All posts by Unmana

About Unmana

Unmana writes about marketing on the Markitty blog and can be found on Twitter @Unmana.

How Promotional Products Companies Blog

A colleague asked me last week about advice for promotional products companies on blogging. Let’s look at how promotional products businesses use their blogs.

A Google search on [promotional products blog] gets us this. Good job, Inkhead! Especially as two of the other top search results are from ASI (a promo products industry association whose page with links to industry blogs shows up) and an industry magazine.

Search Results for Promo Products Blog

I do another quick search for recently updated blogs and we’re good to go.

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Forget Automation and Algorithms; Focus on People

If you have spent much time on the internet lately, especially on social media, you’re aware that the noise is increasing. It’s more and more difficult to find relevant messages because of all the content that is created. (And I know, we’re part of the problem.)

Rich Becker muses over where automation will take social media:

The platform shift from conversation to broadcast is a symptom of what marketers measure.

They measure actions (tweets, retweets, link clicks), which discourages dialogue. It discourages it because conversations are not valued on the action scale. It discourages it because the more organic conversations take place, the more marketers have to drown them out with frequency. And it discourages it because scalable actions require automation, which means the marketer isn’t participating.

Also:

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How (and Why) to Schedule Your Facebook Posts

Facebook Insights offers a wealth of data about your Facebook page. How do you use that information to improve your marketing on Facebook? One way to do this is by scheduling posts for the most effective times.

Scheduling Your Posts for When Your Fans Are Online

The Posts tab on your Facebook Insights has a section called When Your Fans Are Online. This tells you how many of your fans are on Facebook on each day of the week and different times of the day. Use this to time your posts for when most of your fans are active.

To schedule a Facebook post, click on the clock icon on the bottom left of the post editor

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Create A Few Great Pieces of Content: Advice from Brian Dean, SEO Expert and Blogger

Brian Dean of BacklinkoBrian Dean, as he says himself, is “living the dream”: his SEO expertise enables him to “work as a digital nomad and travel in countries like Thailand, Japan, Spain, and Turkey” (and currently, Germany). He is also a popular blogger: his SEO blog, Backlinko, has fantastic resources and advice about SEO.

We ask him about how he got to where he is, and get him to share tips about SEO and blogging.

My questions and comments are italicized.

1. Your profile is intriguing: tell us how you got here. You make the shift from freelance writer to SEO sound so easy: was it actually as easy as that?

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Learning from Business Failures

Failure’s been on my mind lately. It started a while back, with this startup founder writing about the inevitable end of the business.

And of course, last week I wrote about another startup failure, inspired by the TechCrunch article reporting it.

So today I share some more stories of failure with you, hoping we can avoid their mistakes and their fate. The next three links are from this Business Insider article.

This entrepreneur started his business of selling condom key chains: he failed, but it’s a great story.

This blog post has some interesting insights, including this:

Continue reading Monday Marketing Mash-up: Learning from Business Failures

Lessons From a Failed Startup

I don’t usually follow startup stories, but I was intrigued by this one. With so much going for them – an interesting idea, interest from partners, interest from users, some PR, even some funding – they still had to fold.

And then I read Flowtab’s own account of how it went down. I am hardly qualified to criticize (but of course, I’m going to do so anyway), but some things leaped out at me. And these aren’t particular to this company (I don’t mean to pile on), but attitudes and activities I have seen in other startups as well.

Careless erosion of goodwill

Goodwill isn’t a trendy buzzword, but let’s talk about it anyway. Here are some of the tactics this company tried out.

Flowtab was an app that let you order drinks at bars. The founders spent months building the app, launched it on iTunes, and it was the #1 featured app for one week. But there was no service to back up the app. There’s no mention of how many people downloaded the app, but it must have been a good number. Many startups would be thrilled at having their app featured by Apple. But this one squandered their opportunity by letting users download an app they couldn’t use. That’s like having a big store launch, inviting customers, and then not showing up to open the store. If a thousand customers came to your door, that’s not a success. The fact that you couldn’t serve them is a failure.

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Bed and Breakfast Blogs: Innkeepers Boost Marketing by Sharing Stories

One industry that I think is fertile ground for marketing content is Bed and Breakfast inns. These inns provide a more picturesque, intimate experience than bigger hotels, and as far as I know, most of them seem to be run by the owners. So it seems to make perfect sense that innkeepers would blog about their inns. But do they?

Google Search for Bed and Breakfast BlogI searched for [bed and breakfast blog] on Google.

What surprised me is that most of these blogs haven’t been updated recently. If you look at this screenshot, one of these blogs was last updated in April! The blog with the most recent post (not in the screenshot) was on August 24.

I changed the search to pages updated in the last week, and got a wholly different set of results. Even so, one blog listed in the first page was updated 2 days ago; everything else was between 5-7 days.

The Blue Door on Baltimore, for example, has a charming blog with photos and behind-the-scenes info about the running of the inn, as well as tips on what to do in Baltimore. But the blog hasn’t been updated for over a year: there were three posts in the first week of June 2012, and nothing since. Is the inn still running?

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Link-Building Tips

What’s link-building? It’s the term used in SEO for getting good links to your site, so that your search visibility goes up.

But is link-building a good term to use?  

Earning links is about creating things that people want to link to, so rather than asking people for a link, you’re just placing excellent quality content in front of influencers, and letting them do the rest.

I especially like this part of the post, since so many people ignore offline activities as a factor in online marketing:

Think offline. Sometimes online marketing has to start offline. Just think about how many websites must review, write about, and link to events and news. Well marketers, it’s time to create that news, and plan those events. Get out there and get involved with your target market, create a flash mob, launch a publicity stunt, and do what it takes to make people talk about your brand. What happens online is often reactive to what happens offline, so maybe it’s even more effective to be the creator, not the commentator.

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Managing Negative Reviews of Your Small Business

Photo credit: HubSpot
Photo credit: HubSpot

One objection I had heard from business-owners or CEOs about participating in social media was, what if someone writes bad things about us?

If they would write bad things about you… they probably are anyway.

You don’t own social media. A disgruntled ex-employee, an unhappy customer, is likely to be venting on Facebook and Twitter anyway.

If you’re also on social media, at least you get a chance to present your side of the story. As I say in my guest post on the Entrepreneur in Heels blog:

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How Small Businesses Are Using the #backtoschool Hashtag on Facebook

It’s “back to school” season in the U.S. and some other parts of the world, and many businesses have special promotions during this time. Let’s see how small businesses are using the #backtoschool hashtag on Facebook.

This hashtag isn’t important for you? You should still know how to use similar seasonal hashtags for your Facebook page.

1: Offer a discount or deal

The most obvious way to cash in on a seasonal trend is to offer a special deal or promotion.

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Listening and Responding

Much of the marketing advice you read will be about conversations you should initiate: by writing blog posts, tweeting, or emailing. But what online marketing allows you do most effectively is listen, and you’re not doing your marketing any favors if you don’t take the time to do that.

As Tea Silvestre says:

There’s a LOT of marketing advice out there about how to reach more people. Get more fans. Build your list. And just plain dominate the world with your empire.

But there’s another way to grow your business, and it doesn’t require you to talk to anyone new.

And:

Are you having enough two-way conversations with the folks who are standing right in front of you?

Read the post to learn how you can listen better.

But why should you listen?

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How to Embed Facebook Posts to Your Website or Blog

Facebook just rolled out embedded posts to everyone, so now you can embed Facebook posts in your blog post or web page.

Why embed a post instead of posting a screenshot? Because all the links and other information in the post remain intact. Your website visitor can click on the links in the post to go to the post on Facebook or to your Facebook page.

Go to any Facebook post, or scroll down in your Timeline to find one. Click on the little arrow on the top right of your post. The last item on the dropdown menu should be “Embed Post”.

Click on the arrow on the top right of a Facebook post to get the Embed Post option

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Get More Conversions

Likes and retweets are all very well, but what you really want is conversions: someone signing up to your newsletter, filling up your lead form, or buying your product. This week, let’s work on improving conversions.

First, are you tracking conversions on your website? You can do this easily by setting up goals in Google Analytics.

Neil Patel offers copywriting tips that will increase your conversions. The first few are great copywriting tips for any piece of writing: focus on benefits (i.e., the reader, not you), format your text, use images, and so on. But there are some less obvious tips in there too.

The Leaky Bathtub offers an easy way to get your prospects to take action: treat them like dogs. What does this mean? Tell your prospects what you want them to do, not what you want them to not do.

Search Engine Land explains how to optimize all your pages, not just your “landing pages.”

The Visual Website Optimizer blog explains five conversion best practices.

Now let’s get to work! Use some of these tips to improve your website’s conversions and get more money pouring in.

Liked this post? For more links to interesting things we read, follow us on Twitter.

Target Your Facebook Posts for More Effective Reach

The People tab on your Facebook Insights shows you the age, gender, language and city as well as country of your fans, of people you’ve reached, and people who have engaged with your page. Does this data match your expectations? In other words, have you succeeded in reaching your target customers?

Targeting Your Facebook Posts to a Segment of Your Fans

Did you know Facebook has a targeting option when you create a new post? Target Facebook Post

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Using Markitty: Links You Share, with Referrals

Markitty’s Links You Shared table answers the question: which of the links you’re sharing on social media are getting you the best results?

As I wrote earlier, the table shows the performance of links you’ve shared on Facebook and Twitter. It includes the number of posts (in which you’ve shared that one link), impressions, likes, and stories for Facebook, and tweets, retweets, and favorites for Twitter.

Now we have expanded the Links You Shared table to include referrals from social media, Twitter, and Facebook. So if you shared a blog post link on Facebook or Twitter, you can not only see Facebook and Twitter stats for that link, you also get website referrals (from Facebook, Twitter, and all social media).

Markitty table:  Links you shared on Twitter and Facebook, with referrals to your website

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Improve Your “About Us” Page

How many views does your About Us page get?

For us, it’s in the top ten, if you include blog pages. If you don’t, it’s consistently in the top two, with the home page. That’s a pretty important page. And most businesses spend a lot of time and effort getting the home page right and don’t bother to optimize the About Us page.

When was the last time you updated your About Us page?

I rewrote our About Us page last week, to make it more user-centric and less self-indulgent. What we had earlier told our story: who the team is, how we built Markitty. But why should you care about that?

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Facebook Finally Explains Why All Your Fans Don’t See All Your Posts

Facebook has been recently making efforts to serve its business users, by dramatically improving Page Insights and adding other new features. Now it has started a Facebook for Business site with more resources for page owners and advertisers.

From the announcement:

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to amplify existing efforts, Facebook for Business can help you understand your options and choose the appropriate strategies. In the Getting Started section, you’ll find tips for meeting specific business goals, like increasing online sales or launching a new product. The Solutions section organizes our advertising tools and strategies by both product and industry.

This seems to be more geared towards advertisers rather than people looking for organic growth, but if you are spending on advertising, the extra resources to help you make more effective use of your money don’t hurt!

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Facebook Changes You Should Know About

Photo comments, embedded posts, more text in your page’s cover photo… there’s so much you can do with the recent changes Facebook made.

Use photo comments to increase fans’ engagement with your page and to crowdsource contentFacebook introduced photo comments: Ask your fans to submit pictures!

Facebook introduced photo comments, first for people and now for pages. You can now add a photo to your comment just like you can add one to your status. This is a great opportunity for businesses: you can ask your fans to submit photos through Facebook comments! For example, you can ask them to submit pictures of them of using your products or eating at your restaurant, and say you’ll use the best photo as your cover for a week.

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Facebook Insights: What’s Great and What’s Still Missing?

Facebook recently overhauled its Page Insights: i.e., the stats page owners get for their page. Let’s take a look at what’s great and what’s not.

Tour of Facebook's new Insights for pages

Facebook’s clearly made an effort to cater to its business users (or page owners) with the new Insights. Instead of being the difficult-to-understand, difficult-to-navigate mess the old Insights was, the new Insights (and the nice tour of it) talk directly to the user and actually offer insights. 

Continue reading Facebook Insights: What’s Great and What’s Still Missing?