Filter The NoiseBlog

We blog about design, technology, internet marketing and business on the web. As the name implies, we aim to "filter the noise" and share only the most relevant information. Feel free to chime in anytime with your thoughts and comments. Established 2004 in Colorado Springs, Colorado by HighTouch Web Design and Internet Marketing.

10 Ways to Promote Your Blog

Kim Kolb - Monday, October 12, 2009
Welcome to the Blogosphere!  Now that you have a blog and you have been posting articles, you probably are wondering, "how do I get people to read my blog and comment on it?"  I am glad you asked... Thanks to my fellow IMU friend Adrian for giving great ideas.
  1. Title : The title of your blog post is very important.  Try to use words that someone would use to find what you are talking about in your blog, like "10 ways to promote your blog."  Remember that people doing searches on the internet have the attention span of about 10 seconds.
  2. Content : Since we have a short attention span, make the content engaging, and please don't write a book.  Keep your words limited.  Say what you have to say and don't oversay it!
  3. Optimization : Meta Fields like what type of article is it, social media, blogging, content, etc.  All these tags will help your rankings as well
  4. Social Bookmarking : Submit your posts to social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon.  Getting people to comment on your blog is very important.  You can use pluggins, like ShareThis.
  5. Social Media : Use your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share that you have a blog and that you have posted a new article.
  6. Newsletters : You should be touching your clients at least once a month if not more.  Do it with a newsletter and tell them about your blog.
  7. Blog Comments and Forums : By commenting on other blog posts with relevant comments, you will get yourself in the spotlight.  People will go find out who you are because of your comments.  You can join forums.  Help others if they have an issue with something, you can let them know you wrote a blog on that particular issue and point them in the right direction.
  8. Pitch other bloggers to link to your post : When someone asks you for advice, or support, point them in the direction of a blog article you wrote about the subject.
  9. E-mail Signatures : You should list your blog and all other social media links in your email signature.  Don't use graphics, just text.
  10. Directories : There are some sites out there that let you post your article to share with others.  You can find some of those sites by going to Hubspot.
I hope this helps you in your quest to get your blog noticed.

Facebook has become the Social Connection to 300 million

Kim Kolb - Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Facebook has become a huge part of social media these days.  This tool that was designed back in 2004 for college students has grown to 300 million users.  Mark Zuckerman who at the time of inception was a college student who wanted a way for college students to be able to communicate with each other.

It is reported by The Daily Mustang, that each day, people around the world spend more than six billion minutes on Facebook, where they post 40 million status updates and become fans of 10 million pages.

When Facebook started out, it took almost 5 years to grow to 150 million users.  In nine months, Facebook has grown from 150 million users to 300 million. 

Growth of Facebook is being attributed to the 35 and older crowd.  The fastest pace of growth comes from older Americans according to iStrategy Labs.  People 55 and older grew by 513 percent since July of 2009, and now that group makes up 8 percent of all active Facebook users. 

A lot of 55 and older people enjoy Facebook because of the distance between family members.  They can see their grand kids growing up right there on their screen instead of waiting to have the family visit.  Speaking as a Facebook user in the 35 + group, I have tried to get my Dad and Mother-in-law to get an account and they both seem uninterested.  I have express the fact that they can see pictures and only let the family be their friends.  But to no avail they have not yet become Facebook members.  Maybe I can make them a profile and show them how easy it is to use. 

According to some polling of SMU students, they are a little disturbed at the older crowd using Facebook.  In fact Since Jan 2009, student only make up 25% of the Facebook active members.  Users aged 18 – 24 have fallen from 41% to 25%.  This is still an increase of 1 million users in 6 months among that age group.

Facebook, I believe is becoming more than a social networking outlet.  Yes, most people use it to keep up with their friends and family, but Facebook also provides a business aspect that can be used to capture leads by "word of mouth" so to speak.  This could be the reason for the increased number of 35+ people.  They are using Facebook Fan Pages to get people to notice their brand and to become known.

Kudos to the 35+ people who have transformed what was once only for geeks and college kids to something useful in every day life and business.

Social Media is Altering the Media Landscape

Dave Kolb - Thursday, October 01, 2009
Did you know just how much Social Media is taking over our everyday lives?

These numbers are staggering! This is another official update to the original "Shift Happens" video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and statistics focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology. It was developed in partnership with The Economist. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit http://mediaconvergence.economist.com and http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com.


Using Facebook as your "Website"

Kim Kolb - Friday, September 25, 2009

As an Online Marketing company who also designs websites, I don't ever think I have heard someone say “I don’t need a website, I have facebook”.  This is one of those times when words are absent and you just have that look of “really, did you just say that”?  Yeah, but don't you want to be found?  Don't you want to capture customer information via the website and not have to enter it by hand?  Wouldn't you like to know what your site traffic is and what people are coming to the site for? 

Right now we have people coming to us saying "I need a site and I need it now".  If I can't be found I am nobody.  I want SEO, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and all that stuff."  This is normal... But, to hear "No website for us."  

I know times are changing and everything is moving towards the digital aspect, but I wonder what would the case be if Facebook didn't exist.  Would they still rely on the little blurb that comes up in the google search, or the yellow pages?

A website is the face of your company -- and one of the primary means by which you hope to convert consumers, whether that conversion is represented by a sale, a sign-up, an endorsement, or some other desirable action.

So, I posted this question on the Inbound Marketing Forum to get feedback on whether I have just lost my mind or indeed was accurate in my suggestion that they get a website.

I received tons of good feedback from Bee Hobson, Adrian Chira, and Rick Burnes.  Carol Ortenberg even blogged about it on Hubspot today.

Carol says "Facebook and Twitter only allow for so much search traffic to occur. And often times, those customers that seek out a business’ profile on Facebook already are familiar with it – it’s great to engage your current customer base, but what about new customers? How do they find you? Having a website and building landing pages are vital to increasing your search traffic and leads."

While Facebook is a great tool to use as part of your online marketing strategy, it’s not the be all to end all. And, as InboundMarketing.com user Bee Hobson says “the world is spinning towards inbound marketing, no longer can we just tell consumers what they want,” we have to engage them in multiple ways on multiple channels.

So, with all that has been said.  I still believe that a website is the foundation of your business and all the social media applications are subsets that help you get found.  Going through the Inbound Marketing University really opened my eyes to all the avenues by which a company can get found.  There are so many different methods to use and all of them are vital in this digital age where we all jockey for the first page in google searches.

Cloud Computing: Government is shooting for the Clouds

Kim Kolb - Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cloud ComputingThe Government has finally accepted that "Cloud Computing" is an acceptable form of doing business.

If you have been involved in some shape or form with the Government, you know that Cloud Computing was something that was just not an option.  Too many hoops to go through, too much information that could be lost, etc.  Well hold on to your hats.  The White House has just announced that the Federal Government is going to go to the clouds.  This will save the taxpayers money and make the government more efficient.  It means no more costly servers for every office, no more purchases of software that is not needed.  It means that the different offices can actually communicate.  Cloud computing allows you to get what you need.  Now the Government can be up to date with the latest technology that we in the private sector enjoy. 

Apps.gov is an online storefront for federal agencies to quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services, for productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. Cloud computing is the next generation of IT in which data and applications will be housed centrally and accessible anywhere and anytime by a various devices (this is opposed to the current model where applications and most data is housed on individual devices). By consolidating available services, Apps.gov is a one-stop source for cloud services – an innovation that not only can change how IT operates, but also save taxpayer dollars in the process.

What is Cloud Computing? Cloud computing is defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a computing model where IT capabilities are delivered as a service over the Internet to many users. Like a utility such as electricity or water, cloud computing allows users to only consume what they need, to grow or shrink their use as their needs change, and to only pay for what they actually use. With more rapid access to innovative IT solutions, agencies can spend less time and taxpayer dollars on procedural items and focus more on using technology to achieve their missions.

Although this is in its beginning stages, the U.S. Chief Information Officer of the White House is very confident that soon they will be in the clouds.  Stay in touch with this topic by subscribing to their blog.

Email Marketing Still Works and You Can Get Great ROI

Dave Kolb - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Email Marketing ROIIf you're on our email list, you've probably noticed that we've ramped up our email marketing efforts lately. Well, today we decided to look at some marketing analytics from our Facebook Page and SEO email campaigns.

To give some background, in the past 5 weeks, we've been running targeted email marketing campaigns, each with a different web service offer. This was a very "low Effort High Return" campaign.

Of those who opened the Facebook Campaign:
  • 37% Opened the email and 1 person unsubscribed
  • 10% Took action and requested services (directly from the offer)
  • 20% Responded by contacting us regarding other services
  • 1 person made a comment on our blog
  • 3 new people subscribed to our newsletter as a result of our "forward to a friend" feature
Ok, so those numbers aren't huge, but remember we didn't do much either. In terms of numbers (factoring our hourly rate), the Facebook campaign cost us about $195. We've received (to date) $3,250 as a result of that campaign giving us a 1,567% return on our investment (ROI). Considering we still have leads "regarding other services", that number should go up substantially.

Email marketing works and when you consider the economy we're in, it might be the thing that helps you bridge the gap to more profitable times. I'm pretty excited about this and what it could mean for our clients. 

When creating an effective email campaign remember:
  • Target your recipients with a relevant offer that has an expiration date
  • Keep it short and sweet (don't write a book, people don't have time for that)
  • Restate your offer convincingly with a compelling "call to action"
  • See how we can help you

Does Blogging, Social Media and Inbound Marketing really work?

Kim Kolb - Friday, September 04, 2009
Okay, so it has been a week since I blogged, I am already behind the 8-ball since I try to blog at least three times a week, I think that has happened once. Instead of accepting defeat, I am making the best of my lemons.

This blog post is purely a personal opinion on my short experience with blogging, social media and inbound marketing.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs and give tons of credit to those of you who blog frequently. I love reading all you have to offer. I have taken the Inbound Marketing Classes and I have been certified. I have a facebook profile, a business page, and a twitter account. A lot of time I fall short on those as well. Why is that? Oh because clients need me. That’s a great excuse, right? Well no more excuses. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Okay so here I go.

So, do all your efforts of blogging, inbound marketing, and social media work? YES! I can say that without hesitation. Why can I say that? Well, if you keep track of your rankings before you started your endeavors with all the blogging, social media, and inbound marketing like we did, then you will realize how. I can tell you we were not on the first 5 pages. In one of my IMU classes the speaker made a comment “If you don’t show up on the 1st page of the google search, you are insignificant”. Harsh words, but when you put it into prospective, how many times do you do a search and look past the first page? Be honest!

So, I have taken all that I have learned and put it to use. We have optimized our site, put in those great keywords, put in awesome content, blogged, facebooked, twittered and guess what? It’s working. We are getting found. Now, it is not an overnight success story, oh no, this took about a month of diligently working at it. Now we come up on the first page, depending on what you are searching for.

How can you make the most of your experience? Take a Webinar, educate yourself, Google it, hire someone to help you understand what all this blogging, social media and inbound marketing means. Yes it is work, I am not going to lie to you, but even if you got 1 lead from your site from your efforts, wouldn’t you consider that a success? We got our first lead from our site just the other day. That is what convinced us that it is working. There are more leads out there; we just have to bring them to our watering hole.

So, if you are reading this, which would be cool if I still have your attention, then you are either shaking your head front to back or side to side. If you are the front to back, good for you and keep up the good work and don’t stop. If you are a side-to-side, then keep at it. Like anything, the effort you put in, is the effort you get out. If you are having trouble, find someone to help you. There are over 600 of us IMU graduates who know what we are talking about. Try it for a month. What have you got to lose? NOTHING. What have you got to gain? EVERYTHING!

Happy blogging, Tweeting, and Facebooking
I hope that this was somewhat inspirational to you and if it was or you think someone you know can benefit from it, forward it or tweet or comment about it and pass it on.

I welcome comments and suggestions. I am always looking for the next best way to do things. Work smarter not harder is my motto.

Text Message Marketing: A Perfect Storm

Dave Kolb - Friday, August 28, 2009
Given current economic conditions, consumers are looking for some type of discount and businesses are looking for new ways to reach customers. Being able to deliver offers and discounts directly to phones is huge. Especially in a recession, where this market seemed to mature overnight. Granted, we all saw mobile marketing coming, but it has formally arrived now and is stirring up a storm...a perfect storm. With conversion rates as high as 30% in some cases, small business owners are reaping the benefits of this by reaching out to their customers in ways that corporate giants can't.

For example, say you own a small local coffee shop in downtown Denver. It's Saturday afternoon and one of Colorado's infamous thunderstorms is about to roll in. The streets are packed and you know when the rain comes folks will scatter into the restaurants, bars and shops nearby...

You know it's coming. You also know you're going to have to settle for less than your share of foot traffic because Starbucks (a better known national brand) with huge marketing dollars and a better location will get more traffic. Why? Because they have more money, a hip image, great PR, etc, etc, etc.

Time to Turn the Tables

Ten minutes before the storm, you shoot out a text message to your customers and make them an offer they can't refuse: "Get out of the rain and enjoy a $1 cup of fresh-brewed coffee at Great Local Coffee" (be sure to include a link to a map for all of us Smartphone users). Now we all know nobody drinks coffee anymore. They still drink lattes, fancy teas and cappuccinos that you sell at full price...he he, you just had a record day and your competition is still trying to figure out what just happened.

The big boys can't react as fast as you. They need corporate approvals, the right person pulling the trigger and the collective will to do something out of the ordinary. Something risky. Something creative.

Text message marketing doesn't work for everyone, but if you have a good idea, it can be delivered immediately with tremendous ROI. That's pretty cool...not to mention profitable.

Twitter Could Find Revenue in Commercial Accounts

Dave Kolb - Monday, August 24, 2009
According to Twitter's co-founder, Biz Stone, Twitter is looking at rolling out commercial accounts to encourage users to pay for premium services. Like Facebook, Twitter has been storing user data and could make those analytics available to business users at a cost. Don't worry! According to Stone, "Twitter will still be free for everybody and we'll tell them to go crazy with it, but we've identified a selection of things that businesses say are helping to make them more profit." -Kim-Mai Cutler and Matt Marshall, Digital Beat

I say it's about time and it looks like they are actually putting some thought into how they can make money in new ways, rather than the old-fashioned, but effective online advertising model. Other things Twitter could do would be to give businesses a way to "certify" their brands and help prevent brand-hijacking. Read the Full Story

Why Blogging is great for SEO

Kim Kolb - Friday, August 21, 2009
Blogging is as important as eating 3 square meals a day. You need the fuel for your body just like you need the fuel for your business.

Search engines love original content and blogging is the easiest way to get original content on your site. 1) It's in your own words and 2) By providing the ability to comment, you enhance your ability of staying original.

Blogs provide a perfect opportunity to use targeted keywords of your site by skillfully using them in the content of your blog entries. If a particular business blog gets high rank in search engines for a particular keyword, the links from the blog can lead traffic to your main website.

Blogs provide for a two-way conversation to take place between the business and consumer. It allows for valuable feedback that you may not otherwise hear about.

Blogs play an important role for branding a company. Not only should you be blogging, but become part of the blogging community. Get out there and comment on other blogs. Subscribe to RSS feeds that are relevant to your business. This is always a good way to get content.

If you aren’t blogging, you can bet your competition is. Blogging not only provides good content, but it also lets you know who else is blogging about your industry.

Now, all this said, if you don’t blog, like if you don’t go to the gym, you won’t get any results. So just because you have a blog or a gym membership doesn’t mean it will do you any good if you don’t write or go. We recommend blogging at least 3 times a week, but depending on your market you may want to blog more often.

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