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Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’

The Power of Social Messaging

December 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Twitter continues to amaze me – especially when you focus on a niche market or region. Thanks to the great stats from Tweetburner I can now record the effectiveness of every Tweet that I publish via @BostonTweet. BostonTweet announces recommendations, happenings & entertainment at local Boston restaurants, bars and venues. Over the last few days my tweets have sent 445 visitors to the websites of these local restaurants – an impressive number in itself but especially considering that most of these websites probably don’t receive more than 10 visitors/day. Twitter is here to stay and will eventually be the most persuasive form of marketing & communication online.

Follow BostonTweet at http://Twitter.com/BostonTweet

Social Messaging? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter!

December 16, 2008 Leave a comment

Over the last couple of months, to the neglect of this blog, I’ve become quite addicted to Twitter. Like I originally did with blogs, I cursed Twitter because I didn’t see the point of it. Well I must admit that I regret not getting on Twitter sooner.

As I eventually learned a blog is an essential business tool and one that generates all my business, well that was until Twitter. Twitter is a social messaging/notification service that allows you to text updates on what you’re doing right now. You know that one little status section of Facebook that asks you what you’re doing right now? That’s Twitter and it’s phenomenal. Twitter only allows you to send 140 characters at a time but it’s amazing how much information you can learn from brevity. 

In my opinion Twitter has become the best tool for networking with people, connecting with information, marketing and most importantly getting people to talk about whatever topic you’re talking about. These days I have two Twitter accounts. My business is @TOKiBiz and the one I’m most amazed by is @BostonTweet.

@BostonTweet, in conjunction with BostonTweet.com, broadcasts real time Twitter updates about what’s happening right now at Boston restaurants, bars and music venues. @BostonTweet is very focused on local Boston business, which  makes people passionate about voicing their Boston restaurant recommendations. What Twitter does, that blogs and Facebook don’t do (or at least as well), is to get people to think about topics and contribute to the discussion in real time. What amazes me about BostonTweet is people are very passionate about their favorite local people, places and things – I know I am! So when you pose a question about what’s your favorite Thai Food restaurant we all immediately chime in with our vote. This puts the restaurant fresh on our mind and for me makes me want to visit that establishment ASAP. I know I’ve already visited a few new spots based on these recommendations and I’m sure (out of 550 followers) I’m not the only one  – businesses need to get in on the Tweet! I’m definitely going to J. Pace & Son in the North End very soon!!

In my opinion Twitter has become more valuable for business than blogs and Facebook. Blogs are terrific for when you want to be verbose on a topic that you’re passionate about but blogs can no longer beat the immediate influence that Twitter has. Maybe it’s that we can no longer process anything more than 140 characters or 30 seconds of video but those are the influencers and if business wants to survive then they need to embrace that. My buddy at EaT in Portland, Oregon just yesterday asked me if he should spend money on having a website for his new restaurant. I said no way! Create a blog, register with Twitter, and then send updates from your cell phone (while at the restaurant) about what’s happening RIGHT NOW at EaT. With a simple line of code you can notify your followers and update your blog & website with fresh content that will immediately be indexed on the search engines. Your typical portfolio, online brochure website is no longer effective in generating business for offline companies. Sure it’s nice to have an online menu but in most cases it’s not going to generate new business and it’s definitely not going to get people talking. Twitter can!

If you’re an offline business (restaurant, bar, cafe, shop) then you know that word of mouth is your most valuable form of marketing – recommendations from loyal customers. This is what Twitter does for your business and you need to get on board to get people talking and thinking about your business. Blogs and websites are you talking to your customers, which is of course important, but Twitter gets your customers talking. 

As for Facebook I use to think that it was good for marketing but I no longer believe that to be true. Facebook is phenomenal for connecting with former classmates and I owe Mark Zuckerberg a lot of thanks for connecting me with my former St. Martin de Porres (Poughkeepsie, NY) classmates – I don’t know how Classmates.com is still in business. However, as a marketing & networking tool Facebook isn’t as effective as Twitter. In my opinion Facebook’s revenues (or lack of) prove that. Of course Twitter is also trying to figure out their revenue model, maybe someday it will be a necessary utility like the telephone, but in the simplest terms Twitter is an advertising model in itself. Not in the form of banners but in the form of valuable information that’s not clogged with a bunch of spam and excessive text. If you don’t like what someone’s dishing then you just un-follow that person – problem solved. Wouldn’t it be nice if email was like this?

Internet Marketing in a Bad Economy or Even Worse a Recession?

November 15, 2008 1 comment

Internet marketing is more measurable, accountable, faster and viral than traditional advertising. While both forms of advertising might see dips during this economic slowdown it’s likely that traditional (print, TV, radio) advertising will see the biggest decline due to the uncertainty of their results. Internet advertising can be measured immediately via web analytics giving you instant feedback on the success or failure of your advertising dollars. 

Most corporations have not embraced online marketing & social media tools to effectively market their brand. With advertising and public relations (PR) budgets being cut, executives need to utilize the cost effective tools of social media, blogs and online marketing. To cut costs executives have to take an active role in the communication between them and their clients. All of this can be done affordable, but it takes active participation.

My advice – Don’t waste your money on expensive search engine optimization campaigns. SEO firms charge exorbitant fees (however likely to decline in the current market) and they can’t guarantee any results. No SEO firm can promise you the number one spot because they’re not Google and if they were it’s all based o Google’s algorithum. You can accomplish the same results that an SEO firm would do by utilizing online media to your advantage. Also unless you’re in the top 5 of the first page (for a popular keyword) you’re not going to see any significant amount of traffic. 

Now is the time to embrace the web more than ever and now is the time for corporations to take a direct and active role in their online marketing.

Small Business Podcast

November 1, 2008 Leave a comment

For those of you who can’t get enough of podcasts (and intelligent internet insight), Rick Breslin of Drive Thru Interactive hosts the Small Business Internet Marketing Podcast.  

Recent topics include:  “Google Paid Search Clicks Are Down – Why?”, “Web 2.0 for Small Business – Does it work?”, “Local Search Engine Marketing” and “How Much Is Your Web Site Worth?” which can be seen below.  

For the list of podcasts please visit

http://www.drivethru.us.com/small-business-podcast

 

Online Advertising Spending

October 31, 2008 4 comments

I received a great comment yesterday in response to my article, Google Adsense & the Economic Turmoil, from Rick Breslin of Drive Thru Interactive.  Rick is the President of Drive Thru Interactive, web site design for small business, and the developer of Bizak.

In my article I speculate that the current economic downtown will slash marketing budgets which will trickle down through Google Adwords and Adsense. According to Rick, and an article in eMarketer, marketing budgets will likely be cut but online advertising will still thrive because online marketing is more “measurable and accountable” than print advertising.  

According to Rick Breslin:

While I agree that advertising/marketing budgets will get cut within large corporations, this is actually the best time for small businesses to continue their marketing efforts. Never stop marketing. Ever.

In fact, we’re seeing businesses (both big and small) trimming their advertising spend with traditional media (especially newspapers and magazines), while keeping or increasing their online advertising/marketing spend. Why? Online marketing is entirely measurable (and typically produces quicker ROI), and you don’t have to lock-in to huge advertising contracts with old-school publishers.

Additional email conversations with Rick expressed his belief that “online ad spend is decreasing with display ads and increasing with search (Adwords)” and 

…taking into account that Internet TV companies like Revision3 (who just had layoffs / cancelled shows) are adjusting because they make revenue from ads placed within their videos (early adopter stuff). That money is shifting to tried & true online advertising avenues like search, since they’ve figured it out over the past 5 years or so (PPC, that is).

Of course there is speculation on both sides of the online advertising spending debate but a lot of recent research supports Rick’s stance.  A survey in October 2008 by MarketingProfs found that 60% of 600 US marketers expected to increase their online spending in response to current market conditions. In June, McKinsey & Company surveyed 340 senior marketing executives, of the 91% who currently advertise online 50% of them expect to “maintain or exceed current levels” (eMarketer). The most interesting feedback from the McKinsey survey is that 55% of the senior executives are cutting traditional media expenditures in favor of online advertising.

The eMarketer article makes 7 points on why they remain bullish on online advertising spending. The number 1 point being that online advertising is measurable and accountable. With online analytics an advertiser can track every click and every sale that comes from their advertisement – print advertising can’t provide this type of tracking. Unlike traditional media (newspapers, magazines, TV) the Internet is interactive allowing for instantaneous feedback and engagement from consumers – feedback that can tweak the ad for increased effectiveness. Blogs, Facebook & Twitter can help spread these advertisements like wildfire and at virtually no cost to the advertiser – much more effective (and trackable) than handing a magazine to a friend.

All of these points by Rick and eMarketer increase my  optimism about online advertising spending. I still believe it’s time for a new advertising platform, but at least all of those Web 2.0 sites can still generate some income from Google Adsense until that platform is developed.

Google Adsense & the Economic Turmoil

October 30, 2008 3 comments

The marketing department is always one of the first departments to feel the heat during an economic downturn. With marketing budgets (and employees) likely getting cut, online advertising platforms like Google Adwords will see a decline in revenues. A decrease in Adwords will result in a decrease in Google Adsense earnings for website publishers. In response to this uncertainty Google Adsense just sent out the following email to all publishers.  

Dear Publisher,

We understand that the recent economic turmoil has created a lot of uncertainty in the lives of AdSense publishers. During these difficult times, we’re continuing to invest in innovations that improve publisher monetization and advertiser value in the content network.

We’re focusing on further developing our product offerings and boosting ad performance for publishers. We recently announced advancements in AdSense for search and experiments to make ads more effective. We’re bringing DoubleClick technologies to AdSense publishers, and we’ll continue to launch new products and features. We’re also continuing to improve our offerings for AdWords advertisers, making it easier for them to target the Google content network. Features for advertisers, such as the new display ad builder, are designed to improve ad performance on AdSense publisher sites.

We’ll keep driving technological progress, but our best asset will always be our publisher partners. The strength of AdSense lies in the value of the content you bring to users and the quality of the sites you bring to advertisers. Our success is tied to yours. We look forward to partnering with you for the long term, and remain dedicated to helping you succeed.

Sincerely,

Comparing the Financial Performance of Startups

September 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Slide 7 from the Bizak presentation discussing our market and the need to make an apples to apples comparison of internet startups.

For the high quality version please click here