Online Marketing

  • 6 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

    A strong business relationship, like a strong marriage, requires a lot of give and take. Your agency needs to have the knowledge, expertise, and moxie to give you the strong digital presence that businesses need to succeed. They have to stay on top of the latest developments in digital marketing, and be ready to try new strategies when the old ones don’t work. As a client, you need to communicate your needs openly and clearly. You need to be responsive with feedback. You have to trust your agency enough to let them seek out opportunities to build your brand, and when they do, be able to let them know what you think. Of course, just as in marriage, there’s also an undefinable element that can make a business relationship not just good, but great. It’s a sense of fit, of “clicking” – of knowing that you and your agency won’t have trouble staying on the same page. This isn’t something you can find out from an agency website. When you’re thinking of hiring a digital marketing agency, you’ve got to start by asking them the right questions. In addition to asking about things like their client base, history of success,…

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  • 21 Common Questions About Email Marketing Answered

    Today’s installment in our series of answers to common online marketing questions addresses email marketing. Email marketing can seem like a deceptively simple task at first glance, but once you get into the trenches, it becomes clear that it’s anything but. Luckily, we’re here to help point you in the right direction. We’ve answered 21 of the most common questions we receive about email marketing. 1. Is email marketing still effective? Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for a business to reach customers directly. Think about it. You’re not posting something on your site and hoping people will visit it. You’re not even posting something on a social media page and hoping fans will see it. You’re sending something directly into each person’s inbox, where they definitely will see it! Even if they don’t open it, they’ll still see the subject line and your company’s name each time you send an email, so you’re always communicating directly with your audience. 2. Isn’t social media marketing taking the place of email marketing? Actually, recent statistics show that email reaches three times more people than Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s a significant difference. Social media marketing is wildly popular,…

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  • 21 Common Questions About Content Marketing Answered

    Next up in our “21 Common Questions Answered” series, in which we answer the top questions we commonly receive about various aspects of online marketing, is the topic of content marketing. (Check out the previous posts in this series for answers to your questions about email marketing and social media marketing!) The importance of content in an online marketing strategy has undergone a meteoric rise over the last few years, so it’s only natural that businesses have questions about just how to harness this marketing tool. And as usual, we’re here to help. So without further ado, here are the answers to 21 common questions about content marketing: 1. What is content marketing exactly? Content marketing turns traditional marketing on its head. Instead of focusing on a company and its products or services, it focuses on the consumer’s needs first. The goal of content marketing is to provide valuable, genuinely helpful information to consumers for free, in order to create a relationship with them based on trust, which eventually leads them to make a purchase.  2. What qualifies as content? When most people think of content marketing, they think of a blog. And blogs are certainly one of the easiest…

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  • 21 Common Questions About Social Media Marketing Answered

    Here at Marketing Zen, we often get questions from businesses about online marketing, and we do our utmost to answer every one. But it occurred to us recently that it might be helpful for us to put together a little blog series answering some of the most common questions we get related to web marketing. Today’s installment? The 21 most common social media marketing questions we receive, answered just for you! 1. Can social media marketing really help my business? Most definitely! It’s been proven again and again by business after business. In fact, 73% of businesses surveyed by Constant Contact in 2011 had already started using social media marketing with measurable results.  Not utilizing social media marketing can actually harm your business, since having an online presence on social media is simply expected of any reputable firm these days. 2. What are the benefits of social media marketing for my company? Whether your business is taking advantage of it or not, social media has forever changed the way that consumers communicate with businesses, and vice versa. Being accessible to your customers – and your prospective clients – via social media is a vital means of developing relationships with them…

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  • How to Market a Resort or Vacation Destination Online

    The travel industry has perhaps the greatest potential to grow and market online. Sadly, most hotels and resorts treat online marketing very much like they do traditional marketing – they setup a brochure website, and then forget about it. To truly engage an audience and sell more rooms, you need to look at web marketing as a living, breathing, entity. These online marketing tips don’t apply to local motels which would be best served by billboards and local marketing. Instead, I want to focus on true vacation destination hotels and resorts. Places people research and book in advance. Get the Basics Right – I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. No amount of marketing will make up for a poor product or service. If the rooms are dirty or checking in is a hassle, don’t expect marketing to make up for it. Of all the things people talk about online, hotels top the list. Do yourself a favor, take a percentage of your marketing every month, and use it to better the customer experience. Provide Tongue Candy – No, not mints at the front desk. But, stories that people will repeat when they go back home. I…

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  • Social Media Optimization – 10 Important Factors for 2016

      From years of executing SEO and SEM campaigns, I am now more than ever seeing the parallels of  social media and SEO/SEM as well as how they all work together. Ten years ago, business owners thought their only option to improve their SEO was stuffing their meta tags and submitting their site to 1,000 search engines. Similar to SEO and SEM, business owners now realize it’s not enough to just plug the social media hole because they read in some business magazine it was needed. A new phrase has joined the lexicon of business buzz words, and rightfully so, showing a more sophisticated marketer: Social Media Optimization. You should not have a social media campaign for your business just because everyone else is doing. CEOs, marketers, entrepreneurs are now seeking solutions to optimizing their social media marketing campaigns. What do I mean by Social Media Optimization? I’m not Shama. I didn’t write the book on social media and I’m not a social media speaker. My name is Angela and although I have been blogging since 2001 and have been learning online marketing since 2005, my main area of expertise is SEM/SEO.  The reason I say this is I don’t…

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  • Marketing Zen’s Furry Friends

    Working from home, as we do here at Marketing Zen, has a lot of great perks. But one of the very best is the fact that we get to spend every day with our furry friends at our side! After all, they help us get our work done each day – they deserve a little fame! So without further ado, we’d like to introduce just a few of MZ’s furry team members. Here’s what Matthew Cowling, our VP of Video Production, had to say about his three pets Sebastian, Anastasia, and Rupert. “Rupert is a 9-month-old guinea pig. He lives in what we call the “guinea mansion,” which is a 2-story home I built for him with ramps and cubbies to play in. He loves to run around the house – I have made him a “free guinea” and let him roam around my house whenever I’m home. He eats most anything, but has a main diet of hay. Sometimes I feel like a farmer because I have a zoo at my house. When guinea pigs are happy they squeak really loudly, as well as do what’s dubbed “popcorning,” which is where he jumps into the air with a burst…

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  • The 12 Days of Christmas Day 4: Diversity in the Boardroom

    Here we go – it’s day 4 of the Shama TV 12 Days of Christmas contest, and that means it’s time for another trend! This is one we can all get behind: boardroom diversity. Watch the video to learn more, and be sure to subscribe to the Shama TV YouTube channel for your chance to win some fabulous prizes! A transcript is below. Hey Zen Nation! Welcome to Day 4 of our 12 Days of Christmas campaign, where we talk about future trends for 2016. Trend number four is: Expect more diversity in the boardroom. Right now boardrooms are filled with mostly older white males and they’re homogeneous. But as corporations go into 2016 and beyond, they’re realizing the importance of diversity – not just for lip service, but really getting good ideas in there. Look for boardrooms to be more diverse – more women, different age groups, different minorities, and really for companies to start embracing that if they’re going to serve a more diverse market, they have to start looking and thinking more diverse themselves. Alright guys, to win our awesome daily prizes and our grand prize of the Amazon Tablet Fire HD – one lucky winner will…

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  • Why Integrating Traditional and Digital Marketing is a No-Brainer

    The digital age has given us so many things: better ways to stay in touch with loved ones, new ways to market and advertise, a social connectivity that reaches across the world. Another thing the digital age has been quite generous with? Hyperbole. “Traditional advertising is dead!” “Print is dead!” “Cable TV is dead!” “God is dead!” Oh, wait. That was Nietzche. Anyway, you get the picture. Once SEO, social media, and influencer marketing came on the scene, lots of people in the position to make loud and definitive proclamations like this did so, and we ended up with a bunch of doomsday-esque predictions that turned out to be a bit exaggerated. I still read books made of paper, and lots of people I know do too. Advertising firms are still alive and thriving. Cable TV shows no sign of fading away, although it has, certainly, adapted. The point is that no matter how game-changing the digital revolution has been, it’s not the end-all be-all. That’s as true in marketing as it is in any other industry—salespeople, for instance, still make phone calls and face-to-face visits, and retailers still invest in brick-and-mortar stores despite the popularity of online shopping. The…

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  • Theft or Opportunism? The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Poaching

    When I was in the fifth grade, I had a best friend named Michelle Larsen. She and I did everything together: we played on the playground together, we went to each other’s houses on the weekends, and we talked on the phone constantly whenever our parents didn’t need the landlines. She was my first really close best friend, and I was grateful—I’d seen how lonely recess felt when Michelle was sick, and not having a best friend was like, totally uncool.

  • WTF Millennials: Tips for #ModernMarketing

    Generations are extremely broad—they homogenize vastly different people, values, interests, experiences based on having a birthday that falls within a 15 year range. Yup, not every Millennial is a mustachioed, plaid-wearing, PBR-drinking hipster—just like every Baby Boomer isn’t a crochety budget hunter who doesn’t know how to use a computer. Shocking, we know.

    People like to think of themselves as individuals, not as demographics.

  • Cringeworthy or Genius: Should Your Company Take a Stance on Trending Issues?

    Same-sex marriage. Transgender issues. These are topics that have consumed our nation for years, but which recently reached a fever pitch in the media with Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, and the Supreme Court’s historic decision to make gay marriage legal.

    As was to be expected, all that media coverage meant that businesses were bound to join the discussion, as well. After all, newsjacking is a tried and true technique for getting more clicks, more engagement…