Carmageddon & More for Your Targeted Email Campaign

If you live in or around Los Angeles, CONGRATS – you’ve survived Carmageddon! All weeklong, businesses big and small tried to capitalize on this event, from JetBlue’s limited $4 flights to local Pasadena eateries advertising $4.05 specials.

This email above from Amazon is just another example of a retailer trying to solve a problem customers faced this weekend: finding a source of entertainment. They are also doing a clever job of targeting by relating to the customer and relevant events that are happening around the. It makes sense that most people would try to avoid the freeways this weekend so retailers tried to entice them to do other things that didn’t involve traveling far. Or in Amazon’s case, involving any travel at all!

Why Choose Email?
Email has been and continues to be a strong source of marketing for businesses. Studies show that since last year: more emails are being sent, email unsubscribe rates have dropped and bounce rates have also declined.

Take a look at column one in this chart and you’ll see why other small business owners use email marketing campaigns: owners felt that email marketing was cost effective and that it had a high rate of response and sales in comparison to other marketing methods.

The Goal of Targeted Emails
In the end, you’ll want to remind customers that you have a solution to their problem. Establish a clear message (the shorter, the better) and make it easy for the customer to respond or take action.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of email marketing for your small business, make sure to contact us today!

What Ice Cream Flavor Would Your Blog Be?

nullMmm mint chocolate chip, vanilla or even… bacon? Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much of the Food Channel, but have you ever thought of your blog in terms of ice cream? The types of different  flavors are countless and customer demand is limitless!

People learn and like things through experience, so you can maximize user experience by giving your customer what they really want. When visitors come to your website or blog, you don’t want them to be bored by just a one dimensional site. You know the ones I’m talking about, just text to no end for the sake of having content. That would be very vanilla

What are some things that make your blog stand out? Is it your knowledge of hot industry topics? Infographics, user polls, personal stories or interaction with readers? Ultimately, these are the things that will help you establish credibility in your community and industry so that users will come to you when they need a product/service you provide.

Nowadays, people are interested in something new that will really catch their attention. This is where social media and video marketing come into play. Think of these as the sprinkles and tasty toppings that go well with your ice cream blog. You don’t want this content to overpower your blog, but just enough to make your content a little more interesting.

And everyone likes free samples! So of course, you can do the same with your content – whitepapers, downloads and email newsletters are a great way to entice your customers so that they come back for more of the real thing.

It’s amazing how you can make sugar, ice and milk turn into something that’s so much more. Like ice cream, blogs are a great thing. So, when it comes to your blog, don’t just think of it as a blob of words. Mix it up with different components of content to make it a blog that people actually want to read!

Your Local Search Optimization Checklist for Success

checklistWhen it comes to search engine optimization for small businesses, local search is more important than ever. If your content isn’t focused on geo-specific keywords, it’s time to follow this simple checklist that will help you succeed. Remember, this content spans across your website, blogs, and even social media profiles!

  1. Are you on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yelp local listings? If not, get on that NOW! It’s free and fill out as much information as possible. Descriptions are a great place to sprinkle in some of your local keywords for that extra SEO boost.
  2. Get visual. How about some pictures of your place of business or neighborhood to spruce up your site or social profile? Adding visuals of your business and/or employees adds a personal touch to your products/services. It will also give your potential customers a chance to “meet” you.
  3. Emphasize your local loyalty. Wherever possible, be sure to include a local phone number with the area code for your location.  I’ve seen plenty of SEO and web design sites with 800 numbers, no physical address – essentially making it impossible to find out where they’re located. No thank you – next.
  4. Use the right keywords. And I can’t stress this one enough! You’ll want to be using relevant keywords to your business that have a good amount of traffic so that you can capture some of that volume. What’s the point of ranking #1 for a term that  only gets 100 or so hits a month? Another thing, be thorough when choosing your location keywords. Are we talking about Glendale, CA or Glendale, AZ?
  5. Track your results. For the more SEO-savvy, SEJ just came out with a helpful article about how to track your progress.

If you think these extra steps are time consuming, think again. Properly optimized content will be a valuable asset for your business in the long run. What are some of your favorite, easy tips for local search optimization?

What’s the Point of Your Blog?

More, please.What does successful blogging mean to you?

If you have a blog, chances are there are many reasons that motivate you. Whether you like to provide helpful information, bring more visitors to your website or just like blogging as a creative outlet, there are many ways that you can improve your blog.

One thing’s for sure, you need to approach it as if it’s more than just content for search engines. Here are some things that I try to keep in mind:

  1. Expand on what you know best. Have you ever wondered why how-to and troubleshooting articles are so popular? People link and share these posts because they appreciate specific details and even narratives.
  2. Link to your content and other blog posts. Don’t treat a blog post as if it’s just a single entity. Your posts should be interconnected and relevant. This will also be helpful for readers looking for more information and help increase the amount of time they spend on your site or blog.
  3. Practice makes perfect, so be persistent. Blogging isn’t just a one shot deal. The work doesn’t after your fingers leave the keyboard. If you feel like you haven’t quite reached the  sweet spot as a blogger, it never hurts to try again. In fact, more helpful content can only help your business.
  4. What’s the point or call to action? At the end of the day, you want to leave a lasting message whether it’s getting the reader to call, continue reading, share the post with others or just comment. Like a story, an effective blog posts needs a beginning, middle and end that brings everything together.

Blogging and even micro-blogging are becoming more important to your business and online presence. What’s the point of your blog and what do you think you need to work on?

So, a Little Bird Told You About Content Marketing…

Webinar Overview
So, I got to hear Joe Pulizzi of Vertical Measures speak today in a Search Marketing Now webcast. Content marketing and link building can be confusing to people as there are certain things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your customers in mind. As Joe put it, don’t just talk about yourself. After all, people aren’t searching for a marketing pitch! They want answers.
  • Marketers are becoming publishers but many are doing a bad job. Their main problem is they have a difficult time separating self-promotion with their ability to provide useful content.
  • The secret to success is not really a secret at all. Most marketers will tell you the key to success is to be an expert in your niche and to dedicate content to customers.

These tips are a lot easier said than done – especially with the third point. So, what are some ways you can be more innovative with your content marketing? Joe provides a list of ideas to “steal”!

Steal These Ideas

  1. Create as much content as possible relating to your niche
  2. Incorporate a helpful video series
  3. Use Twitter as a channel for providing tips
  4. Develop a web or mobile application that is educational and helps solve problems
  5. Share a series on SlideShare

The Big Idea About Link Building

Don’t mix link building with lead generation!

Here’s a good starting point: find a handful of top blogs in your industry. Read them, stay up to date and comment to build a presence. Like I said before, these things aren’t really secrets. The real secret is how to keep consistent and measure your progress.