Monday Morning Marketing – Digital Marketing Tips

Monday Morning Marketing – Digital Marketing Tips

Online Web MarketingDigital Marketing, Online Marketing, Web Marketing.  There are so many phrases used to describe what essentially is utilizing the internet, social media, websites etc. to market you business and bring in new customers.  This is a huge field full of a massive amount of information and we will be covering different aspects in future posts.  Today however, let’s cover a handful of basic concepts that will get you started on the road to marketing your business online.

  1.  Really get to know your customers and potential customers.  With the internet and social media giving you so many ways to segment and specify your marketing tools, it really helps to know what drives your current and potential customers and clients.  What will make them stop and take a look at one of your ads or one of your blog / social media posts.
  2. Write engaging topics, not just hard sell.  This is SO VERY IMPORTANT!  I see failures around this tip all the time.  People are burned out on hard sell all the time.  Your potential new customers and clients want to get to know you.  They want a peek inside your business, your life, your interests etc.  As we have mentioned in previous posts, a good rule of thumb is to make your content about 10% – 20% selling and 80% – 90% engagement.  This doesn’t sharing what you had for breakfast with your audience but perhaps you visited an industry related event over the weekend or purchased a new piece of equipment for your business.  This may make for an interesting blog or social media post for your followers and they may also appreciate a look at the “personal” side of your office or studio!
  3. Make sure you include SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services into your campaign and understand that you should be in this for the long haul.  Any authentic, organic online marketing campaign will take time to bring you back sustainable results.  Search Engine Optimzation (SEO) is a fantastic, solid way to help bring your business and your website more visitors, which translates to more potential customers and clients.  SEO is a long term prospect and you need to know that going in.  Any company that claims they can guarantee you front page results on Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in days or weeks is either using an unsustainable, artificial means to boost your presence or is just flat out lying to you.  SEO takes time, but it is very much worth it.
  4. Keep your brand consistent.  Sure you want to create eye catching ad campaigns with lots of engaging visuals, but make sure to keep your brand visible and consistence so that your viewers know immediately who the content is coming from.  We have all had those instances where we see a visually stunning ad campaign only to realize we have no idea who or what is being marketed!
  5. Don’t be afraid to try new things!  As I have told my clients, online marketing is different from designing and printing 10,000 direct mail pieces.  Once they are printed, that’s it!  With online marketing you can try something and if it doesn’t work, just adjust it and try again!

That should be a good jumping off place.  As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, just contact us at any time

Take care,
Skip & Sandy

Monday Morning Marketing – Are Email Newsletters Still Relevant?

Monday Morning Marketing – Are Email Newsletters Still Relevant?

Well the short answer is yes, absolutely!  Email newsletters are one of the easiest marketing tools to use, however they can be one of the toughest to do correctly.

Let’s begin with a short definition so we are all on the same page regarding what we are talking about.  An email newsletter is used to inform people who subscribe to it about announcements, new products & services and promotions (some promotions can be specific to newsletter subscribers only).

Email newsletters are very effective tools for keeping subscribers “in the know”, offering specific deals, promotions etc. and keeping your brand name fresh in people’s minds.  I have had more than one client mention that they chose to work with me because I was persistent (in a good way!) and kept in touch with them until they were ready to pull the trigger on their project.

Here are some quick tips to help you navigate the world of email marketing more effectively.

  1.  Choose a focus for your newsletter.  For example, my fiance’ Sandy has a jewelry design business called Dancing Goddess Designs.  Her newsletters typically focus on either a specific type of jewelry or specific sets for special occasions, holidays, seasons etc.  Try to focus on one aspect of your business in each newsletter or, better yet, most email newsletter providers will let you segment your contacts into different subject specific lists so that you can target specific newsletters to specific audiences.  Also, keep in mind that your newsletter content should be approximately 80-90% educational (to engage your audience) and 10-20% promotional (hard selling).  People will get turned off quickly if all you do is send out emails trying to get people to buy things.
  2. Your subject lines are a valuable tool!  Receiving an email with the subject line “Our Email Newsletter” is not really going to entice anyone to open it.  On the other hand, a subject line that reads “5 Sure Fire Tips To Grow Your Social Media Audience” is a much more effective and immediate call to action.  Don’t be afraid to keep your subject lines fresh and exciting and don’t fall into the trap of assuming people will open every email just because the subscribed to you.
  3. Prioritize your CTAs!  (bet that got your attention!).  A CTA is a “Call To Action” and it’s nothing more then asking your readers to do something specific:  “Click Here Now!”, “Read Our Reviews”, “Purchase Today!” etc.  Now odds are you are going to have multiple CTAs on any given newsletter, but you would do well to pick one of them and give it priority over the rest.  Pick the CTA you want most people to act on and put it high up on the page, bold, colorful and attention getting.   Make SURE everyone who opens that email sees it first!  Sure they may see the other CTAs as well but you want to make sure as many people as possible act on the primary.  This focuses people’s attention and keeps them from seeing a list of equally weighted CTAs which may turn them off by presenting too many at a time.
  4. Minimal is GOOD.  Oh did it take me awhile to learn this!  As a creative, I want things to be eye catching, colorful, over-the-top, FABULOUS!!!  In the world of email newsletters however, restraint is king!  Keep your designs simple but effective.  Keep your content to blurbs and excerpts with external links to “read the full story” if necessary.  People have to wade through mountains of emails every day and they are going to want their information to be presented in neat, digestible, easy to navigate chunks.  Small portion enticement is far more effective than a full course meal WITH dessert! (how did I get off on a food tangent there??)

There are, of course, many other tips, tricks and strategies that can be leveraged when thinking about email newsletters.  This however, is a great place to start.

As always, if you have any questions about what you’ve read in our blog posts, please feel free to contact us so we can discuss it with you and find out how Shadowbend Studios can be of service!

Take care,
Skip & Sandy

Launch Of The New Shadowbend Studios!

Launch Of The New Shadowbend Studios!

Good morning everyone!
It’s a crisp November morning here at the studio and we are all extraordinarily excited about the launch of the brand new Shadowbend Studios website.  This has been a LONG time in coming but having successfully navigated a stretch of challenges and obstacles (as evidenced by the rather large gap in my blog posts!!) Shadowbend Studios has come out the other side better than ever!  Our new branding and new website reflects our revitalized commitment to bringing our existing and new clients the best possible services in the realms of web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, graphic design, web hosting and web security.

All of us at Shadowbend Studios are looking forward to the new year, celebrating 15 years in business and rolling out new services for our clients.  We invite you all to join us on our journey and stay in touch as we go!

Take care,
Skip

Monday Morning Marketing – Are Email Newsletters Still Relevant?

Monday Morning Marketing

“Your Morning Cup Of Marketing Know-How”

Let’s say you’re thinking through domain names for your new website, and you’ve shortlisted a few ideas.

If the one you want is available, it’s a no-brainer to go ahead and register it straight away.

Except…

… there’s one crucial check you need to make.

Is your domain name open to misinterpretation?

Let me share a few domain names with you:

www.penisland.com

oddsextractor.com

whorepresents.com

Did any (or all) of those sound a bit inappropriate for inclusion on DailyBlogTips?

Here’s the actual names of the sites in order:

Pen Island

Odds Extractor

Who Represents

Unfortunately, their domain names are far too easy to misread … as you may have noticed!

Does your domain name fall into this trap? (Even if it’s not a rude misreading.) If you think there’s room for misinterpretation, you might want to run it past a few friends or fellow bloggers – ask them to read the domain name then tell you the name of the site.

If you’re attached to the domain name you’ve chosen, you could consider adding a hyphen:

www.pen-island.com

www.odds-extractor.com

www.who-represents.com

We’d normally recommend avoiding hyphens (URLs are cleaner, simpler, and easier to remember and to spell over the phone without them) but in these cases, they’d probably be a good move.

Have you ever come across an all-too-easy to misread domain name? Share it with us in the comments.

original source: dailyblogtips enewsletter

Monday Morning Marketing – Are Email Newsletters Still Relevant?

Monday Morning Marketing

“Your Morning Cup Of Marketing Know-How”

Black Hat vs White Hat SEO: What You Need to Know

You’ve probably noticed that the internet can be a bit like the Wild West.

Newbies ride into town regularly – often with high hopes of getting rich quick. Perhaps you’re one of them (or perhaps you can at least remember those days).

“Snake oil” salesmen make outrageous promises about how their product can solve all your problems (usually with a heavy dose of yellow highlighter, and a few fake countdown timers).

And just like in the West, there are goodies and baddies – “white hats” who obey the law and “black hats” who break it. In fact, you may well have heard of “white hat SEO” and “black hat SEO” already.

Online, Sheriff Google lays down the law – and you definitely don’t want to get caught doing something you shouldn’t.

So let’s take a look at what you need to know.

What’s SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It’s the practice of getting your website or blog to rank highly in search engines – particularly Google, which dominates the market.

Sometimes, you’ll also hear “an SEO” used to mean “a professional search engine optimiser”.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO is SEO that goes against Google’s rules. It results in a website that Google won’t want to promote because no-one will want to read it.

Black Hat practices include:

  • Paying another site to link to yours.
  • Creating keyword-rich links using dodgy techniques, such as trackback spam.
  • Participating in link exchanges with sites that have nothing to do with yours.
  • “Scraping” other people’s content to use on your site.
  • Using hidden text that readers can’t see but search engines can (e.g. putting lots of keywords in white text on a white background).
  • Getting your site linked to from link farms.

(You can find a fuller list of Black Hat practices here.)

Basically, if a technique sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t automate the process of building links to get hundreds overnight.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO plays by the rules. It results in a website that Google naturally wants to promote, because it’s full of great content and easy for readers to engage with.

White Hat practices include:

  • Creating high-quality content for your blog.
  • Using WordPress or another solid CMS (content management system) for your site, so it’s well structured.
  • Writing great guest posts for other blogs, putting the relationship (not the backlink) first.
  • Using Google Webmaster Tools to fix any problems with your site.
  • Crafting clear, direct titles for your posts that use the same keywords readers would use.

It might seem like a no-brainer to you that White Hat SEO is the way to go … and we agree.

Black Hat SEO may lead to some quick results … but these will be swiftly followed by a huge drop in traffic when Google catches you. (And bear in mind that Google’s algorithms are getting cleverer all the time.)

As Daniel explains in Business is a Marathon, Not a Sprint, you should focus on the long-term, not on short-term results.

By using White Hat practices, you’ll be sure of building a site that stands the test of time. You won’t have to worry about Google updates knocking you down the rankings, and you’ll also find it easy to engage in other kinds of marketing – like using social media – because you’ll have something truly valuable to offer your readers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too: are you actively using SEO techniques to get more traffic to your site? And have you ever used Black Hat methods (perhaps unwittingly) – or are you firmly on the White Hat side?

original source: daily blog tips enewsletter

Monday Morning Marketing

Shadowbend Studios’ Monday Morning Marketing
“Your morning cup of marketing know-how”

Online Web Marketing

4 Steps to Creating Better Goals for Your Blog

If you don’t write down your goals with clear instructions, your plans will be mere wishes.

I read the post Daniel brought to us to usher in the new year Write Down and Share Your Goals, and I thought it would be a good idea to expand on it to make sure you maximize the potential of your blog in 2014 by being specific about your goals.

Write down Your Goals

This might seem obvious and an echo of what Daniel said earlier, but this is still a very important step. You must be clear and concise with your goal writing. You can’t leave out anything, and you can’t imply it because your subconscious won’t understand it when you see it again.

It is best to have 5-10 goals in present tense, as active, affirmative statements.

  • I post 3-5 posts a week on my blog…
  • I earn $500-$1000 from my blog a month…
  • I am a successful blogger…

Write the Time Frame You Want Your Goal Completed

To reiterate: If you aren’t specific about your goals, you are merely wishing. If your goals do not have a deadline (somewhere between 3 months to 1 year), you’re unlikely to reach them.

Some people are reluctant to set deadlines, but they do three things to help you along.

  1. You will have the date in the back of your mind, even if you only write it once.
  2. You will be accountable, which will motivate you more than fear or shame from others.
  3. You will be able to prioritize your work accordingly.

If you say “I post 3-5 posts a week on my blog by March 31st, 2014,” you are committing to do just that.

Write What You Will Do to Complete the Goal

Flesh out your goals so that they become real plans. Add a line to each of them explaining what exactly you plan to do.

If you say “I post 3-5 posts a week on my blog by March 31st, 2014 by writing two short posts in the morning to create a back catalog,” you are now committing to what you’ll do and taking it upon yourself to adjust your morning routine to accomplish this.

Repeat Writing Your Goals until You Complete Them

There is something to be said about repetition. Through the act of writing your goals down every day, you are reinforcing your desire to do the task at hand. It will infuse your day with energy and emotion as you keep going through your day remembering what you wrote down.

It’s fine to change the wording of the goals, and their order, especially early on. You might have your posts goal in the number 3 position, but then the next day you have it in the number 6 position. Just keep writing them down. As your priorities change, so will your goals. This is a necessary part of the process.

Results!

I tested this out for myself from Sept. 1st, 2013 to December 31st, 2013. I wrote down 10 goals to start off with, but trimmed it down to 5 to make sure I could accomplish what I set out to do. They were:

  • I am a successful writer, completing 5 stories to 2nd draft by December 31st, 2013 through dedicated morning writing and taking any opportunity I can to write during the day.
  • I am a well-read person, completing 10 books on writing by December 31st, 2013 through reading first thing in the morning as I wake up for 30 minutes each day.
  • I am a learned person, earning two certificates through Coursera by December 31st, 2013 through focused study and diligent note taking when the classes were released.
  • I am a wiser saver, setting aside $2500 by December 31st, 2013 through a tighter budget and setting aside at least 10% of my income (and whatever bonuses I acquire).
  • I am a healthier person, weighing 200 pounds by December 31st, 2013 through better eating and steady exercise.

I am pleased to say I completed four of the five goals I set out for me by December 31st, 2013 (sadly, my love affair with burritos keeps me above 200 lbs).

With these steps, even just a few written goals can change your life.

Happy blogging! Once you’ve written down your goals, tell us about them in the comments.

original source: ali luke, daily blog tips enewsletter

 

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