iNvision Studios: Web+ Marketing
9Nov/12Off

The Power of Branding Videos

Posted by Sherm Stevens

We just finished producing another branding video for the folks at Pickerington-Eastland Heating & Cooling, this one for their Whitehall Ohio service area. Go take a look and let us know what you think!

Whitehall Ohio | Furnace & heating repair in Whitehall Ohio

12Feb/12Off

Mobile Traffic to Rockport.com grew 76% last year

Posted by Sherm Stevens

From MobileCommerceDaily.com:

Adidas-owned Rockport.com’s traffic from mobile devices has grown 75.8 percent in the past year, proving that consumers are increasingly turning to their smartphones to browse and shop.

Rockport recently launched its new mobile site. The company decided to roll out an optimized site for mobile devices after seeing how many consumers access its site via their handsets.

“Our footwear is developed to meet the needs of the metropolitan professional who leads an active on-the-go lifestyle,” said Kim Correia-Hunt, director of ecommerce at Rockport, Boston.

“Therefore we want to enhance their mobility and make it easy for them to search, browse and purchase our products on their mobile devices,” she said.

Rockport sells men’s, women’s and kid’s dress and casual footwear.

I didn't know Adidas owned Rockport, but I've been a big fan (and customer) of their shoes for many years, particularly their Dressport line, comfortable men's dress shoes.

What does this mean for the average business? NOW is the time to go mobile. More and more users are accessing websites with their smartphones or tablets. Contact iNvision Studios to find out how simple it is to set up a mobile site for your business.

25Jan/12Off

Mobile Advertising Via Social Media to ‘Explode’ This Year

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Facebook ads cost rose 54% in Q3 2011

Props to MobileMarketingWatch:

According to Efficient Frontier, a leading performance marketing firm, spend in social media advertising is now additive to existing budgets rather than subtracting from other digital media channels, demonstrating the growing investment in the medium.

Brands continued to acquire Facebook fans at 9% per month. Facebook spend share reached 2.7% of biddable online advertising spend in Q4 2011 and is expected to increase fan base by 2x by the end of 2012.

The research from Efficient Frontier shows that search spend increased significantly in Q4 of 2011, bolstered by aggressive spending by retailers. Overall, search spend grew 14% Year over Year in the United States.

 

I literally heard this same information from two different sources within a few minutes today. MOBILE ADVERTISING on Facebook is set to be released in March 2012. Don't be left out in the cold.

10Jan/12Off

This is HUGE: Home Depot launches mobile payments to streamline checkout

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Home Depot offers mobile payments at its stores

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.

 

9Jan/12Off

The race is on to dominate mobile advertising

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Apple & iTunes are set to dominate mobile advertising with iAd.

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.

From mobilemarketer.com:

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.

28Nov/11Off

Ten top reasons why your website should be mobile friendly

Posted by Sherm Stevens

The stats are everywhere: mobile is the future, and it's not just coming fast, it's here now. Here are ten top reasons why your website should be mobile-compatible. Now.

1. Most new mobile phones are smartphones.

Most new mobile phones are smartphones, like the iPhone 4s.According to Nielsen, as of Sept 2011, 40% of US mobile users are smartphone users, and that number is increasing. In May 2011, 54% of all phone sales in the US were smartphones.

2. Smartphone use is increasing -- among ALL age groups

Sixty-two percent of users in the 25-34 age demographic own smartphones. Smartphone sales saw an 85% increase in North America from 2010 to 2011. Wired says "We are increasingly looking at a wireless world divided between high-end, pocket-sized, connected computers with advanced messaging capabilities and entry-level mobile phones — with almost nothing in between."

3. Social media use on mobile phones is skyrocketing.

Social media use on mobiles is growing exponentially, increasing by 37% in the past year, according to an October 2011 comScore report. “Social media is one of the most popular and fastest growing mobile activities, reaching nearly one third of all U.S. mobile users,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president for mobile. “This behavior is even more prevalent among smartphone owners with three in five accessing social media each month, highlighting the importance of apps and the enhanced functionality of smartphones to social media usage on mobile devices.” The Facebook mobile audience is approaching 60 million users. Is that a significant enough statistic for you?

Social media used on mobile phones is the only kind of entertainment that people still partake in while engaged in other forms of entertainment. While watching TV or sitting in a movie house or theatre, for example, many people still use their mobile phones to tell the world what they’re watching or where they are. It sounds insane, but this is increasingly becoming the social norm.

4. Mobile is being adopted for banking and financial services

Chase Bank's mobile app is leading the field in mobile banking adoption.Research giant comScore says that from Q4 2010 to present, mobile banking increased 45% in the USA. This has been the rule (rather than the exception) in Japan for several years. Financial services are embracing mobile at a blistering rate. If users are flocking to mobile to do their banking, and banks are adopting it for the convenience of their customers, why not offer your business as a mobile service, either an app or a mobile-optimized website?

5. Website screen sizes are a nightmare for mobile users

Minimal screen sizes on mobile phones make browsing a website formatted for desktop screen sizes difficult. Users must scroll and zoom around the screen excessively to get the information they need. Scrollbars can scare users away in an instant.

6. Website images are a bandwidth hog

Large images on a website formatted for desktop are too large to view without zooming out, and require a lot of bandwidth to transport. Smartphone providers no longer offer unlimited bandwidth accounts, so an excess of images can cost a site visitor more just to visit the site. A mobile optimized website will minimize the number and size of images to reduce bandwidth usage.

7. Mobile users want information fast

A mobile-friendly website serves up text information quickly to satisfy the instant gratification needs of the typical mobile user. A study by Gomez indicates that 58% of users expect website load speeds on their mobile devices to be comparable to, or better than, what they experience on their desktops. A Forrester Research study found similar results: today’s patience threshold for the “wired Web” is just two seconds for page load time, down from four seconds only three years ago. Looking ahead, expectations will only continue to rise. Within twelve to sixteen months, the next generation in mobile connectivity, 4G networks, will make smartphones smarter, networks faster — and end-users even more eager for immediate interactive gratification. Obviously, mobile users are willing to trade functionality for the convenience of mobile connectivity, but they will not sacrifice speed or availability.

8. Almost half of smartphone users consider smartphone a necessity

Pew research indicates almost half of adults in American consider smartphone a necessity.Forty-seven percent of Americans recently surveyed by Pew Research consider a smartphone a necessity. Young Americans have made the switch; fully 59% of adults ages 18-29 regard a cell phone as a necessity while just 46% say the same about a landline phone. Clearly, we are heading toward more smartphone adoption in the coming years. Better to be ahead of the curve and optimize your website for mobile now.

9. Smartphones will replace traditional wallets by 2016

A report on PowerRetail.com quoting "The World's Favorite Way to Pay Online" PayPal has predicted that smartphones will replace wallets by 2016, proving that the future of contactless payments is far from touch and go. In its recent report, Money: The Digital Tipping Point, the payments giant has nominated 2016 as the year when mobile phones will replace cash and cards as the payment method of choice for UK shoppers. The USA will soon follow in their footsteps. We're headed for a cashless/card-free society. Time to embrace this technology, especially if you are a retailer, is now.

“We’ll see a huge change over the next few years in the way we shop and pay for things,” said Carl Scheible, MD of PayPal UK. “By 2016, you’ll be able to leave your wallet at home and use your mobile as the 21st century digital wallet. Our vision of money is to enable you to pay for something from wherever you are, whatever device you’re on – a PC, mobile phone, tablet, games console and a whole lot more.”

10. Consumers respond to location-based marketing

Location marketing allows users to interact with your business and promote it on social media, using services like Foursquare, Twitter's location feature or Facebook Location Sharing. “Location-based services are a compelling audience engagement feature unique to the mobile platform. By providing more location-aware services and products, brands can now create a much more intimate presence in consumers’ life,” said Jacqueline Rosales, EVP, Business Development & Client Service, Luth Research.

A recent survey by the Mobile Marketing Association found these key takeaways on location-based marketing:

  • Ten percent of the cell phone owners surveyed use mobile location services at least once a week.
  • Sixty-three percent of Apple iPhone owners use location services at least once a week.
  • Adults ages 25-34 are frequent users of location services, with 22 percent using them at least once a week.
  • Respondents said they use these services most frequently to “locate nearby points of interest, shops or services.”
  • Consumers are interested in allowing their phone to automatically share their location in exchange for perks, such as free use of mobile applications and mobile coupons.

Of course, location-based marketing is entirely possible without a mobile-friendly website, using only Facebook and Twitter. If your ultimate goal is to get bodies in the door, serving up a compelling mobile offer that's linked to a website is definitely the way to go.

Ready to upgrade your website to a mobile-friendly content management system? We can develop a great site for you in WordPress, Concrete5 or, if you need mobile eCommerce, Magento.

 

 

 

8Nov/11Off

26 Promising Social Media Stats for Small Businesses

Posted by Sherm Stevens

New research shows incredible opportunity for small businesses, adding urgency to the message. Social media is changing small business for the better, according to Phil Mershon at Social Media Examiner.

Social media marketing is a rapidly changing environment, but the good news is that customers are embracing social media as a normal part of their lives. Even the over-50 population is adapting at staggering rates.

The following 26 stats should impress upon you the importance of developing a social media strategy for your business. Not sure how? We can help.

  1. There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011.
  2. Over 80% of all Americans use a social network.
  3. Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S.website.
  4. Approximately 40% of social media users access their accounts through mobile devices.
  5. Nearly 23% of online time is spent on social networks. That's 15 minutes for every hour!
  6. Facebook is the top destination among social networks and blogs.
  7. Social media users are more active and influential offline.
  8. More than half of Facebook users log in every day – that’s more than 400 million people.
  9. The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, events and groups.
  10. There are 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, etc…).
  11. Facebook hosts over 7 million apps, and over 20 million apps are downloaded each day.
  12. Around 75% of Facebook users are outside of North America with accounts available in 70 languages.
  13. Comscore released a study earlier this year that showed how business brands that post at least once every day will reach 22% of their fans in a given week.
  14. Experian estimates that 91% of online American adults (approx. 129 million) access some form of social media each month.
  15. And get this: 98% of 18- to 24-year-olds access social accounts monthly.
  16. This confirms their stat that college towns log on to Facebook the most.
  17. The average Facebook user spends 20 minutes on his or her account during each visit.
  18.  A majority of Facebook users log in 3-4 times per week.
  19. One out of 5 social network users is likely to visit another social site after leaving one.
  20. The 3 most important reasons small businesses leverage social media are:
    • Connecting with customers
    • Visibility
    • Self-promotion
  21. 44% of small business decision-makers use social media.
  22. Of those small business decision-makers who use social media, 86% use Facebook vs. 41% LinkedIn and 33% Twitter.
  23. 50% of small business owners reported gaining new customers through social media – most notably through Facebook and LinkedIn.
  24. 51% of Facebook users and 64% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow.
  25. Small businesses don’t have to spend much to get results: Zoomerang found that nearly 60% of all small business decision-makers spend less than $100 on social media and 74% of businesses don’t employ anyone to manage their social media marketing.
  26. Ning has found it only takes 20 people to create meaningful many-to-many interactions and bring an online community to a significant level of activity. That’s something almost any business can achieve.

Go visit Social Media Examiner to see this post with a lot of pretty pictures to convince you. If you're not convinced yet, what are you waiting for? Social media is the new norm in small business marketing. If you're not quite there yet, we can help.

6Nov/11Off

How to Target Customers for Your Business

Posted by Sherm Stevens

There is a big ol' myth about business that as long as you have a slew of customers coming in, then you'll be rollin' in the dough.

Well, yes, traffic helps, but if it isn't targeted to match your business product, you are wasting money, time, and loads of energy.

Would you rather have a million people coming into your store and only one person buy from you, or 10,000 people entering your store and 1,000 leaving as buying customers?

Honestly, it is better to have LESS traffic that is concentrated to be a good match for your business, than massive 'low-quality' traffic (aka, customers who don't want what you got!). To know how to target customers for your business, you need to get inside the mind of your customer.

Here are 5 questions you must have the answers for, to help you understand your target customers and position your marketing and business brand accordingly:

  1. What bothers your customers about their life right now? As a business, you provide a solution to your customers' problems. It is crucial to understand what their problems are! An understanding of what your customers are struggling with will also help you create future products and services to match their needs.
  2. What excites your customers more than anything in the world - what is their dream life? Customers will buy from you because your product provides a new possibility for their life. You want your product to assist them in reaching their goals and align with their dreams.
  3. What scares them? What keeps them awake at night? Ok, we aren't talking about werewolves. Every potential customer has real, valid fears. If you can understand their fears and create a product with a marketing campaign to address them, your business will have a powerful advantage.
  4. What interests them? Where do they hang out? Now that you know more about how you can meet your customers' needs, you need to know where to find them. By understanding their interests, the websites they are on, the books they read, you can target your marketing campaign to areas that are brimming with buyers.
  5. What is the #1 problem in their life right now that, if you could solve, they would pay any amount of money? Ah, here is the clincher. As you tune in to your customers' needs, wishes, and fears you can really hit home with an understanding of the kind of solution you can provide that will have them pulling out their credit cards. This isn't meant to be manipulative- as a business you are solving problems and making a difference; however you obviously want to make a profit doing so (otherwise, you wouldn't be a business owner). By gaining an understanding of your target customers' top priorities and the things they are willing to pay money for, you can fine tune your products and marketing campaigns.

In essence, as a business, you need to understand your customer and their story; you should be able to describe them in detail as though they are standing in front of you. In knowing your customer, you can serve them better.

Join Stephanie Staidle and her team of professionals who will teach you how to eliminate the learning curve to become a successful online entrepreneur. To join her team and access tips and training to build a profitable business, go to http://beanentrepreneur.net/

Stephanie Staidle is a personal and professional development coach, an online entrepreneur, and founder of Cloud Renaissance-a website that empowers people to stop settling, live the life of their choosing and be their own boss.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6569660
11Oct/11Off

Facebook per-click ads cost up 54% in Q3

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Facebook ads cost rose 54% in Q3 2011A white paper published today by Efficient Frontier/Context Optional claims that Facebook pay per click ad costs rose 54% Q2 to Q3 this year because of increased competition.

FACEBOOK AD CPCs INCREASED 54% IN Q3 FROM Q2. This indicates that advertiser competition in Facebook marketplaces is rising. Facebook has become an essential marketing channel for many brands. Increased cost per clicks (CPCs) reflect both a higher volume of advertisers and more price competition on the platform.

Ad costs are rising at an alarming rate because advertisers are recognizing the impact of PPC ads placed on that social media site. In the typical PPC ad scenario, advertisers bid competitively for important keywords/search phrases directed at a target market. Increase competition from advertisers forces an upward spiral on cost.

Other interesting tidbits in the paper:
FACEBOOK AD SPEND INCREASED 25% IN Q3 FROM Q2. Advertisers see the value in significantly increasing investments in social.

TABLETS CAPTURE 77% OF ALL RETAIL MOBILE AD SPEND IN SEPTEMBER 2011. Remember a few short years ago when we said "what are we going to do with an iPad?"

MOBILE IS PROJECTED TO BE 7–10% OF ALL PAID SEARCH SPEND BY THE END OF Q4 2011. Google announced that page rank for mobile sites will be influenced by mobile optimization of a website.

All these statements should scream the obvious at the business owner wishing to increase their traffic and bottom line: The fusion of social, mobile and local advertising is here and will continue to grow.

Read the study for yourself here.

8Oct/11Off

Nielsen Social Media Report Q3

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Fascinating report published by Nielsen (yes, the Nielsen of TV tracking fame) has some great stats regarding the state of social media:

  • Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other website
  • Close to 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone
  • Social networking apps are the third-most used among US smartphone users
  • Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth in social networking through the mobile internet
  • 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online. 12 percent more likely than the average adult internet user

Even more justification to get all your ducks in a row with social media and mobile advertising!