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How to Use Social Bookmarking for Business

Social Bookmarking is the flagship of the web 2.0 movement. The basic concept behind social bookmarking is similar to “Add to Favorites” or “Bookmarks” that you are most familiar with using your web browsers like Firefox or Chrome. The bookmarks you create are stored on your computer though. Social bookmarking allows you to store the information online, so you can access it anywhere, anytime. The difference is that when you bookmark a page within a social bookmarking system, you are allowing your bookmarks to be seen across the web.

Some of the best-known web 2.0 bookmarking sites include Del.icio.us, Blinklist, Blogmarks, Furl, Kaboodle, ma.gnolia, Simpy, Spurl, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Wink.

Here’s the concept: When a person bookmarks a page, they find the information useful. If two or three people bookmark the same page, the page might be useful to more internet users. There is a ranking system on these sites, which moves pages that have been bookmarked by several users higher in the ranking system. If several hundred or several thousand people bookmark a page, then that page is ranked even higher as it is deemed to have extremely useful information on it, and can find itself on the front page of the social bookmarking main page.

Listings on the main page of a social bookmarking site alone can send 10,000 to over a million people to that page in one day’s time since it is heavily viewed by users and their site carries serious ranking weight in Google and the other major search engines.

Social Bookmarking is at least a decade old; with the advent of Web 2.0 technology, Del.icio.we brought it to an entirely new level of significance and sophistication. If you visit the front page of Del.icio.us, you will see the front end of social bookmarking in action. On the left-hand side, there is a column called hotlist. These web pages are the current hot web pages, which are receiving the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, not to mention the attention of Google and Yahoo.

So what's in this for me?

Social Bookmarking websites like Digg, and Del.icio.we represent the opportunity to get a log of traffic fast, with high value / high quality linking to your website. Social bookmarking sites offer the best type of web traffic … VIRAL. Business owners know that the most reliable customers are the prospects that come from the referral of someone else. And that’s what online bookmarking sites offer and that’s what viral traffic or networking is all about.

In order to get views on a large scale from an online bookmarking site, your content must be good enough to meet the approval of enough people to warrant the listing of your website on the front page. This amounts to a huge mass referral for your web page with the obvious ton of credibility that goes with it.

The amount of traffic that I am referring to can easily reach 8,000 to 10,000 visitors a day as a result of reaching the front page of Del.icio.us alone.

This does not take into account the bloggers, website owners, and regular search engine directed visitors that will post a link to your site from their site or forum, which in turn creates more and more compounding traffic. Now that’s real viral marketing!!!
Social Bookmarking sites are very popular which is also reflecting in high page rankings by Google. This, in turn, means that the spiders visit these sites often to help index and rank the popular websites that are then reflected in the organic listings. When the spiders are directed to crawl your site more often, the results are always positive.

Backlinks (one-way links directly to your site) are increased significantly and your organic rank in the Search Engines reflects this as well.

This snowballs as your site are seen by more and more people who also bookmark your site only adding to the popularity which is duly noted by the social site and the search engines of course.

Online bookmarking is a growing trend and successful online marketing strategies involve social bookmarking as a necessary, even essential component.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Tips For Cleaning Up Your Social Media Following

Social media success is not achieved simply by adding thousands of unknown followers to your contacts. When you focus on numbers only, you invite in a fair share of unwanted spam and junk followers.

It's important to have a well-matched following who is open to your comments, information, and expertise. Otherwise, you're stuck in the cyber equivalent of a crowded room full of people you really have nothing in common with.

There comes a time when you need to weed out the mismatches. Don't worry- even if your numbers dip after doing this, the percentage of well-matched contacts will increase as a result. That means the majority of people in your network hold potential for opportunities.

If you're afraid you might delete the wrong person, here are 6 guidelines to help you determine how to weed out your social media following.

  1. No Avatar

If the person has no avatar (photo that accompanies your posts), then remove him or her.

  1. Not a Real Person

If the person isn't even a person but rather a puppy, a teddy bear, a slot machine, or my personal favorite- a flashy dollar sign- then delete. I also put pin-up type pics in this category, especially ones with user names like "MakeLotsaMoney". Some businesses have social media accounts that aren't related back to an individual. As long as it's clear that there is a legitimate business behind this, then those can be the exception.

  1. Uneven Follower/Following Ratio

On Twitter, the ratio between followers and following must not have a huge gap. Twitter accounts that have thousands of followers but are only following a few people need to go. Those are usually spammers.

  1. Obvious Language Barrier

It's great to connect with followers out of your country or who speak another language if you can understand one another, but if not, then there's an obvious barrier. Unless you've committed to learning a new language via your Twitter friends, best to unfollow people who pose an obvious language gap.

  1. People Who Don't Post

You may have someone in your following who signed up for Twitter or Facebook but never actually uses the sites or posts. Unless it's someone you know who's still learning and you have the patience, remove.

  1. Haters and Mean People

When you surround yourself with agreeable people, you can forget that the occasional mean person can surface and wreck the party for everyone. Don't even waste your time with people who are using social networking as a place to bully, berate, and intimidate. You might be the next victim and it's really not worth the time or effort to keep people like this on your list of followers. Block them or report them if a hater turns on you.

You want to weed out your social media contacts for the same reason you prune a fruit tree: so your harvest gives you a bountiful, high-quality yield. When you focus on quality over quantity, you have what it takes for real social media success.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Keyword Research

The best way to achieve search engine dominance is by focusing on keyword research. As a search engine optimization consultant, I’ve worked with hundreds of companies that miss this very important step. Achieving top search engine rankings is largely based on the competitiveness of the keyword phrase you are trying to optimize for. If your competitor is in the top spot with a well-entrenched website, then your chances of outranking him may be limited.

In addition to focusing on a keyword phrase that doesn’t have strong competition, you need to find terms that are frequently searched on. I recently finished a consulting assignment for a foundation trying to optimize their website. They had top rankings for a keyword term that seemed to be somewhat desirable. However, keyword research proved that the term received less than 100 searches per month. As a result, top rankings for this keyword phrase were nearly meaningless.

Once you have found a keyword phrase that isn’t too competitive and receives an adequate number of monthly searches, the next step is to thoroughly check out your competition. Google the keyword phrases you want to optimize for a run a back link check on the top three ranked websites. This indicates the strength of those websites relative to their search engine ranking. The more links, the more difficult it will be to rank higher than they do without some type of sustained link building campaign.

After doing your keyword research and confirming your choice of keywords and keyword phrases, it’s time to focus on improving your web pages around the keywords you’ve selected. Enhance your meta tags, titles, and web copy to include your keyword phrases. This helps to tell the search engines what your website is about so it can rank your site appropriately. In addition to the on-page factors, Google weighs off page factors to determine website ranking.

Off page, optimization requires a sustained effort that uses new content and additional links from third party websites. The most effective strategies are the most basic. Begin with a link building plan. Focus on article directories, website directories, blogs, social bookmarking sites, and other resources where you can establish inbound links.

Your plan should include daily, weekly and monthly tasks that can attract links from authority websites consistently over time. Your goal should not be to generate thousands of inbound links quickly because Google will penalize your website. Rather, focus on steady link building.

If you want to improve your organic search engine ranking, begin with keyword research. By selecting the right keywords, you’ll be able to optimize your website more quickly than your competitors. After choosing the right keywords, focus on integrating your chosen keywords into your website. Then you’re ready for link building and other off page optimization tactics that significantly improve rankings.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

4 Reasons Why You Should Use Video Marketing

If you prefer to listen to this article please click the link 4 Reasons Why You Should Use Video Marketing

A recent survey showed that 8 out of 10 people have no inclination to read past the headline. This means that even a best-written text could be skipped completely by 80 percent of its audience before it even gets a chance to shine. Well, if this is so, is there any other way in which you can convey a message to your target demographic? Actually, there is. Video marketing is your next best bet. Here are four most prominent reasons why you should definitely give video marketing a shot.

1. It Is Mobile-Friendly

The first thing every digital marketer needs to know is that, in 2017, about 80 percent of all internet users own a smartphone. The importance of this became even more clear last month when Android OS became more popular than Windows OS when it comes to browsing the web. You see, earlier on we’ve mentioned that people don’t like reading in general, and this is even more true for mobile users. The reason behind this is the fact that smaller font (coupled with a smaller screen size) looks even more discouraging. On the other hand, a video seems as a much more mobile-friendly format. According to YouTube, its mobile video consumption jumps roughly 100 percent each year.

2. A Team-Building Activity

Aside from your marketing efforts, making a video can also become a team-building activity. By allowing your team to interact on this project, you are allowing them to get a much better understanding of the creative processes of their colleagues. Some companies even offer performance coaching for your staff, which both helps your team bond and provides them with much-needed skills. Not only will this enable your staff to act independently on such issues in the future (making it a one-time investment), but it will also yield an immediate ROI, seeing how the video itself will be a part of your marketing efforts.

3. The Rule Of Seven

The rule of seven is one of the oldest principles in the world of marketing. It implies that in order for your clients to make an actual purchase, they need to hear about your product at least seven times. Still, there might be a way to cheat the system. You see, over 80 percent of users can recall a video they saw last month, which means that you could perhaps establish an aura of trust around your business in 2 or 3 instead of seven interactions. In this way, one could rightfully claim that video marketing tends to be a much more persuasive method.

4. Video In Email

Email marketing is definitely not dead, but in order to utilize it to your full benefit, you would have to learn a thing or two about it. When it comes to the use of video in your email marketing strategy the numbers speak strongly in its favor. For instance, just using the word video in the subject line can boost the open rate by 19 percent and boost the click-through rate by a staggering 65 percent. Not to mention the fact that the video itself has a potential to increase the leads by 200 or even 300 percent.

Conclusion

The best thing about video marketing is the fact that it is applicable regardless of the niche you are in. Which leaves you a lot of room when it comes to the way in which you want to present your product and business to the world. In order to wrap things up, here is another interesting info – the average internet user watches about 16 minutes of video ads every day. With the right strategy, your video could definitely be one of them.

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Lead Generation Through Email Marketing

If you really want to add power to your email campaign, while increasing response, there are a few simple tips to follow which will increase your reader's sense of interest and your click-through rate, thus increasing the number of leads generated or sales made.

Give your letters a human feel and personal touch. Otherwise, they look mass produced and no-one feels special reading a mass-produced piece. For the same reason, avoid flash. Flashy pieces say "mass-marketing", while simple pieces feel more individual. After all, if you sat down to write an individual letter to your granny, would you put a flashing banner ad at the top, with 10 different font colors and sizes throughout, trying to grab her attention? Not likely. So keep it simple.

Having said that though, you will want to avoid your pieces appearing boring and bland. You do need to hold the reader's interest, after all. To do this, add an occasional change in font size or color. Or break up your piece with bullet points. Play around with design by changing your margins or centering your text. Just remember rule number 1 (to keep it simple, rather than screaming) and use design changes sparingly.

If you know your reader's name, use it. Nothing personalizes a letter like using the reader's name. But again, do it sparingly. Overuse is not only annoying but again, the letter tends to take on the feel of an auto-produced, mass-market piece. If your reader feels like they are part of a small select group of recipients, they are more likely to respond to your offer.

There are two schools of thought regarding length. Some say the longer the letter, the longer you can hold the reader's attention and the more likely they are to click through to your offer. This may be true until the point the reader decides he is way too busy to read all the way through that HUGE and cluttered mountain of words and just clicks the delete button.

The second school of thought says to keep it short and sweet - no more than a sentence or two. For example, yesterday I received a marketing email that said simply, "click here to read a letter I wrote" and then it had a link. That was it. Nothing more. Now it's possible in some cases, this might pique a reader's curiosity, but for me, it's not enough. Sadly for the writer, I deleted the email without clicking through. I mean, why would care if he wrote a letter, much less want to read it?! You have to give me some reason to care. What is the subject matter of the letter he wrote? Is it a subject I care deeply about? Is it something that will solve a problem I have? In other words, give me a reason to click through!

The point of your email letter campaign is to keep your reader attentively engaged in what you have to say just long enough to get them to click through to your offer. So with that in mind, keep your piece as long as it needs to be but no longer and by all means keep it straight to the point. Any superfluous fluff not only adds length to the piece, risking the loss of interest but also gets the reader off track, decreasing click-through rate.

Devise a subject line that captures interest. You'll want to get your reader to open the email in the first place, right? If your subject line gets the reader curious, they'll want to open the email to find out more. Using the above example, if my subject line says something like "see the letter I wrote", unless this email came from your sister, and especially if it is a stranger, you are most likely to delete it and may possibly take the extra initiative to add them to your junk/spam filter. Not what you want as a writer. If your subject line captivates the reader, they'll want to find out more. So, for example, if your subject line reads, "The number one way to get your teenager to communicate with you", your reader is going think, "Now that's something I want to know more about!" They won't be able to open your email fast enough!

Consider the use of graphics. A single well-placed photo or drawing is just enough to capture the reader's interest, but not so much that it makes the letter look mass-produced or too busy.

Include a call to action! All marketing pieces, be it your website, a flyer, an article, a paid-for ad, etc, should always contain a call to action. What is it you wish the reader to do as a result of reading your piece? Click on the link? Buy your product? Call you? What? Do not leave the reader with any doubt as to what you wish them to do.

By incorporating these few simple rules into your email campaign, you should see a large jump in your click through rate, and assuming you have a strong landing page on the other side of the click, hopefully also see an increase in your uptake, as well. Happy emailing!

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

The Fundamentals of Quality Link Building

 

Links are the connection between two pages across the web. In fact, all the web pages available on the Internet are connected via one or more links. These links play a crucial role in the search engine optimization as the search engines count on the links to award the web pages for their relevance and credibility. Generally, the links are considered as votes for a web page and hence, more the number of link to a site the more useful it is for the visitors. Therefore, the search engines consider the links as one of the important criteria while ranking a web page for a particular keyword. Sometimes, the links become the important means to bring visitors, including search engines, to a website. Hence, the best SEO company strategically develops the link building programs for any SEO campaign.

Links are another important SEO term and the different features of the links are discussed bellow.

Links- Internal, Inbound and Outbound

In a layman’s term, you can use incoming and outgoing links for the inbound and outbound links of a website. As it is discussed, the incoming links are like votes for a website and can significantly improve the rank of a web page on the search engine result pages. So, the webmasters try their level best to secure numerous incoming links to their sites. A couple of years ago, there were numerous ethical and unethical techniques of link building. But, the search engines have grown smart with their changing algorithms and counting only quality links of a web page. Outbound links are also equally important and if you are linking to any reputed website, you are referring your visitors to an informative and useful page. The internal links of a website also have a major role to play in making all pages of the site get indexed by search engines.

Source Page and the Anchor Text of the Link

There are two parts of a link- a source page and a destination page. The source page of the link is called linking page and the destination pages are called linked page. While evaluating a link the search engine takes into account both the source as well as destination page. And, when the quality of the link is considered, the source page, its PR, and relevance are the features that are important. The text the link starts from is also an important feature for the search engines. You may get a link from one of the reputed sites but the anchor text can make a lot of difference to the quality of the link. Therefore, the best SEO company gives importance to use the keyword in the anchor text.

The Don’ts of Link Building Strategies

As the mechanism behind the search engine algorithms has changed a lot, now the search engines are able to differentiate between the qualities of the links. Any unethical practice of link building can lead your site to get penalized by the search engines. Purchasing links and building links from the links firms should be avoided. Even links from a web page with numerous outbound links are not effective for a site.

Make a careful strategy for link building or take help of the best SEO company in this regard to enhance your site ranking on the SERPs.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Target Marketing

What's the single most important factor in the success of a marketing campaign? How clever are the advertisements? How good the product or service is? The price being charged?

If you said "none of the above", then I have to agree with you. The most important factor in marketing is targeting.

You simply have to know what to sell, and to whom to sell it.

If you're selling something that doesn't appeal to the people you're speaking to, then you can forget about a good return. Regardless of how good your product is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark.

Moldy Grape Juice or Heavenly Elixir?

If I offered you a bottle of 1995 Domaine de la Romanée Conti La Tâche for $500, would you buy? For the non-oenophiles among us, the Domaine de la Romanée Conti is a producer of wine in Burgundy in France. They make some of the finest and most highly coveted wines in the world, and La Tâche is one of their finest. But at $500, would you buy?

Some people might, but many others wouldn't. And fair enough. Some would argue that no wine is worth that kind of price. Some people just don't like the taste of wine and wouldn't buy no matter how highly esteemed the wine was. And others, for whatever reason, just don't drink alcohol.

But if I make my offer to some serious wine-lovers, to people who have no problem dropping a hefty wad of cash on a great bottle, then however many bottles I have available will be gone soon. That's because a bottle of 1995 La Tâche for $500 is a steal.

But it's only a steal to the people who are interested in that sort of thing. So if I want to sell my bottles, I have to do everything I can to make my offer to people who are interested.

Targeting: The Key to Effective Marketing

So how do I get my offer in front of people who are interested? That's where targeting comes in.

If I were to advertise the bottles of wine that I wanted to sell in Car and Driver magazine, I'm sure you'd agree that I'd be wasting a lot of my advertising dollars.

I'd have a better, more targeted audience if I were to advertise in a wine-oriented publication such as Wine Spectator. This magazine's readers are obviously interested wine, and many of them are probably even interested to the extent that a mere $500 for the wine I'm pitching would have them licking their lips and dusting off the Riedel glasses.

All this stands to reason. You're obviously going to get a better response advertising high-end fine wine to an audience that is at least predisposed towards wine. But can we do better?

While Wine Spectator caters to wine lovers, not all of them will be sufficiently loaded to seriously contemplate dropping that kind of moolah on a single bottle of wine. In other words, I'll be paying for the privilege of advertising to Wine Spectator's millions of readers, when all I really want to do is advertise to the five percent or so who are likely to be interested in my offer.

With Car and Driver, I was way off-target. Wine Spectator is on-target, but I'm using a shotgun. To get the most bang for my buck, I want to find a way to put my offer only in front of people likely to be interested. I want to use a rifle to hit my target and nothing but my target.

There are several ways I could do this. Obviously, if there were a publication geared more specifically to wine collectors, that would be a good place to advertise.

Another excellent alternative would be to send a mailing to my existing customers. I could search through my customer database and select only those customers whose buying-history indicated an interest in the wines on sale and send the mailing to them. If I didn't have a large customer list, I could find additional prospects by arranging for access to a related business' customer list. In this case, a company specializing in wine cellar installation might be a good choice.

As you can see, the mailing would be going out to a very select group of people. By zeroing in on my target market, I can get the results I need much more cost-effectively than if I either failed to target altogether or took the shotgun approach.

And that's really all there is to it. The more you can target your offer, the better your response will be.

How to Target Your Marketing

As you can see, the concept of targeting is pretty simple. Take your product or service and offer it to people who are likely to be interested. But there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind.

Narrow Your Niche

I don't care what you sell; your market is smaller than you think. A large percentage of the population owns a car, but a much smaller percentage is in the market for a new car this month. Many people use an accountant, but far fewer are looking to switch accountants.

If you blast away with the shotgun approach and try to hit everyone, you won't like the results.

You might argue that even if people aren't in the market yet, you should still try to expose them to your advertisements so that when they are, your company's name will be at the top of their minds. This is a really dangerous approach for a small business to take for several reasons.

1. The response to your advertisements (if there even is any) won't be immediate and will be much more difficult to track. You'll, therefore, have a much harder time determining whether the advertisement is working for you or not. Anytime you can't tell if your money is well-spent, you're dicing with death.

2. The investment required to effectively achieve top-of-mind awareness is usually enormous. There are cheaper ways to get good results.

3. People are really good at ignoring advertising. When an advertisement does finally get their attention, it's frequently because the advertisement is selling something that will be of immediate benefit to them. In other words, good luck getting them to pay attention to your advertisements and remember your name when they aren't even interested in what you're selling yet.

To avoid these problems, do yourself a favor and take dead aim at a much smaller target by narrowing your niche.

In the above example, we went from advertising a wine to millions of Wine Spectator readers, to send out a mailing to only those people whose buying-history demonstrated an interest in the specific wine we were pitching. We went from everyone interested in wine to only those interested in high-end red Burgundy. That's a much smaller niche!

The accountant mentioned above might market to people who are unhappy with their current accountant for one specific reason. Alternatively, she might narrow her niche by marketing directly to one specific type of customer, such as dentists.

Narrowing your niche doesn't mean that you won't also do business with customers outside that niche, it just means that a given marketing campaign or an individual advertisement might not be aimed directly at them. Instead, your marketing takes dead aim at a much more specific target that is a whole lot easier to hit.

Determine Your Ideal Customer

One of the best ways to get your marketing aimed at a smaller target is to identify your ideal customer and market only to prospects that fit that profile.

This is actually one of the healthiest things you can do for your business. We all end up doing business with customers who are not ideal. In many cases, we do business with customers who are far from ideal. These customers are often difficult to deal with, unprofitable, and extremely hard to please.

Now imagine an influx of your ideal customers. More angels who always pay their bills on time, who revere the work you do for them, and who provide word-of-mouth recommendations frequently. Wouldn't that help your business?

If you don't know what your ideal customer looks like, think about which of your current customers are most profitable. With whom do you most enjoy doing business? Who can benefit most from your product or service? It shouldn't take long to form a picture of your perfect client.

Putting It into Practice

Start taking dead aim with your marketing today. Here are some suggestions:

Targeting Your Website

Review the content on your website. Are you addressing everyone or are you zeroed in on your target market?

Make some changes to your pay-per-click advertising. Don't just use the same advertisement for everyone. Instead, create different advertisements for the different types of prospect you're targeting.

Experiment with different landing pages. Landing pages are the pages that people who click on your advertisements are taken to. You should create targeted landing pages for each type of prospect in your target market.

Targeting Your Print Advertising

Don't run the same advertisement everywhere. If you're targeting different types of customer, create an advertisement that addresses each customer type directly and then does everything you can to get the advertisement in front of the prospect it's targeted on.

If your advertisements reference your website, you might consider setting up different landing pages for the different versions of your advertisements. Doing so would enable your prospects to continue experiencing highly-targeted communication.

Experiment with different publications. One publication might have a smaller circulation, but it could be much more targeted for your advertising.

Targeting Your Direct Mail

Break your mailing list into segments based on demographics such as the type and size of business or the income level of the household. Any actual buying-history data should also be factored in. You can then target your mailings based on these factors. If your offer is likely to appeal to customers who have purchased a specific product before, you can extract those names from the list and send the offer only to them.

Establish relationships with non-competing, but related businesses and get permission to market to their clients. In the wine example above, I suggested building a mailing list by gaining access to the customer database of a wine cellar installation firm. If you can arrange for a letter from the other company introducing you (and recommending you) your response will soar. Just be sure you've agreed on details such as a commission on any sales and what happens to the list after the campaign is over. Typically you'll get to keep any customers who respond to your mailing, but the master list stays with the other business.

If you direct people to the website for more information, don't let the targeting stop with your letter. Create mailing-specific landing pages so that prospects continue to experience highly targeted communication.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Search Engine Ranking Factors

As someone who makes a living improving search engine rankings, I can tell you that there is a lot of bad information out there about SEO. What if I were to tell you that the road map for achieving top rankings was within your grasp? The holy grail of rankings is not imaginary. As is true with any major success, it leaves clues.

By working with literally hundreds of small and medium-sized websites, I have found that top ranked sites have a number of factors in common. What are they? I’m about to share these factors with you and explain what separates those in the top Google positions and those that are never found on page one of search results.

The first search engine ranking factor has to do with the anchor text of all inbound links to your website. Google and other search engines use the anchor text from other sites linking in to determine what your site is about and what it should rank well for. If websites link in only using a URL, and not your keywords in the anchor text, email them and ask them to update your link. The link should always appear with your most important keywords.

The second most important ranking factor is using keywords in your title tag and other meta tags. Meta tags still have an impact on your search rankings. Although the weight of meta tags may be minimal, they are effective in categorizing your page and identifying what search engines should expect to find when they spider website pages. Make sure your tags are constructed properly and include your keywords.

The third ranking factor to consider for your website is link popularity. This phrase has been talked about in search engine circles for a while but can be equated with Page Rank. The concept of Page Rank or link popularity for that matter takes a number of factors into consideration to identify the quality of web pages from an external perspective. The largest factor that influences search engine rankings is the number and quality of links that are pointing to a website or web page.

The fourth ranking factor is the diversity of domains that link to your website. For many search engines, it’s not only what links you have to your site but making sure they are from different domains. This represents more popularity associated with your website and therefore is judged to be a better search result. When link building, try to focus on generating inbound links from different websites.

The final ranking factor is keyword use in the root domain. Although it's possible to use a subdomain or dedicated pages to get your keywords in a URL, nothing beats having them in your root domain.

All of these factors are important for top search rankings. Don’t overlook any of them if trying to improve your search rankings for particular keywords or keyword phrases. Also, be sure to continually read up on the subject or consider any one of a number of SEO training programs that can show you how to have more impact with your optimization efforts.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Tips On Running A Successful Membership Marketing Campaign

Membership is a "push" product. This means that prospects need to be pushed or encouraged to join. That is why direct response media like direct mail and email are the channels of choice to acquire new members.

But just like any tool, these channels can be used poorly or effectively. I have distilled some of the experiences that I have found in direct response membership marketing down into eight tips. I hope you find them helpful.

1. Begin each and every campaign by thinking creatively and asking "WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN JOINING?" Then search out lists that contain these potential members. Not taking the time to research and test mail and email lists is the single biggest mistake in membership recruitment. In any given outreach, the results from one list to the next can vary by 1,000%. Even if you primarily promote to an in-house prospect list, try some direct response rental lists and compare results. You may be very surprised at the results from tapping into a new file of prospective members. Some of the best outside lists to test are members of similar associations, subscribers to industry magazines, and buyers of books related to your association. Tip: Ask current members what other professional literature that they read and test these lists first.

2. Once you have found the best lists, carefully develop a strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to drive the positioning and copy of your promotion. The USP answers the prospect's question of "WHY THIS ASSOCIATION?" The USP is the big benefit that your association can deliver compared to any other group. Tip: Ask someone who is not familiar with your organization to read your copy and define the USP in one sentence. If they can't, go back to the drawing board.

3. Develop a special offer to answer your prospect's question: "WHY TO JOIN NOW?" After many tests, one of the best offers continues to be a limited-time, introductory dues discount. Ideally, this discount will bring the dues down to a psychological price point - a dues amount that ends with a dollar amount of a "7" or "9". For example, an acquisition price of $139 will typically generate more revenue and members than a price of $150. But be sure to offer something. Direct response marketing is offer driven.

4. Build your promotion around a metaphor -- something a prospect will recognize and know what to do with. Try using an invitation, survey, certificate, or temporary membership card format. People process information by putting it into mental boxes. They make a split second decision on whether a promotion is important or not, so you need to get their attention. An invitation, for example, typically requests a response and goes in the mental box that says: "I NEED TO RSVP".

5. After you have found your lists and selected a format, the time has finally come to write. As you write your promotion think of a conversation between a salesperson and a prospective member. (Tip: Sometimes it is helpful to dictate or "talk through" the first rough draft of the letter on a tape recorder.) Ask and answer the questions any prospective member would ask. And be sure to deal directly with typical sales objections (e.g., "IT SEEMS TOO EXPENSIVE", or "I'M NOT SURE IT WILL BE USEFUL TO ME.") As you write, also be sure to include specific proof. Support your USP by answering the prospect's question, "HOW DO I KNOW I CAN BELIEVE YOU?" with real examples, numbers, product data, and testimonials.

6. Now it is time to design the promotion. If you are using direct mail, make the investment in a computer-personalized format (i.e., lasering the name and address on the letter and reply). In membership recruitment, personalization will out pull a "Dear Colleague" letter by as much as 30% while the cost of producing the package will typically increase less than 10%. If you are using email, create a personalized landing page that highlights the prospects particular interests and the special offer that the email features. Maintain the tone, look, and message of the email on your landing page.

7. As you near completion of your promotion, don't give into the desire to put a "cute" phrase or "teaser" on the envelope or in the email subject line. Pre-test the subject line on a few hundred emails and measure the open rates. Based on this roll out the top performing line. With mail, a teaser will generally not increase response for a membership recruitment piece. Instead, maintain the personal business correspondence look of the mailing.

8. Finally, before you send out your promotion, be sure to set up a system to accurately track responses. Accurate tracking and analysis remain one of the most underdeveloped areas in association marketing. Yet, it is the key to validating all of the work that has gone into creating a promotion. If computer personalization is used for a mailing, then assigning a specific key code to be added to each reply form is simple. A separate code needs to be used for each list and for each test segment (i.e. copy test, offer test). Then as response comes back, the codes need to be recorded. Email responses can be tracked by adding a cookie to the email that populates the code field in your application or by setting up unique urls for each test segment. The ultimate goal of tracking and analysis is to determine what lists, copy, packages and offers to produce the best return on investment for each marketing dollar spent.
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Keep Your Company Branding Current

The one constant in business is changing. Nearly every product, service or solution gets replaced by something newer, better, and "different-er" than before. Take mobile texting for example. Teenagers live on it, spelling out each cryptic message in a matter of nanoseconds. They prefer it to email, or worse yet, utilizing verbal communication technology (formerly known as "making a phone call"). But they are the new norm, the reality of the marketplace. They are adapting to new ways of connecting, new methods of networking. They are not doing it "wrong," or inefficiently. They are simply doing it differently. And that's what constitutes change.

A speaker at a business meeting I attended a few years back shared that 40 percent of the average business's revenue stream would be coming from an entirely new source in five years. That was an amazing statistic to me. Yet most businesses are operating based on old models and old ways of doing business.

So the question I have for you this month is exactly that . . . "What is your new revenue stream?" What is it that you can build, develop, create or extend that would keep your company and your products relevant to the market? For clues, look at what you already do well and ask yourself if there's a better way to deliver those same benefits. Encyclopedias did not go out of fashion because the information was no longer needed. They became obsolete because of the way they delivered the information. The same holds true for everything from cassette tapes to typewriters. Those who hold tightly to the current way they deliver products and services will most likely miss the innovations that emerge in how they are delivered. We will always need energy in order to move from point A to point B, but will it necessarily be in the form of gasoline? Or will it shift to the wind and solar? Or garbage, grain, water, and manure?

If you're wondering what this has to do with branding, quite simply, it has everything to do with it! Your brand is the core benefit, your key promise, one that you consistently deliver to your customer. The good news is that they still want that benefit, but the method in which they want it is subject to change. Are you aware of that shift? If so, how are you responding? How can you extend your current brand so that it remains the consistent provider of your core benefit?

These are the important questions that can lead to substantial company growth in the long haul. Adapt and you will continue to thrive. The world needs your services or you wouldn't have a current business -- just look for new ways to provide these services. Viewing change in this light is often less threatening, and more rewarding, than living in constant resistance to what is evolving around us. So discover new ways to expand and serve your customers' needs by extending your brand's promise. You'll find it's often a change for the better.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

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