This is a guest post by Sarah. You can read the guidelines to guest posting here at our write for us page.
Short answer: absolutely. Many people may consider branded items something that an internet business can skip. But there are a number of ways that any company, even those that are exclusively web-based can make use of promotional items to increase customer loyalty and attract new customers.
It may not be as simple as handing out calendars to people who walk through your doors like it is with many brick and mortar businesses, but if you get creative, there are plenty of productive uses for promo items.
Here are only a few ways that an online company can effectively utilize logo products.
Any online businesses that deal in shipping products can benefit immensely from the use of logo items. Including a branded item in the package with whatever was ordered provides the customer with a free gift, which everybody loves, but more importantly it becomes an active reminder of your website. It doesn’t have to be anything major, either.
Free gifts don’t necessarily have to represent a significant cost. Simple things like pens, magnets or stress balls can be just as effective as more expensive items. The beauty of these little trinkets is that they are cost effective, but also useful. Magnets tend to make their way to refrigerators, and writing utensils have a habit of being passed around and staying out in the open.
When you give away a logo product that gets used regularly, it keeps your business name present in the mind of the user. You can send flyers, you can send emails, but more often than not they will find themselves in a recycling bin either real of virtual. But when you send a product, it’s much less likely that it will be thrown away. And in the best case scenario, your subtle advertisement not only won’t be ignored, it will become integrated into your customers’ routines.
Most web based businesses can benefit from attending conferences and trade shows, whether they are SEO training, affiliate summits or industry specific gatherings. And having logo products for these evens can be a great way to spread your brand name. When it comes to giving out swag at trade shows, the smaller things which work well as free gifts may not be your best choice. Yeah it costs a little extra, but when you’re surrounded by booths handing out free stuff, in order to attract attention to YOUR free stuff it needs to be a little more interesting than the guy next to you.
In those situations, creativity and art can play a much bigger role. Bright colors, unusual shapes or gifts with personality can be the attention getters you need. An expo hall can be loud and crowded and whether you have a booth or not, having something to give contacts that you make can help make you more memorable. And in a sea of people, faces and businesses, being memorable can be the difference between the company that gets a follow-up call, and the company that gets forgotten.
Business cards are pretty standard for anyone that works anywhere that doesn’t serve French fries. We all try to make ours a little bit interesting, perhaps even the most creative among us strive for exceptional. But no picture, no design no glossy sheen can beat really thinking outside the box. At the last conference I went to, one person was handing out paper 3D Glasses with all of the requisite business card information on them. Name, business, contact info etc. He worked for a marketing company and the tag line was “Take your business to a new dimension”. It was a clever way to give people a unique business card, which was inventive in its approach while supporting the company’s mission.
The idea is to find a way to be able to do the traditional handshake and business card exchange while making yourself stand out. Most of the time business cards get filed a way in some box or rolodex. But something eye catching, that shows your creativity not only helps you distinguish yourself, it entices the customer to wonder how your innovative ideas could help them.
An online business may easily write off logo products as an unnecessary expense, but if you think about the way in which you can use them to push your company ahead of your competition there are tons of creative ways that branded items can help customer loyalty. When you send customers logo products as gifts, show up at trade shows with the coolest swag or use them to elevate your business cards, promotional products could be just the competitive advantage you need to drive your brand to the next level.
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Whoever has been in Internet Marketing for at least about 6 months will know that the best and cost-effective way to get traffic to your website is Article Marketing.
Article Marketing is a proven method of traffic generation and is one of the oldest. No matter what people say about short-cuts and tips that could get traffic in a matter of minutes, none of these things can take the spotlight away from Article marketing.
Take for instance, a few of the latest product launches in the recent days at Clickbank. Most of these use the simple strategy of Article Marketing as their primary weapon. These product launches talk about accidental discoveries and innovations, but the fact of the matter is that all of these products rely on Article Marketing. Most of these products are softwares that can do automatic submission of articles to various article directories.
Do these strategies work? Are these products worthy?
I do not think so. These strategies are not effective. The article directories that these tools submit to are directories that do not see any traffic, are not managed well and are junk. Submission to these directories cannot get you a single visitor.
In order to get traffic you have to do some effective Article Marketing.
Now, What is effective article marketing is what you question is, right?
Effective Article Marketing
In order to be effective and to get the desired results out of Article Marketing, you need to be associated with article directories that have the reputation of being the best. These article directories should be ones that are well managed and get a good amount of traffic everyday.
I only rely on 3 main article directories for my Article Marketing and I recommend that you too should be associated with them. These 3 article directories should be your primary targets in Article marketing -
- Ezine Articles
- Go Articles
- Articles Base
Of all these ezine articles, is the best. But at the same time, the others too are loved by Google and can get you a good amount of traffic.
Article Marketing Strategy to double your Traffic
Ezinearticles.com is currently running a contest called as Hundred Article in Hundred days. I recommend that you join the contest and start submitting articles. The contest is about submitting hundred articles in hundred days.
We often tend to loose focus because we do not have clear cut goals and targets. If we have a target in mind the chances of achieving our goal increases. This is precisely what HAHD can do to you.
If you have been struggling with traffic to your blog or, website and you have no clue on what to do, then this is your chance. Join HAHD at ezinearticles.com
This is a good strategy. The poorest traffic to one of my articles at ezinearticles is about 25 visitors per day. Going by this logic, if I assume that all my 100 articles will get traffic similar to this poorest articles, I still get about 2500 visitors per day to my blog or, website. This is huge and this can do a great amount of good to my revenues.
Join HAHD today! Benefit from Article Marketing
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This is a guest post by Susan. You can read the guidelines to guest posting to know more.
Website conversion rate is a measurement or a metric defined as the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action. This metric helps you estimate how well your website is doing. The exact definition of website conversion rate depends on the type of website in question. For instance, in case of retail eCommerce websites, conversion rate is the numbers of visitors who make a purchase from the website as a percentage of total number of visitors. To increase the conversion rate of a website, business blogging is an amazing technique.
What is Business blogging?
Business blogs are corporate tools meant for communicating with customers or employees in order to share knowledge and expertise. In addition to serving many other important purposes, they can go a long way in increasing your website’s conversion rate. It is quite an effective technique to ensure targeted traffic to your website and they are designed to publicize your website.
Upon launching a new website, reaching out to your targeted customers is not at all easy. Via business blogging, you can easily achieve this purpose. If you have a flair for writing, you can utilize it fully well for the purpose of popularizing your website and hence increasing its conversion rate. Blogging can greatly help you improve the link popularity of your website. Business blogging can considerably improve your search engine ranking.
Business blogging can help you differentiate your business, products and services from the competitors. It helps you attract prospects and develop new business opportunities. It is an excellent way of promoting your business by means of media and online public relations. By performing all these services, a business blog can certainly help in increasing the conversion rate of your website.
By means of your business blog, you can carry out two way communication with your prospects and customers. It is also employed for the purpose of carrying out general marketing and business development. A business blog can help you develop new markets, products and niches. All this will serve to boost your business to a great deal, and hence collectively serve to increase the conversion rate of your website.
Business blogging is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to increase your website conversion rate. Business blogging serves as one of the most powerful marketing weapons, which is worth its cost. Managing a business blog enables you to repeatedly mention the name of your business and thus make the readers remember your business, so that they are likely to turn to your website whenever they need a particular product or a service. Several things for communication between you and your customers are required for a business transaction to take place. Business blogging provides for this communication between you and your customers, and hence accelerates the conversion rate of your website.
In order to build relationship with your customers, you need to build a rapport with them. This rapport can be developed via business blogging as it enables you to speak openly and frankly, which ultimately makes your customers feel as if they know you. As your customers get to know and like you more and more, they are greatly inclined to visit your website and purchase your product, and hence contribute to enhancing the conversion rate of your website.
Yet another way by which business blogging enhances the conversion rate of your website is by making you and your business appear much more accessible. This is more so if you allow the blog readers to post comments on your blog. Many potential customers prefer to deal with businesses offline because of lack of accessibility in case of online businesses. Business blogging successfully alleviates this concern, and causes more and more blog readers to visit your main website.
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What is the single most important thing to do if you want your readers to become subscribers?
It is true that “The money is in the List”. The wise men in Internet Marketing said this long ago. But like most things that we tend to ignore, we often ignore the most obvious and the simplest of things only to find that our strategy is not working.
I picked it up from one of my favorite bloggers on the internet – Brian Clark at Copyblogger.
The Single Most important thing to do to improve optin rates is to win the trust of your reader.
I am a frequent reader at Copyblogger, though not all posts are my kind. I spend some time browsing through content that I love and when I find them, I thoroughly enjoy reading it. I loved Copyblogger so much that I even tried to imitate Brian’s earlier design partially when I created Dkspeaks.com.
But, Why am I discussing Brian Clark and Copyblogger?
There’s a reason to it. A couple of days back as I was browsing through Copyblogger (I really love the new design of the blog and I was actually admiring it), I stumbled upon something on the sidebar of the blog. It was a small banner that read “the Free Copyblogger Newsletter – Internet Marketing for Smart People”. It immediately attracted me and something prompted me to click on it.
It took me to a totally different page, albeit on Copyblogger itself. It looked as if it was a custom sales page designed for Copyblogger to gel into the existing blog design. It indeed was a sales page, but with a difference.
Brian used this page to to sell his free 20-part course, that he was offering to anyone subscribing to his newsletter. There was no gimmicks, no images of ebooks, cd covers etc. It was a simple sales page. Brian is a master at copywriting, so the sales page obviously had to be good.
But there was something special about the sales page. Brian, kind of explained the crux of whatever he was offering to his subscribers for free, in his sales page and that too, in a very simple language.
The headline, grabbed my attention. I was forced to read the rest of the page. On reading the rest, I began to trust Brian and his words. There was some kind of a trust that kept building as I read through the page. By the time I came to the last paragraph, which was a detailed explanation of the privacy statement and my next actions, I was completely won. I signed up for the newsletter.
What was so different about this page at Copyblogger and What did Brian Clark do differently here?
Somewhere in this page Brian won my trust. He was very transparent and I somehow felt that I would get something valuable if I subscribe to his newsletter.
It is extremely important to win the trust of your reader so that you can convert them to a subscriber and then to maintain that trust so that you can enjoy a long term relationship with them. Win trust and your optin conversions will see a manifold increase.
BTW, I am currently working on something similar to what Brian has done, though I know that I will not be able to match the Copyblogger copywriting skills.
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Do you see how fast my blog loads?
I have had the problem of slow loading for quite some time and was unable to figure out a solution to it. My Google Analytics report shocked me, when I saw about 60% bounce rate on my blog. The average time spent on my blog gave me a fair idea that the bounce could primarily be because of the slow load time. My blog took a pathetic 20 seconds to load.
It was too much time. If I were the visitor to such a blog, I would obviously browse away, if the blog doesn’t load in the first 5-7 seconds. No wonder I had such a high bounce rate.
I had to spend some time to analyze the reason for the slow page load. One of the resources that helped me a lot in this was http://www.whichloadsfaster.com. They allow for a comparison between 2 sites and analyzes the reasons for the slow page load.
Reason for the slow page load
A few of the reasons I noted for the slow page load were -
- Hosting Bandwidth
- Social Media buttons
- Other external scripts
Plugins – I had close to 17 different plugins installed on my blog. All of these plugins were extremely important for my blog and I couldn’t do away with them. The loading time for a few of these were extremely high. But I had to make that decision. I prioritized the plugins based on their criticality and deactivated and uninstalled a few of the plugins. In order to further reduce the page load time, I used a content delivery network about which I will discuss later.
Images – Another major reason for the slow page load was the images on my blog. There were a lot of advertisements that had the image hosted on the advertisers hosting and in order to pull the images and load it, it took a lot of time. I downloaded these images and hosted them on my hosting and this reduced the page loading time considerably.
Hosting Bandwidth – The hosting bandwidth plays a very important role in you page load time. My hosting with Hostgator has not given me any problems but it was a shared hosting and I had quite a lot of blogs installed on the same shared hosting. This problem was resolved by using a content delivery network.
Social Media Buttons – Social Media buttons on your blog could increase you page load time considerably. Facebook buttons in particular are the major culprit. You can resolve this problem by using techniques which can ensure that these buttons load only after everything else on the page has loaded.
Other external scripts – If you have a lot of scripts on your blog that are called from a different server, it could also lead to slow page loads. For eg: Mybloglog badges, blog catalog badges etc. call scripts externally and increases the page load time. I removed all such widgets and it considerably improved my page load time.
Using Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network is a network of servers from around the world that stores a copy of your website data. Since your website is delivered from different servers it gives you the advantage of a larger bandwidth which in turn reduces page load times. Whenever there is no dynamic content involved, a CDN delivers a cached page of your website thus further reducing the page load time.
In case your blog has readers from around the world, using a CDN is the best option because it will make the website available to the visitor from a server that is closest to his location. All of these together helps reduce the page load time of your blog.
Normally CDNs charge you a monthly charge and you have to make a few changes in your domain’s DNS. But one service that I found extremely useful and was free of cost was Cloudflare. You might want to check out their services.
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Every Year that ends gives us a chance to reconcile whatever happened in the year that was. At the same time it also gives us a chance to plan for the year ahead. If you plan your next year based on the last years reconciliation, your plan is bound to be successful.
There were thousands of things that were new to the Internet Marketing world in the year 2010. While we saw a sudden surge of traffic generation products based on Facebook marketing, we also saw a decline in products that were based on Twitter. Blame it on the overuse and abuse of Twitter or, the growing popularity of Facebook, whichever way a few Internet marketers made a lot of money and a lot others lost a fortune of money on these products.
In the year 2010 we also saw a new kind of Copycat marketing where there were numerous Internet Marketers who were following a simple tried and tested formula to make a killing out of IM products. Almost all these products were rated extremely high on gravity at Clickbank, which meant that they were successful. Is the method, ethical or, unethical is for you to decide. This was precisely the subject of one of the best blogposts (Me-too Copycat Marketers on Clickbank) of the year listed below.
The year 2010 will disappoint anyone who was waiting for a shortcut to making money online because no such way was discovered. May be the next year would, so I advice you to wait and watch the coming year as it goes.
For others who put in that extra effort to dream big and work towards it, the change would have been obvious. Also there was a lot of excellent products that were launched and people made money out of it.
There were thousands of new blogs that cropped up on the internet, a lot of these were success stories and a lot others faded into oblivion. Having said that I should also say that there were a lot of informative posts that I saw in the year 2010. I had marked a lot of posts but for the sake of keeping it short and informative, I have made a list of the best 15 posts according to me. You might like them -
- Me-Too Copycat Marketers on ClickBank
- 20 Web Design Resources To Help You Build a Great Website
- 8 Principles for Effective Affiliate Marketing on a Blog
- Are You Making These Blogging Mistakes?
- 4 Foundations of a Successful Blog
- 7 Quick-Start Techniques for Fighting the Fear to Write
- Actually, Blogging *is* Dead
- 5 Easy Blog Improvements in under 5 Minutes
- Keyword Research for Blogging
- What After One Year of Blogging
- Why aren’t you hosting your own blog yet?
- 5 Reasons to stop trying to be happy
- Making money from a website – is advertising the only solution?
- Blogging – How to increase traffic?
- Top 5 Goals for a Successful Social Media Campaign