Time is precious. It’s the one currency we all spend at the same rate. The key to game-changing time management is learning to invest time, rather than simply spend it, and by so doing, realize a return on our investment.
Of all the things that demand our attention as business people; of all the ways we can choose to spend our time; networking is often the most challenging when it comes to assigning an accurate return on investment. Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that networking can yield significant, tangible results.
How, then, do we measure ROI for our networking efforts?
Success in any business venture requires an efficient use of resources, a well-informed flexibility and a lean, adaptable operating strategy. Profitability occurs at the intersection of a fine-tuned business model and the innumerable variables a mercurial marketplace throws at your business.
As with any intersection, collisions can also occur in the face of unexpected obstacles. Learning to overcome these obstacles to productivity and profitability will make all the difference.
Understanding the data behind your website’s performance is crucial to maximizing and optimizing your digital footprint. It is essential to form a clear picture of exactly where your website’s traffic is originating, the behavior of users once they arrive on your domain, and the various elements of greatest interest to your visitors.
Google Analytics (GA) is a free data-collection service geared towards enabling you to form a clear understanding of the many dynamics at play within your Internet presence. The shear amount of data GA provides can be overwhelming, but here are just a few ways to better understand and utilize Google Analytics...
Online innovation, rapid communication via social media networking, and advances in artificial intelligence for targeted, custom marketing are constantly raising the bar in terms of online customer expectations.
According to Google, searches containing terms such as “near me,” “the best,” and “available now,” all indicate a shift in online expectations towards convenient, highly-rated, instant-gratification.
Other trends in online customer expectations, as demonstrated both by search engine statistics and marketing techniques designed to both ride and predict these changing tides, include the following...
Public Relations has always been about presenting quality content in order to foster connections and drive results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be defined as the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of virtual connections (specifically, via your website) for the sake of driving ranking results.
With Google placing increased emphasis on high-quality, fresh and valuable content when determining Search Engine Rankings, PR and SEO have never been more perfectly aligned. But how can PR and SEO support each other in a holistic and practical way?
Here are just a few ideas.
In the ephemeral world of social media, it can be challenging to translate feel-good metrics into a quantifiable ROI. How exactly do “vanity metrics” correlate to the bottom line? Is there any truth to the negative connotations associated with the terms “vanity metrics” and “clickbait?” Or can likes, follows, and shares truly measure the success and performance of social media marketing campaigns?Continue reading
Increased mobile platform use, ever-changing social media trends, digital marketing and web development: it’s all connected!
There’s a creative tension that exists between the natural tendencies for the development of existing technology and the drive inherent in business processes. The resulting trends with the greatest growth potential and deepest impact on user experience and digital marketing are what we focus on here.
There are three kinds of business websites: The Curiosity, The Signpost and The PC.
Let me explain.
In 1840, Charles Dickens published his novel, The Old Curiosity Shop, set amid an outdated collection of odds and ends which served no useful purpose. Not unlike this, the business website referred to as The Curiosity is equally outdated, filled with relics of a bygone era or just plain stale content, and serves no useful purpose...
Despite Facebook’s recent algorithmic changes (read our blog post on this topic, here) and the resulting uncertainty surrounding the ever-changing social media marketing landscape, the overall momentum surrounding this growing marketplace remains undeterred.
Social media is a behemoth of popular opinion that can carry a brand to new heights or roll it in the undertow. Marketing within such a volatile arena must focus on the cultivation of authentic relationships. The current trends in social media marketing do just that.
Let’s take a look at some of these relationship-cultivating trends.
Social media allows people to share their experience with vast networks of fellow consumers, with one click of the mouse. With the potential for wide-reaching reviews and brand influencing posts, businesses can’t afford to neglect their social media presence.
Creating and extending brand awareness and company culture is absolutely key to staking your claim to a slice of the digital pie. An adept, fresh, and dynamic strategy of engaging social media users in an ongoing conversation requires time, effort, planning and investment.
The changing landscape
According to MarketingSherpa, “Online adults aged 18-34 are most likely to follow a brand via social networking.” The shift in consumer focus, coupled with recent algorithm changes on the part of social media outlets, means that business content will need to ride the cutting edge of trends in order to earn a place on the consumer’s News Feed.
But is it worth the effort?
In January of this year, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a change to the social media giant’s algorithms, saying,
“You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Zuckerberg stressed his belief that Facebook had “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”
This approach fits comfortably into Facebook’s long-held assertion that it is not a media outlet but, rather a platform for allowing people to share their lives with friends and family.
Reaction and Counteraction
As people increasingly strive to balance their lives and sort through the glut of digital distractions, the announcement has received an overwhelmingly positive response from users. Businesses, publishers and marketers, however, have not been quite so effusive.
As a result of this algorithmic change, businesses will have to be far more proactive, strategic and effective if they want to gain the attention of Facebook users. Relying on organic distribution of ads and brand content will simply no longer be an effective approach when marketing to Facebook’s 2+ billion global users any longer.
What can be done to continue effectively marketing via social media and counteract the potential impact to the bottom line? Let’s take a look at some actions every business should undertake, starting today!
We’ve said it before… Marketing is not just advertising.
Marketing is the way by which we maintain our unique identity, our differentiating niche, amid the many daily decisions a business person must make.
As businesses move away from traditional marketing and more towards digital methods, agile businesses need to stay ahead of the current trends. This is why we’ve devoted this blog post to such the dynamic and crucial topic of digital marketing.
So, what are the trend-setting digital marketing techniques? Let’s take a look at five of the leaders…
One of the growing trends in digital marketing is personalization of the customer experience. Utilized for some time now by retailers, travel agencies and financial service providers, website personalization is growing in popular usage as low-cost solutions become readily available.
The use of artificial intelligence, especially when coupled with website personalization, is also a growing trend, especially vis a vis outdated utilization of manual logic rules. The greater sophistication of AI and personalization allows for...
In our last blog post, Obstacles to Planning for Success, we took a close look at challenges we often face when planning and executing a successful business strategy. These challenges include taking into account the following:
• The Business Environment: Business landscapes are constantly shifting according to the whims of a free market and the impulses of customer behavior.
• Proper Focus: Focusing on results and ways to accurately measure success will ensure not only success, but also that your strategy will be well-informed to adapt itself when necessary.
• Accountability: How do we keep ourselves accountable rather than letting our strategy fail for lack of proper implementation?
• Steps to Execution: A well-thought through plan must be implemented in the correct order and according to changing business circumstances.
As we said in the previous blog post, hardwiring solutions to these considerations directly into your plan is critical to overcoming the inevitable obstacles we encounter when planning for success. The most effective way to hardwire our planning and execution is by building the right tools and processes and adhering to them every step of the way.
We’ve all heard the popular adage, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." There are many reasons why we sometimes fail to plan for success, and consequently, succeed only in failing! But even when we do take the time and spend the resources on developing a success plan, obstacles often arise in both the planning and execution phases.
Let’s take a closer look at some obstacles to planning and executing a successful strategy!
The Business Environment
Business landscapes are constantly shifting according to the whims of a free market and the impulses of customer behavior. Understanding this reality and creating a plan that is agile and responsive will ensure that your business plan survives the mercurial shifts of an ever-changing environment...
Eighty percent of small business ventures fail. Any book written to provide business advice will begin with this statistical fact. Few explain exactly why.
Many businesspeople who went on to grow their small venture into an empire began by failing. And though failure can be the most effective teacher, it also carries with it great expense.
So, why do 80% of small business ventures fail and how can valuable lessons be learned, apart from the costly toll of failure?
Most businesses fail because a small business owner needs to be three experts in one in order to succeed!
A great product or service is not enough to ensure success. That product or service must also be strategically and effectively brought to market and the business managed adeptly if success is to be achieved.
The reverse is also true. Marketing and business acumen alone is not a recipe for success. The product or service offered must also be of value.
Most small businesses fail because, although in possession of a valuable product or service, the business owner may not have the business or marketing experience needed to find success.
Although time, trial and error can bring experience, there is no need to go it alone! There is no need to pay the heavy toll of time or failure to obtain the business and marketing expertise necessary to be successful!
Being able to benefit from the expertise of others can give business owners the competitive edge needed to take their business to the next level; break out of paralyzing ruts; or simply gain greater clarity of vision.
Business coaches or group sessions often lack the focus and breadth of expertise to make an investment in what others have to say about your business model worthwhile.
This is where Collaborative Consulting really delivers and time-worn “coaching” falls short.
Collaborative Consulting may be defined as an interactive process for finding creative and constructive ways to share and benefit from a diversity of expertise. Collaborative Consulting results in the interactive pooling of experience and insight for the formulation of creative, comprehensive and effective solutions for your business… for your business!
Collaborative Consulting focuses the expertise of diverse disciplines and experience on your specific situation. Together with the specialist; in collaborative format; with all creative energies bent upon the same specific challenge; real progress is made and true creativity blossoms!
This proven approach is a modern implementation of the genius of the ancient Socratic Method; comparable to having a private tutor vs. being one of many students in a class.
We’ve spent the last 12 months blogging about the various aspects of a Comprehensive Marketing Plan and the many digital tools available to you for the execution of that plan.
Here, we will pull it all together!
The Comprehensive Marketing Plan
The key to a comprehensive marketing plan is the process by which it is developed. Additionally, the key is the applicability of the resulting strategy. Your comprehensive marketing plan should be applicable - like a touchstone - to every operational, sales and service question that arises; giving continuity and focus to your entire way of doing business.
The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of your business should be hard-wired into an actionable marketing plan that keeps business on track - true to your vision - at every turn.
In our last blog post, we defined operational efficiency as a minimal waste of time, talent and treasure. Reduction of menial, repetitive and redundant tasks increases efficiency by freeing employees to use their gifts for higher purposes. We discussed how the right software package can accomplish all of this while reducing frustration.
Market Momentum has extensive experience implementing custom software solutions, realizing drastic and marked improvement in client operational efficiency. Here, we present a brief case study in custom software development and implementation.
Our client’s operations were entirely paper-based. Requests for service would be phoned in and captured on paper forms, which would then be distributed within the company either manually or by being scanned and emailed to the respective recipients...
With so much data residing “in the cloud,” is it any wonder we are constantly showered with information? After all, the cloud makes accessibility so easy and convenient that we can download, upload, reference, browse, tweet, like and follow with virtually no limitations.
The looming storm of cloud-based application development is rendering legacy systems inadequate to the task of scalability, accessibility and functionality that makes cloud-based custom software solutions inherently superior.
So, what makes cloud-based custom software solutions so scalable and agile?
Off-the-shelf software solutions are increasingly unable to meet the demands of business being conducted on Internet. As the Internet continues to develop, business must keep pace and custom software is the key! Below are some growing trends in software development which both conform to and determine the shape of business being transacted online.
1. Business Development Software
If business owners and leaders hope to find the perspective necessary for strategic planning and business development, business processes must be automated in order to liberate decision-makers from reactive roles and permit proactive planning.
Functions ranging from data capture to client management; sales cycle monitoring to forecasting; and strategic marketing to billing and collections can all be automated with the right custom solution.
The Next Generation of Social Networking
Social networks have deeply impacted the ways in which we connect with others, gather news, form opinions, spend our money and interact with the wider world. Yet, in the glut of incessant tweets and selfies; amid the vying for likes and shares; many people are experiencing social media fatigue and walking away (sometimes with great difficulty) from social media.
Taylor Casti of the Huffington Post says, “Facebook is the cigarette, the “bad habit” many are trying to kick.” The same can be said of other social media platforms. And yet, there is an inherent value in social networking, even if often obscured by the din. The Next Generation of Social Networking will – and, indeed, must – focus on drawing value from the chaos; value for everyone involved.
Measuring Social Media Results
Social Media Marketing, like any marketing campaign, requires a strategic approach, sharpened by specific goals and tempered by careful measurement of ROI. Depending on what your specific Social Media Marketing goals are, your definition of ROI will change.
Regardless, it’s important to know exactly what your Social Media Marketing dollars are accomplishing in terms of valuable traffic-to-customer conversion.
Now that you’ve injected life into your website, tearing down the digital billboard and crafting a dynamic, interactive marketing hub…
Now that you’ve spruced up your Social Media accounts, curated engaging content and cultivated a loyal following…
Now it’s time to convert your web traffic into sales leads and customers! The following are five high-impact ways to do just that!
Social Media Trends
Social Media moves and changes at the speed of society! Information is power and education is the key to acquiring a workable understanding of how to put this power to work for your business. Below are eight growing trends in Social Media that we’ve identified and defined so that you can better understand and leverage this dynamic marketing tool.
#1 – Live Video
As smartphone usage continues to increase, more and more people are streaming live video through their social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all offer live feeds now; competing with the video-sharing giant, YouTube.
Live Video will be a growing trend to watch!
When executed effectively, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results in an increase of organic traffic. Organic Search traffic is generated as a result of Google ranking a website high in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and is therefore considered to be more trustworthy.
Since Google subjects websites to rigorous algorithms, awarding first page results to those who meet stringent and ever-changing criteria, these high-ranking websites generally provide valuable and fresh content.
But it takes time to achieve such rankings. It can take 6 months or more to see any significant movement in SEO rankings at all. As a result, patience is a key ingredient in the Organic approach to driving traffic to your website.
But what about Paid Search? Is it worth the investment?
SEO, SERPs, Back Linking, Metatags, Keywords, Black Hat – what does it all mean? What exactly is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how can I guarantee top ranking in Google search results?
Let’s take a deeper look at SEO…
Think of the Internet as a global neighborhood and Google as the zoning committee. Google and other search engines are interested in improving the quality of development taking place within this global neighborhood. They have many tools at their disposal to ensure that fresh, valuable and useful sites rise to the top. At the same time, sites considered to be stale, stagnant, or of little value are easily buried in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Search engines such as Google use algorithms to understand and rank sites. These same tools are used (with alarming accuracy) to root out those websites employing Black Hat tactics in the hope of gaming the system. Once identified, these sites are penalized. It never pays to try and beat Google at its own game. Playing by the rules is the only viable option.
According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own a smartphone. This number is on the rise. Americans and, indeed, smartphone users worldwide, expect websites to be easily viewable on their mobile devices. But what does it mean to optimize your website for mobile devices?
Three terms need to be defined: mobile friendly, mobile optimized and mobile responsive.
A mobile friendly website is a site that retains its structure and layout, regardless of the device on which it is being viewed. Often, this means the website appears half the size it would normally appear on a PC. This can be frustrating, as it requires constant zooming and resizing in order to view the webpage on a smartphone...
With so many free or low-cost website options like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix available, why would anyone choose to hire a web designer?
What are the benefits of having a professional website and do these benefits outweigh the cost?
With the social networking power of Facebook, why not simply spruce-up your Facebook business page and avoid the cost of website design, domain name registration and hosting? In short, if I can avoid the cost and still retain all the benefits, why should I go with a professional website, when I can get the same thing for free?
The answer: You get what you pay for. And, in the words of Dave Matthews… You pay for what you get.
15 May 2017
In our last blog post, What is the Key to a Comprehensive Marketing Plan?, we learned that the key to a holistic plan is two-fold: a proven process and the applicability of the resulting strategy to every aspect of your business. We also asserted that marketing is much more than mere advertising. Marketing is the way by which we maintain our unique identity, our differentiating niche, amid the many daily decisions a business person must make. So, what's next?Continue reading
For a marketing plan to be successful it cannot be simply an event, it must be a way of life. Moreover, any effective marketing plan should be comprehensive in its approach, yet simple in its execution. But there's more...Continue reading
How easy is it to navigate your website? How quickly does it load? You want your customers to have a streamlined experience so they keep coming back as well as buying. Learn how code compressing can help.Continue reading
Research shows 83 percent of marketers consider email their primary lead generation channel. There are so many ways to optimize this avenue of growth – and it is completely customizable based on your company type!Continue reading
Just as the social media environment is growing and evolving, so are tools you can use to streamline your process and help it reach a bigger audience. Outlined in this post are a few helpful tools I’ve been using and thought I would share. What tools do you us to grow your business?Continue reading
25 November 2016
70% of B2B marketers expect their organizations to produce more content next year, according to the latest annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research. With so much B2B content out there competing for your target audience’s attention, what can you do to make sure your content will stand out, connect with them and convert? http://bit.ly/2fwAeBmContinue reading