Cruisers Led the Entire Social Media Trend – Marketers Followed

Cruisers are social animals by nature. They are joiners. For the most part, they belong to groups and organizations, and seek to meet new friends when they cruise. “Picture the best friend you’ve never met.” That is the promise inherent in a cruise vacation…yet at the turn of the century – the cruise lines failed to understand it, or lead with it.


In 1999, I met with a friend from the airline industry who had recently become the President of a very large cruise line, who informed me over the course of lunch that he had just been on his first cruise. He went on to explain that he felt the need to have the ship’s communications department facilitate ship-to-shore communications capability just for him, so he could check his e-mail while at sea. I told him then and there that his company (and all other cruise lines) would be retrofitting their ships to facilitate the same connections for their guests that he demanded for himself – in every cabin. He told me it would never happen – as the costs were too prohibitive. I explained that his prospect’s communication needs were no less important than his own (from their perspective), and that he had just articulated a major cruise resistance factor that needed to be overcome. What he perceived to be a “cost,” was actually a huge (“wish you were here”) marketing opportunity, one that self-liquidates through use fees. The industry has subsequently proven me right, as every major vessel now offers internet capabilities to its guests.

Y2K And Beyond

B.I. (before Internet), booking a cruise necessitated the inclusion of a commissioned travel agent in the education/facilitation process (for an 18% fee). At the point where the Internet had achieved a 50% rate of adoption in the US, the developing cruise-specific social communities were facilitating Internet-enabled-word-of-mouth to such an extent that every question any prospect might have to achieve a comfort level sufficient to purchase a cruise, was easily answered by the community. Direct booking (by phone) was being facilitated by the conversations that were occurring online, saving the Contemporary cruise brands $180 per booking on average.

2002 – A Year Of Transition

If you’re reading this, you may well have been among the early adopters of online travel research and booking, for whom the Internet replaced the travel agent for all of your research and booking needs. A mindset developed among this cohort that they would no longer rely on travel agents. One problem. Cruises are a highly complex purchase, and fear of making the wrong decision was causing booking paralysis among this contingent. As a result, these would-be-cruisers were spending weeks and months on message boards, hoping to attain the knowledge and comfort level sufficient to book their first cruise. While the industry’s reseller channel was under direct attack, the cruise lines had yet to make the online tools available to facilitate the transaction in this new paradigm, for fear they would be perceived as cannibalizing their those responsible for booking 95% of their business. While an industry struggled to maintain the status quo, the online cruise community blew right past them.

Cruises In Common

While most were conducting their research as a couple, these interactions led prospects to seek a connection with other couples who were already booked on the same cruise they were contemplating. This organic trend was witnessed in real time, in its infancy, by this author. The ramifications were tremendous, and would change an entire industry. The disintermediation of the reseller channel was occurring before my eyes, in a most compelling way. Not only were cruisers providing advice, they were actually involved in selling the product – for free.

“Join Us On Our Cruise!”

What cruise line marketers failed to understand is that people were at least as interested (if not more interested) in the types of people who would be on their cruise as they were in the brand, ship or itinerary. Marketers had no desire to help prospective cruisers answer that question in 2002, as their budgets and mindsets were all geared to “broadcast mode.” While marketers were proclaiming “We’re prefect for everyone!” – potential cruisers weren’t buying it, as evidenced by the fact that 90-plus% of Americans had yet to cruise – this despite a huge percentage who said they’d like to.

FriendShip Facilitation

As was hammered home in my subsequent e-marketing consulting for the aforementioned cruise line President, “You’re in the friendship facilitation business, and your marketing department doesn’t know it!” While I was spending most days reading the thousands of message threads on sites like, learning wants and desires, fears, resistance factors and all the rest, marketers in the industry scarcely knew of this community’s existence – and certainly did not see the powerful future of Social Media that I foresaw – as it exists today.

Only by sheer tenacity was I able to push through a first-of-its-kind program, whereby a Fortune 500 company embraced an online community, honoring their value to the company. As couples with a cruise in common formed their own vertical affinity groups, we implemented a program to acknowledge and reward their online interactions once they boarded the ship for their cruise. A special party for each group was planned on every significant sailing. The online community was delighted to know that one brand was listening to their wants and desires (knew them by their screen names) and rewarded their online efforts in the real world – enhancing their vacation experience. As they returned to their cabins in the aftermath of these parties, they’d report back to their other onshore cruise friends in the broader Cruise Critic community – from the ship: “Here’s a picture of our group with the Captain!” Powerful stuff!

Seeing The Opportunities

Here we are all these years later, and corporate leaders and marketing departments are all abuzz about how to catch-up with this Social Media Tsunami and leverage it to their advantage. Here’s a little tip. It’s an art, not a science. Getting it wrong with heavy-handed offensive tactics can destroy your brand’s credibility among existing communities. Sensitivity is at least as important as creativity where friendship facilitation is concerned. What business are you in? What business could you be in? Are your marketers geared toward broadcasting – or are they listening, and then responding to delight your prospects in surprising new ways?

Customer Experience & Service

If your customer service department isn’t actively monitoring message boards where discussion of your product or service is concerned, you’re on the road to extinction. In the new world, customer service IS marketing, and for the most part, brand advertising is irrelevant. Community members who have legitimate complaints about products or services, and voice them online, should have an expectation of results. When you take steps to fix legitimate problems voiced within these communities, your brand’s critics can become your most ardent champions – and it can happen in real-time – to the boisterous applause of the broader community.

The Pitch

That said, there are one-hundred wrong ways, and one best way, to handle these matters. It’s not likely you have this skill set in-house. Sending in covert agents to infiltrate communities – or recruiting brand champions from within existing communities – will result in your brand’s public crucifixion (as occurred with my former cruise client when their marketers recently attempted this ploy). Treading lightly into these waters – with customer experience and customer service as your primary missions – will lead to brand loyalty, not as a direct result, but as an indirect byproduct of applied respect and common sense.

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The Best Way to Do Forex Today is Via the Use of Non Directional Trading Formulas

Forex trading was conveniently threading a predictable and directional path not so long ago. Then came the unexpected turn of events and all of a sudden, the world is experiencing a terrible blow with the economic meltdown it is facing. The foreign exchange market became chaotic and nobody can surely say what is to come next. Although few and far between, times like these happen. And when it does, it is not likely that people will have to stop what they are doing due to some ineffectiveness experienced when using the old methods. The way to face this types of problems is by making use of new formulas and strategies that will work according to new situations.

This is exactly how it should be done with forex trading, particularly forex options trading. Traders and investors who became used to predictable directional trading strategies may now make use of a non directional trading formula that will help them earn profits despite the unpredictability of the market and the unsure movement of the economy. Non directional trading formulas can provide less risks than its counterpart.

However, it is much more complex and makes use of higher technology compared to the traditional methods.
The good news is, there are currently a number of non directional trading formulas available online that can be accessed by traders to help them with this type of system. Some are even automated and needs only very little supervision to work. Simply browse online for these trading formulas and no matter what the economic situation is, forex market remains a profitable business.

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Stock Market Cycles That Make Money

Many stock traders will follow patterns in the market rather than invest in a stock that they’ve researched. The reason why so many traders invest in market patterns is because its far easier to trade if you can find a repetitive cycle, just think of it for a minute.

If you knew the market was going to move in a certain way at around the same time every day, wouldn’t you make a fortune?. Below, we’ve outlined several market cycles that happen either every day or over several days.

Most of these cycles can be around 80% accurate, its up to you which ones you want to follow. A good idea would be to take a good cheap stock from the Nasdaq & apply it to any of the market cycles listed below for a couple of weeks. See how it performs, if its making you money, then stick with it. Remember, these cycles are repetitive so you can use them over again & again.

* 10:30 a.m. (Usually 10:15 to 10:35., 1st high or low of the day)
* 12:30 p.m. (From 12 to 1:00 p.m., markets tend to reverse what they were doing at 10:30 a.m.)
* 2:00 p.m. (From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., market trading heavier/trend for the day may change)
* 3:00 p.m. (From 3:00 to 3:20 p.m., one direction, which may or may not be the same direction that was established between 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.)
* 3:20 p.m. (From 3:20 to 3:40 p.m., change direction)
* 3:40 p.m. (From 3:40 to 4:00 p.m., tends to go back to what it was doing at 3:00-3:20 p.m.)

These rules can apply to any chart that follows the NASDAQ, NYSE or the S&P500. So for example any stock on the NASDAQ100 list should do the same as above.

The above rules will apply to the market most of the time but especially on ranging markets i.e. markets that tend to trade sideways as there is no real news moving them.

If used in conjunction with the market indicators i.e. MACD, RSI etc this information becomes a powerful tool for taking lots of money out of the market.

Multi Day Cycles

General Market Tips:
Strong up Mondays usually means down week.
Strong down Mondays, usually mean up week.

Markets rally in mornings, sell off in afternoons = bearishness
Markets sell off in mornings, rally in afternoons = bullishness
Another way of making great trades is using the little known multi day trading cycle.

Here’s how it works

On the 3rd, 5th or 8th day a stock will generally reverse course! I know its hard to believe but its correct. Suppose a stock is falling. Very often the stock will halt its slide or even rebound on the third day. Now if it doesn’t hold up on that third day watch for the Falling to stop on the 5th day and then again on the 8th day.

The 8th day is my favorite as you can make spectacular gains on this day. This is probably one of the best kept secrets around. Again, if you use this information with the other indicators & use a 10 day MA in, then you should have a good shot at getting in at the bottom. Also don’t forget to use the charts at to give you an even better edge on things.

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Yafari Review and Marketing Secrets

Yafari is a brand new MLM direct sales company. Although the company is brand new the owners have over 30 years of experience in the health and wellness industry and direct marketing methods. Yafari is located at 3815 Highknob Cr. Naperville, Illinois. and offers a new healthy kinetic energy shot with a unique money making opportunity attached to it.

The Product

The Herbal energy shot offers No Sugars, No Calories, No Jitters, and No Crash. They use a proprietary blend of select ingredients that has been known to…

Help promote your mood
Enhance fat burning
improve concentration
promote energy
Some of the key ingredients include Niacin, Vitamin B6 and B12, Rhodiola Crenulata, L-Arginine, L-Theanine, Caralluma Fimbriata, and Damiana Leaf.

The Business Opportunity

Yafari offers 5 ways to earn money with their product…

Retail profits
Fast start bonus
Team Bonus
Car Bonus
Leadership Bonus
To qualify for all 5 earnings methods you must grow your business, their is currently 6 different levels to promote through starting out with basic Distributor. After meeting certain criteria you advance to the following: Gold Distributor, National Marketing Director, 1 Star NMD, 2 Star NMD, and 3 Star NMD. You must promote to 1 Star NMD minimum before you are eligible for the car bonus and leadership bonus.

The Distributor fee and personal website Costs $29.00 with a $29.00 monthly auto ship fee. You can also join with a basic fast start pack for $94.00 or an Executive fast start pack for $235.56.


The Yafari energy shot opportunity has great potential: however, It is a brand new company so only time will tell its longevity. that being said if you are looking for a low priced, healthy energy business, you are at the ground floor. If you have noticed the demand for energy shots have grown, their quick and easy and you can take them on the go or before the big game.

The Problem

The biggest problem with this company as well as any direct sales company is marketing. Yafari offers you a company replicated website which is great for ordering your product but not so good for building your team. Network marketers usually face 2 major problems when trying to build their business.

Lack Of Leads
Lack Of Money
If you want to build a successful Yafari business you must overcome those two major problems and learn how to market your business properly. You need to throw out every thing you were taught by your upline and learn how to market like the top producers. Below are a few top producer tips and secrets you can use to explode your business.

STOP Marketing your Company replicated website RIGHT NOW!!
Learn how to brand yourself as a leader, Market yourself, not your company
Learn how to build an online list and generate FREE leads
Learn to Monetize your list and earn commissions even when people don’t join your primary opportunity
Learn how to market through web 2.0 and proper social marketing techniques
Learn proper Video marketing techniques
Plug in to free live weekly webinars
Personal Development
Create a Marketing plan around your time and budget
Learn PPC marketing strategies to keep your cost per click down
Learn Article Marketing
Network Marketing has changed forever, it doesn’t matter if your promoting Yafari or another opportunity, the days of chasing people around shopping malls, Dragging friends and family to Hotel meetings, buying leads, handing out flyer’s etc. has ended forever. The fact is you know, what you are doing right now to build your MLM business simply doesn’t work. You know their is a better and smarter way, and their is. I struggled for over 6 years doing everything my upline told me to, I could never make more than a couple hundred dollars a month, and finally I was lucky enough to have someone show me the way. I would like to do the same for you. I wish you the best of luck in building a successful business with Yafari.

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Entrepreneur Bootstrappers – How to Create Your Marketing Plan in 7 Sentences

As an entrepreneur, you will need to create a marketing plan in order to have the correct blueprint for the direction of your business. Without a marketing plan, your marketing can wander off in many unsuccessful directions. Here you will find out how to create a one-page marketing plan that will give your business laser-focus.

Jay Conrad Levinson, the grandfather of marketing for the bootstrapping small business owner, created a one-page, seven-step marketing plan formula that will help guide your business towards profitability. This plan should never be more than a single page, and in most cases it won’t be more than seven sentences.

By creating a short and simple marketing plan, you will have a document that you can constantly refer to and change as your business changes with growth. Here are the steps:

1. Explain the purpose of your marketing. What are you trying to accomplish? More sales, to get someone to subscribe to your free letter, to get a person to mail a post card, or to get someone to visit your store. There are many possibilities.

2. Spell out how you are going to achieve that purpose by providing certain benefits to your customers. These should be benefits that should be perceived as unique to your business.

3. Specify your target market. Who are the people that you are looking for and what are all of their statistics (age, wages, hobbies etc.).

4. Describe your niche in that market. Where does your company fit vs. all of the other companies in your market.

5. Outline the marketing weapons you will use. List the various ways you will get your message out, such as direct mail, billboards, televisions ads, etc.

6. What is the identity of your business? How are you going to present your business to your customers and what will be your unique selling proposition.

7. Establish your marketing budget. Write down exactly how much you can afford to spend on gaining customers.

Joshua Black is an on-line infopreneur, marketing consultant, author and educator dedicated to helping the bootstrapping small business owner succeed.

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Internet Marketing Online – The Truth!

Internet or online marketing consists of any sort of marketing conducted via the internet. Internet marketing incorporates forms equivalent to virtually any aspect of traditional marketing: e-commerce sites, for example, sell products directly to consumers or businesses, while “print” and “broadcast” advertising have rough online equivalents in the forms of text and multimedia advertising respectively. Furthermore, the internet provides for countless unique marketing opportunities.

Internet marketing online has a number of obvious advantages over conventional marketing. As a fast-growing, global institution, the internet allows businesses to reach out to wider, more varied audiences. At the same time, online marketing can be comparatively more cost-effective than other forms of marketing. Through e-mail marketing, for example, newsletters or catalogues can be distributed at a significantly lower cost than their print equivalents, while placement advertisements like banners and contextual ads afford a greater scope of effectiveness compared to print or television ads. Additionally, while traditional advertising provides no guarantee of return, it is common for online advertising space to be offered on a cost-per-sale or cost-per-action basis, thus guaranteeing a successful ad.

Internet marketing online also offers dimensions which are not present in any other sector. Social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook constitute a new frontier for marketers, with the possibility for businesses to get involved with consumers on a more personal level, and for publicity to flow through the connections which form the basis of these online communities. Search engine marketing allows marketers to respond directly to the queries of the consumer; a baker, for example, can take steps to assure that her business is featured prominently whenever someone in the area searches for “cake.”

Highly detailed data collection is another aspect of internet marketing online which is made simpler by the internet. Web analytics software enables operators of websites to learn about who and where their visitors are, how and why they came to the website, and how effective the site is at maintaining their interest. Website content can then be optimized for on a viewer-by-viewer basis using this information. Affiliate marketing, an online marketing strategy involving the direction of visitors from one website to another, is another thing to consider. Amazon and eBay, among other e-commerce heavyweights, are known for their affiliate marketing programs.

The internet is only becoming more a part of everyday life for people worldwide. Internet marketing online, with its inherent advantages and unique possibilities, is worth considering for businesses of any size.

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5 No-Fail Tips For Writing Customer-Centric Marketing Copy

Your marketing communications- web sites, newsletters, direct mail, sales letters, etc.- REALLY DO often make your company’s first impression. Focus the content on the customer. Engage his thoughts. Appeal to his desire to solve a problem. Show empathy. Then, and only then, introduce your product/service as a solution.

The secret to building better customer relationships is customer-centric marketing copy. It’s your super secret customer handshake!

5 tips for writing customer-centric sales copy

Whether you’re writing web site copy, a newsletter, a press release, a sales letter or an email, the focus belongs on the reader, your potential or current customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Write down the features of your product or service. Then write down the benefits those features mean to your customers. The benefits list is where you’re going to get the meat of your content. Not from your features, but from the benefits.

1) Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes

Make that 5 miles. Good marketing copy addresses a need, but great marketing copy goes the extra 4 miles to prove you understand their situation, you’ve been there too and you know exactly how to help. You know your business better than anyone so it isn’t too far of a leap to guess when and why your customers buy from you. For example, 1800Flowers sends an email near the date you last ordered as a birthday or anniversary reminder. Sometimes, marketers are on the selling side for so long that they forget why customers buy.

Before you communicate with your customers for any reason, get a refresher on what they want and need from you. Be sure you know:

Their problem or challenge and why it’s a problem
If they are familiar with your company, product or service
Any “pain points” associated with their need/want
Changes in their view of your industry, your company or the world (think Exxon Valdez incident)
Who REALLY makes the purchase and who gets your marketing collateral (they’re not always the same person)
1st Warning: Don’t assume you know the answers already. Review them before each customer marketing contact and it just might be a light bulb moment that could change your marketing approach and the results.
2nd Warning: Don’t think this customer-centric approach doesn’t apply to your product/service or company. Whether you’re family-oriented travel company, a software program vendor or a business consultant, customer-centric copy is key to building relationships and earning first and subsequent sales.

2) Don’t be the “it’s all about me” guy

Customer-centric copy talks to the reader about the reader. This goes for online or offline marketing copywriting. It’s one of the rules that remain the same for both mediums. Speak directly to the reader addressing him as “you”, not “our customers.” Write about the emotion involved. Remember, humans respond to empathy and it’s their point of view that matters, not your company’s.

3) Your customers have a problem; they just don’t know it yet

Pharmaceutical companies didn’t invent this concept, but they perfected it. The drug companies started bypassing the doctor and marketing straight to the consumer. Patients made doctor appointments for prescriptions only. The frequency with which these ads appear has the power to create symptoms. The customer-centric copy comes full circle. Problem. Empathy. Solution.

4) Speak to customers in their language

Pharmaceutical media and print ads are written and spoken in everyday English. Children understand them. But the package insert is another story. By the time the patient gets to the insert, the sale is made and now the lawyers take over. But talking to people in their language FIRST made the sale.

Use their language as your keywords. If you’re selling cow nectar but everyone calls it milk, you better call it milk too because people don’t search for cow nectar, they search “milk.”

5) You can’t please everyone, so don’t sell to everyone

80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. The 80/20 rule applies to marketing as well as sales. Get to know that 20% and market specifically to that 20%. Are they the decision makers? Are they the end users? Are they the ones who will directly benefit? Do they have other people to convince? Anything new about your product/industry they should know?

It’s not how well you know your product that is going to determine the level of your sales and your success; it’s how well you know your customer. Where you go from here depends on how well your marketing content speaks to and engages him. And what should you do if you’re just too close to your product/service to get a clear customer perspective? Hire a professional copywriter of course.

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Direct Sales – The Latest 3 Exciting Secrets to Boost Your Sales

Before I share you with my secrets, let me explain first what direct selling means. This is the process of selling products and services to clients without using middlemen. That means, sellers and buyers are the only persons involve in the transaction.

Here’s how you can boost your direct sales:

1. Use telemarketing. I am well aware that there are quite a lot of buyers who despise getting calls from marketers that they do not know. However, research and studies confirm that telemarketing is still one of the best ways to connect with your target market and to sell your products and services. The key here is mastering phone etiquettes (when to call, what to say and not to say, etc.) and knowing the best ways on how you can excite and later on, involve your customers in the selling process.

2. Direct mail. Write a compelling letter that talks about the problems or needs of your target market. Make it sound personal by empathizing when needed. It’s important that you make these people feel that you do understand where they are coming from. Then, talk about your products and services. Highlight their features and benefits and present them as the best solution to the problems of your prospects. Sign the letter and if possible, include your most friendly-looking photo to add personal touch.

3. Do face-to-face selling. Although this is one of the most difficult and time-consuming ways to sell your products and services, this is definitely one of the best. Consider paying your prospects a visit and bring along your products. Aside from telling your clients how your products were made, their selling points, and their competitive advantage, you can also do demonstrations so these people will see how your offerings really work.

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Ultimate Internet Marketing Image – A Synergy of Traditional Offline & Online Marketing Strategies

There is a revolution is underway, a shift from traditional offline advertising, also referred to as “outbound advertising,” to online or “Internet” advertising. The transition has gained momentum as its popularity increases, becoming the medium of choice for business owners large and small, from the tiny “mom and pop” corner store to Fortune 100 companies. The reasons for this transition from traditional forms of advertising to new and innovative online strategies are complex and, at first glance, don’t appear to make much sense. However, once a company examines the logic, and even the psychology, behind this shift in focus and tests it, in almost every instance they are convinced of the power and profitability of the Internet, as not only a sales tool but as a client/customer relationship tool, as well. Unlike any strategy available prior to the Internet, the web provides easy and, in many cases, automatic access to customers and prospective customers alike, often at the push of a button.

Outbound Advertising: Prospective Customer and Customer Antipathy

Unlike many online methods of advertising and customer contact, traditional “outbound advertising” seeks out prospective clients by what can only be referred to as an invasive strategy, a strategy often resented by prospect and established customer alike. The company or advertising agency attempts to reach prospective clients through TV advertisements, radio ads, newspaper ads, direct mail, billboards, and so on. Significantly, many of the traditional types of advertising campaigns carry with them a negative connotation or stereotype, they are viewed with disdain and even contempt by the very people the ads are attempting to impress. Prospective clients and even established customers will use the time during television commercials to go to the rest room, get refreshments or do anything else but taken in the message advertisers have spent hundreds, even thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, for them to see. During radio commercials, listeners often change the station searching for music, getting annoyed when they can’t find a station playing music instead of ads. When a homeowner receives the mail delivery, they immediately throw away junk mail, referring to the trash receptacle as “file 13!” Readers of the morning paper will make a conscious effort to read or look “around” newspaper ads, focusing solely on the stories, the “Irish Sports Page,” the obituaries, and of course the funnies or comics.

The Emerging Trend and the Beginning of a Revolution

Enter the website! For years those savvy enough to realize early on that an Internet presence would pay dividends, unlike anything available through traditional, offline, “outbound” advertising, benefited from the greatest new tool available, the website! The website allowed for instant access to a business’s products and services unavailable through traditional advertising methods and vehicles without incredible expense and a cumbersome, if not unreadable, advertisement. The website revolutionized product and service presentation, making it one of the most popular and affordable advertising platforms a business can employ to generate interest in their business and increase traffic to the traditional brick and mortar companies using them as part of an overall advertising strategy. Interestingly, the website evolved into a vehicle in direct competition with traditional businesses as online business took off.

The Emergence of the Search Engine and “Googling”

The emergence of online business, and Internet marketing in general, changed forever the focus and the method of both advertising and the way business is conducted. With the emergence of the website, advertising changed from an “outbound” phenomenon to an “inbound,” client driven methodology. Prospective clients and customers began to look for, and actively search out, businesses and thus, with the emergence of the search engines, at first as simple as the first AOL and Webcrawlers and ultimately to The New King of the Hill, Google, marketing was revolutionized and changed forever. Google and “Googling” changed the way businesses are searched out and presented forever. Now, instead of an invasive form of advertising, “outbound advertising,” the client actively engages in the process of seeking out and finding businesses fitting their specific search criteria, their “keywords.” Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and many others began to use keywords and complex algorithms, mathematical formulas, to establish rankings for companies with websites on the net, and the race was on.

The Death of The King: Long Live The King!

With the emergence of Google and Googling, “The King of the Outbound Advertising Hill,” the “Yellow Pages,” will never again see the glory days of the past. In fact, many a “Yellow Pages” advertising directory may be found, if it can be found at all, on the back porch collecting mold and mildew, in the garage under a pile of debris or in some closet or cabinet taking up space and never to be heard from again, at least until someone from the local school comes around as part of a recycling campaign and takes it off your hands. Thousands of dollars, collecting mold, dust, and not much else, while businesses in the know, those who have already made the transition to the Internet, have reduced or eliminated their expenses in return for a more innovative, relevant advertising strategy, one optimizing the best of the traditional, offline and online tactics to increase traffic, improve the company’s bottom line, and all the time reducing costs.

SEO: What the Heck is SEO?

SEO, search engine optimization, a complex and all-encompassing strategy used to influence and improve a company’s web presence through a number of strategies, soon became the darling of the “new Internet.” SEO also became the most sought after, least understood, and most expensive of all web services. To achieve optimal search engine rankings, companies paid thousands of dollars in an attempt to understand, manipulate, and ultimately conquer their respective “niche,” competitive environment, and target market and audience. Traditional SEO continues to play a role in many business’ overall Internet marketing strategies. However, the time and cost of a fully optimized search engine optimization campaign, complete with website and/or blog enhancements, has made it somewhat less attractive, particularly in light of current economic trends.

A Transition within a Transition

Interestingly, there is a shift underway in Internet marketing, as well. We will touch on this transition within a transition here and in subsequent articles. For many years now, online advertising has been all about the website. In fact, when an Internet consultant interviews a prospective client for the first time, a “website” is the first thing most business owners, advertising vice presidents, company presidents, and even CEOs ask for. However, the once requisite website has been usurped, no longer the King of the Internet Mountain, by the blog. Blogs and blogging represent the fastest segment of the Internet, with Twitter’s mini-blog format and Facebook’s family friendly, community atmosphere and approach running alongside; and, both taking the net by storm. The blog is a marketing sensation for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it allows for an intimate and ongoing exchange between the advertiser and the client and prospective client alike. The relationship building feature of the blog, organic in nature, results in a connection building process unlike anything available in any other single form of expression today.

The One-Two Punch: Blogging and Social Media

The relationship building capabilities of the blog, coupled with an intelligent overall strategy fully engaging the emerging power of social media, also referred to as Web 2.0, and a thoughtfully designed and properly incentivized email campaign, make it far and away the most promising new advertising vehicle available to businesses today, big and small. Interestingly, even companies like Skittles and Diet Coke are entering the social media milieu in a big way. Diet Coke now has a significant following on Twitter, yet nothing compared to the followings of President Barack Obama, CNN, Time Magazine, and The New York Times. Significantly, The New York Times, CNN, and Time Magazine have a multitude of blogs, all focused on various topics of interest to their readers, their target audience. The visual and print media companies have demonstrated the power, and indeed the necessity, of communicating directly with various segments of their audience through blogging, targeting them based on interest, and developing a loyal following as a result.

The Skittles Revolution

Skittles leads the revolution! Skittles has a small but active following on Twitter but it is their move to YouTube that is really opening eyes. Linked to their Twitter account, Skittles has moved to establish a profound and significant social media presence. The staggering fan base on Facebook is actually the most interesting aspect of this story. With nearly 3,000,000 fans on Facebook alone, there can be little doubt of social media’s power to create and maintain customer loyalty. Skittles has gone so far as to integrate a “squeeze” or “capture” page leading to their various Internet marketing platforms. While there are other companies fully engaged in an Internet marketing combination strategy, such as that engaged in by Skittles, the candy merchandiser has demonstrated an online marketing sophistication leaving many of the company’s competitors in the online dust. The use of mini-blogging, both on Facebook and Twitter, along with video marketing, and the use of a “capture page” to collect data they are interested in, indicates and overall Internet marketing strategy capable of moving Skittles ahead of its competition. Interestingly, Ford Motor has engaged a social media manager, Scott Monty, who maintains, among other Web 2.0 platforms, a growing Twitter following just shy of 6500 and a loyal fan base on Facebook, as well.

Old or New? Struggle or Prosperity?

There can be little doubt as to the magnitude of the transition underway in advertising and marketing today. Significantly, there is a transition within a transition taking place; and, blogging and social media are emerging as a powerful one-two punch designed to build customer loyalty and shape buying behavior as never before. The powerful relationship building tools available to companies engaged in online marketing offer a promise never before possible through traditional marketing strategies and “outbound” advertising media. Those businesses unable or unwilling to keep pace and go with the current trend will be left outside looking in as marketing strategies continue to evolve and improve. The “blogosphere,” particularly as it relates to a business’s target market or audience, social media or Web 2.0, the use of sophisticated relationship building strategies, such as email autoresponder campaigns, and various search engine optimization techniques (SEO), will provide businesses engaged in the Internet marketing revolution an opportunity to grow and prosper, in spite of the current economic down turn. For the rest? It will be a long, hot summer!

The transition from the old to the new, from an entirely “outbound” marketing strategy to an online focus has resulted in the formation of a new company, The Ultimate Internet Image – International, with offices in several states and more coming. The need to personalize marketing strategies, incorporating a synergy between the best of traditional offline marketing techniques and innovative and revolutionary new Internet marketing strategies have resulted in a company with one goal, excellence! For more information stop by our new blog at:

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Growing Your Business With Online Marketing

As a business owner, you know that one of the keys to a successful year is promoting your business. No matter what size your business is, marketing and promotion need to be addressed. Marketing has become a daunting task with the increasing number of online start-up businesses. And now, along with the traditional offline marketing methods, there are many online marketing tools and methods available.

Online Marketing is also known as Internet Advertising, web marketing, web advertising or e-marketing.

There are many benefits to marketing your business online. Here are a few.

Lowering Your Costs

A recent eMarketer article sites that “in the wake of the global economic downturn, marketers worldwide are shifting more of their budgets into cheaper, more-measurable categories. In most cases, that means online.”

Your marketing budget is only so big and online marketing can stretch it even farther for you. TV and radio spots are expensive, printing costs for corporate and product brochures are expensive and traditional mailings cost not only in materials and postage, but deplete the environment as well. Why not direct potential customers to your website for information on products and services? Your website is your brochure, a marketing tool available 24 hours a day to prospective customers. Your revenue potential will increase while your costs diminish.

Offline marketing ads for newspapers, TV and radio are for a limited time and you pay for the time slot and space. In online marketing, your ads potentially can stay up longer and over time you end up paying less. Using article marketing, you could either write an article yourself or pay someone else to write it. When that article is distributed online, it stays on the Internet for many years. For a small cost, you’ve placed a marketing proposition that stays around indefinitely pointing potential customers to your website and your products and services.

Compared to traditional marketing or telemarketing, email marketing costs very little. These targeted messages will go directly into the homes and offices of your potential or existing customers.

Reaching a Larger Market and a Targeted Market

The Internet allows people from all over the world to do business with each other.

From another recent eMarketer article, in 2009, more than 65% of Americans are Internet users. They’re not only checking e-mail and Twittering, they are shopping for products and services.

With traditional media, your ads are restricted to a specific location for a limited time. When you promote your business online, you reach a larger audience than you would ever be able to reach otherwise since your marketing activity is not restricted by location. More potential customers always equal more sales opportunities.

Online marketing allows you to target specific demographics such as age, location, gender and income levels and in many cases allows you to track the behaviors of these groups as they interact with your online marketing.

It can also bring a branding campaign to life in a new way. This unique consumer interaction with your brand can leverage emotional links to your brand. Instead of a brand talking to a customer, your customer can interact with and experience your brand. This is intelligent brand marketing. You can influence people at the perfect time – their time, right when they are looking for information, comparison shopping and possibly buying.

Flexibility and Tangible Tracking

Online marketing can include email, newsletters, blogs, microblogs, podcasts, video and social media sites. All of these outlets have the ability to be flexible. An ad placed in a magazine or newspaper can’t be changed until the next submission. With online marketing you’ll know very quickly if a campaign is working and you can change wording or graphics and adapt product information to match changing market conditions.

The Internet also removes any guesswork from measuring campaign results. Using web analytics you can measure the number of visitors that a campaign brings to your website, how long they stay and the average number of pages they visit. This important information along with the flexibility, allows you to improve the conversion of your campaign and to increase your return on investment.

Instant Conversion Ability

Online marketing allows you to convert a shopper to a customer instantly. A potential customer reading a traditional newspaper ad does not have the ability to click a mouse and buy your product or service immediately. Offline marketing involves more time and money to convert a shopper into a sale.

Online ads allow direct response. Consumers can click to learn more about a product, sign up for a newsletter or RSS feed, or buy right then and there. This will in turn create a database for you, which, with email marketing, will allow you to reach people who have already expressed an interest in your product or service. And online marketing allows you to sell to anyone, anywhere and at any time. You’re not restricted by time, geography and location considerations.

Internet marketing includes strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click marketing (PPC), article marketing, blog marketing, online brandcasting, social media marketing and many more interactive marketing services.

While these strategies may seem daunting at first, with a little research, you can use some of these tools to help you optimize your website and increase web traffic. Or, if you have it in your budget, there are companies that specialize in many SEO services.

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