Thursday, 14 July 2016
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Friday, 24 October 2014
As it continues to gain interest from the B2B space, Martyn Thomas shares his top tips for successful B2B social media marketing.
Maybe it’s in the water but, despite a hesitant start, we are seeing renewed interest in B2B social media.
An AdAge survey earlier this year projected that 80% of B2B marketers plan to increase digital spending with a significant percentage going towards social media marketing.
B2B marketing exhibits some key differences to consumer marketing, for example:
- Decision making is based more on logic than emotion,
- the cost of a sale is more expensive,
- the decision process takes longer, and
- the process usually involves more than one person.
1. Invest in a planRather than just dive in, which is not an uncommon approach, make sure you define your strategic goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. Assign a purpose to each channel, noting that not every platform is right for every business.
Establish an editorial calendar and determine what internal capacity you have (if any) to manage social that can begin to set you apart from your competitors.
A great example is Maersk Line who, at first glance, seems to be the most unlikely social proponent. It defines its goal as, ”The ability to closely connect with all our stakeholders around the world including current and future employees, and those that are simply interested in what we do”.
They recognise that additional benefits include ”better press coverage, higher employee engagement, more brand awareness and bringing in high-level insights and intelligence from shipping experts around the world”.
Top tip: do not set out to measure the wrong things such as chasing fan numbers or viewing social as another mass medium through which branded content can be pushed.
Focus instead on who is sharing your content (posts, video or tweets), brand sentiment, speed and quality of customer service resolution and engagement (comments, shares or CTRs etc).
Outcome: an integrated and well-considered approach with clear KPIs that can set you apart from competitors.
2. Build a capable teamPut the right people in charge. Social media is NOT a role for a keen intern or an additional role for someone who is already busy.
The skill sets required will include writing, editing, photo-editing, some tech know-how and being able to respond in real time.
As a very public manifestation of your business you will want people who know your tone, character, language, purpose and can effectively escalate process in the face of customer complaints.
Outcome: a social community management team that can take responsibility for day to day updates and long term thinking.
3. Select the most effective toolsTop tip: It is better to use just a few channels really well than to be stretched too thin and be everywhere inconsistently.
Many regard LinkedIn as the hero B2B social tool, however there are pros and cons.
On the up side, LinkedIn has more easily discoverable business targets than any other network within the context of common connections. It can help expand your reach, build brand awareness, add credibility, drive engagement and distribute quality content.
On the downside, other tools have much higher share ability than LinkedIn (Facebook: 300x, Twitter: 22x and Pinterest: 96x).
Additionally, an interesting insight is that, nearly 60% of LinkedIn’s revenue is attributable to job search activities.
Finally, as search engines dominate first phase research, don’t forget to participate with Google+ to bolster your search rankings. Outcome: a complementary mix of social platforms to deliver on your business objectives.
4. Be socially awareIn social settings brands, like people, are really boring if they only talk about themselves.
Great content marketing can be best described as anything a brand produces that, were it unbranded, would still hold value and be of compelling interest.
The starting point is to better understand your customers and the relationship they have with your business. In turn, your content can become the centre piece for meaningful conversations with many audiences, uniting people who want to know more about you or participate with you in some way.
Social can be particularly effective at engaging multicultural audiences too, previously considered to to difficult to reach using mass media (25% of Australians speak a language other than English at home).
Outcome: useful and engaging content that unites people around interest in your brand to create mutual value.
5. CollaborateEvery business is multi-functional (internal) and has partners (external).
Social media doesn’t discriminate, rather it is all pervasive.
Top tip: do not isolate social within one department (usually marketing) which often limits the multi-functional role it can play for business.
In our brand integration workshops it quickly becomes clear that social media can contribute and benefit other departments such as HR, customer experience, search, web development, sales, research, PR and creative.
The opportunity, externally, is to connect with all partners who regularly engage online with activities such as sharing their posts, leaving comments, liking their photos and collaborating on content.
Partner amplification should be a priority and can help you reach new audiences within your own industry.
Saturday, 18 October 2014
Online marketing and Google AdWords. The two go hand in hand.
When a customer is looking for a product, service, promotion, or anything from anywhere in the world, they’re likely going to search for it on Google. That customer is looking for you.
For a small business, AdWords can be a hugely successful method of driving traffic, marketing your product and ultimately getting increased sales.
Is your business doing it yet?
Here’s the top 12 reasons why your business can benefit from AdWords.
1. Reach Your Customer When They Want Your Stuff
Any business, regardless of size, wants to be found on the first page of Google. Getting seen by customers at the exact time they are looking for your information, products, services, deals or location is intent marketing - and it’s profitable.
But, as a small business, you’re competing with career long, experienced, motivated SEO experts to get those coveted organic top ten search results.
With Google AdWords you have an edge in getting your message viewed by your market, exactly when they’re searching for your specific product, service or offers.
2. Reach Your Local Customer
AdWords gives you location targeting options. So, if you’re a locally based business, (such as a neighborhood restaurant), a regional company (such as a state bank), or even an e-commerce site (with, say, country shipping restrictions), you can geo-target to get seen by your consumer - and you’re not wasting ad dollars on those who aren’t.
AdWords enables you to easily target countries, areas within a country, and radius targeting (to show your ads to people within a certain distance to your business). You can exclude locations, too, even in your proximity targeting.
Excluding locations brings your ROI up, by lowering costs and targeting more precisely.
Here’s an example of radius targeting around the “Statue of Liberty”, excluding the 229,000 reach of New Jersey.
You can target by geo-based demographics, such as income level. So, if you’re selling luxury goods, for example, you can target the top 10% income earners in your specified area.
3. Show your Location
By using Google Places, in conjunction with AdWords, you can show a map of your bricks and mortar shop with your ads.
The easier you make it for customers to find you, the more likely they’ll walk in, or click through to your website.
4. Show Your Contact Information
You’ve probably seen these on a few ads: ad extensions.
Ad extensions let businesses enhance ads with phone numbers, an address, app downloads, site landing page links, reviews, previous page visits and lots more. They generally show up in blue, just below your ad description.
By including more contact information in your ads, you make it way easier for your potential customer to connect with you.
Ad extensions don’t cost anything more to include in your ad. But you are still charged for clicks on your ad and other interactions with your extensions. For example, if someone clicks on your phone number to call you directly from your ad extension, you’ll be billed for this paid conversion. (Yup, Google can track clicked phone calls on mobile, tablets and desktops.)
If you’re a restaurant, for example, you can show your local address, and include links to specific menu pages, offers and other specific landing pages on your website. Here’s how a coffee chain uses them:
Tim Hortons adds their nearest address. They link to their “nutrition” “coffee” “Tim Card offers” and “location” pages on their website, so people can click directly through for more information.
5. Highly Targeted Searches
Keywords, keywords, keywords. This is what Google AdWords is known for.
As a small business, use the right keywords, that are optimized for high quality scores, and target your customers, products, offers, location and more.
The more targeted your keywords (and keyword phrases) are, the better Google will rank your ad. You’ll also reach a lot more consumers, who want exactly what you have right now.
If you’re using Google AdWords directly, be sure to research through suggested keywords for every ad group you create. Some Google ad providers, like Wishpond, offer to do the hard work for you - by choosing the most optimized, targeted keywords for your ad group campaigns.
Here’s an example of suggested keywords from an online shoe store ad:
Use the opportunity to think like your customer, and choose words they’re searching for. You can set up different keywords for each of your ad group campaigns, too. And, you can change your words at any time to keep optimizing your reach.
6. Follow Your Customer with Retargeting
You’ve seen it, I’m sure. You visit a site, stay on it for a while, and then leave. But then you keep seeing ads for the company, or even the product page you were on. That’s retargeting.
With Google Adwords, if an interested customer has visited your website, they get a cookie from a code you’ve put on the backend of your site. When they leave your site, you can target your ads to follow them on the Google Display Networks, or Google search.
You pay extra for it, but it can really work to increase sales. Think about it - those people were interested enough to come visit your site. You can get seen by them again - and then again and again - while you’re still on their mind.
For example, say you have a baby products store. An interested parent-to-be clicked on your ad, and visited your landing page for strollers. They picked up your Google AdWords cookie. When they visit, say, a popular parent blog site (who are part of the Google Display Network), they can see your ad for strollers again. And so on.
7. Reach Your Mobile Customer - Where They Are
Your customer might be right outside your door, when they’re searching for your products or service.
Google AdWords gives you loads of mobile optimization options. You can target both text ads and image ads.
So, for example, if you market for a local coffee shop, mobile ads are a perfect fit. Your customer might be looking for their caffeine fix, while they are walking through your neighborhood. They search for places nearby. Your mobile optimized ad shows up first. You get a new customer in your door.
In your campaign Settings, you can leave your Devices on the default of “All”. This targets all types of devices. If you want to target more heavily on mobile users, you have this option too. Here’s a screenshot of the device choices you have if you want to show your ad more on mobile devices:
8. Choose Where your Ad is Seen
Google has tons and tons of ad partners. You’ve probably read a blog in your niche, and they have ads. More than likely, they are part of the Google Display network.
What does that mean for you? Well, it makes it easy for you to advertise on popular niche blogs - where your customers are.
You can track your results and even exclude sites that aren’t performing as well as you’d like.
I’d suggest that if you’re just starting out on Google AdWords, you use the Search and Display option - you get a broader reach. As you get used to how AdWords work, and you’re seeing an increased result in your click throughs, then narrow an ad campaign to the Display Network only. Monitor your results, and improve your ads as you go.
9. Get Measured Results
Hey, you’re getting the power behind Google Analytics to track your results.
Google AdWords gives you tons of customizable options to track and measure all of your campaigns, in one dashboard.
You can, for example, set and track your own goals for:
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Traffic to your Website
- Brand Awareness
- Sales and Conversions
You can also measure the results of each of your ads within your ad groups. You get find out metrics like:
- What keywords are performing the best
- What headlines get the best click-through rate
- The times your ads are best performing
- And so on and so on
You can connect your website Google Analytics too.
Yeah, you get great metrics from Google. And, you can make your results reports as simple or or complex as you want. So, for people who don’t want to spend all day sorting through ad data - that’s ok too!
10. Control Your Own Budget
If you’re a small, local business, you may be more familiar with offline advertising methods. If so, you’re likely paying a set fee for each ad you publish or run. And, you’ve likely used to signing a contract too, to run x number of ads for x amount of money.
With Google AdWords, you can set your budget for each ad you run - and you can change it whenever you want. If an ad is performing really well, you can increase your results by increasing your ad spend.
You get to set your daily budget, which is what you’re willing to spend per day per ad.
Note: Your daily cost is based on a daily average per month, so don’t be alarmed if yours varies from day to day.
I’d recommend starting out with a budget of $20-40 per day. When your ad is live, track it to measure your results. Adjust your budget based on your ads’ ROI - or whatever your particular objectives are for your campaign.
11. Run Multiple Campaigns for Your Marketing Needs
A really cool thing about Google Ads is that your can run a whole bunch of different ad campaigns, for a whole bunch of your marketing objectives.
Let’s say you have an event planning business. You want to market your services for:
- Wedding planning
- Corporate events
You could set up 3 different marketing campaigns - one for each of your targeted services.
You can then set up multiple ad groups for each campaign. In your ad groups, you can target with different keywords.
For example, in your “Wedding planning” campaign, set-up 3 ad groups to target:
- Wedding dresses - and related keywords
- Honeymoon destinations - and related keywords
- Pre-nuptial lawyers - and related keywords
Then you can make 2 ads for each ad group, so that you can A/B test to find which ad performs best.
Okay, this may seem a bit complicated at first. But, once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite cool and it gets you results.
12. Continuously Improve Your Results
Unlike any offline advertising you’re doing, it’s very simple to monitor your real ROI on Google AdWords. It’s also pretty simple to tweak your ad copy to get better results, and improve your profits.
Thursday, 16 October 2014
A 10-year-old terminally-ill boy, Mohammed Sadiq's, dream to become Hyderabad police commissioner came true on Wednesday. Clad in khakis, sporting insignia and holding a baton just like the commissioner, the child played the perfect top cop for a day.
When representatives of NGO 'Make-A-Wish Foundation' met Sadiq at the hospital a month ago, he told them that his dream was to become the Hyderabad police commissioner one day. "Normally, when we ask them to make a wish, most children, suffering from acute illness, wish to meet celebrities or their heroes. However, Sadiq wanted to become police commissioner and we approached Hyderabad CP M Mahendar Reddy," said Make-A-Wish-Foundation of India.
The police commissioner responded positively to the proposal of the NGO representatives and agreed to make Sadiq police commissioner of Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Before assuming office, Sadiq was given a ceremonial welcome by the police when he arrived at the Commissioner’s Office. Mahendar Reddy along with his senior colleagues escorted the 'special commissioner' to his chambers. After occupying his chair, Sadiq even took charge by 'signing' a file.
Later, addressing the media, 'commissioner' Sadiq said that he wants to chase away rowdies from the city and appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony. "We hope Sadiq's health improves after this and in future he will become the commissioner of police for Hyderabad," Mahendar Reddy said.
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Is your company blog genuinely interesting? I’ve found that most company blogs aren’t, and this is often one of the biggest reasons companies fail at launching a content marketing initiative and gaining traction with SEO. Even if you have guest contributors and impressive stock images, your blog may be falling flat.
If your blog doesn’t evoke emotion, engagement, and sharing among your readers, all the highest-ranking keywords on the Internet couldn’t give it any spunk. It’s up to you and your company to revamp your blog and turn it into a resource that people not only want to read, but share – which will in turn boost your SEO.
Addressing the ProblemsThere are several common mistakes that amateur bloggers make, and just because you have a professional-looking blog doesn’t mean that you’re immune to them. One of the most frequent issues that bloggers have is their style of writing.
Often, complexity gets in the way of a compelling piece, according to CopyBlogger. Think of the type of language you use in your blog posts – is it easy to understand? Do readers have a hard time understanding the message you’re trying to convey?
Simplicity is the key to generating a following and capturing the interest of your audience. While you don’t need to dumb down your ideas, you should put effort into how you convey them.
One major issue I discussed in "Why Your Company Blog Shouldn’t Be About Your Company" is the subject matter of posts. In too many cases, I see company blogs that are all about themselves. While it’s a good idea to update readers and customers on company news and events, a blog that serves only that purpose is boring and unlikely to be very useful to new potential customers.
Another common problem is being too heavily focused on SEO. Creating posts for the sole purpose of boosting your search engine rankings will only decrease your conversion rate and repel potential customers. Instead, keep the focus on the message of your post as you write, and make your goal to please human readers; not search engine bots. While it’s good to be mindful of links and keywords throughout your piece, never let them take over your blog posts and cause things to appear awkward or unnatural.
As you look to address the specific problems of your blog, think about more than just page views. Your goal is to transform your blog into a resource that people will want to visit repeatedly, which will help to grow your reputation as an industry authority for insightful, industry-specific news and expert analysis.
Going Above and BeyondOnce you identify the key problems with your company blog, you can begin working toward reshaping your blog in such a way that truly attracts readers. Whether you’re going to spearhead this evolution or you have an in-house blogger in charge of the revamp, here are some tips to help get started in the right direction.
1. Conduct Interviews.HubSpot recommends reaching out to other industry experts to bring new flavor to your blog. Not only will this help you forge connections with influencers in your sector, but it will drive traffic to your page, lend credibility to your content, and expose your brand to new audiences in your industry.
2. Write Pieces That Read at a Quick Pace.This doesn’t mean you need to finish your posts quickly, but rather create posts that are easy to read, and skimmable. Use bullet points when possible, as well as subheaders and short paragraphs to keep the content flowing and easily digestible.
3. Be True to Your Persona.It’s important to be open and honest with your audience. This means coming out from "behind your logo" and letting readers know who works behind the scenes; this humanizes your brand, which makes it more relatable and increases brand loyalty. Your blog will give you the opportunity to express opinions and report news on a more intimate level – people become connected if they feel like they’re engaging with a person rather than a business.
4. Make Your Pieces Useful.Have you ever thought about creating a "how to" blog post or one that answers a series of questions? This is just one of the six types of blog posts I outlined, and it’s an especially strategic type because it establishes credibility, knowledge, and expertise within a niche.
5. Incorporate Visual Data.How often do you publish infographics on your blog? If you aren’t already doing so, it’s time to consider it. Readers are more likely to read, engage with, and share visually oriented pieces.
6. Tell a Story.Regardless of whether you have a professional or casual tone on your company blog, you should always try to tell a good story. Narratives can keep readers engaged and coming back for more, especially if your stories are packed with useful information.
As you update the look and feel of your company blog, you’ll be creating a portion of your website that you’ll want to show off to prospects and customers alike. It will not only establish your authority and credibility within your field, but also increase conversion rates and play a major role in SEO. If your company blog is boring, it’s time to make some changes; otherwise it’s just a time and money pit.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Thursday, 14 August 2014
With all the ease and benefits that DIY platforms bring to the table, why should you still look at hiring a digital service provider? Here are 6 powerful reasons to do so.
1. You are in the Digital Business yourself
The temptation to DIY is highest amongst those who are in the business themselves. Knowledge is a powerful heady drug and when you feel that you know exactly what is to be done, the pressure to do so yourself is extremely high. Take a step back and resist that temptation. If you’re the business owner, your time is better spent in growing the business than handling marketing. If you’re in marketing, your time is better spent in adding value to the role than in operations. Go DIY, only if you’re role is marketing operations.
2. You’re going DIY to save money
On the face of it DIY helps one save money. After all why pay a fee to someone to do what you could do yourself? Right? Wrong! If you’re running a business, you will understand the concept of an ROI (return on investment). If you’re a DIY customer, chances are you’re not a high spender on digital marketing yourself, either because you can’t afford it at present or because you don’t want to. In either case, trying to do something you’re not skilled at can take up far more time than what it would take someone with experience doing it. Ask yourself, will my ROI be better if I did it myself or would it be better if I hired someone to do it for me while I focused on something else?
3. You know what’s to be done and how to do it.
Knowing what to do in digital marketing is half the battle won. Why waste your knowledge now in doing it yourself when you could outsource the work and value add with your experience? Wouldn’t it be far better for you to broaden your experience in something new on the digital front and learn that while you let others operationalize what you already know?
4. You think you can do it yourself.
DIY digital marketers make it look incredibly simple to do things. That’s great marketing and communication at work. The truth about digital marketing is that unless you analyze your data points and keep fine tuning your work; you’re unlikely to be a great success at digital marketing. This is especially true when you’re trying you hand at aspects like online advertising through say Google Ad Words or Face book advertising or LinkedIn. You see a button that says ‘boost’. You click on it, and hey presto the system automatically guides you to the spending amount that you want to spend. You do it and feel happy until you see the results and wonder ‘maybe I spent too little”. So you spend some more.
The fundamental truth of online advertising is trials and repeat trials and very close monitoring and analytics. That’s how you optimize on your spends to get the best bang for your buck. Leave it to people who do this every day. You’ll find your dollar getting stretched and your sanity in much better shape.
5. You’re feeling ripped off by your current digital agency.
You have the nagging suspicion that you’re current digital marketing agency is not pulling their weight behind your business. And you feel that you could probably do it yourself better. After all it doesn’t take a genius to do a couple of posts every week on your social media accounts does it?
Don’t throw out the bath water along with the baby in it. Social media marketing is not just about putting up a couple of posts every week. If that’s what you’re getting, maybe it’s time for you to think about changing your agency rather than trying to do it yourself.
6. You don’t seem to find an agency interested enough in your work.
Maybe you have a tight budget. Who doesn’t? Maybe you’re in a city where you have a serious dearth of good talented folks who understand this medium. Maybe you simply don’t know anyone who knows someone who does what you want done. So you decide it’s better to do it yourself than not do anything at all. Maybe a few years ago that would have been a good solution. Not today. Today you can find talented agencies and service providers like IMarks, who would be willing & happy to take on your project.
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