Greg Magnus

AIM Custom Media Websites Blogs Glen Allen, VA 23059

Category: Custom Media Publishing (page 1 of 2)

Custom media is a marketing term that refers to the development, production and delivery of media prepared in a variety of formats (i.e., print, digital, audio, and video). Custom media is designed to strengthen the relationship between the sponsor of the medium and a targeted audience. Also called, branded media, customer media, member media, content marketing, and custom publishing, custom media is different from traditional media in very subtle, yet significant ways: Typically, custom media is sponsored by a single marketer (a company, association or institution) and is designed to reach a focused audience. Companies, institutions and associations often out-source services, which can be limited to design and editorial responsibilities or include the complete production and distribution process.

Opportunities Abound During Tough Economic Times

Contrarian view? Absolutely not. The best time to strike is when your competitors are off guard. While they gather in their conference rooms to complain about the economy, use this golden opportunity to reach out to your existing customers and find new prospects.

Far too many business owners absolutely take the wrong approach. They hunker down, cut marketing budgets and pull back. The end result is "unattended customers" and less competition for you. Businesses that cut marketing budgets also demotivate their best salespeople, which start spending more time thinking about getting a new job than a new customer.

Economic downturns are an excellent time to strengthen your relationships with both your existing customers and your competitors' customers. Odds are, they are not as busy. Are they willing to spend a little more time with you? Very possible so get in touch with them and consider the following:

  • Collect testimonials: Asking for a testimonial is a contact with your customer that's not a sales call. Tell them you would like to promote the testimonial and link it to their website, which will promote them as well. Use the opportunity to show your customers you value their opinion, your business relationship, and their business (i.e., dynamic websites, blogs, Scribd, PR news, etc.);
  • Survey your customers: Create an opportunity to collect feedback and discuss services and/or products you offer that they may not be fully aware of or completely understand (i.e., email marketing, custom website landing pages, etc.);
  • Network: Introduce your customers to people in your network that they consider prospects and ask to meet their business colleagues and associates – an excellent source of referrals (i.e., LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, etc.), and
  • Use your "consulting" skills: Help your customers and prospects save time and money by providing pertinent industry news and educational materials that will help them compete during these difficult times (i.e., email newsletters, white papers and custom publications all have high ROIs).

But don't be fooled. There is also new competition for you – competition from << Continued on digital AIM >>

[Please note we have updated our marketing news website. To receive future updates including our 2009 Marketing Plan series, add your info here | digital AIM – Email.]

Ad Design Tactics That Increase Response Rates Online

Why are ads with pictures of people seeing higher response rates than those without? Human beings read a person’s face rapidly; the emotion and feelings are conveyed before the words are even noticed. A recent survey by the MarketingSherpa suggests using people photos in your online ads will increase your response rates.

What else is working for online ad design? Here’s a chart that provides insight into ad design based on an online advertising survey of marketing professionals (click on the chart to read the full article at MarketingSherpa.com):

Ad_design_chart_09-23-08-lp

Luxury Brands Now on MySpace, Social Networks

You might not expect a luxury brand that is a global symbol of cosmopolitan fashion to choose MySpace to target their market. But the market is there and so is Cartier; the French brand known for their exclusive $10,000 watches, clocks and diamonds. 

The Cartier ad campaign includes a link to a Cartier mini-site where you can download free music by Lou Reed, Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, and others. Mercedes-Benz USA has used the free music download marketing strategy for several years now at their corporate site. The latest from MBUSA (excerpt of their email marketing I rec'd on June 26, 2008):

Mixed Tape 21 and Mixed Tape Music Magzine # 5 – now online
Enjoy the fifth edition of Mixed Tape Music Magazine on mercedes-benz.tv. Also online: Mixed Tape 21 with a selection of brand new tracks.

Every eight weeks, Mercedes-Benz not only presents ten handpicked tracks by international newcomers for you to check out and explore as a free download compilation at www.mercedes-benz.com/mixedtape. For added visual delights, visit Mixed Tape Music Magazine, an innovative monthly online TV show featuring audio-visual highlights from around the world, now in its fifth edition.

This month’s theme is ‘Up North’ with artists hailing from the globe’s upper reaches – think Norway, Sweden or Canada. Their music, on the other hand, is decidedly international and at home between Hip-Hop, Folk, Pop and R&B. From Sweden, we have Kocky and his singer Rosanna, Joel Alme and MC Chords – the self-proclaimed luckiest man alive – while Chris Lee represents Norway’s cutting-edge music scene. On the other side of the Atlantic, MC Moka Only and Alanis Morissette shake it up for Canada.

Enjoy the mix!

Your Mercedes-Benz Team
www.mercedes-benz.tv/mixedtape
 

Why MySpace?

MySpace is an online social gathering place for teens right? Think again. Abbey Klaassen of Advertising Age has published an article with more details. Here's an excerpt:

"There's this misperception in the market about MySpace being a youth site, a site for teens," said Travis Katz, managing director-international operations for MySpace. "But 85% of our audience in the U.S. is over 18, and 40% of all moms in U.S. are on MySpace." He claims that MySpace reaches more people making $100,000-plus than other social-network competitors, such as Facebook and Yahoo 360. Real the full Adversiting Age article here.

More info: Cartier's MySpace profile.

Publishers Seek Online Networks For New Releases

You wrap up the final pages of your manuscript and within three-weeks you are on the "Hot New Releases" list. Sound too good to be true? It's not and publishers are using online social networks successfully to promote their books, white papers and business services. For instance, we found this release on PRWEB (one of the better press release sites FYI):

(PRWEB) June 6, 2008 — A new book, "I Met a Greek Goddess in Nashville", self published by Kalpanik S., a previously unknown author made it to the "Hot New Releases" list on Amazon.com's Kindle Book store on June 5th, within three weeks of its publication.

"We are very pleased to see 'I Met a Greek Goddess in Nashville' achieve "Hottest New Release" within a few weeks of its publication. . . . This proves the power of the use of the New Media formats and platforms such as Kindle, Facebook, MySpace, Amapedia, YouTube and Google/ Yahoo groups." [These sites were used exclusively for publicizing the book.]

"I am a busy executive so I did not have time or energy to follow the time consuming publishing or publicizing methods" said Kalpanik S., the author . . . In place of spending my time contacting publishers and agents or sending copies of the books for book reviews, I decided to use the New Media formats, platforms and forums such as Kindle, facebook, Amapedia, MySpace and YouTube for publishing and publicizing my book. These have been instrumental in the success . . ." 

More and more people are realizing the potential associated with marketing directly to the end user online. This strategy is working because things have changed for PR; and how things have changed.

Until recently, media “press releases” were considered dead. First of all, the traditional press release has rapidly evolved with technology. We now focus on “Marketing PR,” which bypasses traditional media outlets and reaches target market directly. How so?

By preparing and sending press releases frequently via wire services, blogs, email newsletters and social networks, you can zero in on business prospects who use search engines – just about everyone in the business world. Shockingly, whether a journalist actually sees your PR or responds to it is secondary in importance.

PR is once again essential because it is cost-effective and properly managed PR campaigns are generating high ROIs.

Seriously consider incorporating PR into your annual marketing plan. More of your existing clients and prospects get to know you – you build stronger relationships and increase your referral rates, which translates to a better bottom line.  

Why organic SEO is a priority over PPC and other online ads

Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is considered a higher priority by most seasoned marketing pros when compared to pay-per-click (PPC) and other online ad programs, especially for branding campaigns. Here is one good reason why:

‘Heavy clickers’ distort online advertising 

The people clicking on your banner ads may not be the target audience you’re seeking, according to a new Starcom USA study. The study revealed that so-called “heavy clickers” are typically between the ages of 25 and 44, with a household income of under $40,000. They represent only 6% of the online population, but account for 50% of all display ad clicks.

Heavy clickers spend about four times more time online than non-heavy clickers….they aren’t necessarily brand loyal and often don’t even pay attention to the brand they are buying….

Source: BizReport.com, February 13, 2008 (Hat's off to the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce for including this piece in their email newsletter, "Business Intelligence Report," March 2008)

Assuming the above is correct, there is a tremendous amount of money being spent on 6% of the online population when you consider these recent reports published by Continue reading

Blogging for Dollars and New Business

Not many know it but, content management systems (CMS) are replacing websites and savvy website developers are using certain blog functions as both management and marketing tools. And, as we discuss frequently with business owners, CMS-driven websites are hands down one of the most cost-effective online marketing tools. In fact, many small business owners are generating enough revenue from their blogs that their "blog" is now their "business" (these fortunate few no longer have real jobs). How did they do this? Several ways but first let's take a look at a few blogging facts.

Citation from the Wall Street Journal,
New Services Help Bloggers Bring in Ad Revenue
by Kelly Spors:

If you're not making money off your blog, 2008 might be the year.

As more people see potential in earning money off the Internet, there is a quickly expanding array of advertising services and tools for bloggers that go well beyond the standard pay-per-click [PPC] text ads or display ads.

Many of the most widely used programs are adding features to allow users to customize the appearance and placement of ads on their sites. Some also are introducing newer money-making mediums such as audio and video. . . [You can read the full WSJ article here.]

What the WSJ article doesn't tell you is "all of the story." For example, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.com explains how difficult it was to build his business; and a little luck didn't hurt as he discusses here. I personally discovered Darren's blog well over a year ago. He does an excellent job but he admits his success is an anomaly. Let's face it, most business owners are not interested in becoming professional bloggers. However, this doesn't mean they can't use blog technology to market online, lower their annual website costs and improve their ROI. That's the real story but first let's get back to our discussion concerning how to generate blog revenue. Continue reading

Tutorial for Enhancing Local Search Results SEO

This article covers simple online marketing strategies you can use to improve your ranking for local search results (SEO). So, how do you let everyone know you're in town?

Local Search Marketing Strategies and SEO Tips

Before you start bidding on keywords and throw money at PPC (pay per click) marketing, consider using simple "organic SEO" online marketing strategies to improve your local SEO results. Whether your revenue comes from business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), increasing your local search ranking will benefit your business.

First and foremost, create an SEO friendly website. The first step you can take to improve your local – as well as your overall search engine results – is make sure your website is search engine friendly. Make it easy for search engines to identify your business location and your keywords by following this short-list of SEO tips for local search:

  • Prominently display your business name and address as text on both the top of the page and in the footer. In the header, it helps if you use an "H1" tag that includes your address. Avoid placing your address and keywords in image files given they can be hidden from the search engines. Also, it is difficult for your site visitors to capture your address and phone number for future reference when it is embedded in an image. Continue reading

More ad spend moving from offline to online in 2008

Almost every day now we can read an article that tells us how more ad dollars are migrating to online marketing campaigns. And, for good reason.

Today's example from the publisher's of AdAge Digital includes the article, "Automakers Will Steer More Spend From TV and Print Toward Digital." It'll be a banner year for Detroit — online. Not only do they understand the value in marketing online, they understand the value in taking care of their existing customers according to Susan Jacobs, president of auto consultant Jacobs & Associates. She says:

. . . expect automakers to put a lot of their efforts toward keeping their existing buyers . . . "In a down market, it's better to channel your marketing efforts on retaining your owners [existing customers] instead of on advertising to conquest new ones" . . . So car companies will focus on customer relationship management and owner-loyalty programs, she added. << Full article here at AdAge digital >>

Whether your industry is in a down market or not, focusing your attention on your existing clients to build strong customer relationships is always a good idea – one with the highest potential returns.

AIM GeoTargeting Services

Now more than ever, when your prospects look for products and services locally they are turning to the web.

  • About 75% of US households use the web when seeking products or services locally.
  • 54% of search users no longer use the phone book.
  • Approx. 4 billion searches were conducted on Google in one month (July 2007)

These are qualified leads looking for the specific service or product you provide. What techniques can you use today to help them find you? This article here explains a few that will improve your local search results.

If you prefer to outsource this type of work, call AIM Custom Media – our GeoTargeting Services for local search let's them know you're in town.

What is AIM GeoTargeting? A program that drives local dollars to local businesses with an affordable internet marketing solution. One more thing, 78% more people are using the Internet to find a local business than they did just two years ago. Many small businesses have been slow to respond – don't wait until you lose market share. Get involved now and cherry pick ripe leads "looking" for, but not finding, you.

Contact us for details at 804-915-7379 or via email and we'll contact you.

Reaching Target Markets Through Online Communities

You don't need me to tell you online communities and social networks are powerful interactive marketing tools. What you may need to know is why you shouldn't wait any longer before you get involved. I'll get to that but first let's consider just a few of your options:

  • blogs,
  • chat rooms,
  • forums,
  • business networks,
  • product review sites,
  • email discussion groups,
  • photo sites,
  • video sites and the list goes on and on.

It all comes down to this, hundreds of millions of people now participate in online social networks. Some just hang around reading the content while others actively participate in lengthly discussions. They build strong relationships with others in their communities. Your target market? They make recommendations and provide referrals day in and day out. And yes, many small businesses are no longer "small" as a result.

This is not just my opinion, large corporations such as Sony, Chrysler and Dell are in tune to this marketing channel in a big way because of one main reason – it works and they are benefiting.  What about you? How do you "reach out" and capture new business online? Continue reading

What is Cyber Monday?

The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday; the first Monday after Thanksgiving Day. It is considered the ceremonial kick-off of the online holiday shopping season. Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, "Cyber Monday" symbolizes one of the busiest days of the year for online retailers although the busiest online shopping day of 2005 was actually December 12.

The idea was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend and then make online purchases – buying all of the stuff they didn't find in their local stores.

Cyber Monday has evolved into a significant marketing event, sponsored by the National Retail Federation's Shop.org division, in which online retailers offer low prices and special "today only" promotions. Here are a few "current" examples: Continue reading

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