Intelligent brand marketing through press releases

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Intelligent brand marketing should get a boost through the introduction of real-time search results in the major search engines. Old marketing tactics such as press releases will gain a new lease on life especially if combined with a carefully planned social media campaign. And don’t think that press releases are only for big businesses either – any size business can gain a boost using a carefully crafted press release rich in relevant keywords.

If you follow these basic press release guides you should see an increase in search rankings.

  • Incorporate SEO fundamentals in the press release. This includes optimized titles, keywords and internal links to your own web pages
  • Publishing your press release on your own site with a prominent link to it on your home page
  • Having your press release distributed through a quality distribution agency or having it appear with a reputable news outlet
  • Tweeting links to your press release. Don’t limit this to the link on your own site. Tweet the links to other areas where the press release has been published. Search engines will follow that link.
  • Talk about your press release on any social pages you engage on

Press releases now have long shelf lives. They appear in search results months after their first publication and not only deliver new visitors to your site, they also provide SEO benefits.

Intelligent brand marketing is all about marketing your brand using multiple resources and platforms. The press release is one more tool that is worth considering especially now that real time search is making such inroads.

Using social media as a business idea incubator

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Social media has a lot of uses – it can also be a time drain if your not careful. In the past, before the internet came along, if we had a business idea we would run it past our friends and families. Of course many of them would rubbish the idea, others would come up with useless suggestions, and just occasionally, you would win a lot of support and a wealth of positive suggestions.

The internet has extended our circle of family and friends. If you have a business idea you may want to use social media as incubator for your idea.  What can social media do for your idea?

Problem solving – forums can be great places to discuss business ideas. Other business owners never hesitate to offer advice particularly when it comes to the pitfalls that need to be avoided.

Product ideas – sites like Facebook and Myspace can be used to discuss products with a wider audience. People are always willing to provide opinions on what they like and what they dislike. Colors, prices, distribution methods – these can all be discussed. You can even also take advantage of polls to gain feedback.

Blogs – blogs have been around for a long time now and once you have a reasonable flow of traffic you can utilize  opinions of your readers to develop your ideas. But be clear of your expectations; make sure to ask your readers what they think and to respond.

Using social media to incubate ideas prior to a launch can be an effective and affordable way to get market research. Once you have people talking about your business, they will be eager to test the waters once you launch your business, or if it’s a new product, once the product has been launched. Incubating a business idea through social media could be the first step to a successful social media marketing campaign.

Email Marketing Gaining New Friends

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There appears to be an increase in the popularity of email marketing particular  when it comes to customers who are now welcoming informative emails. As a marketing tool, it seems to be losing its ‘spam’ tag due in part to the policies of many businesses and how they conduct email marketing campaigns.  If a business follows current guidelines, they are marketing to individuals who have opted-in to receive these emails.

Current trends are showing that businesses are starting to show more interest in email marketing. There are several reasons for this, one being the relatively low cost to run an email marketing campaign. Another is that marketers are delivering better content via email marketing, thus creating a better end-user experience. Returns from well designed campaigns are also on the increase with many businesses reporting that email marketing delivers their highest ROI when it comes to a cost comparison.

For businesses selling tangible products, email marketing may well lead to a decent increase in revenues. The biggest problem for many businesses is simply getting started and developing an email list to market to. There are many services (such as Aweber) available to help manage your mail list, however this does still leave the task of acquiring email addresses.

Ensuring your web site has multiple entry points to sign up for newsletters is certainly one tactic that is working  well.  Popular entry and exit points are obvious areas to place newsletter opt-in forms or buttons. Ensuring the sign on process is as quick and painless as possible is also important. Often a name and  email address is all you need to get started.

Email marketing is finding a lot of new friends both in the online and offline world. Brick and mortar businesses are also requesting email addresses and many shoppers are obliging. As a form of marketing, it can be inexpensive and the returns can be sizable.

When Pepsi Abandons Traditional Marketing, It’s Time To Take Notice

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Pepsi is not only abandoning traditional marketing, it is abandoning a 23 year old tradition of Super Bowl advertising and replacing it with social media marketing. The tens of millions of dollars spent on Super Bowl advertising will certainly buy a lot of social media marketing – the question is, will it be a smart move? I think it will and here’s why.

The Super Bowl is a one dimensional market when it comes to geographic location and that dimension is the US market. Pepsi has a strong presence in the US, so the time is probably right to look at other markets where their presence is not so strong. It is also worth pointing out that they will get plenty of mileage in the US by simply making this announcement.

Geographical regions such as Europe and Asia (particularly China) are huge and Pepsi doesn’t have a large following in these regions. China, in particular, is interesting given the huge penetration made by Coke; this may provide a clue to Pepsi’s thinking. China is also one of the largest users of social media. So if asked how Pepsi could make an impact in China – the answer may be through social media marketing.

There are many other advantages, of course. Television advertising is very much a one shot wonder – even the Super Bowl. It needs to be followed up with newspaper, billboard and in-store marketing. Social media marketing is a long term strategy that will continue to produce results down the road. They will still need the follow-up marketing, however the total cost will be far lower. This means they can repeat the exercise across several geographical regions and still spend less than their current Super Bowl outlay.

Pepsi is not the first to realize the power of social media marketing. Pepsi is probably one of the biggest in terms of dollars spent on TV advertising. What will be interesting to follow is whether or not Coke will respond in a similar way and what sort of influence this will have on other businesses that have been considering social media marketing. When the big boys decide to change the rules of the game, you know it’s time to take notice.

Online Brand Management And Domain Names

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twittir_logoDoes online brand management include domain names? It has been an interesting argument for a long time with many domains proving to be successful despite not including their brand in their domain name. The argument becomes lost when it can be pointed out that the domain name itself has become a brand. There are dangers lurking when you do have a highly successful business built around your domain name.

Take as an example, Twitter.com. Mention the word Twitter and almost everyone who is online will know who you are talking about. Or do they? Yes, Twitter is a highly recognized name. But so too is twitter.co.uk; yet they are not connected.

The UK branded Twitter has possibly brought more grief to Twitter.com than good. There was a period where the British twitter.co.uk was in dispute with twitter.com. The dispute even made it to the British press. Free publicity for both but since twitter.com appeared to be in the wrong, everyone sided with twitter.co.uk.

Ask someone in the UK about Twitter and the response may well be — “which one?”  You now have brand confusion. Twitter has developed their name and their domain name as a brand that many are familiar with. A similar domain name in the UK has now lead to brand confusion. There is similar domain name in Australia too: twitter.com.au. This could mean even more brand confusion in Australia.

It’s a difficult situation to be in. All three Twitter’s will no doubt survive and twitter.com has not suffered unduly”¦ yet. There is always the potential down the track.

Including your brand in your domain name, or branding your domain name is a good idea. However, if you intend to build a global business, consider buying regional domains as well. It may set you back several hundred dollars to buy these domain names, but in the long run they may also prevent any situations where brand confusion creeps. This is why online brand management looks beyond today and tries to position a business for all outcomes.

Is Online Brand Management Viable For Small Businesses?

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Having a strong brand awareness is essential to the success of any business.  As a small business owner you may wonder how viable it is to employ an online brand management specialist. One of the upsides of the online world is that it’s a great equalizer. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation makes no difference to the opportunities available. What may be different is the way each individual business allocates their marketing dollars.

Return on investment (R.O.I.) is the only thing that an finance person is interested in. For the business owner, growth and profitability is the bottom line. For marketers, looking at the short,  medium and long term gain is equally important. This then becomes the clash between the finance department and the marketing department at some businesses. For Marketing managers, the R.O.I. is there and if undertaken successfully, the return can be much higher than other forms of online promotion.

There is a perception that online brand management is expensive. This may or may not be true depending on your strategy. For example, if you as a business owner shoot video footage, a brand management team can promote that video in all the right places. If you are part of a large business, you may use a professional team to create a video as well. However, and this is the great equalizer, the two videos are more often than not promoted in the same multimedia websites.

The opportunities for both are almost equal. What is different is how the video is promoted and whether or not the video has the content that others will recommend. Create a video that is different, a video that is funny  or in some way memorable and you’re well on the way. Video is just one example.

Small business not only can, but are, competing against larger business with a lot of success. Is online brand management a viable way to spend your budget? For most businesses it has to be. If you are considering spending any money on advertising or some form of promotion, speak to an online brand management specialist first. Your advertising budget stretches a lot further than you realize if a little time is spent promoting your brand online.

Are You Optimizing Your Brand For Social Search

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One area of the online world that is slowly becoming popular is the use of social media as a search option. The traditional search engines still have a major hold on general search and will do for quite a long time. However, users are starting to conduct searches from inside their favorite social media sites.

Twitter is an obvious example and so is Facebook. Other sites will also become popular as users realize the potential for returning accurate results. As a webmaster, are you optimizing your social media marketing for search from within those sites?

Blogging has been a popular communication tool for several years now. It’s becoming more powerful as more social media sites take direct feeds from blogs. Including your brand, product line or even business name in the occasional post title means that those posts will be returned in search results for any of those search terms.  Optimizing important search terms in this manner has a number of benefits for your business.

  • Search – your business is likely to appear in search results for relevant search terms
  • Exposure – online users don’t like the ‘push’ style of marketing. Having your brand, product or business in the occasional blog post for example looks natural and not ‘pushy’. At the same time, you are exposing that information to other users, users who will begin to associate those terms with you;
  • SEO – what the level of SEO benefits from social media marketing is disputable. What is not in dispute is that search engines do use social media to help find new sources of information and to help provide some authority to web pages. With that in mind, optimizing your brand, product or business will bring with it some SEO benefits.

Social media marketing is more about engagement rather than a full frontal assault. That doesn’t mean you can’t include information about your brand, your products or your business. Deliver this information using the right format and the right channels and it will actually be welcomed by many.

Are You A Twitter Marketing Master?

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Twitter has to be one of the fastest growing online entities seen in years. For many, it’s a waste of time. For others, an effective way to communicate. There are those who are learning how to use it as an effective marketing tool whilst others are struggling to understand what a Follow Friday, or a mention is. It is common for some companies to hire an in-house Twitterer to get the ball rolling. Others are still waiting on the sidelines to see if this social media thing will take off.  What, then, does Twitter mean to your business?

Online marketing has taken some interesting turns over the years. It is clear that ‘Joe Public’ wants to take part in communicating with brands and wants that communication to be clear and two-way. Twitter, and to a lesser extent Facebook, has been able to provide that two-way communication. Twitter has been used quite successfully by some businesses to engage in not just two-way, but multi-way communications as well.

Other businesses have utilized Twitter as purely an announcement tool. There is no two-way communication – it’s all one way and that one way is coming from the business to the public, much like old school marketing works (newspaper ads, tv commercials, billboards, etc.)  For many businesses this has been very effective. But these one-way types of communication are missing an opportunity to engage their customers.

The one thing that has been missing for many businesses is the personal touch. They have several people involved with the business Tweeting under the one business name. That could be about to change and hopefully for the better. Twitter has just announced a beta trial of what is effectively multi-users for the one account. This means that each individual could log in and send a Tweet – the difference being that their Twitter name will appear as a byline alongside the company or brand Twitter name. It’s a positive move which hopefully will move beyond beta to a more permanent feature.

In the meantime, Twitter continues to grow. Some users are growing with it while others are being still waiting on the sidelines. Which are you? Are you struggling to understand how to command Twitter and use it to market your business? Or are you a Twitter master of the universe?