We’re so excited about Foursquare Local Updates. Coming out next week, the new feature lets business owners send updates to their “best customers” when they’re nearby.
According to Mashable: “Customers nearby” can be anywhere between a one and ten mile radius while “best customers” are determined by a combination of how often they check in, how recently they’ve checked in, and whether they’ve liked the venue on Foursquare.
If hoteliers are the curators of life’s true style, then hotels are the canvas on which trends in dining, design, and wellness come to life. But times are changing. It’s hard not to notice that new hotels are decidedly under-styled and superfluous service and decadent décor are on the outs.
Whether it’s the natural swing of the trend pendulum or a stylistic reaction to current economic realities, it’s becoming undeniable that fancy schmancy is out and functionality is in....
What started as a seemingly narrow-focused social media platform for artsy folks and the interior design-inclined has now bourgeoned into a dynamic curatorial board for all things crucially relevant – Pinterest is perhaps the truest encapsulation of the term “must-see” and a perfect way to capture real-time consumer sentiment... if you’re active enough.
I'm excited to be part of a talented panel discussion that will address the challenges and opportunities of building global websites as part of next week's travel and tourism marketing conference in Toronto.
This year the sixth annual "Online Revealed" tourism and online marketing conference has partnered with The Hotel Association of Canada and the Canadian Tourism marketing Summit. Dubbed as Canada's first and only user generated internet marketing conference, they are attracting over 500 of the top tourism and travel industry professionals to share ideas March 8-9 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto.
Almost everybody has heard of search engine optimization, but the idea of social media optimization is just starting to catch on. Back in 2006 marketing blogger Rohit Bhargava first coined the term, defining it this way:
"The concept behind SMO is simple: implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs."
Maybe, The New York Times recently reported a story about an online glasses and contact lens merchant who purportedly garnered top search engine rankings because of negative reviews left by dissatisfied customers around the web. The online retailer bragged to his customers: "I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement."
His operation worked like this: somebody would order glasses or contact lenses from his site, he would then place an order for cheaper versions of glasses or contact lenses and have the package forwarded to the customer's shipping address. But when people complained about receiving suspiciously cheap eyewear, the owner and his henchmen fought back with alarming intimidation and threats.
Starting a blog is a test of perseverance, a lot of research and a love of sharing ideas. But what tools and strategies exist to make the job easier?
It's also important to ask yourself: why do I blog? What is the business strategy? Am I looking to add value to the company website? Do I want to attract web searchers through keywords, or do I just want to use the blog as a medium to convey the company's personality? It's important to put together a game plan and stick to your strategy from day one, and of course, adapt when necessary.
So, how can you keep ideas in the pipeline and ensure that you publish consistently? In this post we'll share some blog productivity tools and strategies that we've used to build our blog over the past six months.
Redoing your website can be a daunting process, but a little bit of planning and expert advice can make the experience painless and dare I say: fun!
How often should a company think about redoing their website? The answer depends a lot on the type of business you're in. For example, websites for clothing retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch or Lacoste often go through several incarnations each year. Or maybe you're in a seasonal business where redoing your website is a good idea in the months leading up to peak season. No matter what business you're in, it's considered good practice to redo your website ever 18-24 months, why?
Pay-per-click marketing seems like a relatively simple concept: bid on some keywords and link your site in the paid results. But there are some who have taken to Google Adwords in new and innovative ways. Here are three examples that I hope will inspire you to think creatively in your pay-per-click campaigns.
Building your brand online and being discovered in search.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a video worth? At least a thousand, if not many more. The greatest advantage video offers is the ease to which it can communicate an idea, and the degree to which our brains are naturally wired to absorb information in this way.
When the web first entered our homes, it was this new medium with which to share information and manage data on a very basic scale. In the early to mid-nineties, we were able to share text and images. With the explosion of broadband the web can now drive richer content to our screens and provide higher level experiences such as videos and interactive Flash websites. And with these new applications comes a greater opportunity to communicate who you are.
More recently countless businesses have taken to online video and viewed it as an opportunity to build their brand presence. Some have been quicker out of the gates than others, but now that so many have done it, it might be useful to ask yourself: why should I do it?
Companies that spend time and money on their corporate communications usually see their efforts pay off in spades; whether it's a polished and persuasive website, or a meticulously crafted brochure, a well-written piece of marketing copy will convey the right message to your client and garner the results you expect.
Why don't we give emails the respect they deserve? Is it because we receive so many and it's simply a slog to get through them? Probably, but that shouldn't be an excuse for a poorly worded, unfocused and confusing email, especially when you're writing to your clients.
I surveyed the Front60 team for their thoughts on this all too important means of communication. If you deal with clients directly or if it's your employees who do, here are a few rules of thumb that will help to make your emails focused, easy to read, and actionable:
Through the use of free tools you can do thorough market research in a matter of hours; the same research would have been less accurate and cost thousands of dollars not less than 10 years ago. It's a great time to own a business!
Market research allows entrepreneurs/businesses to learn about their prospective customers before they begin to invest the time and money in starting a new venture. Online tools have emerged that allow anyone to perform market research.
In July, we featured Vanessa Fox's book Marketing in the Age of Google. Perhaps one of the most interesting excerpts found in the book is Fox's hypothetical look at a company trying to create a better digital camera using the web as a primary market research tool. First the company "BetterCamera," must uncover the top searched-for digital camera features and find a point of differentiation: underwater cameras.
We all want to join the ranks of brands that have succeeded in creating buzzworthy marketing campaigns that drive word of mouth and impact sales. Unfortunately, there is no magic answer, no silver bullet. But what we can do is be inspired by what other brands have done and try to learn from their ways of thinking.
You've got a name, logo, business cards and a letterhead, but do you have a brand? A brand in its simplest form is a noun, a thing. It's not simply the name of your company, or a way for people to identify you against another; although it serves those purposes. A brand should make you feel something, make you aspire to be like them, identify with and trust them.
Brands have characteristics the same way people do; most, if not all major brands have brand strategy guides that are meant to be followed closely across all communications. This includes everything from the layout of a banner ad, to the social media, to the way customer service representatives conduct themselves.
A well-targeted brand is ascribed a set of related characteristics in their brand manual. This can include corporate values, keywords, examples of tone of voice, sample phrases; also included is what not to do - examples that go against the brand. But where do we look when determining the character of a brand?
A May 2010 report by Forrester Research offers some interesting insights about online shopping behaviour, and particularly, why so many people abandon their online shopping carts before making a purchase.
The report entitled Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment found that nearly 88% of web buyers have abandoned shopping carts at some point. If online retailers can convert only a small percentage of these lost sales, the effect on their bottom line could prove significant.
Organic SEO strategies that every website should adhere to: page names, titles and headings. We all know that content is important, it gets your site passed around, linked to and revisited. Content is the main piece of the puzzle, think of the next four tips as the supporting cast that will help your site gain a coveted first page ranking.
1) Page Names. It's a good idea to a descriptive vanity URL like "about-us".
By doing this your URL will appear www.yoursite.com/about-us. When you do this Google and other search engines will recognize it as part of the content. Using a content management system like Live CMS has certain advantages, like not having to worry about file names, and automatically assigning "vanity URLs" like "www.yoursite.com/about-us".
There are many ways to get your company's name out there. Historically, word-of-mouth, advertising, sales and marketing have driven the way businesses connect. It remains to be seen how effective social media will be in forging B2B relationships, though it's in no doubt promising. There is however one reliable marketing method that businesses have been taking advantage of for decades: direct mail, or in its more recent form email marketing.
Facebook's new Like button may not catch on with everyone on Facebook, but Levi's has created a compelling reason for it to catch on with the youth market.
Levi's has added a 'Like' button next to every item on their online store. So not only can you 'Like' a pair of 501 jeans, but when the store loads, you'll be able to see which items your friends like. It will be interesting to see how this plays out between different age groups. Where teens may bow to peer pressure and buy what their friends like; those of us who are older will probably steer clear from buying clothes similar to that of our friends.
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