Archive | October, 2011

Online branding the smart move

Many brands are not engaging with customers via mobile phones. Photo: Rebecca Hallas

OVER the next three years, mobile use of the internet will ”reign”, creating massive opportunities for marketers and advertisers. But with less than 7 per cent of brands using mobiles effectively, many risk being left behind.

According to several high-profile speakers at a forum on digital communications and marketing, the use of mobile devices to access the internet will continue to boom, with the number of smartphones recently overtaking old-school mobiles.

The number of Australians accessing the internet via mobile devices was higher than the average around the world, with people here spending 19.9 hours online a week, compared with 15 hours watching TV.


”What broadband did to the internet, mobile is going to be equally transforming. It [your mobile phone] is always on, it’s always in your pocket, it knows all about you, it has your personal details,” Mr Farrugia said.

He said the key ways for brands to engage consumers included text message campaigns, ensuring that their websites were optimal for mobiles and location-based marketing.

But many businesses were missing the opportunity to engage with customers via mobile devices. Bob Forster, a Google product specialist, said restaurants were way behind in their use of mobiles. Mr Forster said that at weekends, 32 per cent of queries about restaurants were via mobiles, but few restaurants used mobile-friendly marketing.

Using the example of the American Superbowl, he said the number of inquiries about brands via mobile devices while people were watching the game on TV grew by 100 to 300 per cent.

”Mobile is always going to be with us, mobile technology is developing eight times faster than any other technology. But people aren’t doing anything. Don’t wait until next year for best practice to emerge because next year best practice will be different and your mobile interface should be too,” Mr Foster said.

Jonathan Sinton, commercial director of TNS, a global market research company, said online retail was also being heavily influenced by the changing ways people used the internet.

Mr Sinton said there had been an 80 per cent increase in the past year in the number of people who were connected to a brand online, for example via social media.

He said people were increasingly going online as part of their shopping process, not just to research products before buying, but also to decide which store to buy goods at and to keep up with new products coming out after the initial purchase.

”Post-purchase we need to create comment and connection. The best way to be harnessing social media in 2012 will be getting people to talk about products online.”

 

Top 100 companies double their social media presence compared to last year

More than 80 percent of companies listed on The Wall Street Journal’s Asia 200 Index have a corporate social media presence, up from 40 percent last year, according to the 2011 Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study by leading global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Showing dramatic growth, the top companies in Asia closed the gap with Fortune 100 companies, where 84 percent of companies use social media channels for corporate marketing and communications.

Overall, however, companies in Asia continue to use social media to ‘push’ news and information at users, rather than engage in discussions, with 33 percent of activity across Asia-Pacific focusing on basic media and influencer outreach, as opposed to engagement on substantive corporate topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility or Thought Leadership. Only nine percent of firms surveyed use corporate blogs for corporate marketing and communications, despite their value in helping explain complex topics.

“More often than not Australian companies are taking a ‘build it and they will come’ approach to social media, creating platforms and populating it with company information and news, without adapting content or tone, based on audience response. It’s for this reason that we’ve seen a low level of audience engagement in this year’s study,” said Carly Yanco, Head of Digital at Burson-Marsteller Australia. “Social media use has evolved significantly in the last two years and companies need to evolve with it. It’s not about the latest feature on your product or a new service offering, it’s about the benefits they provide and the reason people will want to know about it.”

Key findings from the study include:

• 81 percent of top Asian companies have a branded corporate social media presence, over double the figure for 2010 and in line with the 84 percent of Fortune global 100 firms
• 31 percent of companies use at least three social media channels, up from three percent in 2010
• 19 percent of companies still have no official corporate social media presence
• 30 percent of companies use social networks for corporate marketing and communications, up from 20 percent in 2010
• 28 percent of companies use micro-blogs for corporate marketing and communications, up from 18 percent in 2010
• 62 percent of social media channels surveyed were inactive, and the same percentage of companies do
not promote their social media channels on their homepages

“The fact that twice as many Asian multinationals are using branded social media channels this year compared to last underlines the opportunity for global corporate communications on digital platforms based in Asia,” said Bob Pickard, President and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific. “Companies in Asia are approaching Western levels of adoption but there’s a long way to go when it comes to community engagement in cultures where ‘face’ remains more important than Facebook.”

The percentage of leading companies in Asia with dedicated video sharing channels is up 50 percent over last year to 12 percent. This is still below the global average of 57 percent as found by the Fortune 100 Social Media Check-up. Video is incredibly popular on the Internet and easily drives conversation, but the great majority of company video sharing channels are product marketing vehicles.

“To reach and persuade stakeholders today, it is not just the vocabulary and tone of corporate marketing and communications that must evolve,” said Bob Pickard. “More important, companies must adopt a mindset that puts listening and acting genuinely and transparently front and centre. And, they must understand how to deal with negative feedback expressed publicly that could resonate and escalate.”

 

Marketing Trends For the Future – 4 Online Marketing Trends That Are Taking Over

We all know if you own a business and are not online yet, you have a lot of catching up to do. People spend more and more time online. The tendency of consumers is to first look online to find the information they need, before turning to traditional methods such as television, radio, phone and print. It is important to understand marketing trends for the future and vital to start implementing them.

 

4 Online Marketing Trends For The Future

1. Online Video: This is perhaps the biggest in marketing trends for the future. Uploading a video under a desired category will help find more targeted traffic for your website. Video is a more interactive and personal way to speak to your customers and can get your message across better than print. More than 75% of a message is grasped when video is used instead of text. Recent studies have determined that over one billion people will be watching online videos in the next five years. That is a huge audience. This is one of the marketing trends for the future that you don’t want to miss.

2. Blogging: Creating a blog around the idea of your business, but not specifically about it, can attract people who are interested in the area you specialize in. For example, if you are a parent and have an online home business, don’t write a blog about your specific business; start a blog about being a work at home parent. In doing this, you will drive people who are also work at home parents, and those who want to be. The idea here is to be witty and genuine and never make it about recruitment. You also want to maximize conversation. Eventually your followers will be curious about what it is that you do or that allows you to have the lifestyle you write about. Make sure you have your business links on your blog so they can find it, and voila, some of those followers turn into customers.

3. Social Networking: We all have heard of it, and most of us have accounts. The two largest by far are Facebook and Twitter. Social networking is one of those marketing trends for the future that is becoming huge. It is thought that Facebook will eventually replace personal email. If you are a larger company, you can start a fan page. If you are a smaller business or home business just start simple. Get followers and build relationships with them. The important thing here is not to make it all about business. People don’t follow a business, they follow people. So interact on a purely social level, and once in a while throw some business in. If you have a Facebook page, no one will pay attention to your posts if they are all business, they see that as spam. And with Twitter, people will just stop following you if you continue to bombard them with business opportunities and recruitment messages. Keep you ratio pretty even, at least 50/50 social to business. Personally, I would keep it around 70% social, 30% business. Read More…

Home Based Internet Business Ideas – Online Business

The internet presents many opportunities for individuals with desires to work from their homes on the internet. The advantages that come from an internet business and online employment are immense and many entrepreneurs have made it conducting their businesses online. However, to succeed, you must put in a lot of effort and determination. Some possible online businesses you should consider the following businesses:

Selling goods on eBay

The best way to start a business selling goods on eBay is to try making little cash as a hobby and not something you entirely rely on. However, with time, once it proves that it can pay, it can be turned to a fulltime venture.

To sell on eBay, it is best to have an online store with eBay. This will incur a certain charge monthly but it is the surest way to get customers for your merchandise. To conduct a fulltime eBay business, you will need to have a stock inventory. This is because as a business selling may goods, they must have a stock of items they deal in. This is what outs off many aspiring business entrepreneurs.

You also should buy goods in bulk if the stock that you intend to sell on eBay. However, this should only happen if the goods are storable, that is they are not perishable and do not lose market value fast. This is also best because buying in bulk will entitle you to discounts and other services like delivery.

Starting an internet business

 

Literally, there are thousands of internet business opportunities on the internet. You must however be wary of scams, illegitimate businesses and scams. You must conduct an extensive research before starting an online business. AS far as investment is concerned, one should never take any business idea lightly.

Internet businesses, just like other businesses present limitless earning potential as long as you invest enough ideas, time and hard work. People also fail to realize that even an internet business require a certain amount of initial expenses and investment, just like any other business. Read More…

Top 5 Trends in Online Education

Evolving technologies and hectic schedules are driving people to online education, or e-learning. Yet this platform is young, so change is rapid.

Here’s a look at today’s biggest trends in online education.

1. M-learning: Lessons on the go

Education has reached people’s pockets and purses with the introduction of mobile learning. Internet-enabled mobile phones and tablets let people download course materials, review grades, and check assignments wherever they are. All they need is the right mobile app.

Mobile Learning

The US Market for mobile learning 2010-15 forecast (Ambient Insight) reports,  “US market for mobile learning products and services reached $958.7 million in 2010. The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is estimated at 13.7%, and revenues are projected to reach $1.82 billion by 2015”.

 

 

 

2. Podcasting: Learning through recorded talks

You don’t need a smart-phone or tablet to partake in mobile learning. One of the most basic, and most ubiquitous forms of mobile learning is the podcast. While people have downloaded these pre-recorded talks onto their iPods for years, many educators have recently realized their value for delivering additional lectures, interviews, and more.

podcasting

Edison Research’s recent, The Current State of Podcasting explains that:

  • 45% of Americans  in 2010 have watched or listened to a podcast, up from 43% in 2009. This equates to approximately 70 million Americans 12 and older.
  • The podcast audience has expanded from predominantly “early adopters,” to mainstream media consumers in 2010.

 

3. Social learning: Facebook isn’t just for friends anymore

Just weeks ago, teachers in the state of Missouri won a major battle with lawmakers who had attempted to ban teacher-student contact via social networks. Networks like Facebook, the teachers argued, were far too important as communication channels with students. Similar debates take place on a daily basis across the country, although this particular case reached a far higher profile than most. Read More…

5 must-have Firefox add-ons for CSS Development

1) Firebug

firebug-logo

Everyone knows and loves Firebug! It is the swiss-army knife of web development, and it would be strange If you haven’t heard of it before.
Firebug is a developing tool that helps us in tons of ways. It’s mainly used for CSS and Javascript debugging.

  • The HTML tab helps you inspect elements and check their CSS atributes. You can even edit CSS code in a live enviroment. It also allows you to add/edit/delete HTML elements.
  • The console tab is great for debugging Javascript errors.
  • The Net tab allows you to see every request made to the server by our browser. It may help you detect a server misconfiguration or the plain stupidity of forgetting the leading slash in an image url.

2) YSlow (Firebug Add-on)

yslow

Firebug is so cool that you can even add add-ons to it! YSlow is a Firebug add-on developed by Yahoo that meassures the speed of your website. Use YSlow to figure out what you can improve/optimize or what’s going wrong.

3) Web Developer Toolbar

webdeveloper

Web Developer Toolbar is awesome. Is a must-have like Firebug. It has tons of tools inside it, but my favorite’s are:

  • Ruler: Get the width and height of any element in the website
  • Line guides: Make horizontal or vertical lines to check if your layout is correctly aligned
  • Resize: check how the website looks in different screen sizes.
  • Local HTML + CSS validation (connects with the W3C validation page)
  • Disable CSS or Javascript

 

4) Dust me selectors

dustme

Have you ever had such an enourmous CSS file with so many changes that you can’t even remember?
It’s probable that some selectors you had are not being used anymore. Dust-me selectors checks if any CSS selectors are not being used in your webpage, so you can later delete them :)

Warning: If you are using a reset code (Eric Meyer’s for example), many selectors will appear unused. Comment these lines on yor CSS file when using the dust-me selectors tool.

5) ColorZilla

colorzilla

ColorZilla is a cool tool to work with colors. You have an eyedropper tool that helps you get any color on any element in the website. Three cools things of ColorZilla:

  • RGB or HEX colors
  • Pallete to adjust/correct colors
  • ZOOM to aim better if the element targeted is too small (like text elements)

 

*) Extra: ReCSS (CSS Reload Javascript)

I wanted to add to the list a cool and useful Javascript bookmark that let’s us force reload our CSS file withouth reloading the HTML again.
This is really great when applying CSS changes on large sites and works with any browser :)

You can find the bookmark here: ReCSS

I want to thank Martín Szyslican, (a friend of mine) that helped me a lot writing this post and selecting the add-ons to include.
Well, that’s all for now guys… I hope these tools may come in handy for you! Bye!

 

 

Commercial Printing Tip: Aim Small, Design Big

Sometimes even the simplest concepts make the biggest and best impacts on people. If you’ve decided to take on a commercial printing campaign to market your business or organization, your design can make or break the campaigns overall success.

But finding that perfect concept can be incredibly challenging. Luckily, when you aim for small concepts, you don’t have to be a creative genius. Think about something catchy, simple and easy to process.

Some people make the mistake of taking on huge, thematic concepts for their large format printing displays, and they end up being flops. The truth is, you’re fighting for your target audiences attention. They aren’t waiting around to see what you’re going to next, and they surely don’t have time it sit and analyze what you’re tyring to say with your campaign–you have to put it right under their nose. Think of something small, witty, simple and easy to convey in a design.

Sometimes, when you think of a simple concept, you’re able to have a lot more creative freedom with the design, and could very well end up with something that consumers love and respond to.

 

More Print Design Tips

Putting out a print project quickly can sometimes be a necessity, but if you don’t follow certain steps correctly you could end up with less-than ideal results.

Here are two crucial tips to remember when you are sending out a design to a commercial printer to be finalized and printed out.

1)  Although it seems like the likely solution, don’t submit the print design files as PDFs. This is because Adobe will set the control defaults for web presentation and not for printing to paper. Instead use a program like Photoshop, Quark, CorelDraw, etc. to ensure proper print controls. When in doubt ask your commercial printer what they recommend you do.

2) Don’t take the design close the edge of the paper. When the content runs close to the edge of the paper, there is a chance that the ink won’t cover the full sheet of paper and parts of the page will be poorly printed or misprinted. The area that is not printed on or the edges, is called the “bleed”. Bleeding is the process by which the ink is deliberately run of the edge of a sheet of paper to ensure full coverage of the content. After the printing process the bleed is trimmed off. This means that you need to print with paper that is larger than your content.

 

Direct Mail Marketing Tips

Despite the rise of the Internet, direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways you can increase the visibility of your business. If a flyer or leaflet is eye-catching and well-designed, a consumer will take notice of it when it falls out of their mailbox.

While black and white is a cheap option, it usually pays to go color. Choose a reputable printing company that also offers design and layout services. It can be tempting to design your own flyers, but the result is not always professional.

You’ll want to use high resolution graphics (avoid clip art!), corporate colors, clear, easy to understand language, and text in one or two fonts only, preferably. Avoid trying to cram too much information into your direct mail collateral, and ensure that font size is at least 11 point throughout to cater for people with vision difficulties.

Be sure to review and sign off on a printed proof before your direct mail goes to print, as colors often look different on screen.

 

Mobile Social Networking Booms

A total 72.2 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device in August 2011, an increase of 37% from 52.7 million in the past year, according to comScore Mobile Metrix data released in October 2011. Nearly 40 million US mobile users, more than half of the mobile social media audience, accessed these sites almost every day, a 58% year-over-year jump from almost 25.3 million.

comScore research also indicated that although more people accessed these sites via their mobile browser, the social networking app audience grew five times faster in the past year. While the mobile browsing social networking audience grew 24% to 42.3 million users in the past year, the mobile social networking app audience surged 126% to 38.5 million.

7 in 10 Mobile Social Networkers Post Status Updates

Of those accessing social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device in August 2011, 80% percent read posts from people known personally, while 69.5% posted status updates while on their mobile device.

Mobile social networkers also were likely to interact with brands on these sites with more than half (53%) reading posts from organizations/brands/events. One in three mobile social networkers received a coupon/offer/deal, with a little more than one in four (28%) clicking on an ad while on a social networking site.

Reading posts from public figures/celebrities was also popular, with 45% of mobile social networkers doing so.

Mobile Facebook Audience Nears 60M

A look at selected social networking brands, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, revealed that each grew their mobile audiences by at least 50% in the past year. Facebook was home to the largest mobile audience among the three destinations with more than 57 million mobile users in August, up 50% from 38.2 million the previous year.

Twitter saw its mobile audience jump 75% to 13.4 million people from 7.6 million people, while LinkedIn’s mobile audience climbed 69% from 3.2million to 5.5 million users.

3 in 5 Smartphone Users Access SocNets

In the US, three of every five smartphone owners age 13 and older accessed social networking or blog destinations on their mobile devices for the three-month average period ending June 2011, according to data released by comScore in September 2011. The number of US smartphone users who ever access social networking or blog destinations on their mobiles (both browser and app) has grown 72% in the past year to reach an audience of 47.8 million visitors.

In addition, those users accessing social network or blogs almost daily meanwhile nearly doubled, growing 90% to 28.1 million smartphone users. comScore data indicates social networking is one of the most popular mobile activities in the US.