What Are My Options For Marketing Online?

The internet has revolutionized the way you have to think about marketing. Whether you like it or not, marketing online is now one of the major areas you have to think about as an entrepreneur. And in order to do online marketing effectively, you have to go back to the basics and understand how it works, and understand what your options are.

Marketing as a concept means to make a product or service known to potential customers. This concept has been around for decades in its most traditional forms. And guess what, the basic concept remains the same when we move to modern forms such as online marketing.

With online marketing, it won’t really make a big difference whether you’re dealing with a small business or a large company. And yes, online marketing is just as necessary for offline businesses as it is for online businesses.

There are many advantages to online marketing, with the most important one being that you won’t need a huge budget to achieve good results. With traditional marketing methods and strategies, it’s virtually impossible to outdo a company with a marketing budget bigger than yours. Online marketing however makes this quite possible.

However, when you decide on doing your your marketing online, you must understand that it’s all about using the appropriate channels in smart ways. Spending big bucks on online marketing does not always guarantee success.

Online marketing options

To start building an effective online presence for your company, the first thing you’ll need is a website. Of course, there are ways to do it without a website as well. However, having a little corner of the Internet dedicated to your company and its products and services can go a long way.

By having a website for your business, you can get closer to potential customers and present a better image of your company. Customers should get to know the character of your company, as well as the products and services offered. When it comes to online marketing, the website is in a way the face of the business or company. Your website is how people get the first impression about your business.

However, having a website won’t bring you new clients by itself. You need to work on ways for people to find out about you and get to your website. Otherwise, simply building the website will be as profitable as building an amusement park in the middle of a deserted island.

Assuming your already have a website for your business, the next step is to direct people to your corner of the World Wide Web. There are several ways to market your website in order to spread the word about your business.

Social media marketing
Making your brand known by using social media platforms is one of the fastest emerging ways for companies to attract attention on the Internet. By embracing the world of social media, companies encourage people to engage with them, bringing brands closer to existing and potential customers.

The social media websites most commonly used for online marketing include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and the like. Social media marketing focuses on quality content creation and interactivity between the customer and the company.

Google AdWords
This is an advertising system provided by the Internet’s largest and most widely used search engine, Google. AdWords works by placing your ad at the top, bottom or the sides of search results whenever a relevant search query is performed. AdWords is flexible, so can choose to pay per click, or for every 1000 times the ad is displayed.

You can also try the newer and simpler version of AdWords called AdWords Express. AdWords Express is aimed at small and medium sized businesses, or those who simply don’t have as much time to run a full Adwords campaign.

Google Places a.k.a. Google Business
This is a free feature offered by Google to help businesses connect with locals. The unique thing about Google Places is that it will not only list your company in the search results, but also on Google Maps. This tool can also provide people with general information about your business, such as the exact location, phone number and working hours. On Google Places, users can also upload pictures and write reviews about your company.

Google Places is incredibly easy to set up. Its also very easy to understand how it works. Let’s say you own a pizza restaurant in New York. A person making a Google search for “pizza restaurant New York” could easily come across your restaurant if you’re registered on Google Places.

Search engine optimization – SEO
This is a way to optimize your website to display more often in the search engine results. Unlike Google Adwords which is a paid service, SEO falls into the “organic search” advertising category. This means that the pages which appear in the search results, do so entirely because of the relevance to the search terms. In other words, if you are listed in the search results, you do not need to pay Google for it.

SEO (search engine optimization) is a process by which you can improve your rankings, which means more free traffic for you. Unlike the other options, SEO is not in itself a tool, but an Internet marketing strategy. Optimizing a website for positive search engine rankings largely depends on search engines’ algorithms, which are liable to frequent changes. In order to optimize a website for SEO, its content and HTML need to be modified to increase relevance (this is known as “on-page SEO”).

Increase your profits by increasing online audience exposure

Any company can benefit from implementing a good marketing strategy. Online marketing is beneficial for both companies doing business online, as well as for more traditional “offline” businesses.

Traditional marketing methods may be considered a “safer tactic” simply because they’ve been around for a lot longer than the Internet. However, many of the variations on traditional marketing still require big budgets to cover an ever decreasing audience and shrinking exposure. On the other hand, the number of people who trust the internet to pick a brand keeps rising.

Online marketing is undoubtedly the best way to go about making your brand well known to potential clients. These days, we have more than enough options for online marketing. However, the perfect strategy is always a mix of the different options that you have deemed appropriate for your business.

It’s on you to choose the right set of online marketing tools and techniques for your company. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to build an effective online presence. Online marketing is definitely worth your time.




The best online store builders with online marketing tools

It’s safe to say we’re a part of the first generation that gets to make the most out of the Internet. One of the many advantages of the Internet is the ability to shop online. But it’s not just that you can do your own shopping online. These days it’s easy for anyone to set up their own shop and sell goods online! This means it is very easy to also have an online business by selling products online. And then if you learn proper online marketing, you can get a lot more customers with your online store than you would ever be able to by running a physical store.

Setting up an online store used to be, and is still considered by some to be a complicated task. Most of us are probably not well acquainted with the crucial elements and the way they function as a part of an online store.

The good news is that the whole concept of running an online business and running an online store is not that complicated. There are special online store builders that can help you can not only understand the process better, but also build your online store in no time.

Most popular online store builders and their online marketing capabilities

The advantages of having an online store over having a physical retail store are too many to count. However, that doesn’t mean that running an online business is easy. You should put just as much thought and effort into setting up your online store as you would with a regular retail store.

Online store builders are meant to be all-in-one systems that are supposed to provide you with everything you need to set up an online store. However, not all online store builders are created equal. The differences between various online store builders vary based on the services and features offered, their versatility, quality and ease of use.

Take a look at some of the most widely used online store builders and the features offered.



Weebly

Weebly was founded in 2006 and in 2007 it was selected for the winter startup program of the Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. As reported in 2012, Weebly hosts over 20 million websites. Starting off as a simple website creator, Weebly now stands behind not just e-stores and personal pages, but many other types of websites, too.

Main features: Weebly’s website creator is most of all known for its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a good range of elements you can use in creating a website. And these elements are presented to you as part of the Weebly drag-and-drop website builder. This means that you do not need any specialized knowledge to set up an online store with Weebly. Just drag and drop until you like what you get.

Online marketing: Weebly enables you to set up all of the basic SEO functions for each of your website’s pages. There’s also a website statistics dashboard offered by Weebly, useful for keeping track of page views and unique visitors over a period of time.

Price range: Other than the option to build a website for free, Weebly offers three premium plans. The following prices are valid for a six month plan, but there are bigger discounts for the one year and two year plans.

  • Starter Plan – $4.83 per month;
  • Pro Plan – $9.83 per month;
  • Business Plan – $29.00 per month.



GoDaddy

Primarily a company that specializes in web hosting and domain registrations, GoDaddy was founded in 1997 and currently manages over 58 million domains. GoDaddy offers a multitude of products and services, from domains and hosting, to email and marketing tools, and even website creators.

Main features: This company has been in the game long enough to know how to keep customers. The GoDaddy website builder has a sleek and intuitive design, offering a wide choice of free website templates. You can easily customize the look and feel of your website, and GoDaddy will automatically optimize it for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Online marketing: GoDaddy has a very handy SEO wizard that enables you to take control of all areas of search optimization. A minor flaw is that GoDaddy doesn’t let search engines index pictures. Other than that, GoDaddy also has a separate SEO service that you can incorporate into your plan, starting at $2.69 per month.

Price range: Godaddy does not offer a free trial period, but they do have a refund period of up to 45 days for their annual plans and 48 hours for their monthly plans. They have three plans to choose from.

  • Personal Plan – $5.99 per month;
  • Business Plan – $9.99 per month;
  • Business Plus Plan – $14.99 per month.



Shopify

Founded in 2004, Shopify was based on software originally intended for the creators’ own online store. Shopify has reported that there are over 120,000 users of their platform, making it one of the fastest growing online store builders.

Main features: A bit more diverse than its competition, Shopify offers both an e-commerce platform and a point-of-sale software. Businesses using Shopify can accept Paypal or Bitcoin payments.

Online Marketing: Shopify offers built-in SEO features as well as advanced e-commerce analytics. You can have full reports about details and statistics on how many people find your website and how they find it.

Price range: Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period. After your trial period is over, Shopify has four plans if you want to continue building your store with them.

  • Starter Plan – $14 per month;
  • Basic Plan – $29 per month;
  • Professional Plan – $79 per month;
  • Unlimited Plan – $179 per month.



Wix

Wix is a freemium web development platform, so users can create basic websites for free. However, users must have a premium packages to remove ads, add e-commerce capabilities, connect their websites to their personal domain and so on.

Main features: Primarily a website creator, Wix gives users complete freedom in creating their online store the way they want it. Their drag and drop tools make it incredibly easy to create your own store. There is also a special mobile editor for adjusting Wix sites for mobile viewing.

Online marketing: With the ShoutOut application by Wix, you can easily send newsletters, but that on its own, is not enough for doing marketing. You can set up the basic SEO tags, but there is also the option of looking up additional SEO tools on the Wix App Market.

Price range: Despite being one of the leaders in the website building field, Wix has just one website plan that includes a shopping cart and is suitable to running an online business.

  • Yearly eCommerce Plan – $16.17 per month;
  • Monthly eCommerce Plan – $19.90 per month.




Google Glass Patent will Revolutionize Advertising

google patent imageGoogle, like many companies, invent and patent new technologies and purchase others patents. The patent discussed below is entitled Gaze Tracking System and is patent #8,510,166. They also purchased related patents as well. Links to relevant articles and the patent itself are below.

As a computer science major, programmer, and a patent attorney, I used to write and prosecute these types of method patents. As an entrepreneur that used to have a banner and email network, I particularly like this patent and the implied uses. Check out the first claim, if you read just what I bolded below it may be easier to understand.

1. A method comprising:

receiving scene images from a head mounted gaze tracking device capturing external scenes viewed by a user wearing the head mounted device, the scene images received at a server via a network;

receiving gaze direction information from the head mounted gaze tracking device along with the scene images, the gaze direction information indicating where in the external scenes the user was gazing when viewing the external scenes, the gaze direction information received at the server via the network;

executing an image recognition algorithm on the scene images to identify items within the external scenes viewed by the user;

generating a gazing log tracking the identified items viewed by the user;

performing latent pre-searches on at least a portion of the items viewed by the user to generate latent search results, wherein the latent pre-searches are automatically triggered while the associated items are in the user’s peripheral view and without affirmative requests on a per search basis by the user; and

caching the latent search results.

It sounds like they will determining what you are looking at, save that information, and then display advertisements based on what you are looking at.

Capture Your Emotional State and Advertise to You!

This is great stuff, the kind of things that advertisers dream of. Take a look at this diagram and the process they describe. They intend to receive pupil dilation information from the glasses. Then they will infer your emotional state while you view things. They will then store your emotional state and store what you were looking at.

patent image 5b

What does this mean?

Over 13 years ago I had a company and we had email lists of individuals interested (they opted in) in various topics. For instance they may have opted in to receive deals and information about sports, or business, health, and many other topics. We knew how many emails they received, in some cases whether they opened them or not, and whether they clicked on links. Therefore we were able to gauge a persons interest in certain types of advertisements on many different levels. There is what they say they are interested in, such as sports. Then there is their behavior such as clicking a sports related link, or a link related to something else. Often times behavior is very different than what someone says.

That is where this patent becomes so interesting. Imagine if an advertiser could say the following and advertise only to this subset of people. “Google, I would like to give an advertisement to everyone who looks at a red convertible car and they like the red convertible car, or even better if Ford says I want to show an advertisement to everyone that likes a red convertible Mustang as it drives by.”

EXAMPLE 1:
The google glass process identifies that person 1 sees a red convertible Mustang but based on pupil dilation it is determined they do not like it, therefore no advertisement is shown. But person 2 that sees the car is shown an advertisement for a local Ford dealership showing a red convertible Mustang and lease terms, as well as the fact that the dealership is only .6 miles away and has a deal for this weekend only.

EXAMPLE 2:
A person wearing the glasses sees a red mustang convertible and their pupil dilation shows they like it, then Chevy shows a red convertible Camaro with lease terms at a local dealership.

Honestly, the list goes on and on.

* the examples above are my own interpretation of how it may be used, I could be completely wrong

Purchasing Related Patents

Per the Reuters article Google has purchased additional related patents to protect their advertising. “Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry said it sold Google Inc part of a patent portfolio involving the superimposition of virtual images on real-world photos.”

Revolutionizing Advertising

Assuming there is a large enough group of people wearing google glass or related technologies, this type of “right ad at the right time” could be just that much more effective.


References and Good Articles
U.S. PTO: Patent # 8,510,166
Google Patent Search: Patent # 8,510,166
Reuters: Google buys patents on virtual image technology from Hon Hai
NY Times: How Pay-Per-Gaze Advertising Could Work With Google Glass

75 Million New Facebook Fans

I read an article in the Compete blog and found the numbers fascinating. If you are not familiar with Compete it is a website audience measurement company. Many think of Quantcast, Compete, and Comscore to be in the same industry, with the same service offerings however their services, cost and methodologies vary between them. That aside the full article can be found here at the Compete blog. In the month of January Facebook had approximately 127 Million unique visitors. Of those visitors 58.9% became a fan of at least one page in January alone. That is a total of over 75 million people. Incredible.

If you have ever thought about the viability of creating a Facebook fan page those numbers should get your attention. A Facebook fan page is free so getting started has a very low barrier to entry. Of course like anything else it becomes a marketing game to get people to like your page. Obviously you need good content and a reason for those individuals to be ‘fans’ you can see the potential audience size is enormous. Once you have created a fan page you can cross market it with your website or blog. Here is an article with step by step instructions to insert a Facebook Widget onto your site. Now go get just 1% of that 75 million people (I had to say that, it’s a common funding phrase for those seeking venture capital to say they just want 1% of a huge market, haha, I guess the joke was just for me).


BIG Blogging Contest

Last year we talked about the Blog Contest organized by the ComLUV Network. This year it is better than ever. The organizers are the ComLUV Network, FamousBloggers, iBlogZone, and MyBlogGuest for the contest. There are many sponsors that have donated and support the contest (disclaimer, we are one of them). You can win cash prizes and they, as of the writing of this post, just over $4,000 in prizes. The contest is to write an article about “Traffic Generation” and submit it.

How to Enter the Contest
To enter the contest read about the contest, the rules, and how to enter here at The Big blogging contest of 2011. You may already be creating articles and content, why not give this contest a shot, it also helps market your own site. And the ComLuv plugin and community are excellent. Take a look.