Online Ad Revenues Reach New Heights
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:53 Written by admin Monday, 3 October 2011 09:00
Internet ad revenues are climbing, which must mean people are buying. (Or at least, I hope so.) According to new numbers from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, ad revenues hit $14.9 billion in the first half of this year. That’s a growth rate of 23.2%. The second quarter of 2011 was record breaking, with a reported $7.7 billion over $6.2 billion from the same time last year. Small Screen, Big Payoff Although growth was good in all segments, video took top honors with growth equal to 42.1% over last year. Video is slowly becoming a viable option for advertisers of all sizes since video hosts such as YouTube have made it easier to do. You also have to look at the sheer number of videos that are popping up online. Now advertisers can choose from a wide variety of short form videos or hook their wagon to full-length TV shows and movies. Just take a look at the new fall, TV season. It wasn’t so long ago missing a season premiere meant waiting for spring reruns in order to see what you missed. Now, viewers can find those shows on network websites, iPad apps or OnDemand, and often within hours of the original TV airing. And every episode comes with advertising attached, ads that can’t be skipped over, as they can be with a DVR. A Banner Year Video may be growing fast, but most of the money is still going to search (49% of the total.) Right behind that is display, with 37% of the spend, equaling more than $5.5 billion in the first half of this year. That’s a 27.1% increase over the same time last year. David Silverman of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP thinks that accountability is responsible for the rise in ad revenue. Every year, we get more effect tools for measuring the ROI of online ads and that means companies can be confident about where they spend their marketing dollars.
Great article by Cynthia Boris of Marketing Pilgrim.Learn More
Turning Your Blog into a Lead-Generation Machine
Last Updated on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 10:35 Written by admin Monday, 12 September 2011 08:10
Sometimes when I hear companies talking about creating a “machine” for their lead-generation efforts, I think about Dr. Seuss. Specifically, I think about all the fantastical and imaginative machines he created in his 46 children’s books–like the Super-Axe-Hacker, the Utterly Sputter and (my favorite) the Eight-Nozzled Elephant-Toted Boom Blitz, a mighty machine that rapidly fires explosive sour-cherry stones.
Of course in real life, businesses can’t flip the switch on a Triple-Sling Jigger to instantly produce prospects. But what if you could create a kind of machine for lead generation on your own company blog, allowing it to help you continuously fill that sales funnel?
Blogs are a great way to increase your digital presence, making you more visible and “findable” via Google, Bing and the like. They can also be a great way to generate leads. Your blog can function as a kind of triage for your sales team, fielding and answering questions organically via the content you produce there. However, it can perform that function only if you effectively create momentum with visitors who are likely to buy, turning them from mere passersby into something more.
Here’s a 10-step prescription to increase your visibility and attract more qualified folks to your site. It may not shoot cherry pits, but it will help you convert your traffic into leads.
1. Make your blog an extension of your main website. A visitor’s first experience with your company might be through a blog page. He or she might never land on your main site’s homepage, so link your blog visually (mirroring the navigation and design of your main site) as well as technically. Maintain the blog as a subdomain of your main domain (something like blog.website.com) versus putting it on a separate domain entirely. Blogging on the same domain that hosts your company site ensures that all inbound links to blog pages also juice up the search mojo of your main site.
2. Solve or share, don’t shill. Your blog should focus on your customers. It should either solve their problems or share your resources. Don’t shill your stuff. This may sound obvious, but too many business blogs seem to be a repository for press releases, regurgitated marketing-speak and other pablum. News about your company and its products and services might be fascinating to you, but it’s not what will ultimately attract and engage prospects. Write about what they care about.
How can you determine what to write about? Use inquires or “Frequently Asked Questions” as fuel for blog posts. Ask your frontline folks: What problems do our customers ask about? What advice do they need? What problems do our products or services solve? Also, check your search logs: See what keywords people use when they land on your site to get a sense of what problems they have and what words they use to describe them. (Of course, questions your customers don’t ask but you wish they did–or Frequently Unasked Questions–also are great blog post fodder!)
3. Show up. Half of blogging is consistency, or just showing up on a regular basis. (Naturally, the other half is producing great stuff!) You don’t have to blog every day, but you do have to create a schedule that’s sustainable for you. Hiring a freelancer or a staff writer or editor can help keep you on track with regular content, especially if you are a reluctant writer. But if you can’t afford that, use an editorial calendar to plan a posting schedule (and stick to it). An editorial calendar, by the way, is simply that: a calendar on which you plan what post will be published when.
Showing up also applies to the ongoing care and feeding of the community you’re creating through your blog. Encourage conversation and engagement by responding to comments (even negative ones). Be part of the conversation, not above it.
4. Avoid War and Peace posts. The best blog posts are punchy and concise, focusing on a single idea. Think short paragraphs or bullet points. And don’t bury the important information. Open with a declarative sentence that sets up the key idea. Framing blog posts this way not only respects your reader’s busy schedule, but also helps address the anxiety a lot of us feel about writing. A blog post can also be a graphic, image, video or even an embedded PowerPoint presentation.
5. Pen a killer headline. I sometimes spend more time writing a headline for a blog post than I do writing the entire post. Why? Because every blog post creates a new page on your site, and every new page creates another opportunity to boost your ranking for one of your targeted keyword phrases in Google or Bing or other search engines. Your blog post title becomes your web page title, so titles matter!
An intriguing headline, or title, is also critical to attracting actual humans to read your post. The title of an article is not merely a promise to the reader (an idea of what’s in store), it’s also the pitchman for the entire post: It entices people to either click or … not.
6. Link to other resources. Throughout a post, link specific words or phrases to other resources on your site. You can link keywords to resource pages you’ve built around those words, or you can link to specific landing pages where you’ve posted related offers, like the ability for visitors to sign up for a companion webinar, request a white paper or get a free trial.
7. Embed companion calls to action. In addition to linking within the post itself, remember the real estate around the post. There are a few areas prime for calls to action on any blog page, including the “leaderboard” spot at the top of your blog, the sidebar on either side of the post and the often-ignored space immediately following a blog post.
The first two spots are great for banners or buttons. But the space under the post is key: Assuming readers get through the entire post, they should always be given an opportunity to learn more with either a companion offer or related piece of content. (Hint: This is also a good place from which to link to landing pages that require e-mail registration.)
8. Offer subscription services. Allow your visitors to subscribe to get regular updates to your blog via e-mail and RSS. Essentially, every time you publish a post, a subscriber is notified to check it out. Plug-ins to allow subscription options are likely available for your blogging platform of choice (most e-mail marketing providers offer plug-ins that can be integrated into WordPress and other blogging platforms to turn your blog into a comprehensive list-building system). There are also a number of third-party services that can collect names and contact info for you. FeedBlitz and Google FeedBurner are both free services.
9. Trick out with social bling. The more traffic you attract, the more opportunities you’ll have for generating leads. So be sure to outfit your blog with social-sharing icons, particularly the big three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Doing so subtly encourages your visitors to share your content and allows you to reach your network’s network, which is a key attribute of social media. Of course, this assumes that you are actively participating in social media, i.e., engaging in conversation, and not just broadcasting headlines.
10. Remember one final thing. Fundamentally, a blog is an opportunity: It’s a way to connect with customers in a real-time, accessible way. But your blog needs to be part of your business, and part of your lead-gen efforts. Talk it up in e-mail newsletters, in print collateral and on packaging materials. A blog won’t magically drive business without active and ongoing promotion and participation–no matter how much inspiration Dr. Seuss imparts.
A version of this article was originally published in the September 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Customer Capture Contraption.
GREAT ARTICLE BY ANN HANDLEY: entrepreneur.comLearn More
My Apple iMac Unboxing
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 09:30 Written by admin Thursday, 28 April 2011 09:30
OK guys, I finally got around to doing the unboxing and it was totally worth it, if not just for the extra screen space. I mean I know I could have bought a Cinema display, or two monitors, But the way I see it a couple hundred more I got a whole new setup with a little more horsepower then I was already running. Here are the specs: 24 inch model with 2.93GHz processor, VIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics, 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3, 640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive, Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive, AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and the list goes on. If you want more info, check it out here: tinyurl.com Forthose who want to follow me on twitter and get any inside info, follow me here: twitter.com For those that want to be made aware when I start a BlogTV, Go here: www.blogtv.com and subscribe to me in the middle of the page for SMS text or twitter for show starting announcements. Thanks
Video Rating: 4 / 5
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