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- Our Work
Business bloggers are always wondering …
- Am I accomplishing anything?
- How can I do better, really better?
For super successful blogging, try an onsite-offsite strategy. It’s pretty simple, actually:
- Onsite, supplement your own blogging with high-authority, relevant guest authors
- Offsite, get your articles published on high-authority, relevant blogs
Simple as it is, few companies implement this strategy. The three enormous benefits of onsite-offsite blogging:
- Vast improvement in SEO. When your articles are published on high authority, relevant blogs, you should be able to include a link back to your website. These backlinks are strong ranking factors for Google and other search engines.
- Greater reach to your target online audience. Your articles on other blogs will be seen and shared by new readers. Guest authors writing on your blog will bring their readers along for the ride. More exposure leads to more leads and referrals.
- Get a competitive edge. Because most companies blog listlessly, you can create space between yourself and the competition in terms of both SEO and brand awareness.
5 Tips for Attracting Great Guest Bloggers
- Maintain high content standards on your blog at all times
- Keep your blog’s content focused on your niche
- Publish inquiry forms and editorial guidelines to make it easy for potential guest authors to come on board (examples below)
- Connect with potential authors on social media, and invite them to write for you after you’ve established a relationship
- Ask your guest bloggers for referrals of other guest bloggers – bloggers are a generous lot and may surprise you by how eager they are to help
5 Tips for Getting Published on Great Blogs
- When you pitch an article idea to a blogger, be brief, businesslike, establish your credibility and make sure your proposal fits his/her blog
- After you pitch, follow up an a few days if you haven’t gotten a response
- Connect with relevant bloggers on social media to establish or cultivate a relationship before you pitch them
- Be flexible – if a blogger doesn’t think your article idea is the right fit, propose something else and/or ask for their ideas
- Write with passion – make sure your articles are consistently informative, valuable and engaging
One of my blogs, B2B Insights, has a couple of simple features designed to attract guest writers. The contact form provides the information I’m looking for from anyone pitching me on a topic:
Then, once a pitch has been approved, I have an editorial guidelines page to help guest bloggers understand how to write and submit posts.
Your guest bloggers will need to understand:
- Word count minimums and maximums, if any
- What type of style is out of bounds, if any
- How they should handle images used in their post
- How they should handle links in their post
- Your policies on intellectual property
- Any other considerations that are important to you
Over to You
Have you tried an onsite-offsite blogging strategy? How is it working? Do you have any suggestions for bloggers just starting to use this approach? Sound off in the comments.
About the author:
Brad Shorr is Director of B2B Marketing for Straight North, a Chicago area Internet marketing agency. His articles on content marketing, social media and strategy have appeared on scores of industry-leading blogs, including Smashing Magazine, Six Revisions and Carol Roth.
SWAG. An acronym that means “Stuff We All Get.” But do people want SWAG? Do they really want all the stuff they get?
While most people enjoy a bargain, and maybe some freebies on occasion, it’s debatable if customers want…well, to be honest, merely gimmicks and junk that will just add clutter to their homes or end up in the trash can.
SWAG – Yes or No?
The savvy small business owner needs to truly weigh the pros and cons of promotional products, and determine if they add or detract from the value of the business.
Promotional products that actually add value to a customer’s life in some way would likely be far more effective than annoying gimmicks customers ignore and cheap stuff they end up throwing out.
Best Ideas for Promotional Products
The challenge is to find those promotional products that really work, and the methods to use that will best present them.
Practical promotional products, or genuinely unique or intriguing ones, are generally much better received than poorly made products or mere gimmicks. The main idea of promotional products is to include at least the business name and contact info on them, as a way to increase brand awareness.
Ideas for promotional products that would truly be useful for customers, depending on the nature of the business and its target market, might include any of the following:
- Calendars in various sizes, from wall and desk calendars, to pocket planners.
- Fridge magnets with calendars or clips to hold notes.
- Notepads, notebooks, and binders.
- Pens and pencils.
- Safe, non-toxic toys for babies, children, or pets.
- Samples of household products or beauty products.
- Keychains or items that fit on keychains, such as cylindrical safety whistles or cylinders that hold emergency cash.
- Customized products representative of the town or state in which the business resides, such as notepads with imprinted images of lighthouses or lobsters for Maine businesses; or calendars with imprinted images of race cars and a NASCAR schedule for businesses located in or near Daytona Beach, Florida.
Social Media for Promotions
Small business owners should not ignore the popularity and effectiveness of social media for “promoting the promotions” for the business.
For instance, just a few satisfied customers who announce their opinions of a business and its products or services, with decent numbers of followers on Twitter or lots of friends on Facebook, can often unleash a flood of potential new customers.
Of course, the opposite is likewise true—dissatisfied customers will take to social media and blast businesses they’re not happy with, and that can lead to bad publicity and the need to improve reviews if the business is going to recover and flourish.
Strategically using Facebook business pages, connecting with customers on Twitter, networking on LinkedIn, and sharing images of products on Pinterest are merely a few of the ideas of how to make social media work for promotions.
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To Gimmick or Not to Gimmick
The goal of small business owners should be to attract and appeal to customers—NOT annoy them! While most people appreciate a good deal, they typically do NOT appreciate gimmicks. The word itself conjures up the idea of being tricked or “bamboozled” and that’s not a good feeling to stir up in any customer.
While promotional products themselves, at least those that really have value and offer a genuine deal to customers, are often received well, wise business owners should steer clear of gimmicks and cheap “stuff” now so they don’t have to work to improve reviews for the business later.
What is a QR Code? Good question.
Quick Response Codes (aka QR Codes) allow you to send the viewer directly to a targeted site to learn more about you, receive an offer, view a video or download your contact information. QR codes have been very popular in Japan for years, but recently they have begun gaining in popularity in the US.
Let’s back up for a second and talk a bit about barcode’s in general. In theory, all barcodes are quick response. The traditional 39 barcodes are on just about every package in the country. When scanned, they elicit a response – typically the cost of the product into the POS (point of sale) system.
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The technology has been around for a long time and while simple, its purpose has always worked well as POS systems have evolved. All it takes is an inexpensive scanner and software to read the information and the design is universal. So what is the difference between a 39 barcode and a QR code? Well, just about everything.
QR codes are built to be scanned by mobile devices, so their content is exclusively for mobile devices. The benefit of this is that you are literally putting your words or experience into their hands via their smart phone.
If your website is mobile compatible (either via an http://m.site or a mobile compatible site without Java, etc), then you can have your QR code link directly to it via a tracking link or a landing page so you know where the traffic is coming from. You can also build sites that are specifically designed for mobile.
But, that is just the tip of the iceberg; QR codes on business cards are now becoming increasingly popular and there are a few things that these can link to. The simplest of them are either a specific landing page on your website or your contact information which would prefill into their address book. But what about a video?
With digital printing technologies, you can print small quantities for specific events and tailor the QR code to that event.
For example, why not record a video telling them how nice it was to meet them at the Acme Expo and a little about yourself? This provides them with an experience that leaves a memorable impression (and reminds them why they liked you so much in the first place!) Additionally, QR codes can be used on direct mail pieces and advertisements to provide the recipient with promotions that can only be redeemed by showing their mobile phone at your business.
Now of course, there is a downside to QR codes as well but it’s not a big one. In order to read a QR code, you must have a smart phone with a camera and either download an application to your phone (we recommend Laser Beam LTE). Due to the fact that QR codes have not t been widely adopted in the US as of yet, many people opt to put a small graphic explaining what to do with the code.
Because QR codes are not packaging barcodes like 39 barcodes, there is no requirement for people to do something with them – they are simply value-adds. They are being used in some warehouses for inventory purposes as they allow more information to be stored, but those companies already have scanners to read them.
At the end of the day, what’s important is to consider your core audience or target market to determine if QR codes can make a difference in your business. Most businesses can find a way to use them that will radically change their interaction with customers. In the midst of this economy, it is important to engage your customers and be interactive not reactive.
The uses for QR codes are practically endless; it’s just about your imagination.
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