Spring Cleaning for your Online Marketing Strategy

March 30, 2014

Spring cleaning your online marketing strategy can be one of the most productive steps you take during the early part of the year.  There is no better time than now to “spring clean” your strategy, ensuring that you have a plan in place for the next several months.

As you get started, here are three questions to answer:

1. What can you get rid of? You need to get rid of anything that is not bringing value to your company. For example, did your social media strategy flop last year? If so, take it to the curb and begin to consider a different plan for this year.

2. What should you keep? Just because you are getting rid of some aspects of your plan does not mean it needs a complete overhaul. Instead, get rid of what you don’t need (see above) and keep the items that still offer some value.

With your online marketing plan, you need to know which aspects produced results for you in the past. These are the tasks that you want to stick with this year, as this will hopefully allow you to have the same level of success.

3. Who can help? There is nothing wrong with calling on the assistance of others when spring cleaning your online marketing plan. From coworkers to a consulting company, it may take more than one head to get on the right track.

Why not rely on others who have more experience than you? When you do this, you know that the journey ahead will be a successful one. Even if you have a difficult time passing tasks off to others, this is one time you should consider doing so.

What Now?

We aren’t going to leave you hanging. Now that you know the importance of spring cleaning for your online marketing strategy, we are going to provide detailed tips and advice in the coming weeks for getting started. Over the next four weeks, we will focus on the following:

  • Website design
  • SEO
  • Social media
  • Email marketing

Be sure to check back next week for the next post in our spring cleaning series!

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


LinkedIn Showcase Pages: What you Need to Know

March 20, 2014
linked-in
By: Peg McDermott. Many organizations have come to realize the benefits of creating a LinkedIn Company Page. This provides the opportunity to share information on everything from what the company does to who works there to job opportunities and much more.

However, there was one thing missing: the ability to highlight different aspects of the business, such as company divisions or brands.

LinkedIn listened, and in November 2013 the professional networking site rolled out a new feature known as Showcase Pages.

Getting Started

Getting started with LinkedIn Showcase Pages is simple. You can easily create one of these pages by taking a few simple steps:

  • Identity the areas of your business that require such a page
  • Navigate to “Edit” from the dropdown menu and then click on “Create a Showcase Page”
  • Once you have created the page you can edit the content and begin to share the information with the world

Note: you can use LinkedIn analytics tools to monitor the performance of this new page.

The Many Benefits

Now that you know more about the basics of LinkedIn Showcase Pages, there is sure to be one question on your mind: will you be able to use this to better your business?

If you have used LinkedIn in the past, you are well aware of what it can do for your company. Showcase Pages are no different. There are many benefits, including the following:

  • Use a dedicated page to drive engagement for a particular aspect of your business
  • The ability for people to follow the part of your business that they are most interested in
  • Better opportunity to create relationships with your target audience

Is a Showcase Page the same as a Company Page? In short, the answer is no. Remember, Showcase Pages are meant to provide detailed information on a particular aspect of your business. For example, you will want to create one of these pages when you are spreading the word about a particular initiative, such as an upcoming event, or simply looking for a way to “showcase” one aspect of your business.

With the ability to create up to 10 Showcase Pages for your Company Page, you have everything you need at your fingertips. At this point, all you have to do is decide how to implement these pages as a means of improving your LinkedIn presence.

If you are in position to take advantage of LinkedIn Showcase Pages, there is no better time than now to push forward.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


5 Tips for Using Twitter to Generate Leads

March 12, 2014

With more than 500 million active users, Twitter is one of the best places to turn as you attempt to generate leads for your business. Not everybody can be considered a prospect, however, there are potential buyers in every industry. Your goal is simple: find these people and connect with them in a way that will improve your chance of forming a relationship. Below are five tips for using Twitter to generate leads:
1. Find prospects. Who are you following? Who is following you? Should any of these people be considered prospects? The best prospects are those who are already following you, however, you don’t want to stop there. Follow your competitors, taking a closer look at who they are interacting with. This will give you a better idea of the types of prospects that are out there.
2. Identify buying signals. These can include but are not limited to: a person who is dissatisfied with a competitor’s product or service, questions about your company (or another one in the industry), and search terms such as “can anybody recommend” and “advice on.”
3. Conversation is key. It is one thing to pinpoint potential leads, but another thing entirely to open up a conversation that could lead to a sale down the road. Fortunately, Twitter makes it simple to strike up a conversation with a prospect. Tip: build a relationship before connecting in an attempt to make a sale. You can do this by following the person, retweeting their tweets, and providing advice.
4. Build your list of followers. Simply put, the more followers you have the more people who will see your tweets. This goes a long way in increasing your chance of interacting with others. By providing targeted tweets and engaging in conversation with others, your follower list will organically grow.
5. Be patient. When you get started with Twitter you will have zero followers. As frustrating as it may be, things will begin to pickup sooner rather than later. It may take several months before you generate your first lead, but it is well worth the wait.
Now do you have a better idea of how you can use Twitter to generate leads? If nothing else, take the time to use this social media service on a daily basis. Even though you may make some mistakes along the way, it is better than sitting back and missing out on the action altogether.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


3 Cool Ways to Prospect for Leads on LinkedIn

March 6, 2014

Are you currently using LinkedIn to prospect for leads? If not, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. With hundreds of millions of users, the more time you spend on this social site the better chance you have of connecting with professionals who could benefit from using your products and/or services. Here is the number one excuse for not using LinkedIn to drum up new business: I have no idea how to get started. While it is only natural to shy away from the learning curve, it is important to note that LinkedIn is very simple to use. Once you get started, it will only be a matter of time before you are using this professional networking site in ways you never thought possible. Here are three cool (and simple) way to prospect for fresh leads on LinkedIn:

1. Review the profile of those who you believe would be a good lead. Why is this important, you may ask? When you visit somebody’s profile, they are going to see this activity. In turn, they may return the favor to see what your profile is all about. This gives you a reason to connect with that person, thus opening up the door for a potential partnership.

2. Take advantage of every connection request. If somebody requests to connect with you, take the time to examine their background before accepting. Upon acceptance of the request, send the person a brief note providing more information on what you do and how you may be able to help them. This is often times the best chance to engage in a conversation, so don’t let it slip through your fingertips.

3. Stay up to date with what your connections are saying and doing. The easiest way to do this is by reading the updates posted by people in your network. Are they attending a trade show? Are they requesting a bid for a project? These are the types of things you will come across when you continually read updates. Yes, it takes some time, however, it is a great way to stay informed. Now do you see how simple it can be to prospect for leads on LinkedIn? This is a great way to generate interest, hopefully leading to a sale in the near future. Even if you are new to this networking service, it will only take a few minutes to get on the right track. From there, the sky is the limit.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Qualified Leads

February 26, 2014

Are you taking full advantage of the power of LinkedIn? Those who have harnessed this power are using the social networking site to generate qualified leads on a regular basis. While this may be new territory for your business, there are several tips you can follow to increase your chance of generating leads moving forward. Here are several ideas to consider:

1. Use a strong call to action. It is one thing to have a personal profile and company page. It is another thing entirely to put the appropriate amount of time and effort into creating these profiles. With a strong call to action, you are telling others that you are interested in hearing from them. You don’t have to go overboard. Just make sure you are clear about what you offer, who you work with, and how to get in touch.

2. Post status updates as often as possible, without going overboard. This is one of the best ways to start conversations with others, including people who could eventually turn into clients. Think twice before you post a status update. Consider what you want to share with others, and how it could help you generate leads. Note: posting status updates during high conversation periods, such as during the morning hours, will improve your chance of engagement.

3. Send custom messages to current connections, new connections, and your target audience. The biggest mistake you can make is sending somebody a “standard” message that doesn’t provide any real information.

Customize each and every message, touching on personal points with each recipient. Is this going to take more time?You bet it is. However, it is something you have to do if you want to increase your response rate. If you are not yet using LinkedIn to generate qualified leads, you are missing the boat. The three tips above are easy to implement, helping you get started with this method of lead generation.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


Use LinkedIn to Build Brand Awareness

February 21, 2014

When it comes to building brand awareness, social media is often times the first strategy that many companies consider. Furthermore, most are beginning to understand the benefits of using LinkedIn. If you aren’t using LinkedIn to build brand awareness you are missing the boat. Take a close look at your competitors. What do you see? There is a good chance they have been using LinkedIn for quite some time while you continue to “hang back” and hope for the best. It is one thing to say you are going to use LinkedIn to build brand awareness. It is another thing entirely to implement a successful strategy. The good thing is that you don’t need much experience or knowledge to get started. There are three simple steps you can take to put your company on the right track:

1. Create a killer company page. Not only does this allow you to raise brand awareness, but it also gives you a place to advertise career opportunities. On top of this, you can educate your audience on what your company has to offer. Note: you can learn more about company pages here.

2. Share regular updates. As an individual, you should be sharing company updates as often as possible. Does this mean you should spam your network? Of course not. What it means is that you should find useful information to post on a regular basis. From awards to new services and much more, if you put on your “thinking cap” you should be able to generate plenty of ideas for updates.

3. Build relationships. It is not good enough to have an individual profile and company page on LinkedIn. You have to take advantage of the ability to build relationships with other users. Don’t be shy about connecting with current clients, prospects, and anybody else who can help you reach your goals. Using LinkedIn is one of the best ways to build brand awareness, and getting started with the three ideas above won’t take much time. What are you waiting on?

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


Are Headlines Really that Important? You bet they are

February 14, 2014

When creating a corporate blog post, you have a lot on your mind. What angle are you going to take with the content? Where are you going to get the images? How are you going to promote the post to your audience?

While these questions are very important, you don’t want to overlook job #1: settling on the right headline.

You could create a killer blog post, full of top notch information and graphics, but unless you have an equally explosive headline you are leaving a lot to be desired.

With all this in mind, you need to focus plenty of time and effort on creating a targeted, powerful headline. This may be something you struggle with at first, but over time you will find yourself picking up on the finer details of what you should and should not be doing.

Tip: keep a close watch on your traffic stats, paying close attention to which posts are receiving the most action. From there, see if there is any correlation between traffic and the headline.

Keywords Matter

As you stare at your screen, hoping to come up with the perfect headline for your next blog post, the ideas are unlimited. There are keywords you should consider including, as they will help create a more appealing headline. Here are some to consider:

  • How to
  • Free
  • You
  • Why
  • Best
  • Tricks
  • Great
  • Any number (for a list type blog post)

The inclusion of one or more of these keywords can go a long way in drawing in readers, ensuring that they take a strong look at the content you are providing.

If you have what it takes to create killer content, don’t miss the boat by overlooking the importance of a strong headline. Remember, this could be the difference between a few people reading your post and thousands of visitors hanging on every word you say.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +LinkedInTwitter, and thecogoblog.com


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