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Social Media, The 500 lb Gorilla In The Room

Social Media is the 500 lb gorilla in the room that nobody knows what to do with. Ignore it,  feed it, befriend it,  fear it, or understand it. Ultimately they will embrace it and accept it, and not worry about the ROI. Business is about connecting with people and people drive business and referrals. – Web Success Team

Source: Inc. 500

Inc. 500 CEOs Use Social Media for Business

By Tamara Schweitzer

A new study shows that the use of social media is particularly prevalent among Inc. 500 companies and provides new insight on the role social media plays in running a business.

For the third consecutive year, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has conducted a study on social media usage among Inc. 500 companies. The 2009 results confirm the upward trend of social media adoption rates among some of the fastest growing private companies, and provide a useful comparison of social media trends from 2007 on.

This year’s study, which was conducted by researchers Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson, included 148 of the 2009 Inc. 500 companies. As with the past two years, respondents were asked about their usage and familiarity with six types of social media tools, including blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards, and wikis. In the past year, social media usage by the Inc. 500 has grown, with 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared to 77 percent in the 2008 survey. And, of the six social media categories, the one that continues to be the most familiar to Inc. 500 companies is social networking, with 75 percent saying that they are “very familiar with it.” Read more

Filed under: Business Networking, Drive Traffic, Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Business, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, Web Success, , , , , ,

Differentiation and Relevance

Nice thought provoking article about being different and “Relevant.” Again, this all ties into branding, marketing and selling. We all strive to be different and unique and in many ways we are. WebSuccessTeam

The Key to Differentiation Is Relevance

Posted by Bart Cleveland for Adage

Differentiation is something that every agency preaches to its clients. Yet most ad agencies are a commodity. Very few have a distinct personality. I have no greater fear than my agency being without a mantra — having no reason for being other than a paycheck. I realize it is a business that must make a profit, but if my agency has no personality, it is average. And to me, whether you’re flipping hamburgers or making ads, being average is worse than not being at all. Being average in our industry means your agency is a commodity that fights for clients in a price war. Sound familiar?

My partners and I continually discuss what makes us different. This is a good thing. We understand the importance of agreeing on our reason for being. But there is a more critical thing we’ve learned from these discussions. Before we can answer how our agency is different, we must know what truly constitutes being different. Read more.

Source: Adage

Filed under: Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Business, Web Success, , , , , , ,

An Open Letter to Online Ad Networks

This article raises consumer awareness of how easily we as John Q. Public can be manipulated into thinking blogged articles are gospel and bloggers do not have hidden agendas. Bloggers do get paid and this could taint their opinions. So disclosure of financial incentives is good to be reported, but the industry should be self regulated. The government should not be involved. Ad networks can regulate itself as some industries already do. One example is a comparison shopping engine that let consumers post comments or rate a service or product like Ebay. In the end of the day, pay by credit card so you have recourse for a refund and always remember, “caveat emptor” — buyer beware! – WST

An Open Letter to Online Ad Networks

by Jonah Stein and Jonathan Hochman

The FTC recently announced guidelines for bloggers that requires that they disclose financial interests, freebies and paid reviews.  This decision is seen as a shot across the bow of pay per post networks and bloggers who are monetizing through affiliate programs.  The FTC has decided that compensation is the reason bloggers choose to write about a particular topic and that readers deserve to be informed about the financial relationship.    The FTC logic is simple, “As much as those bloggers who receive these gifts would like to claim this isn’t the case, freebies like free laptops, trips, or gift cards are likely to influence a writer’s opinion of a product.”

On its face, the policy is defensible. As crusaders against Virtual Blight, we applaud the intent of this decision.  Anything that raises the barrier to online scams, fraud and abuse even a little bit is a good thing. The FTC provides guidelines for responsible bloggers and theoretically eliminates a couple of the perks for bloggers, but it does virtually nothing to protect against fraud.

Going after bloggers’ compensation to fight online fraud is reminiscent of the RIAA attacks on individual file sharers and is just as likely to succeed. The absurdity of the power and inertia of a government bureaucracy combating individual bloggers is only matched by the ludicrous assumption the government could ever move fast enough to keep up with professional scammers who jump from domain to domain, host to host and country to country with a few mouse clicks.  Prosecution could only be effective against mainstream bloggers with an established brand that are stationary targets, but these bloggers are not the right target. Read more.

Source: http://www.seobook.com

The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Blogging, Web Success, , , , , , , , , , ,

Advertising Will Change Forever

“I believe that digital advertising is just another tool in the general media world. The economic downturn and slashed budgets have increased the need to think out of the box. One the benefits of digital media is that you can measure analytics in real time.
I also believe that advertising will become more personalized as we delve into Social Media. But as the Internet world becomes saturated with constant messages, we will have to go back to the basics: Good creative!” – WST

Advertising Will Change Forever

By Josh Bernoff

Here’s one of the things we do at Forrester Research: we interview as many marketers as we can about their plans, identify trends and project future likely conditions, and then we put together some numbers to make a projection. If you’ve ever seen a Forrester projection, it comes from a process like this.

This means that inside every projection is an idea or ten about the future. Those ideas can be powerful, and they come from research with marketers and consumers.

My colleague at Forrester, Shar Van Boskirk, just published our five-year interactive marketing forecast. The idea inside it is the real kicker.

In this recession, marketers have learned that interactive marketing is more effective, and advertising less effective, per dollar spent. While budgets for online have decreased, they decreased less than other budgets. Six out of ten marketers we surveyed agreed with the statement “we will increase budget for interactive by shifting money away from traditional marketing.” Only 7% said “we have no plans to increase our marketing budget.”

Unlike the last recession, digital marketing is no longer experimental. Now it looks more like advertising is inefficient, relative to digital. More than half of the marketers we surveyed said that effectiveness of direct mail, TV, magazines, outdoor, newspapers, and radio would stay the same or decrease within three years. In contrast, well over 70% expected the effectiveness of channels like created social media, online video, and mobile marketing to increase. Read More.

Source: Advertising Will Change Forever

Filed under: Blogging, Facebook, Google, Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Branding, Online Marketing, SEO, SEM, Keywords, Direct Response W, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, Twitter, Video, Video Marketing, Web Analytics, Web Success, , , , , , , , , ,

Women & Our Online Behavior and Social Media Habits

Women have always been known to be community-oriented, which is why it’s no surprise that women more frequently use social networks. This study details how women use social media and what they look at and are looking for. Read on to find out how you can tune your marketing strategy to appeal to this niche. – WST

By: Julie Kent

SheSpeaks.com conducted a great survey of women’s online and computer habits, and published the results in a comprehensive 65-page document. It’s a fascinating study that looks mainly at women’s social habits online, and most definitely has implications for online marketing. Looking at the results of this study can help you tailor your marketing campaigns to effectively, rather than ineffectively, reach out to women.

Shopping & Social

Not surprisingly, the top activity for women online is shopping. The third most popular activity is social networking, which is also not a surprise given the stereotype that women just love to talk. The fact that both of these activities are very popular with women means that there is also some cross-over issues to consider. If women like to shop online, they’re likely to talk about that online and there are probably certain kinds of marketing tactics that will work better with them.

One of the first very obvious things that this study shows is that women of all ages are very active in social networks. Younger women are more active and have more contacts than older women, but a sizeable number of 40+ are taking advantage of social networking, and in some cases are more engaged than their younger peers.

Making up half the world’s population, “women” is a pretty large group. Within that group, then, you’d expect some different patterns of behavior to emerge. The biggest differences can be seen in different age groups – under 30’s and 40-somethings on up. With most 30 and unders having grown up with computers, it’s not surprising.

Key Findings of the Study

Here are some of the key findings for the two groups:

Younger women:

* Are more likely to say “connect with others” as top online activity (73%), compared to 40+ women (31%).
* Are more likey to look at consumer generated content (28%) than 40+ (10%).
* Are more likely to have profiles. 86% of 30 & under have profiles.
* Facebook and MySpace are most popular (78% and 79%)
* LinkedIn is more popular with high earners (41% for HHI $120K+ vs. 17% overall)

Older women are:

* 45% of 40+ have profiles.
* More active than younger women on Classmates (42% vs 19% for <30s).
* Facebook and MySpace are most popular (65% and 63%)
* LinkedIn is more popular with high earners (41% for HHI $120K+ vs. 17% overall)

None of those findings are really all that earth-shattering. Perhaps most surprising, however, is the high numbers of older women (40+) that are using social networks. It appears that while a majority of women join these networks to “connect” or “reconnect” (61% and 66%), there are also other factors at play. Younger women are most likely to join connect, reconnect, and share photos. A high proportion of older women, on the otherhand, join to keep an eye on their kids’ online activites, especially those with children ages 13 to 17.

Women aren’t just signing up and forgetting about their profiles and connections either. Half of all women log into social networks everyday. Two-thirds of under 30’s log-in daily, and 41% of 40+ log-in daily.

So what do Women do on Social Networks?

When you get a bunch of women together, who most enjoy shopping online and talking, what exactly do they talk about? 62% of all women talk about products, and 71% of those with children ages 13 to 17 talk about products. What kind of products do they talk about? The most talked about category of products on social networks by women is beauty products. After that food/restaurants and movies/entertainment were also popular, especially amongst younger women.

How do women feel about ads?

Women generally do not have good feelings about ads. 26% said they actively ignore ads, and another 20% said they are annoyed by ads. A few notice interesting ads once in awhile, but only about 2% ever actually click on an ad.

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The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Facebook, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, Twitter, Web Success, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Online Reputation Management

For many long-term business owners, tackling the web can be an intimidating and difficult task.  It is important not to be discouraged by negative reviews by disgruntled customers, but rather to rise above and move forward in your marketing efforts.  There are a few basic things to keep in mind when taking the step into the modern business world.  Here are a few good tips that will keep your head on straight and your business making money. –  WST

By: Jeremy Martin

The day you open your business you become vulnerable to the good and bad publicity you can get from either satisfied or dissatisfied customers. That is the price you pay to run a business. It happens to everyone regardless of what you do. Hopefully you are doing your best to please your customers and following through with the expectations you have given them. But when the unthinkable happens and you find a negative remark, blog post or complaint online there are steps you want to take.

Here are some of the “Do’s and Don’ts” of Managing Your Business’ Reputation Online.

Lets start with the Don’ts:

  • Don’t Panic. I know that is easier said that done but the last thing you want to do is lose your cool and try to retaliate. There is no reason for that. It often causes more damage than good.
  • Don’t immediately focus all your attention to the negative information you have found. It is important for you to have a plan or strategy. If you focus all of your time, money and effort on clearing your name then the rest of your business will go down the tube.
  • Don’t admit anywhere that you are wrong. Admitting any wrongdoing is not going to get your complaint removed from search results, blogs or forums. It can also cause further trust issues with existing or potential customers.
  • Don’t take your first negative publicity as a sign that your business is a failure. People that feel that have been wronged in any way are more likely to post the negative information about your company but chances are you have got 100 happy and satisfied customers for every one unhappy customer. Remember, you can’t always please everyone.

Now the Do’s:

  • Create a plan of action. If you notice a couple of negative reports or complaints listed on the first page of search results you have got to find a way to push them off the first page and get them as far down the results as you can. A few really great ways you can do this are by submitting a Press Release to various PR distribution sites such as PRWeb.comm, PR.com and PRnewswir.com.. You can start a new blog that is about your company’s products or services. Make sure you share the good information about your business such as favorable stats or testimonials. Join forums related to your niche and contribute useful, relevant information.
  • Use social networking as a way to build a bigger and better network. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon and Digg are great because they such a deep user base. If you can get some buzz going about your business it will go a long way. People love to refer sites that are useful to them so make sure you have information that appeals to your target audience.
  • Do your best to resolve the issue with the dissatisfied customer. Sometimes it can be tough if they make the comments anonymously but do your best to find out who they are so you can take care of their concerns. If you try to reach out to them and resolve the issue publicly it shows that you are persistent and take your customer’s satisfaction seriously.
  • If your business is in the position to get certified through agencies like the BBB it can be beneficial to your credibility to potential customers.

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The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Business Networking, Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Business, Web Success, , , , , , , , , ,

Crafting a Website with Personality Types in Mind

We, online marketers, always talk about finding your niche or target market.  One of the best ways to do so is through an understanding of human psychology and how people buy.  Marketing to personality types will help you craft your website or media campaign effectively.  This article details four main personality types and how they buy.  Use this as a resource for how you want to position your product/services and brand. –  WST

By: Ivan Strouchliak

We are all different. Some of us prefer to know every detail; others come to decisions in a matter of seconds. For you, authority may be the main deciding factor, while for others customer feedback is the main selling point. How do you know what your customer will respond to? This three-part series will explore how different kinds of customers approach their buying decisions based on their personality types, and how you can cater to what each type needs to know before they buy from you.

In this article I cover four main personality types. I will explain how those personality types view websites and make decisions, and how to craft a website to sell more effectively to each. This idea has been thoroughly explained and proved by FutureNow, owners of the marketing blog GrokDotCom.

Four Personality Types

No two people are identical. Everyone has talents, unique abilities and nasty hang-ups. There are, however, four personality types to which one can effectively market. Those personality types were tested over and again in design, copy writing and advertising, and experiments have proven that it is possible to raise conversion rates when these factors were applied appropriately. These personality types are not new, but were identified centuries ago.

Many of the great philosophers who have dabbled in theories about personality have identified four dominant temperaments. In 370 BC, Hippocrates identified them as Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic. Carl Jung (1875-1961) called them Feeler, Thinker, Sensor, and Intuitor. More recently, David Keirsey identified Idealists, Rationals, Guardians, and Artisans.Waiting For Your Cat To Bark

Myers Briggs classified those personalities as SJ, SP, NF and NT. Ken Evoy calls them boss, empathizer, mixer and ponderer, while Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg dubbed them Methodical, Spontaneous, Humanistic and Competitive.

Each type is distinct. For purposes of description, and to help keep their natures straight, I’ll categorize them with a mix of David Keirsey and Myers Briggs:

  • The Guardians SJ
  • The Artisans SP
  • The Idealists NF
  • The Rationals NT

Meet the Four Personality Types

The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Online Advertising and Marketing, Web Design, Web Development, Web Success, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Instant Gratification Mentality: Are We Miseducating Our Children?

Although this article is predominantly geared toward the education of our children, I encourage you to read the following article with your business and your marketing efforts in mind. It’s important not to fixate on certain goals, but rather use your knowledge and power to center yourself and accomplish main goals through smaller ones. Good online marketing campaigns and web success takes time, money and a lot of effort. Do not despair, if at first you don’t succeed. – WST

By: Rajesh V

Do we teach the right things? I recall an old Tamil film called Kaliyuga Krishnan. The story was rather simple but very interesting. There is this impoverished man who keeps bemoaning his fate and cursing Krishna. One day Krishna appears before him and challenges him. The Divine One offers to give the man all the worldly success and material comforts he wishes for, but tells him that happiness would elude him anyway.

The man takes on the challenge and becomes very rich and successful. Krishna keeps appearing to check how happy he is with his acquisitions. The man insists that he is on top of the world in spite of the challenges.

Towards the end, the cycle changes and the man is down and popping a handful of pills when Krishna appears and asks him about his life. The man shows Krishna the pills and says that medicine is his food nowadays. Krishna then picks up the various medicines and reads out the names which all usually end as ‘mycin’ – Erthyromycin, Streptomycin and Tetramycin. He then says to the man: ” Oh, all MY SINS? You are only suffering for your sins!”

Interesting pun on words, but it holds a universal truth.

Today when I see the younger generation, they are in a hurry for instant gratification. Parents bemoan the fact that children are getting spoilt and losing traditional value systems. So, what exactly is the issue? The issue lies with parents like us more than elsewhere. Let us forget the parent child labelling and discuss this matter from an objective perspective.

Imagine a young infant, whose mind is fresh, open, curious, and creative. What kind of conditioning is the environment and people around him/her offering? It is all about pushing oneself for success. It is not about hard work or effort. It is about success. It is about a particular result.

The individual develops into a typical ‘A’ type personality, high strung, tense and stressed out. Then he or she seeks emotional well being and health by spending money on medicines and doctors. But the individual is simply treating the symptoms. The root of the problem lies somewhere else.

Finally as old age approaches, after a lifetime of chasing success, this person is advised to meditate, take things easy and reflect on life. Are we not completely confusing ourselves and others?

Recently I had a spirited debate about another Tamil film Naan Kadavul. The debate focused on the belief that people who regularly say ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ can become God. My argument was along similar lines. Imagine a child being told that he is God and nothing else. Would that mind ever question it? Would that mind get distracted by anything else?

God is within all of us. This is advocated in every religious scripture including the Hindu spiritual texts. Instead of seeking God and peace outside of us we are advised to look for the Source of Life within us.

Why then, do people still have an issue with following this simple doctrine?

It is simply because our minds are not conditioned as such from childhood. Even God has become a “utilitarian and quantifiable goal” in our never-ending pursuit of success. Some have even branded God on this basis. There is a Hanuman temple in Chennai which is called “Bank Anjaneyar” as it is situated in the premises of a bank. It is also known as “Visa Anjaneyar!” Supposedly a visit is guaranteed to ensure a visa!

Some might argue that I am propagating laziness and suggesting that we should not be result-oriented. But that’s not the case. I believe that there is a very fine line between result-orientation and result-fixation.

Read More

The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Web Success, , , , , , , ,

More Twitter Surprises

I have now been an active twitter for over 2 years. I am always suprised to find out who indeed is spending all this time reading and following tweets. This article below has some of of those answers. Read on:

When You Twitter – Do You Know Who is Listening? (And, will it help your conversion optimization efforts?)

by Raquel Hirsch and Chris Goward

In the current mad frenzy rush to all-things-Twitter, one data point seems to be missing from the 140-character discussion: Who is Twittering? And, similarly, who is out there ‘listening’ to your Tweets?

The Twittersphere is exploding.

According to an analysis of February data by comScore blogger Sarah Radwanick, over the past several months, comScore has been watching how quickly traffic to Twitter has exploded:

  • Worldwide visitors to Twitter approached 10 million in February, up an impressive 700+% vs. year ago.
  • The past two months alone have seen worldwide visitors climb more than 5 million visitors.
  • U.S. traffic growth has been just as dramatic, with Twitter reaching 4 million visitors in February, up more than 1,000% from a year ago.

But what are the demographics of Twitter users?

Well, marketing friends, it seems that we are in for a surprise.

Twitter Followers are older than you think

According to Reuters blogger Alexei Oreskovic, while Twitter “has the fast-growing microblogging service has all the earmarks of a young person’s pastime” Twitter devotees are grayer than you might expect:

The majority of Twitter’s roughly 10 million unique Web site visitors worldwide in February were 35 years old or older.

TeamWork Builds Web Success
The Web Success Team specializes in building and marketing direct response websites that take full advantage of the latest developments on the Internet. The Team has an arsenal of effective web strategies, online tools and proven techniques to promote your products and services. And we’ll show you ways to increase the amount of qualified traffic to your site through the expanding “social web” and how to convert visitors into buyers at a high rate of return.

Contact the Team today for a complimentary consultation at Contact Us or email Bob Speyer at bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Twitter, Web Success, , , , , ,

Clickset and Your Online Identity.

Clickset is a new tool that helps you keep your online identity in one convenient place. Once you sign-up you can connect with your pre-existing accounts like Google and Yahoo.

For more reading and information, here is an article from mashable.com

Cliqset Wants to Unify Your Social Identities

March 10th, 2009 | by Jennifer Van Grove

Previously hidden away behind closed doors, Cliqset, a social identity platform, is drawing back their curtains today and opening up their beta site to the public. Similar in purpose to the private beta site Chi.mp, Cliqset’s ultimate goal is to help users connect their online identities in one place so they can then safely share that online social identity with Cliqset-aware applications.

Cliqset even claims to be the last social identity you will ever need. After signing up, new Cliqset members can connect their Cliqset identity with their pre-existing Google, Plaxo, and Yahoo accounts, which means those contacts can be pulled into Cliqset and grouped into relationships. Read more.

TeamWork Builds Web Success
The Web Success Team specializes in building and marketing direct response websites that take full advantage of the latest developments on the Internet. The Team has an arsenal of effective web strategies, online tools and proven techniques to promote your products and services. And we’ll show you ways to increase the amount of qualified traffic to your site through the expanding “social web” and how to convert visitors into buyers at a high rate of return.

Contact the Team today for a complimentary consultation at Contact Us or email Bob Speyer at bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Google, Online Branding, Online Business, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, Web Success, , , , , , , ,

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