Marketing Must Be Remarkable

This week I was searching online for some inspiration and was lucky enough to find it.  As is usually the case, I found more than enough to get me thinking about today's post:  Social Media, SEO, Search Marketing, YouTube... I mean, where should I begin?  The good news is that I found the inspiration I was looking for.

One of the biggest challenges we all face as marketers, online and offline, is cutting through clutter.  This has always been a challenge but has grown increasingly complex with the addition of social media and portable devices.  I don't know about you but I'm pretty much addicted to my gadgets.  I always feel the need to be plugged in and I know that I'm not alone.

Cutting Through the Clutter
Okay, so back to my online search for inspiration.  I came across a video of a well known marketer (name omitted on purpose) who had a great solution for cutting through the many messages that our target segments hear on a daily basis.  I was amazed at how simple the solution truly is to this growing issue. 

To reach your target audience and stand above all the "noise", you need to do one thing, be REMARKABLE.  That's right, be remarkable, stand out from the crowd by being different.  Think about the brands that capture your attention.  One of the reasons that Starbucks has such a strong brand is because it charges almost four bucks for a cup of coffee.  Some of the "marketing gurus" will disagree and say that Starbucks can charge that amount of money because of other factors (quality, store experience, etc.) but the reality is that Starbucks does it differently.  

Another great example is the Mini-Cooper.  When you look at the car, it's different, unlike virtually anything else on the road.  The lesson is clear, to cut through clutter you must be different, you must stand out from the crowd.  Me too brands and me too marketing won't get the job done in today's market where we must compete for just a few moments of someones attention.  

Mee Too Marketing
How can you make your marketing different?  Remarkable?  It all begins with a big idea and some original promotions. Once you pick a theme for your campaign, a big idea - something outside the box, you can use different media to communicate your message over and over again.

Whenever rolling out a new promotion it's always a good idea to test your campaign with a small portion of your target audience before you make any significant investment.  Once you work out the bugs, go big!  And think remarkable.  Even if you're hanging on to the traditional letter, stick something in the envelope:  a pen, a cube, a button.  How often do you get an envelope with a bulge in it?  See my point?

The last thing I want to mention is that you should start paying attention to other promotions, products, and experiences, that you notice - that capture you.  Notice what they all have in common and think of ways that you can differentiate your marketing, your products, and your campaigns to get people to stop and take notice.  It's my belief that what you pay attention to are the things that are different and unique!

Marketing Magazines: A New Approach

Not too long ago I was approached by a publisher who aggregates and sells subscriptions to Marketing Magazines for a partnership opportunity.  As the owner of, I get approached by dozens of vendors on a weekly basis to showcase and promote their products.  And truthfully my process of evaluation, should I work with them or not, is rather simple.  

If I don't use the product, have never bought from the company, or wouldn't purchase the product for personal or professional use, I simply move on.  Of course the next step is to discuss terms, business philosophy, and so on, but you have to start from a good place.  I think this is one of the reasons why the site has become so popular over the last few years - readers see through the promotion and see that I provide real value.

Marketing Magazines?
Okay, so what's the deal with marketing magazines and why is this the topic of today's post?  The reason I chose this vendor to showcase is because I liked their approach to marketing so much, that I actually partnered with them via MarketingScoop to feature their marketing magazines.  Not only do they provide a comprehensive offering, but they have enhanced their business model to offer a number of cost-free magazines and marketing white papers to prospective customers.

For example, check out the following offer for a free report from IBM on "11 Key Marketing Trends for 2011".  By giving away valuable information, TradePub builds long term relationships and delivers for customers. This is a great marketing tactic and one that earns Kudos in my book:
11 Key Marketing Trends for 2011
Receive Your Complimentary Survey Report NOW!

"11 Key Marketing Trends for 2011"
See how marketers are looking for ways to turn more marketing possibilities into better marketing results.
“More” is certainly the key word for our times. But, as the results of IBM's annual survey of marketers reveal, the proliferation of marketing channels and the concomitant explosion of data pose a wealth of challenges for marketers in 2011.
Offered Free by: IBM Corporation
Other Resources from: IBM Corporation
Attract Customers With Free Offers
This is a great example of a great way to attract new customers.  Not with some useless gimmick, but to actually provide something of value.  In exchange, people are often willing to give you something in return.  This may be their name and/or permission to market to them.

You can do this with more than informational products.  Think of the ice cream store that offers a free sample or the software solution that gives you a 30-day free trial.  What can you offer to attract customers to your business?  Maybe its a portion of the service you offer for no cost or a reduced fee.  Or, it could be access to information that you possess based on your years of experience or expertise.

Regardless of what it is you have to offer, focus on providing something of true value.  As I mentioned before, consumers are not easily fooled.  Additionally, word will spread quickly in either direction.  If your offer is good, people will share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  This is also true of a bad user experience or an offer that doesn't live up to its claims.

Move From Idea to Practice
As a take-a-way from today's post, consider what you will be offering in exchange for customer information in the form of a newsletter sign-up or registration.  If it's something you already have available, how will you host and deliver it?  Do some research online to find the best way to package and distribute your offer.  The goal is to ask for something in exchange, even if it's just an email.

As always, once you launch a campaign, be sure to measure the outcome.  You may also want to test different offers.  Basic A/B split tests or running campaigns one week at a time, and comparing the results, is essential for improving campaign effectiveness.



Marketing Jobs: Can I Get Me Some?

This morning I received an email from Tim Ferris.  Well, not directly from Tim but from his blog.  I recommend following him if you're looking for some really great business and marketing insights.  Tim has written a number of top selling books, launched dozens of businesses, and continues to be an innovator in the Internet marketing space.  Although his blog post was really about generating ideas for starting a web-based business, it took me in a completely different direction.

Two of the resources that Tim mentions in his post were Google Trends and Google Insights.  What blew my mind was that after I entered "marketing" into the Insights tool to see what people have been searching on over the last year, the number one result was marketing jobs.  If you use the tool, be sure to page down to see the most popular terms.

At first it surprised me to see this result, but then I realized just how important marketing has become to any business, especially companies doing business online.  Add the ailing economy to the mix and you can see why people are searching for marketing jobs in large numbers.  When I look at Google Trends, it appears that people have been searching consistently over the last year for "marketing jobs".  I guess this means that there is, and always will be, a need for marketing professionals.

Keep in mind however that the skills required to effectively market your business, or someone else's, are continually changing and evolving.  Another piece of information that I found interesting were the emerging trends.  This is true validation of what marketers are interested in (things like Facebook marketing for example) and and indication of where you should be spending your time learning and expanding your skillset.  Consider using Google Insights to gain a true understanding of emerging trends and actual behavior.

Back to Marketing Jobs
You may be new to marketing or a marketing veteran and thinking about your next move.  If you're ready for a new marketing job, I recommend the following three resources for starting your search and finding the job that's right for you.

1.  The Ladders.  The Ladders job board now has a board that specifically caters to marketing professionals.  The Marketing Ladders offers top quality jobs in your target area.

2.  Linked In.  The way to get a new job in today's market isn't through a traditional job board.  Your best bet is networking.  In addition to getting acquainted with other marketing professionals or joining a marketing related group on LinkedIn, I recommend  expanding your network to include people from your target companies.  Do the research, find companies you'd like to work for, and start building connections.

3.  Marketing Websites and Forums. You'd be amazed at what's available via niche specific websites.  The goal is to connect with other marketers and people who are connected in the marketing space.  Start a conversation, engage in the community, and opportunities will arise. If your looking for a marketing job then search Google for terms like 'marketing forum', 'internet marketing forum', etc.

Marketing jobs are clearly on everyone's mind.  Google trends, Google Insights, and other online resources confirm this.  If you are one of the thousands of professional marketers searching the web for a new marketing related position, then use the resources noted above to find the job that's right for you. 

If you have addition marketing related resources you can share, please do so by leaving a comment.

Premiums: An Essential Part of the Marketing Mix.

As someone who’s been marketing for over a dozen years, I know the importance of multi-channel marketing. Even with the advent of social media and other online marketing initiatives, offering face-to-face interactions and tangible premium items can do a great deal to grow your brand and generate sales.

I’ve experimented with a number of give-a-ways as part of my marketing mix. This type of promotion can be used at a trade show, during a presentation, or even via direct mail. And truthfully, not all promotional items are effective. Through trial and error, I have found a number of premiums that have really delivered a positive ROI. This is because they met the following criteria:<.div>

1. They allow for branding or personalization.
2. They are portable.
3. They can be used on a regular basis.
4. Prospect sees throughout the day.

If you filter all possible premium items through this type of filter, you’ll discover a very short list of truly valuable items. Take for example lanyards, mugs, or pen holders. Each of these items meets the above criteria. They are small enough to move from one location to the next, can be used daily, and be personalized. Best of all, they are seen throughout the day as they sit on a prospects desk.

Vendors who offer these types of premiums have the technology to truly customize your promotional items – creating more value for both the advertiser and prospect. Custom lanyards for example can carry your logo, url, brand name, and even an attached items such as a flash drive. The possibilities are limitless.

Traditional premiums like stress balls or pens are somewhat limited in their use. Compared to a pencil holder which sits on your desk every day, stress balls may sit on a shelf until you move out of your cubicle or office. Always be sure to ask yourself the above questions before purchasing premium items.

To get the biggest bang for your buck, consider integrating your premium items with other promotions. If your premium is valued at $10 or more, consider using it as an incentive to prospects in exchange for opting in to a particular form or agreeing to receive a newsletter.

Through an integrated approach, you can improve conversions. But it all starts with gaining the interest of your prospect and driving them to action. Always make sure to use a URL on your premium item and cultivate your leads. Premiums can drive successful marketing programs and have a long shelf life – so consider them an essential part of your next marketing campaign.

How To Create Popular Online Video Content For Internet Marketing

This week I reached out to someone who I consider to be an online video expert, Andy Havard, for a guest post on a marketing topic that matters!  Everywhere I look, online video seems to be exploding - so I wanted to learn more. A special thank you to Andy for sharing these great online video marketing tips.

When you consider YouTube is receiving over 2 billion video views a day from thousands upon thousands of registered users (and even more from unregistered users) it’s imperative to make your online video content stand out from the competition. The following post explores how Internet video marketers can ensure their online video content is as good as possible in order to win over large audiences and generate higher levels of traffic and conversion. 

1. Keep Your Online Videos Simple.Simplicity is key to a successful online video. Using creative effects and animations may seem like a good idea, but such distracting on-screen material can take viewers attention away from the true message of the video. The power of simple one-on-one video can be just as effective and actually more accessible to an audience than any online video that’s been taken straight out of a cinematic blockbuster. Not only is it advisable to keep your on-screen content simple, but your message should be kept simple too. Addressing one point per video is far more powerful than trying to address three or four. If you have a lot to say in your online video think about creating separate episodes to successfully target each subject clearly for your audience. 

2. Keep Your Online Videos Short.When creating and editing online video always think ‘short and sweet’. It’s common in video productions to struggle to cut down content as you may feel every second is worthwhile, but your audience might not feel the same. Be as cut-throat as you can in keeping your videos between the 2 to 5 minute mark. If your content is more than 5 minutes then think about creating more than one video to express each point to its maximum potential. Creating a few episodes is much more beneficial than trying to shove all of your content into 10 rushed minutes of footage. 

3. Keep Your Online Videos Current.  Never promote old news. If your online videos are out of date, there’s not much you can do for them. This is why you need to make your videos current and topical at all times. If news about new developments, productions, services or technologies in your niche crop up in your field create a short online video production to discuss it. Online users will always be searching for information on new developments. If users are interested in your particular niche then a topical video could be very useful to such users, which in turn could generate a great deal of popularity for your brand or business. 

4. Make Your Online Video Content Informative.It’s not always possible to create a video when industry news breaks, but your online videos can be informative and educational in other ways. Creating ‘how to’ guides, instructional videos and tutorials are a great way of being a useful asset to Internet users. By establishing your business or brand as a knowledgeable online entity you can begin to enjoy a great deal of trust from your audience, which is an exceptional trait to among potential clients and customers. 

5. Make Your Online Video Content Entertaining.Entertaining an audience is perhaps the most powerful thing any online video can do. Internet marketers are all too familiar with the idea of viral video and always seek to reach similar degrees of success. Making your online videos entertaining is one of the best ways to achieve such goals. An online video that is funny, inspirational, innovative or interactive can be very entertaining to an online viewer. It’s not an easy feat creating a universally entertaining online video, but mastering it could generate more traffic and leads than you ever thought possible. 

By taking into account these five tips when you next think about creating online video as part of your Internet marketing strategy you can aim to make your content as popular as possible. It’s not easy to create outstanding content, but following these tips will help to ensure your online videos are giving your competition a good run for their money.

Guest Blogger: Andy Havard

Andy Havard is a Marketing Executive at Skeleton Productions, a UK based online video production company.

#1 Rankings For Your Website Or Blog!

This week I read an amazing article by Ryan Woolley via Search Engine Watch which really hit the mark. Being nuts about search engine optimization and getting my websites and blogs ranked in the top organic positions has always been an obsession for me.

And lately, there's been a lot of conflicting information about SEO and what factors have been given additional weight from the latest Google algorithm changes.

That being said its very difficult to separate fact from fiction when so called "experts" profess the impact of Google's seemingly daily, weekly, and monthly changes. The reason I've decided to mention Ryan and this week's article is because it really drives home what we knew all along - that sound SEO principals are still the driver of top search engine placements.

Achieving top search engine placements requires an effective recipe that delivers consistent results. This secret recipe is one that might need a few tweaks here and there but consistently performs. The recipe consists of good keyword research, on page optimization, off page optimization, and measurement.

In the diagram presented in this post, you see the factors that are essential for off page optimization which is largely comprised of building inbound links to your website or blog. Whether you focus on forum posting, guest blog posts or commenting, the goal is to attract and develop inbound links to your web properties from high authority sites and pages. I know the recipe is fairly simple but finding the ingredients can be a real challenge. This is why individuals and companies that do a good job of SEO are so widely regarded and sought after by those seeking top placements.

One of the most important aspects of off page optimization is not just where you are getting links from buy how they appear on third party sites. In addition to the sources of inbound links noted in the fantastic article by Ryan is the need to pay attention to the format of your links. Always make sure to include your keywords in the link text of the link. By embedding your keywords, you give Google and other major search engines a clear understanding of what terms your site should be associated with.

By starting with on page optimization and building a consistent inbound link development program, you can dramatically improve your search engine ranking. Add the proper link formatting, using anchor text, and you're sure to get the results you're looking for.

Do you have some valuable link building ideas you'd like to share? Be sure to Like, Retweet, and +1, this post as well as comment to share your ideas.