Posted by: Floridadude | October 18, 2014

Using Those Google Tools For Your Business

GooglePlus-512-Custom-Gloss-Red       Google Tools is probably the most important and free to low-cost application you should be using for your business.  I use them on my web platforms and you should too.  Using them is one thing however and using them correctly is another.  To start with, you simply need a Google account and that takes getting a Gmail account.  You would be wise to get a Google+ site as well for your business. While Google+ is not Facebook or LinkedIn in any way shape or form, it does have its  following.  Also, because  Google owns it, it gets better SEO hits to lead traffic to it.  It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that you need to use Google +  Google + will migrate with your Google business page . When you have done creating your pages, remember to maintain them.  They don’t work magic all by themselves.  Keep your content up and fresh.

Other items you need to add or at the very least consider is ad words, your business profile, and analytics.  Without spending a huge amount of time on all of these topics, in a nutshell, ad words allows you to create a mini promotional campaign for your business.  Google based on your budget, will place your event, product, or your business in selected search patterns.  Facebook does a similar function.  Your business Profile.   People need to know what you do so tell them.   As for Google analytics, this is by far, the most important tool to get your SEO (search engine optimization ) going up and strong.  It is a process that is not difficult but you need some basic web experience to deploy it. The instructions Google offers are pretty straight forward.  Tracking codes are essential to  poll how your web site is doing and this is a powerful tool to use.  It will give you demographic breakdown, behavior on page landings, and how they find you.  Most of this is free but you can get a paid version with more  data available.

Other items you can get with Google Tools  are data for bounce rate (time left on a page) , customer behavior, user engagement, social media interaction with links and so on.   Use Google Tools for your business and then watch your business grow!

 

Posted by: Floridadude | September 30, 2014

Instagram And Your Business

Video and images are fast becoming the new branding medium.  If you are trying to reach those younger masses in your marketing plan we all call the millennial population then you should seriously consider using Instagram.  This app on all smartphones allows you to open up your brand to the mobility masses and it is fairly simple to do.

The first point is timing.  You need to learn how to get your message out in 15 seconds. Instagram, like Vine has a capping on length of videos to keep the content fresh and not use a lot of bandwidth.  Secondly, keep your focus on what your customer or client wants to see from their perspective, not yours.  Always create your marketing approach so it can allow interaction from your customer base or have a call to action.

A hidden tool most are not aware of is you can track your ROI with Instagram.  Not that you are going to have a huge Investment on a 15 second fun video about your brand unless you hired a professional advertising agency to create it.  You should just have time in creating the idea and the time your employee or yourself put into it. Social Media analytics are very important for tracking customer interaction.  Instagram is none less.  Use their tools to help manage and track your video.   In conclusion, interaction of your customer base, call to action, and analytics that work will give your brand success.

Posted by: Floridadude | September 13, 2014

Make Your Marketing Plan Work!

Is your marketing plan implemented correctly?  Have you busted your hind end on what you thought was a great effort only to come up short on your ROI?  Maybe you just need to take a deep breath and look at a few key points and ask yourself some questions about what did and did not work.  Here a few pointers I have come across in my experience with marketing plans and perhaps they can work for you as well.  They are very basic but when you execute your plan of action , think about these points first and 9 out of 10 times you should see a better effort.

1. Content.  How effective is your content in your marketing campaign.  Are you clear and concise and do you have a call to action for your customer?

2.  Is your content relevant to what you are trying to convey to your customers?  Are you trying to build relationships with your customers through networking with them?  What techniques are you using to build those relationships in social media?  Are you using the latest technology to launch that content?  Digital Media, mobile platforms such as Vine, Instagram or Snapchat are hot right now.

3.  Who is your customer?  Do you know your verticals and channels to sell to?  I mean do you really know your market?  You might be surprised how many SMB’s don’t know their client mx.  Age, gender, who is buying what, where they live, etc..  All of this is important before you execute and start spending on a good marketing campaign.

4.  What is your competition doing?  Always know and follow your competitor’s marketing campaign.  You may not have their budget but you can sure follow them like everyone else and see what is working for them.  What works for them since they are your competition.  will probably work for you.

 

Follow some of these basic steps before you launch and you should be pleasantly surprised that those hard earned dollars spent on your marketing plan will get you  a more solid ROI.  Good luck!

Posted by: Floridadude | August 28, 2014

Google + For Your Small Business

As for personal usage, Google + still is trying to find its way and for some, they have dumped it altogether. However, for small business, Google+ has become an effective platform for networking and promoting small business. How is this possible?  Google Search engines.  Many small businesses still do not realize that Goggle provides many services to small business.  Besides their apps, they offer search engine analytics, search engine optimization and other products through their Goggle for Business products   This service is a must for small business.

All of these services tie right in to Google+ landing pages.  Your business will get higher SEO going this route.  If you are not familiar with Google+, it is very similar to Facebook but offers a bit more latitude in personal set-up.  You can run deals, promote a product, and more.  As with Facebook, you can also add photos, videos, create branding and key target markets.

Businesses can also take advantage of Google Places. This will place your business on Google maps and that map will be located next to your search location.  It makes it easy for people to find you.  If you have happy customers, they give you good reviews.  Those reviews will show on your Google + page. Use great keywords so you page is easy to find. Use quality multi media and make it interesting and fun.  Also your page to promote your brand and any special events such as a sale or marketing campaign.  Good luck and make use of Google + for your business!

Posted by: Floridadude | August 9, 2014

Is Your Landing Page Landing Any Big Fish?

Landing pages are designed to keep things simple, yet sell your brand or organization.  The story you tell on your landing page or call to action has to be inviting yet brief.  Today’s visitors to your landing page are easily distracted, have very short attention spans so you have to grab their attention quickly.  Of all the landing pages out there, your website is probably the most difficult to sell and other social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter are the easiest.

Here are some tips that will help you keep your landing pages fresh and within the platform for which it is sitting.  Remember, each platform attracts a different type of visitor.  Their demographics could be different, their reason for dropping in could be different so always keep that in mind.  Someone visiting your website could be looking for more detailed information about your business yet if they stop by your Twitter landing page, they might be looking for  quick tip or something in connection with your business that is socially prevalent  that you are kind enough to “tweet” about.  As for the tips:

Keep your content Fresh and consistent with your customer or fan base.

Keep your images nice and clean and in line with your landing page theme

Don’t make your landing pages a huge advertising “gimmick”.  It turns people off

Keep your blogging or conversation basic and upbeat

If using a lot of images or video, keep in mind that platforms such as YouTube or Pinterest might be a better choice for obvious reasons.

Always keep you mobile users in mind when designing your landing pages.  While most are compatible to mobility, the less you have, the better it looks on mobile.

Mobility also means use of user-friendly applications such as radio buttons or check boxes over text inputs.  They don’t have the time or the space to do all that.

Make engagement easy for your mobile users for call to action items.  Make the buttons and check boxes large enough so they can be easily tapped.

Don’t try to be everything to everybody.  Choose several social media platforms along with your website and call it good. Know your market in relation to what you are offering.

Use analytics to know how your sites are doing.  Free programs like Google Analytics or Pingdom give you excellent data to help you know what your site is doing.

I hope these ideas are helpful and after you have redesigned your landing pages try an email campaign and let your client or customer base see the new “you!”

Posted by: Floridadude | July 26, 2014

Your Marketing Plan

Coming up with a marketing plan for your products or services is essential in being profitable.  This within itself is a “no-brainer.”  How to accomplish and implement that plan however is what many small businesses struggle with.  There is no magic formula as each business has different goals, different products, different demographics and the list goes on and on. Some of more inexpensive considerations may include print media, social media, radio or TV ads.  Also do not forget networking with your business associates, leads groups, or direct mail campaigns.  All of these options can help your marketing goals. Some basic questions to ask yourself before you begin are these.

1.  Why should anyone buy from me over my competition?

In a nutshell, what makes you stand-out over your competition?  You need to be aware of what businesses in the same line than you are do, what they charge if possible and what you do that makes your customers need your products or services.

2.  What market share would value my business and how can I capture that?  Is there something unique about my products or service that would attract a specific market share?

Do you have something within your business you can offer that is unique or totally different from your other competitors?  If so maximize it in your marketing no matter how small you may think it is.

3. How much should  I spend to make my brand stand out?

As I discussed above, your budget is something only you know.  Nobody can tell you how much to spend, where to spend it, and how long of a campaign to run.  You can hire experts or ad agencies who would love to tell you because they want your money and many of their employees work on commission or a percentage so they will be happy to engage you in a long-term campaign.  With answering the questions honestly I mentioned here, you can do much of this yourself. True, large national or regional corporations need professional guidance and I am the first to say they should engage a professional agency.  Many small businesses however can’t afford that luxury.  Take your time and draw up a sensible marketing plan. Then follow through!  Good luck.

Posted by: Floridadude | July 12, 2014

So Are You taking a “Snapshot” of Snapchat?

There has been a lot of chatter lately about Snapchat .   While I have this platform a whirl, it’s usage is more among teens and younger millenniums.  But this is the good news for marketers and advertisers.  They are also paying very close attention to this 3-year-old platform.  Recent studies show over two-fifths of 18 year olds are using Snapchat several times a day if not more.    Sharing of Snapchat videos has skyrocketed.  How does 1 billion views daily sound? In case you forgot what makes Snapchat different than than say Vine, WhatsApp, Instagram or others is that the material does not stay.  What you post be it pictures or video is a one shot deal.  That make it a bit edgy but again, that’s what makes it popular.  Snapchat is aware advertisers want to reach this lucrative market so they have created ways for them to get on board with  “Snapchat Stories” .  These all conform to the brief 30 or 60 second time frame and unlike the consumer stuff, they don’t disappear after one shot.

Snapchat is one of the top 3 downloads on the Apple app store now.  If you are a potential national marketer or you just want to try  a new platform, give Snapchat a try.  As I stated however, if you are over 35, you might feel a bit out-of-place and wonder why you don’t find many of your friends using this application.  ( I personally deleted the thing but then again I am showing my age)  My purpose of this blog is to let my readers know of new and trending applications and Snapchat needs to be taken seriously as an app that is going to make them money. If you are younger than 35, give it a try and see how fun it can be.

Posted by: Floridadude | June 19, 2014

So How Much Time Do You Spend On Social Networks?

Businesses like to know where their target audience is.  When it comes to social media, we all know we spend a lot of time on social platforms.  Businesses are now spending a ton of money advertising on those platforms hoping to catch us glancing at their ads as we chat away at our friends, look up new products, book that motel reservation, upload a new selfie or whatever else we do.  Being interactive however is what is key though to those ads and how you click on them, look at them, ask questions about them, or even copy and save it for later.  Other key factors is desktop or mobile.  Which do you use the most?  It is no secret that being social is now what we all do on the internet.  It is not email, it is not research, it is not web surfing, it is being social.  To be social requires a platform and we pretty know what those top platforms are.  We also know that mobility has overtaken desktops.  People are spending most of their social activity on smartphones and tablets.  So lets take a look at the top platforms for social engagement.

Facebook  While Facebook is still king of the social media platforms, it has lost some of its luster.  It still out performs Twitter and it is still a high usage mobile platform as far as per-user.

Pinterest  Pinterest has made huge gains as a social platform mainly due to its friendly image of well people posting pictures.  We all love to “Like it well Pin It!”

Tumblr    Tumblr has “tumbled ” a bit as far as being a popular social site.  It has lost some luster over more popular digital media sites but it still a huge following.  Tumblr has turned more toward a blogging platform and arts.

Linkedin Linkedin continues to be the #1 professional platform for business owners and employees seeking connections for work.  LinkedIn has also started to allow more advertising on its site as well as millenniums continue to surf there.

Twitter  Twitter is reinventing itself with more ways to upload pictures, video, (Vine)  as well as cosmetic re-designs.  Twitter is still popular with younger users and entertainment artists.

The bottom line of all this is this.  The above listed platforms have all pushed to be more mobile friendly as they take their desktop platforms to the mobile phone and tablets.  Businesses who push their branding have followed right along by taking advantage of these platforms in the way of advertising and social engagement.  Advertising and branding promotions can not only be found on the above mentioned sites but video and chat platforms such as Snapchat, Whatsapp, Vine, and Instagram.  These apps have more time per user but overall are not as popular as the big 5.   In conclusion, how much time you spend on any social platform is gauged by business when they look to spend their hard-earned advertising dollars.  They want your attention and they want you to interact.  Next time you are on that platform be it your desktop, tablet, or phone, take time to at least glance at that ad staring you in the face.  They paid big bucks for it.

Posted by: Floridadude | May 30, 2014

Social Media And Your Business. Are You Keeping Up?

Social Media continues to evolve.  It seems to be changing every month with new platforms, new trends, and applications.  So you have your business on Facebook and Twitter and you think you are doing just fine in the world of social media.  But are you really?  Here are a few facts with business and social media.  As Facebook becomes more of a “We want your money” operation, more and more people are drifting away to find the free platforms for their business to reach their masses.  If you want the goodies now on Facebook, you are finding you have to cough up some dough to get it.  Facebook’s recent audience network launch program means for the business, the days of something for nothing is over.

What is becoming more popular for target marketing is video and images.  Many of the Fortune 500 companies are moving in this direction for advertising and marketing.  Images tell a lot and young shoppers especially are using this to their advantage and in their shopping habits.  Pinterest and Instagram  are picking up not only more users but advertisers as well as they pull away from traditional desktop platforms.  Mobility, video, and photo images is 3 key words you as a business need to grasp and embrace for marketing and advertising.  Video and still images have helped push Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine to new heights.  Another popular tool for the young 15 to 25 crowd is Snapchat.  While advertisers and still trying to figure out how to capture this new hot platform,  Snapchat has become very trendy to this key target market.

While I am not saying you should not still keep a solid market plan in place for Facebook and Twitter, businesses need to be open to new platforms and monitor social media trends to capture that market share.  keep up regular engagement conversations with your customers and stay connected.  Remember, spending your marketing dollars in an empty room is not only fruitless, it is silly.  Capture your market share and stay abreast of technology changes.  Be a leader in the social media circle. Reach your goals.

Posted by: Floridadude | May 22, 2014

Is Marketing Too Much For Small Business?

Is marketing efforts too much for small business?  Those who are “Mom and Pop” type operations typically get overwhelmed with marketing.  Trying to do too much among all those channels of marketing (social media, advertising, print as well as on-line) can get very confusing and costly.  Small businesses will spend over 20 to 30 hours a week allocating not only the employee but the owner as well.  Trying to be everywhere they think their customers are is a crap shoot unless the small business steps back and research their place in their market share.  Multi platform marketing as a small business owner takes patience and you may be surprised you don’t need to cross-channel at all depending on your location, your competition, and your customer base.

If you are dishing out money to market professionals to help you promote your business and not seeing an effective ROI on your investment or trying to do it all yourself with that same negative result then you are obviously spinning your wheels and wasting good hard-earned money.  If you are not engaging a professional your errors could include:

Not knowing how to use the tools

Spending too much time

Your customers are not on the channels you selected

Not measuring the analytics correctly

Social Media platforms and advertising outlets is not a drop an ad here and a tweet their type of marketing.  You need to know your customers and what you are selling and to whom.  If you are paying a firm or agency to do it for you with a negative ROI then you need to sit down with them and find out why.  If you are doing it yourself with wasted hours of a small base of clients looking at your sites then ask your customers directly what they want or survey them.  Marketing for small business does not have to be painful just effective.  Take a few steps back and breathe.  Then take baby steps.

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