QR Codes? Dead? Let’s See… (Using a QR code on a mall kiosk ad)

Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody

QR codes are dead!
No, they’re not!
Yes, they are!
No, they’re not!
Yes, they are!

Sounds like something out of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

It also reminds me of a similar argument about the death of classical music, one response to which is: as long as people play it and listen to it, it’s not dead. But, back to QR codes.

What follows is a quick look at how I recently implemented a QR code on a mall kiosk display ad.   
Continue reading the article »

The Mobile Web vs. Mobile Apps: It’s All in the Family

brother sister frenemies

Right off the top, a confession: I am not an apps guy. I have never designed an app, nor have I developed an app. I’m a web guy. Yet, I’ll not let that deter me from offering some opinions and observations about apps, motivated in large part by the “web is dead” debate. (I dealt with this from a different perspective in my last blog post.)

While I’m at it, a second confession: I am not a huge user of apps. Most of my time with apps is spent reading news (sorry, NYT home page) or playing games.

Back to the article. This article will focus on a particular subset of the “web is dead” debate, which is “the web is dead, long live apps.” I think the dilemma of apps versus the web can be especially confusing for small businesses, who have limited marketing budgets and resources. Under those limitations, and with the pressure that SMBs feel to get the most bang for their buck, the decision of where to invest can become difficult.

And, back to my undeterred opinions and observations. My essential argument will be that the two sides of mobile marketing, mobile apps and the mobile web, serve different purposes. Neither side precludes the other. We’re one big, happy family. And, I will start by looking at the ways in which apps have been implemented by some small businesses in my local market.

Continue reading the article »

Video Content Marketing Opportunities with Meerkat and Periscope

Meerkat & Periscope logos

Meerkat and Periscope. By now you must have heard of them, so I will dispense with nutshell introductions of what they are. Well, just this: both apps facilitate real-time video streaming on Twitter.

I will also avoid predicting which app is going to win this particular social media horse race. I suspect it will be Periscope, but I could be completely wrong. And it doesn’t matter, at least not for the purposes of this article, which aims only to explore the possibilities of video content marketing with either app.

Continue reading the article »

The Web is Dead, the Paperless Office, Jet Packs, and Other Prognostications

vintage pic of man with jet pack

Apparently web sites and home pages are dead, along with what we’ve broadly called the web. I’m late to the party on this one. I suppose I’ve been so lovingly cradled in the web’s warm embrace that it’s demise had eluded me. Huh.

FYI, here is a sampling of the eulogies:

OK, so I’m clearly poking fun at the prognosticators, from my seat here in the peanut gallery. And, to be fair, they have valid points. Home pages have become less important than they once were, and use of mobile apps does appear to be a growing trend, funneling users away from pure web browsing. But… the web is dead? In this article I’ll explore aspects of the "web is dead" debate, especially from a small business perspective.

What about the paperless office and jet packs? More on that a little later in the article.

Continue reading the article »

Building A Content Ecosystem to Facilitate the Customer Journey

golden path toward conversion

Content, content, content. It’s all about content, right? It sometimes seems like that’s all we hear about or talk about in digital marketing.

Well, yes, it is all about content. For most brands, much (if not most) of that content will reside on their website. But, even if you have tons of content – tons of golden content – it still may not accomplish what it needs to.

What does your content need to accomplish? It needs to create prospects, and then turn those prospects into customers. It needs to facilitate their customer journey toward the ultimate goal of conversion.

Continue reading the article »

Content Marketing Means Marketing Your Content

Publish and pray, fingers crossed

You’ve heard the saying "publish and pray"? Basically, it’s an admonishment to brands who produce content, publish it on their website, and then sit back and hope for results.

Unfortunately, "build it and they will come" only works for Apple or Nike. Content marketing for the rest of us requires additional effort.

Lately, I’ve been on a roll writing marketing case studies, and this post will be no exception. In this article I present a content marketing strategy that achieved results only because the content itself was actively marketed. This marketing strategy was executed for a career center that served job seekers in a particular Illinois county. And the content in question were jobs that were posted on the organization’s home-grown jobs board.

Continue reading the article »

Event Marketing: Online Marketing for Your Offline Event

brick & mortar online marketing

Even though the focus of this blog is online marketing, few brands can survive with a strictly online marketing strategy. Often, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned "brick-and-mortar" event. Events may even be a key aspect of a brand’s existence, and marketing these events is a necessity.

This article, while not strictly a case study, aims to be something along those lines. It illustrates an effective online marketing strategy that was conducted to promote an event held by a career center.

Continue reading the article »

Is Google+ Dying With It’s Boots On?

Google+ logo with bootsLate in 2014, Wordstream founder Larry Kim predicted the demise of Google+ in this article published on the Powered by Search blog. Two things he said really stuck with me: “in 2015 Google+ will die a slow death” and “G+ engagement will fade over time”. I must say, my reaction to both statements was, “What do you mean will?”

To the best of my recollection, I’ve never heard anyone say, “G+ is awesome” or “Yeah, we get tons of referrals from G+.” Ever. Continue reading the article »

Analysis of Facebook Content Marketing for a Non-Profit

man overwhelmed by social media

This article is part of a larger and ongoing collection of articles about content marketing for a non-profit organization. I invite you to read the “parent” article, Content Marketing Strategy for a Non-Profit: A Case Study.

"You simply must be on social media!" This has been said so often, by so many people, with such varying levels of expertise, that it has become something of a cliché. Snarkliy, perhaps, I have come to refer to such statements as social media cheerleading: "Rah, rah, sis boom bah! Social media to the rescue!"

Of course, that statement contains truth. Brands, including non-profits, do need to be present and active on social media. But a social media strategy is a little easier said than done. And, one of more difficult aspects of social media marketing is evaluating the effectiveness of your campaign.

Continue reading the article »

The Social-Mobile Web, Marketing, and Lead Generation

R.I.P. lead generation?Two new surveys caught my eye this week, each portending trends for 2015.

The first was a survey of B2B marketers, conducted by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association. Results from the survey were published on the blog of eMarketers, in a post (hyperbolically?) titled Is This the End of B2B Marketing as We Know It?

This survey showed the shifting priorities of B2B marketers, with survey respondents indicating their top priorities for 2014 and 2016. In 2014, the top priorities had been:

  1. brand positioning
  2. lead generation, and
  3. brand communications.

Continue reading the article »