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The yin and yang of marketing
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Mobile Apps that make sense for business

The rise in cloud computing and mobile internet solutions means that very soon even less new startups and businesses will be using desktop computers to run their companies. Mobile computing just makes sense because business becomes easier and smoother than ever before and the appearance of the app is part of this revolution. Here’s a few that can streamline any business, however large or small.

You can get a pallet load of business cards free from some printing companies these days and it’s not surprising with apps like Bump around. Bump your smart phone suggestively (or not) against that of a fellow business-doer and hey presto their virtual card is transferred to your phone. This makes losing really important contact details a lot harder than ever before and reduces clutter no end.

There’s nothing like the site of a man or woman carrying a clipboard around to get people running into shops they’d not normally be seen dead in. Formmobi discretely turns your phone into a mobile clipboard which allows you to collect data on the go. Without the clipboard and mass panic it can induce. It’s a neat, simple solution for those who need to collect information and get it back to base quickly.

Tripit is a perfectly formed little app to make business travel so much easier. If business travel means a trip on the bus this is probably not necessary. However, for those trips where train connections and flight times need to be in one easy to find place then Tripit is perfect. It even gives you information on the prevailing weather conditions (not much use in the UK at the moment but apparently some locations have more of that “not rain” stuff). Maps are also available in the app, which makes getting there a realistic possibility.

Original Article: http://www.new-startups.com/apps/mobile-apps-that-make-sense-for-business/

Carlo Pandian is a web marketer based in London. He also writes tutorials on small business accounting software by Intuit HK and has previously published for the Internet Advertising Bureau and Econsultancy. He loves helping entrepreneurs and small business boost their online sales.

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Promote Giveaways in your Blog for traffic, engagement and social shares

Companies are always looking for new ways to promote their services and products on the web 2.0. One viable way of doing this is by collaborating with bloggers and so, in turn, establishing a relationship with their audience, by organising competitions within the blogger community.

From the blogger’s perspective, a blogger giveaway takes into account the exchange between a product offered to you, and visibility for the brand in your blog’s targeted audience. What must be considered, and what can be achieved with a giveaway is:

-       Increased traffic to your blog

-       Increased followers, likes and other social signals (StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.)

-       Give away a gift to those that are supporting you every day: your readers

As one of my main activities at Tug, London based search and social marketing agency, is promoting giveaways for several companies, I am happy to share some knowledge in order for bloggers to find giveaway opportunities and optimise their return on these initiatives:

Look for giveaways

You can easily find products to offer by contacting other bloggers hosting competitions, the PR agencies of companies promoting giveaways, and reaching out to companies related to your audience, and asking them to provide you with a giveaway. You will have to state information on your traffic, audience, social followers and state your planned activities for the giveaway, such as writing  short competition copy and tweeting about the competition.

The following are some queries in Google that will help you to find other bloggers and magazines that are promoting these activities: “competition” blog, “giveaway” blog, “win” blog.

Get organised

Companies will ask you to write a competition blurb and post this in your blog. Be aware that they will each require original copy and a link to their website. Be careful when they ask for particular links and what type of products you are promoting. For a better competition management sign up to Rafflecopter, an embeddable widget that helps you choose the winner and load data. You can ask participants to add themselves to your social media profiles, check on FB and Twitter, and develop sections to embed social ‘call to actions’ such as “Follows @blog_name” and “Like Blog_name”.

Promote

There are two ways to promote competitions online: social media & competitions sites. You may want to post a FB update and a tweet announcing the giveaway. Ask to your friends to support you sharing and retweeting your messages: this will help you amplify the giveaway reach.

There are also particular hashtags (#free #giveaway #competition) and social media accounts to be mentioned in your tweets (for example:@brokeinlondon – http://www.brokeinlondon.com/ – if you have a London related giveaway). Moreover you may want to add your giveaway blog post to sites such as Loquax and CompetitionHunter in order to boost your traffic.

Don’t become a giveaway blog!

Unfortunately certain bloggers have been known to go mad for giveaways, and have turned their website into something like HotUKDeals. Consequently they have erased their own editorial style.

How can bloggers take advantage of product giveaways and how would you manage to keep your blogger integrity?

Original Article: http://www.nakedblogging.com/promote-giveaways-in-your-blog-for-traffic-engagement-and-social-shares/

Carlo Pandian is a web marketer based in London. He also writes tutorials on small business accounting software by Intuit HK and has previously published for the Internet Advertising Bureau and Econsultancy. He loves helping entrepreneurs and small business boost their online sales.

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HLA Video Tutorial series: Corporate Blog

We have just commenced our Corporate Blogging tutorial series! Stay tuned for videos on the best practices of managing and monitoring your corporate blog. The first on this series is on how to promote your blog.

The Art of Business Cross-Promotions

20130611 - business-cross-promotion

Promoting your business online is about more than what you can do individually. To be a success you need the support of others and your community. It could be your friends and family who kick start interest in your enterprise, or you could already have a viable network you can use to promote brand visibility and therefore boost sales.

Cross-promotional marketing benefits the two or more parties involved. It involves targeting your product with another similar or complementary product from another company. Working together you can build sales for both teams. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key methods of cross-promotion.

Guest Blogging

If you find a brand that meshes well with your own you could contact them about posting a guest blog post on their site, promoting your product as a perfect partner to theirs. You could of course include links to your site and therefore divert their customers to your products. In return you could offer them the same experience on your website. You would need to do a little research into the “do follow/no follow” criteria of your chosen site, but it could be a great way to get the cross-promotional ball rolling.

Link Swaps and Blogrolls

Your business website could have a separate page dedicated to companies you respect, admire and consider as like-minded. For companies to get a link or banner listed on this page you could do a link swap, offering a spot on your page for a spot on theirs. These types of deals should be built around relationships and networking, you shouldn’t pay for the service or consider using a link exchange system that discredits the quality of your link.

Blogrolls give you the opportunity to link to your favourite company blogs and commentaries and like with a link swap you could ask your contacts in the industry to swap blogroll links too. They are more powerful than advertising or sponsorship spots on your company blog as rather than saying this person has paid to be seen it shows that you genuinely recommend them.

Link and Share

If you read a blog post by an influential member of your industry or someone who’s ideas you agree with rather than leaving a simple comment you could consider writing your own post and linking back to theirs. This way you’re not only creating your own quality content but you’re building upon someone else’s and chances are they’ll share your link and your influence will spread.

Commenting is a whole different ball game and can also be used to spread your influence. But it doesn’t always have such a positive effect. It’s a big no to go around other people’s articles and blog posts and simply leave comments asking them to visit your site and look at your range. You need to engage and be interesting and only include links when relevant.

Learning to cross-promote your business isn’t a difficult skill, but does rely on a strong network. Developing a community around yourself with similar target customers will give your brand the best chance of growing positively and making a success of cross-promotional marketing tactics.

Carlo Pandian is a web marketer based in London. He also writes tutorials on small business accounting software by Intuit HK and has previously published for the Internet Advertising Bureau and Econsultancy. He loves helping entrepreneurs and small business boost their online sales.

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Link building strategy – how to get it right

All too often, companies are spending money on link building, to improve their online visibility but are these budgets being spent wisely? Are acquired links going to maintain their value in the long-term?

Targeted audiences

Every marketing book you read talks about specific groups of people within the target market, at which a product or message is aimed (see Kotler 2000 for example). How can we translate this into an off-site SEO strategy?

The off-site link building strategy should tap directly into the targeted audiences of brands, with the following intentions:

-          To assist the customer journey

-          To provide the appropriate resources

-          To highlight the characteristics of the product

The internet has repurposed institutions, communities and individuals that already existed in reality. This means that your targeted audience has preferred digital journeys – which you can tap into with your off-page strategy.

Some examples include: Mums having discussions outside the school gates, these can be transferred into ‘Mum blogs’ or parenting sites such as Mumsnet. On the other hand, technology geeks read Mashable when they are online, and in real life they buy the paper copy of Wired Magazine.

Every website can be filed according to the degree of interest it holds for your targeted audience, the SEO authority, the monthly visitors, and the value of the brand. In every online community, there are big media outlets such as GeekWire, medium sized ones such as Techli.com, new blogs with great content such as FutureRising.com, and low quality blogs that exist for the sole purpose of building links.

Link building strategy direction

The off-site SEO strategy needs to both enhance the consumer awareness of a product, and at the same time, increase the websites ranking positions using high quality links and citations. In order to make this possible you need to prepare an action plan for your offline and online marketing techniques. They should give you visibility in the online communities where your potential customers are spending their time.

There is a vast range of high quality link building techniques available, and great creative solutions; take a look at some examples below:

-          Infographics

-          Guest Blogging

-          Online PR

-          Giveaways

-          Link requests and Citations

-          Interviews

-          Content outreach, geek mining etc.

-          Crowd-sourced posts

It’s becoming more common for link building to be influenced by offline activities. For example a blogger event showcasing a product could lead to citations and links online. A brand sponsoring an industry association can have the same effect. The most important thing is to target those sites that are influential for your audience.

On the other hand, Google still ranks websites considering where anchor texts links and web page elements (title, URL, etc) are placed, so an SEO team needs to make sure they also influence a small quantity of links on these Google pages too.

Analyse success and failure

The major strength of digital marketing is that is fully measurable, so you can see the effects of link building on traffic and positions. However, most marketers should consider the return of off-site SEO, by looking also at the referral traffic. How much has referral traffic grown since the link building campaign started? How much did the outreach activities impact the direct traffic?

What tends to happen is the opposite process – where link builders go after websites that carry the same topics as their product, but are not necessary visited by the targeted audience. This is because SEO has been strongly related to the semantic web for several years. In the past, web pages have been manipulated to convey particular semantic power to the links, whereas now, Google is becoming wiser to this and is constantly trying to make it harder for sites that are spamming the results to rank.

Conclusions

SES, LinkLove and SMX search conferences have seen many speakers talk about content. At this stage – March 2013 – SEO professionals all agree on the importance of this. At the same time, marketing managers are aware of how this must be accountable, and that it can only convey results in terms of conversions and brand awareness, if it appeals to the target audience. By researching the favourite digital journeys of the targeted audience, and using a full range of link building techniques, brands can have an optimised return on their allocated SEO budgets in the long term.

Original Article: http://www.iabuk.net/blog/link-building-strategy-how-to-get-it-right

Carlo Pandian is a web marketer based in London. He also writes tutorials on small business accounting software by Intuit HK and has previously published for the Internet Advertising Bureau and Econsultancy. He loves helping entrepreneurs and small business boost their online sales.

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How do you find early adopters for your website?

An early adopter, also known picturesquely as a lighthouse company, is one of the crucial early set of users of a new product, company or technology. These initial users are crucial for getting a new product or service off the ground, and they’re as important in fashion, politics, art and other fields as in website launches.

Early adopters are not only useful for actually using the new website and its services, but will also be able to provide crucial early feedback to the owner and designer about its usability and any defects it may have, and ways in which it can be improved on.

As the internet enters its maturity one may be forgiven for thinking that early adopter fatigue is beginning to set in. Are there, for instance, actually still enthusiastic users out there interested in giving new social applications a try? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’, and it’s largely just a matter of hunting them down.

Real user feedback is crucial for getting the website right in the early stages and ironing out any issues before they spiral out of control when a big following materialises and changing the implementation becomes much more difficult.

Promotion websites

As anyone will know who has looked for answers to any question on the internet, there are people and companies out there that have pondered the same matter before and prepared the way. There are specialist companies on the Web that make it their business to promote new websites and products, and these should be the first port of call in spreading the good news.

Don’t jump in

Rushing in where angels fear to tread is common in the early surge of enthusiasm, but one good piece of advice is not to effectively neutralise potential early adopters by rushing a product through in the pre-adopter phase of the launch. The immediate goal should be to optimise early adopter chances by thoroughly revising the website product based on early feedback, before adopters are approached. Early adopters frequently rely strongly on gut feelings and first impressions and are not easily fooled.

PPC campaigns

It’s often worth investing in a PPC (pay per click) campaign run by a major player like Google or Facebook, depending on your demographic. You can also create an effective landing page using a site like Kickofflabs to get your website off to the best possible start by attracting mass attention where it matters. Optimise your PPC campaign by choosing low Cost per Click and low bounce rate keywords as you are looking to drive cheap traffic and users that can engage with your website. Also try to establish a point of contact with the early adopters by asking to connect on social media platforms or subscribe to an interesting newsletter.

Get featured

The idea is to get your website talked about by as many people as possible apart from yourself and your friends and colleagues. The most effective and certainly the quickest way to achieve this is to be featured on as many blogs, sites and feeds as possible, to provide feedback, buzz and press. Active community feedback is a great help in customer discovery as you strive to get your website up and running, and you need to be prepared to do a fair bit of hustling along the way and even make a nuisance of yourself in the process. Get featured in as many review sites and listings as you can for garnering user sign-ups and exposure. There are also so many online start-up communities that are looking to feature new ventures so you can offer yourself for an interview sharing interesting ideas in their community.

Carlo Pandian is a web marketer based in London. He also writes tutorials on small business accounting software by Intuit HK and has previously published for the Internet Advertising Bureau and Econsultancy. He loves helping entrepreneurs and small business boost their online sales.

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