Basic Twitter Marketing Guide

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It is hard to find anyone who haven’t heard, used or seen of twitter these days. It’s popularity has increased even more within the business world. It is open source of information for anyone and everyone to use. But still some of us are not sure of how to make the most out of it.

When I first started using twitter for my work, I was bit lost, even though I had idea about what twitter was and how it worked. I put together this basic guidelines for anyone interested in using twitter or already have account and want to make more out of it. Image source: http://workwithericburnett.com

First step is to get a account. You can go to twitter and create account. Once you have account setup it is important to customize your profile to something familiar with logos, picture or products etc.  Click on Profile next to home on top . Then click on edit your profile. Or click on setting where your picture and account name is displayed.

Then you will be presented with options to customize your profile. Click on profile and make sure, if it is for company you have company logo and if it is personal twitter have your picture. Icons are outdated and nobody likes to follow icons. Use the space for Bio wisely with strong and specific message regarding your business or you.

You can always use your own background image to make it more attractive and familiar.
To change the background image.

  1. Click on Design.
  2. Then Change Background Image, browse the picture you want displayed and Save Change.

And of course the most important, your tweets. Make sure they are engaging, relevant and interesting to your followers. Hashtag and trending topic are also good strategies to tie your tweets to send your message beyond your followers. Hashtags and trending topics are displayed on right hand side of your twitter account.

Twitter is not only about informing your customer but also about communicating with them answering their query, solving their problem, listening to them and taking actions, keeping close eyes on your competition, following the trends on your industry.

First and most important is always research your competition. You will know about what your competition is doing and may also be able to find a niche where they are falling behind. With twitter it is open and easy.

You can locate their twitter account through directories like wefollow. You can include your own twitter account with 5 interest categories. Lets you find the top twitter accounts with categories. Very effective in finding the influencer in particular industry.

Once you have followed your competitor or subject of interest create a list. This helps you to be informed on what your competitors/subject are  doing and how they are handling their twitter strategies, special offer or other promotion or their weak points. For easier access to the information you can create a lists for each competition/subject so that you don’t have to search for their tweets in jungle of tweets. Here is how to do it. Find and follow them in the twitter. Then :

You will get option of create a list. Follow the instruction and you will have the list with all the twits for that twitter account.

Once the account is set up following is the next step to get followers to your account. The key to following is look at the number of people they are following and number of follower they have. 1:1 ratio means if you are following that person it is most likely they will follow you back. Finding people is easy, just click on who to follow and type in your interest/company or keywords you want to follow in the search box. Check the follower to follow ratio.

If someone follows you and they are relevant to your business or interest make sure you follow them back and send a direct message. Make the direct message short, relevant and personal .

Hootsuite is important tool that helps you monitor you twitter. The great thing about this tool is its free and after signing up you will be able to monitor your twitter performance in one platform. You can monitor mentions, direct messages, searches and Twitter lists by setting upto 10 columns at a time.  With the search you can use the keyword related to your industry to see the real time tweet queries and direct them to website/blogs or answer their queries with @username.

Most important aspect for any media or marketing effort is flawless integrating with other marketing effort and continuous and engaging communication. Integrate your social media into other aspects like website, blog, email signature, advertisement etc to get the best results and maximum exposure.

There’s ton of tools, both free and paid versions, that help monitor twitter analytic for your business and it’s worth trying few of them to figure out what works best for your scenario and goals.

Creating a Email Blast or Campaign

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Ignoring the important role Email plays in today’s marketing and other aspects of business is impossible. Email marketing is electronic version of direct mail marketing. We have all received the email about new products, sale, offers and so on. The new marketing opened new ways and made it even easier to reach you target audience and communicate with them.

I am sure if you are in some kind of marketing role you have created or contributed in Email campaigns or Blast as we call in our company. In case you haven’t let me give you basic of how we do it.

First and most important is define clearly the goal and objective of the email. Why do you want to send an email? Do you want more visitors to the new page you created in the website or do you want to let your customers know about the product, or just acquire new clients and account?

Next it’s important to have your content and images ready that reflect the goal and objective of email. If the content isn’t strong enough to keep the reader engaged then the whole email will be chucked in delete folder along with your time and effort.

Once you have the dynamic content and the images ready. Think of the Subject for the email. This one line decides whether your email will be read or not. And don’t go away from the content of the email while choosing the subject of the email. If the email and it’s subject are going different direction that is another sign for reader to spam the email.

After those difficult task are performed it’s time to create actual template of email. Carefully choose the template that fits your messages and images and when put together looks interesting.

Here is how its done.

Here is the template I chose. I choose this template because it is clean simple and communicates my message. I have two products that I need to inform my customers about, the template has two distinguish segments to put my products at the same time distinguish them in the same email. My images are square and horizontal, and template has both, so it won’t be stretched or out of proportion.

Next step use your imagination and let it run wild as much as the template can handle.

This is how it looks after:

The screen shoots were taken in 3 different segments, so it might not align exactly. But you can see how the template is customized.

Thanks to different email marketing software company like icontact, constant contact, vertical response, mailchimp etc, it is even more easier to get your email out in no time. You no longer will have to fight with those html codes as some of these provider offer easy message builder and just with basic knowledge you will be pro.

The most amazing part is after you send the email. Remember how I said goal and objective of the email is important to define. Once the email is sent, you can track the results through your email provider itself. You can measure the objective or goal of the email against the actual result from the email campaign. You can track how many opened your email and if you had any links included, if they were clicked? You can import the data for your use. How many didn’t receive the email because of bad email address. So that you can contact them and verify email address. How many was forwarded, who unsubscribed from you emailing list etc.

What is your experience and thoughts?

Analytic: Basics

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google analytic, analytic, google analytics, online marketing, basic google analytic,pageview, bounce rate, unique visitors

Analytic, quantitative report collected from the website. Marketers best friend. Helps user understand where consumer are coming from, which page they are visiting, how long they are staying, what browser they are using , where they are viewing it from, successful keywords, success of campaign etc. So when time comes you can provide exactly what consumer are looking for at the exact time. Yes real-time marketing. Real time marketing teamed up with interactive marketing has become a culture now. And the analytical report helps you achieve that real-time goals. Google Analytic, Omniture siteCatalyst, yahoo, MSN they all have their own version of the tool. Now there is new analytic joining the team, TWITTER.

Twitter, gold mine of data, till now there had been handful of third-party vendors available to harvest this raw data. But not any more, twitter is also launching its new free analytical by the end of this year. It allows users to track the popularity of tweets, number of retweets, replies,  tweets received etc. The tweets will be categorized as good, best, all, favorite, retweets, replies etc.

Analytic are easy to navigate with basic knowledge. Most of the providers will also have assistance and training videos to help you through the process. But if you know the basic elements and what they mean, it will be simpler and easier to understand.

Traffic is the life line of any website. Traffic is measured through Visits, Pageview and unique visitors.

Visits: Visits are the most essential component of every web metric calculation and website. They are found in every page of analytical metrics. Visits tells us about the number of pageview from the visitors during certain time frame before exiting. Usually counting the visit in the website is difficult as you don’t know when the visitors exited the site, therefore according to the general standard the session will last for 3o minutes, if the user isn’t active for that time frame the session will be cancelled. Visit are different from the browser session. Browser session is if someone comes to your site then closes the site and exits,then again returns back within that 30 minutes time frame it is continuation of the same session.

Pageviews: It is the number of pages viewed by the visitor from the site during the visit. Pageview can be viewed for individual pages or total of pageview for whole website. Data is collected from only the tagged page, it is important to tag all the pages in website.

Pages/Visit: It is calculated by dividing pageviews by visits. This number gives you the effectiveness and how much your website is liked by customers. High value content and cross linking  is the best way to get this number increasing and up. The number higher that 2 is good. It helps to understand what people are doing on your website.

Bounce Rate: Bounce rate has always been fascinating to me since my first lesson of online marketing. Bounce rate means visitor came to the website and exited from the same page. But bounce rate singly cannot define the effectiveness of website as it varies depending on the type of website. For instance if you have a blog, people usually exit your site from the first page itself. So even if the blog is doing great it might have high bounce rate. So to make better use of bounce rate break it down according to the traffic source. When you look into new and returning visitors, if the bounce rate on returning visitor is high that is something to worry about.

Average Time on Site: Is the measurement of average time spent by visitor during each session. This measurement is bit tricky with google analytic as it doesn’t measure the time spent on the final page.

New Visits: It measures the first visit into total percentage.

Absolute Unique Visitor: It is single count of how many visitors visited the site during certain time period, doesn’t matter how many time they visited. But if the same visitor visits your site from different browser it is counted multiple times. This information provides lot of opportunity to explore the marketing options.

Groupon: DIY coupon/Small Business Marketing

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small business, small business marketing, coupon, coupon marketing, online marketing, local marketing

We are all looking for new ways to promote our business. In this struggling economy you will try anything to differentiate from competitors. Making it easy for consumer to find you. Marketing seems to be good strategy to get that differentiation. But it might cost you fortune and with free online tools it is another competition. In this jungle of marketing it is really hard to find that one tool that works as hard as you for your business without spending a lot. Yes there are lots of social media available. But everyone is on that band wagon and is difficult to differentiate. I was bouncing from article to blog post to find something new. When I started my research, I was mostly focusing on facebook, twitter, flicker etc, which everyone wants to be part of or already is.

Most of the tools I came across were same old tools that have been popular and by now already over used. As my search continued I found some interesting tools that have taken the marketing world by storm in short frame of time.  Groupon, foursquare, yelp etc. Groupon!!! I know my initial reaction was exactly the same ” What is groupon?”

Spent some time on website and the concept seemed interesting. So here is what groupon is. Groupon is part of The Point, a platform for group action which started in Nov 08. It is all about power of group buying by offering great deals in the community.

Example: Every day they feature a coupon depending on location with amazing deals. Then they have minimum number to be reached for the coupon to be effective. Lets say 100. Unless 100 people join, the coupon isn’t effective. You can invite your friends and family to reach that number. There is the key. They are not only using refer a friend or word of mouth but also all the social networking sites. If there is a deal you like and you tell your friends, you post it on facebook, twitter and so on. That is genius and along with that as you are buying it in group you are guaranteed the best price. No sign up necessary, but you do have to submit your email address to view the coupon. If you like it click on “Buy” and if the minimum number is reached they will charge your credit card and send you the link to print the coupon. Easy !!!

Why is it effective marketing tool?

First and most important as mentioned above, your consumer will do the marketing for you, from word of mouth to social networking sites.
Secondly, with most of the social networking sites measuring the result is some what difficult. With groupon it is easy. You can measure the effectiveness and success by the number of coupons redeemed and bought, number of people signed up and sales.
Consumer feel rewarded and help you create viral buzz.

Why is it attractive to small business?

It is wining situation for everyone involved. Consumer get the best deal, advertiser increases the sales and makes money which is also sales increase for groupon.

Groupon doesn’t charge upfront fees. This makes it more affordable for small business.

Coupons are listed according to city. This helps local business gain more exposure and visibility. It also provides its advertiser with demographic information through its website.

It is risk free, effective and guarantees customer as certain numbers must be reached before the coupon is issued.

This gives your business huge exposure and increase the repeated consumer. Specially if your business is new.

To understand why it works lets first find out how it works.

You will contact the groupon representative. Who will help you design coupon tailored to you business need.
No payment necessary in the front end. They will take a portion of what you sale through groupon.
They will design your groupon coupon, basically after you agree they will take care of everything for you.

Now lets look into some success stories:

Stone Korean Kitchen saw increase in sales and traffic to their facebook and yelp pages after using groupon. They have increased number of repeated customers and they were packed for 2 months after groupon. Here are some more examples.

It might be too early to make any speculation about groupon. But looking at the success and buzz it has created in short time it is safe to say it is best, affordable tool to gain visibility and exposure locally.

Contact group if you have your queries to get your business featured in groupon.

You can also add your coupon or special promotion in  google. There are may free online tools out there, do some research and make the most out of it. Find the one that best suits your business need. If you have any experience or suggestions please leave comment.

Marketing Apple iphone4

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The launch of any apple products are much anticipated and awaited by it’s loyal audience around the globe. iphone 4 wasn’t exceptional. According to Steve Jobs it was one of the most successful product launch. With this much anticipated wait and launch came the frustration of the users. It has issue with the antenna. When held the certain way it drops the call.

OK it might be surprising to see me mentioning this point or even talking about the problem iphone 4 is having. What does it have anything to do with marketing? In some sense nothing really and in other context everything. Here is the interesting part. The consumerism, loyalty of apple fans, and the use of social media and the extent consumers went to express there opinion. Blog posts, articles, youtube videos, comments, twitter etc.

Although the consumers concerns reached Apple,the answer from Steve Jobs was far from convincing. Being an apple product, people expected more professional and responsible reply normally associated with the company. But the only terse reply they got in this case was “Don’t hold it that way”. This spread around online media like wild mushroom. But guess what, people still bought latest iphone in masses.

It is also interesting to note that many wireless phone are launched every year and not all of then are defect free. They also have similar issues like iphone does but why so much publicity about the apple iphone.

Well apart from the problem, another interesting note here is how apple managed to increase it’s sales by 70%. What fascinates me even more again is audience loyalty. The technology iphone4 has was invented long ago and was/is available with other phones. But still when it came with iphone4 it was something everyone wanted. Looking closely we can see the clever marketing strategy. The existing at&t customers were eligible for upgrade if they had been customer for at least 6 month. They didn’t have to wait for year. This automatically captured the loyal audience and 77% of people who got iphone 4 were returning customer.

Not only now but since the beginning apple have been able to keep loyal audience wowed and wanting more with their differentiating marketing strategy. Design, ease of use and innovation combined with clear and attractive communication helped apple achieve its market position. They integrated online and offline marketing with clear and easy message for its audience to understand is another big apple strategy. This can be seen on latest tv commercial for iphone4. When you look at that add it has a lifestyle story to tell, it communicates with you, at the same time showing the latest innovation and technology.  White never looked fashionable until it came in form of ipod.

SociaL meDia:GlaNce at real ExamPLEs

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Social Media, we all are familiar with the impact of social media in our life by now it is safe to say it has changed the way we connect, communicate, research and perform our daily tasks. Many blog posts, books, ebooks and articles have been written about its uses and many have tried to predict where the future of social media lies, which on itself is another vast topic to be explored.
It was initially designed to connect with family and friends, which became worldwide trend as seen today. Whether young or old, it has made its impact on every denomination. With increasing number of social media, it is also evolving with time and demand. It is no longer tools to only connect with your family and friends ,it is also a the way marketers reach you and connect with you.

Before the invention of toady’s social media like facebook, twitters, myspace etc marketing meant telling consumer what to do. With social media it means involving your consumer and listening to them and working with them in real time. Here is very good example of this two way flow of communication. The article is from http://www.webinknow.com by David Meerman Scott, Real-time blog post gets ELoqua CEO tons of B2B ink.

Second article is also from David Meerman Scott’s blog; you-cannot-take-back-a-tweet. I am a huge fan of his blog and work. Interesting part of this second article is, it not only gives real world example of using social media but also highlights the issues to consider while using social media to communicate. It also shows how social media was used to  to clarify the issue, while communicating with their audience. Yes social media is great free tool for marketing but at the same time when you publish your content and it is out in the web there is no way of controlling who views them or taking it back.
But when you know and understand the power of social media as a marketing tool, there is an endless possibility. Lets look into some more examples.

This interview with Sunil Gupta(Harvard Business School professor) on smallbusinesscomputing.com by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff has some great examples of how social media is used by different companies for their benefit. It also mentions very helpful tips from the people who have actually used social media to get results. I particularly liked the advice from Luongo, “Be authentic and engaging to your audience”, you want to connect with your audience not bombard them with lots of information that might confuse them or even think of you as Spam.

Important aspect mentioned in this article, “Social Network Marketing: What Works?” by Sarah Jane Gilbert is “influencer”,how marketing budget can be used to create ROI (Return Of Investment) along with viral buzz and refer a friend. Rather than investing ton of money on banner ads (though sometimes this is the only way), invest it in your influencers and let them do the marketing for you. It is less effective when you are shouting out you are the best and completely opposite when someone else does that for you. The Valentine’s day campaign for Honda mentioned in this article is great example.

All this articles addresses different aspects of the social media, whether it is for small or big organization. With the above mentioned examples, here are few points to consider before jumping into social medai band wagon.

  1. Think and carefully think through before publishing any content on the web.
  2. Clearly define and know your target audience.
  3. Identify your  influencers and make them your marketing advocates. Nurture,Treasure and guard then as your life.
  4. Good content still is the king.
  5. Have a clear vision of your business and what you want to achieve using social networking. For instance increase visibility, increase the number of sales, promote new product, increase sales etc. Once you have clear idea, design your marketing strategies around it.
  6. Do not overwhelm the consumer with information. Less and specific is always better.
  7. Keep it entertaining, fresh and updated.

Do you have an example or thought on the topic? Share it, use the power of social network.

Vewing other webpage’s HTML Code

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Now lets start the fun part and some old school tricks. As you are familiar with the basic html codes this will be just a piece of cake and you will be amazed to see how easy it can be. You can get lots of ideas and hints for your own pages, by just viewing other website’s codes. Here is how to do it.

  1. Click on VIEW then Page Source(Firefox), View Source (Safari) and Source (Internet Explorer). This will display the long list of codes. Similar to what we did earlier but longer with some new things which we will cove in later posts.
  2. Secondly, right click on the page you want to view then select VIEW SOURCE.

Don’t be too overwhelmed there is still long way to go. Just familiarize and revise the codes you know.

Before moving further lets outline some of the things we learned till now.

<!DOCTYPE> Version of (x)HTML

<html>  Opens html document     </ html> Closes html document

<head> Opens heading of the page   </head> Closes heading of the page

<body> Opens page  content     </body> Closes page content

<span class=”hiddenGrammarError” pre=””>Opens title of</span> the page   Closes title of the page

<p> </p> Paragraph

<br/> Line break

<h1> …………………. <h6> Heading, Lesser the number bigger the heading.

This should give you plenty of chances and ideas to play around with the codes we learned until we move to next step.

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