5 Tools Everyone In The Digital Marketing Industry Should Be Using

Digital Marketing Tools

For anyone doing serious business these days, digital marketing is must. Whether you are targetting your products or services to businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C) you cannot avoid digital marketing in one way or another. Though there are many tools available to help you master all the digital marketing channels and channel them to driving traffic to your website, I have decided to focus on the five tools that I use every day.

These are the 5 tools everyone in the digital marketing industry should be using:

Google Analytics

If knowledge is power then accurate data is a competitive advantage. Therefore, everyone in the digital marketing industry should focus on gathering accurate data. In my opinion, one of the best tools available for gathering accurate data about your digital marketing efforts is Google Analytics. With Google Analytics you are able to track the performance of your marketing campaigns.

With it you get access to such data as where the traffic to your website is coming from, what visitors do when they visit your website which of your web pages are performing well and so on. If you already have a website the chances are that you’re most likely using it already using it.

Visit your Google Analytics dashboard regularly to see whether you’re meeting up with your marketing goals or not and deduce data that can help you in making decisions to grow your business.

Facebook

Regardless of whether your product or service is targeted towards B2B or B2C, Facebook is a tool you should not overlook! With over a billion users worldwide, there’s no way you’ll not find a sizeable chunk of your target audience using Facebook. And as common sense dictates you need to go where your market is.

Most brands this days maintain a presence on Facebook via the Facebook business page. Note here that it is not proper to use your personal profiles to spam your friends and followers information about your business. If you want to promote your business on Facebook you need to set up a Facebook business page that is separate from your personal page.

A Facebook business page gives you access to Facebook Pages Manager and Insights. These are great tools that are not available to other Facebook users who registered personal profiles. With Pages Manager, you can post to your page, edit posts, comment and share relevant information with fans of your brand and ensure that your information enters their Facebook news feed. Your Pages Manger gives you the means of having a 2-way communication with fans of your brand. Insight gives you a treasure trove if information about the fans of your brand. With this information, you can then tailor your product or services to give more value to your customers.

LinkedIn

If the primary audience for your product or service is other businesses (B2B) then LinkedIn is a tool that you should be using daily. With over 300 million registered users worldwide LinkedIn is unique in that its users are mainly professionals who are there to showcase their skills and network on a professional level.

For you to promote your business on LinkedIn you need to set up a LinkedIn Company Page. This is different from your LinkedIn personal profile and gives you more tools and resources to learn more about the people following your brand on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is where you showcase your brand and what differentiates you from your competitors. The wealth of information you gather from LinkedIn can be used to tailor your brand to provide more value to your customers.

Even if you don’t have a business to promote and thus don’t need a LinkedIn Company Page you can still use LinkedIn to promote your personal brand. Yes! You’re a brand and you ought to master your skills to the best of your ability and resources and promote yourself to potential employees on LinkedIn.

Twitter

Anyone in the digital marketing industry, today cannot avoid Twitter. It is a social media powerhouse. It helps you amplify your voice on the internet. It helps you tell your story in 140 character bite-size chunks. It helps you maintain a 2-way conversation with your target audience. With over 300 million active users worldwide, there’s every chance that you’ll find a sizeable part of your target audience on Twitter.

Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn whereby you can set up a different profile for your corporate brand, with Twitter there’s no separate profile for your brand. This makes it unique in the sense that you now have to think out of the box on how to give your brand a personality of its own on the social network.

Unfortunately, many organisations don’t know how to use Twitter properly. Their tweets are just about their products or services. They make little effort to engage their followers with meaningful conversations about their brand. Twitter is not about spamming your followers with one-way tweets about your products or services.

Website/Blog

At the end of the day as far as digital marketing is concerned all roads must lead back to your website or blog. You already have a blog don’t you?

You don’t have complete control of the previous four tools discussed above. At any time, you can be kicked off those platforms if you do anything that is contrary to their terms and conditions. But this is not the case with your website or blog.

Your self-hosted website or business blog is your property. It is your online real estate. It is the primary place that visitor come looking for you and where you can showcase and talk about your product or services as much as you want. It is your online storefront that makes it possible for your business to be open to customers around the globe 24/7 and 365 days of the year!

So you need to pay attention to your website and keep it professional, fresh and up-to-date. As the saying goes you’ll not get a second chance to make a good first impression. Thus, you need to make sure that you keep your website looking its best at all times with fresh content, no broken links, nice graphics and so on. These days your website also needs to be responsive i.e. it must look good on all devices whether desktop, mobile, smartphone, tablets and so on.

Conclusion

These are the 5 tools everyone in the digital marketing industry should be using. Have you been using them? Which one have you found the most successful? Share your experience in the comments below.

If you need help on how to use digital marketing to grow your business, feel free to get in touch. I’ll be glad to help!

4 Tips for Marketing Your Website to College Students

Are you launching a website with a college-aged target audience? This age group is quite interesting in that, although they are no longer children, they can’t quite yet be called adults.

While they are beginning to grow older and wiser, they are also still highly interested in pop culture and trendy fads. This is a unique blend which internet marketers must carefully cater when designing a webpage.

The following four tips will help you launch an awesome website that will draw in the college crowd.

  1. The only “class” in a college student’s life involves lecturing…well, somewhat: Let’s face the facts; in terms of money, college students aren’t classy folk. They don’t have the extra cash to pay for extra luxuries, so whatever you are marketing to them must be affordable (if not free). However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in style and sophistication. In fact, they are usually very much interested in these things, so look to marketing a product or service that offers classiness at an affordable price.
  2. Trends are highly important: If you want to remain relevant, your web design and content must stay trendy. This means you must keep up with current fashions, music, movies, television shows, etc. Like teenagers, college students are still wrapped up in popular culture and spend a lot of time learning about the newest of everything, so if your website doesn’t appear to be a “happening” place, you just may lose your following. One very important caveat, however; college students are usually interested in a different kind of popular culture. Namely, the “independent” movement, and never anything that they drooled over in high school (Justine Bieber included).
  3. Give them the best: This age group has been using the internet since they were born, so they expect a certain level of sophistication when it comes to websites. They are often more technologically educated than we would expect, and that is because they have so much experience using computers and the internet. Unlike the generations before them, most college students today know the difference between a secure web site and an unsecure one. They also know how to spot a poorly managed website and are pickier when it comes to website design and content and page speed. This means you can forget about selling your “below market” textbooks on a cheaply designed site with no credit card security. They won’t fall for it.
  4. Social Media is Key: College students spend a lot of time on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. This is how they communicate with their friends and family and keep up with current events and trends. If your business’ website doesn’t have a presence on one or more social media platforms, you are losing out on a ton of free marketing opportunities. Create pages for your site today, and place links to them on your homepage to encourage a following.

Katheryn Rivas is an education writer who is interested in researching the opportunities an online university can provide students. She encourages your questions or comments at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

The Difference Having a Customized Website Can Make for Your Business

With the economic uncertainty occurring right now a lot of businesses are skimping on their websites in an effort to focus priorities elsewhere. A lot of times this is being done because companies are focusing on executing effective marketing strategies and letting their websites fall into the “we’ll deal with this later” category. Unfortunately, this is a grave mistake for businesses to make. Investing in your company website is one of the most effective ways you can attract new business.

  1. Creates a positive first impression – You leave virtually no impression on website visitors when your site is a carbon copy of thousands of other websites out there. And why would you? There’s nothing defining to set you apart from the competition. Having a custom website, however, leaves visitors with a positive first impression because it shows you care enough about your business to put time and effort into maintaining a site and that you are working to set yourself apart from the competition.
  2. Gives you the ability to make the site mobile friendly – These days’ people do virtually everything on their smart phones, and if your site is a stock site it’s likely that it isn’t going to be mobile-friendly, which can be frustrating for users. When you customize your site in a way that allows for a mobile friendly version you appeal to a broader range of consumers, thus setting yourself up to bring in more business.
  3. Higher search engine rankings – Search engines favor sites that provide unique, updated content, and having a current, customized website helps you achieve just that. A higher search engine ranking translates to more online visibility, which inevitably will result in more website visitors and ultimately more customers.

If you’ve been letting your website slip by the wayside then it’s time to start giving it the attention it needs. Customizing your website gives you an edge over the competition, something every business strives to obtain.
Author Bio

This Guest post is by Christine Kane from internet service providers, she is a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @ gmail.com.

Get a 5-Page Business Website FREE

Simply complete and submit the form below to be entered into a drawing to win a 5 page business website. Deadline Extension: March 19 30, 2012

  • Enter your First and Last name
  • Enter a valid email address
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  • Are you human? If so, type the two words above

By filling and submitting this form, you indicate that you have read and agreed to the Official Rules of this promo and our Privacy Policy.

Contest Details:

How: Simply complete the form above to be entered into a drawing to win a 5 page business website.
When: One lucky winner will be selected on March 20, 2012.
What’s the catch: There isn’t one! We want to help businesses grow online. When you complete the form, you’ll be entered to the promo for a chance to win a 5 page business website free. It’s that easy!

Prize Details:

A 5 page web design, hosting, email account, domain name and integration of your existing logo, text and social media pages (where available) into the website!

Prize Eligibility:

Only persons who are at least 18 years of age and resident in the Federal Republic of Nigeria can enter.

Promo Duration:

Promo starts on January 19, 2012 at 12:01am (WAT) and ends on March 30, 2012 at 11:59pm (WAT).

Need More Details:

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Five Major Factors of Success in Website Development Business

Five Major Factors of Success in Website Development Business

Many people can design beautiful websites and have great programing skills but  does that guarantee that they can have a successful website development business? Website development is a competitive business with every player trying to have something special the differentiates them from others.

Properly Defined Processes and Documentation: Professional website development companies understand how to granularly scope a project. You need to have a tried and trusted method of gathering your clients requirements. You will also need to provide your clients with the necessary documentation to let them understand clearly what deliverables to expect and what things are within our outside you the scope of the project. Many freelancers and small website development businesses always try to skip this process but it just can’t be skipped. That’s where you will lose money. And you lose credibility because all of the creative, technical and functional requirements aren’t defined from the get go. At Mauco Internet Consultants we have properly defined processes and documentation that guides each project from start to finish. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more.

Meeting and Exceeding your Client’s Expectations: There’s nothing more gratifying than having a satisfied client. Satisfied clients may provide you with referrals to others who need your services thereby helping to grow your client base. A satisfied client is also a potential repeat customer and will consult you for other related services e.g. hosting services, search engine optimisation, pay per click management etc.

Having a Competent Team: A tree does not make a forest. Web development is broad so you have to have a strong team competent in different aspects. For your website development business to succeed you will need an appropriate internal talent mix for design; architecture/user experience, programming and marketing. Once all these persons share the same passion and remain loyal to the business then your website development business will succeed.

Good All Round Business Skills: Your being a talented website designer or flash programmer does not automatically translate to having a successful website development business. You must learn to learn how best to deal with clients (especially clients that are hard to please), have great negotiating skills, selling skills, you must be on top of your pricing strategy, an expert in handling your cashflow, managing personnel and production control.

Customer/Technical Support: Being able to provide customer and technical support to your clients is the backbone to the future of your website development business. Your client must have the reassurance that if they run into any problems you are available to help them 24/7. At Mauco Internet Consultants, we have strong alliances with companies both within and outside Nigeria that ensure we can provide 24/7 customer and technical customers for all our customers. This has helped to endure us to our clients with whom we’ve established long term relationships.

Do you have questions, comments or queries regarding any of the factors mentioned above? Feel free to comment below.

Does Your Website Suffer From Poor Performance?

Are visitors leaving your site without taking the desired action? Does your website rank low on the search engines even for your brand and business name? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t worry all hope is not lost. To rectify the situation, you need to pay attention to the following:

Website Speed:
If you take a bit of time to speed up the load time of your website by optimizing your existing content and cleaning up your code, you may just find yourself making more sales. Though broadband connections are now becoming common place, this does not mean that all your visitors have broadband. You have to show consideration for your visitors and not make them waste all their allocated bandwidth simply by visiting a site loaded down by unnecessary images, audio and video files.

Hosting Server:
If you have fine-tuned your website to the very last detail and you’re still experiencing performance issues, the cause could simply be your web host. You need to do a proper research to choose the right web hosting service provider for your needs and budget. Ask around and get referrals before selecting your hosting provider. Simply going for the cheapest hosting provider might be the costliest mistake you could ever make. Remember a stitch in time saves nine.

Fresh Content:
The number one thing that visitors look for is fresh and useful information. They are coming to your website to be educated about your products and/or services and, and how they can benefit from it. Therefore, it is vital for the information on your website to be accurate, complete and up-to-date. The best way to achieve this is through your company blog posts. Through regular blog posts and articles, you can provide new, relevant and educational information to your visitors

Conversion Optimization:
So you have spent a small fortune tweaking your website to receive the optimum download speeds and you are hosting on fast and secure severs with your hosting service provider but you are yet to see any significant improvement in getting the desired results from your website visitors. What then? Then you need to focus on Search Engine Optimization and Conversion Optimization. SEO combined with Conversion Rate Optimization service we help in increasing website leads and sales whilst reducing your visitor “bounce rate”, without you spending money on attracting more visitors.

By focusing on these issues, you will eventually get your website working at optimum performance and bringing in more sales. Don’t have the time or skills required to improve the performance of your website? Looking for help in developing your website or re-designing your existing website? We would be glad to help! Till next time….

How To Manage A One Person Sales & Marketing Force

sales person

Entrepreneurs often have to wear many hats from CEO to sales person to receptionist. Most times that of a sales person is the most challenging. If you are an entrepreneur and you find yourself doing the work of a sales person, here are a 5 tips to get you through the day:

  • Time Management: Get a calendar or daily planner and schedule your day appropriately. Allocate time to all the important stuff first and then the ones that are not so important can be scheduled for when you have some free time to spare. Be ruthless with your time and don’t waste it. Time waits for no man.
  • Sell Your Products: Entrepreneurs are in the habit of trying to sell their company rather than their product or service. Don’t waste time telling your prospective client how great your company is, rather focus on telling them the benefits of your products or services to their business.
  • Do Not Neglect Your Existing Clients: Your existing clients are the ones helping you to pay your bills and they are also your best source of additional revenue, so don’t get so wrapped up in pursuing new leads that you neglect their needs.
  • Easy Client Feedback: Have an open door policy whereby your client can easily give feedback about your product or services.
  • Make Good Use Of Technology: You can only be in one place at a time. So reduce your travel and operating expenses by taking proper advantage of email, your website, phone, skype, social media and other internet business solutions where  available.

Applying these tips will help you to become more successful entrepreneur and a one person sales and marketing force!

Do you have any tips, opinions or any experience of yours to share on this topic? Feel free to comment below.

How To Start A Successful Small Business

How to start a successful small business
Starting a  business in any economy can be a very daunting task. But that’s not to say that it’s impossible or unadvisable. There are dozens of successful entrepreneurs who are doing quite well despite the challenges.

So what are some of the things you need to keep in mind when starting your own business? What I’ve personally come to realise by interacting with a couple of entrepreneurs over the years is that there’s no silver bullet or magical formula to success, you just have to take it step-by-step an work very hard. Here are some of the steps that you need to take:

Start Small

This obviously is a no brainer because most businesses have very humble beginnings in garages or college dormitories and with a shoestring budget but in time they grow to be global giants. So as the saying goes, do not despise the days of humble beginnings.

Learn From Others

If you are a one-man-show, then self doubt is naturally unavoidable when you start your company. You must realize that things will certainly go wrong and when they do, you’ll have no one but yourself to blame. So its best to join business groups, forums and associations so that you can have an opportunity to learn from others. Fortunately today, there are several networking sites like LinkedIn, Xing etc, where you can tap from a huge wealth of knowledge and resources.

Reading books alone is not the answer! Because what you read and what you have to execute are often as different as light and darkness. It’s best to have a mentor who can show you the ropes in a practical way! Reading alone is a sure way to failure because there’s a lot of things you won’t understand until you actually do it.

Go Out And Get Customers

No business can exist without customers. Know who your customers, where they hang out and go get them. Its a good idea to have a website that can act as your virtual storefront 24/7. Even if you can’t afford a website, you can at the very least get a Facebook page or where you can interact with your customers. Your existing and potential customer can have access to information about your business and what value they can derive from doing business with you.

Formalize Your Business

As soon as possible, register your company or business name, start proper bookeeping and get a corporate bank account. Seek the services of a good lawyer or accountant to help get your business documents in order. Once you have formalized your business then you are bound to take it as a serious business.

Know Your Competitors

Always keep tabs on what your competitors and what they are doing. Figure out their strengths and weaknesses and learn from same. Try to distinguish your business from your competitors. Stick to what you know best and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

These are some of the steps you will have to take to start a small business. Remember as a small business you can afford to be dynamic and explore new innovations and opportunities and don’t be too rigid.

Have we left out any step you feel is vital in starting a small business? Feel free to share your views with us by commenting below.

How To Make Your Website Stand Out With Web Videos

Web Videos

Does your business standout online? How can you make your business stand out from your competitors?

Professional web videos are the answer. There are different kind like:

  • Borderless video spokesperson (like this  borderless video here)
  • video headers
  • video banners
  • video presentations
  • video product demonstrations etc.

Any of these can bring your website to life with an online video person!

Incorporating video onto your existing website can provide one of the highest return-on-investment you can make in your online marketing campaign. With an Online Virtual Spokesperson on your website you can use it to:

  • Introduce your home page
  • Enhance your FAQ page
  • Create online tutorials
  • Drive call to action on lead forms
  • Guide your visitors to accomplish a certain task on your site etc.

Professional web videos help you engage with your website visitors, retain visitors that come to your website, thereby increasing your chances of making more money via your website. Also when setup properly professional web videos help you gain higher ranks on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

You can choose to host and broadcast the video on your own site – if your hosting provider allows it – or on popular online video sites like You Tube. In most cases your online video spokesperson provider will host the video whilst you place a tiny link from your website to it. It is best you contact an internet consultant to guide you. We can assist you in getting one!

What (if any) has been your experience with professional web videos? Fee free to share your comments below.

Custom Website or WAAS – Which is Better?

Many times, clients are faced with the dilema of choosing between developing a custom website or a Website As a Service (WAAS) or a “Pay as you Go” solutions such as a SaaS website. So which is better?

Well the simple truth is… it depends! There are several factors that business owners ought to consider before choosing. A few of these questions are:

Initial Software Cost

If you choose a custom website using an open source software (e.g. wordpress, XOOPS, etc), the initial software cost might be zero but if you are choosing a commercial software or WAAS, then you will be required to pay for the software.

Software Installation

If you will be hosting your custom website on your own or on a share hosting solution, then you either install it yourself pay someone to install it for you. With a WAAS solution, the software is installed for you.

Technical Support

If you developed your website with an open source software – since you didn’t pay for the software – there is no guarantee of technical support. You would have to rely on forums or hire an expert (often the person/organization). This is not ideal for mission critical websites or emergency situations.

Hosting

Custom website developed with Open Source software afford the owner the opportunity on hosting it with any hosting company of their choice. But usually commercial WAAS sites have to be hosted with the company providing the service.

Software Customization

Websites built with Open Source software – that have been customized to meet your immediate needs – are not easy to update/upgrade especially if new patches or updates are being released on a regular basis. This is however not the case with a WAAS solution as the website would be easily updated/upgraded with all the necessary patches.

Recurring Fees

Developing your website With open source software means there are no recurring fees for the software. But developing your website with a WAAS solution means you have to pay recurring fees for the hosting of the site and consulting fees.

So in conclusion, if you intend developing applications like databases (MySQL), or setting up web servers etc, then you can opt for Open Source Software. But if you are looking for a complete solution that frees you from the hassles of hosting, technical support, etc, then you can opt for a WAAS solution.

What – if any – has been your experience with a Custom Website and a WAAS? Feel free to comment below