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Innovation is alive and well in Canada

Jul 21, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   canada, internet marketing, seo  //  Comments Off

Recession is a time for battening down the hatches, staying the course and avoiding unnecessary expenses — right?

Not according to Canada’s entrepreneurs, who are in a fighting mood as they await a recovery. In a new survey, 61% of business owners said they are investing in innovation and/or research and development this year, which may surprise business-watchers who think small business owners are innovation laggards.

But business owners are always looking at new product ideas and tweaking their service offerings. Designing a new type of sandal, hiring an SEO consultant to beef up a Web site, or recruiting a student to make cold calls all count as innovation in a small company, where you fall behind whenever you stop moving forward.

The Canadian Small Business Monitor, published last week by American Express, breaks ground by putting a price tag on innovation investment. An impressive 13% of the 500 business owners surveyed said they will spend more than 10% of revenues on innovation or research and development this year; 10% expect to spend between 6% and 10%; and 28% plant to invest 1% to 5%.

Another reassuring finding is only 19% of business owners said they will spend nothing on it “because innovation/ R&D does not apply to my business;” while 13% said they don’t have the budget for it, and 7% were undecided.

(That last group probably includes the dry cleaner that tore your favourite jacket, the e-commerce Web site that lost your order and the ad agency that produced the Stephane Dion video last December.)

Overall, 40% of the businesses surveyed consider innovation a “high priority,” while 8% call it a “top priority.” Generally, the larger the company, the higher priority they place on innovation.

Online Marketing Eats Into Traditional Media

Jul 19, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   ecommerce, online marketing, social media  //  Comments Off

Interactive marketing will near $55 billion and represent 21 percent of all marketing dollars spent in 2014 as advertisers shift money away from traditional media to search marketing, display advertising, e-mail marketing, social media and mobile promotions, according to a recent study.

The trend is already underway, as more marketers this year are taking money from traditional marketing budgets and using it in interactive advertising, as opposed to supporting interactive efforts with new funding, as was the case in years past, according to the Forrester Research report “US Interactive Marketing Forecast 2009 to 2014,” by Shar VanBoskirk.

“This cannibalization of traditional media will bring about a decline in overall advertising budgets, death to obsolete agencies, a publisher awakening and a new identity for Yahoo,” writes VanBoskirk.

She goes on to say that while ad budgets will decrease, marketing investments won’t, as any money saved by using cheaper interactive media will be put toward funding IT technology and staff, customer service and so on.

Given this, traditional ad agencies must include interactive marketing for mere survival. “We’ve hinted before that agencies that can’t transition from pushing out messages to nurturing customer connections aren’t long for this world. Agency readers, heed our warning. Services firms that lack data management, analytics, listening, social media execution, and strategy expertise will dry up,” warns the report.

Social media campaigns are growing into an established part of the interactive ad mix as more companies embrace it — 64 percent of marketers already build social media applications and 22 percent more will by the end of 2009.

Search marketing continues to do well, in both adoption, today 80 percent of marketers use it, and money spent. “Search marketing accounts for 59 percent of the overall interactive pie. We project spend on paid listings, which includes paid inclusion, and search engine optimization (SEO) to grow at a CAGR of 15 percent, to $31 billion by 2014,” according to the report.

The report says advertisers favor pay-per-click over impression-based display campaigns, with 58 percent going to PPC – and the trend is expected to continue. Rich media is also gaining traction, currently about one-third of display spend, rich media will grow to 45 percent by 2014 as marketers use more and pay a premium for rich media.

E-mail marketing continues to grow, with an 11 percent CAGR over the next five years, due to the “green” market campaigns being in vogue and to increased integration with social media sites.

Inbound Internet Marketing

Jul 19, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing, online marketing, social media  //  Comments Off

In response to the evolving change in online marketing strategies, Fresh Traffic announces a complete Inbound Internet Marketing package that encompasses everything a business needs in order to become a web marketing powerhouse. Fresh traffic is an Internet Marketing Services company that expertly provides small businesses with the much needed edge in the big world of search engine marketing to increase their customer base without depleting the company’s financial resources.

“Businesses are seeking returns on their marketing dollars and they’re shifting money out of expensive phonebook ads, direct mail, telemarketing, and into website optimization, expert content and social media that help them get found in organic search results.”Marketing your business in today’s online world, forces small businesses to throw out the old handbook and try new strategies. Traditional outbound marketing using direct mail, print advertising, and phonebook ads are becoming more expensive and less effective. Today, consumers use search engines, blogs, and social media to learn about products and services.

“Businesses are seeking returns on their marketing dollars and they’re shifting money out of expensive phonebook ads, direct mail, telemarketing, and into website optimization, expert content and social media that help them get found in organic search results.”"These changes are laying the foundation for a new marketing strategy on the web.

To succeed online today, businesses need to adopt an Inbound Internet Marketing Strategy. Instead of pushing a sales message out, inbound marketing is the process of drawing prospective customers into their business by allowing the consumer to choose to learn more about a company’s product or service. Fresh traffic’s Inbound Marketing Services will help small businesses be found on search engines, blogs, the media, and help convert those new visitors into leads.

Benefits of Online Marketing to Control Costs

Jul 19, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   branding, internet marketing, online advertising, online marketing  //  Comments Off

Winnipeg-based Fresh Traffic has seen the success online marketing can offer as a flexible and affordable strategy to keep your company’s brand message fresh and in front of your target audiences. The advantages to E-mail marketing and internet advertising are the ability for companies to finely tune a brand message to an individual market segments to generate a greater response. Fresh Traffic’s clients have used behavior and buzz measurement tools to their advantage with online marketing.

A good internet marketing strategy focuses on the “communications” part before it tackles the “online” component. “A custom E-mail newsletter demonstrates how internet technology can deliver a powerful brand message at a reasonable cost without sacrificing quality or creativity.”

As a full service internet marketing agency, Fresh traffic helps businesses nationwide define and create brand identity, communication strategies and quality marketing vehicles online. From logos to internet advertising, Fresh works to build brands. Since 1998, Fresh has been making businesses successful through Message, Advertising, Branding, Web Design & Web Development, along with Online Marketing services. For more information, visit www.freshtraffic.ca

Google Stability Returns to Online Advertising

Jul 18, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   Uncategorized  //  Comments Off

Google have announced higher returns than expected this quarter as the online advertising market has stabilised from its little wobble last quarter in the States.

Wall Street forecasts expected further plunges in the online marketing industry as a whole, but Google has once again beaten the trend and exceeded expectations. Total revenues increased to $5.5 billion (£3.4 billion) up by 3 per cent. After removing affiliate fees, Google’s revenue generated from digital marketing this quarter came in at $4.07 billion (£2.49 billion), $10 million ahead of Bloomberg estimates.

Google’s return to form should be echoed throughout the advertising industry online as the market settles from the blip that occurred earlier this year. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: “We’re not at the moment looking at the downward spiral we thought we might be six months ago,” according to Financial Times.

The uptake of advertising on Google’s video streaming site YouTube has helped revenues across the Atlantic, although at the monstrous rate of growth, YouTube is still much more of a financial burden to Google than a blessing. The company announced in May that they were receiving over 20 hours of uploaded content every minute to the website which is taking its toll on bandwidth and storage capacity.

Google have been smart to take precautions though, axing the unprofitable newspaper and radio-advertising arms of its business and focusing on the online model. “What they’ve done is gone and eliminated the obvious initiatives that were not performing very well,” analyst Youssef Squali told Bloomberg.com.

The market is returning to normality, with Google keeping a firm grip at the top of the online advertising tree.

Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg

Jul 15, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing, search engine optimization, seo, Winnipeg  //  Comments Off

Like anywhere else, a website requires optimization in order to rank within its own city, and Winnipeg is no exception. Winnipeg is the 7th largest city in Canada and the largest city between Toronto and Calgary.

Home to several internet startups in health, travel, and finance, Winnipeg is an overlooked technical hub with lots to offer. A little known fact, its where a few internet industries were started. Winnipeg also has a small gaming and film community which is thriving as well.

Internet marketing has made location a non-issue, allowing people virtually anywhere to operate a business online.

What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Borrowing a definition from wikipedia… “it is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” SEO is a process which requires a time investment in order to see results. For faster results, one might try PPC, which you can setup and turn on in the same day.

Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg
There’s a city that lies on the prairies where two rivers meet. Known as Winnipeg, it’s known for hot summers, cold winters, love for hockey, and the great outdoors.

Winnipeg is also a thriving community for business, both online and offline, and has contributed a great deal for a city of barely 700,000. There is a strong community for web developers, designers, and Internet marketers. There is also the Winnipeg SEO and SEM groups as well

Links – Basic SEO interpretation

Jul 15, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   linking, search engine optimization, seo techniques  //  Comments Off

A site alone cannot achieve the full return on investment without using certain SEO techniques. Link building, one of the more effective ways of promoting a website on the Web, is an often discussed, and debated subject. There are varied types of link building techniques and strategies which could help in improving your standings within the index. Let’s have a look at different types of link building techniques used in search engine optimization strategies.

One way links
Here one site gets a link on another website due to the quality and relevance, and not for the business purpose. The website whose link is posted, does not need to provide a link back to the site on which it is posted. Best type of linking to work towards.

Reciprocal links
Another widely used strategy of link building is ‘reciprocal linking’. Here there is link exchange between two websites on one to one basis. Care needs to be taken in choosing reciprocal link partners, as fraudulent webmasters can take undue advantage. It is advisable to review any requests for link exchanges before finalizing. This can be seen as a last alternative if a one way link isn’t in the cards. A little more towards the quantity end of the spectrum.

Articles
Article submission in various directories is a sure shot method to build effective link building to your website. You can write one article per day or as much as you want and submit to directories. Submission can be done in many directories altogether, where one-way links are given to your site from the articles. Other sites that use your articles also provide one-way link to your site from other websites. Quantity linking is where this would fall into.

Press releases
Press release submission in various press release directory and leading news site is a best way to get natural back links from your press release articles. You need to write press release article about your new product launches or news releases in your industry. In the deep end of the quantity pool, great for getting out a blast of information to multiple sources, quickly.

Social bookmarking and Social networking
Social bookmarking and social networking is one of the newest ways to get back links and more visitors to your website. Experience is varied, but on the whole it will send more traffic to your site. If your content is relevant to the readers interest, it’s up to them at that point to provide the link back to your site.

The most important point when it comes to links however, quality link building is far better than quantity link building.

SEO Scam Warning

Jul 14, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   Uncategorized  //  Comments Off

Local businesses are falling prey to scams by so-called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies promising unrealistic internet traffic and search engine results, according to a web development company.

One of the clients contacted them this week to report the scam and to alert other businesses that may fall foul of the practice.

They said the business was told by scammers it could have its website listed at the top of the Google search engine with an obscure search term.

“The trouble is, according to Google, no one had used the search term in the past 12 months and there is very little chance of it being used in the future.

“Yet the client could easily have been conned into spending $1000′s promoting a worthless search term and would have lost even more money if they had accepted the proposal.

At Fresh Traffic we advise business operators to check the credentials of SEO companies before making any financial commitment.

“A good SEO company will have years of experience and practice in the methods used to produce the right results, and will also have testimonials and success stories on their website.”

If you require SEO Help, call the experts today at Fresh.

Imagine No Google

Jul 14, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, search engine, seo  //  Comments Off

In the taxi on the way to the airport yesterday, the driver made the sort of offhand, clichéd remark that nobody ever takes seriously: “What would we do without computers?” Always one to take things seriously, though, I jumped at the bait. What would I do without computers?

Everything about my life would be different. Obviously, I couldn’t do the work that I do — and that’s probably true for you too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column. I would also need a replacement for my social media addictions.

Everything about my life would be different — and that’s true for most people. If we didn’t have cell phones, our lives would be dramatically different. If we didn’t have television, our lives would be dramatically different.

But now imagine that we didn’t have Google. Imagine a Terminator came back from the future to kill Google before it became self-aware. Imagine that it found the global jeadquarters in Mountain View and managed to destroy Google’s “brain.” (Don’t you love that no matter how distributed and redundant our actual technology gets, every artificially intelligent movie bad guy always has a single “brain” that can be destroyed in a shower of sparks and dramatic effects?) Or maybe the Terminator just unplugs it. Whatever. Bottom line, we wake up tomorrow and there’s no Google.

For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s actually restrict ourselves for a moment to the idea of a world without Google search. Relax — we’ve still got YouTube.

Here’s what I believe would happen from a consumer perspective: there would be a brief and reasonably harsh shudder — and then we would go on as normal. The hundreds of Lilliputian search engines nipping at Google’s heels would rush in to fill the vacuum. Searches from your address bar? No problem. SERPs with images? No problem. Mobile search? No problem.

The commercial ecosystem, of course, would be dramatically undermined. All of the entities that have built their businesses on the idea of an ever-dominant Google would have to quickly and accurately reallocate spending to the most dominant of the new pretenders. Publishers would have to switch networks. Sites using Google custom search would have to offer another way to navigate.

But here is where it gets interesting for me: the strategy wouldn’t really change.

A company investing in text ads would still invest in text ads, because text ads will still be an effective, measurable way to advertise. A publisher tapped into the Google network would tap into a different network — but it would still tap into a network. Keyword identification and SEO would go on as normal, just with different players.

As integrated as Google has become in our lives, its functions are still replaceable. That “competition’s only one click away” idea is actually true, in theory. We stick with Google because we love it, not because we can’t get satisfaction anywhere else.

The best relationships are always those that exist out of continually renewed choice. Google has a lot of “habit capital” it would have to burn through before people started questioning that choice, but at the end of the day, it’s not really that hard to find another way to search.

If there were no Google? We’d simply have a different logo at the top of the page.

SEO freebies

Jul 14, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   Uncategorized  //  Comments Off

I’m here today to offer up a few SEO freebies. They’re simple, but they’re fundamental techniques I’ve seen ignored by MANY organizations.

•Help the search engines find your product pages. Search engines are getting much better at indexing dynamic URLs. We all know this. If your URLs are pretty good, leave them alone. Chances are, you’ll be alright, especially if they’ve been live for awhile. If they’re so-so, or really bad, consult with an SEO firm to determine the best way to rewrite them (if you should at all) and set the linking up properly. Yes, there are ways to make the situation worse.

•Whether you’re working with a friendly CMS or not, it’s still important to create unique title tags on your product pages. Again, the right SEO firm can likely help with this by authoring each title and meta tag, or by helping to create a plan to dynamically generate them. Tip: if you’re having trouble positioning for your own branded product names, begin the title tag with the exact product name.

•When you’re an e-commerce brand that has many distributors selling the exact same products on other websites, most often, they also have the same product descriptions. This is not in your best interest. Have one version of each product description for the corporate website, and one version for distributors. Don’t have the human bandwidth? Call Fresh Traffic. We’ll help you.

•My final SEO recommendation isn’t SEO-specific, but is so important to growing online sales. BE PRICE COMPETITIVE. #1 in search results or not, if the visitor can click the next result and find the product for 15% less with free shipping, they’re going to buy it there. Simple as that.

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