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Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Online –Equals Healthy Sales

Small and medium-sized business owners, you know how vital it is to the health of your business that you make a great impression with all of your customers, who then, of course, tell their friends. Plain and simple that’s word-of-mouth advertising. Undeniably, it’s the best way of introducing your business to potential new customers and bringing in new sales. Customers as advocates, what could be better than that? Maybe multiplying that advantage? Take your word-of-mouth techniques online and you can do just that. Quite simply, you will then have created the essence of inbound marketing and social media dynamics. Big words, simple idea –word-of-mouth –brought online. Online, we call it building a community.

Taking aspects of your word-of-mouth marketing online can be relatively easy and can be gained steadily over time, just like your brick and mortar-earned client base.

'Word of Mouth' photo (c) 2007, Paull Young - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/The same rules prevail.

  1. Pay attention to what your customer is telling you,
  2. Know what they will tell others, and
  3. Always- appreciate their comments and their business.

Keep these guidelines in mind when putting your business… out there. Need some help sorting this all out?

Here are 5 easy tips to help you get started online.

Do your online networks work together and support each other?

You’ve chosen the online networks you want your business to network with: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others. You’ve created a website –set it up to become your basecamp. Now, are they integrated? Is the “Like” button on your web page? Is your web address on your Facebook page? There is usually simple code to insert, or a plug-in to be added.

Can people find you? Remember- Location, location, location!

Where does your page rank? If you have a physical location, when people search for you, do Google maps appear? At the top of the page? And is the location correct? These are all things you can adjust yourself by going into Google maps, Yahoo maps, etc.

Time-management

Don’t let this defeat you! There is a lot of information to track.  BUT, there are some great little ‘helpers’ for social media management, tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Ping.fm. These are free services that pride themselves on ease of use and allow you to track and update all your networks at once. Looking for something more robust? Depending on what you need, I have some ideas on that. Drop me an email.

Inbound marketing does not work best in a vacuum

Macy's QR Code imageAdd a little Outbound Marketing to your online mix. Integrating your brick and mortar word-of-mouth techniques with your online presence can be as easy as holding a drawing with business cards for a free meal or service. If you are sending postcards, have an offer on the card that pulls clients into your website for something like a contest, free reward or valuable info. Add these to your database for opt-in email marketing, find them on Facebook, or run a text campaign to their cell phones. Cutting edge promotions, most recently, have integrated QR codes into promotions, effectively making use of smartphone technology.

SEO, keywords and Links = Results

Keywords and link building are essential to building an online presence. One of the first things to do is to be sure you have the relevant keywords listed in your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Do you have a business that you partner with? Ask them to link to your site and in return you should link to theirs. It’s powerful stuff for getting better search results and getting the Big Boys to notice (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) your site.

There is a much more to bringing your successful word-of-mouth strategies online, but give me a call and we’ll chat about things you can do right away to advance your word-of-mouth presence and ensure healthy sales.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Wisconsin’s Herb Kohl on Monopoly-Busting Google

This just in…
Herb Kohl’s office released this press release yesterday. Below are excerpts from his Opening Statement Of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl For The Of Hearing, “The Power Of Google: Serving Consumers Or Threatening Competition?”

Herb Kohls Senate Webpage image

“The basic premise of Google at its founding was that it would build an unbiased search engine — that consumers would see the most relevant search result first, and that the search results would not be influenced by the web page’s commercial relationship with Google. Its goal was to get the user off Google’s home page and on to the websites it lists as soon as possible. As Google’s co-founder and current CEO Larry Page said in 2004, “We want you to come to Google and quickly find what you want. Then we’re happy to send you to the other sites. In fact, that’s the point.”

However, as Internet search has become a major channel of e-commerce, Google has grown ever more dominant and powerful, and it appears its mission may have changed. For the last five years or so, Google has been on an acquisition binge, acquiring dozens of Internet-related businesses, culminating most recently with its proposed acquisitions of Motorola Mobility and Zagats. It now owns numerous Internet businesses, including in health, finance, travel, and product comparison. This has transformed Google from a mere search engine into a major Internet conglomerate. And these acquisitions raise a very fundamental question — is it possible for Google to be both an unbiased search engine and at the same time own a vast portfolio of web-based products and services? Does Google’s transformation create an inherent conflict of interest which threatens to stifle competition?

In the last few years, Internet businesses that compete with Google’s new products and services have complained that Google is now behaving in a way contrary to free and fair competition. They allege that Google is trying to leverage its dominance in Internet search into key areas of Internet commerce where it stands to capture from its competitors billions of dollars in advertising revenue. Rather than fairly presenting search results, these critics claim that Google has begun to subtlety bias its search results in favor of its own services. This conduct has the potential to substantially harm competition for commerce on the Internet, and retard innovation by companies that fear the market power of Google.

Antitrust scrutiny is not about picking winners and losers, but is about fostering a fully competitive environment so that consumers can fairly pick winners and losers. As more and more of our commerce moves to the Internet, it should be the highest priority of antitrust policymakers that the Internet remains a bastion of open and free competition as it has been since its founding. We need to protect the ability of the next Google to emerge, the next great website or application being developed in a garage in Silicon Valley or Madison, Wisconsin.”

I’m glad our legislators are looking into this subject. I’ve long thought that Google is the ‘new Walmart’, but I’ve been hesistant to say anything. (Google controls my SEO). As you know, I’m always on the side of small and medium-sized businesses. I think Mr. Kohl, once again, has taken the lead on a difficult, but timely subject. What do you think?

Dynamic Websites and What They Mean For Your Small Business

There are a lot of people out there suggesting that a small business owner can create their website overnight. And you can. But will it do what you want it to do?
A is for Accessphoto © 2007 Ben Zvan | more info (via: Wylio)

What exactly do you want it to do? Are you happy with a simple online brochure, one that can be visited by existing customers to find what you offer and where you are located? What do your customers expect?

Or do you want it to open doors? Maybe to attract new customers with a site that gets attention and keeps it? Get customers to visit it regularly? Should they understand your business, in part, because they have interacted with your website and have struck up a bond of familiarity? That is the difference between basic brochure websites and today’s dynamic websites. Dynamic websites can do a lot of the customer acquisition steps for you …and at about the same cost!

Dynamic Website Structure

A dynamic website requires an integrated strategy and platform. One which may include blogging, lead generation, SEO (search engine optimization), social media, web-blog-CMS integration, analytics, plus may add in some key traditional marketing techniques that can really optimize your reach. What’s behind the site is as important as what is seen by its viewers. When done well, this package helps drive customers to your business and allows you to successfully reach your goals. The first step is to create a dynamic website that supports and is integrated with some of the tactics listed above.  Does your site do this? Can it do this?

Have I scared you? That’s a lot to take in and it takes a different approach than was used to create websites of days gone by. Dynamic websites should be thought of more as a process (that you, the business owner, are a part of) than a project that you can check off your to do list. Today’s websites should be the center of your marketing activities and should support those activities. The benefit? Less guesswork, better measurement, better realization of where your marketing efforts and monies are going; all getting you to your goal faster.

Scalability to Fit Your Needs

Scalability is important to small business owners. A 3-5 page website is fine for some, where a 20 page website is needed for others. For some, blogging is the way to go, and for others maybe an online service that produces the same results is the answer. A dynamic website can offer many integrated features no matter the scale. Choice is the key. It can be scaled to fit the small business owners’ goals, and by implementing the right choices, also fit into their busy time schedules. Do you only have an hour a week to spend? There are many options to support the time crunch, which will also get you great results.

I can help you make the choices that make the most sense for you and your business. Call today for a free consultation. You really won’t know the possibilities until you check out your options, will you?

Top Five SXSW 2011 Videos

SXSW 2011 has wound down for this year, but they’ll be back next year and I plan to be there. SXSW has something for everyone, especially in social media or inbound marketing. So many of the heavy hitters are there that it makes ones head spin.

It has taken a bit of searching around, but I found several short videos that really share the SXSW experience. These are all worth watching –sometimes more than once. Let me know what you think. It’s almost like being there.

3, 2, 1, Twitter: The NASA Tweet up Shuttle Discovery Launch

Phylise Banner, from APUS, speaking on how people are using tweet-ups to gather for Shuttle Take-offs. Sounds like fun.

“Mario” – SXSW 2011 Film Bumper

This film bumper makes me feel like I can’t wait to see the movie, a grown-up tongue-in-cheek version of my favorite video game. Just a bit naughty.

Gary Vaynerchuck -Author, Wine Connoisseur, Explorer of all things Social Media

You can’t help but love Gary. Such passion! He epitomizes the energy born from social media. Three for the price of one here:

Keynote part1- http://bit.ly/i3lcej

Keynote part 2- http://bit.ly/fuGxSz

Keynote part3 – http://bit.ly/hOx9ac

More Gary Vaynerchuck –he was a busy boy

1-1 Interview part1- http://bit.ly/ffpS1K

1-1 Interview part 2- http://bit.ly/hlvWeg

Matt Mallenweg, WordPress/Automatic

 

Speaking on the growth of WordPress and next step P2. Matt says that, yes, WordPress has moved beyond a blog platform and is, in fact, a complete web platform. Yes, indeed.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

 

TGIF Friday Freebie The iPhone iPad Touch and more

Hello everyone, I usually don’t post on Fridays, but I came across this cute story and I couldn’t resist. It doesn’t exactly fit into the Social Energizer social media plan, so I decided to make another category – TGIF Friday Freebies. A place for the real light stuff. Everyone needs ‘light’ by Friday.

I’m not able to cite the author on this, so let’s just say it’s from ‘Author Unknown’. It’s probably better that way.

It all began with an iPhone…

 

March was when my son celebrated his 15th birthday and I got him an iPhone.

Apple iPod

He just loved it. Who wouldn’t?

 

I celebrated my birthday in July and my wife made me

very happy when she bought me an iPad.

Apple iPad

 

My daughter’s birthday was in August so I got her an iPod Touch.

Apple iPod Touch

 

September came by so for my wife’s birthday I bought her an iRon.

iRon

 

It was around then that the fight started . . .

 

What my wife failed to recognize is that the iRon can be integrated into the home network with the iWash, iCook and iClean. This unfortunately activated the iNag app.

 

Which led me to the iHospital and iGet out Fr iDay.

_________________________________________

This article has been brought to you by SocialEnergizer.com

INBOUND MARKETING & MARKETING TECHNOLOGY OPTIMIZATION

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Please sign up to automatically receive our blog using the subscribe button. We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Thanks for visiting! – Lynn

Chris Brogans- What is the Focus and Purpose of Your Blog

I was digging through some of my archives and came across this article from Chris Brogan, one of my favorite thought leaders in the social media arena. It is about the focus and purpose of your blog.

Chris starts by suggesting that you, “Ask yourself that question: what is the focus and the purpose of my blog? Is the purpose of your blog easy to define? What are you aiming towards accomplishing with it? How are you testing whether or not you’re reaching your desired effect?”

Next, he tells the story of his blog history and brings you up to date.Chris Brogan

“When I started my blog many years ago (it skittered across several domains before I landed in “real” blog software), it was for fiction. I wrote stories. Then, I wrote about fitness and nutrition. Then, I wrote about self-improvement. Then, I wrote about new media. I went from that into writing about social networks and social media, and then eventually, I moved into how businesses could use social media to improve.

What am I writing about these days? Human business. It’s essentially the idea that relationships and human-shaped experiences serve business much better than cold marketing and afterthought customer service.”

Human business, now that’s an idea that can catch on. At Social Energizer, our philosophy is based on this same principle. Finally, Chris helps you define what it is that you need to do.

“Your blog is a media property. It’s also a tool that allows you to build relationships (should that be of interest), to notify and inform (if you like telling the news), to reflect and react (if you like being a commentator), to report (if that’s something you enjoy doing), or a tool to educate, instruct, or establish thought leadership. It can be a call to action, a lead generator, a showcase for your talents, and many other things.

But your community (or your audience, if you’re not as close to them) is there with an expectation. They are seeking whatever it is you’ve been offering along the way. They want your best, and they want your material to enlighten, entertain, inform, inspire, or any of several other functions.”

One thing Chris doesn’t mention in his article is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Sometimes gaining better SEO can be the main purpose for writing a blog. Consistently changing content on your website will affect your search rankings with the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! And Bing. Initially, I think small business owners care more that customers find their websites, then that they are ‘engaging’ with them. It’s sort of the chicken and the egg thing.

What is the focus and purpose of your blog? If you need help defining it and applying it? Give Social Energizer a call. Our focus is on small businesses. Our purpose is to help integrate inbound marketing techniques into our clients’ current marketing plans.

Where are you going? …with your Inbound Marketing efforts

attracting customersInbound Marketing refers to attracting customers to your lodging property through a variety of social media and content distribution and interacting with readers, rather than the older means of buying attention through disruptive advertising and other devices. Simply put, Inbound Marketing employs a ‘pull’ strategy, rather than the ‘push’ strategy employed by traditional marketing techniques. With the sophistication of the Internet, the opportunity for distributing content and building communities make Inbound Marketing the best chance for small businesses to get noticed in this overly messaged world. Engagement and differentiation is where small businesses have the advantage. So where are you taking your business?

What are you doing now to get found?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog and your website are all set up. You have them cross-referenced to interact with each other. They all hold a consistent brand message. You have clients that are interacting with you online. Life is good, right? Everyone should beat a path to your door, right?

Well, not exactly.

Where the problem lies for many businesses is in getting ENOUGH people to VISIT and then TAKE ACTION. That’s where you’ll need a good plan (and maybe some help). One that includes developing a content strategy, sound social media execution and personalized, genuine follow-up. How many visitors will you need each day to convert ENOUGH people into TAKING ACTION?

Feeling overwhelmed? Make no mistake there is a huge amount of effort that goes into leveraging SEO, blogging and social media to increase website traffic. Face it, now may be the time to invest some time and money into this endeavor. A certified and experienced Inbound Marketing professional can help you with a detailed analysis of your business and the competitive landscape. And help you set and achieve your online marketing goals. To get started on your detailed plan, determine your goals, and get people to TAKE ACTION, give us a call. Don’t worry, the first visit is always free.

“Goals without plans are meaningless. Plans without deadlines and measurements are wishes.” –Unknown

Note- First published Nov 2010 and republished Dec 2014

Just add fuel! Make your Sales …move!

Success in Inbound Marketing requires a well-oiled machine, which includes blogging, lead generation tactics, SEO, web-blog-CMS integration and analytics, just to name a few. That’s the machine part. When done well, it helps drive business to your site and allows you to successfully reach your destination.

Lord Acton said “I’m not a driven businessman, but a driven artist. I never think about money. Beautiful things make money.”

In Marketing terms, beautiful things = fuel.

Until you add the fuel, with the right fuel grade, that machine just doesn’t …move. In this case, the grade of fuel you choose makes all the difference.  Lately, I wonder if we’re choosing our fuel grade carefully enough. Is its importance getting lost in managing the machine and just keeping our levels high?

Do you agree? I’d like to hear your thoughts.