- Online Marketing
SYRACUSE, N.Y., Jan. 30, 2013 — /PRNewswire/ – When contractors need brand and purchase decision-making information, their go-to source is Google, according to the Connecting with Contractors survey from EMA Contractors, a specialty group at Eric Mower + Associates. In the second annual survey, 84% of contractors said they consider search engines to be their top resource, with 39% searching Google before choosing which tools and materials to buy.
“Search engine marketing has been an important part of any contractor marketing program for some time, but our research indicates that it is becoming absolutely critical,” said John O’Hara, EMA partner and leader of EMA Contractors. “With the emergence of social media, some brands have lost focus and aren’t paying enough attention to paid search and website/on-page optimization.”
More than 80% of all contractors surveyed said they turn to the web during the purchase decision-making process. General contractors are using search engines the most (96%), while more than three-quarters (80%) of plumbers, electricians and HVAC specialists use search. Here’s what they search for:
As we embark on the journey called 2013, we have an opportunity to evaluate and evolve how we do business to grow revenue and profits in the coming year. Online marketing represents a tremendous opportunity for growth in 2013, as more business is conducted online now more than ever before. Here are seven online marketing ideas you should embrace to be successful.
1. Ignore your website at your own peril. You’ve put it off long enough; it’s time to get serious about your website. As the endorsed online marketing consultant for a variety of industrial associations, I review hundreds of distribution websites each year. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are just awful. While you may have been able to get away with this in the past, you will not get away with it going forward.
The changing face and needs of your customers, combined with the rise of online technologies in the workplace, have rendered your neglected website inadequate. If you use Google on a daily basis to research products and companies, don’t you think your customers do too? Make it a priority in 2013 to turn your website into a customer-focused sales machine. If you want to see an example of a distributor website that ‘gets it,’ check out www.foodservicewarehouse.com.
2. Abandon ‘megaphone marketing’ tactics. Megaphone marketing is shouting at many with the hopes of attracting a few; 2013 is the year that successful companies will realize that megaphone marketing tactics just don’t work. Examples of megaphone tactics include print advertising, yellow page advertising, directory advertising, untargeted banner advertising, cold calls and mass email blasts. Megaphone marketing tactics no longer work because of a fundamental shift in customer behavior. Customers don’t want to be interrupted and megaphone marketing is an interruption. Customers want to be in control of the information they receive. With megaphone marketing, the company is in control. So, what should you do?
3. Embrace ‘magnet marketing’ tactics. Magnet marketing overcomes the problems of megaphone marketing by putting the customer in control. Magnet marketing helps you get found by customers at the very moment they have a need for your products and services. It allows you to earn trust by providing customers with information they value to attract them to your website to do business. Examples of magnet marketing tactics include content marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and social media marketing.
Not only do magnet marketing tactics generate more leads and sales, but they are also less expensive. According to research, companies that focus on magnet marketing tactics have a 62 percent lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on megaphone marketing tactics.
4. Content marketing is becoming the new advertising. Search engines, blogs, social networking sites and other online platforms offer you a tremendous opportunity to engage directly with customers. However, to get in front of them in the first place, you need great content. In 2013, spend less time focusing on traditional advertising, and spend more time creating great content.
People don’t choose to do business with you just because you offer the right products at the right price. They choose you because you and your team have valuable, specialized knowledge about the applications of your products. Lead with that specialized knowledge in your marketing by writing best practice articles, filming ‘how to’ videos, producing an insightful blog and creating educational guides and whitepapers. By marketing your knowledge instead of just marketing your products, you will create a unique differentiation in the marketplace.
Narrowly focused search-engine terms help HVAC contractors get found online by the readers they’re targeting – qualified-to-buy, local homeowners seeking expert answers to questions about their home-comfort systems. HVAC contractors with an eye toward growth are able to nurture those online connections, turning readers into leads into customers. They’re also able to use their blogs to enhance their position as their area’s industry leader.
But what’s a search term? And what does it have to do with selling heat pumps or air conditioned systems?
“Search terms” are the words and phrases Web users type into Google and other search engines to find information. For HVAC contractors capitalizing on the web’s power to reach customers by providing useful online content, search terms make the difference between being found online – by the right people — and being overlooked. Good search terms, along with other search-engine optimization techniques, can land your web pages near the top of web searchers’ results.
Just think about your own behavior using search engines. Consumers type in longer and more specific questions to their problems today. So, be specific with your search term focus and you’ll have a better opportunity of getting in front of the right customers looking for your help.
Some tips for crafting effective HVAC contractor search terms:
Make them precise. Consider a hypothetical customer: a homeowner who wants to cut his energy bills. He knows that if he does a Google search for “energy,” he will receive more than a million hits – and he’ll have to sift through a few hundred before finding anything close to what he’s looking for. So he enters “tips for saving energy” and receives far fewer results — but they’re results that promise the information he needs. Better yet, he enters “tips for saving energy” along with his hometown – and finds what he needs from his local HVAC contractor.
That narrow focus serves HVAC bloggers as well as readers. While a specific phrase might deliver your post to fewer searchers, it delivers it to the right people – those who are seeking that specific information and are therefore more likely to seek more information and become customers.
GitHub: Software description: a software to manage books in the computer (C#). →
CHICAGO, May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Study Finds Customization Vital to Effective Marketing and Business Growth
Restaurants use online and email marketing to provide consumers the personalized offers they prefer, according to new research by the National Restaurant Association released today. The research found that electronic marketing channels complement traditional and offline channels as part of a successful marketing mix. Funded by an unrestricted research grant by LivingSocial, the study analyzed current marketing practices employed by restaurant operators and consumer perceptions of a range of marketing tools.
“Finding the right marketing mix is crucial to success in the restaurant industry,” said James Balda, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the National Restaurant Association. “Our new research outlines the challenges and opportunities of both offline and online marketing to help restaurant operators find the ‘sweet spot’ for promotions by identifying what consumers respond to and how various messaging vehicles are perceived.”
Key findings of the new research include:
Online marketing can elevate a restaurant’s brand and attract new customers
Restaurants that use online marketing (emails from restaurants, emails from a daily deal provider, and websites) tend to be viewed by consumers as modern (67 percent emails, 59 percent daily deals, 65 percent websites) and popular (63 percent, 59 percent, 63 percent). Restaurant operators perceive websites (90 percent), TV ads (87 percent), social media (84 percent), restaurant emails (82 percent), and daily deals (77 percent) as effective in bringing in new customers.
Customized marketing messages that address a consumer’s preferences result in more sales
Consumers and operators agree on the importance of savings in customized messaging.
87 percent of consumers would go to or order from a restaurant if provided with a savings offer.
95 percent of operators perceive savings offers to be an effective marketing tool.
Consumers would go to or order from a restaurant if they received customized marketing messages that referenced past restaurant patronage (68 percent), allowed them to make reservations (66 percent), and identified them by name (64 percent).
Restaurants understand what marketing tools work; they just need to implement them
84 percent of restaurant operators consider restaurant-specific marketing emails to be effective in increasing revenue for their restaurants, and 78 percent of consumers said an email from a restaurant would motivate them to go to that restaurant. In addition, 63 percent of restaurant operators say they plan to use such emails in the next year.
78 percent of restaurant operators consider daily deals to be effective in increasing revenue for their restaurants, and 69 percent of consumers said an email from a daily deal provider would motivate them to go to the restaurant featured in the daily deal. In addition, 40 percent of operators say they plan to work with a daily deal provider in the next year.
Consumers are very sensitive to social media and Internet advertising
Consumers perceive the least effective efforts to entice them to go to a restaurant include online advertisements (58 percent), social media (56 percent), and radio ads (56 percent).
“Many restaurant owners feel overwhelmed by the wide range of marketing options available to them,” said Mandy Cole, SVP of Sales, LivingSocial. “We partnered with the National Restaurant Association to conduct this study to see which tools are most effective at increasing revenue and improving business for restaurants. Working together with our thousands of restaurant partners, we look forward to turning these findings into actionable steps to help restaurants improve their marketing efforts.”
Full results are scheduled for release today, May 7, at the 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago, Ill. The session, “Myths vs. Facts: How Online Marketing Can Benefit Your Restaurant’s Bottom Line” will be held from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. in room S402A. For more information and to review the full findings, please visit .
The study is based on an online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,064 adults in February 2012, and telephone interviews with 425 restaurant owners and operators nationwide in February-March 2012.
GitHub: Software description: a software to manage books in the computer (C#). →
WASHINGTON — Twitter didn’t exist the last time the Federal Trade Commission seriously checked out alcohol advertising, back in the last decade.
Now, some 175 million tweets fly daily across the micro-messaging site, including an increasing number from wine, beer and liquor companies seeking market buzz. It’s part of a new media frontier, which federal regulators are about to explore.
In an ambitious venture, the Federal Trade Commission is requiring 14 major alcoholic beverage producers to release information about their Internet and digital marketing efforts. The parent companies for storied wineries including Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi and Beaulieu Vineyard, as well as the likes of Anheuser-Busch and Bacardi, are all being tapped for precious data likely to shape future advertising rules.
“The industry is innovating quickly,” Johns Hopkins University public health specialist David Jernigan said in an interview Tuesday, while “the pace of regulation and monitoring” has lagged.
Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, Jernigan said the new study “can shine a bright light” on industry marketing that’s rapidly evolving to exploit new technologies. Once completed, probably next year, the study will guide Federal Trade Commission recommendations on how the alcohol industry should regulate itself both on- and offline.
“We as an industry have always been up front about our practices,” Larry Kass, director of corporate communications for the Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, said Tuesday.
The last study of this kind, completed in 2008, compiled alcohol marketing data for 2005. That year, 42 percent of the surveyed companies’ $3.3 billion in marketing expenditures went for traditional media such as television, radio, print and outdoor billboards. Only 1.9 percent covered Internet efforts.
It was a different time, though. In 2005, Twitter was still months away from being launched. YouTube had just debuted, and Facebook was barely a year old. Since then, some companies have really bellied up to the social media bar.
“They’re everywhere. They’re blanketing online,” said Sarah Mart, research director for the San Rafael, Calif.-based group Alcohol Justice, an advocacy group that criticizes what it calls the alcohol industry’s “negative practices.”
The makers of Southern Comfort, for one, several years ago diverted most of their marketing efforts to social media and away from traditional advertising. Bacardi, Jernigan’s research found, has at least seven Facebook pages that together claim some 1.7 million fans. Kendall-Jackson offers online video interviews with winemaker Jess Jackson. Captain Morgan Rum promotes a video game app for iPhones.
“Fearless adventurers battle friends and rivals in the true spirit of the legendary Captain Henry Morgan,” the game’s introduction states, adding that one should “raise your glass, always in moderation.”
Other companies are still finding their virtual way.
Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co., for instance, is one of the firms being surveyed by the trade commission. But though it has had a Twitter account for 13 months, the @mhl Twitter address has trickled out only 139 tweets for a scant 77 followers as of Tuesday. Other companies, meanwhile, can sound so excruciatingly straight-arrow that boosting sales seems secondary to seeming responsible.
“Earth Week Tip,” the makers of Miller’s and Coors beers tweeted last month. “Bring your own bags to the grocery store.”
The trade commission’s marketing survey went to some of the largest companies that represent myriad individual labels, such as Diageo PLC and the New York-based Constellation Brands. California-based E&J Gallo Winery, the world’s largest family-owned winery, is not being surveyed.
Wikipedia: The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act. →
Moving to the forefront of social media privacy law nationwide, the Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation prohibiting employers in the state from asking current and prospective employees for their user names and passwords to websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
If Gov. Martin O’Malley signs the bill — his office said it was one of hundreds of bills it has yet to review — the bill would make Maryland the first state in the nation to set such a restriction into law. Other states are considering similar legislation, including Illinois and California.
The bill, drafted in response to a state agency’s scouring the personal Facebook posts of prison guard applicants, also could be a bellwether for federal action. Two U.S. senators — Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, both Democrats — have asked the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the issue.
“Right now we protect our physical homes, but it’s my thought that we need to protect our digital homes,” said Bradley Shear, a Bethesda social media attorney who advised state legislators on drafting of the bill. Shear said federal law is indeed needed to address the problem because “the Internet knows no bounds.”
But while Facebook criticized the practice of employers viewing employees’ personal accounts and civil libertarians hailed the state legislation, business groups including the Maryland Chamber of Commerce pointed out that there may be instances when an employer needs to access such accounts. Some employers say that what potential hires post on social media pages could provide useful information to weed out unwanted candidates.
The bill in Maryland passed unanimously in the Senate and by a wide margin in the House of Delegates last week, and lawmakers successfully reconciled the bills before the legislative session ended Monday at midnight.
Del. Shawn Tarrant, a Democrat from Baltimore City who was one of the bill’s lead sponsors in the House, called the practice of employers asking for employees’ passwords “ridiculous,” and compared it to employers’ eavesdropping on private phone conversations.
“No one has the right to know what they’re talking about,” Tarrant said.
“We just think this is a really positive development,” said Melissa Goemann, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland’s legislative director, “because the technology for social media is expanding every year, and we think this sets a really good precedent for limiting how much your privacy can be exposed when you use these mediums.”
The state’s ACLU chapter initially raised concerns about employers’ demanding personal social media passwords when it took up the case of corrections officer Robert Collins, who contacted the chapter after being asked for his Facebook password in a re-certification interview with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Goemann said.
“Collins felt he had no choice but to provide his password, even though he knew it was not right, because he needed the job to support his family,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Collins had to sit there while the [interviewer] logged on to his Facebook account and reviewed his messages, wall posts and photos.”
The ACLU complained about the practice to Gary Maynard, secretary of the state corrections department, and the agency temporarily suspended and then revised its policy to allow applicants to “voluntarily participate” in a review of their social media accounts.
The department said the policy was effective, and had been a factor in the denial of employment to seven individuals out of 2,689 applicants over the course of a year, some of whom had “utilized social media applications which contained pictures of them showing verified gang signs.”
The revised policy did not satisfy the ACLU and Sen. Ron Young, a Democrat from Frederick, drafted legislation to outlaw the practice entirely. Young introduced an unsuccessful bill in the Senate last year. This session, Young introduced the bill again, and Tarrant cross-filed it in the House.
In late March, Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, wrote about the issue on Facebook, calling the practice of employers requesting potential hires’ Facebook passwords “alarming” and “not the right thing to do.”
Goemann said the ACLU of Maryland received another call from a state employee, also from the corrections department, complaining of being asked for social media passwords. Other instances of employers’ requesting the private online information of potential hires began popping up around the country — Egan said Facebook had noticed “a distressing increase” in such incidents in recent months — and the issue became a priority for the ACLU’s national network, Goemann said.
Once only relying on online ads, Google is now tapping traditional media to spread its message.
While in the past Google only relied on online advertising to spread their message, and to attract new customers, things have changed in the past few months, as a WSJ report by Amir Efratirecently revealed. The report shows that in 2011 alone Google spent $213 million to advertise its own products in the U.S. By extrapolation, the numbers at a Global level are way larger.
This unusual ad-spending trend by a company that never needed to rely on traditional advertising in the past may be indicative of a certain decline of the search engine’s supremacy. Google is facing strong competition on many levels, including search, social and mobile – all niches of major interest for the Mountain View-based company.
Google’s ad-spend is just one side of the coin. A carefully thought through PR campaign blends with the marketing and advertising strategy to maximize results, a mix of celebrities, message and personal appeal that has always been Google’s strength. Last year alone, Google spent a fortune to produce a Lady Gaga video for Google Chrome:
And have you seen Google’s own ad for the new Galaxy Nexus, currently running in the UK and other major markets around the Globe?
GitHub: Software description: a software to manage books in the computer (C#). →
(Marketwire) — 03/26/12 — The rapid adoption of smart mobile devices, such as the iPhone and the iPad, is changing how consumers interact with search engines, and advertisers are paying attention. According to a report released today by Marin Software, the leading online advertising management platform for advertisers and agencies, smartphones and tablets will account for 25% of Google’s U.S. paid search clicks by December 2012, up from 5% in January 2011. A comparison of click through rates show that consumers are far more likely to engage with search engine ads on smart mobile devices compared to desktop computers.
The popularity of these mobile devices coupled with their ad performance will result in a surge of new ad dollars for Google in 2012.
Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.
Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.
In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person’s social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.
“It’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys,” said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it “an egregious privacy violation.”
Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.
Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.
Companies that don’t ask for passwords have taken other steps — such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign nondisparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.
Asking for a candidate’s password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.
Back in 2010, Robert Collins was returning to his job as a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after taking a leave following his mother’s death. During a reinstatement interview, he was asked for his login and password, purportedly so the agency could check for any gang affiliations. He was stunned by the request but complied.
“I needed my job to feed my family. I had to,” he recalled,
After the ACLU complained about the practice, the agency amended its policy, asking instead for job applicants to log in during interviews.
“To me, that’s still invasive. I can appreciate the desire to learn more about the applicant, but it’s still a violation of people’s personal privacy,” said Collins, whose case inspired Maryland’s legislation.
Until last year, the city of Bozeman, Mont., had a long-standing policy of asking job applicants for passwords to their email addresses, social-networking websites and other online accounts.
And since 2006, the McLean County, Ill., sheriff’s office has been one of several Illinois sheriff’s departments that ask applicants to sign into social media sites to be screened.
Chief Deputy Rusty Thomas defended the practice, saying applicants have a right to refuse. But no one has ever done so. Thomas said that “speaks well of the people we have apply.”
When asked what sort of material would jeopardize job prospects, Thomas said “it depends on the situation” but could include “inappropriate pictures or relationships with people who are underage, illegal behavior.”
In Spotsylvania County, Va., the sheriff’s department asks applicants to friend background investigators for jobs at the 911 dispatch center and for law enforcement positions.
“In the past, we’ve talked to friends and neighbors, but a lot of times we found that applicants interact more through social media sites than they do with real friends,” said Capt. Mike Harvey. “Their virtual friends will know more about them than a person living 30 yards away from them.”
Harvey said investigators look for any “derogatory” behavior that could damage the agency’s reputation.
E. Chandlee Bryan, a career coach and co-author of the book “The Twitter Job Search Guide,” said job seekers should always be aware of what’s on their social media sites and assume someone is going to look at it.
Bryan said she is troubled by companies asking for logins, but she feels it’s not violation if an employer asks to see a Facebook profile through a friend request. And she’s not troubled by non-disparagement agreements.
Wikipedia: Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, United Kingdom owned by Thomson Reuters. →
Business week’s Bloomberg reports some very startling news about newspapers loss in ad revenue and failure to combat loss with online gains.
U.S. newspapers lost $10 in print advertising revenue last year for every $1 they gained online, a deeper loss than in 2010, as competition from Internet companies increases, a study by Pew Research Center found.
Newspaper revenues declined more sharply last year than in 2010 when publishers lost $7 in print advertising for every $1 generated from online outlets, according to Pew’s study entitled “State of the News Media,” which is published today.
“They’re continuing to lose ground to tech intermediaries,” such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. (FB) as well as to Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), said Tom Rosenstiel, director of Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, in a telephone interview. “The news industry has been fundamentally disadvantaged in this area,” he said.
The industry, suffering declines in print advertising, hasn’t been able to make up for those losses with digital revenue. Washington-based Pew’s study follows last week’s report from the Newspaper Association of America that revealed total newspaper ad revenue dropped 7.3 percent to $23.9 billion in 2011 from the previous year.
While online advertising among news groups increased by about $207 million, print advertising revenue declined by around $2.1 billion, Pew said.
Newspaper groups have failed to capitalize on the volume of personalized data available online in the face of increased competition from companies including Google (GOOG) and Facebook, which are selling advertising targeted to consumers based on their interests and demographics, typically at higher ad rates, Rosenstiel said.
Newspapers have slowly shifted their businesses online, led in part by the recent success of New York Times Co. (NYT)’s plan to charge readers for access to its newspapers’ websites. Pew’s study estimates as many as 100 newspapers are expected to offer a digital subscription model in the coming months.
Times Co. has about 406,000 paying subscribers to its websites, including those for its namesake paper as well as the Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune