What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Online Marketing

By Carl Weiss
Courtesy of  b2b-marketingblog.activeconversion.com

In 2009, $155 billion was spent on local advertising in the US. Yet only seven percent of that figure was spent online. Market trend projections predict that 50% of local advertising revenue will be spent online within the next 7 years. That means that $77 billion will leave traditional advertising venues. Recent advances in online advertising such as online coupons will only serve to accelerate this trend.

You may have read the recent news item, "Groupon rejected Google’s $6 billion acquisition offer." According to Chicago Breaking Business and Bloomberg, Groupon decided that it was better off on its own.

What many people did not read was the fact that Google reported revenues of $6.77 billion in the first quarter of 2010, representing a 23% increase over first quarter 2009 revenues of $5.51 billion.

Why Are Local Advertisers Moving the Advertising Online? 

As Americans continue to become ever more connected, their reading, watching and buying habits are following suit. Conversely, more traditional advertising media, such as newspapers, direct mail and TV commercials, continue to decline in both popularity and profitability.

A recent report by Havard's Nieman Journalism Lab states, "At least technically, the recession is over, with GDP growth measured at 2.2 percent in Q3 of 2009 and widely forecast in Q4 to exceed that rate. But newspaper revenue has not followed suit, dropping 28 percent in Q3. McClatchy and the New York Times Company (which both came in at about that level in Q3) hinted recently that Q4 would be better, in the negative low-to-mid 20 percent range. This is not unexpected — in the last few recessions with actual GDP contraction (1990-91 and 2001), newspaper revenue remained in negative territory for at least two quarters after the GDP returned to growth. But the newspaper dip has been bigger each time, and the current slide started (without precedent) a year and a half before the recession did, with a cumulative revenue loss of nearly 50 percent."

The same statistics hold true for Yellow Page advertising. A recent quote from industry analyst Simba Information recounted the fact that, "Overall U.S. yellow pages revenue declined 11.8% in 2010. The industry’s revenue slide continued in 2010 as a recessionary economy endured and the transition from print to digital products continued. This marks another year of continuous; multiyear double digit loses in revenue from the major publishers. The industry growth rate has been declining steadily since 2004 and finished 2010 at $13.57 billion, or an 11.8% decline over that period. The outlook for 2011 is similarly negative, but at a slower rate."

Online Ads Break Out of the Box

With 72% of all mobile users in the US using text messaging, mobile marketing is also experiencing an upswing. motomessage.com reported: "Mobile marketing ad spending will continue to explode in the next 5 years. In 2011, eMarketer predicts spending of text message marketing, mobile banners, video and other mobile based media to crack the One Billion dollar mark. Growth from 2009 to 2010 almost doubled at 79% with next year predicting another huge increase of 48%. Text marketing based advertising is expected to top 2010 in spending with $327 million."

How You Can Reap the Advantages of this Growing Marketplace

Let's face it, online marketing is here to stay. And with good reason. Unlike many other forms of advertising, online marketing is completely quantifiable. With today's low cost and in some cases no cost marketing and analysis solutions, every business owner needs to fully exploit the advantages that online marketing presents.

Published by Hector cisneros
Be it cost-per-click campaigns, social networking, blogging, online coupons, Craigslist and viral video marketing, the Internet is the only medium on the planet that can attract, engage and more importantly track every eyeball, click and sale that are involved in promoting a business. Add to it the fact that many businesses can also sell their goods and services online to create an additional revenue stream that far exceeds the confines of their local neighborhood and the Internet fully utilized can help any business survive these tough economic times.

Having worked with companies for more than 16 years with their online marketing, all I can say is that if you are looking for a way to expand your market, create more revenue and take your business to the next level, the statistics speak for themselves.

If you would like to find more articles like this type in your key phrase in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

Social Media Marketing via Online Video

Courtesy of www.abhikarma.com
By Carl Weiss

When we talk about social media we immediately think of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, but often overlook the video option of YouTube.  I know what you're thinking, "YouTube is a video portal, not a social network."  When you get right down to it, what is a social network? It's an online diary that can be used to update friends, family and associates about your life and/or your business.  Better still, it's an e-diary that you not only allow, but encourage others to peruse and redistribute.

Now I ask you, which  would you say is  more compelling, Text or Video?

I don't know about you, but I am way more likely to watch a 60-second YouTube video than I am to read a blog post or Tweet.  In fact, one of the things I teach my clients to do is embed videos on their blogs and social networks.  Particularly if the videos are amusing, they will achieve far greater viewership than even the finest prose.

Also, in 2010, U.S. Internet users watched 32.4 billion videos in January with Google Sites ranking as the top U.S. video property with 12.8 billion videos. YouTube.com accounted for nearly 99% of all videos viewed at Google. (This isn't unusual, since Google owns YouTube.) What is interesting is the fact that video viewers at YouTube.com watched 93 videos on average during the month, representing an increase of 50 percent versus that of a year ago.That's more than three per day on average.
Courtesy of www.oneims.com

Are you seeing the value yet? We all know that we must be innovative and creative with our marketing techniques and initiatives, so if you are not using YouTube, do you think you could be missing out on something that could help your business?  

Alright, then I'll give you another reason to consider utilizing YouTube.  Did you know that you can create a Page 1 result on Google using YouTube?  That's right, the Google bots are always looking for mixed media to pull onto YouTube.  Properly optimized videos can wind up on Page 1 of a Google search.  Access-JAX even has a Video SEO program that we employ for our client's behalf that optimizes every online video we post.

When it comes down to it, there really is no downside to promoting your business on YouTube. What you need to think about:
  1. How can you use YouTube to market your products or services?  
  2. What humorous or eye-catching theme will give your video the best chance of going viral?
  3. Who on your staff is most photogenic. (Or, should you consider hiring a spokes model?) 
The beauty of YouTube is that it even includes a number categories from which you can choose:
Courtesy of benjitao.tumblr.com

    * Autos and Vehicles
    * Comedy
    * Education
    * Entertainment
    * Film and Animation
    * Gaming
    * How-to and Style
    * Nonprofit and Activism
    * People and Blogs
    * Pets and Animals
    * Science and Technology
    * Sports
    * Travel and Events

Your first step is to determine under which category your products best fits. Keep in mind that when it comes to social media marketing it's not just about uploading a commercial for your product, but also interacting with potential customers.  Also, short videos of 1-2 minutes are the best length for viewers.

Next you need to determine what type of video you could post that consumers would find valuable and instructive?

There are dozens of ways to employ video for your business.  You could put together a how-to video? How about shooting an entertaining video that showcases your products?  Remember value and interaction are key to using social media to market effectively. Just bear in mind that there is a fine line between providing compelling video content and coming on like an informercial  Unlike TV ads, the key with YouTube is to provide 90% content and 10% selling. 

Of course the best reason to add YouTube to your marketing arsenal is due to the fact that unlike broadcast TV, airing your video costs you nothing.  Shooting quality video is another matter, but today production costs have come way down.  So, if you can create videos that share value and interact with consumers, getting back the production costs shouldn't be that hard. What you must remember is that your video will be one of 180,000 that are uploaded daily, so make it worthwhile for viewers to tune in.

As with any social media marketing strategy the key is to be creative and have fun.  But most of all, do it because it is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business online.

If you would like to find more articles like this type in your key phrase in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

Hector the Connector's Website Marketing Predictions for 2012

By Hector Cisneros 

2011 is over, and we're now in 2012. Wouldn’t it be terrific if you could predict the future? How fantastic would it be to know what website marketing techniques will work this year? Would having that knowledge allow you to prepare and maximize your return on your advertising dollars? In this article, I provide my 2012 predictions covering website marketing trends. Adjusting your marketing plans to take these trends into account should translate into profits. Historically, my predictions have come to pass about 98 percent of the time. It's always gratifying when my predictions come true. I have always had a knack for spotting trends. In this article, I list four website marketing trends that are unfolding before our eyes. So read on to see my advice and get your website ready for 2012 and beyond.

Prediction #1)  Search Engine Optimization Will Continue to Provide Top ROI for Internet Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and posting service will continue to be the most productive for converting internet prospects into customers. SEO has always been the bread and butter of online marketers and businesses. This is because search engine users place a high value on organic placement. I believe that SEO will continue to be rated as the most cost-effective means of attracting visitors to your website or landing page. For several years now, SEO has shown to be unmovable as the best way to get clicks to your website. This includes search clicks where somebody “actually” purchases something from your website. Several research studies in 2011 reported that more business traffic was generated by organic key word Searches than other types of internet marketing. Of course, you still have to have a compelling landing page and a desirable product, but this has always been the case.

Secondly, the aforementioned studies also listed organic ranking as being the most trusted by consumers with regard to the legitimacy of the ad listing. There is no doubt in my mind that this trend will continue in 2012. My advice to you is this; if you’re selling products on the internet, make SEO the centerpiece of your internet ad budget. If you want to make the phone ring, it starts with organic ranking. I’m not saying all your Internet advertising money should be in SEO; that's unwise. But SEO should be part of your mix. Leaving it out would be a tremendous mistake.

Prediction #2)  Websites Will be Upgraded in Unheard Numbers

website ideasImage by Sean MacEntee via FlickrIt has been my experience that business owners, (especially small businesses) are usually slow to make website changes. For an internet business to be profitable today, it must embrace change as part of its everyday marketing strategy. Around the middle of 2010, many businesses started to update their websites. This trend started  for two extremely important reasons. First, many businesses have ignored their websites for several years, (5+ years in many cases).  Many businesses are cyclical, and the website creation industry is one of them. We are entering a time where many websites have been stuck with an early turn of the century look and feel. 

Now businesses are moving towards a more current and active content look. A look and feel I call current content-centric.  Most businesses amortized website expenditures over a five-year period. If they are not amortized, they are still looked at as five-year  assets. My company saw a significant increase in the amount of website refresh work during 2005. We started seeing an increase in this type of work again in late 2010.  I believe businesses were holding back because of the slow economy but are now faced with websites that are not producing results. Most are moving to either totally recreate their websites look and feel, or they are opting to create multiple landing pages that address individual issues. I look forward to seeing businesses finally making the plunge to refresh, rebuild or create new landing pages that convert prospects into customers. My advice to all businesses is to refresh your website in 2012. Even if it’s just a color and wording refresh. If you choose to do-nothing, beware, your competition will be making these changes, and they will be taking your market share.

Prediction #3)  Internet Usage Will Become More Mobile Than Ever Before
English: Cover of Mobi Magazine released 03.2009The number of websites converting to mobile formats is soaring. This is for a good reason. The number of smart phones capable of taking advantage of full browser functions is shooting through the roof.  Add to this, many smart phones have a faster internet connection than you have at home or in the office. Most people carry their cell phones with them all the time. This allows them to use their cell phones for all kinds of functions.  One of these functions, cell phone internet browsing, is growing at an alarming rate. Soon, cell phones will replace many of the current gadgets that many of us love to use today. Cameras, GPS devices, MP3 players, portable game consoles and yes even laptop sales will start to shrink. And as these items lose their inherent value, the smart phone will become invaluable. The number of internet cell phone users will continue to climb.  People use their cell phones to blog, access their social networks, get directions via GPS, listen to their music, purchase items online, make web searches, watch TV,  YouTube  and more. The list goes on and on. This list will continue to grow!

You’ve heard people say the phrase, “There’s an App for that." With more than 250,000 smartphone apps out there, smartphones will just continue to get smarter. As smartphones acquire more functions, our dependence on them will grow. In the year 2000, there were only 250 million Internet users and about 500 million mobile subscribers. By the end of 2011, there were two billion Internet users. In in, 2011, the number of cell phone subscribers reached more than 5 billion. When smartphones become the de-facto type of cell phone, cellular Internet users will far exceed the number of stationary Internet users by a large margin. My advice should be a no-brainier for any business. Make sure your website is mobile enabled now and start taking advantage of this enormous untapped market. If you don’t heed this lesson now, you will regret it sooner than later.

Prediction #4)  YouTube Will Become a New Power Broker for Small Business Marketing 

Today, the number one visited destination on the internet after Google's search is YouTube, (also owned by Google). Websites that have videos on YouTube receive an additional ranking consideration versus websites that don’t.  Many studies have shown that people prefer video’s over text by a large margin. Internet studies have shown that more people will click on a video before text or audio listings for the same information, even when text and audio are ranked higher. Other studies show that seventy percent of our population has a preference for pictures. The remaining 30% prefer either audio, touch or the written word.  The Internet is full of Cinderella stories about startups that have made it big with internet video.

Large companies usually don’t use videos to explain their product or service. They devote a full website for that product to explain it instead. The vast majority of YouTube videos are created by amateurs. This hasn’t stopped people from watching them. Again, YouTube garners a billion visits a day. Savvy companies are now running to create YouTube videos that are short, succinct and touting their wares.  Small businesses are creating YouTube videos in record numbers. This is helping them garner prospects and customer loyalty.

My advice for any business is this; don’t be left behind. Start making useful, informative or funny YouTube videos about your products.  Most laptops and cell phones have built in video cameras. Good video cameras are relatively inexpensive! If you feel you’re not up to the video production task, hire a professional. They will be able to help you create your library of YouTube videos that show off your products or services. Not sure what to say or do in your videos? That’s OK. There are numerous Internet professionals who can write, create, and produce an outstanding internet video for you. On top of that, video production costs are down by a factor of 10, compared to what it was just ten years ago. Mark my word, video is already a big deal, make it part of your strategy and win big too.

In this article, I have provided four website marketing trends that I believe are unfolding before our eyes.  In the past, I have used my predictions as part of my own marketing strategy. My accuracy over the last 30 years has been exceptionally high. I have sometimes missed the mark on the timeline, but I have rarely been wrong at predicting what will eventually take place. These four predictions should make sense to my readers. I have provided my reasoning and my research addressing why I believe these events will take place. I trust my research, and I trust my ability to spot trends. It is my uncanny ability to spot trend's before they take off that has undoubtedly paid off for me.. By taking advantage of these predictions and by adjusting your strategy, you will win more customers and beat your competition to the punch. Get some help to develop your marketing plan if you feel you need it. Put in place all the necessary elements needed to implement your strategy. If you do all these things, your website will produce profits like never before.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you would like to find more articles like this type in your key phrase in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  

Hector Cisneros is the director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, a writer, an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, a veteran of BNI for 19 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows its philosophy of "Givers Gain." He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of online advertising, business networking and word-of-mouth marketing. He is president of Website Know How, Inc., a holding company for his business ventures that include: online advertising, word-of-mouth marketing, real estate holdings, non-profit training/support, book publishing, health and wellness product sales and adventure sports. Hector's new book, "60 Seconds to Success," teaches business owners how to get the most from word of mouth marketing by using great 60-second introductions. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, social media, online marketing or word-of-mouth marketing, visit the Networker's Apprentice workshop  or his book's website: http://www.60SecondsToSuccess.com.