If you're new to the Web marketing game, watch this interview with Crexendo's VP of Web Marketing, Parker Garlitz. It's a good overview of what we do here at Crexendo.
Press Releases are a good way to promote the products you sell or the website you sell them with. Obviously, you have to make sure you take all the steps to use them properly, such as including your back-link either in the article or resource box, tweeting the release once it's published, posting it on your Facebook fan page, etc. Done properly, a well-written release can be a valuable asset for your business. But don't overlook the crafting of the press release as the important step it is. Creating a press release to promote your product or e-commerce website requires thought and preparation. Here are seven mistakes people commonly make when writing a press release.
1. Lack of proper research. Read and subscribe to press releases not only in your own niche, but from some of the larger and more successful companies in the world. See how they are structured and worded. Incorporate the structural features you like into your own releases.
2. Rash Assumptions. Your reader may know nothing about your products or website. One goal of a press release is to have your reader generate buzz to their readers or media outlet, so lay out the specifics for them.
3. Condescension. While fatal flaw #2 says to be specific with what you are writing, be careful not to write in a condescending tone. It's a sure way to turn readers off. Assume your readers are reasonably intelligent.
4. Overselling. The purpose of a press release is to put information into the hands of those who have influence and a crowd to share it with. They are not the ones who will be buying or using whatever is in the contents of your press release. Don't try to make them the buyer. Rather, look at them as your reseller and present the information in the same way you would teach a sales associate how to sell to a customer in a store.
5. Bloat. A press release is not an article. It should be informative and easily digestible; keep the fluff to a minimum and focus on the details that pertain to your service, product, or website.
6. Dull titles. Look at your deleted email folder to see which messages you deleted without opening. Chances are the subject line didn't entice you to open it. Be creative and direct with your title. It can mean the success or failure of your release.
7. Incorrect or outdated information. Wait until you have all the facts, specifics, and proper information included in your press release, then send it. Don't send a release announcing a forthcoming release, either. It will break the trust of your readers. You're better off sitting on a release for a few days than sending it out missing crucial information.
Avoid these simple mistakes in your press releases and the information in them will be more likely to get used. As with all writing, re-read it, proof it, and then read it again to ensure it flows smoothly and conveys the exact message you need it to. Finally, remember to tweet your release and post it to your Facebook fan page to help boost exposure.
If you’ve been asking this question in your business, you’re not alone. With all the hype around social media sites like Twitter®, Facebook®, and others over the past year or two, it’s hard not to wonder if it’s something your business should be pursuing more aggressively. The answer to the question depends heavily on another question: What are you hoping to get out of social media?
If you’re hoping to drive more traffic to your website or get more visitors in your store, you’ll need a very specialized strategy. The cold, hard fact of it is that with few exceptions most companies are unable to get those things out of social media.
On the other hand, if your goal is to simply be “out there”, and you have someone who’ll be maintaining your presence, social media may work for you. For example, if you can get a substantial number of people to “Like” your company’s Facebook® fan page, every time you post on that page, they’ll see it. Post useful tidbits they’ll like getting and be sure to include your company name. It’s a way of just staying on their minds long term. You may not see huge amounts of business directly attributable to your Facebook fan page, but if you want to stay in the minds of your customers, this is a good way to do it. Twitter® and others work a lot differently but the principle is the same.
Other benefits social media offer: keeping a finger on the pulse of your market, product research surveys, reputation management, and brand reinforcement. What benefits your company derives from social media comes down to fit. Some companies are uniquely suited to reap massive benefits from social media. Most companies are finding that the time and money are better spent on web marketing fundamentals like link building, search engine optimization, and paid search.
Many people understand what Social Bookmarking is good for: It’s a way you can share cool websites, articles, videos, etc. that you find as you surf the Web. The Bookmarks feature on your Web browser gets cluttered fast and it only works on one computer. A social bookmarking site enables you to access your bookmarks from any computer or mobile device, and rather than trying to navigate a complicated file system for all your bookmarks, you just use tags. You can also look at your friends’ accounts to see what cool things they’ve bookmarked under a certain tag. What a lot of people don’t know is how Social Bookmarking can be used to promote a website. It’s quite common for people to know a little about how social bookmarking works but then ask, “Now how can I use it for my online business?”
As with any component of a social media campaign, start small. There are several social bookmarking sites from which to choose. Delicious, reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg are a few of the most popular. Pick one or two to start with, open an account, and learn how they work. Try to find and make friends within the site. Look closely at which sites have received the most bookmarks. What can you do with your title that will help you attract attention that way?
If you’re just starting out, use the circle of friends you already have in Facebook. It’s a ready-made group of cheerleaders rooting for your success. Ask them to get on the bookmarking site(s) you’ve chosen and bookmark your website, blog, or whatever it is you’d like to attract more traffic to.
Why’s It Good?
What’s the value? First, backlinks. The more people who bookmark your page, the more backlinks it has. The more backlinks it has, the higher rank it achieves in organic search. Second, depending on the bookmarking site, your page can receive more direct traffic from it. That’s because on some sites, the more people who bookmark your page in a short amount of time, the longer it stays highly visible to people who are just surfing the bookmarking site for cool stuff. Hopefully, some of those surfers will be curious enough about your page to go check it out.
Remember, social media users hate spam. Don’t title your page with something that sounds “spammy”. Instead use a title that tells what value any visitor will get when they come to your page.
Like any social media site, the more time you spend on a bookmarking site, the more familiar with it you’ll become, and the more ways you’ll discover to use it to promote your page.
Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?
This week we will focus on the top 5 of the hundreds of social networks/platforms used to engage customers and visitors and discuss briefly the benefits of each to help gain a better grasp of which social media platform you should engage your time in order to reach more customers and generate a higher ROI.
1st you will need to look deep into your industry and see what your competition is doing and see who exactly your customers or clients are. Being able to cater to your customers and clients what they want and need will get your business in the right direction in regards to choosing which platform and which avenues to pursue.
2nd something that should be considered is ease of use of the platform. Some platforms like Facebook and Myspace are relatively easy to use, that is why many people use them. however there are other social media areas that may be specific to your industry that you will want to tap into to reach more customers and these platforms may require some coding skills or design skills that may or may not need to be hired out for.
3rd and probably the most important is security. There are out there in the web space websites and social media platforms that do not provide much if any information security. Be careful when filling out an account creation about what information is put in and what will and will not be shared. Facebook by default has good protection but you have to dig in deep into the account settings to change settings about who sees your posts and what information is shared with others. Just be careful and do some research and homework. This part can be critical for businesses wanting to create a good secure area for their customers to share their experiences and positive feedback so keep it simple and safe. This is also a great place that if you have questions, ask someone who has done it before even if they are your competition. Being safe is always better than being sorry.
Now for the top 5 Social Media Networks / Platforms for growing a business:
Facebook- Social Networking - The Largest Social Media Platform on the web with more than 500 million active users according to facebook. Business profile pages range from basic to very interactive. Check out Best Buy's Facebook account for a great example of how a business can interact with customers through Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/bestbuy
Check out Our Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Crexendo
Twitter- Micro Blogging- One of the best examples of the use of Twitter for giving updates had been the restaurant industry and especially the Food Trucks. Since Food Trucks are mobile they work perfectly with Twitter to share with the followers where the next location in the city they will be and any good promotions or discounts currently being offered. Two great examples are http://twitter.com/AUSdailypress and http://twitter.com/GrillEmAllTruck from the new tv show " The Great Food Truck Race" on the Food Network.
Check out Our Twitter: http://twitter.com/crexendo
Youtube-Video hosting- Video Marketing and Viral Videos seem to be in a whole other world. Youtube says that every minute about 24 hours of video is uploaded to the You tube website. This amounts for millions of hours of videos. Granted there is a lot of videos on Youtube that are just plain silly, but there are hours and hours of good instructional and informational videos from businesses that have helped them grow. Creating a Youtube Channel is the most effective. A Youtube channel is basically that a place where you can upload all your videos about your business and have them viewed all in one place. Another greta benefit of a channel is that you can customize the background and make it very user friendly and inviting for your customers to use and enjoy. We will get into video creation and marketing in the future.
LinkedIn- Professional Profiles- Many people use this platform as kind of an online resume where you can get recommendations from former employers or co-workers, but LinkedIn also can be used for companies to share a profile of the business and employees can follow the company and other people can follow the company to get updates.
Check out Our LInkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/companies/crexendo-business-solutions
Blogger/Wordpress- Blogging platforms- Blogs allow you to post information and basic happenings of the business as well as run promotions and gain a following. We use our built in blog feature in our software platform for this blog but other wordpress and blogger sites have been created by businesses for the purpose of blogging or keeping a log of their updates and news.
Up and Coming:
Foursquare: Gps based location game where visitors can "check in" to your business and share or recommend their friends to visited your local business also. Foursquare has been gain a lot of traction and getting noticed lately because of how easy it is to use, so it is worth checking into.
Basically it comes down to getting more followers/users that are qualified and want to hear what you have to say and offer.
Once again, look into each of these platforms and decide which ones are right for the business and industry you are in. Some of these may not be suitable for your industry or business and some may fit like a glove when promoting new products and building the business.
www.mashable.com is a great resource for social media tips and advice on how to get more customers, realize ROI and branding to help your business grow.
A Brief History of Social Media
To help understand what Social Media is we need to understand where Social Media came from and why we use the term "Social Media." To briefly give an overview of how and where Social Media came to be basically comes down to communication. Communication has been around well since forever. Communication from cave man to cave man and communication in the form of postcard from a loved one on vacation have all been forms of simple Social Media. Sharing communications with others is what makes it social. For example when you receive that post card from your good friends traveling abroad, you are most likely to show other people the note on the postcard and the image of where the postcard came from. With this being said simple evolution has transformed social interaction and media in the forms of print, phone, and now the internet simultaneously into one formal way of saying group communication.
A Brief Evolution of Social Media
This image shows a rough timeline of how Social Media has evolved over the years into what we have come to know and love. Definitly in the last 10 -15 years the term "Social Media" and its related "Social Networking" and "Social Bookmarking" have come into heavy usage andacceptance. We will break down a few of the social media types and give a little info about each one to gain a better grasp on what is out on the web today.
The following in a non-exhaustive list of some great Social Media Platforms:
Communication: Sharing updates and info on what people are doing and connecting with firends
- Blogs- Blogger, Wordpress, LiveJournal, Xanga
- Microblogging- Twitter, Foursquare (GPS based location game), Tumblr
- Social Networking- Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Ning
Collaberation: Teamwork and information gathering
- Google Wave
Multimedia: Sharing images of events and photographs
- Photo Sharing: Flickr, Picassa, Photobucket
- Video Sharing: Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler
- Music: Myspace Music, Last.fm, Pandora, Grooveshark
Simplification Services - The make it easier to get your message out and increase your reach
- Tweetdeck- Facebook & Twitter
- TubeMogul- Youtube, YahooVideo, Metacafe
Web 2.0 Properties - Interactive Information Sharing Websites Usually Used for Link Building Purposes
- Squidoo- Uses "Lenses" to display information about websites, products, and opinions
- Stumbleupon - Social website searching and finding interesting websites
- Delicious -Social Bookmarking at its best
We hope this has been informational so far as to the history of social media. Next week, we will dive into how Social Media is "Social" and go through the top Social Media Sites and explain them in more detail.
This post is not intended to give an exhausted account of Social Media but to help understand what it is better.
It seems this week has been especially filled with information about Social Media. It seems like Social Media is the Buzz word for the year! Some of you may be asking yourself some or all of the following questions if you are a business owner or just curious about this new concept:
- What is Social Media?
- Who Uses Social Media?
- Is Social Media Right for Me?
- Why is Social Media Something I Need to Do?
To answer these questions would take years and years of explanation of the history of Social Media, what it is and how it works inclduding all the various platforms currently called "Social Media" and by that time since technology and information changes so quickly most everything would be out of date or invalid.
So... What do we do now?
It is essential to understand the core concepts of Social Media and why it is important and even cover this may take many posts but we will attempt to get started with the basics and the most important question - Is Social Media Right for Me?
We will discuss in a multi part series the answer to the above questions in more detail in order to help you the business owner get a grip on Social Media and maximize your Return On Investment from Social Media. We will discuss in depth the history, evolution, platforms and the future of social media as it pertains to business and maximizing profits and relationships.
So stay tuned and you will see and understand what Social Media is All About!
image source: http://www.mindfly.com/blog/post/2009/08/26/Social-Media-does-what.aspx
Welcome to the Crexendo blog!
Our purpose at Crexendo is to help you stand out from the crowd, and anyone who’s ever done a Google search knows that “the crowd” is considerable.
In our efforts to be your source of all things Web Marketing, we intend to use this blog to post tips and tricks to help make your website the magic bullet you’d like it to be. Topics will include:
- Link BuildingPaid Search Management (PPC)
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Social Media
- Local Web Promotion
- Web Design
- Web Development
- And much more!
We decided to start this blog to give our clients and prospective clients more information about what we do and include powerful tips and tools to help you generate more leads or sales. We’ll update the blog with new information every few days. If you’re trying to sharpen your website’s performance, this blog will be well worth following.
"Since Crexendo began helping us with online lead generation and SEO, we have been able to transition away from cold calling and trade shows as our primary means of prospecting, to using the web as the primary method. Through Search Engine Optimization, we now get more leads that are better qualified, and cost about half as much per lead. It has transformed the way we think about marketing. Thanks Crexendo!"
VP of Channel & Partner Alliances