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 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.

New Website Launched!

May 14, 2007

Finally, the new and much improved CarbonGraffiti v 3.0 website has launched. This new version’s highlights include a better, cleaner look, improved functionality, and [much] more emphasis on both the work portfolio and blog posts. Come back soon for upcoming email marketing campaign templates (to be open source, of course), continued email marketing and online marketing blog posts, and much more.

Back in December 2006 I excitedly returned from the WOMMA conference in D.C., went a bit crazy, and wrote a lengthy essay/manifesto in the airport terminal to channel all my thoughts onto paper. I realized that customer service plays an integral role not only to creating good WoM, but also plays a major role in good corporate karma. Putting the customer first and making them happy above all else was a great impetus to creating good WOM and building a solid customer base, but after seeing one side of the coin – the theoretical part from the seminars at WOMMA- I was missing the other side where I actually got to experience it.

During one of the seminars at the conference I remember an interesting anecdote about a customer of intuit feeling much aggrieved at something related to intuit’s customer service – so much so he decided to (negatively) blog about it. By venting his frustrations on his blog he got the issue off his chest and likely felt a bit better and went to sleep. Much to his surprise the next day he saw a comment on his blog, straight from some semi-bigwig from intuit who had actually taken the time to read about the issue he was having, and who vowed to resolve it for him. It got resolved, the angry blogger couldn’t believe his luck, and he blogged again the next day on how surprised, amazed, and most importantly how happy he was that this massive corporation had actually bothered to see him as an individual person, not a number. Everyone ended up happy, and everyone listening in the seminar gave a genuine smile, and it’s stuck with me since – especially up to now.

2 weeks ago I ordered a brand new laptop from Dell Canada. I was obviously very excited and couldn’t wait to receive it. After some initial problems were cleared up (none of which are important or interesting enough to bring up here) I waited 1.5 weeks. Dell send some pretty neat email campaigns to a customer notifying them of their order status, and I hadn’t got one in a while, so I emailed them. Turns out my order was canceled. No notice to me, no phone call, no email, no nothing. Out of nowhere my order was canceled because, as it turns out, a SKU was wrong so the order got canned. I, the customer, had to then track down (via at least 4x 1-800 numbers) the right customer service department and find out what was going on. Safe to say I was livid.

I know this kind of stuff happens to other Company X Y or Z customers all the time, but I didn’t expect to be one of them. I was so angry at the concept of having to run around to find where and what the screw up was at a multi-million dollar company (which is just barely more than I make a week, FYI), that I couldn’t think straight. I was more than livid. …That is until I spoke to Heather, who was perhaps one of the best customer service reps I’ve encountered.

To put a (getting) long(er) story short, Heather made me feel completely comfortable. She took care of me, apologized for the mishap, explained exactly what happened (very candidly might I add, which was refreshing), and basically covered every single base there was to cover. She coolly dealt with my hot head at the beginning, and through the entire conversation never lost sight of the fact that as a customer I had the right to be frustrated, but that the situation had a solution and that she was going to solve it. By the end of the conversation my order was booked, everything was good to go, and I had a smile on my face and was very impressed. I checked my order status today and the laptop is on it’s way.

Which brings me here. Just like the guy complaining about Intuit, I have a blog and I felt like venting – but a good vent, not a bad one. I’m able to voice my opinion, regardless of who might listen to me, and that’s clearly starting to count more and more these days. Dell especially haven’t always had the best of ‘customer feedback‘ record, so maybe I’m just trying to show my appreciation for their handling of an individual’s customer service mishap by voicing it here. What any of this proves is that there’s a real development of reciprocation beginning online – because anyone can get on a soapbox and talk about a company or a politician or a movie, and because other people can and will listen, customer service can only play a more important role online. Customer service is all about making the customer happy, and the Web 2.0 movement is simply amplifying that importance.

Bottom line: Keep your customer happy and you can get 2 birds with one stone – you get to keep your customer, and you might get more customers (for very little cost to you) if they want to rant about it. …Get them angry and they’ll still rant about it, and likely stop their friends from buying from you ever again in the process. I wonder – which is the better option?


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Web 2.0 in a 4 minute video

February 3, 2007


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