When you first heard of Pinterest, it may have been through your friend talking about wedding ideas, or maybe it was a relative who brought a new dish to a family gathering. Pinterest, the widely popular image-based social media platform, is not only for DIYers or brides-to-be, though. Pinterest can be a very powerful tool for businesses to promote their brand on a social network. In fact, statistics show that Pinterest generates more web traffic than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined (Shareaholic's Referral Traffic Report). If you aren't taking advantage of Pinterest in your marketing, here are a few tips to help you create a winning strategy:

Remember SEO. When you open up a Pinterest business account, fill out your profile completely and accurately. Use keywords in your profile, the same way you would do on your website. Make sure you link your other social media accountsFacebook, G+, Twitterto your Pinterest account, and be aware you also have the option to link your Pinterest activity to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Also, use these social media accounts to spread the word that you are on Pinterest to get your followers to find you on another platform.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:15

Why competition is good for business

Most small business owners dread the idea of comparing their brand with their competition. We often see their facial expressions change dramatically when we ask them about their competition during a discovery meeting. While dealing with competition seems challenging and stressful, it is important to understand that competition is actually good for your business. New competitors frequently come and go, but only those who are really savvy, focused and good at what they do will survive the daily race towards winning the trust and loyalty of their customers.

In fact, competition is what drives successful brands. When we're not challenged, we tend to opt for the status quo and do things the way we have always done, which is perhaps the most dangerous way to run a business a straight road to obsolescence and failure. It's important to realize that there's always someone out there who knows better and can do better. This is an uncomfortable reality check that drives us to strive to offer the best products, services and customer experiences we can possibly offer. Let's face it: we live in world of choices. We have multiple choices and/or substitutes for just about any product or service we can possibly think of. All it takes is a simple web search and a world of possibilities is waiting for us at our fingertips. Marketing has never been so sophisticated, and competition has never been this fierce.

Published in The Marketing Edge

According to KISSmetrics, it can cost up to seven times more to acquire new customers than to retain them, which means if you are not working towards keeping long-term relationships with your customers, you are losing money. In fact, customers actually desire a long-term relationship with a branda survey by Responsys showed that nearly three out of four people look for that relationship with a brand that is appreciative of their business. However, your customers don't want to be bombarded with sales pitches and irrelevant information. In fact, Responsys found that 34 percent of the people surveyed say they leave annoying brands. How, then, do you successfully communicate your brand to keep a long-term relationship with your customers without losing them along the way? Here are a few customer retention tips that will help your brand keep in touch without annoying your customers.

Personalize your approach.

Published in The Marketing Edge

Before you begin a social media advertising campaign, it is important to identify the best channels to reach your intended audience and statistics often help determine the preferred social media platform for your target audience. For LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, statistics show that out of its 240 million active users, 79 percent are 35 years or older. LinkedIn usage is also higher among those with a college degree and an income of $75,000+. Since the LinkedIn crowd is older and more professional, it is the perfect platform for business-to-business (B2B) advertising campaigns. Here are a few important options to be aware of when advertising with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn paid ads are simple to set up and require a minimum $10 per day budget. You can choose to pay per click (PPC) or pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM), which should be determined on whether you aim to create awareness or get traffic to your website. Paid ads can be placed in a few different areas on LinkedInprofile pages, home pages, inbox, search results pages and group pagesand can include text and an image, or text only. LinkedIn ads have a fairly standard appearance, which consists of a headline, description and URL of the landing page.  

Published in The Marketing Edge

The Google+ social media platform offers businesses many of the same features as Facebook and other social sites. Through Google+ you can make posts, target your audience (with circles), and update photos and information about your business. Another feature Google+ provides, which is not offered with most social media sites, is the opportunity to broadcast your own live video online to broad or target audiences through Google Hangouts. Here are a few benefits of using Google Hangouts to enhance your business's marketing and working environment.

Choose your audience. Google Hangouts can be broadcasted live, allowing anyone to hear and watch you but giving you the option to select who can participate during the video. These live Hangoutscalled Hangouts on Airare great for promoting products and services, or for sharing your industry knowledge to anyone who is interested. You can also use Hangouts in a private setting, such as holding an online business meeting or collaborating with co-workers when you are out of the office. 

Published in The Marketing Edge

Google offers businesses many powerful tools to help spread and monitor their brand online. Google AdWords is one of those tools, which provides businesses with the opportunity to show up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when certain keywords are searched. Businesses may not know, though, that they can also use AdWords to advertise on websites within the Google Display Network (GDN)and there are many benefits of doing so. If you have a little extra cash in your advertising budget, here are a few reasons why you might want to consider using it to advertise in the Google Display Network. 

Expand your reach

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 22:38

How to Get the Most Out of Google AdWords

Google AdWords can be a very powerful online marketing tool for businesses of any sizeeven those with a limited budget. AdWords allows businesses to create text and display ads for Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) based on their choice of certain keywords, in order to drive more trafficand hopefully create conversionsto their website. Although you only pay for your ad if people click on it, you can easily use up your AdWords budget without a return on investment if you do not have the right strategy. Here are a few pointers to help you create a successful campaign and get the most out of Google AdWords investment.

Determine how people are searching for youor if they are.

Published in The Marketing Edge

Twitter can be an overwhelmingly fast-paced social media platform to use for businessat least at first. For one, you are limited to only 140 characters to get your message across. Then, once your message is finally shortened and sent, it doesn't take long for it to get buried in the sea of other Tweets. Despite some of the barriers that may discourage you from opening or continuing to use your Twitter account, businesses can greatly benefit from the unique features of this highly popular social media platform. Here are a few things to remember when using Twitter for your business:

Get in the habit of tweeting regularly

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:13

Change is inevitable and good for business

Many wonderful things have happened to me personally this year so far, and we're only in the first quarter!  First, I turned 40 years old in January and I feel like a million bucks never felt happier in life. I have joined an exercise group that motivates me and makes me want to take better care of my heath. I also celebrate my daughter's 10th birthday this month, which is a celebration of 10 more years of my own life as well since I almost didn't make it when she was born. I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to see her grow and become the awesome young lady she is!

This year has also brought me some great business opportunities and challenges, which have required me to make some strategic changes in my agency. I am well used to change as I am an immigrant. My family moved to the United States from Brazil when I was 16 years old, and I didn't know how speak English. Once you go through the crash course of change called 'immigration,' you can basically handle any other type of adjustment in life. In fact, I embrace change.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 18:09

Five creative ways to use Instagram video

According to Digiday, nearly half of all mobile traffic now involves online video. Social media platforms are scrambling to keep up with this exploding trend and with the recent addition of video to its popular image-based network, Instagram promises to become a forerunner in the movement.

Instagram currently hosts about 150 million users, uploading over 40 million images every day (DMR). Videos posted to Instagram, however, generate twice as much engagement as photos (Simply Measured).What's more, Instagram integrates easily with Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, so that videos shared on Instagram can potentially reach a much wider audience. All of these facts provide great incentive to look into Instagram's new video feature (if you haven't already) and to start thinking about how you can utilize all that creative potential for your brand.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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