Facebook Marries Skype (Again)?

skype-facebook-loveThe social media realm is about  to have a new sheriff in town.

The larger-than-life social network Facebook will reportedly be releasing a Skype-driven video chat platform.

Facebook’s Seattle-based tech team was behind the new feature, according to Techcrunch. Skype and Facebook were already in cahoots with a function that integrated Facebook social data directly into the Skype client. Now it looks like Skype will be coming to Facebook.

Rumors have circulated before about such a product, but it never materialized.

The report is sparse on details about how it will function. Will it require a software download? Will it support group video chat? No doubt it will be a major addition to the Facebook platform. Google+, the search engine giant’s answer to Facebook, launched with a group video chat feature, Google+ Hangouts. Google is seeing a lot of traction with the feature, but if Facebook can release a video chat product next week, Google+ Hangouts may not seem as revolutionary.

source: Mashable

Google Research: People Use Smartphones to Buy, Buy, Buy

A Google-commissioned study on smartphone usage has confirmed just how addicted we are to our devices and revealed how we use them to help make purchasing decisions.

The data, which were laid out by Google in detail during a webinar yesterday, revealed a ton of information about how we use the devices in general. A couple of takeaways were particularly interesting for businesses large and small.

Yeah, So We’re Addicted. So What?

For starters, 89% of smartphone owners use them on a daily basis, and many of them interact with their devices several times per day. People even said they’d rather give up such pleasures as chocolate, beer and cable TV than do without their treasured electronic companions. This is hardly shocking news, but it confirms just how connected smartphone owners are to their devices, a fact that has a slew of implications for marketers and businesses in general.

The research showed where (at home and on the go, mostly) and how people use their smartphones. Interestingly, more people (81%) said they browse the Web on their device than said they use native applications (68%). For ecommerce sites and other businesses, these numbers suggest that investing in one’s mobile-optimized Website could be more important than building native apps.

How Smartphones Help Us Buy Things

One thing for which people seem to use their iPhones, Blackberrys and Android devices quite a bit is shopping. Nearly 80% said they use their phones for shopping and shopping-related activities and 70% use their phones in stores.

Most people (67%) said they use their smartphone to do product research and then purchase an item in a store, followed by the 23% who research on their phones, check the product out in the store but then ultimately purchase it online.

 

The researchers also looked at what types of actions people take after conducting a mobile search. More than half (53%) ended up making a purchase and 68% visited a business online or in person.

Google Says Mobile Ads Work

People are far more likely to notice ads when using their smartphones than they are in many other circumstances. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they noticed mobile ads, and about half of them said they were likely to take some kind of action as a result, whether it be conducting more research or actually making a purchase.

The study was conducted by interviewing 5,013 U.S. adults (aged 18-64) about their phone usage. Although these results pertain to American users, a representative from Google said they’ve seen similar data in other countries.

 from ReadWriteWeb

Facebook Friends and Quality Likes That You Actually Want

social media

Facebook Friends and Quality Likes

As a business with a Facebook fan page, it’s natural to want to gather as many friends and Likes as possible. As always, though, it’s quality over quantity that will bring you the best return.

Take a few moments to see if you want them as a friend/Like. Check out their Info page and determine if they are interested in similar things, and check out their wall posts, if it is available, to see if they post offensive things, play Facebook games all day, or post gifts all over people’s profiles.

  1. Accept people who appear to have good morals, who post encouraging messages, inspirational quotes, and basic status updates. Pay attention if they cuss in every sentence, have poor grammar, and talk about things that make you uncomfortable — and don’t accept their friend request.
  2. Check their wall for several game posts. People who play a lot of Facebook games may send you lots of game invites or harass you with games status updates.
  3. Be careful allowing third-party applications to have access to your Facebook account. Sometimes these are people who are trying to get your personal information, attack, or hijack your account for your personal info. Just like with email, don’t click on any suspicious links that could be a virus.
  4. On their Info page, are they interested in activities and things that pertain to the content of your posts, products, or services? Those are the people you want to extend a friend invite to, or accept their request.
  5. If anyone becomes a nuisance, you can always unfriend them. The option is at the bottom of that person’s profile page on the left-hand side. They will not receive a notification that you have unfriended them.
  6. If you take out a paid ad on your page or group, make sure you filter it with people who have interests in what you provide, but with whom you do not already have a connection.

Apple and Hulu? Could it Be?

internetBreaking Media News

Apple and Hulu? Could it Be?

Hulu’s owners, which also include Comcast Corp’s NBC Universal and Providence Equity Partners, have begun preliminary sale talks with about a dozen potential buyers, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corporation.

The video site is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and NBC Universal.

The purchase could help solve Apple’s $76.2 billion conundrum. That’s how much money Apple has in its coffers, according the Wall Street Journal and investors have begun asking Apple how it plans to put that money to work.

The Journal said that some investors are pushing for Apple to return it to shareholders as dividends.

The paper’s All Things D”  blog said on Friday, however, that while Apple has met with Hulu’s bankers to kick the tires, Hulu is not a likely target for Apple.

The blog says that although Apple clearly can afford to buy Hulu, its core free-ad supported business is not to Apple’s taste. We shall see.  Two media giants doing the tango. Where will the chips land?

courtesy: MSNBC News

How Huge is Google+?

google-plusGoogle’s social network, Google+, might be one of the fastest-growing networks ever, having already reached 10 million users according to one estimate.

Paul Allen, of Ancestry.com — not to be confused with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — has developed an interesting method to calculate the number of Google+ members.

He sampled a number of surnames from the U.S. Census Bureau data and compared it to surnames of Google+ users. By comparing surname popularity in the U.S. with the number of users on Google+ with each surname, he can guesstimate the percentage of the U.S. population that signed up for Google+. Finally, he calculated a ratio of U.S. to non-U.S. users to generate an estimate for the number of Google+ users worldwide.

The result? Google+ has approximately 9.5 million users worldwide, with 2.2 million joining in the past 32 to 34 hours, according to Allen’s estimates.

This is amazing growth even for a giant such as Google: We cannot remember any social network reaching so many members so quickly after its release.

Coming from a third party, the data is obviously unofficial (we asked Google for comment on these numbers, but haven’t heard from them) and should be taken with a grain of salt. If they’re true, though, they indicate that — after a few missteps— Google might finally be conquering the social networking arena.

10 Biggest Internet Marketing Myths Exposed

internet marketingBy David Jackson (c) 2011

Merriam-Webster defines a myth as “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.”

It’s been said all myths are based in fact. Whether or not that’s true is debatable. What isn’t debatable, however, is like society, Internet Marketing also has its myths. This article exposes what I consider to be the 10 biggest Internet Marketing myths.

1. You Don’t Need Any Money to Do Business on the Internet

You wouldn’t expect to advertise on TV, radio, in newspapers, magazines, or any other media for free would you? Yet, for some strange reason, people think they can just come online and not spend any money, and advertise their business for free. To me, that shows an utter lack of respect for the single most important communication medium since television.

And while it’s true, there are plenty of free advertising opportunities available on the Internet, the fact remains, you still need money to effectively do business on the Internet.

2. Anyone Can Succeed at Internet Marketing

One of my favorite TV shows is Forensic Files. I am absolutely fascinated at how scientists are able to solve crimes with DNA evidence, animal hairs and insect larvae. It’s nothing short of brilliant. But I couldn’t ever be a forensic scientist. I simply don’t have the mental aptitude for it. Forensic scientists have to excel at math and chemistry and science, and quite frankly, those are the subjects I’m weakest at.

The same can be said about Internet Marketing. Despite how easy the slick sales letters and e-books make IM sound, not everybody has the mental aptitude for marketing. And while that may be a hard pill to swallow for many of you reading this, it’s also a fact. Not everybody has what it takes mentally to succeed at Internet Marketing. That’s why people hire marketing consultants like me. (Sorry, I’m not accepting any new clients).

3. You Can Get Rích Quick on the Internet

We’ve all heard the sensationalistic stories about individuals who came online and made a lot money very quickly. Well, sensationalism notwithstanding, those individuals are the exceptions rather than the rule. The fact of the matter is, far more people fail at Internet Marketing than succeed.

Contrary to popular belief, the Internet is not some kind of magic bullet. Besides, it’s not the medium that makes people successful, it’s the individuals themselves. And the people who succeed at the highest level online or offline are generally talented, hard working, organized, focused and determined.

4. People Don’t Read Long Copy on the Internet

If people don’t read long copy on the Internet, who in the heck is reading all those e-books out there in the marketplace? While this myth was disproven years ago, like birtherism, it still persists in the face of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary. So, I’m going to attempt to lay it to rest, once and for all.

Research has shown that long copy generally outperforms short copy – provided the copy is compelling, well-written and interesting. And in addition to reading e-books, people regularly read long newspaper and magazine articles online. Bottom line: People WILL read long copy IF the subject matter is interesting to them.

5. All Traffic is Good Traffic

This myth is about as nonsensical as the tooth fairy. Here are the facts: If your traffic is originating from traffic exchanges or guarantéed traffic programs, it’s garbage traffic, plain and simple. And as the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out!”

If you are advertising on websites, or in publications that have zero relevance to your site, you are pretty much spinning your wheels. And if you’re exchanging links with websites that have absolutely nothing in common with your site, your efforts are going to be futile because that traffic is not going to convert. All traffic is not created equal. Quality and relevance matters!

6. E-mail Marketing is Dead

With the advent of mega-popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, alarmists have all but declared e-mail marketing dead and buried. Well, I don’t believe in erroneous declarations. I believe in facts. And here are the facts according to Nielsen…

U.S. consumers are spending more and more of their Internet time on their mobile devices. In fact, e-mail activity on mobile devices increased from 37.4% to 41.6% of U.S. mobile Internet time. And when you consider the fact smartphones now comprise 25% of a gigantic U.S. mobile phone market, there can only be one conclusion… E-mail marketing isn’t dead, its gone mobile!

7. Article Marketing Isn’t as Effective as It Used to Be

That is absolute nonsense! I’m personally experiencing more success with article marketing than I ever have. So too are many of my colleagues. And while it’s true, there are many more people involved in article marketing these days, it’s also true, there are many more bad or poorly written articles permeating the Internet. This has the unintended and beneficial consequence of making well-written, quality articles stand out in the crowd. And trust me, quality publishers do notice.

8. You Need to Be on the First Page of Google to Be Successful

Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Google is far and away the most popular search engine on the planet. No sane person would dispute that. But Google only has ten spots available on the first page. So, not only is it unrealistic, it’s impossible for everyboody to achieve first page status.

But even if it were possible for everybody to achieve first page status, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in Google’s basket anyway. You’ve seen what can happen when Google has one of its many algorithm changes. First page today, not even indexed tomorrow. That’s why you should strive to have a multi-pronged marketing approach. Utilize a variety of methods to generate traffic.

For example, blogging, newsletters, social networking, article marketing, forum marketing, online and offline advertising, guest blogging, question and answer sites, etc. Diversify.

9. Saturated Niches are No Longer Profitable

This is only true if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let me ask you a question: Have you ever wondered why a particular niche is saturated? It’s because that’s where all the customers are. You see, contrary to popular belief, it really doesn’t matter how saturated or over-crowded a niche is if you’re a professional.

If you know what you’re doing, and execute your marketing strategy properly, there are plenty of customers to go around. You see, it’s how well you position yourself within a particular niche that will determine your success or failure. It’s all about differentiating yourself from your competitors. That’s Marketing 101.

You have to clearly explain to people what makes you different and/or better than your competitors. Then, you have to exploit those differences consistently. So, don’t run away from a crowded niche, embrace it. The Internet Marketing pie is plenty big enough for everybody.

10. If You Build It, They Will Come

Do you know what happens if you build a website and don’t tell anyone about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing will happen.

Unfortunately, far too many marketers think all they have to do is build a website and customers will somehow magically appear at their doorstep. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. Building a website is only the first step. You also have to advertise your website to the world – and not just with free advertising methods either. That will only take you so far. You also have to be willing to spend money on paid advertising.

So yes, if you build it, they will come. But only if they know about you!

How Internet Marketing Can Benefit A Business

In our current society,  the internet is an integral part of our existence. Almost everyone uses the internet in some way, shape, or form. It doesn’t matter what  type of business you’re in at this time, if you do  not include online marketing as part of your business strategy, you’re losing out to your rivals.  If you’re considering getting your company online, you need to understand a few of the major advantages of online marketing. The energy created by the internet is almost tangible and if you’re utilizing it properly  you are able to grow and expand your company rapidly and cost effectively.

One major advantage of online marketing for your company is enhanced communication channels. With online marketing, you are able to open communication lines with your clients 24 hours a day worldwide as long as you have an internet connection. Online marketing also offers your company an inexpensive selling tool that may increase your distribution network as it pertains to products and services. Increasing numbers of people are using the web to purchase whatever tickles their fancy. It’s very efficient simply because people can browse offerings without having to leave their home or office.  Another outstanding advantage of online marketing is that it is less expensive to advertise in comparison to traditional physical business advertising or traditional promotional initiatives.  You will find no paper pamphlets or fliers are necessary.  This enables you to conserve space for storage as well. Another online marketing benefit is that you’ll have the ability to reach an incredible number of potential clients every day with less effort than conventional methods.

The world will be your oyster. People can access your site and see everything with a few clicks of the mouse. Online marketing if done correctly will bring you plenty of clients and an elevated amount of sales. The constant maintenance of the online marketing campaigns can also be a lot cheaper in comparison with the traditional mode of advertising. For those who have a web-based store, then you’ve the benefit of being open every single day of the season. Online marketing has the benefit of your virtual storefront being open twenty four hours and seven days per week without resting.
If you wish to grow and expand your company without investing an arm and a leg, then you ought to be using online marketing. Should you not, you’re sacrificing lots of money that is up for grabs. However, before you decide to jump on the online marketing bandwagon, please make certain you are ready for the action.  Create a strategy and be ready for your business to grow.

SEO Benefits of Blogging

By Kristin Page (c) 2011

Adding a blog to your website is a big decision, but it is something that every company should consider. A regularly updated blog can give people a reason to visit your website more often, and there are also SEO (search engine optimization) benefits to keeping a company blog.

Perhaps you’ve thought about starting a blog for your company, but you’re not sure it will be worth the extra work. Here’s a rundown of the SEO benefits to help you decide.

More Content for Search Engines

Most websites have a fairly limited number of pages, and a limited number of words per page. Adding a blog means you can regularly create rich content, and include the keywords you’re trying to rank well for in search results. You’ll be giving search engines more pages and content to crawl on your site, and more opportuníty to see your important keywords.

For every blog post you write, you are giving yourself the chance to add content containing five to 10 new keywords. Some of these keywords could actually be longer phrases containing keywords you’re already trying to rank well for in search results.

These longer phrases – called “long tail keywords” by SEO professionals – can be easier for you to rank well for. That’s because, as a keyword phrase gets longer, there are fewer instances of it in search engine indexes. In effect, there’s less competition for top rankings in results for searches on those keywords.

For example, a gardening supplies website could add a blog that offers gardening advice. Perhaps the company wants to improve its online sales of bulbs. Of course, the website will have pages selling spring bulbs, autumn bulbs and summer bulbs. The blog could also have articles about spring bulb planting mixtures; bulb planting tools; autumn bulb soil amendments; summer bulbs for shade; and many, many more topics surrounding the word “bulbs.”

Every one of those phrases around “bulbs” is another keyword phrase. By adding lots of articles that include these phrases, the gardening supplies site would be signaling to Google that it has plenty of information about bulbs. The site’s pages would show up higher in more searches that include the word “bulbs.”

The more pages of your website you can get into the top slots of search engine results, the more potential website visitors you will have.

Updated Content for Search Engines – and People

Search engines don’t like it when we allow websites to get out-of-date. Having a blog encourages people to update their websites more often.

When a new URL is added to your sitemap from a blog entry, search engines have a reason to come back to your website, crawl its pages, and possibly adjust its rankings of your pages. If your content just sits there and isn’t ever updated, search engines have no reason to re-crawl your site.

Updating your blog frequently will give people a reason to return often to see what’s new. It also gives them a reason to subscribe to your RSS feed. If you update your blog with information about your new products – or new uses for your products – you could generate more sales.

Link Power

One of the key elements of search engine optimization is links – not just inbound links to your website, but outbound links from your site to others.

When you link to other websites, you show search engines that you are trying to provide a good user experience for anyone who visits your website by sending them to other information sources you’ve judged to be valuable. Because links are how search engines discover new Web pages, you’re also doing those other sites a good turn.

You can link to important pages on your website from your blog. Doing that signals to search engines which pages have information you think your blog readers will find valuable. While this won’t automatically shoot your pages into the No. 1 spot in search results, linking to pages within your site will help search engines “see” the connections between your pages and their content.

Watch out for Duplicate Content

If there’s one thing you should not do with your blog, it’s duplicating content from another page of your website…or even worse, someone else’s website. Search engines try to avoid returning duplicate content in search results. If your pages are seen as mere duplicates of other web content, that can cause search engines to rank your pages lower than they would otherwise.

There are, however, times when it’s useful for your audience to republish material from another website. That’s called syndication. You should always get permission from the author, and attribute the material to the original source, with a link back to the original article. Pages with content you’ve syndicated from others may not ever rank as well as pages where you publish your own original content – but you’re providing a good experience for your visitors. That’s not ever a bad idea.

To sum up, a blog is a great way for you to keep your website content fresh, boost your rankings in search results, and give people a reason to visit your site frequently. You don’t have to be a slave to your blog, and there’s no law saying it has to be updated daily, or even weekly. Start with once a month, and grow from there.


5 Top Traffic Sources For Your Site

By Titus Hoskins (c) 2010

I believe if you asked any webmaster or online marketer what their most important aspect of running a site would be, you would get an answer that’s some way related totraffic. Mainly because traffic is your site’s lifeblood, actually without traffic you really don’t have a site at all.

Traffic is King

Traffic brings in the leads and the sales. Quality trafficis what produces your online revenue, whether from advertising or from sales on your site. Now, I have sites which get less than 50 visitors a day, I have a few sites which get around 200 visitors and I have one site which gets around 2,000 visitors a day.

Don’t jump to any conclusions, some days the site getting 50 visitors can make just as much as the site getting 2,000 visitors. It all has to do with the quality of the traffic and how well it converts into a sale. And of course, it all depends on what you’re selling… an LCD cleaning kit for $20 bucks or a gaming laptop which sell for $2000+.

Regardless, you have to get that traffic in the first place if you want to earn an online income. The more traffíc you have, usually, the more you will make; at least this has been my experience. Since traffic is very important to me, I keep a lot of records and stats on where my traffic is coming from on the web. I have to know what produces the quality traffic and how to get it.

So below I have listed down my 5 most important traffic sources and/or the marketing techniques I use to get that traffic. This list might also help you with your traffic and how you can grow it. Here are my 5 main traffic sources…

1. SEO and the Search Engines

The majority of the traffic to my sites comes from the search engines, mainly Google. It is my high rankings for my targeted keyword phrases which brings in the most and the best quality traffic to my sites. Get the SEO right and build a lot of quality one-way links from related sites and you will get the traffic. Another tactic, don’t just create a website with only 10 or 20 pages – create one with 1000 to 5000 pages. I know this takes time but consider your site like a long-term business which you will keep building for years. Produce plenty of quality content and you will get plenty of quality visitors in return. Works for me.

2. Article Marketing

Another very effective way to bring in quality traffic to your site or sites is article marketing. Just write short articles related to your site’s keywords and place your keyworded links in the resource box. Distribute these articles all over the web. Right now, what is working for me, is writing unique articles which I only place on one important site. I am using this technique with sites like SiteProNews, Buzzle and many more. Article marketing is still one of the most effective ways to get quality traffic, just try it.

3. PPC – Pay Per Clíck Advertising

I know, I know, this can be very expensive, but PPC can be the quickest way to get quality traffic to your sites. Just be careful and approach it with kid’s gloves until you find campaigns which work for you – then scale them up. Microsoft Adcenter and Yahoo Marketing have now joined forces and I find this is producing good traffic for me. Google Adwords is probably better, but they are a real pain to work with and have become too expensive, at least for my keywords. But if you have the resources, don’t rule out Adwords or any of the PPC programs.

4. Social Media Sites

From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, social media sites can provide a lot of traffic and word of mouth advertising for your site. For me, even though I haven’t worked these sites to their fullest potential, I still get traffic from them. Getting your pages bookmarked in some of these sites can bring in a flood of traffic overnight, while most of this traffic will be temporary, you can get a lot of sign-ups to your newsletter and different follow-up lists. While not exactly in the same group, I have had some success with YouTube videos which also bring in targeted traffic. Don’t ignore these social media and video sites in your traffic strategies.

5. Emaíl Marketing and Follow-up Lists

This is another one of my major sources of “repeat visitors” to my sites. You must be constantly building up your different contact lists for further follow-up. This will bring in more visitors than you would expect, especially if you put some simple viral messages in your emails. If you supply valuable information, people will recommend your content to friends and co-workers; again word of mouth can bring in a lot of traffic especially in this age of Facebook and Twitter.

Of course, there are other traffic sources such as Press Releases, Banner Ads, RSS Feeds, Off-line Advertising… and if you have your products to promote, affiliates and joint ventures will be your most valuable source of traffic.

Editor’s Note:

No single branch of the above traffic sources will sustain your site traffic on it’s own. You should be incorporating all of them into a well orchestrated internet marketing architecture that will allow for higher, quality traffic to your site. Remember, more traffic = more business and has been proven time and again.  If you need assistance in planning an effective internet marketing campaign, please contact iQuarius Media and we would be delighted to assist.

 

How to Write Effective Lead Capture Pages

By Ken Hoffman (c) 2011

There is quite a bit of confusion about the difference between a landing page and a lead capture page. A lead capture page is NOT the same as a landing page. For the sake of this article I will be talking about lead capture pages, NOT longer form copy for micro sites and landing pages that sell a product. Why?

Why A Lead Capture Page Is Important

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