internet marketing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12556/all en-US Is Mobile Marketing Ready for Small Business? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-mobile-marketing-ready-for-small-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/is-mobile-marketing-ready-for-small-business-john-joyce" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/is-mobile-marketing-r...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/is-mobile-marketing-ready-for-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mobile marketing.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This question is reminiscent of the discussions many of us had 10+ years ago when business owners were contemplating whether or not they needed a website. In hindsight, it&rsquo;s pretty easy to see that Bill Gates&rsquo; vision of &ldquo;a PC in every home and in every business&rdquo; has been realized and online search is now universally available.</p> <p>So, before you ponder the merits of mobile marketing and your specific business goals, let&rsquo;s first take a look at evolving online marketing tactics and the associated opportunity cost of excluding mobile from your strategy.</p> <p><b>Great Expectations</b></p> <p>Pundits have been predicting &ldquo;The Year of Mobile Advertising&rdquo; as far back as 2000, but the always impending explosion has never really come to fruition. This has been due to several complexities of the technology, as well as a lack of knowledge and expertise among small business owners. There is, however, good reason to believe that we&rsquo;re on the verge of remarkable growth in mobile marketing, for real this time:</p> <ul> <li>A recent <a target="_blank" href="http://www.motomessage.com/mobile-marketing-ad-spending-statistics-predictions/">post over at Motomessage</a> notes that &ldquo;Mobile marketing ad spending will continue to explode in the next 5 years. In 2011, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.emarketer.com/">eMarketer</a> predicts spending on text message marketing, mobile banners, video and other mobile based media to crack the One Billion dollar mark.&rdquo;</li> <li>The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) <a target="_blank" href="http://thecellphonejunkie.com/2011/01/30/cell-phone-subscriptions-top-5-billion/">announced</a> recently that the number of cell phone subscriptions worldwide has passed the five billion mark;</li> <li>9 out of every 10 people in the United States subscribes to some sort of mobile plan, with children now more likely to own a mobile phone than a book. (85% of kids owning a phone as to 73% owning books);</li> <li>The published numbers vary, but 10% - 30% of all online searches now originate from a mobile device.</li> </ul> <p><b>Perception vs. Reality</b></p> <p>A study released last month by Network Solutions, LLC and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland&rsquo;s Smith School of Business echoed the sentiment that small business owners don&rsquo;t feel confident in developing and deploying a mobile marketing strategy. &ldquo;The State of Small Business Report - January 2011 Survey of Small Business Success&rdquo; uncovered these details about small business attitudes toward the new medium :</p> <blockquote><p><b>Mobile marketing is still cutting-edge</b>. Despite their use of mobile devices for routine interactions with social media, small businesses are skeptical that a broader use of mobile marketing can provide tangible value to their businesses right now. Most owners consider mobile marketing to be &ldquo;ahead of its time&rdquo; (24 percent) for small business or &ldquo;cutting edge&rdquo; (36 percent). Only 15 percent of small business owners believe that mobile marketing would be &ldquo;extremely&rdquo; or &ldquo;very valuable&rdquo; to their enterprise, and another 20 percent feel it would be &ldquo;somewhat&rdquo; valuable. This attitude is largely unchanged after owners hear more about detailed uses of mobile marketing.</p> <p>Mobile marketing consists of a range of activities like texting information on promotions to customers, listing a business on a location based website, creating a mobile site, creating a mobile application, and advertising on mobile sites. The majority of owners are aware of each of these activities, but few use them or consider them valuable. The most relevant mobile marketing activity is listing a business on a location-based website. Almost half (48 percent) of owners consider this to be at least somewhat valuable to their business; 19 percent have already done this while 33 percent will have done so in two years if owners carry out their plans.</p> </blockquote> <p>Mobile marketing is an effective if not necessary tool for local businesses vying for the attention of a limited pool of prospective customers. Assuming you have a website, you&rsquo;re already engaged in mobile marketing whether you&rsquo;ve developed a mobile strategy or not. The bad news is that your website probably isn&rsquo;t optimized for mobile platforms and, based on the numbers above, as many as 30% of your site visitors are unable to productively interact with your business. Regardless of your perceived value of mobile marketing, you can&rsquo;t afford to alienate one third of your prospective customers.</p> <p><b>Short Term Strategy</b></p> <p>Your first order of business is to test the effectiveness of your website when being browsed from a mobile device which can be done fairly easily with various free tools such as:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://ready.mobi/">mobiReady</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://iphonetester.com/">iPhoneTester</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.gomez.com/mobile-readiness-instant-test/">Gomez Mobile</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://validator.w3.org/mobile/">W3C mobileOK Checker</a></li> </ul> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve &ldquo;fixed&rdquo; your online presence to include <i>road warriors</i> and <i>mobile-only</i> prospects, you have at least bought yourself some time to evaluate your options for deploying more proactive mobile marketing programs. There are plenty of free guides and white papers available online as well as books like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.mobilemarketinghandbook.com/about/"><i>The Mobile Marketing Handbook</i></a> by Kim Dushinski.</p> <p>Recently Apple CEO Steve Jobs <a target="_blank" href="http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/03/04/steve-jobs-post-pc-credo/">let slip his vision</a> of the future direction of his company &ndash; they would lead us out of Bill Gates' world and into a &quot;post PC&quot; world. In that future, mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets will supplant the PC as the ubiquitous computing (and Internet-connecting) devices. So don&rsquo;t be afraid to wade slowly into the mobile marketing waters and leverage a platform that will eventually become the preferred method by which prospective customers will reach out to you &ndash; and you to them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/john-joyce">John Joyce</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-mobile-marketing-ready-for-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center internet marketing mobile marketing small business Fri, 25 Mar 2011 22:33:58 +0000 John Joyce 502508 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 SEM Strategies Guaranteed to Go Wrong http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-sem-strategies-guaranteed-to-go-wrong <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/6-sem-strategies-guaranteed-to-go-wrong-chris-birk" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/6-sem-strategies-guar...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/6-sem-strategies-guaranteed-to-go-wrong" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015660782Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="211" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tempting the Google gods is rarely a sustainable search marketing plan.</p> <p>National retailer JC Penney is now paying the price after a string of questionable search engine optimization tactics recently came to light, courtesy of a sweeping story in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html?pagewanted=1&amp;_r=1">The New York Times</a>.</p> <p>The company dominated search results during the holiday season and beyond, ranking at or near the top for scores of product searches, from &ldquo;tablecloths&rdquo; and &ldquo;home d├ęcor&rdquo; to &ldquo;skinny jeans.&rdquo; A search expert hired by the <i>Times</i> determined that the results stemmed from below-board optimization techniques that likely fit the bill as &ldquo;black hat,&rdquo; or illegitimate as per Google&rsquo;s standards.</p> <p>JC Penney officials said they didn&rsquo;t authorize their SEO firm to game the system. Nonetheless, Google responded by burying the company&rsquo;s search results for a range of products.</p> <p>The search giant took similar action in late February against Overstock.com after discovering black hat violations.</p> <p>These recent high-profile incidents should serve as a warning sign &ndash; or possibly a wake-up call &ndash; to small businesses and their search marketing strategists. Entrepreneurs who have taken a do-it-yourself approach are just as susceptible as those who farm out SEO services to outside firms.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of our clients walk in the door fresh off a negative experience &ndash; or two or three &ndash; with a search agency,&rdquo; said Danny DeMichele of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lsfinteractive.com/">LSF Interactive</a>, an Internet marketing firm founded in 1999. &ldquo;From a technical standpoint, it's always the same issues we see right away &ndash; comment spam links, bad title tags and a lack of consistency across the site.&rdquo;</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a look at six search engine marketing and optimization strategies that could ultimately land your business in hot water.</p> <p><b>Forgetting to Hold SEO Specialists Accountable</b></p> <p>Be leery of a firm or an individual who dances around accountability and a detailed accounting of activities and results. Search engine marketing isn&rsquo;t wizardry. It also isn&rsquo;t a field that lends itself to legitimate &ldquo;guarantees.&rdquo; Make sure you know exactly what your search firm or in-house employees do and how their tactics are playing out in the marketplace. Define the parameters for success and scour the data.</p> <p><b>Hold the Line on Links</b></p> <p>Links are the currency of search marketing. But getting too many links too quickly can raise red flags with the folks at Google. In most cases, the problem is usually that business owners are building links too fast because they&rsquo;re using flimsy methods like exchange networks that tend to promote a lower-quality profile.</p> <p>Entrepreneurs looking to garner link love through a viral campaign or other online marketing technique shouldn&rsquo;t have much to worry about. But, again, the focus should be on building quality links, especially if you&rsquo;re doing it in a hurry. That also means varying anchor text to ensure diversity. Speaking of anchor text&hellip;</p> <p><b>Lighten the Anchor</b></p> <p>Beware the sagging, heavy anchor text. Incessantly fixating on heavy anchor text can create problems. Mix and match relevant keywords for your products and your business, but don&rsquo;t get bogged down with exact match after exact match.</p> <p>Instead, brand recognition is becoming increasingly important for SEO success. That means using branded anchor text that spotlights your business name and homepage. Getting your brand mentioned across the web is becoming more important by the day. And that&rsquo;s often tied to creating quality content and picking up brand mentions.</p> <p><b>Breadcrumb Trail</b></p> <p>Launching a slew of websites and dropping links back to your main hub is a recipe for disaster. Don&rsquo;t do it, plain and simple. Similarly, purchasing an older, established website and redirecting it to your own isn&rsquo;t as simple and headache free as it sounds. The &quot;301 redirect&quot; is the best option for SEO purposes, but plan to lose Page Rank in the process, at least at the outset.</p> <p><b>Bloated Title Tags</b></p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t the place to make a wish list. Jamming a couple dozen keywords in here will do significant harm to your search engine marketing. Seize on the most relevant keywords, keep character counts lean and aim for quality.</p> <p><b>Comment Spam</b></p> <p>Peppering blogs and comment fields with spammy links back to your site is a surefire way to stir up trouble. Comments rooted in relevance and human connection can provide some SEO benefit. Entrepreneurs should also take pains to ensure these comment links don&rsquo;t wind up in their own company or personal blogs &ndash; they can damage your own page rank as well.</p> <p>Those are six things you and your Internet marketers shouldn't do. What should you do? Listen to experts like Danny DeMichele of LSF Interactive and focus on consistency across your site, employ relevant title tags and develop quality content. Do those things well, and you're practically guaranteed to stay on Google's good side.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-sem-strategies-guaranteed-to-go-wrong">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center comment spam Google internet marketing search results SEM SEO small business title tags Sat, 12 Mar 2011 19:48:07 +0000 Chris Birk 499266 at http://www.wisebread.com Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster's Demise http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1000864_39487552.jpg" alt="Sorry We&#039;re Closed " title="Sorry We&#039;re Closed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a common perception among business owners that adding an online presence to an already existing brick-and-mortar business is a no-brainer.</p> <p>That's not surprising. Marketing gurus have been touting the power of the Internet for years and given its exponential growth and success, there's been no reason to argue that strategy. But the recent bankruptcy of the video giant Blockbuster has caused many of those same experts to take another look at that philosophy as we try to figure out what went wrong. After all, Blockbuster should have been the easy winner in the video rental war, certainly beating out its smaller &mdash; and online only &mdash; rival, Netflix. Instead of coming out on top, Blockbuster has been reduced to a case study. Netflix on the other hand, is as stable as ever, currently trading well above $100 per share.</p> <p>So, what went wrong? Does this mean that going online isn't a good idea after all?</p> <p>Quite the contrary &mdash; having a web presence is still a very smart move and remember, it wasn't the website itself that resulted in Blockbuster's demise. Instead, their fall is being attributed to a number of factors that range from excessive operating expenses to a lack a proper planning to, well...a severe case of complacency.</p> <p>The truth is, there are a number of things that Blockbuster could have done differently and while your company's fiscal footprint may not be nearly as big, there are still lessons to be learned.</p> <h3>A website is just a website</h3> <p>Simply having a website doesn't automatically make it successful and by the same token, there's no guarantee it can save a struggling business. I can't count the number of clients that have come to me wanting a website, only to become frustrated when they don't see an immediate increase in sales.</p> <p>Success on the web requires the same research, effort, and attention as your physical location &mdash; something that many brick-and-mortar businesses overlook. While Blockbuster's website was certainly more than just a static presentation it was at least for a while, neglected and somewhat painful to manuever. Blockbuster took several years to actually integrate their online offerings with their physical storefront and then discovered after the fact that running such a program would cost much more than they had anticipated.</p> <p>As a result, they increased the prices of their Total Access program while simultaneously decreasing the benefits, upsetting many of the loyal customers they had in their existing base. Netflix of course, had already figured out how to streamline online delivery and reduce expenses, making them the obvious alternative for disgruntled Blockbuster customers.</p> <h3>Don't just follow the crowd</h3> <p>Blockbuster wasn't just slow to enter the world of online video rental, they also failed to capitalize on their unique selling proposition once they arrived.</p> <p>With a large and loyal customer base, Blockbuster should have entered the online arena like gangbusters, touting the obvious advantage they had over Netflix &mdash; rent online, return at the store. But Blockbuster didn't do that. Instead, they made their grand entrance by copying what Netflix had already done...except that Netflix was doing it better and cheaper.</p> <p>By the time Blockbuster got around to distinguishing themselves from the competition, Netflix had gained quite a bit of steam, not to mention quite a few of Blockbuster's customers.</p> <h3>A leader can be toppled</h3> <p>But perhaps the biggest mistake in the Blockbuster saga is their obvious reliance on their past success.</p> <p>For years, Blockbuster was the frontrunner in video rentals and unfortunately, this &quot;can't touch us&quot; kind of success affected their ability to see the bigger marketing picture and thus, the potential threat that Netflix posed.</p> <p>The world as we know it, is changing. Customers are looking for easier, more effective ways to get things done and technology has been happy to oblige. As a result, companies from every industry are having to rethink their marketing approach, giving serious consideration to the possibility that their biggest rival might not be the competitor down the street, but rather a faceless, virtual store with lower overhead and a clear understanding of how the internet and its users work.</p> <p>Even law firms and CPAs, industries that were once seemingly exempt from such traditional marketing concerns, must now compete with do-it-yourself software programs and downloadable forms, both of which offer the client the same end result but at a fraction of the cost. This sink or swim ultimatium has become painfully clear: either join the technological revolution or be left far behind.</p> <p>It's no longer enough to simply offer a set of services or products &mdash; you must be diligent in your efforts to show customers why your version of those services and products are better than the alternatives.. even (or perhaps especially) when those alternatives are online, non-personal solutions.</p> <p>The bottom line is that the marketing gurus <em>were right</em> &mdash; you must have a website to compete. But it will be your ability to embrace this new way of doing business &mdash; not the virtual real estate itself &mdash; that determines your ultimate success.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Financial News Blockbuster internet marketing small business small business marketing Mon, 04 Oct 2010 13:00:12 +0000 Kate Luther 253701 at http://www.wisebread.com