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Twitter Marketing and Awareness Rising

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012
Twitter marketing plans should be re-visited by most small businesses. In a recent study by Edison Research, Twitter was found to be increasing in awareness and isTwitter Marketing now almost equal with Facebook. The study found that 87% of people had heard of Twitter versus 88% for Facebook.

The study also points out that Twitter lags significantly behind Facebook in terms of useage in America. Twitter is only used by about 7% of Americans versus 41% for Facebook.

We believe that increased awareness will ultimately bring increased usage, and for that reason small businesses should include Twitter in their social media marketing plans. Twitter can be a useful for building your brand, as a public relations tool and in driving sales with special promotions. Consider these tips:

  • Provide cool and useful feeds
  • Tweet your blog posts with a link (can be done automatically)
  • Twitter can have SEO benefits so remember keywords
  • Use it for focus groups and surveys
  • Talk about what your company does - how it solves problems
  • Use it for special offers - "follow us by five o'clock and win a gift certificate"
  • Great content helps attract followers
  • Use monitoring for keywords to find potential followers

Twitter is based on short micro-blog content with a maximum of 140 characters. With this in mind get to the point and remember you have to give to get, so put a lot of attention on special offers and useful content.

If you have a great Twitter promotion that you would like to share, please post it in the comments below.

If you would like help with your social media marketing plans contact Thrust today.

User Segmentation and Web Analytics

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012
One of the most important tactics in analytics is segmentation. Yet, most small user segmentation google analyticsbusinesses look only at aggregate (or cumulative) data. I think this is partly because most small businesses don't fully understand what segmentation is. Or, they may not have a very clear understanding of what the benefits are and thus haven't devoted the time to understand it better.

Different types of users come to your website. They come from all sorts of different places, with different intentions, looking for different things to solve all sorts of different needs. To be highly effective and get the most potential from your website, a very effective and persistent segmentation strategy shoud be an important part of your web analytics process.

You will benefit from segmentation because you will go through a review process that will give you a deeper understanding of your business, which is always a good thing. Segmentation will allow you to quickly focus on areas of deeper depth, which will reveal important insights that drive actions. The segmented data that you will get will just be more relevant and useful than aggregate data.

Once again, Google Analytics makes segmentation a lot easier than you may think. You can do many basic things with just a few clicks. There are several default segments set-up within Google Analytics such as new visitors, returning visitors, paid traffic, search traffic, etc. You can also set-up custom segments in a snap, such as visits from California, or visits with purchases of $100 or more, for example. Take just a little time to better understand these capabilities and it will pay big dividends.

Segmenting your data is a process of focusing on the specific. This generates actionable ideas and ultimately improves your bottom line.

Next week we will discuss focusing on customer behaviors and how analytics can help.

If you need help with user segmentation and analytics contact Thrust.

Using Keywords on Web Sites

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012

This blog will explore how using keywords on web sitesusing keywords on web sites actually works. It's for those a bit less experienced.

First off, links and keywords are arguably the two most important elements when it comes to your Google ranking. Since we've covered link building in other blog entries, let's take a look at using keywords on web sites.

Keywords are words that people would use to do a search on Google, and it can be one word, or several. Most keywords are actually several words put together, like "affordable hawaii vacations".

Long tail keywords are phrases that are longer, and get searched less often, but still contain important information that you could rank very highly for. An example of this would be "best rated hawaiian vacation packages". 

How do know which keywords to target? Well, you should do some competitive research to determine the keywords that other companies already use. You can use a tool like WordTracker to help you come up with new keywords.

But, you should also determine the competitive environment as well. Wordtracker uses a pretty cool indexing tool that can tell you what the level of competition is. Ideally, you should target keywords that have a high search volume and lower competition.

Once you determine your list of keywords (you should have 300 to 1,000), you can begin your site optimization by including one to four keywords on each page, and then create remarkable content that other web sites will want to link to.

It's the combination of credible links that are linking to a specific page, along with the content that relates to the search that makes the biggest difference.

It almost always makes sense to start a web optimization program or start the development for a new site with the clear understanding of your most important keywords.

Thrust Internet can help in the process. Thrust helps growing companies with their online marketing and social media programs, and also develops web sites.

Whatever route you go, make keyword development and link building two of your top priorities.

Ways to improve web site performance

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012

Savvy business owners are always ways to improve web site performancelooking for ways to web site performance. This blog with contain our top 7 tips for doing just that.

  1. Run your site through website grader. It's free and provides valuable input on site structure issues you can fix rather easily.
  2. Get more inbound links. This is arguably the most important factor in your web site performance. The more quality inbound links you have, the better your overall performance.
  3. Have a list of targeted keywords. Keywords and links are the holy grail of web site performance. Start with a list of 300-1,000 keywords you want to rank for, and then integrate them into very small buckets and build pages and links around your most important keywords. You can use a tool like wordtracker to help you identify the keywords and the relative competitiveness of your selected keywords.
  4. Add more content to your site on a regular basis. This accomplishes two things. First, it trains Google and other search engines to search your site more frequently, and second it helps you create new pages with the keywords you want to rank for.
  5. Add analytics to your site and review the results frequently. What's your bounce rate? What pages are people visiting more frequently? Adding analytics can answer a myriad of important questions. You can use Google analytics for free.
  6. Start a blog. This is really a good way of adding fresh content on a regular basis, but also try and align your blogs with keywords you are trying to rank for.
  7. Use a one-page shopping cart. Did you know that you suffer a 20% abandonment rate for each additional page people have to go through in checking out? Make it easy, and convert more customers.

These seven ways will help improve your web site performance.

Web 2.0 Definition

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012
A lot of people want to know what exactly is Web 2.0. Well, we've come up with a Web 2.0 definition that covers the subject. web 2.0 definition

Web 2.0 is the creation, or migration of a web site that creates a two-way communication with the visitor that includes social media, blogging and immediate feedback functionality.

Basically,what Web 2.0 means is that you no longer have a static, old-fashioned web site that merely acts as an online brochure. That's old school.

Actually, with the use of the very latest best practices the latests web design should really be called Web 5.0, or Web 6.0. Online functionality has really changed with the advent of social media marketing.

If you're not completely integrated into blogging (3-5 times a week), have links to your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on your site, and have ways for customers to interact with you, your competition will eat you for lunch.

There are many other add-ons that you can do to improve web site performance. For example, you can add a video greeting, add an online chat to give customers immediate information, include contests, have up-to-date news and press releases and much more.

But you must engage the visitor. If you built a site and just let it sit there, it's time to upgrade. Thrust Internet helps growing companies with their online marketing and social media programs.

The 10 Best Web Design Best Practices

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012

We were having a discussion recently web design best practiceswith a colleague who is a writer. She asked what were the latest web design best practices. Here's our top of web design best practices.

  1. Start with a thorough keyword analysis. Google ranks pages, not web sites. You should have a list of 300-1,000 keywords that you want to rank for. You want to have keywords that you can actually rank for, so using wide, generic terms doesn't make sense. A tool like Wordtracker can help you select keywords and determine a competitive index, which can help you find high-volume, low competition words.
  2. Study the competition. Review your competitor's functionality, keywords they're trying to target, and site structure. Then, set out to make your site significantly better.
  3. Make sure you can blog. Adding a blog to your site helps you add new content, and if you blog to rank for keywords, can be a huge asset. Blog 3-5 times a week. If you need help with blogging, hire a blogger.
  4. Make sure your site is properly structured. Use the right page titles and don't try using too many keywords on one page. You're better off having more pages with highly optimized keywords.
  5. Start a link-building campaign. This is one of the key items to high page rankings. Aim to have several high asset links coming to your site. It's hard work and requires remarkable content, but it's worth it.
  6. Limit the Flash. In the early days of web site design, Flash ruled. But in today's search environment, actual words are far more important because Google can't read (or rank) Flash.
  7. Utilize social media. Add Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter linking icons, and start a social media program. Thrust Internet can help you start a social media plan if you need help.
  8. Build a scaleable site with a Content Management System. Use specialized landing pages for PPC campaigns and special campaigns. A Content Management System allows you to edit content from any computer without having to pay expensive IT people.
  9. Add new content on a regular basis. Search engines like fresh, relevant content. With a good CMS based site you can easily add new content on a regular basis. Larger sites generally outperform smaller sites.
  10. Make sure your url is registered for more than one year. This is another key element. Make sure your domain registration is not set to expire in less than one year, as some search engines will penalize you for this.

Please feel free to add your thoughts to this. If you would like help with your web site, please contact Thrust Internet. We help growing companies with their online marketing and social media programs.

5 Tips on Controlling Web Site Abandonment Issues

John Peretz - Saturday, March 24, 2012
Web site abandonment issues deserve your constant attention. Your web site bounce rate measures the number of visitors that came to your site and left without clicking on anything. When a visitor comes to your web site you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. That's all it takes for most visitorssite abandonment issues to decide whether to stay or to go. Web analytics expert, Avinash Kaushik, describes a bounce as, I came, I puked, I left.

Let's take a look at 5 tips to address web site abandonment issues.

  1. Great Design - A professional layout and impressive graphics are critical to making a great first impression on your website. A cheap look just doesn't cut it.
  2. Relevant Content - Visitors come to your site looking to find an answer to a problem or buy a product that meets a need. Make sure your content is relevant and remarkable.
  3. Clear Navigation - Make your navigation clear, simple and well organized. Eliminate guess work and get the visitor where they need to go quickly and easily.
  4. Avoid Distractions - Ditch the pop-ups, limit your ads, and forget the auto play music.
  5. Balance Your Content - Balance your content and images and consider short informative videos. Nobody is going to read 400 or 500 words in small type with no images, but they might love a well made 2 to 3 minute video. comScore just reported that 84.8% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in the month of March. Users love good video content.

What are long tail keywords?

John Peretz - Friday, March 02, 2012

A lot of people going through the process of search engine optimization for their web site ask us "what are long tail keywords?" Simply put, long tail keywords are search terms that are more than three words. what are long tail keywords

For example, if you are a hotel in Chicago, you might use the keyword "Chicago downtown hotel". However, long tail keywords might include the following:

  • Downtown Chicago hotel deals
  • Best hotel deals in Chicago
  • Hotel deals in downtown Chicago
  • Weekend specials for downtown Chicago hotels
  • Best places to stay in downtown Chicago

Why is this important? Because people search for things differently, and while "Chicago hotel" may be an important keyword, the competition and keyword bid would be very high.

So, a strategy that includes lots of long tail keywords could be vital to the success of your PPC campaign or your organic S.E.O. campaign.

In the book Web Analytics 2.0, the author Avinash Kaushik breaks it down further, using the the two words "long and tail" like this. The long is actually the head of a keyword group -- where you get a lot of visitors with very few keywords. But adding the "tail" through a long list of long tail keywords brings in many more visitors, although it requires a much larger list of keywords.

In Mr. Kaushik's example, he writes that 13 "head" keywords brought in 5,128 visits to the site, but 26,124 "tail" keywords brought in 35,534 visits to the site! Each long tail keyword brings in little, but in total they contribute a huge amount.

So go for the long tail keyword, and use it your PPC campaigns and S.E.O. efforts. This long tail strategy will take time, but ultimately will reap big rewards.

Why Social Marketing is Important

John Peretz - Thursday, March 01, 2012

A lot of people have been asking us lately why social media marketing is important. There are a lot reasons why social media marketing is important, so I decided to come up with a list:

  • Social media marketing is the fastest growing segment in marketing. Recently, you may have heard that Pepsi didn't run a commercial in the big game because they were putting that money into social media marketing. That should tell you something.
  • Social media marketing helps level the playing field. You don't have to be a big company like Budweiser, Pepsi or Apple to become involved in social media marketing. Even small companies can make a big splash if done right.
  • Social media marketing opens lines of communications with customers and prospects. This is huge key to consider, because the days of a one-way conversations are over.
  • Social media media marketing is relatively inexpensive. It's much more economical than television, newspaper ads and radio, and it can create a viral buzz.
  • Social media marketing is not just for kids. The fastest growing segment of Facebook users is the 35+ age demographic.
  • Your competitors will be there, if they're not there already. Make no mistake, soon it will be the norm. Those that get there first usually have the advantage.
  • Social media helps build content that can influence rankings. If you develop a blog, Tweet and reply to blogs, as well as interface on Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg and StumbleUpon, you're building valuable content that will help your keyword ranking over time.
  • Social media can provide an excellent R.O.I. Facebook ads, for example, can produce a better R.O.I. than Google in our experience. Most people know about Google Adwords. Not that many know the power of Facebook ads.
  • Social media is the future. It's open, interactive, and genuine. And if you're not embracing social media marketing, you're going to be left behind.

If you need help in developing social media marketing into your organization, Thrust Internet can help. Whether you decide to get help or not, it's time to get into social media marketing.

The Importance of a Monitoring Service in an eStrategy

John Peretz - Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Yesterday, we met with a company that introduced a new consumer product to the market earlier in the year. It is a line extension for a brand that you would recognize. They indicated a need to finally jump into social media.

Our research leading up to the meeting indicated that this was long overdue.

While doing an online review, it was evident that they had missed countless opportunities to engage in the blogging community with people that posted questions about what the new product line was all about. On the first three pages of Google alone, there were at least seven instances of search results that left viewers wondering what the new product line was all about, and people wanting to know what the difference was between their new product and other competitive offerings. 

This experience underscores the importance of an effective monitoring service. Monitoring services help you identify opportunities in the online world when your name, brand name or other keywords are mentioned.

Monitoring services constantly search the web for your selected keywords and phrases, and send you alerts so you can respond in a timely fashion.

If you're not using a monitoring service, you're missing out on a crucial way to answer simple questions or respond to someone who has had a negative (or positive) experience with your product or service.

If you'd like a list of monitoring services, please contact us today. There are solutions that can fit any budget. Some are even free. Monitoring should be part of any eStrategy.

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