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/

Selecting the Right Digital Marketing Agency For Your Business

Most larger companies today have their own in-house digital marketing team that address all angles of marketing for the business.  Smaller companies who are not quite large enough to have their own team will opt for professional help by hiring a digital marketing agency that is already trained in this field.

Quite too often, businesses will make the mistake of going with the lowest bidder, looking for the most cost-effective service.  A marketing agency can make or break your business, so looking for the cheapest option can be a costly mistake.   

As with any important business decision, you need to practice due-diligence and research the company.  How long have they been in business?  Who have they worked with?  What are some of their success stories – if any?  Keep in mind that you will want to look for the negative stuff too.  Blogs and forums can be a very useful tool in obtaining feedback from past clients. 

Ensure that their experience is relevant to what you’re looking for.  A reputable company with a good track record won’t necessarily be the right fit for your needs.  If the company has never dealt with Google AdWords – and that’s what you need help with, hiring them would be a waste of time and money.

A good digital marketing company will have a strong online presence.   If they can’t market themselves, then they won’t likely be able to market your business either.  Analyze their brand; how do they rank in Google searches for “Digital Marketing Agency in ****** ”?  Do they use social media?  Do they have a blog?  How often do they post content?  Does it look professional?  If the marketing agency’s website doesn’t impress you to go with their services, it’s not likely that they can market your products or services to others any more effectively.

Lastly, ask for references.  Asking a business for references is an old, yet effective tool when researching.  While you may find plenty of information online, speaking with past and present clients is ideal because feedback tends to be more truthful in person.  This is a much more interactive approach – as you can ask questions directly to their clients.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency and need help with SEO, contact the professionals at The Best Media – Digital Marketing Solutions

Chat Bots – The Future of Digital Marketing and Customer Service?

“Please hold while we connect you with a Bot representative”…  Could this be the future of digital marketing?

Some of todays top brands are embracing automated messaging apps or “chat bots” to engage with their audience.  Although not perfected, bots now have the ability to hold sensible conversations with their users.

A chat bot (also sometimes referred to as a talkbot or chatterbox) is a computer program which conducts a conversation with either auditory or textual methods typically used for customer service or information acquisition purposes.  In it’s simplest form, they scan for keywords within the input and then find a reply with the most similar wording pattern and best matching keywords from a database.  Some of today’s examples would be Amazon’s “Alexa” and Microsoft’s “Cortana”.

The more complex bots of today will use sophisticated Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems which is a field of computer science and artificial intelligence that deals with interactions between computers and human languages. They generate software programs to process large natural language information by using natural language understanding and generation. 

With this enhanced experience of a realistic conversation between bot and consumer, marketing specialists in large corporations have already jumped on board on the idea:

– Twitter has already began fiddling with the idea, offering the service to Twitter users through Twitter ads.
– Microsoft unveiled chatbots for Skype last year, and more recently added support for chatbots to LinkedIn.  
– Google has created a chatbot analytics platform called Chatbase, that provides analytics and suggestions for how to “fix” bot experiences to make them better for users.

In addition, businesses such as hotels and restaurants that have been somewhat reluctant to adopting apps, are readily embracing bots.

It’s still too soon to say whether consumers will actually embrace the idea of chat bots for what it is right now.  We can safely assume though that there will be a lot of movement and improvement in the future within the bot marketplace.

For more on new technology and the future of marketing, check out http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/the-future-of-marketing-with-augmented-reality-technology/

Improving Mail Deliverability: Keeping Marketing Emails Out of the Spam Folder

E-mail spam filters were made for a reason; to keep out those unwanted and unsolicited emails out of your inbox.  Some filters perform better than others, but they all do a pretty good job.

So, what happens when a legitimate business owner such as yourself, have accumulated a lengthy email list from your subscribers but find that all of your marketing emails are ending up in their spam folder?  It’s possibly one of the most frustrating problems email marketers face.

Spam filters perform their job based on certain criteria that it finds in incoming emails.  Knowing and understanding what these are, will help you in preventing your marketing emails from ending up in the spam folder.

Tips on How to Improve and Optimize E-mail Deliverability

– Most spam filters look to see how many messages you are sending at one time.  If you have a large list, you don’t want to send out more than a couple of thousand per hour.  Some email programs will allow you to schedule outgoing mail to be sent out at intervals specified by the sender.  
– Avoid large attachments and executable file types. If you’re using images, keep them reasonably small and stick with .JPG, .GIF, or .PNG as they are more trustworthy formats.  Executable files such as .EXE, .ZIP should be totally avoided as they will surely be flagged as spam.
– Don’t use deceptive subject lines or header information.  
– If you are going to include graphics or images with your emails, try to include at least 2 lines of text for each image to keep a good text-to-image ratio.  Do not send image only emails.
– When using HTML, make sure it’s well formed.  Also include a “text version” of your email which will benefit recipients who can not view HTML. 
– Keep a clean email list and update it often.  If you find bounce-backs from undeliverable emails due to disabled accounts or full inboxes after sending out your email, remove them from your list.  Virtually all email providers’ spam filters penalize your domain or IP with a high spam score if they see that you are sending emails to a high amount of bad email accounts. 
– We have all seen SPAM, so avoid looking and sounding like them.  Don’t use a lot of colored fonts and exclamation points. Don’t use ALL CAPS.  Don’t overuse the word FREE.  Don’t EVER use words like porn, viagra, or drugs – as these keywords are the pioneers of SPAM. 

As a last and final step, send a test email to each of the big email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, MSN and AOL.

If the test results with most of your emails going to the junk folder, then you’ll have to make some changes and figure out what flagged your email as spam.  Free spam checking services such as SendBlaster.com are also available.

For helpful writing tips on how to make your marketing emails stand out, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/how-to-write-media-content-20x-better-than-your-competitors/

How Augmented Reality Will Change the World of Digital Marketing

With today’s technology showing no signs of slowing down, businesses are adjusting their marketing and advertising campaigns to focus more on digital, online experiences to work in combination with physical experiences referred to as Augmented Reality.   The idea is to bridge the gap and blur the lines between the physical and the virtual. 

There are several use cases, particularly in retail and e-commerce.  Businesses have been creating extremely innovative ideas to enhance their customers’ interactions and experiences.  One of the more popular AR success stories is Pokemon Go.  This is a free-to-play mobile app that you can download for iOS or Android.  The AR game works by using your phone’s GPS for your actual location and augmented reality to bring up Pokémon characters on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you. 

This fairly new technology has endless possibilities.  For example, you can make a shopping mall more digitally engaging by suggesting helpful tips or sales that pop up as customers physically walk by that particular location in the mall.   

If you’re into the business of selling furniture or carpeting, you can create an AR app that allows consumers to use their mobile devices to project what a piece of furniture or carpet might look like in their home without purchasing or installing a single thing.

Dulux is the first paint company that offers an augmented reality service that addresses the difficulty of visualization that many customers face when renovating their home.  By pointing your mobile device towards the soon-to-be painted walls, the users can re-color and visually preview the room in real-time, allowing them to save screenshots and share with others.   

AR Technology is still in its early stages, but it’s never too early to start getting involved.  If you’re not quite ready to create your own business app, perhaps you can take advantage of existing apps to enhance your customers virtual shopping experience.   Our digital world is becoming more and more digital.  Augmented reality is another stepping stone of what is still yet to come.

For more articles on today’s evolving technology in marketing, visit http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/how-voice-search-software-will-change-our-lives/

Learn the Basics of How Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing Works

Are you having a
difficult time with your SEO strategy and struggling to boost your search
engine ranking?  

Assuming you have a
budget of some sort to work with, PPC may be a viable option for your
business.    PPC (which
stands for pay-per-click),
is a model of internet marketing which advertisers pay a fee each time one of
their ads is clicked.

PPC at allows
advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored listings
when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business or
service.  For example, you own a massage
therapy clinic in Toronto.  You place a
PPC campaign for the keyword “Registered Massage Therapy in Toronto”.   Every time someone searches that keyword
phrase in a search engine, your ad will appear as a sponsored listing.  When that ad is clicked, it sends the visitor
to your website and you pay a small
fee to the search engine.

Fees can quickly add up.  If the cost is $3 per click and 300 people
click on your sponsored ad for that month, your fees will total $900.  However on the other side of the coin, if 50
of those people who clicked your ad leads to a massage that costs $100, you
just made $5000 in sales –  a $4100
profit.  So your ROI can be quite good.

Building a successful
PPC campaign, from researching and selecting the right keywords, to organizing
those keywords into an organized campaign is very time consuming. If you find
yourself short on time, hiring a professional search engine marketer is
recommended as they are already well versed on how the whole process works, and
how to select the most relevant keywords without going broke.


Need professional advice from an SEO professional?  Contact The Best Media – Digital Marketing Solutions for all your marketing needs.


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/