Brand Building

Jayson DeMers

Have We Seen the Last of Guest Blogging?

This is an issue that has received a great deal of attention over the last month or so. Ever since Matt Cutts' article 'The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO', marketers and webmasters have been scrambling trying to figure out whether there's still a place for guest blogging in their marketing strategies....

Mike Moran

Money Alone Can't Buy Digital Marketing Success

I've been talking to some small business owners recently who are all complaining that they are getting squeezed out of social media, search marketing, and other forms of Internet marketing by the big guys-big companies with big budgets. At the same time, I've been hearing from frustrated large company marketers that they cannot break through the clutter and that their budgets don't seem to help. This would seem, on the surface, to be a simple question. Either the small companies or the big companies have a point, and the other ones are smoking something. So. who's right?...

Chris Warden

Backlinks Aren't Dead - The Way You're Building Them Is

Chris Warden, of Spread Effect, is back to discuss your SEO and link bulding strategy. The death of the backlink has been greatly exaggerated. It often feels like SEOs from all over the world are running around with tinfoil hats while proclaiming that their backlinking efforts not only aren't working, but they're getting themselves, and their clients penalized....

Jayson DeMers

9 SEO Blogging Tactics to Maximize Your Online Visibility

Creating a blog for a business is part of an overall content marketing strategy that simultaneously builds credibility, increases exposure and traffic, and increases conversion rates. But for your efforts to pay off, your blog content has to reach your intended audience. Here are some proven ways to get the most out of each blog post and fully enjoy the benefits of blogging. ...

Chris Warden

Your Guide to Local SEO 2013

"What is Local SEO? Why is it important? What can it do for my business?" This guide will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Citations & Linking"

"What is Local SEO? How do use "links" to my advantage? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Stoney deGeyter

The Narcissist's Guide to Blogging

If you're not yet a blogger but are thinking of blogging, you're probably even more of a narcissist. Why? Because the only reason you haven't started blogging yet is because you haven't figure out what's in it for you.

Mike Moran

What if your boss only wants to measure brand awareness?

We've all seen that look on the face of the boss. It says, "What on earth are you talking about?" Sometimes that look is something we deserve to see, because we really don't know what we are doing, but often, it's because we just have something to say that the boss doesn't understand. Recently, a client asked me how she can wipe that look off the her CMO's face every time she starts talking about measuring Web conversions and offline conversions. Her boss waves these ideas away, saying he only wants to measure brand awareness. What can you do in...

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Why is it important?"

"What is Local SEO? Why is it important? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Mike Fleming

Why Micro-Conversions Are So Important For Your Brand

Everybody wants the online sale.  But are you relating to your customer in ways that make it easier for them to buy?  You might be thinking, "How can it get any easier to buy from us?  All they have to do is click add to cart, fill in some boxes and hit checkout!"  Sure, it might be easy for them to physically buy from you, but how about psychologically?  How easy is it for them to make the decision that you are specifically the right choice for them?They can go to any one of your competitors and hit a few...

Mike Fleming

How Giving Away Free Stuff Online (and everywhere else) Can Work

There are many cultural forces built into every society that has ever existed on the planet.  Some are stronger in certain societies than others.  One of them is called the rule of reciprocity.  It says that a person (or group) should try to repay what another person has provided.  More simply put, if someone does something for you, you have a natural tendency to want to do something for them. ...

Mike Moran

How Can Our Products Be Remarkable?

Seth Godin is fond of saying that we must make our products and our companies remarkable, but it's easier to say than to do (as Seth well knows). And I fear that some people just blow off Seth's advice, because they hear "remarkable" as just another fatuous superlative, such as "great" or "fantastic" that is bereft of its original, more specific meaning. Remarkable means something that would cause someone to remark about it. So, how do we become remarkable?...

Mike Moran

Internet Marketers Must Listen Before They Speak

As marketers, we spend a lot of time thinking about our message, as well we should. Our job is to tell prospective customers how we can help them, so we focus on what we say. The Internet has turned the tables on marketers, however. Time was that marketing messages were conceived by extremely creative people to get attention for products, but now, listening to what customers say and do are just as important as creativity. Old-time marketers have always listened to a few customers in focus groups, so you can think of the Internet is the biggest focus group of...

Stone Reuning

Stop Neglecting LinkedIn as a Resource for Leads

Facebook seems like the star of the social networking show these days, doesn't it? It's where people connect and keep in touch with friends and family all over the world, and from a business perspective there's no doubt it can be a great place to build relationships and gain contacts. With all of the press surrounding Facebook though, it can be easy to forget that another network out there offers its own advantages: LinkedIn....

Todd Bailey

Hello Again Marketing

Have you lost sight of a well-loved service or product? People are creatures of repetition. Usually we commit when we find a service or product we enjoy using. Recently, Ryan Buddenhagen wrote a post on brand ability to bring back old services and products....

Mike Moran

How to protect your trademark online

In the quaint old offline world, things move slowly. If you have a good name for your business or your product, you know exactly what to do. You do a trademark search to make sure that no one else is using the name (at least within your industry), you add a the trademark symbol™ to your name, and if you really want to go the extra mile, you register your trademark so you can use the registered trademark symbol®. It was so simple back then, wasn't it? But it's a brave new online world now, and you have to worry about all...

Stone Reuning

Using Twitter to your Maximum Advantage

While you've likely heard about Twitter, you may be experiencing uncertainty as to how you can use this interesting tool to reach new customers online. And while things unfamiliar to us may seem intimidating, Twitter and the type of micro-blogging platform it represents is meant to be fun as well. Continue reading to learn how you can use Twitter to your maximum advantage....

Stone Reuning

Can I Use Frames on My Site and Still Have High Rankings?

Any experienced search engine marketer knows that Frames spell doom for your site in terms of search engine rankings. What's the point of all those pretty flash graphics if they can't be found? But don't remiss - there's a way you can safely use Flash and still get the content crawled and indexed by the search engines. Continue reading for more.......

Stone Reuning

Use a "Breath" Test to Determine Proper Length for Headlines

Any online writer struggles to determine how long, or short, their headlines should be. Check out this easy test from Copyblogger that helps easily pinpoint the proper length and structure for your headline....

Stone Reuning

Know your Page's Goal or Purpose before Writing

Know why you're really writing that webpage before you even write (...or type) the first word. Web pages are not just about keywords and social media. Learn about a critical step many web copywriters unfortunately fail to overlook. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}...

Stoney deGeyter

Image (Not Rankings) Matter in SEO

Many approach SEO as an effort to build rankings. But, really, it's about building an image through the search engines. People may find you by your ranking in the search results and click through your site because they are attracted by the products or services you offer, but unless you build an image of quality and customer service, all the rankings in the world won't bring them back.

Stone Reuning

How you Can Use Static FBML Language to Customize your Facebook Page and Drive More Leads

Easily create your custom Facebook profile by using static FBML language and maximize the value of your social networking efforts. With its ever-increasing number of users and sheer magnitude of its future plans, you can't afford to ignore this dominant social network. Static FBML language is a powerful tool to help you get even more benefits out of being on Facebook....

Mike Moran

Do Your SEO Tactics Work for Everyone?

I gave the keynote talk at the SMX Conference in Stockholm today, and what I had to say doesn't jive with what many smart SEO people advise. Basically, I told people that all of the tricks and optimizations and clever tactics are a waste of time for the average marketer. Despite the millions of pixels that have been used to explain all of these clever techniques for worming your way to the top of the search rankings, I think that most search marketers would do better to steer clear of them, because they only work for short period of time....

Eric Brown

Is 2011 The Year of the Social Media Bubble

Several camps are starting to chant that 2011 may well be the year of The Social Media Bubble. I would not proclaim to predict the future by any means, but it sure seems more probable than not. While we have little experience predicting the future, we have had an up close and personal relationship with the real estate bubble. Developing real estate used to be a pretty fun and profitable endeavor, however the past couple of years of operating our boutique apartment rental business in SE Michigan has had more challenges than we ever imagined. But as with all struggles,...

Stone Reuning

Properly Formatting Your Press Release for Maximum Impact - Part I

Optimized press releases not only help boost your search engine rankings but help your company build credibility and spread news about new products, events or any other newsworthy item. Properly formatting your press releases gives your company the professional look it deserves....

Mike Moran

How Good B2B Marketers Cheat

If you have a business-to-business (B2B) Web site, you're probably tired of all the trite advice you see out there from experts who are clearly speaking to those in the business-to-consumer (B2C) industry. I mean, each time you read these opinions about what you should do, do you find yourself asking, "How is that realistic in my B2B business?" And you might be wondering where the really smart B2B marketers look for their new ideas. And the answer is...those crazy B2C Web sites. Let me explain why....

Stone Reuning

Product Descriptions - Get Your Ecommerce Store in Shape

Consumers scour the Internet to research products before making a purchase. Today's shoppers want information before they buy. Those retailers providing the information shoppers seek in a unique manner can enjoy significant advantages over other retailers competing for a shopper's purchase. And now with Google's MayDay Update wreaking havoc on long-tail rankings for some ecommerce stores, the time is right for getting your product descriptions ramped up....

Stone Reuning

Choosing the web address for a new website

Our online marketing clients often ask us to help select domain names when setting up a new website. Indeed, there is an argument that the domain name may impact search engine rankings for the site. But we also think that this decision deserves a lot of attention to how it will impact the website's user experience, from the impression it creates when it's first noticed to how easily it's remembered. I'll share with you a few of the things we tell clients here....

Mike Moran

Search Marketing Is Not About You

David Meerman Scott likes to tell Internet marketers, "No one cares about your product." It's an exaggeration, but he makes a good point. As marketers, we tend to talk about ourselves--our company, our strategy, our products--when the customers want to know what we will do for them. But, after we've put our product catalog online (and beautifully optimized it for search), what do we talk about?...

Stone Reuning

Reputation Management - Tips for Using Testimonials

Your prospects want to know what other customers think of their experience with you before buying, booking or signing up. And they'll go wherever they need to go to find out. Hence the growth of online review sites like Yelp.com. If you sell in the B2B space, you may be faced with providing references, another form of testimonial. Making customer testimonials available on your own web properties is a great way to keep shoppers and prospects engaged on your site while you provide credible feedback from others....

Eric Brown

Will 2010 be the Year for Engagement

It seems a lot of small and midsized businesses are starting to introduce social media into their marketing arsenal. Perhaps it is because of budget restrictions or they just want some of the profound buzz surrounding the social media craze.But what happens once the Facebook fan page is up, but has few fans, Twitter account is live, but only a handful of followers and a blog with no comments and little interaction? Now what?...

Jason Dowdell

Tony Hsieh Zappos CEO Keynote at PubCon 2009

Tony Hsieh, has been the Zappos CEO since 2000 after investing in Zappos with his venture fund. In a former life Tony was the cofounder of Link Exchange, which was acquired by Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million. Speaking of acquisitions, the Zappos acquisition by Amazon just closed November 1st and totaled $1.2 billion....

Stoney deGeyter

How Small Businesses Can Brand Themselves On the Cheap Online

People often associate branding with money. Lots and lots of money. Generally, if you try to run a branding campaign you might see from companies like Target, you most certainly will have to fork over a big chunk of change. But small business owners don't have that kind of money to brand themselves in similar fashion. Fortunately, there are other ways to brand your small business online.

Stoney deGeyter

Why Branding Matters to Small Businesses

Branding isn't just for big companies any more. With the internet and search, it has become easier and cheaper to for companies to brand their names in front of their target audience. Good branding efforts will always cost you some time, energy and even money, but it's not out of reach of the small businesses.

Eric Brown

Focus on Your Core Community

So, You have a Company Blog, are your getting the results you expected? And, what about when your company blog is NOT about your core product. Perhaps a company blog that has nothing to do with your Core Product, but everything to do with your Core Community is the best choice....

Eric Brown

Can You Manage 5000 Blogs a Day

There is a product that has launched recently, which is aimed currently at the multifamily, apartment owner/operator space, but may well also extend into additional industries, such as Travel, Hotels, Wine and the like, that is worth taking a look at. I expect that some of the readers and followers of this blog may be skeptical, but I am interested in hearing your feedback....

Eric Brown

What Gus Is Teaching Me About Marketing

We have all heard about the Four P's of Marketing, but what about the new two E's, Emotion and Engagement, are you fully utilizing them?...

Mack Collier

Small Businesses Can No Longer Ignore Blogs

A recent study by eMarketer forcasted the next five years of blog readership, and creation. The findings weren't surprising, as eMarketer expects the number of people that read blogs, and those that blog themselves, to continue to grow dramatically. What this means for your business is that increasingly, your customers are going to be reading blogs, and writing them.

Sage Lewis

eMarketer Report on Actionable Branding

Marketing Pilgrim reviews a report from eMarketer that states people are more likely to act on online articles that include brand information....

Mack Collier

Why Is Your Business Afraid of Negative Blog Posts?

It's enough to make the average business owner break out in a cold sweat; the thought of bloggers ripping them. But while many businesses and companies are fearful of posts that shine a negative light on their business, these instances are in fact a wonderful opportunity.

Eric Brown

Who Owns Your Brand?

Are You What They Are Saying About You?It is fascinating to chat with business owners across the nation about their brand. Every business is a brand, even if a bad one. Your brand is not what you think it is, it is what your customer thinks it is, it is what your employees think it is and it is what your vendors think it is. Lots of companies clamor that their employees are their number one asset, yet are you ready to hand over your brand, what you tout in your marketing material, to your employees? Are you ready to...

Eric Brown

ADVERTISING, A HORRIFIC WASTE OF MONEY

I set off a small firestorm the other evening when I Re-Tweeted the following tweet; "RT @KathySierra: "WONDERING HOW IT IS THAT WE CAN BE HORRIFIED BY THE FINANCIAL CRISIS YET NOT SEE MOST ADVERTISING AS A HORRIFIC WASTE OF MONEY" For those not familiar with Twitter, a RE-Tweet is just that, you re-tweet someone else's tweet. A tweet is a 140 character or less statement you type for anyone who follows you on twitter  to read.  So, I didn't originate the phrase, "Wondering how it is that we can be horrified by financial crisis yet not see most advertising as...

Mack Collier

How Do You Decide If Social Media is Right For Your Business?

You've heard the hype about social media for years now. Everyone is talking about it, and companies of all sizes are launching blogs and Facebook pages, and joining Twitter. You've heard enough and are ready to take the plunge into the social media waters. But there's one question left to answer; How do you know that social media is right for YOUR business?

Eric Brown

Compound Return on Social Media Marketing

The Great Debate; What is the ROI (Return on Investment) on your Social Media Marketing. Perhaps a better question is this; Is your Social Media Marketing efforts performing. I am not so convinced that businesses know as much about what piece and part of their traditional marketing approach works well, let alone what part of Social Media works. But, maybe, as with lots of things it isn't all that tough either, tell me what you think about this; ...

Beth Harte

Are you keeping tabs on brand experience?

There's been a power shift and the first mistake many companies make is believing that they do and can control the brand experience. That's no longer the case. It's the people on the other end of that experience that control it. Today, customers sharing brand experiences happen every day, everywhere without being edited or seeking a company's approval....

Paul Jahn

Managing by Objectives and Impressions - Redefining the Face of Amendment Campaigns

Last week, I had lunch with Mike Rynchek, President of Spyder Trap Online Marketing. We wound up talking quite a bit about social media and managing-per-objectives and impressions rather than the cost-per-conversions avenue many of us are used to. Mike was gracious enough to be interviewed on how to measure results of different objectives.

Karri Flatla

Are You Fighting the Etailer Price War or Circumventing it?

According to the New York Times article Websites Wage Holiday Price Wars (Nov. 19, 2008), small and large etailers alike are facing some tough choices this holiday season. It would seem that in the end, everything really does come down to price. And if you're not willing to fight the good fight--or if your bottom line simply can't survive the battle--your ecommerce business is doomed. Or is it?

Eric Brown

Create Your Own Virtual Lobby

There are all sorts of ways today to connect with, participate and enjoy a conversation with your customer. There have been numerous posts about starting and maintaining a company blog, which is an excellent tool. Another favorable venue is to create a Ning site. It is a very easy application and can create a pretty cool place to have conversation and engage your customers. It is sort of like having your own My Space site, and very easy to update and foster community with your brand. ...

Mack Collier

Wal-Mart Says No to Black Friday Ads on Internet, Goes After Sites and Search Engines

Failing to get the memo that it's 2008, Wal-Mart has decided to get even more aggressive in battling the 'pre-mature' leakage of their Black Friday circular ads.  The Bentonville, AR retailer is not only going after the sites that post the circulars, but the search engines that link to and index the sites....

Robert Clough

Make Your Business Image Pop With A Twitter Profile Makeover

Want to be ignored? Be boring. Simple.But, if your business is ignored, you may end up living in a van down by the river. Not Good.So how can we be, um, not boring?  Well, there isn't a one size fits all quick fix, but one step everyone can take is improving how we present our business to the public....

Debra Mastaler

Guilty (in a good way) By Link Association

If you're looking for ways to increase the visibility of your small business and build links, submitting videos to your local government cable channel may be an option.  Local cable as well as network television affiliates look for content filler at certain times.  Here's a couple of ways you may be able to take advantage of those needs and expand the reach of your small business!...

Jennifer Laycock

Online or Off, it's All About Follow Through

Anyone with a brick and mortar presence who has tried to calculate the true ROI of organic and paid search knows how hard it can be to tie an offline sale with online research. We know shoppers end up conducting multiple searches and visiting multiple sites before they end up buying and that they usually end up buying offline and yet we fail to tie our marketing efforts together with any type of consistency.

Mack Collier

Social Media Can Be Cheap, But Its Not Free

One of the big reasons why social media can be so appealing to small businesses is because many of these tools/sites are free or very cheap to use. Which is perfect for small businesses that probably have very little in the way of a marketing budget to begin with. But there are still costs to consider when launching a social media strategy.

Diane Aull

Marketing in Hard Times: Pricing

Is it a good idea to cut your prices when times get tough? When money's tight, it might seem that lowering prices would be the thing to do to stimulate more sales. But it's not always that simple - sometimes cutting prices can do more harm than good....

Karri Flatla

How to Grow Your Twitter Following (Even if You're Not a Marketer)

I'm not ready to talk about how Twitter has benefited me or my business yet--we have a complicated relationship. But I think it goes without saying that a lot of people (or should I say "peeps") would like to grow their Twitter following, and I think I've cracked the code. Whatever your social networking goals are, the following tactics will not only increase the number of people following you, but you will begin to experience that old fashioned thing called "community" right from your desktop....

Mack Collier

You Can't Control the Conversation, But You CAN Change it!

One of the biggest concerns I hear from companies and small businesses about blogging is 'what if someone says something negative about us?' Unfortunately, having a blog won't automatically mean that no one will ever say anything negative about your business.

Mack Collier

Can You Still Afford to Ignore Blogs and Social Media?

So is all this blogging and social media stuff really just a fad? Is it going away? Or will most companies need to invest in the coming years in using these tools to better connect with their customers? Thanks to many recent surveys and studies, the future of social media for businesses is becoming much clearer...

Karri Flatla

In Blogging You Need Only Think Small to Get Big Results

When I started a blog on my website a few months ago I felt overwhelmed by the sudden responsibility to post fresh content often. It was as if the minute I created a section on my website called "Blog" I was inaugurated into a writer's hell where I felt both stumped and compelled to write all at the same time, all of the time. Then I realized that I was missing the point of blogging, which is to keep a lively conversation going (even if it's sometimes only between you and the WordPress Dashboard). And if you're a decent conversationalist,...

Diane Aull

Big Impact Branding for Small Businesses - SBM Unleashed

Marketing doesn't necessarily take a lot of money, but it does take being smart. Even small businesses can brand themselves or their products. So what is branding? In this session from Christina Kerley, you'll learn the answer to that question, plus six strategies for small business branding....

Karri Flatla

Bet You Didn't Know Micro Blogging Could Be This Simple

When I finally did get on the micro blogging bandwagon (and no, I don't count Facebook, not even the "new" one), I put my profile on pretty much all of the Twitter-ish sites I could find. Hey, why not? It's sort of like one of those drinking games where you do a bunch of different shooters in about half an hour, realize most of them just make you want to throw up and go back to your favourite beer the following Saturday....

Mack Collier

10 Steps to Creating the Perfect Small Business Blog

While many small businesses are curious about blogging, few understand the steps necessary to get a solid effort off the ground.  Here's the steps you should consider to create the perfect blog for your small business....

Mack Collier

Putting Your Best Face(s) Forward on Your Blog

So often, we want to focus on writing great content in order to grow our blogs.  But we can sometimes forget why social media works so well; because it connects people....

Diane Aull

Let Your Thank You's Do Double Duty

When a customer orders from you, does your confirmation email just say thank you? Did you know those emails can also help increase sales, get you more blog readers or help you improve your products and services? Here's how to make your thank-you's do double duty....

Stoney deGeyter

How Well Do Search Marketers Brand Themselves?, Part II

This week I've been looking at the speakers from Search Engine Strategies in San Jose. I first covered a handful of featured speakers and then moved on to the search marketers themselves. Here are four more search marketers and an quick review of how well they brand themselves in the search results.

Stoney deGeyter

How Well Do Search Marketers Brand Themselves?

Monday I discussed several of the featured speakers from Search Engine Strategies and looked at their search results branding for their names and businesses. It turned out not to be as enjoyable as I had hoped as all of them have very high visibility. Not that I wanted to point out anybody's faults, but hey, that's kinda the fun. Today I want to look at several of the search marketers themselves.

Mack Collier

Social Media is NOT a Silver Bullet

For many businesses, social media can seem to be this mysterious black box that they don't really understand.  But a recent conversation with my friend Tim Jackson reminded me that social media really isn't as mysterious as many companies think....

Stoney deGeyter

How Well Do Search Marketing Speakers Brand Themselves?

Since it seems everybody does their own recaps of the sessions they attended at Search Engine Strategies, I like to take a different approach. Last year I ran a two-part series covering just a handful of the session speakers. I looked at how well each branded themselves in the search results of Google. This yearI wanted to start with the list of SES's Featured Speakers.

Debra Mastaler

I'll Take Links And 11 Gold Medals Please

Do you do any link building planning?  Planning as in mapping out locations you want to get links from and developing strategies around upcoming events? If you're not, you may want to take a look at what one company has done to capitalize on anticipation.  The goodwill, media attention and inbound links they generated from one small commercial is priceless and worth it's weight in gold....

David Wallace

Has The Better Business Bureau Outlived Their Usefulness?

I learned today that Google has an "unsatisfactory" record with The Better Business Bureau. How can a company voted "top global brand" in 2008 at the same time have an unsatisfactory record with the BBB? Apparently because out of 331 complaints filed against the search giant over the past three years, 2 were listed as unresolved. that's right - just 2! Despite this, Google continues to lead the way in search and nothing on the horizon seems to be able to change that. This got me thinking as to whether the BBB is still a useful resource in today's online...

Mack Collier

Small Business Blogging Case Study: Tinku Gallery

One thing I love about blogging is that it gives a small business the ability to quickly and easily build awareness for itself online. This is exactly what Amrita Chandra is doing to get the word out about her Toronto-based art gallery, Tinku Gallery.

Mack Collier

This is Why I Love Plurk (And Why You Should Too)

If you use Twitter, then you might have heard of a new microblogging site called Plurk. Both services are alike in that they are both microblogging sites, in the same way that a Jeep and Ferrari are alike because they both have four wheels. But just as Twitter holds potential for you to grow your business, so does Plurk.

Mack Collier

Blogging Case Study: Newcastle Square Realty

Perhaps the most important area of a business blog, is its content. How you position your blog's content can greatly determine how successful it will be, and this is a lesson that hasn't been lost on Newcastle Square Realty.

Debra Mastaler

Grab Your Profile Link Before Some Jerk Does

Online, reputation is everything. It drives you professionally, personally and algorithmically. Have a good reputation and your efforts will be rewarded through growth and customer loyalty.  Develop a bad one and you'll spend precious time and resources trying to recover lost market share. While it's impossible to monitor every venue open to public opinion, you can work to protect your reputation by registering your known brand/name with as many social media, forums, and discussion sites as you can, especially the popular ones in your niche....

Mack Collier

Five Sites You Can Use To Grow Your Blog

Think all you have to do is create great content, and readers will beat a path to your blogging front door? Think again. One of the best ways to grow your blog, is by participating on other social sites.

Mack Collier

Why is Social Media So Hard For Businesses?

More businesses than ever are exploring the possibility of using social media tools and sites to help grow their business. But many of these efforts aren't very effective, and I think that is due to many businesses simply misunderstanding what social media is, and why it's so important.

Mack Collier

Is Your Business Under (Online) Review?

More than ever, sites are popping up that let customers review everything from restaurants to daycares. And while many small businesses cringe at the thought of receiving a bad review, here's a few reasons why even a negative opinion from a customer can be a good thing!

Mack Collier

Marketing From the Customer's Point of View

How often do you hear that it's all about the little things? Every time I go to a store such as Wal-Mart, I always wonder about the cart before I get one. Who had this before me? Did they leave anything in the cart? Is it really clean?

Mack Collier

Social Media Conversations Are Leaky

This weekend I was reminded of how quickly ideas can generate buzz and discussion on social media sites when a blog post I wrote immediately sparked conversation on my blog as well as two other social sites.

Mack Collier

Putting the Cart Before the (Social Media) Horse

I have lost count on how many times I have heard business owners say "I know I need to be blogging/on Facebook/MySpace/Twitter, but what I don't know is how to get started?' When I ask how they KNOW that they need to be using these tools, I am answered with either a blank stare, or a 'well everyone else is using them!'

Scott Buresh

Targeting Niche Audiences - AOL's New Branding Strategy

AOL, once considered a pioneer in internet technology, has fallen on hard times over the years, unable to devise an effective branding strategy. A failed merger with Time-Warner, a non-focus on search while Google built an empire (the AOL search engine eventually began serving up Google results on its portal site), and declining dial-up business are all contributing factors to the ongoing difficulties of AOL and its search engine.

Stoney deGeyter

Securing your Brand and Minimizing the Competition Through Alternative Domain Names

Buying up alternative domains can help people find you when they type in the wrong domain in inadvertently, or when they are just randomly typing in keywords in the address bar.

Stoney deGeyter

Securing A Domain Name Isn't Enough... Did You Secure Your Twitter Name Too?

The last thing you want is someone out there twittering in your name. Maybe they have good intentions for you, but maybe they don't. In either case, they are out there engaging in the community saying things that may appear to be official company communications.

Mack Collier

Does Your Blog Have a Twitter Landing Page?

One of the best bit of social media advice I ever received came from Chris Brogan when he said that when you want to decide if a social media tool is for you, observe how someone that is really good at the tool uses it. Right now Twitter is hotter than Memphis in August, and one of the true power users of Twitterville is Laura Fitton, who is known on Twitter as Pistachio.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Easy to Navigate Equals Easy To Buy

This week we're looking at an e-commerce website for educational toys, Brainwaves Toys. The current Brainwaves site has done many things well, especially usability of the shopping cart and checkout process. However, it needs a little help with design and navigation to get visitors to that point....

Karri Flatla

My Relationship with Facebook: Can We Talk?

I'm probably going to lose a lot of Friends with this post, but I need to get some stuff off my chest about Facebook. If you're a real Friend, you'll listen without judgment. If not, it was nice Facebooking with you. I hope there are no hard feelings left in my wake....

Mack Collier

Worst Example of a Company Twittering?

The problem that many companies face when they delve into the social media waters is that they really don't understand these new-fangled tools. And that means they are probably going to use them in the wrong ways, and for the wrong reasons.

Karri Flatla

Twittering Our Way Toward Truth on the Social Web

I admit, I've been relatively slow to catch on to Twitter. At first it just seemed like a lot of background noise with no real purpose. Silly almost. Like, um, Facebook. Except with Twitter the discussion becomes more relevant as time goes on, not less. The conversations, even inane ones, retain a degree of rawness and truth, cluttered and disorganized as they may be....

Mack Collier

When you monitor the blogosphere, what do you see?

If you've read my posts here or were able to hear me speak at Small Business Marketing Unleashed in Houston, you know what a believer I am in businesses monitoring the blogosphere. It's a must for businesses to know what bloggers are saying about them, because then they can respond. But how do you know the correct way to respond? It depends on what you find.

Mack Collier

You Can't Let the Fear Win

"I just don't know what I would say." I must have heard this a dozen times at Small Business Marketing Unleashed from attendees that were trying to explain why they aren't blogging or aren't on Twitter. But almost everyone that I talked to was interested in learning more about blogging and Twitter, yet the fear of not knowing what to say was holding them back.

Mack Collier

Examples of Great Company Blogs

All week we've talked about the elements that make a great company blog. Now let's conclude the What Makes a Great Company Blog series by looking at some of the best company blogs.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Sidebars

The sidebars of your blog are a great chance for you to not only give readers information they need, but to also shine the spotlight on them! In Part Four of my 'What Makes a Great Company Blog' series, I'll look at how superior blogs utilize their sidebars to attract and grow their audience.

Jennifer Laycock

Great Examples of Corporate Twitter Use

I (along with the rest of the marketing world) have been writing more and more about Twitter in the last few months. How to use it, how to leverage it, and why you need to be part of the conversation. While there are now plenty of examples of why Twitter is valuable in terms of networking and driving traffic, David Armano has a great post this week exploring how two companies are using Twitter to interact with customers and to build their brand.

Jennifer Laycock

Social Media + Humanity = Embarrassment (But That's Ok!)

On the heels of this morning's article about the need to inject a little humanity into your small business marketing, I ran across a great post by Mike Moran over at Biznology that asks if you can handle a little professional embarrassment. After all, if you're going to inject humanity via social media experimentation, there's a good chance you're going to make a fool of yourself.

Jennifer Laycock

Sixty Cent Branding: How One Minute of Effort Sparked This Post

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses on the web is how to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yes, a unique domain name or site design can help. Great products and good prices makes a difference as well. But sometimes, it really is the little things that can push you over the top. In fact, for just sixty cents (give or take a nickel), one small business in DeKalb, Illinois cemented it's brand in my "gift shopping" bookmarks and sparked a post on this blog that will reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers.

Mack Collier

Are You Monitoring Twitter?

If you aren't, you should be! With close to one million users (according to TwitDir), businesses are beginning to realize that it's just as important to monitor what Twitter users are saying about them, as it is to monitor the blogosphere.

Stoney deGeyter

The Anatomy of a 12-Month Link Baiting Campaign

Last February (2007), I had a diabolical plan to become a household name in the SEO community. Here I was, a guy who has been in SEO for almost ten years and remained a relative unknown. Sure, I made a few friends here and there and have been slowly building my reputation, but who would of thought 12 months ago that I would be able to snag an interview with one of the biggest names in the SEO. And that's not me interviewing the big name, mind you... that's the big name interviewing me!

Mack Collier

Is Your Marketing an Experience?

Last week I attended South by Southwest, and while the festival itself was the main attraction, the events and parties that sprung up every night were examples of great and cheap marketing that many small businesses could learn from.

Mack Collier

"Your Company + Sucks" is Your Worst Enemy, or Best Friend

As the dynamic CK points out, "Your Company" + SUCKS is the new Google barometer for how well you are satisfying your customers. And sometimes, it's not very pretty.

Mack Collier

Make Your Blogging Lists and Check Them Twice

Have you taken the time to sit down and put your blog's goals on paper? Do you know why you are blogging and what you want to accomplish from your efforts? Excellent. But don't fool yourself into thinking that all you need is a plan, that's just your starting point.

Mack Collier

Are You Using Social Media to Improve Your Customer Service?

If you aren't, you should be. Here's a great example of how one of the country's biggest companies is using a very personal touch to provide excellent customer service, and create evangelists for their brand.

Mack Collier

Should You Really Care What Bloggers Are Saying About Your Business?

Believe it or not, you don't have to be a blogger to respond to and engage bloggers. All it takes is a willingness to monitor the blogosphere and respond when appropriate. Doing so can help you convert skeptics and naysayers into fans.blog

Jennifer Laycock

Target Buries Its Head in the Sand

You would think that in 2008, it would be hard for a mainstream retail outlet to ignore the potential impact of blogs. You would think that, but you would be wrong. I caught Jim Tobin's tweet about Target's decision not to interact with "non-traditional media" and found myself just shaking my head at the news.

Mack Collier

So Does Blogging Really Work? Here's the Proof.

For a few years now, companies have heard that blogs are great tools to better reach and understand their customers.  But at some point, the rubber needs to meet the road, and actual bottom-line results need to be examined.  So are any companies actually seeing growth coming from their blogging efforts?  You better believe they are!...

Jennifer Laycock

Are Your Social Networking Connections Hurting YOUR Reputation?

It's been well over a year since I first wrote about how the social networking frenzy is impacting the personal and professional reputations of Internet users. Since then, we've continued to see stories about how many companies are now running Google searches before hiring applicants. In fact, it's becoming more and more common for companies to decide not to hire someone based on what they've found in a potential hire's online profile.

Jennifer Laycock

Another Boring Product Made Fun With Social Media

Back before the holidays I made two posts about how a church and a bank put a new spin on an old idea and created something with great viral potential. Today, I want offer up another example of how a company that creates a pretty boring product (a blender) put a David Letterman style thinking cap and created a viral video sensation.

Jennifer Laycock

You Can't Compete With the Big Guys? You Sure About That?

I've spent the better part of my adult life (I know, I know, that still isn't that many years) working with small businesses to help them leverage the Internet in creative ways so they could compete with much larger competitors. One of the points I try to pound home again and again is you don't need more money, you just need to do it better. While it isn't an Internet marketing story per say, John Jantsch has an excellent post today that shares the story of a little company outlasting a global brand most small businesses would run in fear from.

Jennifer Laycock

Don't Give Up on the Newspaper Yet...

It's no secret bloggers are the hot new target of new media savvy public relations professionals. Everyone wants to get coverage on the hot blog in their industry. What may be overlooked, however, is the continued power of newspapers when it comes to sparking a trickle-down conversation through the most popular blogs. Joe Mandese at MediaPost shares data on a new Millward Brown study showing that individuals who read online newspapers are more likely to be top "influencers" in the blogosphere than non-newspaper readers.

Jennifer Laycock

Be Nice - You Never Know Who That Email is From

Last week at Search Engine Strategies I finally had the pleasure of meeting up with Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home. Wendy and I have been emailing since last April when she first contacted me to interview me for a feature she was running on her site. As we sat and chatted about some of the things we've worked on together and some things that are coming up, it reminded me of just how important it is to take the time to reply to your emails.

Jennifer Laycock

Santa Claus Isn't the Only One Watching...

Around this time of year millions of children around the world start behaving just a little bit better. Why? Because they have parents who remind them on a regular basis that "Santa Claus is watching..." The not-so-subtle threat is to behave, or risk not getting any Christmas presents. Drew McClellan points out the same holds true for business owners. He uses an example of his own trip to a local Jiffy Lube to remind companies of the need to act as if someone is always watching.

Simon Heseltine

Search Marketing for Retail - SMX-London

Last week I attended and presented at SMX-London. It was a great chance to meet with British search Marketers that don't get to make it out to the US conferences, and to hear a different perspective on familiar topics from mostly British presenters. Friday saw the "Search Marketing for Retail" seminar, which was moderated by Rob Kerry of Ayima.com.

Jennifer Laycock

Are You Integrating Multimedia into Your Site Yet?

The great thing about the Internet in 2007 is the ability to integrate several different types of media into your site. Faster internet connections, cheap bandwidth and free third party multimedia hosting services have made it easy for even the smallest of small businesses to work multi-media into their sites. Since it's well known that different people absorb information in different ways, smart small businesses are looking at the best ways to leverage social media and Web 2.0 technologies to better serve their customers.

Jennifer Laycock

Floundering in Blog Obscurity? Join the Conversation!

One of the most common complaints I hear from small businesses who have launched blogs is how difficult it can be to get on the radar. After all, it doesn't matter how great your content is if no one can find it. One of the best ways to build up your reputation in this situation is to leave quality comments on other blogs. Caroline Middlebrook offers up another fantastic post this week discussing this very topic.

Debra Mastaler

A Step by Step Plan on How to Market Your Site on Facebook

If you've heard about Facebook and understand it can help grow your business but aren't sure how to get started, read on. This article is a step-by-step outline on how to market yourself on Facebook.

Manoj Jasra

My Facebook Group is Setup, Now What?

So you were all excited when you first discovered Facebook Groups and noticed that all the cool kids had their own and you quickly jumped on the bandwagon to create one for yourself. You went through the process of creating an enticing title/description, selected the perfect logo and then proceeded to invite all your friends to join...but now what???

Jennifer Laycock

One Wrong Way to Approach Bloggers

It seems like the type of advice you really shouldn't have to offer, but apparently companies still don't get it. Each week I sort through link requests, PR pitches and requests from small companies to blog about or write about their product. Sometimes these pitches are exceptionally well thought out, sometimes they're simple, but engaging. Other times, they leave me shaking my head.

Ross Dunn

How Search Integrates as a Brand Vehicle

I attended an interesting seminar at Search Engine Strategies San Jose that discussed how search can be used to aid in branding instead of just as a direct response sales vehicle. Each point, stat or anecdote is in itself intriguing but overall add up to a helpful overview of how to use search to brand.