Building a brand from scratch is not an easy thing to do, especially if you are in a market that is very competitive. How does one start to rise above the noise to distinguish themselves as a heavy hitter? What techniques and tricks can you use to reach your brand awareness goals? Below I have outlined some of the most effective ways to build your brand using online marketing techniques.

Video Marketing:

1. Create videos that research proves will do well on the sites you are marketing to. Usually funny videos and tutorials tend to do well.

2. Decide what video marketing stance you are going to approach with your video marketing: Cut the video and add branding before something funny or interesting happens to redirect the viewer to your site. Or allow the entire video shown to allow for more viewers and impressions.

3. Initiate streaming rich media ads on videos.

4.Purchase pre-roll or post-roll ads on videos.

5. Distribute your video across these multiple video sharing sites.

Conversational Marketing

6. Leverage sites like Sponsored Reviews in order to create a viral buzz online regarding your brand.

7. Join as many forums as you can adequately sustain a quality contributor.

8. Get to know who the industry voice is for your niche and post comments on there blogs.

9. Contribute to online groups like google groups and myspace groups.

10. Market yourself by adding a blog.

11. Use advanced techniques to gain RSS subscribers for maximum exposure.

Pay Per Click

12. If you have a larger budget create an account on the top tier pay per click networks, Google, MSN and Yahoo!.

13. If you have a smaller ad budget go with Google and some tier 2 and tier 3 networks.

14. A great way to get branding is to get those impressions. Try giving 3rd tier networks a try but know that conversions may be lower on 3rd tier networks.

15. Utilize keycompete to get a good base on competitor PPC advertising.

16. Do extensive keyword research to find optimal exposure and converting keywords.

17. Try to find niches and keyword markets to target that are not as heavily competitive but are highly trafficked so your cost per click will be way down.

18. Mind your ad quality.

Social Media Marketing

19. Stay as ethical as you possibly can.

20. To successfully leverage your social media for online marketing you need to really be active in your communities, ergo is best to have power accounts on a few social media sites rather then trying to manage many of them across multiple networks. Find your niche.

21. Initiate social bookmarking campaigns online.

22. Create content to support edits in wikipedia.

Email Marketing

23. Team with companies with double opt in lists

24. Sponsor mailing lists with companies who have a wide subscriber base.

25. Try to leverage DBA lists

26. Setup a network of sites geared towards lead generation. By capturing these leads you can use them for yourself or sell them to leading lead brokers.

Mobile Search Marketing

27. Create a click to call campaign

28. Develop a mobile version of your site.

29. Include jump links below your content as normal navigation on a mobile search page can cause problems when viewing on mobile devices.

Search Engine Optimization

30. Optimize all title tags and meta data according to your rev mix.

31. If you are having problems ranking internal pages for there given keyword terms consider developing an effective silo.

32. Develop search engine friendly html sitemap.

33 Develop quality internal linking structure.

34. Create optimized html source code.

35. Create optimized robots.txt

36. Create optimized XML sitemap.

Affiliate Marketing

37. Create accounts in the 2 major affiliate networks, link share and commission junction.

38. Evaluate your competitions affiliate program

39. If you do not have an affiliate option for your services or products then think about creating one because the chance to have others advertise your products and services is a great way to get exposure and build your branding.

40. Incentavize your affiliate deals to attract the affiliate and the consumers.

Banner Advertising

41. Examine potential sites demographics.

42. Get media break outs

43. Consider Portal Advertising

44. Weight your cost per acquisition model between the cost of CPM and CPC banner advertising.

Application Marketing

45. Create a marketing campaign on Instant messangers

Contextual Advertising

46. Initiate a PFI (pay for inclusion) campaign for in bound links with sites like Text Link Brokers.

47. Consider Pre Sale pages or Hosted Marketing packages.

On to offline Marketing

48. Clothing is one of the best ways to market a product and service on and offline. By creating clothing that is branded with your logo and services you can ad this clothing line to online shopping sites and having people wear your clothes with your branding obviously increases your brand awareness.

My last and final tip is to make sure that everything you do can be tracked and measured via an accurate web analytics system. If you can afford it I would recommend click tracks. If that is to expensive for you then you might consider web trends. Many of these tips can not only improve your online marketing success but can increase the value of your own site allowing you to be paid much more for your sponsored reviews..

– Joe Whyte

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There is no single “magic formula” to a successful Website. You can, however, make your own magic with a mix of marketing programs that is right for you. Your choices depend upon your overall goals and strategies.

A laundry list of marketing tactics that have worked for others — and some of the benefits or features of each — is below. They are in no particular order because each Website is unique. The tactics that will help you reach your goals may be completely different than the tactics that are right for another Website.

1. Write and distribute articles available for free republication — Provides a “sample” of your writing or knowledge and creates inbound links to your Website.

2. Write and publish your own ezine — Develops a list of interested prospects and provides a way to communicate directly with subscribers.

3. Distribute Website or newsletter content via RSS (xml) feeds — Provides a way to reach prospects without email and creates more ways for potential prospects to find your Website.

4. Rewrite sales page(s) — Increases conversion rates for your product.

5. Start an ongoing SEO campaign — Improves organic search engine rankings and increases number of visitors.

6. Test different Website configurations — Improves conversion rates and profit.

7. Send postcards or notes to Website customers/visitors via “snail mail” — Additional point of contact improves conversions and recall.

8. Add a signature to your email — Increases exposure to your site and communicates your marketing message.

9. Spend one hour each day on prospecting new customers or visitors — Spreads the word about your product/service/Website and improves awareness.

10. Offer a podcast — Recipients can listen to the mp3 file while away from their computers. A way to verbally communicate with prospects.

11. Blog — You can easily share thoughts and resources up to several times a day.

12. Audio message on Website (With start and stop under visitor control) — An additional way to verbally communicate your message.

13. Online radio show — Attracts visitors to your Website on a regular basis and is a way for visitors/listeners to know the “personality” behind your Website.

14. Survey visitors as a research method — Helps you understand the needs and problems of your visitors.

15. Include a daily (weekly, monthly) interactive survey for visitors — A way to make your Website “stickier” and is a reason for repeat visits.

16. Provide a discount coupon, available only online, and advertise it offline — Pulls new and repeat visitors to your Website.

17. Offer a free ebook that you wrote/developed and allow reprints — Creates a viral marketing effect and provides a sample of your work.

18. Show others’ advertisements on your Website (examples: AdSense or Yahoo! Publisher Network) — Adds a source of revenue for you and more research options for your visitors.

19. Implement a customer loyalty program — Increases repeat purchases and builds a more loyal customer base.

20. Offer a gift with certain orders over a certain amount — Increases average order size.

21. Write press releases to announce important news — Spreads the word about your business and creates additional avenues of contact with those interested in your industry.

22. Hold an online chat — Interactive way to communicate with prospects and draws visitors to the site.

23. Launch a direct-mail campaign, sending 3 to 6 postcards – spaced a week or so apart – to prospects – Draws new visitors to your Website.

24. Partner with other online businesses by mentioning each other’s products/services in your ezine Websites — Opportunity for synergies between businesses.

25. Launch an affiliate program — Creates a sales force for your product.

26. Offer different versions of your product — Provides a “tiered” choice for customers.

27. Participate in others’ affiliate programs — Develops an additional source of revenue and expands your product offerings.

28. Open a merchant or third party processor account — Increases your ability to take payments online and improves customer service.

29. Offer free shipping — Improves customer service.

30. Have a limited-time offer — Encourages customers to buy now rather than later (or never).

31. Conduct a workshop or class — Builds credibility and attracts prospects.

32. Add testimonials to your Website — Helps establish credibility and shows experience.

33. Participate in interviews — Displays your expertise and attracts new customers.

34. Study your competition — Helps you understand what is happening in your industry and better address important issues and needs.

35. Launch a pay per click advertising campaign — Attracts new prospects to the Website pages you want.

36. Hold a teleseminar — Provides a way to attract potential prospects and customers get to know you better.

37. Put a “refer-a-friend” link on every page — Reminds people to tell others about your site and encourages viral marketing.

38. Set up an autoresponder course — Is a value-added service to visitors and increases exposure to your product and Website.

39. Continually split-test your sales page(s). Change a single element (headline color, for example) and test against the current version. Replace anytime you get a page that converts better than the current – Over time, this dramatically improves profit.

40. Develop a mailing list of “hot prospects” and send them a brochure about your Website — Improves awareness and attracts new customers.

41. Communicate your URL and tag line at every point of contact with customers and prospects — Increases awareness and interest; improves recall; and attracts new customers.

42. List your Website in appropriate directories — Provides more points of contact with potential customers, helps search engine rankings.

43. Install a “bookmark this page” script on each page — Encourages repeat visits.

44. Improve a marginal product — Increases sales and provides an additional opportunity to communicate with customers.

45. Provide a “co-branded” product or service — By partnering with another Website to create a new product, improves both businesses .

46. Offer a contest — Provides additional “stickiness” and encourages repeat visits.

47. Become active in online forums and groups — Establishes you as an authority on your subject, improves credibility, and increases points of contact with potential prospects.

48. Move your primary call-to-action “above the fold” and test different page positions — Can dramatically improve Website conversions.

49. Install live customer service on site. Staff with knowledgeable people so potential customers can get immediate answers – Improves customer service and conversion rates.

50. Develop different versions of your products (example: print book, audio book, ebook, etc.) — Meets needs and preferences of customers in more ways.

51. THE MOST IMPORTANT ONLINE MARKETING TECHNIQUE: First, implement to your greatest ability. Then, persist. Improve upon and tweak implementation of each marketing program until it works for you.

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About the Author

Bobette Kyle draws upon 15+ years of Marketing/Executive experience, online marketing experience, and a marketing MBA as inspiration for her writing. Bobette is proprietor of the Web Site Marketing Plan Network (http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com). She is also author of the marketing plan and Web promotion book “How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Website Marketing For Small Budget Business.” You can search all articles on the network through the marketing directory by going here: http://www.websitemarketingplan.com/directory

We all love Easter Egg or scavenger hunts.

The Globe & Mail (one of Toronto’s biggest newspapers) have announced a new website promotion that should tickle many a reader’s fancy.

They’ve hidden $1000 CAD per day on their website for the next 50 days; all you have to do is answer a daily question that’s taken directly from a current story, feature or article on their site from that day.

Digging around looking for the answer means you get exposed to their advertisers, their other current promos, and obviously their content.  It’s a simple, fun, and likely effective way to increase their web traffic as well as their average time spent on their site.

I received this notice in an email marketing campaign,  proving once again that when delivered at the right time and with the right content, email marketing works like a charm.  What’s more, after clicking the email, I land on a pretty simple but effective landing page that pushes what seems to be their top 4 content sections in order to drive further click-thrus to their site.

Not bad all around, except 1 thing they’ve overlooked – missing out on some free promotion by failing to add a ‘tell a friend’ link on either the email or landing page.  Oops.

Check it out at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/1Kaday/

I’ve just finished another client’s website – http://www.incidentaltourist.com – and I expect good things from it.  The interesting part about the website is the content itself; Dental Tourism is an interesting industry, but Dental Tourism to China is pretty bold and new.  My client has already had success with Canadian InciDental tourists, and hopes for more from all over North America.

I think the most important aspect of this venture is the price.  It might sound strange, but when compared to Western dental rates, Dental Tourism to China saves you big money. With The InciDentalTourist.com, you can keep the money you would spend at your local dentist, travel to China for the trip of a lifetime, and get your teeth fixed at facilities better than your local dentist.

I’m considering it myself already.

I haven’t noticed a banner ad for a really, really long time now, so I was pretty impressed when I came across the newest series of ‘Get a Mac’ banner ads by Apple. It’s a great use of the 728×90 real estate and Flash, and of course the Mac Ad sense of humour draws you in and makes you want to watch it again, and click.

Examples below, which have been reduced from the original 728×90 size to a 468 size, to fit on my blog and website (carbongraffiti.com)

(Ed: I’ve since tried to find a live version with no luck… sorry).

MacAd1

MacAd2

A great video from an Italian Internet consulting firm, predicting what would happen to copyright, tv, radio, and the internet in the next fifty years.  Online Marketers, take note if you plan to stay in the business for the long haul!

Isn’t it just that simple?

When the internet started, just having a website meant you were likely to be found. But as more people and and more businesses created more websites, the ability to be unique and one-of-a-kind became more difficult. So now, 8 A.G. (after Google) on, the internet is no longer a luxury to those who know how to program, but the norm to anyone and everyone who owns a PC or Mac. And with the ubiquity of the net, websites and blogs, computers and so on, getting seen and heard as a marketer is really difficult; as of 2004, Google was indexing over 8 billion webpages.  Imagine what it is now?

Which is exactly why the concept of ‘1-to-1 marketing’ seems such a no-brainer, but at the same time is a concept that’s lost on many companies, businesses and individuals alike.

Assuming the natural growth of something as never-before-seen as the internet requires ‘growing pains’ and trial and error, we’re all past the first phase (Web 1.0), which can only be described as ‘the blind shotgun‘ or ‘spray and pray‘ marketing.  With email marketing it was obtaining a list, creating one campaign with standard copy, and pressing send.  With SEO it was simply creating page after page with keywords and phrases, hoping to get picked up by Google’s magical algorithms.  The same model still exists in most online advertising – eyeballs matter more than clicks, seeing as banner ads are becoming so ubiquitous and commonplace that I for one no longer even notice them.

But now we’re in the next phase, and as a marketer it’s even harder to get noticed.  With blogs, pre-packaged websites, affordable broadband etc., anyone can act as an authority on any subject, or sell their goods, or do just about anything.  So getting noticed is of the utmost importance.  But spraying and praying won’t work anymore. You can’t just go buy a list, because the recipients won’t respond – they know what’s Spam and what’s not.  Google and other SE’s are smarter, you can’t stuff keywords into a page’s meta info and hope for high rankings.  You’re the needle, the internet is the (massive) haystack.  To get noticed you not only need to be ‘remarkable’ like Seth Godin’s purple cow, but you need to be willing and able to speak to customers as individuals and deliver content, emails, pages, etc that are relevant to them and only them.

Basically everyone needs to stop trying to shout louder than everyone else, and focus on what they’re offering and tailor it to the individual customer. 

ESPs (Email Marketing Service Providers) are waking up to this and starting to offer better list segmentation capabilities and content management.  SEOs are starting to realize that Google is really, really smart, and that simply making a page that’s meant to be read by a human being will work better than a page full of jibberish keywords.  Online advertising is getting smarter too, with better technologies to allow for segmentation and localization, and new waves like socal bookmarking are allowing for relevance to reign supreme.

But as long as everyone understands that shouting loud is not working anymore, we’ll all be better off.

If you’re strapped for time and need to send an email campaign ASAP, don’t have the resources to design a campaign from scratch, or are just plain lazy, visit www.CarbonGraffiti/emailmarketing/emailtemplates.html now to find 10 hand-coded HTML templates ready-to-use. Simply replace the copy with your own, make a few image tweaks (curse you, Outlook 2007), host the images on your server, and send away.

All templates are hand-coded in HTML to ensure maximum compatibility (on most email clients, especially Outlook 2007 in all of its non-CSS-and-Microsoft Word-rendering glory), and images are included in the downloadable ZIP file. Email Marketing Best Practices such as ‘Can’t view this email properly’, Forward and Subscribe buttons, CAN-SPAM compliance and minimal use of background images and/or CSS are adhered to, wrapped in simple and actionable designs.

All templates are free to use, with link-backs and attribution most appreciated.

The other day on London’s Oxford Street , as I was pulled by my fiancee into every clothing store imaginable, I couldn’t help but notice that every single one of them dedicated the ground floor to women shoppers. The men’s sections were almost always upstairs or downstairs. Mentioning this to my fiancee, she simply stated the obvious – women shop more.

It looks like it’s more of the same for online shopping in the UK.
In a (virtual) world presumably populated exclusively by males, a new study from InternetRetailing.net (excerpt below) reveals that in the UK the 18-34 year old female demographic is now the single most prevalent group online. This group, according to the study, accounts for 18% of all active online Brits; there are 2x as many 18-34 year old women online in the UK than girls under 18 or women over 50, and in comparison the most prevalent male age group online turns out to be those over 50. For every hour spent online in the UK, a woman aged between 18-34 accounts for 13 minutes of that hour. Wow.

My angle on this? Online marketers and retailers are realizing the potential (and if not, should be) of the never-ending shopping quest of the 18-34 year old woman, and the results are looking good. With online shopping now so accessible and clickable, you don’t have to be a 14 year old male tech geek to buy online (and feel safe, secure, confident in doing it). What’s more, this demographic seems to be taking charge more and growing more confident in their online world, thereby starting a shift in the online marketing and internet landscape that will surely continue to grow. With more statistics becoming available for online advertising and marketing initiatives, 100% gender-based ad serving technology is the next logical step to reach out and interact with these online shoppers.

Article excerpts:

– 18-34 year old women are the single most prevalent demographic group, accounting for 18% of all active online Britons. 18-34 year olds are the most prevalent group, accounting for 32% of all active online Britons.

– The internet isn’t all about the young; one in four Britons online is at least 50 years old – in fact there are 1.7 times more 50+ year olds than children under 18 active on the Internet.

– The UK internet population is split almost equally between males (51.5%) and females (49.5%).

– There are twice as many women aged 18-34 than girls under 18 or women 50+ active online.

– In contrast, amongst males active online, the 50+ age group is the most prevalent; for example, there are twice as many men aged 50+ than boys under 18 active online.

– Women aged 18-34 account for 21% of all time spent on computers by Britons – for every hour Britons spend on computers, 13 minutes are accounted for by 18-34 year old women.

– Under 18s account for just 4% of all UK computer time – or two minutes of every hour Britons spend on computers.

I’m blatantly syndicating this blog post by David Baker of Avenue A/Razorfish as it does the rounds, because I feel it adroitly simplifies what email marketing should (and might) become in the near future. I saw David speak at a WOMMA conference in 2006, and was as impressed then as I am now with his views and generally 360 grasp on online marketing today.

Read below for his take on email marketing today (and tomorrow, taken directly from his blog at www.whitenoiseinc.com.


RECENTLY I HEARD THAT EMAIL as an industry is worth $10 billion. Not bad after only 10 years or so, if you buy into that number. As our industry approaches maturity, I believe we are on the verge of a new phase of evolution. Now is the time to get ready for it.

As we know, email means different things to different people. As a business marketing tool, it often gets confused with advertising channels. But it does represent a medium for sales, marketing, customer service, channel service, technical service — and the list goes on.

Email has a front end we call acquisition or engagement, an intermediate stage we call conversion and a back end that we call retention or loyalty. When you combine all the systems and views of the customer, we call this eCRM. That’s our business in a nutshell.

Trends show we are shifting to “touchpoint” views of a customer. Every touchpoint can be leveraged to improve the brand relationship with the customer and should be afforded the same weight as others –including email.

The industry has spent two years trying to address deliverability. This makes sense, since landing in the spam folder (if it lands at all) has brand and revenue consequences. Yet after all this time, many are still confused about what deliverability is, whether it can be bought, or if it needs to be earned over time.

I’m encouraged by the many discussions around trigger messaging, lifecycle messaging and being smarter about targeting and timing of email in general, but so few can actually see the entire picture of a customer experience that this is often an endless discussion.

While there’s been a lot said about mobile messaging and RSS, we are still in a conundrum about these channels and media. We can’t even tell if SMTP-based email is being read on a desktop, laptop, BlackBerry or smart phone. RSS has found its home, but people are still struggling with its monetization and its relationship to email. Should it replace email? Can it be tracked like email and managed in common environments without creating new processes for an already overburdened staff? Will the self-subscribing nature of RSS be the “profile management” the email industry has been seeking for years?

Here’s what I see coming our way over the next few years. All these ideas are up for debate.

– Most of the personalization and cool dynamic content sent through email will be reserved for the highly engaged, responsive, highly valued consumer. If you don’t open or click over time, you’ll quit getting email from the brands and sites you signed up for. ISPs are already recommending that we only send to customers who have bought something or have long-term relationships with. I see marketers really focusing energy on that highly engaged audience, while the infrequent or non-responders will be left to sign up again or get less email.

-Email acquisition will be done on a contingency basis (pay to perform). Engaging new consumers through email is not easy, and I see this entire process extending from rented lists to a sequence of communications to hand-raisers within a list, rather than a broadcast message hoping to catch them at the right timing. I don’t know that the list owners will survive on a purely CPM model with so many lists to test without becoming more accountable for a “conversion.”

-Email priority delivery will be a paid-for service. While anyone close to the space knows you can’t discount the importance of managing delivery and your delivery reputation (spam complaints, bounces, clean files and practices), you can’t deny the value of priority delivery. I don’t think reputation alone will make it in the future. I liken it to FedEx on some levels. So, you either pay to get email delivered, or you will pay in other ways trying to get it delivered and prioritized. Either way you will pay more than you are paying today. Look at how the ISPs are beginning to monetize their email lists, ensuring priority delivery to those advertisers that rent those lists.

-Email marketers will be forced to split their forces to address RSS. This may become a new department or an extension of the Web team. RSS is a content game. The self-subscribing, real-time nature of RSS will make it easy to organize content, but it will still be a challenge to pull content together and syndicate it, not to mention measure interactions with it. Imagine doing this with the email team that is already a few horses short of a herd.

A few wild-haired premonitions — and open to others. But hang on to this, and let’s see how many of these ideas we are talking about at the end of this year.

David Baker is vice president of e-mail solutions at Avenue A/Razorfish. Visit his blog at http://whitenoiseinc.co