word count
- Number of images in the body
- Number of videos in the body
- Number of referring domains to the web page (data from ahrefs.com)
- Social signals; Tweets, Facebook like, and Facebook shares (data from ahrefs.com)
We also analyzed the keyphrase the web page ranked high for in comparison with many of the factors listed above."
The results were not surprising at all (at least, for those of us that work in the field): content is king. Here's a quick summary of her findings:
- Highest ranking pages had an average of 800+ words of body copy, 150 words more than the #5 page
- Page title tag + headline included the keyword phrase
- Highest ranking pages all included a high number of backlinks and social shares
- More backlinks means higher ranking (by a factor of 5 to 1)
- Images and video can play a significant role in higher ranking
If you're interested in such things, I urge you to go read the entire article here.
We've done another version of the branding video for Pickerington-Eastland Heating & Cooling -- this time for their Pataskala, Ohio service area. Watch & learn!
If you market to your SMB audience online, here are some great tips for cost-effective marketing from Brightfire, an inbound marketing firm.
1. Develop an integrated marketing approach
Companies which fail to reap the full benefits of digital marketing have one thing in common: though they have introduced tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates to their office vocab, they’re engaging in the aforementioned activities in a piecemeal manner without the support of structured online campaigns or clear conversional goals.
Savvy businesses such have adopted an integrated marketing strategy from the start with some clear targets in mind, such as:
- Attract page visitors by optimizing their web presence
- Generate leads through quality content
- Convert leads to prospects by creating landing pages and call-to-action buttons
- Convert leads into customers through a strong sales process.
Inject digital into your business strategy, marry marketing and sales, create remarkable content and promote it in social media to make yourself visible, build brand awareness and earn authority. Then your will reputation take off and customers will start stampeding in.
2. Create a publishing calendar
In order to capture leads in the ocean of users that are out there on the web, you have to pay special attention to content. Think of yourself as a publisher - to entice readers to buy your magazine, you’ll need to deliver remarkable content and promote it across all online channels.
Likewise, once you have generated leads, you have to make sure you nurture them to keep their interest alive. Try to create an audience of loyal followers who appreciate your content and value your advice.
Create a plethora of content such as:
- White Papers
Make blogging, tweeting and social media interaction part of your company’s monthly schedule (and daily habit). Aim for two or three blog posts per week and try to tweet and post useful information on your Facebook wall at least daily.
3. Make the search engines happy: optimize
You may have the most outstanding blog but what is it worth if no one can find it? You want to really get your name out there by attracting inbound links and earn authority.
We recommend that you spend 25% of your SEO efforts on your on-page content, such as page title, URL, headers and description, and 75% - on getting off-page recommendations in the form of inbound links, anchor text linking to your website, retweets, ‘Like’s, +1’s, etc.
Google values third-party endorsement very highly so try to get these referrals, and you’ll see your search engine rankings improve considerably. Publishing regular blog posts is an excellent way of adding value to your website, whilst the creation of new landing pages increases your chances of getting found via the search engines.
4. Use marketing automation tools to monitor your performance
This all sounds fair and well but remember – unless you’re a complete internet geek, you’re not doing all this just for the fun of it. You need to measure your ROI and see whether all your digital marketing efforts are paying off.
Marketing automation software, such as HubSpot’s all-in-one Marketing Platform, is a nifty way to gauge your performance in terms of traffic, leads and customers, allowing you to streamline and automate otherwise disconnected marketing tasks that used to eat up a lot of company time and resources.
Featuring tools to help you get found, convert leads and analyse your performance, an integrated marketing platform makes the digital marketing processes a whole lot easier, while slashing your cost per lead.
If a service like HubSpot is out of your price range, make use of auto-responders, email list software/service like MailChimp, opt-in forms on every page of your site, and a good customer relationship manager like Batchbook.
5. Analyze and be prepared to tweak
Last but not least, digital marketing is all about perseverance. If something is not delivering good returns, revisit it, find the reasons why it’s not working and modify it. It might be that you just need to re-word your page description or refine your keywords... or your blog posts are too self-promotional.
Use tools like Google Analytics and MailChimp's analytic capabilities to analyze traffic and response rates.
Don’t get stuck in a rut – publish an eBook jam-packed with valuable advice, contact an industry-leading website and offer to write a guest blog, create special offers for your readers to spark some interest.
There’re a myriad of ways you can make inbound marketing work for you without forking out huge amounts of money – just adopt a holistic approach to your online activities and use the combined brain power of your team!
While nearly three-quarters of businesses have increased their digital marketing budgets in 2011 (Econsultancy’s Marketing Budgets 2011 Report), for many, this boost in online activities is not translating into more leads and sales. If your business is one of them, we can will help you identify what you need to change, and what steps you can take to measure your progress, increase lead conversion rates, and generate more sales for less.
In case you hadn’t noticed, today is Wednesday, January 18, 2012, official blackout day. It’s a large group of internet companies protesting two bills currently in US Congress: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House.
These bills would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.
Who’s behind this? Your favorite progressive ex-senator Chris Dodd, the same curmudgeon who brought us the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and a major player in obamacare. He was hired as CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America in March 2011 to fight piracy, which supposedly costs the film and music industries billions every year.
The Senate will begin voting on January 24. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.
According to an article on Mobile Commerce Daily this morning, Home Depot has become part of the new PayPal mobile platform to speed buyers through checkout at their big box stores:
Big box retailer Home Depot is ramping up its mobile strategy by testing a PayPal-enabled mobile payment solution at select stores.
The news marks Home Depot as the first retailer to sign on with PayPal as part of a bigger initiative from Paypal to bridge online and in-store traffic for retailers. The program has been in use since early December in five Home Depot locations in the United States and utilizes PayPal’s point-of-sale mobile payment service.
If you need to implement a mobile strategy that drives traffic and generates revenue for your business, contact iNvision Studios.
Here's the money quote:
“The mobile ad landscape is being defined be the incredibly rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets,” said Dave Martin, senior vice president at agency Ignited, El Segundo, CA.
As I've said before, mobile is growing at an astronomical rate. If you want to make real inroads with your marketing programs in 2012, mobile is the way to go.
Last week saw several mobile advertising players do some housekeeping as they try to look their best and take advantage of what is expected to be significant growth in mobile advertising this year.
Apple hired a new head of its iAd mobile advertising business last week while cross-platform advertising network Millennial Media filed for an initial public offering of its stock. These two pieces of news followed the announcement that Yahoo hired away the president of PayPal to be its new CEO, with all three pointing to the recognition that mobile advertising is poised for significant growth this year, a which these companies do not want to miss out on.
“The continued growth of mobile is both an opportunity and a challenge.”
Apple has a huge ace up their sleeve: they have millions of registered users, and their credit cards, on iTunes, so they can really target ads like Facebook or Gmail.
If you'd like to see a uniquely successful approach to your mobile and online advertising, and how to involve the "Wal-Marts" of the internet (iTunes, Amazon) contact us today.
Read the entire article here.
Napoleon Hill's dynamite book Think and Grow Rich! offers incredible ideas on how to create and grow an idea into a business. Here's one of my favorites, from Chapter 6, Organized Planning
The 11 Major Attributes of Leadership
The following are important factors of leadership:
- UNWAVERING COURAGE based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long.
- SELF-CONTROL. The man who cannot control himself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.
- A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE. Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.
- DEFINITENESS OF DECISION. The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.
- DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. The successful leader must plan his work, and work his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.
- THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR. One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more than he requires of his followers.
- A PLEASING PERSONALITY. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all of the factors of a Pleasing Personality.
- SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING. The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. Moreover, he must understand them and their problems.
- MASTERY OF DETAIL. Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.
- WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY. The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.
- COOPERATION. The successful leader must understand, and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION. There are two forms of Leadership. The first, and by far the most effective, is LEADERSHIP BY CONSENT of, and with the sympathy of the followers. The second is LEADERSHIP BY FORCE, without the consent and sympathy of the followers.
I hope this short list inspires you to take action in the new year!