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PAVE the Road to Your Online Success: Wine and Dine with Your Website

Every business strives to reach to its target market and engage audience. Doing it online requires managing a technology-based process. This process combines various website development and online marketing methods. Though there are tons of contents available that describe different aspects of this process in detail but I want to spotlight its intent only. This is to help business owners and executive management understand the nitty-gritty of different pieces involved.

Your website is a tool to reach to your audience and engage them. Therefore, it has the potential to serve both sales and branding targets. All you need is to understand “PAVE”, a 5-element approach, that covers five important aspects of a website. “PAVE” increases a website’s effectiveness to receive and engage audience and also helps maximizing e-marketing ROI. So, here you go:

If your website is the centre of your overall online strategy then it must be presentable, accessible, visible and engaging. You might be wondering where is the fifth element… it’s your marketing strategy and website contents! Yes that’s inherited in whatever website approach you adopt. If your product or service has a very limited scope then you have very limited chances to achieve success. Similarly, you need competitive pricing and promotion to compete for and win your customers/clients. Therefore, you must refine your offerings continuously to achieve and retain a competitive positioning. Let’s look at the other four elements now.

1. Presentable

No one wants to buy from an ugly place. Yes that’s true. Your website is your place to sell to or engage with your audience. Approach it as your online office or an online presentation of your business. It must be presentable to receive and retain audience for longer period of time. With your e-marketing efforts, if you want your audience to keep visiting your website, then it must have a clean look and feel. The layout must support customer experience. The contents must be engaging and properly organized. The flow of information must be logical. The forms must encourage readers to submit details, etc. Click here to read more on this subject.

Accomplishing the aforementioned requires proper planning, good writing and excellent designing skills. At the least, you must perform or take part in planning and writing yourself. You can work with a designer, as happens in most cases, to get you an excellent design. Consultants play a very important role in bridging the techno-business gap. You may want to hire a consultant to get you through the process successfully.

2. Accessible

“The power of the Web is in its universality.
Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Your website’s build depicts the vision behind and determines its accessibility on the front. There are different devices like desktops/laptops, mobiles, tablets and upcoming technologies that people use to connect to internet. Your website must be accessible through different internet-enabled devices. This isn’t just a technical question but has business logic. A more accessible website allows you to reach to more people using different devices thus it increases your market reach. With your e-marketing efforts, you can promote your website to audience using any of the aforementioned devices.

Accomplishing this requires adapting to latest web design technologies. You can either go for different versions of your website for each device or you can go device independent. However, you can still keep the public and private parts of your website to serve different purposes.

3. Visible

“What is visible, sells!” Your website’s visibility stems from its accessibility and your marketing efforts. A website that is being promoted through different online channels like search engines, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, blogs, PR sites, email, mobile SMS, etc. is likely to get more visibility over internet. Similarly, it can reach to more audience if it’s accessible through different internet-enabled devices too. However, the quality of your strategy and execution is critical to achieve success.

Accomplishing this requires devising and implementing correct accessibility and online marketing strategies to reach your audience. You can monitor the progress using different web tracking tools like Google Analytics, etc. These tools allow you to analyze effectiveness of your website and marketing activities.

4. Engaging

Missing this means missing the train. You have already invested your time and money to promote your website over the internet but if it is not engaging then you will miss your sales and branding targets. For instance, a media website is targeted to achieve an increased readership. It can only achieve this by offering design and functional features that can help engage the audience. Moreover, these features must be in alignment with the social media strategy of the media company. This streamlines the promotional activities with the website’s supporting features. Same is true for a business website. Your goal is to get more sales or inquiries from your website. You can only achieve this by having a website that can engage the traffic it is getting from different marketing efforts.

Accomplishing this requires implementing and integrating latest social technologies along with publishing good quality contents. This develops your audience interest in your offerings and it encourages them to respond to your customer communications. Thus engaging them and achieving a unique positioning in their minds. Achieving this unique positioning is what you needed along with offering them with quality products and services to satisfy their needs.

What are your website concerns? Ask below in the comments box and we reply. Also recommend it to your friends at social media sites and spread the message. You can also directly Contact Us.

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An Outdated Website Limits Your Success

How is your business doing? Do you have an up-to-date website? Connection you might be wondering about, so let me explain. Having an outdated website today means losing business. Here are the three main reasons why:

1- An outdated website restricts you from reaching to more prospects
2- An outdated website holds you from engaging your clientele
3- An outdated website limits your marketing success

Reaching More Prospects

You cannot do this with an outdated website. You must have a website that allows your audience to access from anywhere, any device and any platform. That’s what an up-to-date website does. Today, your audience uses tools like different internet-enabled devices (mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc.), social media websites, search engines, email, blogs, forums, instant messaging software, etc. to share whatever they like, promote whatever they do and find whatever they need. Supported with your e-marketing efforts, an up-to-date website enables you to reach to more prospects who might be interested in your products or services. Like any market place, the increased visibility in the online world is a competitive-edge. According to Pewinternet“Some 88% of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind as of April 2012, and more than half of these cell owners (55%) use their phone to go online.” Definitely, this number increased in last 9 months time span.

There are several ways available over the internet to achieve an increased visibility. You can either decide to go head-on-head with your top competitors or you can go with a flank intuitive. Guess what? You are more likely to achieve increased visibility by doing something different to promote your brand! And you can select from the different options available due to the fact that your audience uses different tools to share what they like, do and need over the internet! All you need is a combination of an up-to-date website and excellent e-marketing efforts to get visible and accessible for new prospects. Know about 15 Things People Absolutely Hate About Your Website.

Engaging Your Clientele

You need an up-to-date website to engage your clientele and hot leads. It is absolutely important for you to understand exactly when they are going to need you again to buy from you or to learn more about your offering. If you contact them on the right time then you have more chances of success. Staying connected with and keeping them up-to-date about your latest offerings, without making them annoyed, is the key to engage your clientele and hot leads.

Accomplishing this requires giving them the control to decide what information they are going to need from you on regular basis. Of course, you must keep reminding them of the control they have! You can do that using some of the latest CRM, social media (including your blog and RSS Feeds) and mobile applications. All you need is a combination of an up-to-date website integrated with the latest web technologies and excellent e-marketing efforts to engage your clientele and hot leads. If they get the information what they are searching for they will share it with their friends through social media and other channels and will also revisit your site.

Ensuring Marketing Success

An outdated website limits your company’s marketing vision thus limits your marketing success. With a limited vision, one cannot go into the right direction and achieve the set goals. The online market changes rapidly and you must have a clear vision to avail the opportunities while avoiding the noise. This allows you to maximize your marketing ROI – the first step to maximizing ROI of the business. If you are already or just going for investing into marketing then your marketing ROI is something that can tell you if you are moving into the right direction. An up-to-date website allows your marketing team to see the latest marketing opportunities available thus they can update their strategy and execution to produce better results.

Sum up

Update your website to get the right representation and also to maximize its reach on all the web technologies wherever your prospects are searching for you.

Ask a question or give your feedback in the comments below. Also help your friends by recommending this blog post. For more details, you may directly Contact Us.

 

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Your Visual Content Strategy in 2013 and Pinterest Marketing

If you search at Google for the blogs posted in last two weeks, you will notice that most of the marketers are talking about the goal setting in 2013. In each and every blog, you will find a point related to visual content strategy. This is not so accidentally rather it refers to the next stage in social media. If you’re unaware of the importance of the visual content in marketing and how it is making the difference, you’re missing the opportunity of driving traffic to your website, getting it engaged on your blog through blog commenting and also on social media sites specially Pinterest,  eventually having an effect on your Marketing ROI.

Visual contents are already driving more traffic than non visual contents shared on different social media channels. However, point here is notable that very adage: “A picture is worth a thousand words” is termed as a picture is equivalent a thousand words whereas the adage actually refers to the harmony between textual and visual content. So, posting visual content does not mean that you fully ignore the textual part. For example, if you’re writing a blog for your website, you should add relevant photos in it so that it could be pinned at photo sharing websites like Pinterest. If you want to post event greetings with your facebook Fan Page, you can post it with a photo at your facebook timeline.  Similarly, you can also upload videos as they get lot of traffic. However, never overdo an activity as it creates noise and nobody likes it. A video with great visuals but bad vocals will fall flat on the ground.

Pinterest is a relatively new photo sharing social media site that is helping business drive huge traffic. According to Mashable, “The darling network of brides-to-be, fashionistas and budding bakers now beats YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for percentage of total referral traffic in January 2012, according to a Shareaholic study”. (Source: Pinterest Drives More Traffic Than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined [STUDY])

In the online world, there are always new trends evolving to reshape/remove the existing ones and this time, content posting is transformed into content sharing. The evolution of social networking sites has provided us with visual content sharing sites. Also, the audio visual content like podcasting is among the new trends over social media. Pinterest has already shaken some top social networking sites and is playing its role in driving huge traffic to client businesses without any distinction between products and services.

pintIf you take a look at the top 7 pinners at Pinterest, you will find that they have one thing in common that they pinned finest quality visual contents on their pinboards that attracted huge number of pinners to follow them. This enabled them to drive tons of traffic’ to their websites. If you don’t have a business page at Pinterest, create one and start pinning nice quality relevant contents on your pinboards. Soon you will be driving traffic to your website through this site. [Source: http://www.repinly.com/]

Visual-textual contents will dominate in the year 2013.  According to Price Grabber as posted on HubSpot: “Pinterest drives sales directly from its website — of people with Pinterest accounts, 21% have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest.” So, if you’re serious in online marketing, keep pace with the changing trends and devise your visual content marketing strategy accordingly.

If you have a question, you can post below in the comments box. Also give your feedback and share this blog with your friends if you like it.

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Right Content Marketing Equals to Business Growth

There is a buzz about social networking sites. Social media marketers never get tired of talking about the potential benefits of these sites. There are lots of businesses making the most of these sites. Unlike these successful businesses, there is a majority of others who are frustrated for not getting the potential leads through social media. So, what is that thing which pays some businesses while others remain on the other side of the success? Content marketing is the simple answer to this critical question. Yes, you read it right! Content is the king – for it is the central part of any marketing strategy and if it has value for your readers (target market), it will help you drive qualified traffic to your site. According to Hubspot, “Companies with blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those who have no blog.”

So, what is the magic that helps a single blog post earn thousands of qualified visitors? Adding value to clients’ (readers’) business is the magic that makes them read a blog article and then comment, like, retweet, share or repin it at social networking sites thus enabling their followers, friends or connections to see this blog post. This is how a single blog article gets virility and drives thousands of qualified visitors to the website. Right content brings you the right traffic to your website. You get engagement, likes, shares, retweets, pins and all the exposure that is required for business growth in the world of internet. Take the example of Social Media Examiner, one of the most popular blogs about social media. Its “Revenue went from $0 to over $1,000,000 in less than one year” as published on therisetothetop.com.

Or you can take a look at 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest. A single blog article drove thousands of qualified visitors to the website because it had the information that they (readers) were searching for online.

From the above examples, it’s obvious, how you can drive happy traffic to your website by addressing the needs of your target audiences. Thus your blog will become a platform where they will start searching for answers to their questions. Note that, content marketing is not a one-time task rather it requires you to keep posting and sharing the valuable pieces of writing with your target audience or they will start searching for it somewhere else.

Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion is another proof that content marketing is the key to success in online business. Marcus started River Pools and Spas, a pools company in 2001. This company grew to be one of the largest of its kind in the world and this was not possible without content marketing as Marcus claimed in his most downloaded ebook on content marketing.
So, you’re not doing content marketing but want relevant traffic (business) driven at your site, right? Well, it’s not difficult. If you’re not writing a blog, start writing one but what would be the keywords? Well, keywords are the terms that your prospects type at Google, Bing or Yahoo to search you. So, first you need to define the keywords that best define your business. Once you find out the most relevant keywords, it would be easier to continue with blogging keeping in view the problems/needs of the target audience. If a blog is not written well and fails to add any value, you don’t need to share it at social media sites as it will gather no mass. LinkedIn Answers can be a good way to know what questions your target audience wants answered. Spend some time there and use the keywords of the question in the title of your blog so that it is easily searchable.

Once you write valuable content (blog/article), it will be automatically shared by lots of people at social media and thus will be up in search engines. This will bring traffic to your website but you need to ensure that you’re going to write at least 3 blogs in a week to stay in the game. Now forget about everything and just visit Google Analytics to know what 15 keywords best define your business. The next step is writing a blog about your business and who else can write better than you on what you deal in? Once your blog starts driving enough traffic, you can also start educating them through slideshares, infographics, ebooks and PowerPoint presentations to name a few. This will boost up your social media marketing, email marketing, SEO and blog marketing campaigns.

So, start your blog today and share its link in the comment box below. Also give your feedback about this blog and share it if you like it.

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Writing Your First Business Blog in 2013

If you’re running a business that does not has its blog, then this is high time that you should take the initiative. Writing first business blog seems a daunting task but businesses that are doing blog marketing, are definitely aware of the potential benefits of this marketing activity. So, let me tell you something: according to HubSpot, businesses with blog get 55% more traffic and 97% more inbound links than businesses without any blog. So, not writing a blog is actually missing a very good opportunity. May be, you already have blog writing in your To-Do-List-for-2013, however, if it’s not there, add it. In the next paragraph, I will explain what BIG you can miss if you miss a blog.

More website pages = more opportunities
When it comes to online marketing, content is the center of the strategy.  There is a strong logic behind making content the center of the strategy. According to HubSpot, the top inbound marketing blog and its ardent representative as well, any web page is an opportunity for the marketer of that website to bring it up in searches by making it useful for the target audience. The more web pages a website has, the better search engine ranking it will have. Blog is the best way to add these pages in the website on regular basis.

What to write in your first blog?
Now you know the reasoning of blog writing and how it can help your business grow, the next question would be what to write in a blog? You never wrote a blog so you should know that you’re not going to write for the sake of writing rather your target audience should be in your view while writing a post.  When you put yourself in your audience’s shoes, you get to know their needs. This helps you writing something that is valuable for them. So, you should     write based on the problems of your target market because this is what will make them LIKE, Share, Tweet or Retweet this blog on different social networking sites. This adds to your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and ultimately brings your site up in search engines.

Sharing is the next step
It’s also worth mentioning over here that blogging takes some time. You’re not going to get traffic with a single blog post, rather you would be doing it on regular basis may be thrice in a week.  This is required to reach to your niche target audience.  Meanwhile, you should also get engaged on some communities where you know your audience is looking for solutions. For example, facebook and LinkedIn groups etc. You can also participate in Q&A sites like Yahoo!Answers, Quora and LinkedIn Answers Home as there are so many people searching for answers to their questions and thus you get a chance to get introduced to them. This seems time taking but this investment will pay you off in terms of qualified traffic, branding and business growth. Just get social to get connected with people and they will spread your message.  It’s proven!

Savings!
Year 2013 is already on its way. You can save money on paid activities that you’re performing and can do what you never did before – blogging. It will have an impact on your savings and business growth if you do it properly and patiently.  If you’re not tracking your activities, you can’t know where you’re heading to. Blogging is a great way to implement an integrated online marketing strategy for your business and then to track it to move forward smoothly.  Tracking your business activities doesn’t let you go astray. Set up a Google Analytics account and apply it at your website.

Summing up
Your first business blog would be your ‘first flight’. Once taken, the success expanse is all yours. Conquer your fear or get conquered. There is no third option. Nobody else knows your business better than you. Business blogging is all about writing your thoughts in a way that educates the readers about what they need and how you can help. So, what are you waiting for? Think a topic and write it down. If you are still finding it difficult, let me know and I will walk you through some very useful examples and thus you will be on your way.

Please do share your feedback on this blog post in the comments section below and also share it with your friends using social media share links available here.

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Significance of Integrated Online Marketing Strategy: Case Study

A business owner contacted me couple of months back to discuss his marketing strategy. Despite having in-house social media marketing and business development teams and having an outsourced SEO team, he had questions regarding the integration of all the marketing activities to improve effectiveness. So we had a Skype call to discuss his concerns.

Here is what I learned about his problem: his sales and marketing teams were performing different activities yet an integrated marketing strategy was entirely missing. It resulted in missing the sales goal even after so many efforts they had put.

As a business owner, you might have encountered with such a business situation, so the next paragraph might prove helpful to you.

The web 2.0 has completely changed the online marketing game. It has forced to join the SEO and social media activities to achieve success with online marketing. Today, a piece of content that is valuable to its the audience and is unique can potentially get virility when it is shared over several different social media sites. This ultimately pays off in terms of search engine rankings as well. Whereas, years back when social media was not widely spread, it was a common practice to spam offsite contents (posting same content of low value, keyword-centric on multiple sites multiple times) for higher search engines rankings. This has completely changed today. Specially, after Google Panda and Penguin updates, your website can be penalized by top search engines if you do spamming anymore. So, you must not post a single content of lower value on multiple websites. What you need to do is to share value-offering contents with the audience and if they found it useful, they would share it everywhere themselves. Hence, the focus has shifted from spamming offsite contents everywhere to sharing high value contents over different social media sites for both attracting audiences and achieving higher search engine rankings.

Coming back to my session with the client, I had to provide him with an integrated online marketing strategy. I shared with him my thoughts I have mentioned above. I proposed him content marketing as something that he could use to integrate his online marketing activities. The reason being he was already doing different online marketing campaigns and the only piece he was missing was the control over and connection amongst. So, I suggested him to start educating his audience through blog and press release writing. Though he was not very much convinced at that time yet he allowed me to write a press release to prove what I was trying to convey.

I wrote a press release and posted it on a single PR website. It went viral! It produced more than three thousand (3000) visits in the first week and also contributed to search engine optimization efforts. In the next Skype call, when I shared this press release and its stats with him, he got very much excited. Finally, he was convinced to adopt content marketing strategy to integrate his online marketing campaigns.

Today, blogging, and other content marketing campaigns, are centre of his online marketing efforts – integrating different marketing campaigns in one strategy. Now he is managing his promotional activities with a holistic approach that has allowed him to understand connection and exercise control over different online marketing campaigns. He is using Google Analytics to track and make decisions on visitor behavior, performance of different website pages, and conversion rate.

The conclusion is if you have an integrated online marketing strategy coupled with website tracking tools, like Google Analytics, you would definitely be performing better.

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