Aug 18, 2014

The Power of Customer Reviews & How You Can Capitalize on Them

customer reviewsCultivating a steady stream of positive customer reviews is a surefire way to set your business apart from competitors. Many companies even gain an edge by incentivizing their customers to leave a positive review after service or orders have been completed. According to, 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews, and most of those people believe positive reviews enough to make online purchase decisions based off that brief snippet of information. Here are some other things to keep in mind as you consider how to take advantage of positive customer reviews.

Benefits of positive reviews

Because customers have demonstrated trust in online reviews, they have a measurable impact on converting potential leads into sales. In fact, reports that some surveys have shown that customer reviews boosted online conversions by as much 35 percent. “Nothing breeds trust quite the way an unfiltered customer review stream does, but that doesn’t mean you should just add a template review form to your site,”’s Pratik Dholakiya advises. Companies still need to have more control than just opening an online forum for people to post whatever they’d like.

Angie’s List and Yelp still top the list for trusted Internet sites for customer reviews. These types of sites require some attention to drive customers to your business.

Aug 15, 2014

A Book by Its Cover? No More! A Case for Traditional Marketing

Book CoverAs someone who has become adjusted to digital marketing, having grown up with the web, it feels out of place when I begin to look around my physical settings and engage with marketing efforts since so few of them seem to reach me on the same level as I’d expect online.

As someone who has applied digital marketing strategies for various projects, it was easy to become wrapped up in the methods frequently used by others. It was equally easy to dismiss traditional marketing methods (namely… print) compared to what was possible online (thanks to flexibility, features, and tracking) until I began to realize that much of what is done in the physical space actually applies to much of what happens online (in a complimentary way).

I think of it similar to how we say “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

We are quick to dismiss traditional marketing methods if we have been conditioned to the online method because of cost and efficiency.

What can traditional advertising teach us about online advertising? (more…)

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Book Cover
Aug 14, 2014

Defining Long Tail Keywords: Content Marketing’s New Best Friend

Long tail keywordsBy Tyler Weber, Marketing & Communications Director, Digital Solutions, Inc

How often do you find yourself conducting a web search?

To give you a little perspective, in 2013 over 100 billion searches were conducted on Google every month! And that number is expected to be even higher during 2014.

The Internet is a vast sea of information and search engines were created to help us navigate the waters to find the destination that will satisfy our initial goal.

Human beings are utilizing search engines to find information more than ever before, and the usage is only increasing. We use the Internet to do a variety of things, from shopping, to socializing, to keeping up on current events. We use the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find information. (more…)

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Long tail keywords
Aug 12, 2014

Avoiding Oversaturation and Combating Content Shock


(Image Courtesy of Shutterstock)

By Nick Rojas

The World Wide Web has granted the ability to create and distribute content at a rate never before achieved in human history. In 2008, The University of California, San Diego published a report that showed American households consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. A zettabyte, almost defying comprehension, is one billion trillion bytes, that’s a one with 21 zeros added. This data shows that the average American consumes 34 gigabytes of content and is exposed to 100,000 words in a single day.

Some estimates place the number of social media users in 2014 as high as 1.82 billion people. As the number of eyes on social media pages has grown, so has the demand for content to fill those pages. Search Engine Optimization is a field currently exploding in an effort to meet this demand. But is there such thing as too much? Too much content for readers to possibly consume? Well, industry influencer Mark Schaefer believes so. (more…)

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Aug 7, 2014

A Clear-Cut Checklist for Integrated Marketing Communications

StrategyRecently, Pratik Dholakiya of E2M Solutions and OnlyDesign created an excellent checklist that marketers can follow to add integrated marketing communications to their campaigns. Building on key marketing concepts and expanding from there to discuss how IMC ties in to various aspects of an organization’s promotional efforts, he provides a step-by-step guide and suggested tools that can help marketers and business executives master IMC.

Of integrated marketing communications, he writes:

Integrated Marketing Communications is not like a software package that you can buy, install and run in one go. It is a far-reaching change that affects every aspect of the organization, external agencies as well as the end user.

The attempt is to make all the various marketing tools that we have at our disposal to work together in a synergistic manner so that they make up for each others deficiencies. That is easier said than done. Give your organization time and solid direction on how to go about this process and see how the fruits of collaboration and marketing synergies come together to build a stronger, more successful brand in the long run.

Read the full text of the article at SEP.

You can follow Pratik Dholakiya on Twitter @E2MSolutions.

Aug 5, 2014

Change Your IMC Game with Integrated Video

Integrated Video and How it Can Innovate Your IMC EffortsJoe Gura, one of my colleagues at West Virginia University, recently gave a great presentation at the Integrate 2014 Conference about an innovative approach to video that’s reshaped the integrated marketing communications landscape at Microsoft. He also discussed ways that anyone can incorporate integrated video into their IMC strategy on any scale and with any budget. The presentation is available in its entirety on YouTube courtesy of the West Virginia University Integrated Marketing Communications Online Graduate Program.

Watch the video on YouTube and for more great IMC content, subscribe to WVUIMC’s channel!

You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeGura.

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Integrated Video and How it Can Innovate Your IMC Efforts
Aug 1, 2014

How Traditional Marketing Complements Digital

With the advent of massive social media advertising, internet banner ads, and direct email marketing, many companies have abandoned tried and true marketing methods to go digital and boost their firms online presence. But going exclusively into a cyber-marketing strategy can be a big mistake. We can’t neglect the amazing speed, versatility, and customization of digital marketing. But what’s often overlooked is the ability to use these tools jointly with the traditional marketing strategies to build power for both components.

As you develop your advertising and publicity campaign, consider some of the ways that the old dog can do new tricks. (more…)

Jul 30, 2014

At First This Article about Click Baiting Blew Me Away – But Then it Chilled Me to the Bone

UpworthyTongue-in-cheek headline aside, Bluewater recently tackled the topic of click baiting, a plague upon social media unleashed by sites like Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Viral Nova and many others. Click baiting is the practice of using emotionally charged headlines to pique readers’ curiosity and make it virtually impossible for them to resist clicking through to read more. While on the surface it might seem like a clever tactic, it’s now becoming the norm – to the point where legitimate news sites are click baiting headlines as well, just because it works. Unfortunately, the content that you find on click baited articles is not always quality. Often, it will leave you scratching your head as the dramatic headline hardly matches the weak content within. In the end the phenomenon becomes farcical, and yet genuinely good content is being overlooked because it doesn’t entice readers with a now-cliched, click baited title.

What does this say about the state of content we find on social media today? Read on for Bluewater’s analysis.

And for a laugh, play with the Upworthy Generator to create your own masterful click bait, as profiled in AdweekAt first you’ll be intrigued. Then you’ll be blown away.

Jul 28, 2014

Budget Strategies for Your Content Marketing Launch

content marketingSeventy-one percent of marketers will increase their spending on content marketing this year, according to recent Curata report. The report, which surveyed 500 industry professionals, found that best-in-class marketing campaigns rely on a predominance of 65 percent original content, supplemented by curated and syndicated material. The payoff is tangible, with 62 percent of companies reporting that content marketing improves both their quantity and quality of leads.

But creating content costs money, a reality reflected in Gartner’s finding that small businesses will spend 10 percent more on digital marketing this year. If you’re just starting to promote your business via content marketing, your budget is probably limited—making it imperative you develop a cost-efficient strategy for funding your initial promotional push.

Scale Your Budget to Your Revenue

A 2012 survey by Staples found that the average small business operates on a $2,000 per year marketing budget. According to the Small Business Administration, however, the smart strategy is to scale your marketing to your revenue projections, which might make this too small. (more…)

Jul 25, 2014

Mad Men or Mad Math? The Decline and Rebirth of Online Advertising

Mad Men

Credit AMC TV

By Satish Polisetti

As more sites like Facebook, Twitter and Buzzfeed blend ads directly into a user’s content stream, the future of online advertising is quickly shifting. It’s a brave new world defined by content, not dimensions; mad math, not mad men. Science and data, not merely creative endeavors.

Where are we today? Currently, online ads are defined primarily by size and dimensions — with IAB ad unit guidelines describing leaderboards (728 x 90 pixels), skyscrapers (160 x 600), and full banners (468 x 60), to name a few.

These very basic but widely accepted standards are based on the artistic perspectives of a previous generation – from the minds of creative geniuses you might see on Mad Men. These have more to do with traditional ad buys, and print ad dimensions, ones that have not really changed much in the past few decades since the swinging 60′s of Don Draper. When we jumped into internet advertising, the look and feel of advertising changed, but standards failed to get with the times.

And then there were banners: (more…)

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