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Latest news about internet marketing, SEO, SEM, social media and email campaigns. eBiz Miami, Inc – latest achievments and affiliations. Partnering for success with small businesses in and around Miami, Florida.
Think You’re QR Savvy?
I’m in one of my neighborhood’s new Italian places. I notice their business cards have a new design, with a QR code. “Cool”, I say to myself, “these people know what they’re doing, glad to see a small business taking advantage of something so modern. I wonder how it’s working for them.”
Before asking direct questions, I took the card in my hand, pulled out my cell phone, scanned it. I was curious to see what landing page they were using, of course. Having done a few of these myself for some clients, I was sure that I was going to end up on some discount or special offer page, either on their web site (that had been finally up and running for a couple of months), or some other “marketing page”, as it were.
Nothing. The QR code sent me to… their Google Places listing. What? I mean, I’m in the store, I am holding their business card in my hand. The QR code takes almost half of the space on that card. All that just so I can get to their physical address (already listed on the card, of course) on Google?
Now, everybody and their marketing expert is touting the inevitable raise of the “mobile internet”, and that’s fine, the statistics are supporting it (though I personally have my doubts). So, deciding to have a tool that gets you a piece of that market… good move. Using it the wrong way… oops, not so good.
Luckily for this business, while the ownership of smart phones has seen giant increases in numbers in the past few years, the use of many of its smart features has not. Certainly, not the use of the QR code scanning ability. In fact, from July 2011 to May 2013, QR scanning barely rose with around 10,000 users (from around 15,000 to around 25,000), while the owners of such phones kept becoming a real army: from 80,000 to around 140,000. (MarketingCharts.com)
So, what’s wrong with having a QR code available for your customers, existing or potential? Nothing. Even if not too many of them will scan those nifty graphic squiggles, eventually, if they buy, it still adds to the bottom line, right?
Wrong. At least, not if the user lands on your general web page, or, worse even, on your Google Places listing. Guaranteed, the money spent on printing those “high tech” business cards won’t turn into an investment by getting you clients in return.
Turn it around!
The best way of using QR codes, in one word: promos. And yes, use them in conjunction with other marketing channels. Do your “visitors” a favor, inform and educate them about those QR codes, while helping your bottom line in the process. Advertise them on your web site, or post them on your walls, windows, doors (real or virtual). Create them, but also create a special landing page where they will lead the users.
Give them a way to sign up or immediately take advantage of a discount, or entice them somehow to interact with your product. Remember, they need to download a code reader to their smart phone first, or learn how to use one if they already have it installed. Advertise the codes and the way they can be used, as well as the advantage to your potential (or existing) customer in using them. This way, if nothing else, you at least know you will have recovered the printing costs for those business cards, and created some “buzz” about your brand in the process. Win-win.
Better yet, since we are talking mobile marketing, tie that QR code in with a text messaging service, offered to your customers as a means of receiving exclusive, regular discounts on your products. That is the best incentive for them to go out of their way to interact with your brand, and increase their high tech mojo in the process. Slowly but surely, you’ll end up with yet another “nugget” that will pay dividends on the long run: a new (or increased) list of leads, whose high value is expressed in cell phone numbers. Like email updates, you can use text messages for the same purpose, and potentially reap even more immediate results.
Obviously, a strict “non disclosure” policy is mandatory, assuring your users that their info will NEVER, under any circumstances, be shared with third parties, and it will only be used for the purposes stated when you collected them.
Photo by Clever Cupcakes from Montreal, Canada (QR Code Cupcakes – Another Angle) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In the spirit of boosting our own and our clients’ online marketing, here are some of our promo videos, aggregated into a video gallery thanks to the possibilities offered by Viewbix. eBiz Miami will create your promotional video customized to the specific needs of your business.
The videos showcased here are only a few examples of customized promotional videos created for our clients. Get yours today and increase your exposure to your online markets.
Promotional videos are an integral part of any serious online marketing efforts. There are many ways to approach the creation of an online video, but the most successful ones are proven to be those that are short (30 to 90 seconds) and contain the competitive advantage of your business, coupled with a call to action. Take a look at the examples above, in order to see these techniques hard at work.
For a more in depth look, visit the web site we created specifically for the Real Estate market in South Florida, floridarealtorsvideos.com
It’s Online Video Marketing
We give you eBiz Miami’s promotional video for online marketing services. Looking around for a “different” kind of online video production platform (we’re aleady successfuly using Animoto and Spotmixer), we found just what we were looking for. We found PowToon. It is more like an online animation platform, that lets you build catchy promo videos for your business. The catch? Well, it’s… cartoonish. We took it for a spin:
Online video marketing has been taking off at a rapid place. Original presentations are always a plus.
OK, a quick check on search results for the keywords that describe our company and its services, found eBiz Miami ranking FIRST in SEO results for “miami online presence” in Google search (third in Bing and Yahoo). Also, typing in “Miami internet marketing results guaranteed” (our slogan) will show eBiz Miami, Inc. as the first UNPAID search result in Google, second in Bing, and covering third, fourth and fifth position in Yahoo.
Truly, being a little bit more devoted to behind the doors inner workings on clients’ web sites, project management and IT infrastructure, we will have to acknowledge that our own SEO efforts were kept to a minimum (e.g., just checking periodically the search engine results), nothing active, no advertising, no PR. It seems, as of right now, braggging rights for practicing what we preach will be in order.
Again, as we tell all our clients, SEO alone won’t get you far, but it sure is a stepping stone in online presence for any company on the internet today. Followed by good, down to earth internet marketing practices (email marketing, content management, interactive techniques, etc.), your company will always see guaranteed results from your investment in your online presence.
Of course, the obligatory disclaimer follows: results in ANY position on SERP (Search Engine Results Page) are never guaranteed. Our ranking is as shown today, and we did all the right things to earn it. But search engine results always fluctuate, depending on many factors. The first one is always that particular search engine’s algorithm for indexing and displaying web sites. Then comes, obligatory, the quality of content of the web site, followed by the correct registration with online directories, the number of inbound links, proper keywords and descriptions, etc…
eBiz Miami, Inc. does not practice or advocate “black hat SEO”, which is a technique touted as “marketing method” by some self-proclaimed SEO experts. That involves, in the FIRST PLACE, breaking the search engines’ rules of using “organic” ways of boosting a web site’s ranking (some listed above, coupled with good choice of keywords, meta tags, etc.). Black hat techniques involve keyword stuffing, keyword masking (or invisible text), artificial inbound linking, etc. These techniques will actually work, albeit for a short time, after which the reputation of your web site will be damned for a very long time. Afterwards it will be very difficult to have your site ranked higher, when you finally start using “white hat” techniques. More about this, HERE
Learning Internet Marketing basics:
Primer: a short informative piece of writing (Mirriam Webster Dictionary).
Well, informative, yes, but short? All things considered, covering as many “basic” things as possible about internet marketing is no easy task. It goes without saying you can’t cover them all. But how do you chose the most important? How do you make sense of the mumbo jumbo, for the neofite, as well as for the iniated? SEO, CMS, PPC, PPM, Adwords, Adsense, ROI… Unkown language to some, familiar to others… Not an easy task, bringing an internet marketing update to the attention of as many interested people as possible.
The topic sits at the croassroads of at least four major fields: technology, advertising, communication, business. Make it easy enough for beginners, yet squeeze enough new stuff in it for the initiates. You end up with ths:
Internet Marketing Primer. With the ammendment, of course, that our newsletter, regular web and facebook updates will always give you more. Enjoy, and feel free to comment!
Oh, and fi that’s not enough, there is always the Newsletter, along with our Facebook updates!
“Thank you. Forty-six years ago on April 3, 1967, I became the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Some of you have read my reviews and columns and even written to me since that time. Others were introduced to my film criticism through the television show, my books, the website, the film festival, or the Ebert Club and newsletter. However you came to know me, I’m glad you did and thank you for being the best readers any film critic could ask for.”
Two days after this heartfelt statement, Roger Ebert’s human vessel stopped functionning. But in the mesmerising universe of moving pictures, his stories will always help us sail in the right direction, no matter in which journey we embark.
I am one of those people to whom Roger was thanking. But more importantly, I am one of those who will always thank him.
Why talk about a movie critic on an internet marketing web site? Well, for one, it is personal. I was always a moviegoer, but Roger made me an impassioned one. Like many, I preferred his words over others’ not only because they were so masterfully and subtly crafted, but because his reviews always revealed things that helped me make up my own mind.
His stories about stories were transporting me way beyond the action of the movie, either in the universe where the original idea came from, or in the one where it had taken the shape of the movie. I learned, this way, about actors, directors, writers, producers and their craft. About the heroes, foes, or any other characters those movies depicted.
His knowledge was encyclopedic. But no matter what he wrote, it never felt pretentious, Roger would impart that knowledge with exquisite wit and perception, but most of all, with the ultimate quality: his love of the movies.
It was this love, coupled with his talent for words, that transformed Roger Ebert into a household name not only for the Chicago Sun-Times, but for the world of motion pictures at large. Indeed, he succeeded to be a lasting brand in a world of ever vanishing ones, by remaining the same kid-like movie enthusiast while enticing thousands to step into the theaters, with his wit and introspection.
In PR Week, I recently discovered an article that ties Roger Ebert to the world of marketing. The author finds quite a few compelling arguments to make. It is entitled “Ten things marketers can learn from Roger Ebert.” To those, I would only add one: create thankful people. Maybe this isn’t as much a separate argument, as it is an all-encompassing one. When the brand is you, it cannot be exclusively about you. It is always about those that you touch, and how you have touched them. I know no better way to be in anyone’s life than being thanked to, honestly, fondly.
Thank you, Roger Ebert!
For years I’ve been touting the virtues of implementing new business sites on the WordPress platform. I’ve been encouraging my clients to choose WordPress because of its two main characteristics:
- Easy to update, no programming skills necessary. Upon delivering your web site, I give you a basic lesson in how to operate the “back door” workings of your web site, you either do it yourself or assign someone in the company to do it and start reaping the benefits of a simple, yet efficient CMS-based (Content Management System) internet tool that will bring notable additions to your bottom line
- Search engines give priority to content that comes in the form of news. While this is the major scare for decision makers in companies who are looking into getting their first web site, having regular content added to your web site isn’t as difficult as it seems, and it doesn’t have to be daily. The payoff, however, is a visible increase in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) impact.
Case in point: Romanian Link. A web site many years in the making, it is one of the independent initiatives of eBiz Miami, Inc. It is a portal destined to promote and collect positive news about Romania and its rich culture, as well as the talent, resourcefulness, dedication and achievments of Romanians, be it within the borders of their country or abroad. It is not the time and place to discuss more details here, suffice it to say that, two days after its official launch, Romanianlink.net is already on the third position on Google search listings for the “romanian link.” keywords.
How was that possible? The search engines take weeks, sometimes more than a month, to properly index a web site. To be sure, we didn’t even submit it for indexing, yet, and the web site didn’t come up in the result as such. However, the NEWS contained within the web site did. More precisely, the latest posting, which was, in fact, a photo gallery of pictures submitted by one of the contributors to the web site, showcasing the beauty of over 100 places in Romania, natural as well as architectural (see post HERE).
This only goes to show that practicing what you preach pays off and here’s hope that future clients will take heed to our advice without reservation in the future. WordPress is not the only platform that can be used for this purpose, but it is by far the most popular and most flexible when it comes to implementation. If you have a more complex enterprise-based project to bring online, platforms like Joomla, Drupal and Concret5 are viable options, albeit for more heavily CMS based projects.
Apple has decided to bring back home some of its manufacturing, starting in 2013. CEO Tim Cook announced, in an interview with NBc’s Brian Williams, that starting with 2013, Apple will bring some of the manufacturing to the US.
“Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States.”
While he did not specify which product Apple decide to manufacture at home, the news is nonetheless worthy of praise. Apple doesn’t have a history of not following up on its promises, at least not under its founder, Steve Jobs, who recently passed away. This isn’t only a bold move from a marketing standpoint, but it is definitely a welcomed initiative and a sorely missed contribution to the US economy by any big company manufacturing goods in the cheap labor markets of Asia. We look forward to seeing others follow suit.
Authorize.net, our long-time partner in online transaction processing, is waiving the $99.00 set up fee when you sign up for an Authorize.net account until the end of the year.
You can only do this through an Authorize.net reseller. eBiz Miami, Inc. is one of them. The customers will still see the $99 setup fee when they activate their account, this will be waived and will not be charged on them the following month.
If you are a merchant who will like to increase sales by offering online transactions to your clients, you can sign up for Auhorize.net HERE
To better understand how the online credit card processing works, and what the role of Authorize.net is in it, study the diagram below:
Abandoned shopping carts are the biggest problem of any online business that takes itself seriously. eBiz Miami always encourages clients to look at their online shopping cart usage. We send regular reports, always showcasing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As Web Site Magazine once again brings to our attention, the “bad” will always happen: for one reason or another, online shoppers will keep on skipping the “Check Out” button. To keep this from becoming “ugly” you, the online retailer, need to make sure that those reasons have nothing to do with you and the way you prepare the online shopping experience to your web site. Survey after survey shows that customers will turn around due to poor web service
92 percent of surveyed consumers have abandoned a website because of a disappointing Web service. 64 percent of shoppers will make only two attempts to purchase a product before bailing. But it doesn’t stop there – 52 percent of shoppers will turn to a competitors website to buy a similar product and about one in three (32 percent) won’t buy the product at all. (Web Site Magazine)
Grim numbers, it seems, but all is not doom and gloom. There are ways to keep more of the customers in to the end, until they click the “Check Out” button. Here are a few:
- Tip-top. Make sure your web site is in tip top shape from the technical point of view. No hick-ups, no slow loading of your pages, no confusion in the selection and ultimately paying process.
- Make sure you have what you sell! Many online stores syncronize their real life inventory with their online stock. A very good practice, if you don’t want to dissapoint. But make sure dissapointment doesn’t come after your customer wasted a good chunk of his time choosing, deciding and attempting to purchase your product, only to see at the end the dreaded “Out of Stock” message. The best practice to avoid this, is to take the product off line alltogether until you are sure you have it, or to state up front that you will have it at a specific date.
- Make sure you show what you sell. How would you feel if you went into a real store and baught, say, a pair of shoes, put them in a box and went to the register to pay for it, only to get home and find a totally (or slightly) different pair inside that box? Generic pictures of a product are a thing of the past. In the age of cheap digital cameras, it pays to take pictures of the real thing you’re selling, so as to not run into trouble with your customers even after they paid for what you are to send to their door.
- Offer discounts. Most people start their online shopping experience by comparison shopping. If they got to your store and found the same price on an item from two other web sites, they will tend to go with what they found first. Keep them to your store, by offering discounts or by offering an advantage on buying from you over the others: faster shipping (if you’re in the shopper’s area), discounts if the item purchased is over a certain amount or if purchased together with another item (Amazon and eBay retailer do it often), discount on a future purchase, etc.
Or, you can simply contact eBiz Miami, Inc. to learn how we can help make it easier without the headaches 🙂
So, you plan on starting to make money by selling online. Beware! Web Site Magazine published the findings of an interesting new study, about the hidden costs of e-commerce platforms.
The study was commissioned by Demandware and carried out by Forrester Consulting, on 156 US, UK and German eCommerce, Marketing and IT technology leaders.
What does it say? Well, basically what we have been telling our clients for years: the cheapest isn’t cheaper. Most of the times, the cheapest solution you purchase, “just to get started” with eCommerce, will end up cost you much more than you envisioned, a lot of times a whole lot more than you would have paid for a more comprehensive solution right from the start.
When it comes to selling your product/service through online shopping carts, there are several factors that you need to consider. Among those, the most important are:
1. The type of shopping cart you implement
2. The Merchant Account tied to your shopping cart
3. The Payment Gateway linking the Shopping Cart with your Merchang Account.
While the costs of the Merchant Account and Payment Gateway are relatively easy to project, it is the type of shopping cart that you chose, that will cause you most of the headaches, the study shows.
Chosing a shopping cart means deciding on the following:
a. Type of Ownership
b. Type of Licensing
Befor you purchase your next shopping cart solution, pay attention to both!
Most people think that if they own something, they pay once and have it for life. Not so when it comes to most things “digital”, i.e., the ones you can’t really touch.
a. Ownership: 43% of the companies surveyed stated that their total cost of ownership (TCO) was generally bigger or significantly bigger than they had anticipated.
Buying the software and installing it on your own servers, won’t prevent you from forking out big bucks down the line if you don’t chose wisely. Like any software, shopping cart solutions might come with limitations, out of the box. Paying a subscription to an online service provider might prove cheaper, but those subscription costs might add up. The only advantage is that you can chose a provider that offers and even implements updates automatically. And that brings us to:
b. Licensing: most of those limitations have to do with the terms and conditions of licensing the software to the ultimate user. As many of us know, owning a piece of software doesn’t stop the company that sells it from coming up with updates periodically. These updates might or might not be critical, however, sooner or later you would need them. If you don’t read carefully the contract that grants you the license, you might end up paying a lot more than you think, and not only for updates.
One of the most important limitations when it comes to eCommerce software comes from restrictions on the number of licenses itself. Depending on the markets you are deploying in, maximum number of users threshold of order volume, you might run into unforseen costs depending on how fast or how far you end up expanding your online business.
As a result, placing your eCommerce platform entirely in the Cloud, becomes an option that more and more business owners start to become accustomed to. As the standards and regulations of conducting business and transactions online are getting stricter, the confidence in the safety and efficiency of those solutions grows. The level of confidence of the companies surveyed, in cloud-based eCommerce solutions, was at 41%.
If it seems to much to swallow in one sitting, eBiz Miami, Inc. will make it go down easier, whenever you’re ready to tackle your future eCommerce needs. We will advise you of the choices that are out there and help you chose the right one for your business.
For the entire article on this new study, use this LINK
Your web site is a useless expense if it doesn’t:
- Sell your products/services directly through a shopping cart.
- Bring in new clients or keep the old ones coming back.
It’s as simple as that. If you don’t want your web site to be the equivalent of a stack of brochures (or business cards) forgotten in a corner, you need to bring it in front of as many people as possible. On the internet, there are millions. How many will come to your web site?