Others

Most viewed, discussed and favourited video on Youtube

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: Others, Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz decided that they wanted something new and refreshing for their wedding and so they decided to spice up the wedding entrance. With Chris Brown’s Forever in the background, bridesmaids and groom’s men danced their way into church and into the hearts of all who watched it.

Read how the holders to the rights of the song monetized the video, here.

Business and marketing aside, how did you find the video?

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Small Business Online Marketing

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: Others |

Here we look at some of the popular ways in which small businesses go about their online marketing pursuits. But before that, one word about what small business online marketing is about. Online marketing here refers to making websites popular on the webpages so that more people might be able to visit the website. In the online world, business prospects are directly proportional to visibility. Hence, this is what small businesses try to achieve – they try to enhance their visibility in the search engine result pages so that they get a higher amount of traffic. Now, the methods:-

Article Marketing
Article marketing has been popular for small business online marketing since ever. The basic concept here is to write informative articles and submit them on popular article directories. The articles are made rich in keywords. This keyword optimization improves the chances of the article being crawled by the search engines. That can bring a lot of people to visit the pages on which the articles are submitted. Below the article, a bio box is mentioned where there is a link of the business website. People who have visited the article will likely read it, be impressed with it and thus visit the website. This is the intention of the article marketing effort.

Blogging
Blogging is another method that is very commonly used in small business online marketing. Blogging helps because there are regular posts made here, which keeps the blogs ranked by the search engines. Also, blog posts usually contain the links of the business website. Blogs are considered to be a very contemporary and effective method of online marketing because of their interactive nature. People can submit their comments; other bloggers can visit and there could be a whole community built with a single blog.

Social Networking
Today, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, hi5, MySpace and others are being used in a large way in small business online marketing. These places allow people to build their communities, which are searchable within the website. Most of these social networking websites allow people to promote their businesses. They can mention links in their profiles. They can also directly search and invite other members to their communities and even send them personal information such as emails. In addition, they can submit to feeds so that their community knows about the updates they make. All these things make social networking a very effective method for online promotion of small businesses.

Lead Capturing and Email Marketing
Both of these are old methods and are well on their way out, but they are still being significantly used by small business operators. The idea is to get as many leads (email ids) of people as possible. They usually do this by giving away something for free, such as an eBook, and ask people to give their email ids so that they can be updated about any more free offerings. Once they get a list of leads, they know that these people are interested in the products. They then pursue them with emails, newsletters and such and try to convince them into buying the product.

Most small business owners use a mixture of different marketing methods and some of them use all the methods. Since these methods are mutually exclusive, they can all be used in combination to create an effective strategy to popularize online businesses.

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Subject lines: Four Ways they’ll improve Your Email Campaign

Posted on July 24, 2009. Filed under: Others |

Just as in any sales pitch, the subject line of your email will decide whether your campaign succeeds or fails. A subject line should be compelling enough to entice subscribers to read your email. In other words, if the subject line is not catchy, there is a strong chance that subscribers will not read your mail. Your subject lines need to be clear and relevant. They should not have words that might set off spam filters. Take a look at the following tips to improve your subject lines and consequently your email campaigns:

Test your subject line thoroughly

Take a look at the subject lines you used in your previous email campaigns to find out which of them has resulted in maximum responses to your campaigns. There is a possibility that a particular topic had a subject style that helped your email campaign succeed. By testing your subject lines you can find out if there are words that may set off spam filters. Should the spam filters go off, your email may never reach its destination. So, make sure there are no words that set off spam filters.

Incorporate the most important details

Your subscribers may not have the time to read through the entire email. Hence, you should incorporate a subject line that conveys the most important aspects of your newsletter. For instance, if you are sending an email to inform your clients about an offer, then make the headline clear and concise. Your subject line should be able to sum up the contents of your newsletter.

Personalize the subject

If you have managed to collect the contact details of your clients, especially their names, then use these names in your subject lines. Personalizing an email subject line will make it look professional and your clients will not think that you are wasting their time. Besides, personalizing is a great way of getting your readers’ attention. As mentioned above avoid using terms that may set off spam filters. Some of these words are free, offer, bargain, stock and mortgage. If you are aiming to make a sales pitch, then keep it crystal clear. When you personalize your emails, your clients will start trusting you over a period of time. It is also a great way to build good rapport with them.

Trigger curiosity among your clients

The other thing that makes people open emails is curiosity. If your subject line evokes the curiosity of your subscribers, then open rates will go up automatically. Think about some creative subject lines that help entice subscribers. The subject line should evoke curiosity; however, make sure that it’s not misleading your clients in any way.

These are some tips you can use to improve the subject lines in your email campaign, and subsequently your open rates. Subject lines play a big part in the success of your email campaign, if you can get them right.

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Article Marketing – 5 Steps to Write a Perfect Article

Posted on July 22, 2009. Filed under: Others |

Article Marketing is an extremely effective way to generate traffic to your website or product. Writing the perfect article positions you as an authority in your field and it’s absolutely FREE. This is the most cost effective way for you to market yourself.

Step 1

Decide on what topic you are going to write about and research it thoroughly. Decide on the keyword that you are going to use. When you write your article you are going to write it in an informative and helpful way. You don’t have to be an expert. Just express yourself as you would normally.

Article ideas and formats you should follow

A) Write a how to or an article full of tips.

B) Write a top 10 article.

C) Write an inspirational article.

D) Write a testimonial or review of a product, service or method.

E) Write an interesting story that has happened to you.

F) Write an article about a hot topic in forums.

G) See what your competition is writing and base your ideas around that.

H) Write an article on a growing trend that you are seeing.

Step 2

Your title is extremely important as this is what captivates the interest of your reader. The key to having a successful title so that your article will be read is to use numbers in it. Psychologically it alerts the individual to your title. In addition you can use how to or tips. When writing a review or testimonial add exposed or uncovered. Your title needs to be short and to the point so that it grabs your reader’s attention. Always have your keyword at the beginning of the title.

Here are some examples

A) Make Money Online – 10 New Ways.

B) Internet Marketing – The Top 10 Secrets Exposed.

C) Article Marketing – 5 Steps to Writing THE Perfect Article.

D) Make Money Work at Home – 5 Brand New Tips.

Step 3

Your article summary is of equal importance. It needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Your beginning should start with something like, finally or at last. Your middle is a description of what you are writing about but written in such a way as, imagine if. Your ending is a call to action. My description for this article reads. “Finally there is a way. Imagine what it would be like to write THE perfect article and generate a substantial amount of FREE traffic to your website. Now you can with this article.” The other importance of a powerful title and powerful description is that these are what people will see in their search engine results.

Step 4

Your article body information should be between 400 – 500 words long. It should be helpful, informative and give your audience good advice. It should repeat your keyword at least three times. Once in the beginning, once at the end and once in your link back to your website.

Step 5

Your authors’ resource box is where you want a call to action. This is so important but too many people do it completely wrong. They simply add their name and website address. The objective of article marketing is to get your reader to click on the link that you display. Therefore you have to give them a call to action. This is most effective when you offer them something for FREE. View mine below as a good example.

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Web Navigation is About Moving Forward

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Others, SEO |

The primary purpose of web navigation is to help people to move forward. It is not to tell them where they have been, or where they could have gone.

Web behavior is impatient. The eye darts across a page. Decisions of what link to click on are made quickly. That’s why we need simplicity in web design, because complexity leads to confusion and poor decision making.

Every time you add a word to a web page, you take something away. You take away the ability to focus on the words that are already on the page. Every time you add a link you offer a choice. What you also do is impact on the ability to choose the links already on the page.

Let’s say you’re out driving. You come to a junction where you are offered a choice between heading to New York or Boston. You take the road to New York. That’s a decision you have made. Would you find it useful to be constantly reminded that you can still turn around and head to Boston? Would it be helpful to be reminded of all the places you’ve passed as you head to New York?

It is confusing to be reminded about all the decisions we could have made. It clutters the ability to focus on where we are going. It increases the chances that we might make a mistake.

Navigation should primarily be about helping us keep on going in the direction we have chosen. If I choose a link for “notebooks” then I have made a decision. Continuing to present me with links for servers and desktops decreases my ability to focus on the notebook direction I have chosen.

When I choose a link for “ultralight notebooks” that indicates that I am not interested in multimedia notebooks. Once I arrive at the ultralight notebooks webpage, the overwhelming focus of the navigation must be to help me find the right ultralight notebook.

Good web navigation design is not about giving people lots and lots of choices. It is not about second guessing decisions we have made. It’s not about asking what if we want to get back to where we were. It’s about looking forward, not about looking backward. 

The Back button helps us to get back if we want to get back. The global navigation allows us to reach major sections, no matter what part of the website we are on. (It is usually found in the masthead at the top of the page.) 

Designing a website can be a bit like being a kid and inheriting a sweetshop. It’s easy to get carried away. There are so many choices. A website can be like an attic that never fills up. Space is not the problem. Attention is.

Your job is not to design for all possible directions someone might want to take. That leads to a cluttered website and it will clutter the mind of and overload the attention of your customers.

Your job is to understand the primary direction your most important customers are heading, and to remove obstacles in the way of them arriving at that destination. Forward-looking navigation options should dominate.

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Magazine Layout for Blogs: Inspiration and Caveats

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Others |

Blogs designed with a magazine layout are a pretty hot design trend. This design approach also has long-term prospects as a viable layout and user interface strategy, particularly as mammoth, older blogs require new ways to better present and organize their arsenal of content, and as other blog owners incorporate new models of content into their sites.

But not all blogs are created equal, and not all blogs are great candidates for a magazine layout style. In fact, a vast majority of blogs, particularly personal blogs, and those that aren’t updated frequently, are best served by the traditional, 2 or 3-column scroll down approach. When considering a new layout approach for your blog, your content should really drive the form (layout methodology) you choose.

  • Pros and Cons of Magazine Style Layouts
  • Blogs and sites rocking the magazine layout trend

Pros and Cons of Magazine Style Layouts

One of the driving forces behind the magazine layout approach on a blog is evolving technology. This ranges from new ways of delivering content such as video, photo streams or widgets onto a site, to the injection of flexible, modular theme systems such as the Revolution magazine theme series and Gridline magazine theme series (for Wordpress as a platform). Other content management systems, such asExpressionEngine, make it increasingly easy for a blog to embrace a more modular, magazine style approach instead of the traditional, two-column-content-on-left-sidebar-on-right standby.

Pros of magazine layouts

  • You can provide a more comprehensive user experience if your blog has a lot of content, or if you update frequently, and you’re providing great visuals, videos, or cross-promoting products on an ongoing basis.
  • A magazine layout can potentially avoid some of the old “below the fold” usability issues, but as monitors scale upward, this becomes less of an overriding factor.
  • If you’re writing/selling to a more sophisticated, tech-oriented, or design-oriented audience, a properly executed, finely designed magazine style approach can improve the trustworthiness and reputation of your brand and position you to look more forward thinking and organized.
  • If you’re leveraging alternative content like video, podcasts, Twitter feeds, photo streams from Flickr and providing a wholly interactive experience, a magazine theme is going to make your life infinitely easier from an organizational point of view, and your end user will likely be more engaged in your site, less likely to bounce away quickly, and return to your blog more frequently for a quick glance at your latest interactive updates.
  • A potential SEO boost with more links and varied content on your front page that get spidered quickly, versus miles worth of scrolling that gets lost in pagination.

Cons to consider

  • Magazine style is NOT for everyone. If you post fewer than three times a week and aren’t supplementing those posts with any sort of microblogging updates (Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr photos) or video and photos, a magazine layout can cast more negative emphasis on the fact that your blog isn’t frequently updated.
  • Complexity of installation and design can be an issue. While you can buy one of the pre-packaged magazine themes for WordPress, for example, any customization beyond that may take a higher technical knowledge of php. If you’re attempting a magazine style yourself from scratch and are lacking in the design skills department, you may find the complexity of balancing sizing, proportions, hierarchy, etc. too difficult to execute properly.
  • Cost. If you want to go the magazine layout route, but need to outsource the design and programming work—even if it’s a modification of an existing built magazine theme—you’re looking at a potentially larger investment than most traditional blog layout approaches require.

Blogs and sites rocking the magazine layout trend

Some of the blogs listed below use a hybrid of magazine style and ‘newspaper’ (similar to New York Times) style approach, but for the sake of this article, we’ll throw them in the mixer together and comment accordingly.

Anderson Cooper 360

AC 360 blog design

A hybrid blog and news portal for CNN commentator Anderson Cooper, his 360 blog uses effective magazine/editorial style grouping for easy scanning and injection of lots of info onto the main page. What’s relevant about 360, from both a design and SEO perspective, is the balance of blurbs of content along with lists of links. The design could be kicked up a notch by offering a featured video near the top of the page that can play directly on the page without requiring the user to navigate elsewhere. Cooper’s reporting often features compelling visuals, and some of these could be turned into still shots in a gallery on the front page to help further add balance against the text and links.

TruthDig

truth dig magazine design

Truthdig puts a huge chunk of change of content on its front page, but its visuals and color blocking help create a more structured approach. The use of varying sizes of pictures helps move the eye down the page, and each section of the magazine is easily deciphered. More padding and breathing room would help the design feel less chaotic, but Truthdig’s designers may have purposely chosen a tight approach, with little white space, to convey a sense of urgency.

Macalicious

macalicious magazine style

Macalicious positions itself as a news site, but any blog with a rich amount of content can take cues from its approach. Macalicious is more a true magazine layout approach than Problogger and Truthdig, and it packs a lot of info on the front page without requiring us to move the mouse around much to see it. If you have a blog with a small amount of very distinct categories, you might consider emulating Macalicious’ top content, where they highlight recent news, then content from two other main sections. The photos below the content point to a Flickr feed, and if you run, say, a travel blog, a similar solution could add great visuals to your page and enrich your entries with parallel visuals that make your readers experience more comprehensive.

Macalicious is a prime example of the content dictating the direction of the design. Macs, as a topic, are fairly narrow, but within that are several primary areas of interest. It’s a big enough topic to require a strong organizational approach that the magazine layout provides, but it’s narrow enough that it doesn’t suffer some of the scrolling issues that TruthDig presented.

Follow the Winds

follow the winds blog in magazine format

This topical blog and lifestyle magazine dedicated to windsurfing is interactive as all get out, and pushes visuals and graphics in a way that really leverages the strength of a magazine layout design. Although a fair amount of scrolling downward is required on the front page, the content is blocked so effectively that it mimics the way a magazine’s table of contents might feel. This is magazine style taken to its true potential. A cooking blog could take this site as inspiration for injecting lots of food visuals, some tutorial videos and organization by theme/category. A fashion-oriented blog could also blow competitors out of the water visually by utilizing this kind of structure. Just make sure you have enough interesting imagery and some micro content to support a framework this robust.

Hopefully these varied approaches to magazine style get your own creative juices flowing when it comes to potential for your own blog. Although a magazine layout approach can be overwhelming, it also offers an opportunity to expand possibilities for your blog and inspire ways to use new social media and interactive technologies that will better engage your readers and help your site look more rich in content and style.

If you’ve seen any great blogs designed in magazine style, we’d love to hear about them, and your thoughts about the blog’s design and organization.

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5 Tips on Email Signatures

Posted on July 8, 2009. Filed under: Others | Tags: |

1. Create a unique email signature to use at the end of email messages to better brand your company.

2. Make sure your email signature gives clients immediate access to all of your contact information.

3. Define what information your email signature will contain. For example:
First & Last Name, Title
Company Name
Address
City, State, ZIP
Phone: 111/123-4567
Fax: 111/123-6789
Email: myemail@mycompany.com
http://www.mycompany.com

4. Set your signature to appear on new messages, replies to messages, forwarded messages or any combination. To do this in Microsoft Outlook (PC Menu):
1. Open Outlook
2. Click on the Tools menu item
3. Click on Options from the Tools drop down menu
4. Click on the word “Signatures” in the lower right
5. Click on the word “new” in the create signature box
6. Enter your new signature information then click “ok” on the open pop-up windows.

5. Edit your message anytime. You can even include special promotional messages along with your signature to call attention to something special. For example:
First & Last Name, Title
Company Name
Address
City, State, ZIP
Phone: 111/123-4567
Fax: 111/123-6789
Email: myemail@mycompany.com
http://www.mycompany.com

Special holiday sale going on through December 31 for all online orders placed on http://www.mycompany.com.

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Article Marketing to Promote Your Business

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Others | Tags: , |

Picture yourself at the ball game cracking through a bag of dry roasted peanuts. You’re on your second handful when that familiar red and white logo pops up on the big screen advertising an ice-cold Coca-Cola. You immediately track down the next vendor with a basket of ice-cold drinks. This is called “pin point marketing.” It is the process of delivering an appropriate message at the right time that produces actual results.

In contrast, let’s say you are enjoying those same peanuts when an advertisement for Toyota Trucks pops up on the same screen. It’s a nice ad, but not nearly as effective. This is an example of “interruptive marketing.” It is not truly targeted because it is not what you are actively looking for at that moment.

What does this scenario have to do with your business? Well, rather than wasting valuable marketing dollars on billboards, 30-second television ads or radio commercials (all examples of “interruptive marketing”) focus your energy on putting your product in front of potential customers while they are looking for it. Unlike when people watch TV or listen to the radio, Internet users are actively looking for a solution to a problem. If you can place your product in their path at the right time, you’ve made a customer. The most cost-effective way to achieve this is by combining your marketing message with important content that users are already actively seeking out.

Start by submitting “how-to” or “industry news” type articles to relevant Web sites in your industry. Unique Web content is important to all size companies. And, buying custom content is expensive and time consuming. As a result most companies are willing to trade a free plug for your Web site or company for an informative, well-written article.

Every article you submit should enhance your company’s position as an expert or industry leader, while providing valuable information at the same time. Content written around your company or product also helps your business gain credibility, which is extremely important for small businesses.  When a potential customer reads your article, you have already established yourself as an expert in that field. By the time the customer clicks over to your Web site or gives you a call, you have a very hot lead.

Perhaps you own a local painting business. Your target customers are most likely looking for home improvement information online, so you could exchange stories and “how to” advice with local carpenters or electricians. Or take it a step further and submit your “expert painting advice” to popular home improvement and real estate Web sites. You can swap content with anyone in your industry that is not a direct competitor. By doing so, you’ll open your company up to a wider audience while building up your credibility.

Also, think about what type of person will be using the Web site you select to post your article. For example, studies show that a mother of two who needs a quick dinner recipe will do a quick search, and then print out the page. So animated banners ads or even a link to your Web site may not be the most effective way to get her attention. On the other hand, adding a clip out coupon to the article would be very effective.

In traditional media, one positive sentence in editorial is worth much more than two paid advertisements. The same is true on the Internet. Getting a free link or product mention on another Web site is an extremely valuable way to gain high quality leads. Combine that free link or product mention with a well-written article and you’ll turn that product mention into a sale.

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What Color is Your Brand?

Posted on July 3, 2009. Filed under: Others, SEO |

Think about this. What colors come to your mind when you hear the names McDonald’s, Kit Kat, Target, IBM and UPS? Doesn’t take a lot of thinking, does it? 

Colors have always been an essential aspect of any branding effort and the reason we associate a particular color with a brand is because of consistency. The brand uses that color in their logos, in every advertisement and every piece of communication until not only is it associated with that color but also becomes synonymous with it. For example, IBM is so strongly associated with the color blue that it is known as “Big Blue,” McDonald’s is identified by its “Golden Arches” and UPS is also known as “The Big Brown Machine.”

So, why are colors so important? Why does it matter so much if a brand uses red or blue or green? Every color has certain connotations and psychological effects on the observer. The color a business uses says a lot about that company and the effect it wishes to have on consumers. Red is a great attention-grabber. It is the color of energy, excitement, passion and movement. Since it is such a noticeable color, it should be used sparingly as overusing the color is likely to irritate the onlooker. It’s a great color for logos and to add emphasis to advertisements but a bad one for the walls of a restaurant. Though orange also denotes energy and liveliness, it is more commonly associated with discounts and low-cost products. Colors like blue, green and pink are soft colors that are calm and restful. Blue denotes dependability, faith, loyalty, steadfastness and wisdom. Green denotes fertility, generosity, nurturing and stable energy. It is also the color most associated with nature; therefore, green is commonly used for eco-friendly products or services. Pink is the most gentle color. It denotes truth, romance, delicacy and affection. White denotes purity, freshness and cleanliness, while black is the color of power, authority and mystery. Black tends to overwhelm people, so business keep its use to a minimum.

Do colors really help consumers remember a business? The answer is yes. Research conducted by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo shows that 92.6 percent of the total respondents said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Only 5.6 percent said that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important. Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent. When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent thought that color accounted for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products. Research also shows that color increases brand recognition by 80 percent; improves readership as much as 40 percent; and increases comprehension by 73 percent. Color ads are read up to 42 percent more than similar ads in black and white and color can be up to 85 percent of the reason that people decide to buy.

But the color you choose for your business can also turn into your enemy, especially if you have branches in other countries or your business caters to a particular culture. Colors have different connotations in different countries and cultures and some can be negative. For example, yellow expresses weakness and cowardice in Europe; blue is the color of mourning in Iran; white denotes unhappiness and mourning in India and China and black is the color of mourning and death in Europe and bad luck and evil in Thailand. Therefore, it is important to take such factors into consideration and think twice before choosing a color for your business.

Once you’ve settled on a color for your brand, make sure to incorporate it throughout your marketing plan. Including your brand color or color scheme in all your advertisements, promotional products and publicity campaigns will help in reinforcing your brand so that whenever your customers see your brand color, they’ll think of your brand. The key is consistency.

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Unknown Lifeform in North Carolina Sewer!

Posted on July 2, 2009. Filed under: Others |

Omg. this is really scary.

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