Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Online Marketing Trends: Virtual Learning via Second Life

Apparently there's a group at Second Life called 'Real Life Education in Second Life.' It is made up of people who are interested in the educational possibilities of Second Life. According to them, there are more than 400 universities and 4,500 educators participating in the Second Life Educators List (SLED). And this group is studying how to leverage the benefits of learning in a virtual world in order to assist the students of today.

Caption: From Second Life, students role-play a courtroom scene in Ramapo, Suffern (N.Y.) Middle School’s virtual world campus hosted by Peggy Sheehy in Teen Second Life.

In an article written by a professor of computer science at Colorado Technical University named Cynthia M. Calonge, she notes, "the benefits outweigh the risks associated with venturing into a virtual world educational platform. For me, the virtual world is my preferred learning and teaching environment."

What does this have to do with what our Los Angeles marketing firm can do for our clients? It means is that more and more of our clients need to set up social media networks, to engage with customers, teach them, and share knowledge. And it means that websites need to be filled with content to educate people about what they do and optimized properly with the search engines so that they will come up first on the search engines. And blogs are becomming a way of life.

Imagine the magnitude of virtual classrooms? Futurists like James Canton and author of The Extreme Future, have already said that one of the top ten industries of the innovation economy is, "8. Education and Learning. The creation of immediate, portable, transferable, on-demand knowledge sources on a scale equivalent to the Library of Congress."

Monday, September 22, 2008

The True Value of Social Media

Finally, advertisers are beginning to realize how valuable social media marketing can be. This is truely exciting because now more than before, our clients are starting to understand the value when we recommend social media campaigns.

Just yesterday at the doctor seminar, Two Days Back on Earth, on environmental endocrinology for our client T.S. Wiley and The Wiley Protocol (, Wiley's book publisher talked about the importance of social media to the traditional publishing industry today. She said they now strategize books that have websites for reference materials and more information, and places where people can host e-books and chapters that are bookmarked pages from new book releases.

This means we can strategize longer term social media campaigns for MarCom New Media clients -- and just like any marketing campaign, it takes hard work, tracking, which the Internet makes easy, as well as maintenance.

We can easily blend direct-response and branding. It is about the objective for the campaign, then fine tuning the right strategy. The good news is that the Web is ideal for measurment.

Today, 70 percent of the ad dollars online are going toward direct-response advertising, but the shift toward brand-building campaigns is starting to happen. Check the following interesting stats from a recent research report. (Source: Awareness, Inc.)

  • The number of organizations that allow employees to use social networks for business purposes has increased dramatically to 69% in 2008 from 37% last year.
  • More than six in 10 companies are using social media to build and promote their brands, improve communication and increase consumer engagement.
  • There has been a fivefold increase in the percentage of employees who use popular social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for business purposes, from 15% in 2007 to 75% this year.
  • Some 37% of organizations plan to focus communities on specialty areas where they can provide focused business value.
  • More than 40% of respondents report using one or more of the following tools: user groups, tags, communities, blogs, social networking and videos.
  • The most popular internal tools are social networks, blogs and wikis, with adoption rates of between 50% and 55%.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don't Let Do-it-Yourself SEO Programs Fool You

Lately it seems we have had some new business clients who contacted us for online marketing or PR services, but when we talk to them about their search engine optimization (SEO), they seem to think that they already know how to do SEO in-house. One prospect even said they know there are all kinds of keyword software programs out there for free, that can tell you what your keywords are, etc.

Here's the thing. Would you tell your optometrist, for example, how to fit you in a pair of glasses? Or, would you feel confident about being able to design your own website in html? And do you even want to learn how to do it and then take all the time required to continue monitoring and doing it? Unless a company has hired a true SEO expert, who has years of experience, it is unlikely that the job will be done properly.

Much of what we do as marketers can always be done by the small business owner "in-house"-- but when a company starts learning and then implementing things like SEO, or PR, it takes vast amounts of time away from what they do. That said, it is often best to leave SEO up to the experts who have been doing it as a career for awhile - like Mike Keesling, our resident Los Angeles SEO expert. He has been doing SEO for more than ten years with excellent results for our MarCom New Media clients. Check out our SEO case histories. As Mike always says, it's best to look for long term results rather than short term instant gratification.

In fact last year we had a client who promised their web development team could be "taught" how to do the website SEO meta-tagging, etc. Mike trained them and we charged our standard training fee. Several months later, their site was still not tagged properly, and Mike had to actually do the job we should have done in the first place. That said we wasted three good months of possibly better search engine optimization results. And yes, in the end we charged more for it than it cost them to be trained. But with this being only a one-time fee, it was worth it because after the SEO started working, their revenues from new leads made up the difference fairly quickly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Popular Social Media Marketing Terms

Have you heard of an “RSS feed” or a “mashup?” You know what a“wiki” is, right? If not, you are not alone. In fact, many people are still clueless about social media marketing (SMM), which is defined as the use of the Internet technology tools for the purpose of sharing and discussing information with others. In other words, it is all about going on websites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter, or You Tube and sharing ideas, interests and “gossip” with other people of like mind ... or not. (People do disagree online of course.) But more important is to understand is how marketers use social media in our marketing efforts.

We can control messages and market your products and services online with well thought out SMM strategies, and clever tactics. For example, one such social media site is known as "” which is a social bookmarking website. These sites allow users to store and share your bookmarks online. You can access these bookmarks from any computer anywhere, anytime. Another SMM site is called “DIGG,” where users submit content and then other Digg users read your submission and Digg what they like. In this case popularity rules, and the more diggs you get the better it is for your brand.

Much of what MarCom New Media does is search engine optimization, combined with online public relations and marketing that all ties together. We do keyword analysis to see what terms folks use to search for your company online, then come up with a strategy to use those words in blogs, articles, releases, and on SMM websites, linking back to your website. It builds traffic so you can prosper online.

SMM Definitions:
RSS - Really Simple Syndication. This is the primary way people can syndicate content from Web sites, blogs and social networking sites to be read online by other people in what are known as RSS readers. RSS is very important for a company and its website because it allows people to track current news via their RSS Feeds.

RSS Tags. Simple technology that allows you to bookmark specific Web pages and sites of interest. It is how Digg and work.

Mashups. This brings multiple sources of data together and creates a single application, or Web service which helps manage events, etc. Content used in mashups usually comes from a third party via a public interface that combines data from more than one source into a single tool. One new example is Earthquake! A Google Maps mashup – thanks to the recent worldwide earthquakes.

Wikis. A collection of Web pages allowing anyone to add or edit content. This tool can help company employees, for example, in their collaboration efforts for projects or clients.
Internet marketing tactics continue to change on a frequent basis thanks to the search engines like Google, and new technologies. As marketers, we must learn fast, adapt, and then tweak strategies for what works best.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Online Advertising: Video ad predictions at 1.4 billion for 2010

The online video advertising predictions, according to video ad company, LiveRail, are way up from the $619 million in 2008. The company predicts that online video ad spending will be closer to $1.4 billion in 2010.

Another online research company known as eMarketer, has done another analysis, that puts online ad spending in 2010 at $1.15 billion, up from $505 billion in 2008.

Online video has become increasingly popular on websites like YouTube and Google, so that is partially why online video ad spending predictions are somewhat optimistic. More than half of US consumers currently watch online video, but predictions are that by the year 2012, that figure will be up to nine out of 10 Internet users.

MarCom New Media is not only a Los Angeles SEO firm, but also specializes in online advertising and therefore online video production. We have been busy producing online videos for a number of our clients during the last few years. The most recent one, was a recent project we did for OriginOil, Inc., who shared its vision of the algae to oil revolution with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Green Tech Expo, held in Los Angeles in conjunction with the Border Governors Conference in August. The OriginOil video was not only streamed from the company's website but also placed on YouTube and Google.

Most folks watch TV online because it's convenient, it allows them to watch on their own schedule and many people like the fact that they get to skip the commercials.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why B2B Companies Need SEO

One of the biggest problems facing companies with business to business (B2B) as opposed to Business to Consumer (B2C) solutions is the fact that many B2B sites don’t have sufficient content on their websites to respond to desired search terms that folks are using to find them. What does this mean? Simply put, while consumer driven websites may get more daily searches from prospective customers, B2B sites get their fair share of their own niche of potential businesses or strategic partners, and in some cases shareholders who are on the Internet searching, using certain key words to find the B2B solution they are seeking.

Following are just a few of the steps that MarCom takes as SEO consultants to ensure that our B2B client websites are organized into the most logical, user-friendly architecture that responds to organic searches (e.g. comes up on the first page of Google).

1) Benefits of SEO Sooner- Not Later. Today, with so many companies and individuals swarming the Internet and putting up websites, blogs, and posting to social media sites, the search engines are running out of bandwidth for indexing websites fast and efficiently. What used to take a company just two to three months to be ranked by Google and other search engines for keywords that people are using, may now take eight months or longer. The longer you wait to do the proper SEO for your B2B site, the longer it will take to become ranked. The proof is that we can take a look at your competitors today, and in 3 or 6 months, we'll tell you how ahead or behind your SEO is while they become better and better ranked each month.

2) Keyword Analysis. No matter whether you’re are a B2C or B2B company, the first step is still a keyword analysis. BUT the differences are that a B2B company should not make keyword judgments, but rather create the gross list that is as inclusive as possible of the potential terms their actual prospects might use – and this would include vertical markets, potential strategic partners, the government in some cases, and even shareholders. As SEO experts, we then focus on generic keywords based on what these potential customers call things. You also need to think about whether or not searches will be about a problem they’re experiencing, or the type of company potentially offering solutions? And often times geography may play a role in what people are searching for.

3) Determine Relative Popularity of B2B Keywords. Once you’ve created the gross list of potential keywords, we will determine the relative popularity of these search terms to give us some idea of which search terms are used more often than others. The actual raw number of searches for a given search term doesn’t matter as much.

4) The Value Website Optimization. You can now figure out the search terms by which your site will be optimized. For each B2B solution, there will be one or two relevant search terms that rank highly, three to five more that place as seconds, and many others that also have good potential. You can include terms with lower search volume because in B2B , these may yield less search volume or not as much traffic, but more likely it will yield a more serious potential partner or investor. Website optimization is where most webmasters make their biggest mistakes such as universal tagging, repeating the company name, or NOT using key words in Meta, Alt and Description tagging. This requires a true and experienced SEO consultant for the best results.

5) Building Content to Accommodate Extra SearchTerms. B2B companies often have sparse website content, so they will need to find a home for all of their search terms. As always, each page of content should focus on a specific term. In other words, where else on your site can you create a credible landing page that is going to respond well to organic search for each of these terms?

6) Internal and External Link Building Strategy. Some of the pages might be directly accessible through your site's primary navigation, other pages may be in the sub-navigation, and others may only be accessible through text links in the body copy of pages. Always keep the landing pages for the most popular search terms closest to the home page. Never go more than three layers deep, or the engines won’t look there. Go for the least amount of clicks possible to get to the landing pages with the best key words. Landing pages related to less popular, more obscure terms (also known as longtail keywords) can reside deeper on the site.

7) Inter link Between Related Search Terms. If there are three landing pages for a given product page, a case study page, and a blog posting-make sure that the site visitor can easily get from the landing page to the other “related” pages.

8) Create Content and External Inbound Links. Articles, blog posts from external blogs, videos posted to YouTube or Google and the hundreds of other video sites, and bookmarks on Social Media websites must be created so there is activity generated TO your website from other places on the Internet. And this does NOT mean recripricol links, but just one way inbound links. This will help get your site ranked faster than anything. AND while we build these links, we can also add other versions of this same content with your keywords to pages of your website, so the search engines have a better chance of finding your B2B company among all of your competitors.

In summary, the faster you accomplish all of the above steps, and do them right, while continuing to build content and links, the better your ranking will be in the search engines. MarCom shoots for all of our clients to become ranked on ALL of their keywords, and then STAY in the first page of Google, Yahoo and other search engines. As things change, MarCom New Media will make sure we continue to stay up on all the latest SEO trends.