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Posts from February 2014

February 26, 2014

Will Infographics Make a Big Difference in SEO in 2014?

Fotolia_19046814_Subscription_XLIf you are spearheading SEO or SMO for your small startup company, as many professionals find themselves doing in this day and age when social media is no doubt the biggest and most powerful marketing tool, you will likely have an opinion on infographics. Whether the popular and interactive form of data visualization is the blinking bane of your existence or the brightest and shiniest tool in your toolbox of tricks of the trade, there is no question that infographics are a daily player in your marketing work.

But the question that is in the heads of all who are involved in the promotion of their companies or organizations via social media is not whether infographics are a useful aid at pulling in customers or users. Rather, the question is whether infographics are here to stay, or not, in 2014. Because they are ever evolving, like their internet home, into new, informative and aesthetically pleasing visual assistants, infographics are invaluable and not limited to one style, shape or demographic. When it comes to presenting a good chunk of statistics, knowledge, or a plea for help, infographics are a succinct and memorable way of reaching out to a large and diverse audience with only a single graphic. Especially when it comes to fundraising campaigns, activism and raising awareness, and telling an important story that can only be told with both pictures and text, infographics are essential to modern story telling via online media.

Infographics are not going the way of the dodo bird in 2014. Instead, they remain the ultimate in visual aids: a visceral, colorful picture that tells a story in its imagery, information, styling and context. When fair arguments can be made that claim that creating more infographics is beating a proverbial dead horse, and that they are a content marketing trend that is done and over with, one must also realize that they have been such a valuable tool because they do work well. The answer to enjoying a successful 2014 is not banishing infographics to the back of the marketing closet, but developing and forging them into a useful tool that can carry its weight into the future. In order to hone and shape infographics to look like the current SEO scene, it is necessary to get more creative with them than has been the trend in the recent year. This means adding the element of motion to infographics, for example, or 3D visuals.

The ultimate point of infographics is no longer to gain back linking traffic or kick a number of keywords into motion via Google, but is now to be relevant, locally oriented, and impressive to customers and users. Visual.ly is the online world's number one site in terms of finding infographics that are pre-made to tell a story for you or to gain inspiration for creating one of your own. Finding graphics on everything from ancient Roman history to census data to the origins of coffee is a cinch on their website, and you will be able to get a grip on the design aesthetic of some of the most successful and popular infographics that have ever been. Carry your infographics proudly into the year 2014 and don't hold them to what they started as or what they have been. Adding other media elements into your infographic scheme, such as motion, HD quality imagery, interactively changing data, and sound can transform the graphic into a more cinema-esque experience rather than the still pictures that can no longer capture reader's attention as they used to.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 [at] gmail [dot]com.

February 14, 2014

The Rise of Mobile Gaming

Since the development of mobile technology, gaming on the go has become big business. Whether you play solitare or online slots you will have no doubt found yourself travelling on the bus wondering how you ever used to get through the dull journeys with out a gaming device. The casino gaming market is one that has expanded at a remarkable rate since the mobile gaming boom. The below infographic produced by JackpotCity highlights the rise in mobile gaming. Looking at past advances, the future looks very bright indeed.



February 10, 2014

Review and Reflect: A Look Back at the Marketing Trends

Fotolia_19046814_Subscription_XLHere we go again – with 2014 in full swing, let's take a look at a few of the trends that helped shape online marketing in recent past. 

Big Data View Downsizes  

Massive amounts of data exists and tons more is being generated on a regular basis. According to one infographic, three billion people will be using the internet by 2015, driving the amount of data generated and shared online to nearly 8 zettabytes. The typical consumer creates scores of information without thinking about it, but it is the business community attributing to the most activity by far. What changed about this trend in 2013 is the notion that it's exclusively reserved for large companies with large budgets. 

Juggling a mix of sources that may include email campaigns, social media interactions, and customer satisfaction surveys, small to medium sized businesses are generating information at the volume, variety, and velocity scale that defines big data. Realizing the impact of data-driven decisions, these smaller organizations are reaching out for technologies that enable them to unlock the value of their data. While analytics has long been common, marketers have just recently begun to look beyond standard tools like Google Analytics to aid in sorting, analyzing, and using data to fueling their marketing strategies. 

Google+ Grows in Importance

For many companies small and large, social media is a key part of the marketing mix. By creating a presence in the social space, brands can reach a bigger audience, boost user engagement, and build the type of relationships that foster greater loyalty in their customers. Google entered the social media space in the summer of 2011 with Google+, but the social network saw its biggest growth spurt in 2013 by far. 

The latest data reveals that Google+ has 300 million active users, up nearly 60% from the 190 million recorded back in May. This social platform was high on the list of emerging trends for 2012, and sure enough, businesses have responded  by latching on. Initially, the appeal to Google+ was its connection to authorship, which is the mandatory step that must be taken to boost visibility through Google's Author Rank program. But thanks to updates that have improved media, Android integration, and the overall experience in general, it is now a core component in more social marketing strategies. 

Mobile Still A Priority in Transition

Mobile marketing always seems to find itself in the discussion of annual trends, and this may very well be the case for many years to come. Although mobile is seen as a common luxury in our society, several businesses are still making the transition while draped in the traditional mentality. In fact, numerous marketers took some of those crucial steps this year by:

Creating mobile-friendly websites

At the very least, every business should have a website that treats the user to an optimal browsing experience from their mobile device. 

Developing apps for business

Mobile apps offer a unique opportunity to increase brand awareness, engagement, and loyalty by leveraging a trend on pace to reach $26 billion this year. 

Mobilizing email communications

With statistics showing that 48% of emails are opened on some type of mobile device, mobile email communications have become an ideal way to ensure that your marketing message reaches customers on the go. 

Devising location-based strategies

Thanks to GPS and services like Foursquare, businesses can reach customers with timely, highly targeted content designed to bring them in the door and encourage spending. 

Buying mobile ads

Businesses that know the landscape a bit are pitching their chips into ads that reach  consumers through games, social media, and other mobile entry points. Recent data shows that mobile ads have reached more than $3 billion in the first half of 2013 alone. 

QR Codes On the Rise

I wouldn't go as far as to say they're widespread, but quick response (QR) codes are slowly but surely catching on. The codes can be easily scanned by mobile devices and as far as applications, can be deployed in a wide variety of usage scenarios. JC Penny, for example, launched the Santa Tag, which is incorporated on gift boxes you can scan with your smartphone to hear a personal message recorded by the person who bought you the gift. The sky is limitless when it comes QR codes and to be honest, we haven't even begun to tap into their potential. 

2013 saw quite a few trends that are sure to carry over into 2014. Which marketing trends are you bringing into this year? 


 Author Bio:

Aidan Hijleh is a marketing expert and freelance blogger for Benchmark Email. An accomplished writer and former nonprofit organization liaison, he works with numerous top-tier blogs to deliver valuable intel to the small business owner. Some of the major blogs he has contributed to includes Search Engine Journal and DIY Marketers. Get more from Aidan on Twitter and Google+

February 04, 2014

8 Myths About Twitter for Business You Shouldn't Believe

Twitter can be a fantastic asset for your business and it’s one of the best inexpensive marketing tools out there. There are some pervasive myths out there that may be leading your business astray. Here are
eight Twitter myths your business should never believe…

Twitter_logo_blue1. Twitter is just for socializing, not for business.
There are over 5 million small business accounts alone on Twitter, and plenty more “big fish,” too. People are increasingly looking to Twitter for reliable information directly from companies.

2. Customers from Twitter don’t covert.
Nope. The trick is Tweeting to the right people at the right time. Posting lunch specials to your target audience at 11:00am can actually lead to sales!

3. Twitter is a promotional tool.
Twitter works best when it’s used as a content-sharing tool, and contrary to popular belief, your company’s marketing materials aren’t content! Think about what your customers actually want to absorb.

4. You need to Tweet a bunch to get noticed.
In fact, there’s a happy medium. Tweeting too much (think: 10+ times a day) will get you ignored or unfollowed, and not enough will leave people thinking you’re inactive. Aim for 2-5 Tweets per day.

5. Twitter for business should be very professional.
The great thing about Twitter is that it’s casual and conversational! Your company’s tone on the site should be a little more laid back, humorous, and approachable than on the company website.

6. Businesses should just follow everyone.
No way! It’s important to cultivate a group of followers/people to follow based on who you think can influence potential customers, be receptive to what you have to say, and also who will buy.

7. Twitter is totally free.
Not exactly. Paying for promoted Tweets may be a smart way to gain new followers and at the very least, maintaining a Twitter account costs the time someone’s spending to do so.

8. Businesses should be hands-off on Twitter.
One of the most effective things businesses can do on Twitter is offer customer service! The more time you spend replying to comments and searching trending topics, the more customers will look for you on the site.

Twitter is a terrific tool if your business uses it right. Ignore the myths and build a social strategy one follower at a time!


Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development.  In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.


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