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AdWords? Let’s go.

October 31st, 2011 by Diana

Did you know that AdWords is Google’s main source of revenue? Isn’t that clever? This way Google is able to support the terrific business they offer (search engine) and still pay the bills (with AdWords).  Pretty good for a service that provides businesses PPC and CPM advertising, along with direct website links through a variety of ads.  So lets get started.

1.  Register. Go to the AdWords homepage and sign in with your Google account.  If you don’t have one, create one.

2.  Create a budget. There is no budget too small to finance an AdWords campaign, so be realistic about where your business is financially, and your AdWords campaign goals.  When your revenue grows, you can go back and change your budget.  With that in mind, set your budget higher than Google recommends, you’ll show up a bit higher on searches because of it.

3.  Select Keywords. AdWords suggests you do this before you create your ad but I defy them!  It is crucial to select your keywords before creating an ad because you’ll want to incorporate them into the text of your ad.  This way people searching for you find you, and not the other way around.  Make sense?  Once you’re registered (refer to Step 1) log into AdWords and search words relevant to your business, AdWords will do the rest.  Include negative -keywords with positive keywords.  (ex. negative: -hat, positive: hat).  Also go looking for the less used specific keywords rather than the high traffic ones, they’re cheaper for you and keep traffic coming.

4.  Create an ad.  “What is the goal of my ad?” is a great place to start.  Consider your keywords and incorporate a few into your ad.  Without smart keywords in your ad, people may click on your website but they may not be looking for your business.  Consider who you’re speaking to and who you’re competing with.  If there is any helpful information you can include in your ad (like pricing) do.  Finally, use a selected amount of keywords per ad and create many ads.  More links = more clicks.

5.  Keep going back. Since you’ve made goals with your ads, track your successes.  Are they working?  Great!  No?  Let’s change some things around.  Stay creative.  Stay precise.

If you ever get confused on any of these steps, not to worry.  Just go to the AdWords webstie and click on ‘Create your first campaign.’  Google will take you there.  If you’d like any further help setting this up, give us a call.  212 633 0656.

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Video Campaigns: a closer look

October 28th, 2011 by Diana

Technology is a tool that binds us.  We’ve got to remember that no matter what we can do technologically, its a tool for people to be close when physically its impossible.  When marketing your business online, you’ve got to remember that people would rather not open their emails, would rather not be reading loads of text and would rather be sitting with a person face to face.  This is why video campaigns can be useful (and lots of fun).

Who doesn’t like watching a great video campaign?

Here are some tips on creating a fun and effective video campaign.

1.  Envision Your Video. Who are you appealing to?  What sort of message are you trying to convey?  Who will work on the video?  Will you make the video in house or hire a video crew?  Sit down with your video team, envision your future video, and ask yourself the following questions:

2.  Get Detailed. Decide your timeline and budget for your video launch.  Setting limits right away will keep the work focused and efficient.  Next determine the following requirements with your video crew by the end of your initial meeting: branding, talent, scripting, audio, filming style and editing.  Remember that a clear plan means a clear execution.

3.  Set Clear Goals. Keep your specificity here.  You may not know this, but your goals may be vague.  Like, “we want more business” is vague.  What kind of business?  Who are you speaking to?  Specifically, what are your goals and how will you know when you’ve achieved them?  Setting specific goals will provide stepping stones to achieving them.

4.  Get Everyone on Board. Know who is involved in this campaign.  Let the brand you’re working on, investors, stakeholders, everyone involved, know about your video from the beginning .  Let them know what its going to be like and what its goals are.  By doing this you’ve already got confirmed viewers  and a test audience.

5.  Keep Testing. Once you’ve published your videos, see if you met your goals.  See if people like them.  See if you like them.  There is always room for revision so stay open and keep improving.

These five steps were inspired by a recent article on Wesbite Magazine written by Craig Wax, CEO of Invodo.  Invodo is an Austin based company that makes terrific eCommerce videos.  To watch their promotional video, visit their website.

Stay creative and keep going!

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Irrational helps the Rational

October 26th, 2011 by Diana

In The Tragedy of the Commons Garret Hardin writes “as a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain.”  This concludes that to be rational is to maximize gain for personal interests. You earn more money to buy a larger home.  You buy flowers to keep your wife.  You go to college to land a well paying job.  It can be assumed the majority of people are rational beings working to fulfill a personal gain.

And where has this gotten us?

Today we face depleted resources in the forms of jobs, economy, governance, lodging, forests, water, food, and more.  What we have an abundance of is population, and this population has an abundance of rational thinking.  As business owners and employees we must all be aware of this.

So what do we need now?

Irrational thinking.  By Hardin’s example, a rational person acts for his own gain so an irrational person acts for the gains of others, or perhaps no gain at all.  This may seem counter intuitive in terms of growing your business, since business growth is a rational act.  This also does not call for complete irrational action, as I believe we cannot escape our fundamental rationalism.  It does call for some out of the box thinking.  In today’s market, it is the businesses that focus on the needs of others who will survive.  It is the irrational businesses that are thriving today.

What does this mean?

When meeting a client, a group of people, giving a presentation, picking up your phone or posting your blog consider your reader.  Do you know who they are?  Do you know the needs of the businesses you service?  The last thing you want to do is make someone feel like you’re using them for your own gain.  People are savvy and no one wants to be used.  When you are solely focused on your capital when speaking with a client, they can tell and retreat.  When you put them first, they’ll advance.

These are tight times.  In tight times, the irrational win.

Read The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin

Read The New York Times

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Internet Marketing: SEO and PPC

October 19th, 2011 by Diana

When creating a marketing strategy, do you consider the differences between organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising(PPC)?  The differences between the two will make your strategies stronger and help decide which tool to use for which customers.

SEO relates to how high your company’s website ranks in major search engines.  Organic SEO is being able to move up your rank without paying the search engine for help.  The higher a company’s website ranks in search engines, the more traffic the website will get.

PPC advertising works two ways.  If you make ads, you pay the publisher of a website a certain amount whenever your ad is clicked.  PPC with search engines means that advertisers pay the search engines to bid on certain keywords pertaining to their market or customer base.  Whenever these keywords are used to find the website, both the search engine and the publisher make money and traffic.

SEO is direct traffic to your website based on the ranks you’re getting.

PPC uses affiliate marketing that will drive traffic to your website through your own (and also other company’s) websites.  Understanding the difference will help you devise a more detailed plan of action for your customer base and company goals.  Keep in mind that one does not rule the out.  So rather than thinking SEO vs. PPC think: When do I use SEO?  When do I use PPC?  How are they working together?

Keep in mind that having clear goals is the first step to any strategy.  The second step, is how you’re going to achieve those goals.  Knowing your tools will help you understand the how.  Please join us on Facebook and Twitter to join our conversation on Internet Marketing and Optimization.  Thank you!

Further Reading:

Difference between organic SEO and pay per click advertisement

Integrating SEO & PPC: 3 Areas to Explore

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Social Media Hits the Newstands

October 17th, 2011 by Diana

Four new print magazines hit the racks today.  The subject?  Social Media.

For about $7.95 you can pick up a magazine entirely focused on one of the four major social media platforms; Twitter, Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn.  You can also register for a free online subscription at www.socialmediamags.com.

Reading an entire magazine devoted to one Social Media platform is immensely helpful.  Each issue helps to break down each of these, sometime chaotic sites, into usable tools.

Here are some quick tips I learned from the fb & Business article: “15 Ways to Get Liked on Facebook

1.  Incorporate the ‘Like’ button onto your company’s website

2.  Let Email Subscribers Know About Your Page

3.  Provide Incentives to Get More Fans

Why do you need social media?  How often do you think about Lady Gaga, President Obama, Occupy Wall Street, Coca-Cola or Princeton University?  They’re some of the best Social Media cowboys out there.  We’re all looking for ways to improve our business, and listening to those who will enable your growth is the best way to do that.  Social Media is the best way to listen.

The magazines available are:

Tweeting & Business

fb & Business

The Big G & Business

LI & Business

Look for them at Office Depot or read them online.

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Growing with E-Commerce

September 27th, 2011 by Diana

Chances are that if you have an online business, you have an e-commerce plan.  Since technology and the Internet are constantly changing it is important to keep updating your e-commerce plan and keep your business growing.

Quick tips provided by Brian Horakh, CEO of e-commerce software Zoovy.

These tips are primarily for small business owners, but we think they’re great guidelines.  As posted on Website Magazine.

Offer Shipping Promotions

Offer free shipping.  Its one of the easiest ways to complete the buy cycle with new customers.  Studies show that when a site charges for shipping, they loose business, so find a way to ship for free.

Keep a strong return management system.  Overlooking whats being returned and how often could cost you millions.  You want customers to be happy with what they’re buying from you, so make sure its good.

Multiple Storefront Expansion

Create several sites for your business and make each one unique.  Different customers, different products, different atmosphere, etc.  This way you can appeal to current and future customers in more than one way.

Retail shops do this all the time.  Urban Outfitters Inc. owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People however each store offers a difference experience and the business is all going into the same pot.  You can do this virtually.

Competitive Repricing Options

Use an automated tool to reprice items.  Comparative shopping moves quickly on the web so you want to make sure your products are offered at competitive prices.

Valuable Reporting

A good reporting tool is not only to track your performance trends, provide statistics, and mark your progress.  It should also offer business intelligence.  Once you’ve got your data, know what to do with it.

Here are some E-Commerce software worth checking out:

Further reading:

Four Strategies for E-Commerce Success, Website Magazine

The Business Side of Web 2.0, Wired.com

Top 10 E-Commerce Strategies for 2011

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Tumblr Is The New Black

September 11th, 2011 by Diana

Looks like the fashion industry has taken a liking to tumblr.com, or is it the other way around?  Since its inception four years ago, tumblr.com has given more attention to the fashion industry than any other social media platform.  Of course with tumblr’s high res and photo based blog templates, its easy to see why.  This year’s fashion week was particular tumblr-ed.  On Fashion’s Night Out last Friday night, tumblr set up a photo booth for folks to have their photo taken in, which was then posted onto http://openingceremony.tumblr.com/.

Another reason why many industries and bloggers are using tumblr is because its so easy to use.  Tumblr offers a plethora of apps including blogging directly from your cell phone or recording your voice which is then entered as content into your blog.  This makes it the ideal blog for anyone with a busy lifestyle, i.e. anyone in the fashion industry.

Fashion Designer, Stefano Gabban, primarily blogs from taking photos on his phone and uploading them to his tumblr site http://stefanogabbana.tumblr.com/.  Tumblr has also been embraced by designers, photographers and many others working in a visually based medium.  Why?  Its nice to look at!  There isn’t too much content and any photos uploaded onto tumblr are going to look fantastic!  Check this blog out and see for yourself; http://marre.tumblr.com/.  Its also wired with google analytics so when you build a tumblr site its going to be seen.

However, tumblr has been getting into some trouble with the fashion industry by asking a large sum for page posts.  This has mostly been looking bad for tumblr because they have spent their time helping the fashion industry and now it seems they’d been doing this for profit.  Whats more, Ramana Kia, Head of Digital Marketing at Starworks Group, recently advised to avoid any paid partnership between a client and Tumblr.  He goes to recall several instances in which heads at Tumblr failed to recognize his own social marketing firm (one of the largest) as well as being rude within business correspondence.  He calls it a lack of empathy and reminds us:

“The inability to be empathetic is in fact one of the key differentiators between individuals who are considered to suffer from social communication disorders such as Autism and those who are considered to be normal.”

However, for any free use of tumblr this social platform is terrific.  Read more from Ramana Kia on his blog thesocialwarrior.com.

For further reading on this topic check out:

Where Fashion Gazes at Itself, NY Times

Tumblr Power

Tumblr.com

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IT has gone to the Clouds…

August 15th, 2011 by Diana

Cloud Computing is growing in popularity, however there seems to be many definitions for what Cloud Computing actually is.  After reading several articles, Wikipedia provided the simplest answer:

“Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of Cloud Computing is its vast capabilities and low cost and initial investment.  With a combination like this, Cloud Computing has been predicted to change the IT landscape for good.

Microsoft is by the far the largest promoter of Cloud Computing.  They have released many ‘cloud’ articles  and one visit to the Microsoft website will give you more information on Cloud Computing than you’ve ever dreamt of.

So what are some things Microsoft’s excited about?

As Jeff Vance pointed out in his blog post on Forbes.com, Cloud Computing is one of the most productive ways to work on a collaborative project.  He also brought up that while email is “only one piece of what can be a highly efficient overall cloud strategy” it is still the primary tool for online communication.

The downfalls of relying solely upon email is the downtime and isolation it puts on partners, contractors and employees who are working on the same document.  When you attach a document into an email, only one person can work on it at a time.  With group projects, this obviously slows down productivity and often leads to conflicting ideas.  Cloud Computing allows all employees to view and work on the same document at the same time, thus increasing productivity and more successful collaborations.

Other services available through Cloud Computing include:

  • Saas, like Google Apps and Zoho Office
  • Utility Computing, virtual servers that IT can access on demand
  • Managed Servers Providers
  • Service Commerce Platforms
  • Internet Integration, like OpSource

The meaning and capabilities of Cloud Computing is constantly expanding.  Virtual servers available over the Internet are considered part of the ‘Cloud” as are any services available outside of a firewall.  With Cloud Computing’s meaning and capabilities in constant flux, it’s no wonder that Info World offers a Cloud Computing monthly newsletter, which is available here.  If you’re interested in the details and updates of Cloud Computing, this newsletter is worth checking out.  Even a quick read of their article is a great resource.

Perhaps one of the main draws to Cloud Computing is its pay as you go resource to tools.  No large investment, you pay as you use, which provides major savings to any business.  We are still getting comfortable with the idea of Cloud Computing so many businesses have not utilized this amazing tool.  It’ll be interesting to see its popularity in the future.

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Employment and Social Media

July 22nd, 2011 by Diana

Think social media is just a fun way to swap stories between friends?  Think again.

A terrific article popped up in the New York Times yesterday about employment and social media that may make you reconsider your Internet presence.

The article began by introducing a California-based recruiting office called Social Intelligence.  Social Intelligence does background checks via social media on prospective employees for hiring businesses.  This is definitely a modern approach to background checks and has some people questioning the privacy rights searches like this may abuse.  Social Intelligence says they are looking for signs that a prospective employer may have a drug abuse problem, history of violence or a show active signs of racism, prejudice, sexism, etc.  They are not looking for any personal information or snooping.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Office in Houston was quoted in the article saying “Things that you can’t ask in an interview are the same things you can’t research,” and the Times reminded us that this “includes the gamut of information covering a person’s age, gender, religion, disability, national origin and race.”

So if you’re looking for a job or an employee, think about how you’re coming across on these websites.

Social media has been controversial since its inception.  Its integration into business has become more so.  Beyond basic privacy rights, some businesses wonder if using social media for internal business communications is helpful or harmful.  Well, many Australian businesses have totally embraced social media as a means of communication.  In fact, Australians are avid users of social media, and they trump the US and the UK for hours spent on social media websites.  They’ve also found a way to make it work for  business.  What they’ve done is set up social media websites for business only, so employees don’t get side tracking peeking at their crushes on Facebook.

One social media site the Australians have created is called Deloitte.  It looks exactly like Facebook, so its familiar, and its focused for business practiced only.

Whether you’re with it or against it, its very clear that social media is here to stay…and it could help your business and career.  So whether you’re looking for a job, or have a job, think of ways social media can help (not hinder) your workplace.

Read more at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/technology/social-media-history-becomes-a-new-job-hurdle.html?pagewanted=1&ref=technology

http://businessconcerto.com/2011/03/14/using-social-media-for-employee-communications-some-australian-case-studies/

http://mashable.com/2009/10/28/small-business-marketing/

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Showing up on Google…an oldie but a goodie…

July 19th, 2011 by Diana

Hello folks!

Now if you’re reading this blog, you probably already understand the importance of showing up on Google’s search engine.  Google is with a doubt the most used search engine out there so you want to do what you can to make sure you’re showing up on top.

The great thing about Google is you really don’t need a lot of money to show up on their rankings, you just need some savvy, skills and preparation.  The very enthusiastic and smart software engineer Matt Cutts lays out ways your business can rank higher on Google.  Check out this video and learn more.  Enjoy!

Inspiration for this post came from:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4227/6-Simple-SEO-Tips-For-Small-Business-Straight-From-Google.aspx

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/

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