Pinterest for Business

pin2Basically Pinterest is the ultimate social network platform that combines pinning things that interest you in sort of a digital scrapbooking. So, pin+interest has led to Pinterest, the ultimate online mood board. Needless to say that with over 10 million unique visitors per day Pinterest has become the 2nd or 3rd largest social platform on Earth. The biggest benefits of using Pinterest for business may be increasing your sales or lead generation. But how can you use Pinterest for your business?First of all, you’ll need to build a nice and interesting profile with enough information about you and what you do and add your website URL. Then it’s time to create interesting boards with some nice  images and make sure you add informative description for each one using one compelling focused keyword. Optimize image titles before uploading them and add backlinks to their source after you’ve pinned them. Create a board with your latest products/best sellers/ fav products. Also, follow other relevant boards by commenting, linking and spraying them.Now that we’ve gone through the basics of using Pinterest, let’s see which are the greatest benefits of using it. Well, if you haven’t figured out by not, Pinterest is all about visual.
So, the best way to profit from it is to showcase your products or images of your services in the most interesting and appealing way possible. If you also add a bit of your expertise and passion in a particular area, interested people will automatically like and re-pin your content and with a bit of luck help it go viral. All of this makes Pinterest a pretty unconventional way to reach would-be customers that might not get to know you in any other way. By demonstrating expertise and credibility and adding value, you can use Pinterest in the most fortunate way to help your business get more popularity.
Pinterest is a very reliable tool that can help your business grow if used wisely and creatively. You can use it to create board with the amazing products you sell or if you are a service business, you can create inspiration boards that everyone will like to save and re-pin. In the end, it is free, it’s fun and simple, so why not start using it today?

QR Codes: Dying Fad or Creative Marketing?

In the last few years we have seen QR codes become increasing popular. Their presence would indicate an impressive adoption rate among marketers. There is even a website dedicated to some of the most ridiculous places QR codes show up. Advertisers seem to love them but the questions remain as to how many users actually scan them. It’s important to take a look at both sides of the debate over QR codes to see if they are a creative tool or an annoyance for your brand.
qrLets start with a simple question, what is a QR code? A QR code or ‘Quick Response Code’ is basically a bar code that stores encoded pieces of information that can be decoded by a reader app. When a smartphone reader scans a QR code it actually takes a picture of the code and then identifies the code patterns to produce a desired result. In most cases the result is a website landing page or specific web content that is opened in the user’s mobile browser. Some smartphones do have QR scanners built in however the more popular phones, like iPhones, require a 3rd party app.
The real pitch with using QR codes is that they are ‘fun’ and require user interaction. There is a sense of anticipation as to what the output will be for the user. Today you’ll find QR codes in the strangest places. QR codes have been spotted on shirts, giant billboards, belt buckles, produce and just about everything else you can imagine. There really are no barriers to entry either. Just google “Free QR Code” and you will see a variety of different websites that will generate a unique QR code for you quickly that can be pointed to website or landing page.
Although they serve a great interactive and creative advertising purpose some will argue that the QR code is a fade that is slowly dying. When you think about the rate technology is moving this argument holds some weight. Success in mobile is all about speed. Devises are getting faster, more intuitive and asking a potential customer to launch an app, point it to a QR Code, wait for the app to process and produce a web page seems a bit arbitrary to some. The user could have been reading your content a lot quicker by typing a url into their browser. The whole QR experience seems anything but quick and convenient from this perspective.

Consumer Behavior

QR Codes were present in 1% of print advertising in January of 2011, a number which shot up to 6% by December of the same year. Advertisers obviously like them but the real question is are consumers actually scanning them. A report titled “9 Things to Know About Consumer Behavior and QR Codes”, released in January 2012 by Consumer Pulse, provided some insight. According to this report, 79% of respondents had never heard of a QR Code. However, when shown a picture of a QR Code, 81% of respondents claimed to have seen one before. The report also claims that ½ of smartphone users have scanned a QR code before and 70% did claim it was an easy process and 42% had mixed feelings about how useful they were. There figures do not convincingly support the argument in either direction but it does provide some solid evidence that when presented with a QR code, the majority of smart phone users will know what to do with it but roughly half may actually scan the code.

QR Code Best Practices

What this study tells us is at worst QR Codes are a fad that will fade quickly and best case, a great way to grab the interest of smartphone owners, but you will need some convincing that your target market is ‘QR savvy’ and will want to scan your code. The real problem for business owners comes down to how the code is used. Setting up a QR code to simply launch your website homepage is a waste of time for both you and the consumer. In order to get a user to want to scan the code you need to get creative. If you are placing a QR code on a product for example, have the code launch a page on your website that explains that product in more detail. If the QR code is going to be placed on an ad, have it launch to a specific landing page geared towards that ad or a page that generates a coupon. Envision the QR as a call-to-action on your website. By serving a specific purpose you may see better conversion rates.

SEO in the Simplest Terms

In the simplest terms, search engines work off an algorithm, in some cases multiple algorithms which are basically their internal formula for determining how valuable a website is.  Search engines will look at every page on your website and rank its level of importance. When people search for different topics the search engine knows what page on the site to return and ranks it according to how strong the search engine thinks your page is.
Google claims that over 200 variables are considered in their search algorithm, which is changed constantly. So there is no clear road map for absolute SEO perfection. We do however know there are key components to SEO which includes:

  1. Content on each page- how words are arranged. Does your page content include the exact word or phrase a user is searching?
  2. A Listing of specific products or services.
  3. Company Information- Names and Addresses.
  4. Testimonials.
  5. Are you providing help or advise, sharing your knowledge through a blog for example.
  6. Fresh content.

You’ll need to regularly monitor your efforts to ensure that they work.  Google Analytics is a great starting point. With the addition of a couple of lines of code to your website Google Analytics will output useful data to better evaluate your SEO performance. This includes seeing where geographically your visitors are coming from, whether they are returning or new visitors, the type of devise they are viewing the website on and also the keywords that were used to search for your website. If you are a 540 client and do not have Google Analytics already installed on your website please let us know and we will set it up free of charge.

Unfortunately I have seen clients fall victim to spam email traps like “Get your website #1 on Google” and it has ended up costing them in the long run.  Search Engine algorithms are constantly changing and concepts like multiple landing pages all over the web, redirects and title stacking are now being detected and will eventual hurt your ranking and in extreme case be all together banned from a search engine. True SEO is an ongoing process that evolves along with your business. Clean code, using elements like proper title and description tags certainly help but  it is more than code and keywords. Great content is the significant driving force, if you can produce excellent, keyword-rich content on a regular basis, you will be one step ahead of the competition!