How to Create an Online Marketing Strategy | Online marketing

If you’ve ever wondered how to create an online marketing strategy this post will provide you with some clear guidance as to where to start, what to analyse and how customers may arrive at your site or those of your competitors.The first place you should start when developing an online marketing strategy is an analysis of the online marketplace. This process will also help you to identify any potential partners and affiliates that may be able to promote your product and to identify the potential range of search terms which may need to be purchase in a pay per click (PPC) advertising campaign.Here are the main areas you should research thoroughly in your marketing place:Customer SegmentsYou may think this is obvious but it is imperative that you consider each of the segments that may consume your product or service and understand its buying behaviours, purchasing drivers, likely decision makers and what online media channels they engage with.An example of customer segmentation for a business services company could be:• Self-employed or freelance workers• Sole traders• Partnerships• Limited companies with less than 10 employees• Limited companies with over 10 employeesEach of these business will have different behaviours, drivers etc. as previously mentioned. You may also want to consider how internet savvy these segments are, their lifestyles, demographics etc.Make a list of each of your customer segments and try to categorise them as best you can.Search Engines used in your marketMake a list of each of the search engines that are relevant in your market. The main ones are typically Google, Bing and Yahoo. If you have a global business you will need to make a list of the key search engines by region such as Baidu which is major search engine in China and Yandex in Russia.Once you’ve made a list of the popular search engines it is advisable to consider the most popular and important keyword phrases in your market and the potential target audience for each keywords and key phrases.As you develop your online business it is also worthwhile to track the amount of traffic your website receives for specific keywords and phrases against the market potential.If like most businesses, Google is a major search engine used by your market then Google’s Keyword planner can help determine how popular specific keywords and phrases. The tool will also provide you with some ideas for any gaps in your keyword directory as the tool also generates keyword ideas for you based on some simple filters i.e. product or service type, the landing page URL, market segment, location etc.It is also worth tracking how many of your visitors are searching with your brand name and URL. This is a good testament to the strength of your brand and customer loyalty e.g. in the personal insurance sector many customers are simply searching for the name of their favouring comparison site rather than entering a specific term such as “cheap car insurance”.Potential Online Partnerships and sources of TrafficThere may be many websites in your marketplace capable of referring traffic to your site, either for free or from a paid advertisement, or acting as a paid affiliate where you reward them with a percentage of commission per sale.Make a list of the various businesses in your sector in the following categories:

Niche news and Media websites
Make a list of all the news and media sites that your target audience may have exposure to. For some businesses mainstream media may be appropriate of for others they may be very niche and followed only by your customer segments.Once you’ve done this reach out to the editors to set up a meeting. There may be several angles for your business to consider (depending on your budget) such as paid advertising, running a feature on your product or if you are an expert in your field there could be the opportunity for you to write articles and even become the expert when the publication needs some advice.

Trade bodies or industry associations
Depending on your sector there may be a number of trade bodies or industry associations serving your target market. When you have made your list, consider for each the potential for advertising, editorials etc. as already mentioned in news above. In addition the trade or industry association may become a valuable promotor of your business in return for an affiliate partnership and/or some form of value added service to its members such as a discount or tailored product or service.

Social Media Channels
I would recommend searching for your current and prospective customers on the most popular social media channels and record which channels your customers are active in e.g. do they target their own customers via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. If you can get a feel for the most popular channels used by your customers then mirroring this with your own online marketing campaigns in the same channels is likely to be successful.If you trade business to business it is definitely worth considering LinkedIn as a method of engagement and prospecting, you may be surprised just how many of your business customers use this channel. LinkedIn is a useful sales tool as you can develop a pipeline of decision makers and send them an Inmail to introduce yourself plus lot more. This is a vast subject in its own right and will be covered in future posts.

Comparison Sites
Price comparison sites are springing up in many different sectors e.g. moneysupermarket for financial services products, Gocompare for insurance, uSwitch for energy and telecoms. If there are any comparison services in your sector it is certainly worth considering listing your product on them as they are likely to control a significant amount of the search traffic in your sector. The comparison sites are generally paid per sale but there are also many that are paid per lead sent to your business.

Niche Affiliates
Affiliates gain revenue on a commission share basis or a fixed amount from the business whom they refer traffic to. This is an important source of customers and you should consider building relationships with as many as these as possible – these could be bloggers, other businesses operating in your sector but not competing, people who network in your sector and some of the other channels already mentioned.If your business has a digital product such as software, application or how to guide it may also be worth listing this as a product on the various affiliate networks out there such as ClickBank. as their members may actively promote your product in return for a commission if it fits their own niche.

Bloggers & Forums
These are generally individuals although some of the major authority blogs often run as a business with several contributors. Some niche blogs may received hundreds of thousands or even millions of visitors per month e.g. in the digital marketing and tech space Mashable.com has several million readers and is valued at several hundred million dollars.It can be relatively simple to find the bloggers in your space, simple open Google and type in “Sector Name” Blogs and you will see a list of them. Have a look at a few and you will soon get a feel for how prevalent they are in your market by the number of posts they have, how regular they post and how many comments they get.You can also use the same process to find online forums which may serve your sector where people gather to talk about the sector, review products, share ideas etc.I would definitely suggest finding the main bloggers and forums and engage with them. You can do this for free by commenting on their blogs and forum threads although add value to them by commenting with useful insight or adding additional questions. Often these blogs will allow you to add your own website link to your signature or avatar so when you comment or post your brand is getting coverage and may result in free traffic back to your blog.Just remember to always think about what value you are adding before interacting and your could get your comment seen by tens of thousands of people in your niche and this audience will only grow. For example a few years ago I wrote a blog post for business blogging site and it has received over 35,000 views and this number continues to steadily grow. All it cost me was a couple of hours of writing time.Once you’ve pulled together your lists you will start to get a clear picture of what your online market place looks like. I would then suggest for each of the various websites listed in each category using the following free tools (both will have advanced paid for features):

Sharedcount.com -If you go to the site and type in the URL it will tell you how many social shares and likes a website is getting across the mainstream social channels.

Compete.com – which will show you how many unique visitors and ranking for a specific website.
Both of these tools will give good indicator of the quality of a potential partner based on their levels of engagement and search traffic.I hope this post proves useful to you and welcome any feedback once you’ve commenced developing an online marketing strategy.If you haven’t already please subscribe to my blog to receive updates on future posts.Happy Digital Marketing!Rob

Real Estate Website Promotion is Easy | Real estate

If you are a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker, or provide a Real Estate service you know how important effective real estate web promotion is to your business. The large number of people searching the internet for local, national and international real estate information can simply not be ignored.At the same time you may think effective real estate website promotion is too difficult to master, too expensive to afford, or just too mysterious to understand – an area reserved for experts in the field of search engine marketing.Like most practitioners of highly specialized skills, search engine marketing specialists have a vested interest in making their field seem mysterious and difficult to master. But it is not really that mysterious. It is possible for anyone to dominate the search engines in virtually any local market. All it takes is a bit of common sense and some hard work.The principles involved in getting good positioning for your real estate website are quite simple and straightforward. They are the same principles that apply to search engine marketing for any website and it is actually quite easy to apply these principles to real estate websites. Many real estate agents have simply given up trying to score well in the search engines for local real estate searches because they don’t properly understand the process.But think about it for a minute. When you do a search in Google for “real estate Phoenix” or “Banff real estate” or “Halifax real estate” or “Fort Lauderdale real estate”, and you see the same real estate agents or agencies coming up on the first page week after week, how do you think they got there? What magical real estate website promotion formula are they using or who have they paid to get this high position?Now before you answer that question, ask yourself how you think Google assigns these positions to different websites. Does their giant computer just pull names from a great big cyber-hat? Do they use secret rules that only a few insiders know about?Of course not. All the major search engines make it perfectly clear what they are looking for – and especially Google. If you want to score well for a term like “real estate Phoenix” or “real estate Ottawa”, really all you have to do is pack your site with good information about Phoenix (or Ottawa) and focus your home page in a very deliberate way on those search terms.The search engines like focused content. They assume if your site contains lots of content relevant to “real estate Phoenix” then it should be shown high in searches for that keyword.Of course the problem is that there are already a number of other real estate websites offering good content focused on your favorite search term, so you are going head to head with sites that have previously established position, and it will take a bit of time and a fair amount of work to get past them.That is fair enough. After all, if the real estate agent down the streat offers more focused and relevant information than you do about the market you are both chasing, she deserves to come up above you in the search engine rankings. It makes sense, doesn’t it?That does not mean you should not keep on trying. It simply means you should be patient and work harder. Take a close look at her site and outdo her by refocusing your site and creating more interesting and valuable content. Focus is the name of the game. Make it crystal clear that you are the “expert” on “Calgary real estate” by offering the kinds of things that an expert would offer.And please, do not hesitate to mention the search phrase you are trying to get positioning on. If it is “Kingston real estate” or “Sacramento real estate”, then use that term all over your home page. Say to yourself, “OK Google, so you are looking for real estate websites that have something to say about ‘Sacramento real estate’, well here I am. I breathe Sacramento Real Estate. I ooze Sacramento Real Estate. I AM Sacramento Real Estate.” This is called Search Engine Optimization.In the meantime, while you’re waiting for Google to come around on your primary search term, find some less competitive ones to focus on as well. For instance, if you want to service the entire Ottawa area, but most of your clientele is in Kanata or Nepean, focus some of your internet marketing efforts on those smaller markets. You have a much better chance of getting results in these significantly smaller and less competitive markets.

Mobile Apps in the Focus of Healthcare Industry | healthcare

Recent findings of healthcare research companies indicate that mobile platforms are redefining the medical industry and the traditional doctor-patient relationship. Both healthcare providers and consumers are using smartphones and tablets as a means to achieve better results in the sphere of medical care.The practice of using mobile communication devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PDAs, for health services and information has got the name of mHealth (or mobile health). Thus, mHealth applications allow patients to manage and improve health by collecting information about their vital signs and delivering it to practitioners in order to receive the appropriate consultations or treatment. However, not only consumers are taking advantage of mobile technologies, since mHealth applications are to a great extent designed for healthcare professionals, including doctors, clinicians, and nurses that need real-time access to patients’ histories, appointment schedules, drug prescription details, billing data, and other practice related information.A huge number of medical companies and institutions have already recognized the potential of mobile applications for healthcare. They allocate budgets and invest in developing medical apps for mobile devices, such as, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, as wells other popular smartphones, tablets, and PDAs. Nowadays there exist several thousands of mobile health apps. Such applications are intended for the following purposes:
Mobile apps provide healthcare specialists with real-time access to the medical records of patients and allow tracking their physical state indicators, symptoms, disease flow, nutrition habits etc.
Healthcare apps enhance such procedures as scheduling and billing, medication prescribing and drug interaction checking.
Mobile healthcare apps facilitate communication between doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, for example, through discussions of medical cases in online forums.
Mobile apps can provide users with the information about local healthcare facilities, as well as with an access to a searchable database of available physicians, dentists, cosmetologists, etc.
Healthcare applications can help in epidemic outbreak forecast and monitoring.
Mobile apps may contribute to the promotion of healthcare education and wellness awareness.
In such a way, the positive features of mHealth apps lead to the productivity increase of healthcare businesses, as well as to the improvement of medical information collection and transmission, since such apps allow healthcare specialists to work remotely and still to have access to the critical medical data. This makes it possible to provide customers with diagnostic and treatment support.The technical level of mHealth applications is increasing and they are getting more sophisticated. Moreover, according to certain studies, it is expected that 500 million people will be using healthcare mobile apps in 2015. Therefore, the development and implementation of such mHealth applications is a business guideline for healthcare companies wishing to successfully operate on the medical care market. More and more traditional healthcare providers are already widening their health services by suggesting consumers an option to make use of helpful mobile applications.