Written by Stu Kushner

30+ Resources To Help You Excel at Facebook Advertising in 2014

By Sean Work

With over 1.3 billion active users, a treasure trove of user data, sophisticated targeting options and the opportunity to place content directly in your target audience’s line of sight (the News Feed), Facebook is a very appealing advertising platform for online marketers. And if the rapid rate at which Facebook is rolling out improvements to their advertising platform is any indication, it’s only going to become more and more appealing.

2013 was a big year for Facebook’s advertising business. The company revamped the ads platform and their Power Editor. This gave users a cleaner, friendlier interface, more useful and advanced reporting options and an objective-oriented ad experience. They also launched conversion tracking, allowing advertisers to directly attribute conversions on their websites and landing pages to Facebook ads.

We’re only a few months into 2014 and Facebook has already announced the rollout of Ad Sets, which allow users to organize their ads into sets within each campaign.

All these changes can make it hard to stay on top of best practices for the ad platform and ensure that your business is fully exploiting everything Facebook ads have to offer.

Don’t worry: I want to make your life easier! I’ve collected the best resources on Facebook advertising from around the web with a focus on what you need to know about the platform to stay ahead in 2014. This way, whether you’re just getting started with Facebook ads or looking to brush up on new features, you’ll know exactly where to go.

The Basics – Getting Started

1. Why Every Business Should Spend at Least $1 per Day on Facebook Ads – Consider this: “[Facebook Ads] are the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions ad in history. They average around $0.25 per 1,000, which is only 1% of the cost of TV.” If that doesn’t convince you that …read more    

Written by Stu Kushner

Video Advertising on the Web

Advertisers know that it’s hard for people to relate to a product unless there’s a name and a brand behind it. The advantage of personalizing a product is well known. Think of “Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice” or “Betty Crocker’s Pancake Mix” from the 30’s and 40’s. Those images, real or invented, became synonymous with the product.  Television brought both the product and the brand into the living room, and now the Internet sells it worldwide.

With so many companies now using the Internet to advertise and sell their products,

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Written by Stu Kushner

Effective Video Marketing

Video is a complex art form. And for businesses who want to exploit the internet’s ability to contact, interact and serve potential customers; there is nothing else that comes close to its power and effect. A well-designed, interactive video on the web is a great way to promote your products and services.  But getting the best out of it is often a challenge.

Welcome to the “Short Attention Span Internet”. The typical web browser’s attention span can be measured in seconds, so make sure your site’s style, content or message is compelling, and brief. Like a bathing suit: short enough to get their attention; long enough to cover the subject.

Let Them Know It’s a Video. A casual browser needs to know there’s a video to show.

Make it short! Two minutes may seem short to say everything you want to say. It really isn’t.

Make it professional! Hire an established video production company to produce your video. Arming an employee with a camcorder defeats the purpose.

The video is a virtual handshake.  Make your video like it was a personal meeting.  Be at the “front door” to greet your online “visitors” as you would at the office.  Even virtual visitors like to see warm bodies.

Sound is everything – there are countless videos on the web that don’t use sound. Effective videos combine sound with images. Video is not just being “visual”. After all, who pays to see a silent movie anymore?  That said, don’t be a “talking head”. It’s the internet — use it’s interactivity to “show and tell” your products and/or services.

Be interactive. Interaction keeps the web browser active, interested and involved; which is why hiring a professional video company with experience in web design and marketing can ensure a professional look to your site.

Web design, management,marketing
Written by Stu Kushner

Project Management of Website Designs

 Web design, management,marketingDesigning a website is complicated. First, we have to come up with a mockup design. Then we set up a temporary domain, host the site, install software, install additional specialized modules and then customizing it all to the specifications of the client. There is a lot more to it and when you add on the logistics of initiating an Internet Marketing plan, it becomes a very involved process that requires communications and cooperation among our team and the client staff.

Up until recently, we have been able to manage all of our projects internally using shared calendars, email and our contact management system. But as we have grown we are doing more and more projects at the same time. So, we decided to look into project management systems. And since all of our processes (contact management, scheduling, faxes and documents) are already in the cloud, we decided to find a suitable cloud solution.

We were already using HighriseHQ by 37Signals.com for our contact management. So, it seemed like the likely choice. But I had also heard good things about CodeBaseHQ.com. So, we took a look at that too. CodeBase is very powerful but seemed to be geared towards very complex projects. And it was not nearly as easy to use as Basecamp. So, it was an easy choice. We chose Basecamp.

We setup a Template that describes all of the steps involved with developing a website and initiating an Internet Marketing campaign. It was a lot of work to get the template designed and to add all of our current projects into BaseCamp. But it only took a couple of days to get everything working right. Then we invited all of our clients to share the Projects. Now, we are all aware of what where we are in the Project, what needs to be done and communicating with each other within the system.

I highly recommend Basecamp for project management because it helps insure good communications, effective management and that makes for happy clients.

Written by Stu Kushner

“Browsing” the Web

Web Sites are virtual “store fronts”. Like store fronts, what they see in the window should encourage them to “come in and browse!” That’s why we call the software a “Browser”.  In both cases, potential customers are “window shopping” – even if they don’t use “Windows”.

Imagine someone browsing in a book store. They go to the section they’re most interested in: Fiction, History, Biography, etc. They might see a title that interests them; typically they’ll read the book jacket to get an idea of what’s in the book. They might open the book and read a few pages, and eventually they’ll check the price. They may do that several times before making a decision. That decision was based on their “Browsing Experience” – and the eventual choice was based on what they saw when browsing.

Websites are more than just advertisements – like a store display, its designed to catch the eye, entice one to look a little more, delve a little deeper. A website is both an Advertisement and often the store itself!

A website predicts who the browser will be.  It’s also your “Book Jacket” – enticing someone to open and “browse”.

Some hints:

  1. Most visitors will NOT read the entire Web page; so show your “wares” and make your sales “pitch” obvious and easy to see.
  2. Make text and headers short and enticing. Use “white space” to break up information, and break up large parcels of information into smaller chunks, and on different pages.
  3. A page that takes more than 7 seconds to download loses customers. Lots of text and photos may slow display times in older browsers.
  4. “A picture says a thousand words”.
  5. Use hyperlinks sparingly. Too many links make your website a maze.
  6. Getting Feedback is a good! Invite them. Leave one now, please, in the field below!!!
Written by Stu Kushner

A Short History of The “Website”

The first web pages appeared in August of 1991, as a simple, text-based page with some links.  It basically told what the World Wide Web was all about.

For the archeologically minded, a copy of the the website still exists online.

Early sites were entirely text-based, with minimal graphics and no “layout” to speak of, mostly just headings and paragraphs. Web sites then were entirely text-based with a single-column design and inline links. Initial versions of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and allowed only a basic content structure: headings, paragraphs, and links. Eventually, new versions of HTML allowed the addition of images and later tables were added.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was established in 1994. Its purpose was to set HTML as the standard format for web pages in order to prevent individual companies from building proprietary browsers and programming languages that would minimize the overall purpose and effect of the web as a whole.

“Table-based” layouts came next, giving more options to designers of websites. Designers discovered that it could also add structure to their designs, creating more multi-column layouts.

These table-based designs grew in complexity, with background images that often gave the illusion of a simpler structure to the website. “Spacer” GIFs were used to control whitespace.

HTML sites were very limited in their design options, especially when built with early versions of HTML. The introduction of Flash technology to web design (late 1990′s – early 2000′s), and the popularization of DHTML techniques consisting of several new web technologies such as JavaScript for creating interactive and animated page elements, allowed users to not just read static content, but also to interact with web content as well.

Where is web design headed? We’ll know when it gets here. Enjoy.

online marketing, website management,website design
Written by Stu Kushner

Is your website mobile ready?

As you can see from the chart below, mobile searches are increasing and are predicted to be equal to desktop searches in just 18 more months. What this means is that your business website needs to be mobile-compatible. This is also referred to as a responsive website design.

 online marketing, website management,website design

A responsive design enables a website to reconfigure its layout and design to fit different screen sizes and resolutions. So that when your website is viewed on a tablet or on a smartphone, it still looks great and is easy to view and to navigate.

This is a responsive website.

You can see how it will look on a smaller screen by simply dragging the bottom right corner of your browser up and left until the screen is the size of a mobile phone. As you drag, the images and menu automatically resize and the content re-position  to fit down the screen so that the visitor only needs to scroll up and down.

Now go to your business website and try this test. If your site does not adjust for a smaller screen, it means your site is not responsive and it will not be as effective at keeping your visitors engaged . We do mobile website conversions.

So, please contact us for a free quote on making your website responsive.

internet marketing,SEO
Written by Stu Kushner

Getting Client Reviews

internet marketing, SEO

Mr. Google and the rest are striving to give great search results. They want to put the best companies at the top of the first page. That is their goal. So, the importance of on-line reviews is critical. Google sees all of them. And a big part of how you rank in search results is based on how your clients express their opinion in online reviews. And your potential customers feel the same way. A recent study showed that 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And if you get a bad review it becomes even more important to “dilute” that with a few (or many) positive ones.

Get Reviews and Track Them

The first step is to establish a presence on the major review websites. Yelp, Merchant Circle, Google+, Yahoo Local, Patch, etc. are established review sites that people trust. You need to have a presence on all of them. Doing this might seem impossible or too hard. But we have a system that automates the whole process. So, let us know if you want help with this.

The next step is asking. Get out on your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and post a request for a review. Include a link to Google+, Yelp etc. or to a form on your website. And if they leave one, be sure to ask them for permission to use it for promotions. Also ask after you complete a project. That is always the best time. Timing is critical. And that depends on your business and the nature of the work you do. Sometimes you can ask right away and sometimes you need to wait a month so that they are certain things are right with your project. Simply followup with an email that asks them to go to a review website or to your online form.

Once you get a review and you have asked permission to promote it, put it on your website. My favorite method is to have testimonials fade in and out in a sidebar. David Bach has 20+ reviews in his website. So, we were able to create a nice unending random display of them. They add credibility to the website and help create a level of comfort for the new visitors.

Another option is to gamify your reviews. Is gamify a word? Anyway, a system like PunchTab.com enables visitors to earn entries into a raffle for a prize by “liking”, friending, tweeting and sharing your website.

Getting all of this done is something we can help you with. We can get your company into 45 business website directories and we can create a dashboard for monitoring all of your reviews. This is called Reputation Monitoring. Please contact us, if you need assistance or want more information. A free Business Directory Listing Report is available upon request.

Newsletter,SEO,content writing
Written by Stu Kushner

Blog posts become Newsletter content

Newsletter,SEO,content writing

Our Newsletter

Does this look hard? The thought of creating a monthly newsletter is a huge turn-off for most small business owners. Challenges come up like, “Who has the time?” and “What will I talk about?”. It is the same challenge faced by business owners when we try to encourage them to blog about their expertise on their website. Well, this newsletter is proof that a small business owner can do it. We get it done and we can do it for you.

The most effective use of blog articles on your website are to take those postings and to push them out to your social sites to a Facebook Fan Page, LinkedIn and Twitter. And if you can write just four articles a month, they can be compiled into a newsletter that can be sent out to your email contacts. We use Constant Contact to compose our monthly newsletter. There are a lot of good email systems out there. So, pick one and get to work. You can write just one quick article a week. 350 to 400 words is long enough. Nobody really has the time to read a long story. They want the information and knowledge and they want it fast. So, tell your story, make your point.

And, if you need help, we can write articles, add them to your website, push them out to your social sites and then compile them into a nicely designed monthly newsletter. All you have to do, is send us a check every month. Ha!

website design, website marketing
Written by Stu Kushner

Don’t Host Your Own Website

website design, website marketingMy cousin has a website. His name is M. I won’t say his real name because his website is so bad that I would be embarrassing him to publicize it. It was created in 1990 by his intern. It is horrible. That said, he is very interested in having me design a new website for him and I would love to do that but there is one major issue.

He wants to host the site himself.

For M, I think he feels like he will save money on hosting. We don’t charge very much to do a website design. But we do charge to host, manage and do marketing work on the website. This pricing structure enables us to work on the site and to maintain an ongoing relationship with our clients. So, we would have to charge a lot more to design the site if M insists on hosting it. But, that said, letting M host his own site is a mistake.

Why is it a bad idea?

Hosting a website requires a Server that has very specific software installed on it. He probably does not have a WordPress compatible Server. Also, websites today are nothing like websites designed in 1990. Back then, most sites were in HTML. Today, most sites are built around CMS platforms (like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal) that create a complicated framework around the site. This framework provides amazing new tools for business. It gives the business executive total control of his/her content and great marketing tools too. Hosting his own site is an admirable goal but impractical. Websites are complicated. They can get hacked, viruses and they can crash.

Everything is complicated. I don’t do my own taxes and I don’t fix my car. I leave it up to professionals so that I can concentrate on the things I know how to do best. Don’t host your own website. Leave it to the professionals.

Your comments are welcomed.

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