Category Archives: Blogging
Posted on December 1, 2014 in Blogging by cmblogger
According to pundits at Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a company data breach runs at about $7.2 million dollars. The cost of losing your own personal information to hackers can be immeasurable. And yet, how careful are you about maintaining data security for your company’s website and sensitive information? In the rough and tumble world of the small to midsize business, it can be easy to forget the routine steps needed every day to prevent information theft before it happens.
First, are you shredding your paper records and documents regularly-and recyling them appropriately? Client information, proprietary business secrets, and sales records need to be destroyed completely to maintain the security of your company and your customers. Professional data thieves regularly dumpster dive, looking for information that has simply been thrown away rather than responsibly destroyed.
Second, who has access to your computers and your website? If you have passwords to your site (and you should), change them often. Limit the number of people who can get on your website to only the folks who absolutely have to-and consider what information needs to be made available to what employee or outside consultant for them to do their job successfully. Does everyone really need to have access to all records or client data? Restrict appropriately. Third, make sure you have an excellent firewall, and your data is encrypted at all times. Hackers can do a considerable amount of damage in a very short time, creating major headaches, if not outright financial losses.
Fourth, limit the amount of information your employees give out over the phone. A current report from the Better Business Bureau on data security reveals: “Information thieves and stalkers tell authorities over and over how easily they were able to obtain all sorts of valuable information simply by calling small business owners or personnel departments and asking. Posing as government agencies or credit grantors or health insurance providers, these thieves have found that a well-crafted, believable story can often get past the best locking file cabinets or password-protected computers.”
Finally, create a company wide security protocol for all your employees, and regularly rehearse potentially risky scenarios with your staff. Remember, the best online marketing will bring you site traffic from everywhere. For any company hoping for a blockbuster year, securing your website, and your company against the few who might take advantage of your popularity is an essential task.
Posted on November 25, 2014 in Blogging by cmblogger
While we were strategizing about how to get the best results on the search engines, our kids were growing up…and now they’re high schoolers, doing research the Google way. Advanced placement and National Writing Project teachers recently described their students’ research habits, with 77% of those polled responding that all the search engines have had a mostly positive effect on student papers and other schoolwork, with fully 99% reporting that “the internet enables students to access a wider range of resources than would otherwise be available.”
However, most also agreed with the idea that “the amount of information available online today is overwhelming to most students” and “discourage students from using a wide range of resources when conducting research.” Clearly, the days of the Dewey Decimal System are over…and may never return. As this study shows, the internet has huge benefits for anyone interested in learning, but presents some inherent challenges for the young user.
Posted on November 23, 2014 in Blogging by cmblogger
We all have our favorite viral videos: the laughing baby, the talking twins, and of course the ones involving cats and corgis. While you may not have any four legged friends featured in your company’s own YouTube offering, and not much control over what will become the world’s next “Gangnam Style,” you can maximize how searchable it is, by focusing on interesting, informative visual content that also utilizes your keywords.
If your business retails carrot cake online, for example, make sure any video you’re planning to upload utilizes phrases like “best carrot cake” and “carrot cake gifts” so people will be able to find the clip on the search engine results pages. Keep the video short-under two or three minutes, max.
Remember, you can make more than one video-and should if you have that much to say. Just avoid saying it all at once-few people will have the time or interest to watch a single clip for very long. Finally, after you upload the bit, make sure to add a keyword phrase to the title and the field for description and tags. And after you’ve optimized your video for the search engines, who knows? You never know what will go viral. With a little disco dancing from your CEO and an entertaining set of toddlers, anything is possible!
Posted on November 19, 2014 in Blogging by cmblogger
Forrester Research recently released a proprietary report for its clients on the newest concept in paid online ads, the mystical sounding concept of a “Database of Affinity.” If you’re thinking this sounds like some kind of topic better suited to cable television dramas than a discussion of marketing techniques, you’re not alone….but you should know what it means.
According to Forrester’s Nate Elliot, the Database is best described as a “catalogue of people’s tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors on sites like Facebook and Twitter.” Why is it important? Elliot explains: “Because if Facebook or Twitter or some other company can effectively harness the data from all the likes and shares and votes and reviews they record, they could bring untold rigor, discipline, and success to brand advertising.”
Basically, it’s retargeting, times a million. It extends the idea of targeting your paid ad demographic to the umpteenth degree, where you can match a teen chatting about horseback riding on Facebook with an ad for riding boots, for example, while at the same time showing an ad for men’s dress shoes to a man tweeting about his new job at an investment firm. It points to the increasing reliance-and emphasis-on shared social data for customers to inform your online marketing decisions.
And yet, is it that important? Context is everything. Some users find specifically targeted ads on social media intrusive or invasive. And text based ads still work, as evidenced by Google’s $29 billion dollar search advertising dominance. While social media targeting may be the wave of the future, there’s still value in the old PPC standbys. In other words, whether or not you enjoy watching Game of Thrones, there’s always the option of a good book.
Posted on November 3, 2014 in Blogging, Captain Marketing, SEO by cmblogger
Quantifying the success of any digital marketing campaign can be difficult at times, particularly when trying to connect your efforts on the Internet to brick and mortar sales numbers. When you consider 94% of retail business is still conducted offline, however, that data is not only useful but essential in determining what your online advertising budget should be.
Twitter has just made things easier, in its recent announcement concerning the results of a study that measured the real impact of both promoted and organic Tweets. Researchers analyzed 35 popular brands across multiple industries. Consider the impact of organic Tweets. As Ameet Ranadive, a Twitter product manager explains, “Brands’ organic Tweets drive sales. Users exposed to a brand’s organic Tweets bought more from that brand than those who were not exposed, producing a 8 percent average sales lift. This lift was nearly 3x greater among users who saw 5 or more organic Tweets over the measurement period.”
Even if you’re not paying to promote Tweets, the fact that you’re putting your brand out in front of Twitter users is making a difference, especially you’re doing so frequently. As perhaps to be expected, promoted Tweets make an impact too. According to the study, Promoted Tweets translate into a 12% average sales boost for the product in question among users who engage with your Tweet. Even for those users who don’t engage but just see it, 2% more are likely to purchase as a result anyway.
The conclusion? Tweets make a significant difference in how people shop. A social media presence in the virtual world still counts for any brand interested in conversions for the real world too.
Posted on October 21, 2013 in Blogging by cmblogger
For any nascent small business or company interested in launching a new product, the task of branding yourself at the same time as trying to get a foothold on the search engines might feel overwhelming, if not impossible. Yet good SEO and paid search strategies are also ones that will help define what makes your goods and services unique for potential consumers.
Strong keywords, a cornerstone of any organic search campaign, will be critical not only for the Googlebots but also in helping you establish what and who you are in all your messaging. As always, choose phrases that have lots of traffic and relatively little competition. Whether you’re creating a press release, copy for your landing pages or starting up a blog, make sure you’re using plenty of these terms in all your content. Your use of these essential keywords will both help you rank with the search engines and give your customers a basic understanding of what distinguishes you from others in your industry. For paid search, make sure you have ample keyword coverage that reiterates this central brand message in your AdWords campaigns. Make sure these keywords sync up to the terms you’re using in PR releases and onsite content in order to convey a consistent message to your target audience.
The end result? Along with great search rankings and more conversions, you’ll help customers understand what’s special about your products… and your company. While at times a challenge, great branding goes hand in hand with successful paid search and SEO.
Posted on October 14, 2013 in Blogging by cmblogger
Brand marketing is about making sure your customers remember you. In contrast, direct marketing is only about getting a response, whether in the form of a solid lead or an actual sale. While some small companies may assume there’s no room for branding in today’s competitive economy, the truth is that direct marketing won’t work as well without it. No matter what you sell, taking the time to educate your customer, manage your online reputation, and facilitate consumer engagement pays off with more leads and bigger conversion numbers.
Luckily, social media allow you to do both. Coupons, discounts and special prices for your fans are the hallmarks of effective direct marketing. Consider providing great deals for consumers on Google+, or for those who interact with your business on Facebook. Access to new inventory, exclusive offers and other “insider” benefits are great ways to get customers to take immediate action.
Great branding opportunities also abound on these platforms. Images that show your customers a “behind the scenes” look at what you do, or posts that share a piece of engaging company culture with consumers go a long way towards establishing your business as a unique brand.
Remember, where direct marketing focuses only on driving sales, branding is about building the long term customer for your product, and distinguishing yourself from your competitors. Given the popularity of social media and the myriad number of ways to connect online with today’s consumers, both are now essential to any digital marketing campaign.
Posted on July 9, 2013 in Blogging, Website Design and Maintenance by cmblogger
With smartphone and tablet use on the rise, reaching your mobile customer is the new priority for any Internet marketing program. An effective mobile strategy is now critical to success, and your follow through in three key areas will determine how effective your campaign ultimately is in capturing these consumers on the go.
First, make sure your mobile content is both actionable and immediate. Remember, cell phones
and tablet are popular because you can take them anywhere and access anything, quickly. Can your customers take advantage of special deals in the moment on your mobile site? If you have a brick and mortar location, are there mobile-only opportunities for these consumers? Ensure your mobile content is both up to date and helpful for the customers who may be most pressed for time and also in your area-those on the phone or with their tablet.
Second, your web design must be easy to read and see from any device. Long paragraphs of copy, complicated terms or product descriptions don’t belong on a mobile friendly website. Make your unique selling proposition quick to read and simple to understand from a small screen.
Finally, make sure you have mobile ads and localized search terms for SEO that are relevant to the mobile user. Customize your mobile ads by using all the relevant data gathered from mobile devices, including check-ins, location, and past search behavior. Connect with these users with a mobile banner ad that tells them you’re nearby!
As the world moves towards mobile devices and away from constant desktop use, your business must include these customers to stay relevant. Quite simply, it’s a big part of online marketing’s future, and that of any business wanting to stay ahead of its competitors.
Posted on May 27, 2013 in Blogging, SEO by cmblogger
For many families and certainly for us here at Captain Marketing, the Memorial Day holiday represents the first weekend of summer. And yet, filled with picnics and barbecues, graduations and parties, it’s easy sometimes to forget the meaning behind this holiday.
First recognized by our federal government in 1868 as a way to recognize the tremendous Civil War losses suffered on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, it now is a time for us to remember all of those brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price in their service to our country.
Life has changed so much since the days of the mid 19th century. Who could have imagined then that we would someday buy and sell across the airwaves, consulting electric screens and communicating with customers across the globe as if they were next door. And yet, these inventions and technological advancements could not have taken place without the benefits of our relatively free society, where those with only a dream and a willingness to work hard can still find extraordinary success.
Here at Captain Marketing, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge those who have sacrificed their lives for a set of ideas that are too easily taken for granted sometimes in this busy world. May their memories and their gifts to us live on throughout the year.
Posted on April 9, 2013 in Blogging, SEO, SMO by cmblogger
Deal of the Week!
Do you want to try traditional SEO, but keep hearing about social SEO? At Captain Marketing, we want to help you out!
This week only, when you purchase a Silver SEO package or higher, we will create or redesign one of your social media profiles for you*! Work on your rankings from two different directs with both traditional SEO and by getting started with Social SEO. When you purchase Silver SEO or above, we will help you set up one* of your social spaces to consistently reflects your brand image. Take the first step toward promoting your brand socially, for FREE!
*We will only redesign: Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ profiles