Webinar Video: Internet Marketing Success in 4 Easy “Booster Rockets”

Webinar via YouTube: Internet marketing... success

Last week, we recorded a live webinar as part of the re-launch of New Marketing University (NewMarU.com). I entitled it, “The 4 Booster Rockets of Internet Marketing Success” and we covered four key areas that are high leverage for any small business that wants to expand the effectiveness of its online marketing, including why these strategies are important and an overview of how we approach them.

The good news, if you are just passing by, is that I felt that this webinar was such a valuable introduction to how ComBridges approaches these kinds of innovations in Internet marketing as well as a taste of the kinds of useful information that will be available more and more via NewMarU.com, I decided to post this recording free and open to all on YouTube with no email registration required. In fact, this 45-minute video webinar is embedded below on this page so you can just click and enjoy it right now. 😉

In case you want to know what’s covered without watching anything, we discuss the following four strategic Internet marketing tactics:

  • Lead capture and lead nurturing along with the need to design a sales funnel process
  • Truly interactive Facebook Pages that go “beyond the Like”
  • Authentic engagement and what makes video content marketing more effective
  • Cost effective small business mobile apps to reach the rapidly increasing number of website visitors using smartphones and other mobile devices

All this and more in only about 40 minutes plus Q&A. Please check it out and comment, here or on YouTube. And if you want more, click on the “YouTube” logo to subscribe to our YouTube channel or register at NewMarU.com. Thanks! We look forward to hearing from YOU.

This Week’s “3 Geegy Amigos” Tech Talk Show via Google Hangouts

3geekyamigos-logo

We had fun today and I think there’s lots of useful information for you, as we live recorded this week’s episode of our new tech talk show, “3 Geeky Amigos” (live almost every week, Tuesdays at 3pm PT). We learned a lot including how to do lower-third graphic titles inside of Google Hangouts On Air and talked about everything from iPhone apps to Gmail’s upcoming interface update, Moz.com to free WordPress training, Internet marketing (of course) to social analytics software and even a little bit of Twitter’s Vine video app. Note: All of the links that are mentioned in this edition are right there for you in the YouTube video’s description. So click on the video title in the embedded video below if you want the links. Audio-only version also offered below, just in case that’s more convenient. You can even download that one.

Enjoy and we’d love your feedback!

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/96188513″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Mobile Apps and Mobile-Friendly Websites for Business: 
The Next Big Thing in Internet Marketing?

Shortly after Internet accessibility via mobile phones started to take off, marketers started to encourage businesses to build mobile versions of their websites. But there is always a gap between innovations and those who follow up in order to take advantage of the latest technologies.

mobile-friendly website with responsive WordPress theme

ComBridges’ new mobile-friendly website design uses a responsive WordPress theme

But, now that there is a meaningful volume of web visitors checking out every website (yes, even yours!) via mobile devices, spanning this gap is becoming more of a requirement. And yet, there are still a very significant number of businesses who don’t have mobile-friendly websites. The really bad news, particularly for those who are falling behind, is that the gap is widening between those who are meeting the demand for mobile-friendly web communications and those who are not. The good news is that there are a new generation of business communication tools arising in the form of apps and new kinds of websites that make meeting this need increasingly accessible. Illuminating these trends with specific examples is the purpose of this blog post.

The Mobile Web is Exploding

These changes are unquestionably dramatic. While the Web was born on desktop computers, it is obviously no longer simply a desktop medium. By May 2012, fully one tenth of the world’s web traffic was arriving on your digital doorstep via mobile phones and tablets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the “developing” world that is truly leading the charge. In those countries where cell phones have long outnumbered landlines, more than one-half of web use is now coming via mobile devices. This demand for mobile delivery is now forcing the issue and providing further fuel for the shift in how websites are designed. In this environment, for a company to ignore the need for the mobile-friendly delivery of its Web content not only limits that company’s engagement opportunities because they are essentially “dissing” a significant segment of their audience. In the US alone, mobile is now estimated to be about 15% of web traffic. Bottom line, this form of resistance to change (or upgrades) will also exclude that company from a significant component of how the next billion people will get online.

Chinese woman with iPad

Photo by Robert May, April, 2013

Not Your Father’s Website Design

Web development for the mobile age itself is advancing quickly. One of the latest innovations is called responsive website designs. Because responsive designs automatically adjust their layout to suit the device being used, they offer a relatively simple solution that can eliminate the complexity of having to create a separate mobile-friendly version of your website. But this means that those—like my company recently—must invest in a redesign in order to keep pace with the mobile revolution. But that’s not all. The pace of change does not slow down. It accelerates.

Span the Gap with an App

Now, at least for marketers who are committed to the leading edge of engagement with social media savvy users who love their mobile devices, a responsive design may not be enough. Mobile apps are yet another important innovation because they combine the emergence of ever-expanding Web access via mobile devices with the ability to communicate directly, in a native form (i.e. within the mobile medium) via customized business-specific functionalities from Facebook feeds, to special offers, to location-based components.

A recent article by SmartMediaTips on mobile statistics points out that over 50% of an individual’s time spent on a smartphone is spent using apps. In 2011, smartphone users downloaded 17.7 billion apps, and this number is expected to increase to 108 billion by 2015. As a result, more than 300,000 apps were developed in the last 3 years. In a sense, apps are the new websites (just like “60 is the new 40.”)

The good news is that some newly developed Web-based SaaS (software as service) resources are make building basic apps far more accessible and affordable than previously imagined. The result is a new trend in mobile marketing: the development of business apps that can be used by companies of virtually any size. Of course, many large, enterprise-level businesses have already jumped on the app bandwagon, including banks, Starbucks, Google, and even Walmart’s new checkout app. Now, there are mobile apps for the rest of us.

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites

A business mobile app means that your website can be programmed to offer mobile users an interface for your website and social media content that is all the more friendly, not only with a vertical layout that fits a smartphone screen, but with an interface that features icons (rather than web-style text links) that are also a natural for the touch of a screen. Thus, an app offers more than a responsive website design. An app gives your business a mobile presence that can put local or social media interactivity in a more prominent position. In particular, an app allows your loyal customers and followers to retrieve content, like audio podcasts or video commentaries for example, that are more conveniently accessed while on the move. Likewise, Facebook posts and tweets, which are commonly accessed via mobile, can become part of your business app’s featured content.

One logical strategy is use the app to make your social media marketing and content marketing outreach more accessible. For example, when individuals are standing in line at the bank or at the grocery store, with an app at their fingertips, they will much more easily be able browse through your Facebook posts. In fact, they are certainly more likely to visit your Facebook Page while on your app rather than from Facebook’s own app where they are far more than likely to be distracted by their family’s photos, etc.

Likewise, if you host a contest, offer a coupon or some other form of promotion, those who get involved with your app can much more quickly check contest updates from an app and receive automated notifications (with permission of course). The app makes waiting for your responsive website to load, asking the user to find the contest page, then wait for that page to load, etc. seem prosaic. An app simply makes any interaction with your web content immediately available with a simple touch of an icon, rather than forcing a web page and more complex navigation through the smaller screen.

Learning from Experience

Small Business mobile app example

ComBridges’ Facebook Feed in our test mobile app

By way of example, as a boutique web design and marketing agency, our company, ComBridges used to have a mobile-friendly version of our website that was visible via smartphones. This was developed using a WordPress plug-in called WPTouch Pro. Recently, we have redesigned and relaunched our own site with a responsive WordPress theme.

What opens up the opportunity for a small business like ours (and so many others) to have its own app is online software services like Conduit.com’s Mobile. While these apps do require a small, additional monthly hosting fee, they are easy for developers like us to implement. So much so that some do-it-yourselfer small businesses could even build apps on their own. It’s a work in progress, but if you have a smartphone, you can preview our first generation mobile app via any mobile device at combridges.conduitapps.com.

You will notice that what you see on our app looks very different than what you see on our website. It’s designed for mobile interaction. In fact, thanks to Conduit, much of the content is automatically derived from our Facebook Page, Twitter feed and more. As you can see, many of our social media pages are featured along with easy options for contacting us, including click to call functionality.

Greeting the Mobile Future

According to Morgan Stanley, 91% of individuals who own smart phones keep their phone within reach 24/7. And 5.1 billion of the 7 billion people on earth own a mobile phone. With these numbers in mind, why wouldn’t every business want to make it easier for their customers, blog readers, Twitter or Facebook followers to engage with them via a mobile app?

Another benefit is that if you develop your business app now, before the gap widens further, you may well be seen as an innovator. At the very least, you will prove yourself smart enough to get an early jump on the next wave of mobile marketing strategies, rather than letting the gap widen between you and your competitors, as well as between you and your customers.


Jon Leland is author of “Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts that Every Business MUST Know” and is the president of the boutique web design, video and Internet marketing agency, ComBridges.com. He was assisted in this article by Tara Hornor who also writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company.

 

Great Video Underscores the Mobile, Multi-Screen Marketing Revolution

One of my mantras seems to be “it’s hard to keep track of how fast things are changing when things are changing this fast.” 

It really is hard to ‘grok’ 67 million iPads being sold in just two years, isn’t it?

The question as posed by this video is “Are You Adapting?” That’s a great question given that mobile web traffic was 1% is 2009 and it was about 12% in 2012 and that’s rising rapidly. I highly recommend this highly visual video via the Associated Press and the international sports video agency, SNTV as a wake up call. (And, if you will please forgive a brief moment of shameless self-promotion, we would love to help your company or organization adapt to and take advantage of these changes. I think it’s safe to say that they will effect every organization either as an opportunity… or an opportunity missed because someone else in your niche got there first… or adapted more effectively.)

“It’s a Wonderful Web” ENewsletter Highlights Facebook Pages, Google AdWords and Luscious Links

The March 2013 edition of our “It’s a Wonderful Web” e-newsletter is out. It includes:

  • social media puzzleWhy a Basic Facebook Page is Not Effective Marketing
  • Get QuickStarted with Google AdWords, the World’s Biggest Ad Platform
  • Luscious Links including where to find great images for your blog, why Google+ is a must, and Twitter’s Vine video app

If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to read it online.

Is Vine, Twitter’s Video App, Useful for Social Media Marketing? Expert Reviews & Luscious Links

The face of online video, or what I like to call The Video Web, has just grown a new “nose.” In other words, there is now a new dimension to the online video world. In case you haven’t heard yet, the latest mobile and social video sensation is called Vine and it’s a free download app for all major mobile smartphone platforms.

Like Twitter, Vine uses #Hashtags as a way to find things and connect to stuff

Like Twitter, Vine uses #Hashtags as a way to find things and connect to stuff

Vine videos take the form of some pretty neat (and of course sometimes boring) little six-second video clips that are tightly integrated with Twitter, who recently bought the company. (FYI, Vine videos are also post-able to Facebook.)

While Vine is getting some mixed reviews—ranging from raves that it’s “the next big thing” to distain that there’s too much porn—I think the truth is that it’s got potential. While we wait to see if its buzz will last, in my opinion, Vine is fun and worth checking out.

As you will see from the aggregated “luscious links” below—all of which are from what I consider to be a solid selection of social media authorities—many major brands as well as smaller businesses are already experimenting with Vine videos. Even Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles (or a member of his team?) is starting to run contests via Vine (see below). So, as Dylan sang, “Something is happening here…” even if we don’t know exactly what it is…

 

(FYI, Sir Paul’s next tweet said that the answer was ‘Mamunia’ from ‘Band On The Run.’)

On a more personal note—beyond my own app-aholic fascination—my litmus test proving Vine’s viability was sharing the app with a couple of 21 year old women who I met at a party. We had already established that these extremely charming social-media-active individuals were way into Instagram. But Facebook, not so much. Even as a very active Facebook user, I could appreciate their point of view, “There are too many people on Facebook posting opinions that we don’t care about.” I found this point of view to be refreshing! 🙂

When I showed them Vine and how easy it is to create multi-scene six-second mini-movie clips, they literally took to it like fish to water. Fun! Here’s one of my first Vine videos, shot (which in this case is the same as produced) at that party:

Reinforcing the “mixed reviews” theme, MarketingProfs’ Ann Handley says, “Vine: Stupid, Simple and Brilliant.” In fact, it was also Handley who tweeted the first clearly commercial Vine video that I saw. Specifically, this little ditty by the LA Dodgers in support of a new baseball star bobble-head promotion:

More Luscious Links

And last but not least, one of my favorite “social media gurus,” Jay Baer not only offers valuable insights with The 2 Ways Most People Are Misusing Vine but in this 4-minute video interview (embedded below), he tells us the bottom line of all the hype, i.e. Vine will not usher in a “new era of content marketing,” but it is an interesting new tool for serious social media marketers who are being strategic about their use of content marketing:

Bottom line, as Jay says, content marketing without a coherent strategy is not going to have a bottom line impact, no matter how nifty a tool Vine may be. And it is nifty, IMHO. After all, making video this easy to create and post is not a no-brainer.

Any comments?

New Internet Radio Interview: What’s So New About New Marketing?

One of the fun things about having written a book about Internet marketing is getting to do interviews. Thanks to Susan Scher of the BlogTalkRadio show, “In Other Words” for the opportunity to take a full hour to discuss why I think that understanding the new dimensions of online communications is so important. Among other things, the interview (linked below) covered topics like “what’s so different about New Marketing,” authenticity, the rise of online video, the empowered consumer, social media marketing, my Attract/Engage/Relate approach to sales funnels, content marketing, and much more. Please enjoy and let me know what think.

Listen to internet radio with Perfect World Network Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Roger McNamee Sees a Future that Empowers Content Creators

Thanks to a tweet by thought-leader, publisher, Tim O’Reilly, I was drawn to a video interview and then a TEDx talk from last summer, both by the very successful Silicon Valley venture capital investor and real life touring rock star, Roger McNamee. Both videos (and soon my concise video commentary via TheTVNews.tv) are embedded below for your viewing convenience.

Bottom line, McNamee illuminates, among other things, why HTML5 is so important and how Microsoft, social media, and I say traditional network TV, are all on the decline. In their place there will be a wave of “highly differentiated content,” and the thusly-empowered creators of this new breed of content will quite literally own their own stores—and, just to be clear, those are media “stores.”

In other words, as if we couldn’t already, HTML5, iPads and mobile distribution will enable those of us with our own “bands” (teams & other creative resources) will be able to seize the controls of our own destiny, in the web sense at least. (And, along these lines, I love McNamee’s concept of “full contact investing” where he uses his rock band’s marketing as an experiential testing ground.)

Obviously, content marketing has laid some of the ground work here, and so has blogging. But his vision is bigger than that.

Content creators with the hutzpah and the resources to develop real destination websites can include new, highly integrated forms monetization to produce extraordinary opportunities in the very near future. The time is now to act on these phenomenally potent changes. Please watch the videos below to understand more.

I’ll certainly be doing my best to do so as well as to educate you how to take advantage of these changes via NewMarU.com. So please STAY TUNED! 😉

If you prefer to read a text summary of some of McNamee’s key points, check out Facebook Investor Roger McNamee Explains Why Social Is Over

Here are the videos:

The first is via Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily blog and this post:
Roger McNamee on the New Web: “Everything That Mattered Over the Last Eight Years Won’t Matter Anymore”

And the other video is Roger’s TEDx Santa Cruz talk (where he even paces like a rock star)
entitled, “Disruption and Engagement”

Please let me know what you think, via the comments below or any other channel. Are these insights useful to you?

Instagram, Facebook, and the Social Media Web’s Continued VISUAL Evolution [COOL INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s kind of a jaw-dropping business story that Facebook just bought Instagram for $1 Billion. Here’s why they did it, in Mark Zuckerberg’s own words.

Then again, maybe it’s not such a big surprise… As I’ve mention in earlier blog posts—with all props to Twitter, which now links to photos inherently—social media is no longer a text medium. More and more, it’s about images and, yes, videos. (More on online video soon.)

Meanwhile, Google+ is getting people talking cuz many think that their newly updated “more beautiful” look is just Facebook timeline-esk. More to my point here, it’s definitely more visual, and a clear strength of Google+ has been and continues to be the way that it handles photo sharing, i.e. it’s more visual.

From the business side, I found Business Insider’s perspective on the Facebook acquisition cogent, albeit with a new kind of valuation model. There is actually a reason why Instagram is worth a cool billion to Facebook.

And what really got me going to write this post is that I just saw this cool InfoGraphic (shown below) that covers Instagram’s own timeline. I just had to share it with you here. I like the way they went all, well, visual to tell the Instagram story. (Thanks to the peeps at Visual.ly for making it embed-able.)

Oh yeah, here’s my Instagram (via ejpix, I’m “jleland”) in case you want to hook up there 😉

 

Social Media Goes Visual: Why Pinterest is More Than You Think

NextGen Social Media

Pinterest is much more than the latest and greatest “hot” new social network. Because of it’s visual nature, I believe that this upstart social network reflects the next generation of socially networked communication. In the current and coming stages of the evolution of the Web’s social revolution, the written word is no longer sufficient.

In case you haven’t tried it yet, Pinterest is essentially an online vision board. It lets people “pin” images that they find inspiring, useful or beautiful and then share their collections of images—called “Boards”—with others. When people “re-pin” the images, they are essentially “retweeting” or sharing visual communications in a state-of-the-art social media style.

This naturally compliments the ways that video and photo sharing have become majorly important. In fact, the array of visual communication innovation that we are seeing right now is indicative of the dawn of a new age. The web has quickly become a more dynamic visual medium. Text and hyperlinks were a foundation, but only a beginning. And we are still in the early stages.

Let’s Get Visual!

This trend isn’t new, but it does make a big difference. For example, Facebook power users know that when you share pictures, not just text updates, it fuels increased engagement in a big way. In other words, you get more “Likes” and comments when there’s a visual component to what you post.

Elsewhere, Tumblr has extended the Twitter-powered popularity of micro-blogging in a much more visual direction, and the popularity of using Instagram to share and talk about photographs is also surging (and is poised for major new expansion when the Android version of the Instagram app is released soon). ReadWriteWeb even reminds us that it is this mobile-phone-powered digital photography trend that slew the former photo corporate dragon: Death by Smartphone: How Mobile Photography Helped Kill Kodak.”

And then there’s YouTube which recently announced that 24 hours of video is uploaded to their site every twenty-four seconds. The video visual media explosion is so dramatic that YouTube itself produced this quick little 45-second video in an attempt to make its mind-boggling growth comprehendible:

If doesn’t clarify this explosion for you, Time Magazine recently ran an article, The Beast with a Billion Eyes, which characterizes YouTube as “the most rapidly growing force in human history.”

Blogger/consultant/author Jay Baer  says: 

“This is the year that photos challenge writing as the lingua franca of the social webIf you’re not taking and posting pictures to dedicated photo networks and cross-posting (when appropriate) to Twitter and Facebook, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your network and see the world through the eyes (or cell phone cameras) of thousands of new friends.”

The fact that the verb “pinning” has been showing up in conversations that aren’t even specific to Pinterest is a huge testament to the fact that people are captivated. If you think about how many times a day the verb to “google” is used to mean “search,” you can see that we’re on to something.

Why Is This Important for Business?

According to the Wall Street Journal, traffic to the Pinterest website has grown tenfold over the past six months. In January, the number of visitors on Pinterest was already almost a third of that on Twitter.

But Pinterest’s impact of web traffic may be even greater than Twitter’s. Based on a recent study conducted by Sharaholic, Pinterest drove more referral traffic to sites in January than Google+ (with 100 million users!), Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and MySpace all combined. Those are big-time numbers for the new kid on the block.

But, is there really room for another player in the social media VIP room? New York Times technology columnist David Pogue in his review, A Scrapbook on the Web Catches Fire, gives three good reasons why there definitely is:

  1. It’s clean. No ads, no pop ups, no blinking anything. It’s a pure and relatively simple rest for the eyes.
  2. It’s personal. Broadcasting isn’t the focus, rather your own interests take center stage in an authentic way.
  3. It’s humble. Pinterest Boards are about beauty, inspiration, information, passion, not self-absorbtion. It’s not, “Look at how great I am!” It’s, “Isn’t this GREAT!”

The blogger Beth Hayden sums it up well when she says Pinterest can  “…start making your social media strategy more beautiful, one little pin at a time.” When you add to this the fact that the early research seems to show that it will also make your social media marketing more engaging; and, when done appropriately, it will also help connect you to your constituencies at a deeper level: What’s not to like?

——

Our Other Pinterest Post:

Luscious Links to Unlock Pinterest: Free Resources Show How to Pin Your Marketing