In a time where people are becoming savvier, what may have worked 2 years ago, isn’t always effective today.   For example, in the “good old days” (about 18-24 months ago,) when it came to search, most people relied on Google.  If someone was searching for your product or service, they would go to Google, type in what they were looking for, and either find your product or service—or not.   rubik cubeBut now, the market has shifted. Google isn’t the only thing people use anymore.   In fact, Stathunter just revealed that for the first time Google dropped below the 75 percent mark for search marketshare. And now that Yahoo is the default search engine for Firefox, they are gaining even more marketshare, growing three times in the past three months. So while Google is still King, Bing and Yahoo now make up just over 26 percent of the search market.   This does not even factor in things such as social media marketing which has become a hot trend to add to the mix, especially Facebook marketing.   So the truth of the matter is that the search marketing environment has evolved and converged. The relationship between marketers and consumers has become more complex.   I will say that one place Google still reigns supreme is when it comes to emergencies and impulse buys. For instance, when your kitchen sink is backed up and you need to find a plumber, Google is people’s #1 go-to source.   Google paid search can also increase impulse buys. For instance, including reminders of specific holidays such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day or showcasing deals relating to your consumers’ search results can trigger fast purchases.   However, in the current market, most businesses can’t rely on emergencies and impulse buying purchases alone.   So if your business typically experiences a longer buying cycle or your customers typically do more research, then to get the sale, you need more than just Google search. You need additional communication touch points across multiple channels that can be seen on multiple devices.   In fact, according to Google’s ZMOT, “the average consumer engages with 18.2 pieces of online content before making a final purchasing decision.” And Marin Software predicts that 50% of Google searches will be done on mobile devices by December of this year.   I’m witnessing this happen with my clients too. For example, one of my clients used to kill it with PPC on Google only.  When his results started to decline using methods that had always pulled well, we began testing some new marketing for him.  

Your New Winning Strategy

What I found was that using a combination of strategies that included PPC, remarketing, display ads, Facebook ads, Youtbe ads and Bing ads did the trick. We also made sure that his ads could be viewed on mobile devices, desktop computers, and tablets. This new combination out pulled his former model.   For your business, it might be that you need PPC, remarketing, direct mail, Youtube and Facebook.  I can’t say for sure within the space of this article as it depends on your target market, the length of a typical sales cycle, and a number of other factors. But what I can say for sure is that the market has changed and it requires a more sophisticated marketing strategy if you want to cut through the noise and get the best return.  

Three Key Takeaways You Can Use In Your Business Right Now:

  1. It is no longer enough to rely on a single channel for all your marketing. You must diversify and combine multiple marketing channels if you want to stay on top.
  2. Examining your target audience, their behavior patterns and preferred marketing channels, will help determine which marketing channels you should test first.
  3. Your ads and content must be mobile, tablet, AND desktop friendly as consumers are doing research and making buying decisions across multiple devices.
Standing still and continuing to market in the same way you have been is dangerous. Keep up with what is working and what isn’t. Test new strategies. And keep your marketing a moving target so you’ll never be left behind.   If your marketing isn’t pulling what it used to or if you want to avoid a decline, contact me for a free consultation. I can help you determine what is working for your particular product or service and target market and help you decide what to test first.   Here’s to your online success!   Yours Truly,   Eric
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 | Posted by | Categories: Facebook, local marketing, Other - Advertising & Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Small Business, Social media |

I admit, I’m an addict!

23 September 2016

1.5 years of Email Dopamine Addiction

8 Productivity Habits

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I have an addiction that cost at least 18 months of my life… This was not an addiction with drugs or alcohol, and in-comparison the ‘high’ was mundane, just avoiding life and responsibility. Months went by, lost to an addictive and bitter procrastination. Nobody was worried, on the surface I looked busy and hard working, yet around me life passed me by while I was infused in a dopamine haze. I’m a recovering addict to email, Skype, Facebook and so many little fun distractions online.

My First Step to Recovery

I lost about 1.5yrs of my life to email and chat. And then one day I read something which said turn off all auto-checking of email and IM notifications so that you won’t get disturbed when you have work to do. I felt pretty dumb having spent the last couple of years doing the opposite, allowing myself to be constantly interrupted. After I made that little change things began to get better. That’s when I realized I had an addiction. Even without the auto-alerts I found myself constantly being drawn in to see the latest unimportant message I had received. Email, Facebook, and Skype are still dopamine inducing distractions I still battle with today. I have to put a lot of things in place, and worked hard to break these destructive habits with better ones. It’s why I have these unsociable bastard rules in my work environment and I can be difficult to get hold of. I’m a bit like an alcoholic who can’t go to a bar because he’ll relapse. I’ve literally persuaded myself through and through that email ruins my life. But like any addict that knows the dangers, I’m still tempted every day.

The Shocking Reality

Think about it… Brain scans have shown dopamine releases when we get email, get a ‘like’ on Facebook, or a new message on Skype. That sucks us in, and then we develop dependency and muscle memory. Ever find yourself typing in Facebook, or loading up Skype without thinking about it? That’s muscle memory driven by a desire for a little more communication crack. Just like injecting refined heroin into your veins, the brain is not engineered to efficiently make use of the internet. The brain is just overwhelmed and on an incredible crazy binge. The internet is Vegas for brains – a place of over-consumption, indulgence and an electric environment that leaves you forgetting the real life. But at some point you have to leave Vegas and sober up… Like with any addiction its incredibly important to recognize its a problem. One that can ruin your life. It ruined mine for 18 months, and the recovery has been hard and a constant battle with my over-excited neurons gunning for another Facebook hit, a little Skype injection and a puff of email. The crack communication addiction does not make you ‘connected’. You’ve just unplugged yourself from what is really important in life. You’ll find days lost, weeks fade away, and months disappear as you spend your time in endless chat and noise from distant but loud voices all around the internet. You’ll persuade yourself that these online conversations and all the time you spend on them are very important, until they takeover and you the real important tasks get long forgotten. It’s called the web because its where you can get trapped. Don’t be the fly, be a winner… For most people these potentially powerful communication tools just become a distraction trap – and ultimately services like Gmail, Facebook and Skype are designed to distract you, because the more you use them, the more money they make. It takes a disciplined and sophisticated mind to orientate and grapple through the web’s vast expanse to find the true hidden gold that can enrich our lives, while blocking out the dirty noise. Bear in mind that we have built-in weaknesses that allow us to be distracted and exploited online. Our brains were never designed to handle this situation and we’re vulnerable. Companies like Facebook mathematically test the most effective way to get you hooked. You are up against some of the smartest minds on the planet that continually test what keeps you staying longer and coming back for more. But you can reclaim your brain and be more productive, get over the tipping point faster, and gain true achievements that can make you happy, rather than be cheated with cheap Facebook and email dopamine hits.

8 Tips & Habits for Better Online Productivity…

  1. Turn of all auto-notifications of Email, Skype and Facebook that you can. If something pops-up you can see, Google how to turn it off. I never see or here any alert, ping, number or pop-up when I get a message from anyone.
  2. Auto-delete/archive ALL email from Facebook apart from notifications of new messages using rules.
  3. Reply to messages from Facebook in your email, so you don’t have to log into a site that makes money by distracting you as much as possible.
  4. Only give your phone or Skype to a very small number of higher level employees and be very strict that instant messaging and phone calls is ONLY for something urgent – and define what urgent is. Don’t see this as a way to alienate your staff, they can still contact you via email so you can manage your time, and work on what is important without distraction.
  5. Never start your day by checking email, facebook or Skype. It can wait while you spend at least an hour working on something important.
  6. If you do have urgent things that come in via email that you MUST look at, set up a separate priority email account, and give it out to only those that will need to contact you urgently.
  7. My first breakthrough with email came to me after I was forced not to check email for 2 weeks while on vacation with an unexpected lack of internet, and everything turned out fine. I realized I had been wasting my time checking email multiple times a day. Be strikingly honest about if you really need to go on email, Facebook, Skype or your preferred distraction so often. Give it up for 1 day and see what happen- were you more productive? Try it for 7 days just to see what happens, discover your limits and be challenged by a new way of doing things that can potentially lead to a breakthrough.
  8. If there’s a site you keep finding yourself on, or typing without realizing, and/or you are having trouble controlling your addition then blocking sites and tracking your time will help. Check out Rescue Time.
Do you have an email or social media addiction? Tell me below…
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 | Posted by | Categories: Other - Computers, Other - Internet, Small Business | Tagged: |
Top 5 Facebook Marketing Best Practices for your Business greenlotus.ca3/23/13   Facebook is a rapidly growing medium, and businesses are beginning to take advantage of the marketing potential inherent in social media platforms. Facebook marketing for your business can be very effective, when done right! An analysis of Facebook statistics demonstrate interesting user trends, and provide a foundation upon which to implement Facebook marketing initiatives, and maximize on return on investment.  

Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:

Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:

  1. Call-to-Action: Include a Call-to-Action in Facebook posts/updates and invite your target audience to engage, comment, like or link to your content. Increased social engagement will not only help develop your social reach and online credibility, but also improve your search engine result ranking.
  2. Image: Include a photo with your post/update and increase the likelihood of social engagement (likes, comments, links, etc). Stick to short posts and updates of 80-100 characters in length.
  3. Engaging Content: Write about timely topics that are of interest to your target audience. Ensure that Facebook posts/updates occur consistently throughout the month, and provide fresh, original, relevant and engaging content that readers will engage with and share with their own social networks.Use an active voice in your Facebook posts/updates, and either a positive or negative tone to trigger engagement with your audience. Be original, strike a chord with your audience, and elicit engagement.
  4. Timing: Morning posts/updates gain more social engagement than posts made later in the day. Peek Facebook activity occurs early in the morning, at noon, in the evenings and on weekends (ie: off-work hours). Facebook posts made at 9am gain the most social traction throughout the day, compared to posts made in the afternoon.Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the most active days on Facebook, for sharing information. Most B2B and B2C marketing occurs during the week, and it is important to note that weekend posts might be more effective!
  5. Frequency: Facebook updates and posts should be scheduled once every other day. This frequency (and consistency) enables updates/posts to remain visible in the Facebook ‘news feed’ at optimal times of day (and is not too frequent to be bothersome to your audience).
Have a look at some Facebook Statistics, and draw your own conclusions: facebook1 Most (40%) Facebook ‘shares’ occur on Saturday (followed by Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Posting updates on Saturdays ensures optimal reach because of increased user engagement, and less competing social clutter. Most Facebook shares occur before work hours (starting at 8am), peeks at noon (11-12pm), and again at 6-8pm; times when individuals have the ability to access their social networks, at their leisure. Articles posted at 9am tend to be shared more on Facebook than articles published at any other time. Photos perform the best on Facebook, and receive on average more shares, likes and comments. There are notable differences in the performance of text and video comments. Posts that are either very short (80-100 characters) or very long (780-800 characters) receive the most likes on Facebook. Posts written in a neutral voice/tone receive fewer Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ than posts that are either very positive or very negative. Readers are attracted to the extremes, and are more likely to engage and comment. (based on data by Dan Zarrella and Hubspot)

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 | Posted by | Categories: Facebook, local marketing, Small Business, Social media | Tagged: , |

What about Pinterest?

26 February 2014

Can Local Businesses Jump On The Pinterest Train?

May 29, 2012 at 11:54am ET by 

It’s the ‘new’ social network everyone is talking about – and if you’re a local business owner, it could be a strong addition to your online marketing strategy.

For the past few years, marketers have stressed the need for local businesses to leverage social networks like Facebook and Twitter to drive engagement with existing and potential customers. Now Pinterest, the visual scrapbook network that allows users to “pin” images and video they want to share from across the web, is becoming part of the conversation for a number of reasons:
  • Unprecedented user growth. In March, Pinterest had nearly 19 million users, according to comScore, and is one of the fastest-growing standalone sites ever.
  • High usage. Pinterest users spent an average of 89 minutes on the site in January, far surpassing Twitter and LinkedIn and second only to Facebook, according to comScore.
  • Young, female, relationship-centered demographic. While women make up 65% of Pinterest users, they represent 84% of both minutes spent on the site and pageviews, according to comScore. The firm also found that the average pinner is 32-years-old and a strong majority are married or in a relationship.
  • Defined interests. Pinterest users have clearly defined interests in creative and visual categories like jewelry, clothing, furniture, photography and other lifestyle and vintage goods.
  • Unlimited future opportunities. Just this month, Pinterest raised $100 million from a group led by Japanese online retailer Rakuten, indicating that investors see big possibilities for the site and its ability to capture advertisers and consumers alike.
Most importantly for your local business, Pinterest is already becoming a notable player in social commerce. Shopify recently released an infographic from results of a study that analyzed data from more than 25,000 of its online stores. The study found that referral traffic from Pinterest is now equal to that of Twitter. The study also indicated that shoppers referred from Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than those from other social networking sites. Businesses of all sizes are certainly recognizing the opportunity. National brands like Coca-Cola and Neiman-Marcus are jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon, and The Wall Street Journalrecently profiled several small business owners across the country who said they are experiencing notable jumps in website traffic and online revenues being driven by referral traffic from Pinterest. So what should your local business be doing to increase visibility and generate sales on Pinterest?

1.  Determine If Pinterest Is Right For Your Business

There are several key factors to consider when deciding if Pinterest will work well for your local business:
  • Do visuals play a key role in your products or services? If your business sells jewelry or art, prepares gourmet meals, landscapes beautiful lawns, or remodels kitchens, Pinterest may be an ideal place to engage your target consumer with photos and videos highlighting your products, past work, customer testimonials, and other content. If you’re a lawyer or an accountant, Pinterest is probably not the best place to dedicate your marketing resources.
  • Do your visuals link to products and services featured on your website? One of the major benefits of Pinterest is that users can follow links to business websites where they can move forward with online purchases, call in an order for pickup / local delivery or find the address to nearby locations.
  • Does your business cater to women? As the statistics above indicate, women represent the majority of traffic on the site.
  • Are you prepared to dedicate the time and resources necessary to make Pinterest a success? This involves preparing new and original content and engaging with other users on a daily or near-daily basis – in addition to moving forward with your other online and social media efforts. 

2. Ensure Pinterest Is Set Up In Ways That Maximize Your Presence

Setting up an account on Pinterest is easy (once you’re sent an invitation to join, which typically doesn’t take too long), but taking the right steps to reach your target audience requires some additional effort:
  • In the “About” section, add descriptive keywords about your business and its location.
  • Add your website URL to your profile and link your account to your Facebook and Twitter channels to further the reach of your content.
  • Add the Pinterest “follow” button to your website and “PinIt” buttons to each product and service page featured on your website.
  • Create individual boards on your profile with easy-to-identify names that highlight specific product and services. For example, if you sell women’s shoes, create boards with names like “Boots,” “Evening,” “Sandals.” Also create boards that promote discounts: “Under $50” or “On Sale.”
  • On each board, pin images and videos featured on your website. Use descriptive language in each pin and make sure to include prices where applicable (according to Shopify, pins with prices receive 36% more likes than those without). Users that like a specific product or service featured in a pin can easily click the image or video to see the offering on your website.
  • Don’t use your boards to just promote your own content. Regularly pin other relevant content that you think your followers will enjoy, even if you don’t sell it. Also take the opportunity to showcase images with advice and tips – for example, how to wear a scarf or a belt – so that users begin to see your brand as a resource.

3.  Engage The Pinterest Community

There are numerous ways to participate in the Pinterest community and increase visibility for your business in the process:
  • Follow like-minded businesses in your area, local community influencers, and even your own customers so that they know you’re interested in their content, but also so you can monitor and react to what they’re sharing.
  • Comment, like, and re-pin content to generate a positive conversation about topics you and your followers care about.
  • Host contests to generate activity for your Pinterest profile and attract more eyeballs for your products and services.

4.  Remain Active & Integrate Activities Into Larger Social Media Plan

It’s important to remember that your business’ Pinterest presence will only be successful if you dedicate time and resources to updating content and engaging with other users. If you choose to engage on Pinterest, update it with the same priority as you would pick up a call to your store or stock your shelves. Also take the time to review what content your followers enjoy most and what specifically drives increased traffic to your website and in the end, generates greater sales.
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  Here’s an article about it:  

Google Places is Out, Replaced By Google Plus Local

PR Web Perth, Western Australia (PRWEB) May 31, 2012 Oracle Digital, one of the top SEO companies in the country, has announced that it has added new modifications to its inventory of products and services, in order to adjust to the recent changes done by giant internet company – Google. In its latest move, Google has updated its numerous Google+ features and has replaced Google Places in the process. And according to numerous industry experts, this change, alongside Google’s Penguin algorithm and Knowledge Graph – will bring in some big changes that online businesses and internet marketers will have to take heed of. Studies of the new Google+ modification has shown that Google+ Local pages will now appear in the area where Google Places used to appear when search results were shown. And according to Google’s Marissa Mayer – the company has already replaced 80 million Google Places pages with Google+ Local pages, and many more replacements are expected within the next few days. In addition, the giant internet company has also tweaked its review system, with the replacement of its traditional 5-star rating system with Zagat 30-point rating scale. Google has also made the Zagat reviews more in depth by adding subsections on the review process, such as service, atmosphere and the like. Industry experts and analysts likewise report that there are other advantages to the new Google+ Local pages, such as its integration with other Google features – like Google Properties, Maps, Mobile, Search and other features. Additionally, its integration with Google+ “Circles” is also expected to make user find recommendations done by family, friends, colleagues and other connections, making reviews more honest and accurate – and minimising the existence of false reviews. Regarding search engine optimisation, SEO experts are saying that because Google+ Local pages (unlike Google Places) is actually indexed by Google – this makes optimisation easier for those who are looking for more traffic, better search engine rankings and more customers in the long run. Concurrently, since a user’s Google Places page is converted into a Google+ Page automatically – it can likewise be considered as an excellent tool to enter into internet marketing and social media marketing campaigns as well. And according to experts, this opportunity must be maximised accordingly if one wants to earn even more in the end. This opinion of experts is similarly viewed by Oracle Digital’s Director of Operations, Clint Maher. He says, “This move to replace Google Places with Google+ Local is an excellent opportunity for business owners who are looking to make more out of their online campaigns. After all, not only does it bring more accurate ratings for businesses, but it will also make your social media marketing campaigns a lot more effective as well. You just need to follow the proper procedures – and everything will follow”. “Although this new interface may seem to be a bit daunting to some, this is not really the case. You just need to make relevant and valuable content – then share it by utilising the right procedures in order to widen your market.    
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Here I`ll discuss what a unique selling proposition (USP) is and why it’s so valuable. You`ll find a step-by-step process for creating a USP that will help you make the most of your marketing and business planning activities. What is a USP? A USP is one of the fundamental pieces of any solid marketing campaign. Simply stated, it’s a summary of what makes your business unique and valuable to your target market. It answers the question: How do your business services benefit your clients better than anyone else can? In my previous post, I suggested replacing your traditional business plan with three key pieces, one of which is your USP. This is because a USP can give a great deal of clarity to your business model, what your company does and why you do it. It can define your business and most important business goals in just a sentence. Successful USPs can be used as a company slogan and should be incorporated into all of your marketing activities. OK, now that we’re clear on what a USP is and why it’s so valuable, let’s start creating one. Step 1: Describe Your Target Audience Before you can even start marketing your services, you need to know who you are targeting. In this step, you want to be as specific as possible. For example, if you are a Web developer with a CMS expertise, instead of targeting anyone who needs helping building or modifying a CMS, you may identify your target client as a small business owner who is looking for a developer well-versed in MODx to customize his/her site. Step 2: Explain the Problem You Solve From your prospective clients’ perspective, what is the individual need or challenge they face that your business can solve for them? Step 3: List the Biggest Distinctive Benefits In this step, list 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client gets from choosing to work with you that they could not get from someone else (i.e., what sets you apart from your competition). Again, thinking from the clients’ perspective, these benefits should explain why your services are important to them and why they would choose you over another provider. Step 4: Define Your Promise A big part of a successful USP is making a pledge to your clients. While this can be implied instead of spelled out in your USP, write down this promise you make to your clients in this step. Step 5: Combine and Rework Once you’ve completed steps 1-4, take all of the information you listed and combine it into one paragraph. There should be some recurring ideas and thoughts, so you’ll want to start merging statements and rewriting in a way that flows and makes sense. Step 6: Cut it Down In this step, take your paragraph from step 5 and condense it even more into just a sentence. You want your final USP to be as specific and simple as possible. Take your time while doing this exercise and do several drafts over the course of a week until you arrive at your final USP. A fresh mind and perspective is essential, so I would recommend doing this at the beginning of your day versus at the end when you are tired. You also may want to come back and do this exercise again, once you try out your USP for a while, or if anything changes with your business. To see what the final result should look like, Wikipedia has some good examples of successful USPs. Do you have a USP? If not, do you think you’ll take time to create one?  
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Make Money with Twitter

9 December 2011
“CHRISTMAS SALE $19.99 LIMITED TIME.Tap Into An Automated Traffic Machine That Will Build Your Lists, Sell Your Products And Grow Your Following In 72 Hours Or Less!" Build targeted mailing lists of SUPER hungry, active buyers! Send out a single broadcast and generate instant cash from EVERY promotion! continue reading »
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 | Posted by | Categories: Small Business |
I am very certain that you must have already heard about Twitter and you must be aware of the massive hype surrounding it these days. Celebrities are riding over the Twitter wave, marketers are flocking over it and more and more people all across the world are using it each passing day. It has enjoyed a huge 1,375% rise in the number of users from Feb 2010 to Feb 2011 and since then it is growing expontentially as more and more people are signing up to Twitter to start using it for the networking purposes. continue reading »
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 | Posted by | Categories: Small Business |

Social Circles the Book

5 December 2011
Download the Social Media Guide to Success eBook (formerly Social Circles) right here. With this edition of Social Media Guide to Success I have added Google+ tips and tricks to enhance your Google+ experience along with the other top social media networks. Now also included is an icon pack that comes with the purchase to use on your website. Learn how to connect the top Social Media networks for a bigger impact with you Social Media campaigns. continue reading »
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How many times have you tried to use social media sites like FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter to increase your traffic and sales to your website but have failed time and time again? Aren’t you frustrated? Wouldn’t you like to once and for all really solve how to tap into the growing potential of these sites so that your business can grow with it as well? A lot of people have searched high and low to find a solution to master social media marketing, but most of the time these solutions simply do not work, and they over-promise and under-deliver. On top of that there is so much information out there, no one is really showing you simple techniques you can use to implement into your own websites to get more traffic and sales. It is like the ones that know how to use social media marketing are keeping it all to themselves! continue reading »
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