Is Twitter Following Facebook?

There’s plenty of buzz that Twitter is considering introducing brand pages similar to those found on Facebook. According to the story, reported in the UK-based Marketing, brand pages would serve as a marketing tool for advertisers, creating a new source of revenue for Twitter.

The push for this new revenue stream for Twitter certainly addresses the dearth of opportunities for advertisers interested in partnering with the social media giant. As of now, promoted tweets and sponsoring hashtags so companies show up in relevant searches are about the only options. So, this is great for Twitter, but what does this mean for us marketers?

The expectation is these corporate pages, like Facebook’s branded pages, would allow companies to deliver customized messages to consumers and businesses alike. It creates flexibility in marketing that Twitter hasn’t otherwise provided and increases opportunities for companies to attract more followers.

Detractors will question whether Twitter’s search for revenue will occur at the expense of the simplicity that made its platform so successful in the first place. Plus, how will Twitter get around the fact many followers use third-party sites such as Tweetdeck to view followers, affecting how these new branded pages will be experienced?

For Twitter to succeed as Facebook has in the space, they’ll need to provide a similar level of flexibility allowing for easy updating of corporate information and content while the basic structure of the page remains consistent. The recipe for success already exists. Twitter just needs to offer a similar level of flexibility and control with their new branded pages. If they can pull that off, count me in!

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Balancing Your Digital Portfolio

Digital publishing means new and innovative ways of delivering content to an audience, and here at Wax it’s a concept we embrace. Print still provides an effective balance to any publishing/marketing portfolio. But it’s a wired world now and companies must be willing to change with the times. If your company is not leveraging digital content as part of its portfolio, it should be. There may be untapped growth potential.

How can your company find the right balance between print and digital? Here are some of the characteristics that make digital content stand out. 

Low costs. Digital publishing distribution costs less than traditional publishing methods. Whether you are distributing brochures, flyers, catalogs, e-publications or white papers, a digital platform lets you increase your reach at a fraction of the cost.

Watch it come alive! With the power of the Web, your company’s digital publications or marketing collateral can feature bonus content, including links, audio, video and Flash animation. These bells and whistles will keep your customers coming back for more and turn a casual browser into a brand loyalist.

Speedy Production! Gone are the days of lengthy waits to have work published.  Digital collateral is speedy and accessible within minutes.

Go green! Each year a lot of trees are used for print materials. Digital content reduces paper consumption and emissions from distribution. It also slashes recycling and waste collection costs, fuel emissions and the use of harmful chemicals. By offering your clients digital materials, your company can have a sizeable, positive impact on the environment.

From all the benefits listed above, it’s no wonder that many companies are embracing digital publishing to develop new business models and opportunities.

Posted in Content, Custom Publishing, Interactive, Marketing Technology, Publishing | Leave a comment

How Can Doctors Blog? Just Like This

Parents just want to do what is right, believes practicing pediatrician Dr. Wendy Swanson. In her blog, SeattleMamaDoc, Swanson, the mother of two young boys, says she aims to help parents do what’s right by deciphering medical news and sharing helpful methods she’s learned in her career.

To Swanson, blogging is essential for doctors. “The media’s job is not necessarily to look our for your best interest, but your doctor’s is,” she said in an interview. “We have an ethical responsibility online.”

In her lively blog, Swanson covers diverse topics like Tina Fey, a high-profile comedian/writer/working mom who’s expecting her second child; dealing with colic; and push-up bra bikinis for eight-year-olds. There’s a refreshing combination of timely observations and practical tips like making a family emergency kit, all told with a doctor’s expertise and a mom’s good sense.

When doctors think of all the reasons they shouldn’t blog, Swanson makes a compelling case of what they should. In the fast-moving media clutter, she sees doctors as “voices of reason.” A disclaimer points out that her thoughts are her own opinion (the blog is part of the Seattle Children’s Hospital site), and she moderates all comments.

Legalities aside, there’s a simple reason Swanson’s blog stands out: it’s engaging, friendly and filled with useful entries, all keys to success no matter what the profession.

Posted in Blogging, Branding, health, Healthcare Marketing, Interactive | Leave a comment

Free Search Engine Tools You Need to Know About … and Use

There are countless consultants, companies and software tools that can help you navigate these waters, but it helps to have a reliable map and a good compass to avoid being led astray. The following tools are provided by the search engines themselves and are a great head start towards improving your company’s visibility in a wide variety of search results.

Search Engine Optimization

Once you verify ownership of your site, search engines will share a lot more inside information about how they view your site and content. The following are must-have tools for any website owner who wants to know how their site is perceived by search engines, any obstacles that their crawlers encounter, and who’s linking to you.

  1. Google Webmaster Tools  
  2. Bing Webmaster  

Website Analytics and Testing

Websites are nothing more than digital brochures unless you measure how well they are performing and make changes to improve the results. These tools provide insights into your visitors’ behavior so you can make more informed business decisions.

  1. Google Analytics  
  2. Yahoo Web Analytics  

E-Commerce Product Listings

You mean people actually buy stuff online? Sure they do! And they frequently start their search on a major search engine. Conveniently, it’s easy (and free) to list your products in their shopping engines.

  1. Google Merchant Center  
  2. Bing Shopping  

Multimedia Search

People do waste a lot of time online “researching” the latest viral videos. However, if your company has digital content such as photos or videos, a little legwork can make sure potential customers can check out your assets.

  1. Flickr  
  2. YouTube  
  3. Google Images  
  4. Yahoo Image Search  
  5. Bing Image Search  
  6. Yahoo Video  

Local Search

Claiming your business’ listings in each of the major search engines insures that your details are accurate and up-to-date. This is especially important as their databases are often pulling from outdated sources. Plus, you can upload photos and videos to make your listings stand out.

  1. Google Maps / Google Places
  2. Yahoo Local
  3. Bing Maps
  4. Yelp  
  5. Reviews Sites & Directories  

News Search Engines

Each of the major search engines crawl news sites and curate their own news search sites. If you are a publisher or media site, you need to make sure your content, site maps and data feeds are structured properly to maximize your exposure in news search results, which are also frequently positioned prominently in web search results for timely or newsworthy searches.

  1. Google News
  2. Yahoo News 
  3. Bing News

The biggest mistake I see people making when embarking on a search marketing journey is putting all their eggs in one basket. Don’t fall victim to the temptation to focus only on Google, or ignore the traffic-driving potential of your other digital assets.

Andrew Miller is a Search Engine Marketing Consultant based in Richmond, Virginia, and a frequent contributor to our clients’ success online and offline with SEO, PPC, web analytics and conversion rate optimization strategies.

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Qualified Leads for Less … Thanks to Social Media

Everyone needs more leads but marketers know all too well the associated costs in time, resources and capital. Thanks to social media, at least the challenge of cost is being reshaped. HubSpot has reported through their “State of Inbound Marketing” study that inbound generated leads have a 62% lower Cost-per-Lead (CPL) than outbound leads.

While this isn’t necessarily news to industry folks, what is new is how the social media landscape has helped to drive this metric. HubSpot reports that “57% of those using company blogs have acquired a customer from a blog-generated lead; this is an increase of 11 percentage points since 2010. Facebook and Twitter users reported customer acquisition rates of 48% and 42%, respectively.”

The beauty of this is the cost-efficient nature of these platforms. If companies are able to allocate internal resources toward compelling blog entries, personalized Facebook updates and timely tweets, it’s been proven that qualified leads will follow. Of these tools, research shows that blogs most effectively increase customer acquisition.

In fact, according to HubSpot’s study, blogging is the channel most frequently listed as “critical or important” to inbound lead generation. Have you found this to be true for your business? Share your experiences!

Posted in Blogging, Integrated Marketing, Interactive, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online marketing, Social Media | Leave a comment