Should YouTube Videos Be a Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

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For some time, online marketers have typically thought of YouTube as an “awareness driver.” That means, in their minds, that it’s more effective at helping customers learn about products and services versus actually closing the sale. That in turn means it’s still important in the purchase process.

But, new data from Google suggests YouTube may not only be helpful for awareness, but may help boost purchase intent too.

YouTube’s TrueView Does Drive Purchasing Behavior

Do you know what TrueView is? It gives video viewers the option to skip an advertisement after 5 seconds. It also offers four different kinds of ads:

  1. In-stream, which lets viewers skip the video after 5 seconds. You only pay for ads that have been viewed at least 30 seconds.
  2. In-slate ads choose from several ads or to opt for commercial breaks in videos at least 10 minutes long.
  3. In-search ads show up in YouTube’s search results as searchers look for various keywords. You pay for all ads the viewer starts to watch.
  4. In-display ads appear in YouTube’s promoted videos overlay. You only pay when viewers choose to watch an ad.

According to Google, these “TrueView” ads, which give users the power of choice, resulted in their consideration being 45% higher, favorability of 14% higher, and purchase intent 19% higher than a control group with no power of choice.

Creative Choices Google Advises You Make to Get the Best ROI from Your Videos

Video does have a science to it. That science is evolving, so don’t consider anything set in stone. But as of now, Google advises this much for sure:

  1. Using funny ads or celebrities to hold attention (although not necessarily to close the sale)
  2. Viewers respond better to your logo when it’s attached to a product versus a free-floating logo
  3. People don’t watch videos as long when the focus emotion is sadness, fear, or calm. Focusing on humor always lead to the best results. For example, can you think of anything funny about trains? No one can. But Metro Trains Melbourne created a “Dumb Ways to Die” video that made train safety fun.
  4. How music impacts ads is unclear. Some brands have found not using music in the first 5 seconds leads to better engagement. And in terms of emotion, funny won out over any other when music was used. However, you’ll need to test your own video for best results.

Should you use video in your digital marketing strategy? You’ll have to be the judge of that.

However, it beats television when analyzed just about any way. In fact, the average return on ad spend for YouTube TrueView is about seven times that of TV.

For now, we’ll leave you with that fascinating statistic to consider.

E-mail Lists: The Secret Weapon Your SMB Needs to Skyrocket Growth

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Ever wonder what the single most effective method is for growing your ROI online?

It’s not SEO. Nope, not social media. And it’s not even YouTube videos.

They’re all effective. And you need good SEO before you can use this tactic because it gets traffic going to your website in the first place.

But, ultimately, you want to use this tactic because it gives you the best ROI bar none. In fact, you get $38 for every $1 spent, or a 3800% ROI, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 Client E-mail Report.

How do you get such an astonishingly good ROI from this tactic?

It’s because people who let you use this tactic on them love you. That’s the only reason they do it. They really want what you have. And so they give you, not any of your competitors, their information.

So what’s the tactic?

We won’t make you suffer in suspense any longer. It’s e-mail marketing.

How Do You Get E-mail Marketing Working For You?

Building an e-mail list is simple. But it isn’t easy. It takes time and hard work.

And to start, you need to get traffic to your website via SEO, and take advantage of the ways in which you currently interact with customers.

Here’s a basic process to start your e-mail list’s growth:

  1. Get Sign-Up Forms on Your Website

Your sign-up forms need to indicate what your customers can get when they subscribe to your newsletter. That could be “Free Money-Saving AC Maintenance” tips, for example. They’d like that because who doesn’t like to save money?

At the small business level, not all companies use “lead magnets.” These are free content that subscribers get right away in exchange for subscribing. It helps you get more sign-ups, versus not using one. However, it does increase your costs.

But, you don’t need an elaborate or expensive lead magnet. It could be a simple 2-3 minute smartphone video of doing a basic check of an air conditioner for example.

The sign-up form itself should go in multiple places on your website: the upper right is best because that’s where people’s eyes go first. On your blog, it should go in the sidebar and at the end of the post.

  1. Consistency is Key

Think of marketing by e-mail like when you dated your spouse. You didn’t call them just once, and then again every few months or so. Instead, you called regularly – a few times per week, maybe every day.

With your list, you don’t need to be super-frequent like that (although you can if you want to). But you should send out a newsletter at least once per month. Then, when you want to offer a special, people have an existing relationship and are more likely to buy.

Contact them out of the blue two or three times a year, and they think,”Who’s this?” And your sales suffer as a result.

If you’re serious about succeeding online, you should build an e-mail list. It secures your long-term success.

Google: Mobile Makes Up Nearly 88% of All “Near Me” Searches

ThinkstockPhotos-517470080Do you know what a “micro-moment” is?

Google’s been coining the phrase over at their blog, which highlights their latest search data.

What’s their latest finding?

Just how prevalent “near me” searches (the “micro-moments”) have become. In fact, they’ve increased 146% year over year.

And it makes sense that mobile is where most of these searches happen.

But the real question is: are you ready to market to possible customers that do “near me” searches?

  1. First, More Data

Will consumers do “near me” searches for your business? According to Google research, these searches happen across every type of business.

Some examples they give include:

  • Hotels
  • Car rental outfits
  • Nail salons
  • Shoe stores
  • Pizza parlors
  • Banks

Basically, Google concludes, if you have a physical location, consumers will use “near me” searches for products or services your business offers.

So How Do You Make Yourself “Ready” for These Kinds of Searches?

We’ve covered the SEO part of this. By now, you know enough about SEO that we don’t have to explain all the ins and outs of how that works.

What we really want to emphasize: a responsive design.

SEO helps people find your site instead of your competitor’s. An attractive responsive design keeps them glued to your website so they’re more likely to buy from you than anyone else. And a useful design closes the sale.

Your digital “storefront” is more important than your physical storefront. While it’s important to have an attractive design, it’s more important that consumers can get what they want in as few clicks as possible.

Have you ever heard of the “3-click” rule? It means that most consumers will click on your website about 3 pages deep. They’ll click your main navigation, click again on the next page, and once more.

But, for most consumers, that’s about it.

Take a Look at an Example

So let’s say you run one of those stores Google mentioned people search for – a shoe store. In fact, you have a specialty shoe store that uses advanced video technology to analyze people’s feet and give them the perfect shoe for their needs and foot shape.

To engage them immediately, you may want a video on your home page showing exactly how your process works. Then, as they scroll down, they learn more about your business. By the way, this type of website is called a “parallax scrolling” website.

Here’s a screenshot of, and a link to, a website that shows parallax scrolling in action:

 

And it makes perfect sense for mobile users. You’ll also notice it follows the “3 click” rule.

By the way, you can learn more about i5ww’s responsive design and SEO services when you follow those links.

 

E-Commerce Companies Pay Attention: Consumers Shop Like This in 2015

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It’s no secret consumers use their smartphones to shop moreso than ever before.

But let’s put it into perspective with a couple eye-popping stats:

  1. Consumers will shop this holiday season in what Google calls “micro-moments.” This means they’ll do it in their spare time during the day – walking, commuting, lunch breaks, and so on. In fact, 54% of consumers have said they will shop like this.
  2. Mobile shopping-related searches have grown 120% year-over-year.

So this means day-long trips to the mall, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday may be losing some steam.

What Should You Do with This Information?

Here are some things you can do to make sure you get the most sales you can with this emerging business opportunity:

  • Make sure your website is designed for mobile users. You don’t need a separate website. It duplicates expenses and makes a lot more work.

 But your existing site should be simple to use for the mobile crowd. This is no longer optional. Technically it is, but you’re really shooting yourself in the foot by not doing it.

This means text should be large enough to read without zooming. Users shouldn’t have to scroll right to read the rest of your text. Buttons should be easy to click with thumbs. Forms should be easy to click and submit. Checkout processes should require the fewest number of steps possible to purchase.

Small stuff. But when you don’t do it, it all adds up and can put a huge dent in your sales.

  • Create a video FAQ. That same post from Google says 64% of smartphone users would prefer to watch a YouTube video to get an answer to their question (instead of reading a manual or talking to customer service). Not only would you make them happier, but you’d save some money on customer service hours too.

No need to be fancy here. Simply make a list of the questions you get all the time, and answer them with a short video. Plus, few if any other companies do this, so it would be another way to differentiate and stand out.

  • Offer time-sensitive deals that last just a few hours. When consumers feel the urgency to act, they’re much more likely to take action. So have your agency, or do it yourself, and create a landing page with a time-sensitive offer you send that sends an e-mail and offers consumers just 8 hours to act, or until the end of the day.

You’ll have to test different offers and times to see what works best.

With the Web, There’s Plenty of Room for Creativity in Business

These are just some ideas where your business can gain value from the increasingly digital life the average American leads. At the end of the day, there’s a lot you can do.

Web-based business is really only limited to your imagination. So if you have a burning idea or desire, don’t be afraid to put it to the test and see if it works.

 

 

 

What Does Google Glass Do?

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If you haven’t heard about it already, Google’s latest technological wonder is Google Glass. They released a few prototypes that could be purchased for $1500 each back on April 15th, and a more affordable consumer version will be available later this year.

i5 web works has donated one of the $1500 Google Glass prototypes to be auctioned off at this year’s GRACE Gala. The renowned GRACE Gala experience will have remarkable gourmet foods and fine wines, great music and dancing. It’s a wonderful, fun evening for a noble cause, and one lucky tech-aficionado will go home with the very latest in “wearable technology” from Google. So what can you do with Google Glass?

In one sentence, Google Glass is a pair of glasses that act as a wearable computer. In reality, what you can do with it will be almost limitless. It’ll have an app store that third-party developers can use to create any app they can imagine.

In terms of wearing Google Glass, there’s not all that much to it. In fact, it’s just like wearing a heavy pair of glasses.

But what you want to know is what it’s going to do. Here’s what some have to say:

  1. Take pictures using a voice command. You’ll say, “Okay Glass, take a picture.”
  2. Listen to a recipe while cooking. Glass will be very helpful with situations that occupy both of your hands. You’ll be able to see the menu in front of you instead of having to look around for it.
  3. Helping the disabled. If someone’s a quadriplegic, they can shoot videos or take pictures simply by using the voice-activated command system of Google Glass.
  4. Learn traffic patterns for work. When you start eating breakfast in the morning, check out what’s happening while wearing Google Glass.
  5. Get special deals. As you drive to work wearing Glass, special offers from companies like Starbucks appear on the side of your screen.
  6. Take phone calls. Now all phone calls can be taken hands-free in any vehicle.
  7. Listen to music. You’ll be able to hear your favorite tunes while driving or jogging.
  8. Check your text messages and e-mails live. And then you can reply to them instantly using the voice-activated command system.
  9. Quickly search and find the information you need. All of Google will be right there in front of you. Heck, you could impress your friends at the bar by cheating when playing those trivia games.
  10. Use Google Maps to find where to go. It will be integrated into Glass by default.
  11. Share what you see live with others. Is your child standing at-bat, about ready to win the baseball game? Share all the drama with your friends and family live in real-time.
  12. Get automatic route updates for work. Google Now is integrated with Glass. Now tracks your daily habits and gives you advice and suggestions on what to do. If traffic is heavy on a certain route, it suggests an alternative.

Most of those features are confirmed, and a couple are hypothetical. The cool thing about Glass? All these new features are real or very possible, and it hasn’t even been released to the public yet!

Look for the consumer version at the very end of this year, or the beginning of 2015, and be sure to attend the GRACE Gala this year for a chance to win the prototype!

How much has the Internet Impacted our World?

On March 12, the Internet turned 25.  If you’re calculating, that means it first came about in 1989.

Do you remember how you used the Internet back then?  No one does because very few did.  Here’s a picture, courtesy of Dr. Mark Humphrys School of Computing:

Amazing, right?  Well, it was back then.  The program this individual used, pictured above, allowed people to chat.  At the time, the structure was called “BITNET.”  It didn’t use the IP protocol our internet uses today, but it performed the same functions:  e-mail, chat, one-on-one chat, and file archives.  You could use all of these from different areas across the globe.

Since Then, Things Have Changed a Little…

So what’s happened?  The Internet’s evolved from something a few hardcore geeks use to a tool now used by more than 87% of American adults (according to Pew Research).  Now that you think about it, doesn’t that number seem a little low?  Pew also notes 97% of those 18-29 use the Internet, while 68% of adults connect to the Internet with smartphones or tablet PCs.

Pew’s Research has also found that despite its quirks, most adults view the Internet as overall a good thing:

  • 90% say it has been good for them personally, compared to just 6% who say it’s bad
  • 76% believe the Internet has been good for society as a whole, while 15% think it’s been bad

…And We’ve Still Got a Long Way to Go!

Facebook, Twitter, Bitcoin (the new digital currency), electronic payments, mobile phone payments, and e-commerce are some of the most-used innovations the Internet has offered.

But, when you take a look at the large scale, we haven’t even experienced the tip of the iceberg yet.

Take a look at what we mean.  If you visit http://www.internetworldstats.com, you can see that about 2.4 billion people of the world’s 7.0 billion total population have internet access.

Can you believe that?  That means just 34.3% of the world’s population can get on the internet.

So think about the 4.6 billion people in the world NOT on the internet.  This means there’s a ton of consumers and future Mark Zuckerbergs out there completely unable to take advantage of the Internet.

With that in mind, where do you think the Internet will go in the future?  Feel free to let us know in the comments below: