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Unexpected places to grow your network

There are a lot of important elements that make a successful marketing campaign, many of which we've covered in recent months. You need to make your ads engaging, you have to have strong SEO strategies to boost your website's visibility and your site should be well-designed to influence customers to make purchases once they're there.


Another very important component - and one that sometimes gets overlooked - is building up your customer base to begin with.


You might have the funniest ad ever, the most sophisticated social media strategies or the most interactive website yet. None of that matters if there aren't any viewers to see it.


Google AdWords can be invaluable tool

One of the most frustrating components of traditional marketing is the inability to track results.


Unless you polled every single customer as to whether or not he or she noticed a particular ad, there's really no way to gauge its effectiveness. All you could do was measure sales numbers before and after you launched a marketing campaign, which is an inexact science to say the least.


Insert online marketing.


Digital advertising has been a breath of fresh air for companies for a number of reasons, as it's generally cheaper and can reach a wider audience.


But perhaps the biggest advantage of online marketing is your ability to track everything - conversions, click rates, follow-up actions and more. You never have to just assume a campaign's effectiveness anymore based on loose statistical relationships. 


Targeted ads hold the key to your customers' hearts

The modern-day, online consumer has built up quite the reputation. These shoppers are known to be needy, demanding, impatient and ... smart? 


There are plenty of people out there who have essentially grow up with the internet, and as such, they have come to understand all of the marketers' tricks. That means simplistic digital advertising strategies, including those that have worked in the past, might not be as effective going forward. 


When a shopper takes to the web, he or she typically has something of interest in mind. Think about it - if you're browsing the internet looking for new shoes, you probably don't care much for a video ad about sports memorabilia, especially one that takes over your screen. In fact, it might even annoy you a little bit. 


Five digital marketing strategies that will lead to ROI

If you're struggling to decide on a course of action for your online marketing campaign, I understand the frustration.


Navigating the digital world can be an immense challenge, especially because of the rate at which everything changes. There are times when you probably think to yourself, "Forget it. I'm just going to sit by my phone and wait for customers to call." Unfortunately, the days of building up your base exclusively with offline methods are over.


Eighty-five percent of incoming phone leads are due to an online presence.


The beauty of online marketing is that if other companies have tried a technique, there are ways to measure precisely how effective it's been. You don't have to think of a completely innovative strategy on your own - just go with the ones that have proven to be successful.


Three SMB challenges and how to overcome them

Repeat after me: "My digital strategy will be the key to achieving online marketing success in the future."


If you're in agreement with that statement, then consider yourself on track - even if you're struggling at implementing an effective plan.


Small businesses know how important their web presence is for presenting a desirable online identity and attracting new customers, yet don't fully understand how to achieve those goals, implement new technologies, or adapt to new trends as deftly as larger companies.


Three must-have tools for SMBs

In many ways, developing a marketing strategy in the digital age is more complicated than traditional methods. On the bright side, digital marketers will never have to devise advertising campaigns from scratch again.


If you're a small business owner, there are more effective, yet affordable tools at your disposal than at any point in history. Do you want to know which channels your customers frequent? Certain applications can provide this information. Are you in need of a free website to promote your message? There are plenty of those out there, too.


At times, selecting the right programs to use can feel like finding Waldo. If you're struggling to decide, here are three tools that, above all else, you simply need to use.


Four steps to making online marketing leap

If you've been listening to me, you've probably taken to heart some of the lessons about the key components you need for your company to achieve online marketing success: a strong website, social media strategies and an SEO campaign.


If you have all of these things in order, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. That's a big first step.


Now, it's time to kick-start your campaigns into further action. This requires some extra steps and leveraging of new technologies - but don't worry if you might be struggling with this.


Growing your business: Take the road less traveled

If you've been listening to marketing experts, you probably have some core pieces of your advertising plan in order by now - an interactive website, a Facebook page and Twitter account, SEO strategies and more.


Those are all essential features to have to keep shoppers coming back. They're also imperative if you hope to increase your customer base going forward.


At the same time, there's a good chance your competitors have developed their websites, are using social media and have devised SEO strategies, too.


As everyone becomes accustomed to these "best practices," it will be harder for consumers to tell companies apart. That means you're going to have to use some innovative techniques to leave the competition in the dust.


Building your brand from the foundation up

The process of building a brand isn't all that different from constructing a house.


Okay, it might be slightly different, but there are at least a few similarities. For instance, both take a lot of preplanning and a solid foundation, after which everything else is strategically placed on top.


A lot of people talk excessively about the importance of research when it comes to brand development. Research is essentially like a blueprint for marketers were you need to outline:


* Exactly who your target audience is 

* Who your closest competitors are

* Your current strengths and weaknesses


Once you understand these elements thoroughly, you'll have the pieces in place to develop your branding strategy.