How to Gain More Leads for Your Business

Gaining new business leads can be challenging.  In today’s digital world, the best way to reach potential customers effectively would be online, of course.  However, not everyone has the time to commit.

Search Engine Optimization techniques are extremely effective (and frankly necessary) in creating a bigger online presence and reaching those potential leads.  Results will not happen overnight, so it will require some patience.
The good news is that once all of the initial leg work is done, the end result makes it all worth the wait.
If you’re looking for a quick fix with faster results, the better option would probably be to invest into some advertising like Google AdWords.  Although there is still some SEO involved with that option – such as targeting the right keywords for your ads, this route will guarantee instant exposure.  The problem with AdWords is that once you stop paying for the Ad service, the exposure for your business along with any potential future leads will stop just as quickly.  It would need to be an on-ongoing expense, literally costing you money for each “click”.
Search engine optimization involves much more.  Yes, there is still a cost associated with SEO services, but the benefits of using a digital marketing expert outweigh traditional pay-per-click ads.  For starters, it helps to build your businesses reputation and builds trust – which is crucial when trying to attain more business and new leads.  
Anyone with an AdWords account can advertise a product or service – regardless if they have a good business reputation or not.  
A business that has had SEO work done by a professional digital marketing agency will have social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in place (and linked to one another.)  Articles, blog posting, press releases, reviews, comment posting, likes, and shares, all play a factor in creating an SEO framework and a solid online reputation. When a business has all of these, it speaks volumes as compared to a business that only has a Google Ad and a website. 
Are you ready to bring in more leads for your business?   Contact the Toronto digital marketing experts at TheBestMedia.com today.
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How To Create Professional Videos For Your Business

There was a time when creating professional videos involved thousands of dollars and a ton of hours to create and edit the videos to it’s final stage.  Finding the right company that had the proper “high tech” equipment was a task in itself.   

With today’s advancements in technology, videos can be created on almost any smartphone out there.  There are dozens of free video editing software programs out there that is so user-friendly, a teenager with little to no experience can figure it out.

As video sharing became more and more popular over the years (along with the explosion of YouTube), the most challenging part of creating a video today is making it interesting enough that people will want to watch it. 

Just as you would with a blog article, the first question you need to ask yourself is what is your message, or goal, with the video?  Make a plan of action on how you want to get that message across, and take your time doing it.  Don’t rush through it.  

Use these tips when creating professional videos for your business:

Make Your Videos Interactive 

Take advantage of the interactive elements that video editing offers; such as surveys, in-video links, and forms.  Your video should always have a call to action for your viewers whether it’s voting, liking, or sharing.  

Provide Value in Your Videos

All the SEO in the world won’t matter if your video doesn’t provide value to your viewers.   Was it informational?  Did it make you laugh?  Did it solve a problem?  Was it helpful in any way?  Without these …… your visitors will not come back again, and more than likely will not recommend your video to anyone.


Create long text descriptions or transcriptions

Now that you’ve finished that awesome video, don’t forget about search engine optimization.   Before posting that video, ensure you have a good lengthy description (in text form) so the search engines and spiders can easily determine the content of your video.  Creating a transcript file directly into the HTML code of the page that is hosting your video is also recommended.

For more on creating professional videos for your business at little to no cost, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/creating-high-quality-marketing-videos-for-your-business-at-little-to-no-cost/

Creating High Quality Marketing Videos for Your Business at Little to No Cost.

Video marketing is a fantastic and effective way to connect with your audience on both a personal, and professional level.   Not too long ago, creating professional videos involved spending thousands of dollars hiring a video production team, and buying expensive equipment in order to get the level of quality needed for a business marketing video.

Thankfully, the cost associated with creating quality videos is incomparable to what you would have paid 10 years ago.  The megapixels on today’s gadgets are so high, you can make a professional looking video with almost any of todays smartphones.  Paired up with a good video editing app / software, you’ll be amazed with what you can create.

The following are a list of great options for editing your marketing videos:

1. Windows Movie Maker 2.6 – This is a free software program offered by Windows and works with Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP and Windows Server 2008.   You can create and edit videos as well as publish them on OneDrive, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Flickr with multiple file formats to choose from.  It offers a large selection of tools, effects and transitions.  (It’s expected to be replaced with Windows Story Remix my late 2017. )

2. Avidemux – This is a free video editor that is capable of non-linear video editing applying visual effects.   It supports many file format types such as AVI, DVD, MPEG, MP4 and ASF.  It’s designed for simple cutting/pasting, filtering and encoding tasks.  It can also insert audio streams into a video file or extract audio streams from video files.

3. Lightworks – Lightworks has both a free version, and paid version.  This software program is currently available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS.  It’s a professional non-linear editing system (NLE) for editing and mastering digital video in many different formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions.    Hollywood production movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “The Wolf of Wall Street have used this software.  It offers realtime effects, advanced multicam editing, importing of multiple file types and the ability to export to Vimeo and YouTube.  

4. Blender – this is a professional, open source 3D content creation tool used for creating animated films, interactive 3D applications, visual effects, video games and 3D printed models.  This powerful program allows you to edit, create 3D graphics, sound effects, and add special effects such as fluid and smoke simulation, texturing, and soft body simulation.   

5. VideoPad Video Editor – VideoPad offers both a free, and paid version.  It includes a sound-editing program, a sound mixing program, and an image editor.   It supports the frequently used formats such as .AVI, .WMV, and DivX and can be directly uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.  

For more information on video marketing, check out: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/why-video-marketing-is-bigger-than-you-think/

How to Build an Online Reputation for Your Business

Having a good online reputation is just as important – if not more important than your in-person reputation you have in the community.

If you’re a new entrepreneur and have just launched a website, building a solid reputation is key.  SEO is just as important for a new website of course, but here we will be talking about building trust and a good reputation with your readers or customers. The first reality is that it’s an ongoing process and will not happen overnight.  Knowing where to start is the first step.

Here are 3 helpful tips in creating relationships with your customers and building a solid reputation:

1. Social media – the most obvious tool that businesses and everyday people use to capture their audiences’ attention.  Through the use of “likes” and “shares”, it’s an ideal and cost-effective way to rapidly build relationships and trust with users.

The content you post on social media sites can make or break your business.  Insults, swearing, and bullying are obvious no-no’s (or at least they should be obvious).  Your content should always be positive and more importantly, informational.  Creating content that is informative and answers questions that customers frequently ask will make all the difference.  When users have a question that they need answered, the majority of them will turn to Google to look for their answers, thus opening an opportunity for you.  Once users see that your business provides a solution to their problem, relationships start and trust-building begins.  

It’s noteworthy to mention that the content you post to social media sites should also be posted on your website either with a blog, or perhaps an FAQ page.

2. Review sites – they are there because they work.  Consumers want to be assured that they are dealing with a trustworthy, reputable company before opening their wallets.    When a potential customer searches for “Best Home Renovators” in Google, review pages such as Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, Yelp, or Bing Places will appear.   These testimonials will make all the difference, so be sure that your website appears on these sites.  According to Brightlocal.com’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

3. Advertise your past clients and partners – while this is also a form of a testimonial, they can be even more powerful.  Showing that your business is good enough to work with other reputable websites/businesses speaks volumes to potential customers when it comes to trust.

Has your online reputation already been damaged?  Read more on how to recover from it, and how to rebuild that trust:  http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/how-to-recover-from-a-business-social-media-disaster/

Protecting Your Online Business Reputation

Have you ever Googled your business?  You can probably guess at most of the search results; your social media sites, your blog, your website, etc….   But have you ever thought of checking for other information that was not put there by you?  

In the world of “sharing” and “liking”, it’s not always a thumbs-up situation for people.  Businesses in particular, where success heavily relies on reputation, can be easily destroyed.  Perhaps you have just finished a business meeting with a potentially new client hoping to secure your next deal.  Later in the day, the client does a search in Google to learn more about you and your business and comes across a few blogs and forums with negative posts about your business.   There’s a good possibility that you won’t be hearing from that client again.

More than one third of millennials believe their online first impression is more important than their in-person introduction.   That statement is perhaps arguable, but it has its merits.  The bottom line is that you need to know what people are saying about you online, and where it’s being said.  

Some websites are specifically designed for complaints, reviews, and consumer feedback (whether good or bad).  Social media has also become a major tool in expressing opinion on anything and everything.  Generally, the bigger online presence you have, the greater a risk it becomes.  Even if you’re a legit company, there’s always going to be those complainers.

What can you do if someone leaves negative feedback about your business on the internet?

Don’t give up just yet.   Although you won’t be able to remove comments made by others on the internet, there is still an option.  Damage Control!  

The worst thing you can do is nothing.  You should be always be active and respond to any posts or comments made towards your company – whether good or bad.  For the positive ones, show your professionalism and thank them.  For the negative ones, defend yourself, justify your actions, or even apologize if you need to.  As long as it’s in a professional manner, audiences can be more forgiving than you think when responding to issues.

You must also ensure to monitor frequently.  You can use free online tools like Google Alerts that will send you an email every time Google finds a new mention of a particular keyword in search results.  If you’re business is called ABC Records, then this would be your keyword term that you want to be alerted for.

For a fantastic article on how to build an online reputation, read http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/how-to-build-an-online-reputation-for-your-business/

E-mail Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

E-mail marketing is alive and well.  With the explosion of social media sites
today, some feel that e-mail a dying marketing tool.

 

E-mail still remains one of the most lucrative
marketing channels for businesses. It’s a free source of advertising and it’s
targeting an audience that has already shown interest in your brand by
subscribing to your email list or newsletter.   
Customers are more inclined to buy from you because a level of trust has
already been established.  E-mails and newsletters can help boost sales, given
that it’s done properly.
  You can
actually lose customers if not done with care.
 

Here are some helpful tips to remember before sending out that email to
your subscribers.

 

 

1. Personalization
–Avoid generic greetings such as “Hello”, or “Dear Valued Customer”.  E-mails that address readers by their first
name are much more effective and helps build the relationship on a more
personal level.  Most email marketing
tools will have a function that will automatically replace each email with the
individuals’ name, so you don’t have to type all the names in manually every
time.

 

2. Know your
Message, and Write It Well
–  Before
you start writing that email, ask yourself why you’re emailing your customers
and have a call to action (What you want them to do?)   Be sure it’s well written and is engaging
for your customers to read.  Assume that
you have a couple of seconds to grab their attention and make the first few
sentences enticing so customers will continue reading on.  Use headings and small paragraphs for ease of
reading.

 

3. Frequency
and Timing
–  Don’t over-do it.  It’s recommended that small businesses should
be emailing their subscribers once or twice a month.  Emailing too frequently will ultimately lead
to higher unsubscribe rates. Social media sites are better tools for frequent
communications.  Also keep in mind that
there are “prime” times to send these emails. 
Although it will vary slightly depending on your target audience and the
type of business you are in, typically these are the best time to marketing
emails:

 

Day of the week – Monday to Friday (except for mail about
recreational content, when it’s the weekend)

Time of Day – the optimal send time is 10.30am (except for
content about hobbies, which is 8.00am)

 

4. Do Not Spam – It’s very important that
you do NOT add people to your email list who did not personally sign up.
Remember, emails are great tools for maintaining and strengthening
relationships (or sales), but highly ineffective at recruiting new customers.
Adding unsuspecting names to your email list will only foster a negative
impression and might even get you dropped by your email provider. So don’t do
it!    Avoid
using spammy sounding phrases in the subject line.
  Include the business address, as this will
also help your mail from being treated as spam by email filters and servers.
 

5. Make it Mobile-friendly – Your emails
should be mobile friendly Prior to finalizing your next email campaign, make
sure that it is tested against all major mobile devices. Mobile emulators are
also available so you can see how the email looks on different devices. 

6. Use Social Media – Your website is not
the only medium to increase your email subscribers. Make full use of your
social media business accounts.  Include
your social media profiles in the email. Provide links to your Twitter feed, Facebook
page, and/or your blog in all email messages.  
Ask your followers to register and explain the benefits of doing so. 

7. Keep It Interesting – People get bored
easily, so keep your content static. 
Don’t focus on the same message over and over. Mix up your content and
keep your subscribers engaged by offering special offers and vouchers.  On average, 7 in 10 people make use of a
coupon or discount from a marketing email.

Check out these handy tips before creating your marketing emails and articles:  http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/optimize-your-blogs-and-articles-with-these-3-great-tips/



Creating a Smartphone App for Your Business. Where Do You Start?

So you’ve decided to create an app for your business. Where do you start?  Do you approach this in a “hands on” cost-effective manner, or do dish out the money to hire a professional who already has the skills and knowledge in creating apps?  

There are three routes you can go.

DIY

There are quite a few do-it-yourself options out there for businesses with a tight budget. If you’re app is not too complex and you’re not a perfectionist, building your own app using online do-it-yourself tools is probably your best option.  These tools have a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface – ideal for the technically challenged novice.  Some of the more popular DIY tools includes AppMakr, App Inventor and Appypie.

Work with a Developer

If you find yourself limited on time and better off hiring a developer to create your app, make sure you have all your paperwork in place (such as non-disclosure agreements) early in the process to protect everyone that’s involved.   Ensure you have clear communication with your developer so there are no suprises and both parties have appropriate expectations.  Express your needs and wants, but listen to the professionals and try not to micro-manage a design or development project.

Go with the Pros

If your app is going to be a big part of your marketing strategy and involves complex functions, you may want to go with the professionals.  Agencies and development shops will do everything for you from figuring out what exactly you want the app to do, to measuring quantitative results.  Hiring a professional agency will range from $5000 to over $25,000.    It’s certainly not the most cost effective solution, but it’s the safest one in ensuring getting what you want and being done properly the first time.

If your looking for an SEO marketing agency and need expert help, call The Best Media Marketing professionals today.