I’m speaking today at WordCamp Lancaster PA. Here’s the notes of the talk:
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Can SMS Text Message Marketing help your business? It depends upon the type of business you have and the customers you serve.
SMS/MMS/Text Message Marketing
Much like email marketing, sms or text message marketing is a great way to reach your customers. Mobile messages have an astonishing 99% open rate. The primary difference between sms vs mms is that sms is text only, while mms can include images, audio, and video as well.
Where SMS Marketing Shines:
- Event promotions
- Promoting physical locations (discounts, specials, or new products and services)
- Integrating in to traditional media campaigns (radio, print, tv)
- Lots more
How to Opt In to SMS Marketing:
- Text a short code to a specific number from your phone
- Visit a specific page within a website to fill in via a computer
- Scan a QR code
- EZ Texting – a free way to get started building your list and pay when you are ready to send messages. Integrates with email systems. You can join mine at:
Get special offers from Courtney Engle Robertson & Simple Local BusinessMsg&data rates may apply. To unsubscribe, text STOP to 313131 (393939 in Canada). For help text HELP anytime.
Available in USA & Canada. Your privacy is always protected and your information will not be shared. Powered by EZ Texting
- Trumpia – one stop shop for all multimedia marketing, including email services.
I’d love to hear if you implement SMS marketing into your strategy this year. Leave a comment below.
Get started with Mobile Marketing - Part 4, SMS Text Message
Monday, December 16, 2013
To scan a QR code, I like the Google app on iOS, using the Google Goggles feature. I aspire to consolidate the number of apps I have on my iPhone, and a stand-alone QR code reader isn’t necessary. Just click in the search box, and select the camera icon to scan the qr code.
QR Codes: A Fancy Barcode
When explaining what a qr code is to people, I liken it to a fancy bar code that can do a lot of things. Most bar codes are designed for cash register scanners to input the price and monitor inventory. With a smartphone that has a camera built in, QR codes are capable of much more:
- Direct people to a website (make sure it is completely mobile-ready) which ultimately can be used to do a wide variety of things
- Bookmark a website
- Make a phone call
- Send an SMS
- Send an E-mail
- Create a vCard (saves a contact to your address book)
- Create a meCard (similar to a vCard)
- Create a vCalendar Event (save an event to your calendar app)
- Launch Google Maps
- Launch Bing Maps
- Geographical coordinates (for other mapping)
- Android Market Search
- Encode latest Tweet
- Tweet on Twitter
- Twitter Profile Image Overlay
- Blackberry Messenger PIN
- Wifi Network for Android (connect to your friend’s wifi at their house by scanning a QR code without entering a password)
- Free formatted text (display a plain text document on the phone)
I use an app on my Mac to create high quality QR codes.
QR Codes Are Misused
QR codes have been widely adopted by Japanese smartphone users, but haven’t gotten the same fanfare in North America. Primarily because marketers rushed to implement them without considering what happens from the users perspective. Common problems include:
- The QR code is a low-quality graphic (these need to be high-resolution files the further away the user is scanning)
- QR codes redirecting people to a non-mobile website (why would they want to see that on their phones?)
- No prompts for what the user will find when they scan the code or incentive to do so
- Placing the QR codes where people will likely have no mobile phone reception or is otherwise unsafe (billboards on the highway, the back of the company truck, subways, and airplanes)
- Assuming using QR codes covers all your mobile marketing needs
- Not tracking how many people scan the QR code and what action they take (how will you know if it works?)
- Putting QR codes on websites – if I’m already on the site from the computer, I don’t really want to open it on mobile (and if I ever have a reason, I can do so without your help)
QR Codes Can Be Awesome
I got an early Christmas present from my parents – a new Samsung Smart TV! I started to unbox it and was slightly stumped at the stand. I needed to assemble this correctly and thought that I had, but I don’t want my new big screen tv to wobble and unexpectedly face-plant onto the living room floor. It mattered to me that every screw was exactly in place as it should. So – I scanned the helpful QR code in the packaging that auto-played a demonstration video.
I’ve also needed a quick way to move a website that I’m looking at on my computer to my iPhone (like testing my clients websites). For that, I have a Chrome extension that I right-click on the site to display a QR code that I scan from my phone.
Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 3 QR Codes
Thursday, December 12, 2013
This is obviously ideal for destination locations, as well as promoting tourist events. However, local and small business owners can put their pins to work as well.
How to Add a Place to Your Pinterest Boards
When viewing your boards, select “edit” at the bottom:
Add your map location:
Add a place on the map:
You’ll notice the locations are accessing the Foursquare database.
How to Add Pinterest Place Pins from a computer:
After adding your pin, view the board and edit the pin to include a place.
How to add a Pinterest Place Pin from mobile:
From Pinterest on your mobile device, add a pin (bottom middle)
Find a place. This will access Foursquare’s listing of locations:
Select the correct venue, and add a photo to your pin:
You’ll need to provide a description of your pin before saving:
Pinterest Place Pins Strategy for Local and Small Business Owners:
Now that you know how to use Pinterest Place Pins, it’s time to form your strategy around why to use them.
- Pin the websites of local business owners (and consider making it a community board).
- Feature multiple boards on your business account that showcase local businesses based upon their industry
- Curate a board of your products in use around your community
- Promote events and locations where your business will be appearing
- Feature items in your store with locations mapped to them.
What are your ideas on how to make use of Pinterest Place Pins? Leave your suggestions below.
Small Business Guide to Pinterest Place Pins
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Have you ever wanted a way to integrate multiple comment systems on your blog? Take a look below at my commenting system. It’s Comments Evolved, and is free in the WordPress repository.
With it, users can leave a comment with Facebook or Google+, or multi-platform login systems like LiveFyre or Disqus. The default WordPress comment system is still an option as well. I’ve found it to be a bit buggy if Facebook is not the first comment system displayed, so I’ll tolerate that for now.
Using this plugin has made it super easy to reply to those that have shared the post from my site as well to either Facebook or Google+. By default, Facebook and Google+ will prompt users to submit the comment as a link to their social media accounts.
To make this plugin work with my theme (Headway), I added a bit of CSS to the Live CSS editor to hide default comments and instead only show this plugin.
div#comments display: none;
Help me put this plugin to the test by leaving a comment below.
Comments Evolved for WordPress
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Have you followed or created a LinkedIn Showcase Page yet? LinkedIn announced the feature as a way to highlight a niche product within a company. For instance, I may want to follow Office by Microsoft, but skip the Visual Studio content.
Learn how to follow showcase pages or create your own:
LinkedIn Showcase Page
Monday, December 9, 2013
For local small business owners, location-based marketing allows you to reach your target audience within your community. Before all other attempts at reaching your local audience, be sure to review Get Started with Mobile Marketing – Part 1, in which we looked at why your website needs to look good on mobile devices.
What is Location-based Marketing
Location based marketing delivers multi-media directly to the user of a mobile device dependent upon their location via GPS technology (source)
Types of Location Based Marketing
Traditionally marketing within your local community has been based on contacting the local media outlets, billboard agencies, hanging signs or fliers, and networking or word of mouth marketing. All of these methods are still in play, but now with a few modern twists.
Contact your local newspapers, tv, or radio stations to find if you can advertise on their websites and mobile apps. Additionally, check with local coupon systems like ValPak for similar services. (Protip: also connect with others following these organizations on social media sites).
Where location based marketing has evolved is online everywhere else. Remember with all suggestions below, most of these systems rely upon users accessing content from their mobile phones. What content is delivered needs to triangulate where the visitor is physically located.
Search Engine Results
When people reach for their phones to search for what they are seeking, ideally they find only local results. This happens with a variety of methods.
First, on your website you need to include schema markup that tells search engines where your business is located. This is different than merely typing the address onto your site somewhere, and having the address appear in a graphic or flash image makes it rather useless for search engines. I like using Yoast’s Local SEO for the markup.
Next, on every piece of content that you create, whether on your own website or off site, you can add meta descriptions and often location based information.
In WordPress, add your city and zipcode to the tags on your posts.
In Youtube, include your GPS location (Youtube can help you find this)
And in Flickr, add your location:
And be sure to claim your business listing on every possible page that you can. Many of these are created on your behalf and are waiting for you to verify that you are the owner. Some of these lead in to social media, like Foursquare.
By incorporating location into your content, search engines will display your local results to visitors.
Social Media Location Based Marketing
In many social network platforms, you can create ads or even status updates that are targeted to your location community.
When creating status updates in Facebook, tag your location.
When creating an offer, be sure to specify your location as well.
And if you are creating Facebook Ads, do target your audience.
Likewise, in LinkedIn, your company page can target a status update to a specific region.
Get started with Location Based Marketing
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of of all aspects of location-based marketing, hopefully it has your creativity flowing for new ways to reach your local community.
Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 2 - Location-Based Marketing