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.

Why Doesn't Blogging Come Natural To Us

Kim Kolb - Monday, February 01, 2010
How many of you reading this blog post actually write your own blog?  How many of you only comment on other blogs?  How many of you are really Awesome and both write your own blog and comment on other blogs?

Why do I ask all these questions?  Because I think for most people, blogging is not a natural thing.  Yes, we can compose an email and write a few paragraphs to our colleagues, but to sit and write about something that we then share with the world is quite an overwhelming experience.

When I started Blogging, I was committed to 3 times a week. Why?  Because that is what the experts told me. The avid Bloggers.  The guys who make money blogging.  I can do this I thought.  I started off well.  I blogged twice in one week.  I missed that third one.  The next week I did two.  Then after that, I just did one a week.  This went on for awhile and then I just stopped.

When I reflect back on my short blogging experience I wondered why I didn't blog more?  I definitely read tons of blogs.  I got to thinking about how someone could come up with the content for a blog.  How do you figure out every day what to write?  Sometimes bloggers do a couple of blogs a day.  How are they so inspired.  I was overwhelmed and didn't feel that I had anything to contribute.  My blogs consisted of content from other blogs that I felt I could do a better job at writing.  I figured the experts were already writing the good stuff.  Seriously, how many "10 ways" of anything can you have of one subject?

After about a month of no blogging, I decided to check our google analytics... Man, that was a depressing image.  Our stats went from about 200 + visits a day to 0.  Yep, that's right, a big goose egg.  

So what do you do when you have hit the bottom?  The only thing you can do and that is pick yourself up, brush off the cobwebs and start again.

I can successfully report that I have blogged for three days (Friday, Sunday, and Monday).  Hey it's a start. This time I have made it a priority.

How do I find content and the time for my blog?  I have decided that my thoughts may not be as profound as others, but that someone out there feels or felt like I did or do.  I think what I have to say can help someone either by inspiring them or making them feel like they are not alone.  Now the time part, I get up every morning and do the same thing.  Feed my cats, grab a cup of coffee and head to my computer for Emails, Facebook, and sign onto HootSuite.  I have added blogging to my morning ritual.  So far so good!

Although blogging hasn't felt real natural to me, what does feel natural is my writing style.  Everyone has one.  My style of writing is as if I am talking to my best friend.  I write like I speak.  Why is this important? Authenticity is one of the most important factors when blogging.  If you aren't sincere, the reader will pick up on that and probably won't be back.

I like to be funny in my writing.  Sometimes, and I shouldn't say this, but I make myself laugh!  I have found a few authors of some great books who write like they speak.  It makes for an engaging read.  Believe me, I have to really be engaged. My attention span is shorter than one of those curly shoestring laces.

I hope this has helped someone.  I would really like to know the answer to the very first questions.  Think of it as a poll.

How many of you write your own blog?  
How many of you only comment on other blogs?  
How many of you are really Awesome and both write your own blog and comment on other blogs?

Social Media Monitoring Tools

Kim Kolb - Sunday, January 31, 2010

In my effort to help those new at Social Media or who are still trying to get their footing, I am posting just some tips on a couple of tools that I think Rock!

Ever wonder what to use to track ALL the Social Media channels out there?  When I first started with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogging, I really was overwhelmed by having to log into each of them as I needed to post something.  It was very time consuming to log in to each system, copy & paste, each post. Sometimes you had to shorten or lengthen the post because there are different character limits for all the channels.

When Facebook came out with the ability to link to LinkedIn and Twitter by putting in a hashtag, I was way excited!  I used that for a short while and then I found HootSuite.  Hootsuite allows you to track Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your WordPress, in one location.  You can also add to the mix any clients you are also monitoring.  You could literally be tracking a 100+ Social Media channels.  There is even a little owl that will pop up if you have been inactive for awhile that says "Wake Up".

The next tool I like to use is Klout.  It is not a monitoring tool like HootSuite, but rather a tracking tool.  It gives you an idea of your Reach, Demand, Engagement, Velocity and Activity for Twitter.  I use this to guage how active I have been on Twitter.  You can tell when you have contributed because every 48 hours you can update your score.  Klout also shows what people you may be influenced by and who may be influenced by you.  Really cool when you see that others may be influenced by you.

Best part about these tools, they are FREE!

I am sure there are a ton of tools that people use.  It is all about feeling comfortable with them.  If you have an awesome tool that you would like to share, I would love to know about it.  I am always looking for ways to simplify things.

Blogging Really Affects Your Site Traffic

Kim Kolb - Friday, January 29, 2010
What I am about to share with you is a personal account of my blogging experience.  Since I am blogging about this, I have to think that there are others out there that feel the same way.  By blogging about this experience I hope to bring a little entertainment, but most of all, the importance blogging is to your search results and the traffic to your site.  I plan to blog about things I have learned over the last six months of my short Social Media life.

Let's get started.  I started with Social Media back in July 09.  I was so excited to attend the FREE IMU classes, offered by Hubspot, to help me learn all there is to know about Social Media, Inbound Marketing, Blogging, and SEO.  We had a variety of speakers, all Thought Leaders in their field.  Social Media had been around awhile but there were over 5000 students in that first IMU class, so I would say there were alot of people getting on board.

So, I started Tweeting, Blogging, posting to Facebook, and LinkedIn.  I quickly realized that I was 
overwhelmed.  How can these thought leaders be all over the place?  Don't they get tired of doing all this posting?  

One thing I did realize is that people were coming to the site, they were subscribing to my blog, following me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, it was some happy times.  I felt good.

Then...I stopped blogging.  I still Tweeted and Facebooked religiously.  My stats started to drop. Visitors to my site are almost none.  It was at that point.. Yesterday, Jan 28th, that I decided that along with my morning Twitter, Facebook, cup of coffee reading, I would add Blogging back to my mix.

What is the point of this story... Blogging is very CRUCIAL to your website traffic.  Above all else, BLOG. This is what puts fresh content on your site.  This is what gets people engaged with you.

If you dropped the ball on blogging like I have, pick it up and get rolling again.

Tell me about your experiences with Blogging, I would love to hear about your ups and downs.

Next up...How did I make my life easier with Social Media

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Top 10 Reasons Why Online Marketing Dominates Traditional Advertising

Kim Kolb - Monday, November 16, 2009

Online marketing has become the most successful method of advertising for any kind of business during the last decade. It is fast and promotes your business to thousands of potential customers daily. As marketing is a primary factor to a successful business, the internet facilitates this process in a way that will ensure the maximum exposure to what you are offering.

Traditional marketing, known as outbound marketing or interruptive marketing, requires much more time and effort. It often takes many people to be involved which means it takes more time, resources and money to produce. Outbound Marketing is also very hard to track for results. With the internet you can reach customers all over the globe in a matter of seconds. Online marketing is superior to traditional ways of marketing in almost every aspect. Here is a list of the top 10 reasons online marketing dominates traditional advertising.

1. SPEED

  • Email marketing campaigns are fast, targeted, cost-effective, highly efficient method of marketing your business.
  • Traditional mail marketing can take months and a lot of money and effort to generate results.

2. GEOGRAPHICAL RESTRICTIONS

  • The whole globe can be your customer base when you are marketing your business online, as the internet reaches almost every house on the planet.
  • Traditional Marketing restricts the amount of people you can reach.

3. MARKETING EFFECTS

  • Online marketing is based on pull marketing or Inbound Marketing, which means the customer found you while looking for a particular item.
  • While offline marketing is based on push marketing effects, which means you have to introduce your business to every single customer that comes into your location.

4. SALES PROCESS

  • When your business is marketing online, you can make a sale in a matter of seconds; whether it is an online store they are shopping or request more information through a contact form.
  • Offline advertising is very different in that someone has to sell the person the item, which means the person has to have the product knowledge and ability to sell to someone.

5. HOURS OF OPERATION

  • Your website is your business being open 24/7. Generating leads, and sales while you are asleep.
  • Offline stores are restricted to the human active times, this means you open in the morning and close in the evening and you can’t make a sale while you are closed. In other words, the offline selling process has a shorter sales life than the online one.

6. COST OF MEDIA

  • Online marketing allows you to make a short video or audio commercial and submit it thousands of media communities and is usually free or minimal charge.
  • To make a commercial on TV or radio or place an ad in the newspaper is a very costly engagement.

7. LIMITED ADVERTISING LIFE SPAN

  • When you post an ad online about your business or website, using an article for example, it can be online forever.
  • Traditional Ads can be active for an agreed-upon period of time and then it will be replaced.

8. COST PER CUSTOMER

  • These costs are reasonably low with online marketing but relatively high with offline forms of advertising. They are simply the costs incurred to generate potential customers for the business.

9. CUSTOMER SUPPORT

  • Online customer support can usually be solved via email.
  • Offline support requires a little more time and effort to be resolved.

10. ONGOING MARKETING INFORMATION

  • Data collection online is instant. You can track marketing efforts via google and other tracking tools.
  • Offline data collection is usually paper copies of items which usually take up storage space and requires manual computation for stats.

As you can see, online marketing is a far more cost effective method of marketing to traditional marketing. Online marketing is all about saving you money, time, and effort; yet brings you the required results you seek and most of the time exceeds your expectations.

Social Networking on the Rise

Kim Kolb - Saturday, November 14, 2009

Web 2.0 is the latest evolution of search engine technology. Today it’s no longer good enough to have a professional-looking webpage and a blog. Successful companies are posting viral videos on Youtube, creating Facebook Fan Pages, Myspace pages, getting followers on Twitter, Connecting with other colleagues on LinkedIn and applying cutting-edge technology to their core business principles. Now business owners big and small are looking to get these services to help them catch up with this ever-evolving phenomenon.

According to a 2009 Deloitte survey, 94% of business executives plan on ramping up their social networking participation over the next 12 months. Additionally, nearly 40% of businesses are hiring full-time professionals at an online marketing company to manage their social networking strategies.

Francois Gossieaux, a senior fellow with the Society of New Communications Research, says there are still “plenty of companies who do not realize the power of communities, and others who have not yet figured out the proper approach for leveraging communities as part of their business.” He adds, “Businesses are truly becoming social again, and companies should look to leverage the collective wisdom of their employees, customers and partners in order to innovate faster, reduce costs and bolster their bottom lines."



A Professional website design on a solid foundation is the first step towards your Online Success.  Your Online presence needs to engage your potential customers by Calls-to-Action and the Remarkable content you display.    

Whether you are one of the companies already on the Web 2.0 wave or just starting out, the rules of Marketing your company have changed.  If you are not capitalizing on the Social Media, Blogs, RSS tools that are available to you, you are missing out. 

Today the success of marketing your company does not rely on the size of your budget rather the time and willingness you have to put into your online marketing presence.  I think some companies would rather throw dollars at the marketing than to put time into it.  I think this is one of those times when we find out who the "Real Players" are.

Thoughts?

LinkedIn and Twitter are now Synching Up

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The new feature of LinkedIn and Twitter Synching, will roll out overnight. It allows you to cross-post to both networks. From the LinkedIn side, there is a Twitter Settings panel that allows you to link your accounts and choose whether your Twitter account appears on your profile. There is also now a special box that you can check to tell LinkedIn whether you want to tweet out specific status updates

The integration on the Twitter side is in your settings. You can link your LinkedIn account to your Twitter and then choose whether you want to share all of your tweets on LinkedIn OR just specific ones by using one of two hashtags: #li or #in.

This is exactly like the Selective Twitter Status Facebook app, which updates your Facebook with the #fb hashtag. The difference this time is that Twitter officially supports the #li and #in hashtags for auto-updating LinkedIn.

This is a great advantage for both companies. While LinkedIn has more users, it gets less traffic. Maybe this will get younger folks to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great platform for promoting yourself to other companies. Alot of times people use it as their resume.

Something that is cool about Facebook and LinkedIn Synching with Twitter is that you can go to one place and post to all three. This may be a benefit to those clients that are time constrained to do several postings.

What are your thoughts?

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.


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

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